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Community Liaison Council Meeting Minutes — January 16, 2014
January 16, 2014; 4:00 to 5:30 PM
Natcher Building, Conference Room F1-F2
National Institutes of Health
Five-Year Plan for Bethesda Business — Dave Dabney/Jeff Burton, Bethesda Urban Partnership
As part of its mission to market and maintain downtown Bethesda, the Bethesda Urban Partnership has completed a five-year plan to prepare for residential and commercial growth. Executive Director Dave Dabney opened his remarks with a discussion on the history and background of the partnership, a nonprofit created in 1994. Montgomery County evaluates BUP every five years, and in 2014 the organization received its fourth reauthorization to continue its mission.
BUP expects Bethesda’s residential population to grow from 13,837 people today to 18,127 in five years. To develop its strategic plan, the organization used focus group and survey feedback as well as recommendations from BUP, Bethesda Transportation Solutions and arts and entertainment boards and committees. The plan, completed in 2013, focuses on the following areas:
- Maintenance: BUP will encourage city leaders to improve lighting and enhance the streetscape with unified bike racks and newspaper boxes. The group also seeks to add better signage, a Geographic Information System (GIS) app for the Circulator service and indoor computer monitors at key locations that will display public information. BUP also is working with Metro to create a “station of the future” pilot project.
- Marketing and Communication: To attract businesses and customers, BUP will enhance and promote Bethesda’s brand and promote the economic viability of the downtown area.
Staff will improve communication to constituents with increased use of technology and social media, an updated BUP Website and more outreach to local businesses, retailers, property managers and arts and entertainment organizations. Those communication efforts also will target such nearby Bethesda “customers” as NIH, Suburban Hospital and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Last, BUP will increase promotion of parking options, rates and payment options.
- Transportation Management: BUP aims to create a system that has complementary vehicular and non-vehicular options. In addition to encouraging pedestrian safety improvements and greater bike access into Bethesda, BUP will continue to promote car sharing and Flexcar. Ms. Witt noted the challenge of crossing the intersections near the Barnes and Noble bookstore on Bethesda Avenue. Noting the successful strategies of other urban centers, BUP will propose “no right turn on red” policies to assist pedestrians, said Mr. Dabney. The State Highway Administration’s pedestrian safety coordinator also has done an audit of some area locations and has suggested improvements.
- Arts and Entertainment: Staff will offer events and art treatments that appeal to all ages. BUP seeks to add more public art treatments, provide a community theater, and open and manage art studios.
Challenges during the next five years include noise, traffic congestion, limited budgets and a lack of affordable housing. CLC members posed questions about the parking tax, available gas stations and bicycling on sidewalks. More information is available at www.bethesda.org.
Round Robin / Q and A’s
Mr. Moss reported
NIH will test a new fire alarm/emergency notification system Feb 3-7, 2013.
The campus also will repave Lincoln Drive and West Drive. NIH will close Lincoln Drive January 23-27. West Drive will close January 20-24. The campus will increase the weekday hours at the South Drive and Old Georgetown Road entrance and exit to offset the traffic, particularly in the morning, which may occur from having one less entryway.
The meeting adjourned at 5:40 p.m. The next meeting will occur March 20, 2014.
Marian Bradford, Camelot Mews
Margaret Dittemore, Huntington Terrace
Darrell Lemke, Parkview
Marilyn Mazuzan, Oakmont
Ginny Miller, Wyngate
Ralph Schofer, Maplewood
Jennette Wade, Whitehall Condo
Andrea Witt, Huntington Parkway
Tony Clifford, OD/OM/ORFDO/DEP
Brad Moss, ORS, ORF
Tara Mowery, OCL, OCPL
Susan Roberts, ORF
Sharon Robinson, OCL, OCPL
Randy Schools, NIH, R&W
Kenneth Reichard, Rep, Sen Cardin Office
Laura Jackson, Audio Associates
This page last reviewed on March 9, 2017