In 2001, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission joined with the Montgomery County Council and County Executive, residents, business owners, planners and architects to devise a plan for the Twinbrook neighborhood along Viers Mill Road to combat sprawl by improving pedestrian access and encouraging transit use and mixed-use development. What follows is the brainchild of eight years of meetings.
The guidelines seek to break Twinbrook into three zones of Metro Core, Light Industrial, and Technology Employment, and lay out a system that will be more ped-friendly, sustainable, and attractive. To save you from having to read 50 pages of municipal urbanspeak, we've taken the liberty of summarizing the recommendations below.
The first rule of developing in Twinbrook: Mind your p's & q's. It's all about pedestrian-quality development, people.
Twinbrook needs crosswalks and street lights. And if you're thinking of building in the neighborhood any time soon, don't be chintzy with the streetscaping—pile on the street furniture and keep sidewalks tree-lined but with closely-spaced, single-file trees that are easier to navigate. Oh, and each street has its own specially designated tree species, because what's the use in lining up all those trees if they're not going to match?
Get ready to spend some extra money on community art and open spaces with public street access. And, lest you think you've filled your tree quota for this design, remember to include a 50% tree canopy in all open spaces. If you're looking for the right kind of inspiration, check out what the developers at JBG have planned for the Twinbrook Station Green with their "gold neighborhood" - one of the three designated open spaces included in the guidelines and part of JBG's much larger plan for the neighborhood.
The streets are going to be overhauled so that the blocks are shorter for on-foot commuters. Business district streets like Fishers Lane, Washington Street, and Wilkins Avenue need permanent on-street parking. The same goes for those four to six-lane streets like Twinbrook Parkway and Parklawn Drive.
Buildings near the "Metro Core Area" must provide a minimum of 25% residential space and can reach a maximum height of 143 feet, just like its urban neighbor 10 miles to the south, thank you very much. Retail goes on the ground floor and if you could make your structures entirely out of non-tinted glass, that would be ideal.