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Community Liaison Council Meeting Minutes — September 19, 2013
September 19, 2013; 4:00 to 5:30 PM
Natcher Building, Visitor's Center Little Theater
National Institutes of Health
Mr. Burklow began by welcoming a new member: Ellen Larsen of the Sonoma Citizens Association. Ms. Larsen replaces Nancy Hoos. The Office of Research Services also sent out a reminder about safety in light of the shootings that occurred on Monday, September 16, at the Washington Navy Yard. More communication about safety will be forthcoming during the next few weeks. In other news, the campus continues to prepare for a possible government shutdown October 1, which is the beginning of the fiscal year. Further, if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, the campus faces another potential shutdown on October 18, Mr. Burklow reported. The campus also plans to dedicate the Porter Building October 22.
Update: North Bridge North Gate Repair — Marjorie Marcus, Architect/Project Officer, Office of Research Facilities
The bridge slated for repair is located just inside the North Drive campus entrance in the northeast corner of NIH. Located south of Cedar Lane and west of Rockville Pike, this entrance is the first of several heading south on Rockville Pike. The North Drive entrance gate has reopened following its closure during state highway work. It stays open from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. every morning. Commuting employees use the gate to enter the campus during those times.
Traffic had been two way (two lanes) into the campus until NIH closed a lane of the bridge due to visible structural deterioration. Temporary concrete barriers remain in place to close the southern of the two eastbound lanes. The bridge is reaching the end of its service life, and based on an engineering study, NIH prefers to replace rather than repair the bridge.
NIH proposes replacing the bridge in its current location. The new bridge would span over the existing bridge foundations. During construction, any specimen trees would be protected by a tree protection plan. The disturbed area of the stream bank would be replanted with native vegetation, and the stream bed would be reinforced and armored with natural stones and boulders. The replacement bridge would have parapets faced with natural stone veneer that would complement the stone retaining wall at nearby building 33.
The in-only entrance to the campus would be closed due to bridge construction for five months, which is a shorter duration than the bridge closure during state highway work. Employees who normally enter NIH through North Drive will drive down to the next entrance at Wilson and route their way through campus. If the project wins state approval, construction will begin summer in 2014.
Update: NIH Landscaping Along MD 355 at the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) — Susan Roberts, Office of Research Facilities
Ms. Roberts reported no changes to the landscaping plans in front of the CVIF as part of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) roadway improvements. CLC members reviewed several slides shown during a 2011 BRAC Implementation Committee meeting. The roadway improvement plan puts the shared-use path about a foot off the curb line. Shrubs and taller flowering trees will grow behind the shared-use path to block the view of the CVIF from the street.
Mr. Schofer noted that having the sidewalk one foot from the curb line is very uncomfortable for walkers. The traffic moves alongside the sidewalk at about 40 miles per hour. Ms. Roberts said the campus struggled with the State Highway Administration over this intersection. The issue is there isn’t a lot of space for the path that pedestrians and cyclists use. The area has a steep slope from the CVIF driveway to the roadway. Keeping that shared-use path closer to roadway, with a bit of a buffer, allows for the planting of more trees to obscure the view, said Ms. Roberts.
Master Plan Update — Rick Herring, Director, Division of Facilities Planning
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently approved the NIH master plan, said Mr. Herring. At the request of HHS, the master plan now includes a disclaimer stating that projects in the plan are subject to federal funding. NIH is now working on the impact statement, which should be ready in three to four weeks. After that, the master plan will need approval from the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC)
Parking remains an unresolved issue with NCPC. A 1991 NIH parking plan designated one parking space for every two employees. Today NCPC wants the campus to abide by a parking ratio of one parking space for every three employees. NIH can’t meet that ratio because 52 percent of its employees don’t live near mass transportation, said Mr. Herring. The campus proposes reducing the spaces in a future parking garage from 1,500 spaces to 1,000 spaces. However, the campus will maintain its 1:2 parking ratio for existing employees.
Ms. Witt asked if the planned Purple Line will solve some of NIH’s parking issues. Mr. Herring noted that the Purple Line is still inside the Beltway, and many employees come from Frederick and Howard counties as well as other locations outside of the Beltway. Shuttling employees from other parking lots has become a problem due to budget cuts and limited available land, Mr. Herring added.
