Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Residents start petition to stop road through Battery Lane Park in Bethesda

Residents upset by a Montgomery County Planning Department plan to run a road through their neighborhood park are taking to the internet to stop it. Save Battery Park has launched a petition on Change.org asking that a road connection between Norfolk Avenue and Battery Lane be dropped from the Bethesda Downtown Plan.

The proposed road would run through Battery Lane Park, which residents say is currently a safe area for children to traverse.
Battery Lane Park, as
seen from Battery Lane
There is a stub of a road at the end of Norfolk now, Glenbrook Road, which leads back to a parking lot. A map in the staff draft of the Bethesda Downtown Plan shows the road running alongside a residential building through the park to Battery Lane.
Right-of-way inside
Battery Lane Park
where a road would
be paved through

37 comments:

Robert said...

This road would be fantastic for better connecting Battery to Woodmont Triangle. Right now it feels so far disconnected with just the walking path.

Anonymous said...

Maryland and Montgomery County don't believe in through streets. All streets must dead end forcing all cars onto 3 or 4 main roads that can't handle all of them.

Anonymous said...

Running a road through one of the only parks in the downtown Bethesda? Bad planning...

Anonymous said...

I walk through this park every day with my dog multiple times. It's dead. No one goes - at best a handful of people at a time. Anecdotal, sure, but people want these parks and don't use them. Same with the park by Elm Street. Or the two parks on Tilbury. Hardly anyone ever goes.

I love green space, and they are great buffets for commercial to residential spaces, but folks bemoan the lack or loss of parks but don't use them.

Anonymous said...

They are already planning multiple connecting roads to Battery lane near Rugby, just down from the park. It's unnecessary. The last real park on this side of downtown Bethesda. That would be a real shame

laura said...

To the poster who "walks through the park every day with dog multiple times" ... I ALSO walk through the park multiple times a day, live across the street, and there are ALWAYS people around. People playing basketball, people sitting at the picnic tables/benches, lots of parents/daycare folks and kids playing on the playground, tennis courts are always in use, etc. So are you mad? Even if by chance you manage to keep going when no one else is there, the sheer fact that you walk your dog through the park is *USE* of the park in and of itself. I enjoy the park mostly for my walks *through* it. Although I don't often park myself on a bench or enjoy an extended stay, who is to say that my enjoyment of it is just in a different way than you suggest? You sound ignorant and probably chopped down trees in your yard just for funsies.

Anonymous said...

There's more to this story and it would actually be a net improvement in amount of park space as it is dependent on acquiring an adjacent parcel. Details are in an MNCPPC planning document. Will post more later today when back at my desk.

Battery said...

I imagine Sussex House owners/residents will organize against this. I doubt they want a road running next to their building. They have a nice park view currently on that side.

Anonymous said...

@ Robert (5:53):
In my opinion, Woodmont Triangle is easily accessible by car from BL by using Old Georgetown Road or (better, right turn on red) Woodmont Avenue. Moreover, arriving from these parallel streets gives you direct access to the public parking lots on Cordell, Rugby, etc... Norfolk is not meant to be a 'high-speed' way through downtown Bethesda (like Wisconsin or OGR), but a vibrant street with restaurants, Veterans Square and terraces for everybody (residents and visitors) to enjoy. Cars have no problem driving around the Triangle.

@ Anonymous (6:35AM):
Are we talking about the same park? I walk through Battery Park several time a day, and when kids are not in school and adults at work, there is always a lot of people there. Kids are lining to use the basketball field, in spring and fall, many people use the tennis court, and the playground is always filled with families with young kids.
Recently, a large group of people has been organizing games and snack on the less used eastern side of the park, gathering sometime more than 20 people at once, looking for space not use by regulars!
So if you are going there when everybody else is at work, or during the night, I invite you to go there on the weekend or in the evening!

Anonymous said...

Looks like the plan adds park space.

Anonymous said...

Hope the Sussex House folks organize against this.

Anonymous said...

7:36 again. Here's more information from my neighborhood listserve. First, a link to the planning documents:
http://www.montgomeryplanningboard.org/agenda/2015/documents/BDPStaffDraft_051415_FINAL_sm_000.pdf

Then here is what someone wrote about it:

"I read the proposal. Page 32 describes the proposed road (see pages 33 and 67 for pics) but says 'This proposed street is contingent on the acquisition of additional parkland for Battery Land Urban Park with the goal of no net loss of parkland with construction of this road.'

