Sunday, July 13, 2014

Green Purchasing & Flower Avenue Green Street: July 14 at the City Council

The July 14 city council meeting includes two items that will interest many residents: A vote on an environmentally-preferable purchasing ordinance and an update on the city's Flower Avenue Green Street project. (The complete agenda is online.) (The mayor has postponed, until July 21, a resolution setting out city policy for sharing of city license-plate reader data that had been scheduled for this Monday evening.)

The environmentally-preferable purchasing ordinance extends existing city purchasing preferences, which currently cover recycled products. The expanded preferences will help the city gain Sustainable Maryland certification, opening a variety of financial and technical assistance opportunities to the city. Information on Sustainable Maryland is online as is Monday's council backgrounder, which includes the draft ordinance. A big Thank You to Cindy Dyballa and the city's Committee on the Environment for their work on this ordinance!

(Meanwhile, we're continuing to develop the Young Activists Act of 2014, which would opt in to Montgomery County's business recycling requirement; expand food-waste collection to city apartment buildings and businesses; ban most food-service polystyrene use (including styrofoam); and require that disposable food serviceware be compostable. The council green-lighted development of the bill at a June 16 worksession. We are working over the summer to address questions about feasibility, costs, and facilities and hope to bring a bill to vote in September.)

The Flower Avenue Green Street project will transform a heavily-used, substandard street via the installation of new sidewalks, stormwater facilities, bus shelters, and traffic-calming measures. The city annexed the full Flower Avenue right-of-way from Montgomery County, took control of the street from the State Highway Administration, and has assembled over $2.2 million in funding for the project, which has taken shape over the last four years. We now own Flower Avenue between Piney Branch Road and Carroll Avenue (and then downhill to Sligo Creek Parkway).

We have six primary objectives for the Flower Avenue Green Street project, as described in the council backgrounder:

"(1) Design of ADA complaint sidewalk on the east side of the street and identification of repairs needed to the existing sidewalk on the west side, (2) identification of locations for, and design, of low-impact stormwater retention facilities to capture and filter run-off from the street, (3) design improvements to pedestrian crossings and bus stops, (4) recommend energy efficient street lighting fixtures for the area, (5) identify the amount of on-street parking needed for the current residents and (6) assess the optimum road configuration to enable objectives 1 - 3 above. The City will repave the street, once the project improvements are implemented." Upgrades to the Flower-Carroll intersection are also in the works.

Attend or watch the Monday-evening council session for the Flower Avenue update, or learn more at a community meeting that the city will be holding on Wednesday, July 16, 7 pm at Washington Adventist University's Wilkinson Hall.

And as always, please contact me directly, at or 301-873-8225, about any city-related matter that concerns you.


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