The master plan itself remains unchanged. CLC members reviewed slides of some of the proposed campus building “clusters” for research, administration or biomedical education. Clusters promote collaboration and help scientists make discoveries much more quickly, said Mr. Herring. If the plan goes on record within a month, it could go to NCPC in January or February.
BRAC REPORT — MARILYN MAZUZAN AND DEBBIE MICHAELS, CLC MEMBERS
Ms. Mazuzan discussed these upcoming road changes as part of BRAC:
- The road along southbound MD Route 187, south of Cedar Lane, will be widened to create a northbound dedicated turn lane onto Cedar Lane.
- The lane usage on Cedar Lane will change so that there will be three lanes going west. The furthest left lane will be a left-turn lane. The middle lane will be left turn or straight through. The far right lane will be a right-turn lane only.
- A 10-foot wide shared-use path along Route 187 from Cedar Lane to NIH will be constructed as part of the Historic Trolley Trail. At a future meeting, Ms. Mazuzan will come back and report how far the trail will go into Bethesda.
Ms. Michaels reported on these upcoming road changes:
- Regarding an upcoming street-crossing project, which will be a tunnel at the Metro station, the transportation department received nine replies to its request for interest. Those nine replies have been pared down to two: Corman and Bradshaw and Clark Construction. They will have several months to complete design build proposals for the tunnel. A county review team will take several months to look over the proposals before selecting a finalist.
- Two commuter bus routes that faced elimination will continue to provide service due to BRAC. The bus routes, which bring people from the Baltimore area into Bethesda, will help keep more cars of the road.
- The State Highway Administration has nearly completed the first phase of its work at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road. The entire project should be complete by Thanksgiving.
- Some of the paving is complete at Route 355 and Cedar Lane. Work continues on the underground utilities. That project should also be finished this fall.
- Bids have gone out for phases one to three of the BRAC proposal to change the intersection at Cedar Lane and Route 355. Construction may begin by summer 2014. A stretch of East Cedar Lane will be closed for that project.
- Jones Bridge, Center Drive and Route 355 will be coordinated with the tunnel project so these projects are still years out. Meetings for community members will occur during the next few months.
- The Walter Reed national medical center will take down several buildings and put up one building instead. Demolition and construction will begin mid-2015. The medical center also will have a new 500-space parking garage. In the fall construction will begin on two temporary buildings that employees and patients can use while construction continues around the hospital and internal renovations are completed.
Round Robin / Q and A’s
As part of his announcements, Brad Moss reported
- the recent death of Tom Hayden, former transportation manager and most recently the associate director for program/employee services.
- all federal agencies will review their security protocols in response to the shooting at the Navy Yard. There is the possibility the CLC members could see changes based on this review.
- the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union agreement with NIH now includes language that enforces the campus’s tobacco-free policy. That means CLC members may see more employees smoking outside the NIH fence line.
Ms. Miller reported that in about two years Metro will address the water issue around the NIH metro. Metro is currently pumping out the water.
Ms. Michaels asked for information on how other local residents can join the CLC. Ms. Miller said residents should contact Sharon Robinson.
The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m. The next meeting will occur November 21, 2013.
Marian Bradford, Camelot Mews
Margaret Dittemore, Huntington Terrace
Ellen Larsen, Sonoma Citizens Association
Darrell Lemke, Parkview
Kira Leuders, NIH Alumni Association
Marilyn Mazuzan, Oakmont
Deborah Michaels, Glenbrook Village
Ginny Miller, Wyngate
Ralph Schofer, Maplewood
Jennette Wade, Whitehall
Andrea Witt, Huntington Parkway
John Burklow, Acting Director and Co-Chair, CLC
Rick Herring, Division of Facilities Planning
Marjorie Marcus, Office of Research Facilities
Brad Moss, ORS
Tara Mowery, OCL
Susan Roberts, Division of Facilities Planning
Sharon Robinson, OCL
Joan D. Kleinman, District Director,
Congressman Chris Van Hollen
Ken Reichard, Asst. to Sen. Ben Cardin
Laura Jackson, Audio Associates
This page last reviewed on March 9, 2017