Transportation makes growth possible. Land use planning makes growth possible. But too often these are viewed as separate processes, when in reality they have huge effects on each other.
Opportunities abound in Gaithersburg. The Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) will connect our western side to the Metro system and to points north. It runs right through the middle of our most vibrant economic corridor, home to NIST, Johns Hopkins’ planned Science City development, MedImmune, and much more. And the route 355 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan runs past Olde Town and LakeForest and through what was once our major shopping and job centers as well as the new Watkins Mill Interchange developments.
LakeForest is ripe for redevelopment. So is the IBM site on 355 near Montgomery Village Avenue, once a major job center but now nearly vacant. There is office space along Quince Orchard Road and Clopper Road and throughout our city that can be redeveloped into mixed use sites, wet labs, and other more modern uses. Olde Towne is another opportunity where progress has been slow, but where there is much hope for the future.
We need to work with our Planning Department and with resources at the county and state to move plans forward and to coordinate these efforts. Did you know that the MARC trains, that stop near the MVA (and the new Parklands development near Watkins Mill) as well as in Olde Towne will run in both directions at some future time? Today, our service runs south, into the District, during the morning rush and north, back home, in the evenings. Having service running in both directions throughout the day is another, immense opportunity that could bring jobs to our city without adding to congestion.
Gaithersburg is not a bedroom community – we have more jobs in the city than we have workers, making us a job center. I want to see is grow the job base as mixed-use development, with corresponding new housing and transportation. The vision is to build the economic opportunities for all our residents without adding to gridlock.