Funding Restored for White Flint Metro Station Improvement Work

By Dan Schere posted May 30th, 2019 on www.bethesdamagazine.com

Forest Glen station pedestrian tunnel also gets funds in county budget

White Flint Metro station

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS: MINT0RI [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Funds for planning and designing a second entrance to the White Flint Metro station have been restored to the county’s six-year capital improvements budget.

In January, County Executive Marc Elrich proposed deferring $3.5 million for planning and design work to beyond 2024 with the expectation that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority would contribute to the project.

The County Council, as it adopted a new county budget last week, restored $2.9 million of the funding which will allow planning and design work to take place while WMATA conducts a feasibility study to determine the total cost. Because the transit agency owns the White Flint station, it is responsible for determining the cost.

The project involves constructing a northern entrance to the station with an underground walkway connecting the northern end of the platform to the Pike & Rose shopping area on the west side of Rockville Pike, near Old Georgetown Road.

WMATA could also recommend a different option for the northern entrance, depending on the estimated cost.

The northern entrance was one of the items included in the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan — an initiative to create more mixed-use development and improve pedestrian safety along the North Bethesda corridor of Rockville Pike.

“I was really pleased that we ended up where we did and fulfilled this vision” said council member Andrew Friedson, whose district includes White Flint.

“It keeps us moving forward in terms of where we’re at,” he said.

Friedson said he wasn’t sure how likely it is that the transit agency would fund the project.

“Historically they haven’t, and given its importance to the county I think that’s far too great a risk,” he said.

The council also restored $13.5 million in funding for a Forest Glen Passageway, a $20 million project that would construct a tunnel from the west side of Georgia Avenue, where the station is located, to the east side.

Design of the project is scheduled to begin in fiscal 2021, with construction beginning in 2022 and being completed either in late 2024 or early 2025. The cost of the Forest Glen tunnel had already been determined by the county.

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