12 December 2012

Public Safety Working Group Survey - Deadline Friday, Dec 14

The Wheaton Urban District, through the newly formed Public Safety Working Group, requests the Wheaton community's participation in a short online survey concerning public safety in Wheaton. It should not take more than a few minutes to complete. We have a short timeframe for submitting your answers, as we hope to utilize your answers in an upcoming Public Safety Working Group meeting. The deadline is this Friday, Dec 14.

The online survey is available HERE.

If you need the online survey in Spanish, please click HERE.

11 December 2012

WUDAC Attends Community Forum on Proposed BUS RAPID TRANSIT

On November 15, 2012,  I, as both a resident of Wheaton and member of WUDAC, attended a community meeting at the Wheaton Library where transportation planners discussed their preliminary recommendations and solicited input on a proposed Countywide Transit Corridor Functional Master Plan, which would amend the Master Plan of Highways to include the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit network in the county.
At the meeting, planners gave an overview of both projected future growth needs for county transportation and the history behind the current proposed plan. I urge those with interest to visit the planner's website at montgomeryplanning.org/brt for full information and history of this proposal.  BRT envisions a system of transportation similar to the efficiency of light rail but with the economy of sleek modern buses. These buses may look more like subway cars rather than traditional buses. Some of the ideas presented included dual median bus lanes, single median bus lanes, curb lanes, and in some cases where space is at a premium mixed traffic lanes where a bus shares space with cars. The planners stressed that this was a preliminary plan and work is still in progress.  From here the draft will be presented to the Planning Board in March with more public hearings in May and then Planning Board work sessions before a plan can be presented to the County Council for approval.
During the meeting planners took questions and concerns from the community. Some concerns voiced included the cost of the plan and who would pay, congestion on roads due to repurposing, bicycle and pedestrian access to stations, conflicts with existing buses, parking for riders, and location of bus stands/stations. The planners stated that their plan did not address how it would be funded.
WUDAC will continue to monitor this proposal and report to the community. All with concerns should contact their council member and the County Executive and become involved with future public hearings.
William Moore

07 December 2012

Agenda for Upcoming Dec 11 WUDAC Meeting

In addition, click the "Read More" link below to view the minutes from our Nov. 13, 2012 WUDAC Meeting.
DRAFT Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee Meeting
Tuesday November 13th, 2012
Mid-County Regional Center2424  Reedie  Drive, Wheaton MD 20902

MembersPresent      HenriotSt. Gerard (Chair), Devala Janardan (Vice Chair),Nadia Sesay,
Marian Fryer,Tom Stanton, Dan Thompson, Luis Bonilla,
William Moore,Jeannette Feldner
MembersAbsent       JimOnder

StaffPresent              AnaLopez van Balen, Director, Mid-County Regional Center,
Pete McGinnity,Manager, WheatonRedevelopment Program
Sidney Cooper,Marketing Manager, WheatonUrban District

Guests                         Ash Kosiewiczand many members of the Coalition for the Fair Development of  Wheaton, Abigail Adelman and Danila Sheveiko,representatives for Stop Costco Gas Coalition, Ken Silverman, staff,councilmember Navarro

Callto Order            5:34pm by Chair Henriot St. Gerard

Motion                        October Meeting Minutesapproved with one typo change

ChairReport            Henriot St. Gerardreported on WUDAC retreat held on Nov. 3, 2012. Stated purpose was to meet new members andstrategize on how to accomplish WUDAC goal to re-engage the community andbusinesses. The members formed two new sub-committees, Economic andDesign/Infrastructure. Henriot asked Devala Janardan to brief the meeting onefforts to change our Bylaws.

DirectorReport         Ana Lopez van Balen updated WUDAC onseveral topics including: County approval of the Wheaton Library RecreationCenter Project to combine two facilities in its current location, an upcomingWheaton Public Safety Workshop to look at actual as well as perceived safetyissues in Wheaton, and the beginning of meetings with the small businesscommunity on the effects of planned Redevelopment changes and the councilapproved small business fund. In addition, she briefly touched on an upcoming PlanningBoard hearing on the Glenmont Sector Plan, the Costco opening scheduled forJanuary, and the fact that Costco is still proceeding with their plans for agas station

Wheaton Small BusinessSurvey       Pete McGinnity reported on the resultsof the survey. The top three concerns of the urban business community are:Parking, Rents, and Safety. Pete stated that the county is working on aMemorandum of Understanding that will be presented to council in January.  In addition, a parking study is to begin towardsthe end of the fiscal year. He emphasized the need for a marketing strategy inadvance of construction to assist with continued patronage of the existingbusinesses. Dan Thompson urged the planners to think not just about parking butalso pedestrian access. Devala stated that WUDAC could act as a clearinghousefor information.

