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MPI's Letter to Deputy Director Edgar Gonzalez

MPI's Letter to Deputy Director Edgar Gonzalez

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Published by: tonalblue on Oct 19, 2012
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Post Office Box 4661Rockville, MD 20849-4661Web: www.montgomerypreservation.orgEmail:mpi@montgomerypreservation.org
Montgomery PreservationInc.
Promoting the Preservation, Protection and Enjoyment of Montgomery County's Rich Architectural Heritageand Historic Landscapes
October 15, 2012
Edgar A. Gonzalez, Deputy Director for Transportation Policy
Montgomery County Department of Transportation101 Monroe StreetRockville MD 20850Via Email:Dear Deputy Director Gonzalez:We appreciated your questions and comments at the meeting of October 12 and would like to follow upon your suggestions, presented for the first time on Friday. At the time of the meeting, we were not provided with any plans/elevations/schematics to bring back to our Board of Directors for discussion, sowe will need to see them, as detailed below. We will be happy to consider them, because MPI wouldlike to have this issue resolved in a positive way in the near future.Our understanding of what DOT offered as a solution to MPI’s grave concerns is that a new bridgeacross Georgia Avenue would be small, unobtrusive ("tiny"), and modeled after the existing bridge. Incompensation for the smaller scale, it would be used in conjunction with the existing historic bridge,each bridge serving one-way bike traffic (going in opposite directions).DOT also stated that the Station’s rear platform and canopy area would not be altered physically inorder to preserve its historic integrity. The use of the platform is important to MPI. When not in use byMPI or its renters, the rear platform would serve bike traffic. Also, as stated by MCDOTrepresentatives, when the rear platform is in use by MPI, bike traffic would be diverted from the rear of the Station to the Station’s front parking lot along a “detour” route for the trail. We would need to work out how this detour would effectively happen, and we understand from our meeting that bikers woulddismount and walk around the Station, an appropriate safety measure. There would be no hardscapeassociated with this detour.The following additional and relevant issues also need to be resolved:
Parking and Station Setting: Having parking close to the station is of great benefit to MPI andour patrons. While we appreciate the offer to provide additional parking in the Progress Placegarage, MPI believes that this more distant parking may be a deterrent to station use. MPI needssome parking close to the building for handicapped users, elderly, and people with small
Montgomery Preservation Inc.Page 2Metro Branch Trail 10-15-2012
children. That is why MPI has requested replacement parking on County property north of thestation.The presence of a bridge ramp on our land will eliminate some parking spaces, and indiscussions with DOT this year and in the alternate plan submitted to us earlier, we were able torecapture the parking in the front on the county-owned property north of the station. This wouldmean retaining the existing front layout and orientation on the fire station
side of our building,which also preserves the historic context of the Station. Preservation of this
context is veryimportant to us and we believe this would also be important to the Maryland Historical Trust.We previously discussed a 99 year lease on this County property, or full conveyance of this landfrom the County to MPI to ensure our long-term use of that parking. Additionally, we wouldwant the retention of the existing railing and bridge concrete/metal railing infrastructure allalong the front on Georgia Avenue. It is critically important to us to retain the front setting of the building as part of the Station’s historic context, and particularly important in consideringyour suggestions at the meeting.
Progress Place: This is very much part of this project and the overall impact to the Station,which is entirely within County control. We believe it will be of concern to the MarylandHistorical Trust in terms of cumulative impacts to a very significant historic resource. Weunderstand that this new addition will be placed in the rear of the fire station, not on the sidenear the historic B&O Station. We need to see a schematic that indicates how this new structurewill be accessed and oriented, its massing, and to some extent, the design. In addition, theentrance should be on the other side of the fire station and not on the B&O station side. Thecounty should consider the hiring of a security service due to the vehicular and train traffic in proximity to this location.
Operating/Programming: We greatly appreciated your concern for the continued upkeep and programming of the Station. We would therefore like to discuss with you an annual operating budget that would enable us to adequately maintain the station, particularly in light of thesignificant increase in visitors that are projected to visit the Station after the trail opens, and toincrease the programming opportunities for those visitors.
There are other issues to be worked through, such as liability and the mechanics of implementation. We truly look forward to obtaining some schematics for consideration pertaining to the above as quickly as possible, and MPI can then have a discussion with both our Board of Directors and the Maryland Historical Trust.MPI would like to schedule a follow-up meeting with you soon to go over these details. We very muchappreciate your involvement in the process.Sincerely,Lorraine J. Pearsall, Presidentcc: Joy Nurmi, Council Executive’s Office
Glenn Orlin, Council Executive’s Office
Council Member Valerie IrvinCouncil Member Hans Riemer 

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