Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Summary Notes - Neighborhoods Commitee - December 2007

Summary Notes
Neighborhoods Committee
December 17, 2007 – 7:00 pm – Silver Spring Regional Services Center

Attending: Co-Chairs Alan Bowser; Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board and Anita Morrison, Long Branch Advisory Committee; Deborah Linn, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board; Megan Moriarty, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board; Charlotte Coffield, Lyttonsville Civic Association; Elmoria Stewart, Lyttonsville Civic Association; Rukiyat Gilbert, Southern Management; Mary Reardon, Silver Spring Historical Society; George French, Silver Spring Historical Society; Chris Richardson, Park Hills Civic Association; Karen Roper, East Silver Spring Citizens Association; Tony Hauser, Indian Springs Civic Association; Webb Smedley, Woodside Civic Association; Jon Elkind, Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizen Association; Kathleen Samiy, Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association; Caren Madsen, Montgomery County Civic Federation; Rose Polyakova, Sligo Branview Community Association; Luther Hindsley, Avery Park Apartments Tenants Association; Elnatan Reisner; Lianna Levine Reisner, Impact Silver Spring; Winta Teferi, Impact Silver Spring; James Riley, Park Hills Civic Association; Jim Zepp, North Four Corners Civic Association; Juan Casanas; Kevin Sullivan, MCPD and Karen Ashby, Silver Spring Regional Services Center.

Report on December Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board Meeting and November Neighborhoods Committee Meeting. Alan Bowser reviewed the actions taken by the Board at the December 2007 meeting. The full Board—

• Was briefed by 3rd District Commander Don Johnson, MCPD.
• Approved the Neighborhood Committee’s draft in support of dedicated funding for county recreation programs in the Northwest Park Oakview Weed and Seed area.
• Approved a letter in support of additional funding for the VanGo.
• Did not approve the Neighborhood Committee’s letter supporting a “quiet zone” for the CSX rail line.
• Received a presentation on the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.

At its November meeting, the Neighborhoods Committee discussed

• Recreation funding in the Northwest Park Oakview Weed and Seed Communities
• Renovation of Broad Acres Park
• Update on Historic Preservation Issues
• Weed and Seed Update, including Nuisance Abatement Program
• Silver Spring Public Safety Issues

December Public Safety Update. Kevin Sullivan, 3rd District, MCPD, briefed the Committee on recent public safety developments in Silver Spring. He reviewed Silver Spring crime statistics, noting a decrease in violent crime and an increase in daytime residential burglaries, vehicle thefts, and larcenies from vehicles. He said that GPS devices were highly sought after by thieves. He recommended several measures for residents to protect their homes and vehicles. He said that 11 new officers and a sergeant had been assigned to the Third District. He said that the investigation of the recent homicide on Sligo Avenue continued.

Committee members asked questions about police patrols in East Silver Spring and Oakview, and jurisdiction issues near Montgomery/Prince Georges border. Tony Hauser discussed the SilverSpringCrimeWatch listserv and invited participation.

The Purple Line and Neighborhoods

Karen Roper (ESSCA), Charlotte Coffield (Lyttonsville), Chris Richardson (Park Hills), and Kathleen Samiy (Seven Oaks Evanswood), and Rose Polyakova (Sligo Branview) made presentations about their neighborhood’s concerns about the various Purple Line modes and alignments.
Information from each is included as an attachment to these minutes

• East Silver Spring (Karen Roper)
• Lyttonsville (Charlotte Coffield)
• Park Hills (Chris Richardson)
• Seven Oaks Evanswood (Kathleen Samiy)
• Sligo Branview (Rose Polyakova)

In summary, all presenters indicated that their civic organizations had not been well informed or timely informed by the Maryland Transit Administration about the proposed alignments and mode that affected their neighborhoods.