CommunityConcerns     Raymond Rose from Barbarian Comics spokeon behalf of the Coalition for the Fair Development of Wheaton. He reiteratedthe concerns expressed in the Small Business Survey on parking, rents andsafety. He asked for the parking study that has been promised to be undertaken.He also worried that rents would rise as leases renewed and the safety concernsif business employees have to walk long distances to their cars. He alsorequested adequate signage to inform the public that businesses were open andmore information on economic resources available to help. He asked WUDAC tosend a letter to request the County’s help. Ana responded that Wheaton has assistanceavailable to escort employees to cars and that we would be sending a newsletterto the business community to keep them informed on issues.

Marketing     Sidney Cooper reported on the results of aWheaton Community Survey that was conducted. The top three “likes” were:variety of good restaurants, Metro availability, and the Small Businessfeel.  Areas identified as needingimprovement included: shopping, dining and the Business Environment.

Shestated that attendance at Taste of Wheaton, World of Montgomery, and the SummerConcerts was a concern and these events were being evaluated to see if they area good return on investment. Our budget is small and there is a need for newrotation of Banners and to promote Clean and Safe Team. She briefed WUDAC onnew website and followed up on Ana’s comments on the newsletter, stating itwill start in December and may include Marketing tidbits.

CouncilReport     Ken Silverman, staff for CouncilmemberNavarro, introduced himself and reminded the Committee and guests of Navarro’ssponsorship of the Business Assistance Program. He also stated Navarro’s ongoing desire to make sure the bill is usefulfor Wheaton’sbusinesses.

NewBusiness     Henriot asked for a motion to approve newsub-committees discussed at retreat. Motion was approved.  The meetingdate and time for the first meeting was set as the first Monday in December.  Design at 6:00pm and Economic at 7:00pm at the Regional Center. A motion was also approvedto change the start time for the monthly WUDAC meeting from 5:30 to 6:00pm. The new Wheaton logo and website were also approved.

OtherConcerns     Abigail Adelman and Danila Sheveikointroduced WUDAC to their organization, the Stop Costco Gas Coalition and urgedus to visit their website: stopcostcogas.org.

Henriotasked for volunteer to attend community meeting on Bus Rapid Transit at theWheaton Library on Nov. 15.

Adjourn     7:10pm

04 December 2012

Message from the Chair

Dear Friends, 

As the new Chair of the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee (WUDAC), I am eager and excited about the opportunity to serve and make a difference in our community. The new Executive Committee has embarked on an aggressive yet manageable set of goals that, along with the enthusiasm of the current and newly appointed members, is sure to make this term a very exciting one that hopefully yields positive results for the community. Our theme for this year is "Re-energize and Re-engage with the community" and it is the goal of WUDAC to play a larger and more substantive role in achieving its mission to promote and support activities in and around the Wheaton Urban District. With the help of the leadership and committee members, I am confident that WUDAC will make big gains in achieving our goals for this year with the cooperation and support of the community and business owners.

What's with all the Construction on Reedie Drive?

Are you wondering what all the noise and construction on Reedie Drive is about? After conducting a pedestrian road safety audit, the County is doing work to improve traffic and pedestrian safety. Click here to read more about the Reedie Drive Streetscape Project.

Wheaton's County Council Representative Nancy Navarro Elected President of County Council

On December 4, Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro was elected to serve as president of the County Council. Councilmember Navarro represents District 4 of Montgomery County, which stretches from downtown Wheaton (in the south) to Brookville, Olney, Laytonsville (in the north). Click here to see the official press release from the Council Office.

Wheaton Receives a New Grant for Facade Improvements and More

Special thanks to the Gazette for writing up a great article about a new grant that will bring numerous facade improvements and new solar trash receptacles to Wheaton. Read all about it here.