This sounded ok until I got to page 120 which said 'Connect Norfolk Avenue to Battery Lane witha new shared park street that serves as a flexible public space for events, and expand Battery Lane Urban Park to the south' (and repeats the requirement for additional parkland). Sounds like a good thing."

Anonymous said...

I believe that the areas considered for expansion are the low-rise brick office building immediately to the east of the park, the two houses at the southwest corner of the park, and possibly part of the Sherwin-Williams store site.

laura said...

Regardless of "adding" park space, we don't need to add traffic here. This is going to promote people taking the shortcut from Old Georgetown to Norfolk, and we don't want traffic added to there. It is a pedestrian-friendly area, and it is already annoying how many cars cut down Battery from Old Georgetown to get to Woodmont/Wisconsin during the morning and afternoon commute. One of my friends said it best, this is just for the lazy insistent Bethesda drivers who will get excited about shaving 2 minutes off their drive time by having to go ALL the way around this park. I, too, hope Sussex folks organize against this, and any other group that can make a difference and stop this from happening.

Anonymous said...

Sussex is gonna rise up. Dyer is getting the word out in the community.

I'm sure Sherwin-Williams is going to re-develop as another high rise. I don't see a park going in there. Let's save the park space we already have. AND let's keep watch on what's happening on Battery Lane with the redevelopment of the older (AFFORDABLE) apartment buildings.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Battery Lane isn't that highly trafficked now as it is. It certainly could use *some more load and usage, while certainly it's understandable this wouldn't be great for a ton of traffic. Even then, it wouldn't be so bad. All the buildings are either setback, mid, or highrises so it's not like cars would be zooming by single family homes. And it would take some pressure off the other mentioned routed which are all busy as it is. I can see this working out okay.

Anonymous said...

Ha I am the dog walker. We play in the park all the time and appreciate it. But certainly a roadway wouldn't take much away from the park's utility in my opinion* so take that as you wish. 5 or 10 or even 20 people in this park at a time would hardly use a fraction of it's capacity, and I've never personally seen it anywhere close to that max.

laura said...

I play bocce in the park on Thursday evenings, and we take over a huge portion of the park. When the weather is nice, the park is *completely* packed at this time, with our league being in attendance, large groups playing basketball, waiting for tennis courts, and plenty of usage back in the playground area. I dare say anyone who says the park is only lightly trafficked is simply unaware of their surroundings.

I live across the street from the park in one of the "mid-rises". As one commenter points out, my kind are less important than SFH owners in Bethesda, so I'm not sure how significant my opinion is, but at any rate, I am a reliable source on the fact that this park is used *plenty* by many people. It doesn't need to be packed to capacity at all times to warrant keeping it as is.

A road *would* take away from the utility of the park since car traffic would be intrusive, not to mention less safe for the kids and dogs playing in the park. It is really saddening to me that this community is starting to value automobile traffic conveniences over the pedestrian and green space that the rest of our surrounding areas are trying to promote. Get over yourselves, Bethesda snobs - go for a walk and enjoy the roses, instead of dreaming up how you can pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

Anonymous said...

Does your league have a county permit?

laura said...

Yes, it does. Is that relevant?

Anonymous said...

I've visited Sussex House, which is right next to the park. There's always folks playing basketball and such in the park. It is being used.

And folks in Sussex House most likely don't want a road running next to them.

Battery is one of the last frontiers of affordable housing in the downtown. I'm sure that will change once all of the Aldon properties are redeveloped of course :/

Anonymous said...

12:43 PM Agreed. Robert has been covering the pedestrian safety issues in the downtown quite well for awhile now. Pedestrian safety is a real problem and is a trend going in the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

I am personally against the park for a simple reason. During the spring, specifically a windy spring day, all those darn trees and greenery blow pollen in my face. I then struggle to get my breath in between sneezing fits. #allergymuch? I would much rather smell burning asphalt and exhaust fumes regardless of the health and environmental effects. Trees don't have feelings but cars do. Have you ever named a tree like you have your vehicle? No is the answer and is what you should say to the park!