A draft letter (attached) for the full Board on the Purple Line and neighborhood concerns was circulated to Committee members. Brief discussion followed and the consensus was to continue the discussion at the January meeting of the Neighborhoods Committee. Additional participation of Silver Spring tenants was encouraged. Webb Smedley asked if the draft letter would be considered by the Transportation and Pedestrian Safety Committee. (The draft letter was subsequently forwarded to the Transportation and Pedestrian Safety and Commercial and Economic Development Committees for their consideration.)

N.B. Three members of the Montgomery County Planning Board’s Purple Line Functional Master Plan Advisory Committee participated in the Committee’s discussion: Tony Hauser, Chris Richardson and Karen Roper.

Historic Preservation Update
Mary Reardon

Next Meetings
Because of the Martin Luther King, Birthday Observance and Presidents’ Day, it will be necessary to reschedule the January and February Committee meetings. After discussion, it was agreed to check with the Regional Center staff to see if the Center’s Conference Room is available on Thursday, January 24th and Thursday, February 21st

Draft Letter Circulated for Discussion
The Purple Line and Neighborhoods – Neighborhoods Committee – December 2007

Mr. Isiah Leggett
Montgomery County Executive
Rockville, Maryland

Dear Mr. Leggett:

Our Board has been a strong advocate for environmentally-friendly public transit solutions for our community. To this end, we have endorsed the Maryland Transit Administration’s (MTA) proposed Purple Line connecting Montgomery and Prince Georges counties as we believe that an efficient public transit system can bring significant benefits to our community and to the environment.

Over the past year, we have solicited information and comments from key community stakeholders with regard to the possible alignments about the Purple Line in the Silver Spring region. We have encouraged presentations from a broad range of Silver Spring residents, civic organizations, government officials and transit experts to learn more about the alternate modes of transit and possible alignments in Silver Spring.

At the same time that we note our continuing and strong support for transit and the Purple Line in particular, we have the following general, but important, concerns that we bring to your attention and that of others who have an interest in and responsibility for the Purple Line project.

• We are concerned about the traffic impact of the Purple Line as it crosses Silver Spring, and particularly its impact on traffic in downtown Silver Spring on Georgia Avenue, Fenton Street and Wayne Avenue. Some residents have expressed concern that some of the proposed alignments will result in increased traffic and congestion in neighborhoods, along with an increase in cut-through traffic. We hope that the MTA will thoroughly explore the possibility of below-grade options for downtown Silver Spring and the affected residential neighborhoods so that all alignment alternatives can be fairly evaluated.

• We are concerned about the impact of the alternative Purple Line alignments on pedestrian safety in downtown Silver Spring as well in the residential neighborhoods where the Purple Line may be sited. In some neighborhoods, the possible alignments are located adjacent to elementary and middle schools where the safety of children is of great concern. In other areas, the Purple Line will be adjacent to houses of worship, rehabilitation centers and already busy shopping areas and parking lots. We believe that the MTA and the Montgomery County Government should contact directly affected stakeholders to inform them about the possible Purple Line alignments and possible impacts, and to work with them to develop appropriate mitigation options.

• We are concerned about possible adverse impacts of the various proposed Purple Line alignments on the natural environment, particularly our critical stream systems—Rock Creek, Sligo Creek, and Long Branch—and urge that any negative environmental effects be properly evaluated and mitigated to the maximum extent possible to protect wildlife and habitat.

• We are also concerned about the siting of any transit-related maintenance and power facilities required by the Purple Line that would impact the quality of life in adjacent Silver Spring neighborhoods. We believe our neighbors need to be consulted early and thoroughly about possible maintenance facility and system power locations, and that adverse impacts are mitigated.

We hope that you and your staff will work closely with this Board and our neighbors in Silver Spring to maximize the benefits that this transit project can bring to our communities, while at the same time, minimizing the adverse impacts on neighborhoods and the Silver Spring community as a whole.


Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board

Montgomery County Council
Montgomery County Maryland State Delegation
Maryland Secretary of Transportation
Administrator, Maryland Transit Administration

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