Update: Planning Board approves application at its Oct. 13 meeting.
The Gazette reports that the Planning Board has approved the Fenwick Station application, with the stipulation that a bike share station be built with the project.
October 4, 2011
The Silver Spring Post Office at the corner of Second Avenue and Spring Street is being sold. An application is being presented to the Planning Board on October 13 for a six story residential building on this site, called Fenwick Station. The M-NCPPC website has posted the staff recommendation at Fenwick Station Project Plan.
This project plan includes a proposed extension to the Silver Spring Green Trail, a pathway along the future Capital Crescent Trail, and space reservation for a future bike share station.
Fenwick Station preliminary plan
(click on image for a larger view)
The proposed Green Trail is along Second Avenue (along the top of the above plan), the future CCT pathway is behind the building, and space would be preserved for a future bike share station at a proposed public plaza (at the corner of Second Avenue and Spring Street, at the upper left corner of the above plan). There is also a connector path planned from the corner of Second Avenue and Spring Street to the future CCT.
From the staff recommendation:
The 2005 Countywide Bikeways Functional Master Plan recommends the Silver Spring Green Trail (shared-use path; SP-10) along Second Avenue/Wayne Avenue between Spring Street and Sligo Creek Parkway/Trail (8-foot wide trail with an adjoining 5-foot wide sidewalk). This trail currently exists between Cameron Street and to the east of Fenton Street, and is on the east side of Second Avenue/north side of the Wayne Avenue. The trail is proposed to be shifted to the west side of Second Avenue between Fenwick Lane (West) and Spring Street, along the subject property frontage as part of this development. Staff has worked with the applicant and MCDOT to ensure that this shift is appropriate given the proposed bike-share station at the intersection of Spring Street and Second Avenue, connection to the future Capital Crescent Trail from Spring Street/Second Avenue at this location, and the number of driveways/curb-cuts that currently exist along the east side of Second Avenue between Spring Street and Fenwick Lane (East). The remainder of the trail between Fenwick Lane and Cameron Street may be accommodated safely and adequately along Second Avenue with a crossing at the Second Avenue/Fenwick Lane (East) signalized intersection.
The Countywide Bikeways Functional Master Plan also recommends the Georgetown Branch Interim Trail (shared-use path; SP-6; the future Capital Crescent Trail), to the west side of the property, within the Third Avenue right-of-way. The applicant is providing an interim trail within the Third Avenue right- of-way that connects to the subject property, which will ultimately be replaced by the future Capital Crescent Trail that will be provided as part of the proposed Purple Line transitway project.
When I first saw the plan for this extension for the Green Trail at a neighborhood meeting last week, I was skeptical. There are two problems with the concept:
1) the trail will switch to the other side of the street at the light at Fenwick Lane, after running only one block in front of the Fenwick Station development, and
2) the configuration of an 8′ wide trail immediately adjacent to a 5′ wide sidewalk fails to strongly define the bicycle space. This configuration is the same as now exists for the Green Trail between Cameron Street and Colesville Road just two blocks to the south, and pedestrians use it as a glorified sidewalk while few cyclists use it. The sketch of the proposed configuration presented in the staff report, and below, inadvertly makes the point by placing a pedestrian squarely in the center of the bike path instead of in the adjacent pedestrian sidewalk.
Green Trail profile at Fenwick Station
But I can warm up to this Green Trail extension now that I see a bike share station is also proposed. The Green Trail can combine with the bike station at the corner of Second Avenue and Spring Street, and the access path to the CCT along Spring Street, to make a strong statement at a very visible entry point to the Silver Spring CBD about bikes belonging.
Similarly the proposed pathway behind the building and near the future CCT alignment can have an enhanced impact for showing the potential benefit of the future CCT. The pathway, along with the regrading that will occur there, will clean up the littered and badly eroded area there now. The pathway will connect to the Woodside trail to give an attractive footpath continuous from South Springwood in the Woodside neighborhood to Fenwick Lane in the CBD. It will be easier to imagine what the CCT can do for Silver Spring when a significant piece of the alignment can be experienced, even if only as a footpath.