Anonymous said...

Those tennis courts are almost never used to play tennis. Most of the time it's people playing catch with their dogs, or training their kids how to ride a bike.

And I think that's awesome.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes thanks I had no idea! Gonna let my buddies know we can get permits to use it for their leagues. It's so close and what a great park!

Anonymous said...

Greenwich Park (Old Georgetown Road near Huntington.. next to the church) and Caroline Freeland Park (Arlington Road near the Giant) are both examples of very popular parks that are near busy roads. Putting a road there doesn't automatically mean the park won't be usable.

Bethesda Gal said...

First, the Battery Lane neighborhood does NOT need a road cutting through this small park which is absolutely used by dogwalkers, old and young residents who enjoy sitting on one of the Park benches to enjoy some fresh air, folks who play tennis and basketball -- especially on weekends -- and children and parents/caregivers as well as the Guiding Star Day Care Center just around the corner...they often take their charges into Battery Lane Park during weekdays. And, of course, the Trolley trail cuts right through the Park for both foot and bike traffic (NIH and neighborhood folks), which I've seen at all hours every day of the week. Additionally, ambulances from the BCC Rescue Squad at the corner of Old Georgetown and Battery Lane FLY down Battery Lane at all hours, and a road in the middle of Battery Lane could result in traffic accidents not only due to Rescue Squad use but, also, due to foot and bike traffic through the Park. In summation, a road through the Park is an unbelievably terrible idea...I'm sure that whoever came up with this idea doesn't even live in our neighborhood. The former two lanes each way on Battery Lane were taken away a few years ago and bike lanes put in; we absolutely don't need any more counter-productive enhancements.

Anonymous said...

Oh awesome yes this is so much closer than meadowbrook. Hopefully SSB or other leagues expand here too so we can walk to games and then the bar.

Anonymous said...

Norfolk should just be altogether shut down to traffic and made pedestrian/bike only.

Anonymous said...

As a pedestrian and cyclist, I don't find the amount or speed of traffic on Norfolk Avenue to be a nuisance, except at the intersection with St. Elmo. I'd like to see the traffic light there replaced with a four-way stop sign, which would calm the traffic on both streets.

Anonymous said...

What bocce league? Sounds fun!

Anonymous said...

I am Leslie Knope and I demand we retain the park as is!

Anonymous said...

Haha sounds like Laura just ruined it for her bocce league. Lots of leagues going to be applying for that field now.

gUno said...

I see it used by kids and families every single day! You couldn't be more wrong.

gUno said...

There are enough roads! Another road for what purpose?! A few pennies more money for business or tax revenue at the expense of destroying trees, kids, and dogs. Makes no sense. Money shouldn't win over quality of life for area residents.

Anonymous said...

The new footprint of the park will be much narrower with the road and the increased bike path width standard (I've seen 10 foot, but I've been told that the standard is really 15 foot for a mixed bike/pedestrian path). How are they going to fit all the favorite facilities (playground, shady basketball, tennis, field, tree shade) and paths in a narrow space even?

Currently the park is an extension of the NIH periphery trails which provide green, mostly shady trails to the Medical Center Metro and Suburban Hospital. For the vast majority, these are not along roads, so the air pollution, particularly in the summer, is lower. As a person with asthma I try to find pedestrian routes like this. It is better for children's developing lungs (OK, everyone's) to exercise in low air pollution spots. For this reason, I would be disappointed to see a road added to Battery Lane Urban Park.

Another impact is the reduced ability of children to use the trail(s) and grass areas to freely play safely, which is a different kind of play than what is afforded by the playground area. The playground area need not be fenced in if there is no additional
road.

With increasing density, increasing numbers of families will be living in the new units which will be built adjacent (even if the units are "intended" for childless people). Many local adults as well currently use the basketball and tennis courts.
This park will truly be THE backyard for the new condo and apartment dwellers.

Why is there a need for a road here? Are future people who are driving so lazy that they need to shave two blocks off their drive to their condo garage more than they need a good park?

Utilities Included Battery Lane said...

Sorry I missed the petition. I will email the county before the deadline. Thanks for your hard work on addressing this important matter.