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Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment
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Silver Spring Civic Areas Assessment

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The purpose of this assessment is to deliver a description of the current and proposed urban squares, neighborhood parks, plazas and garden in Silver Spring.

The purpose of this assessment is to deliver a description of the current and proposed urban squares, neighborhood parks, plazas and garden in Silver Spring.

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  • 1. “When public spaces are successful […] they will increase opportunities to participate in communal activity.” -Carr, Francis, Rivlin and Stone, 1993, p. 344)
  • 2. Table of Contents Introduction 2 Civic Places Stakeholders 3 Civic Places Definitions 4 Veterans Plaza 5 Sensory Garden 6 Discovery Court 7 Downtown Silver Spring 8 Silver Spring Transit Center 9 BioWall Plaza & The Cameron Urban Square 10 Georgia and Wayne Ave. Urban Square 11 Jesup Blair Park 12 Montgomery County Ike Leggett, Executive Executive Office Building
101 Monroe Street 2nd Floor
Rockville, MD 20850
 (240) 777-2500
TTY (240) 777-2544
FAX: (240) 777-2517 Silver Spring Regional Center Reemberto Rodriguez, Director One Veterans Place Silver Spring, MD 20910
 (240) 777-5301/5300
FAX: (301) 565-7365 Prepared by: JCAyala Note: All photos in this assessment were taken by JC Ayala unless otherwise noted. Table of Contents Page 1 Town Planner + Designer jc.ayala@iclould.com - Cell. (240) 463-7462
  • 3. Introduction “The Plan envisions shaded, tree-lined and well-placed green parks and plazas, creating a comprehensive system of open spaces that provide economic, environmental, and aesthetic benefits thought downtown.”1 Historical, modern, eclectic, cultural, and dynamic are some of the attributes that describe Silver Spring’s urban core. Since its foundation, Silver Spring has been transforming its vision to keep abreast of demographic changes, economic forces, and development trends. Precisely, it is this metamorphosis that has created an exceptional place many citizens call home. The vision of creating an active urban core with mixed-use development, retail, employment opportunities, multi-modal transportation, pathways, and bike trails makes Silver Spring an enjoyable place for those living, working, playing, or visiting its urban center. Silver Spring Urban Center Silver Spring stands out with a dynamic urban landscape, plazas, gardens, urban squares, neighborhood parks and bike paths that emphasize what Frederick Law Olmsted achieved with his park designs. Olmsted believed that civic areas serve as an educational opportunity to “the American public on the importance of parks. [These civic places] show how all classes would benefit and how [they] could serve as meetings grounds for citizens of different backgrounds.”2 In Silver Spring one will find passive, active, educational, interactive, gregarious, and neighborly, delightful civic areas for all to enjoy. The purpose of this assessment is to deliver a description of the current and proposed urban squares, neighborhood parks, plazas and garden in Silver Spring. Source: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/silverspring/ 1 Montgomery County’s Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan. Pg 22 2 Beverridge, Charles E. and Paul Rocheleau, Frederick Law Olmsted Designing the American Landscape, Pg. 45 Introduction Page 2
  • 4. Stakeholders 1 Civic Park Type: Garden Stake Holder: First Security Bank National Association c/o Discovery Communications Inc. Names: Sensory Garden Discovery Pl. Silver Spring, MD 20910 Walk Score: 97 / Source: www.walkscore.com Transit Score: 90 / Source: www.walkscore.com Maintained by: Discovery Communications Inc. 3 5 Civic Park Type: Plaza Stake Holder: Montgomery County Names: Veterans Plaza Veterans Pl, Silver Spring, MD 20910 Walk Score: 97 / Source: www.walkscore.com Transit Score: 87 / Source: www.walkscore.com Maintained by: Silver Spring Urban District 2 6 Civic Park Type: Stake Holder: 1 4 2 7 3 Names: 8 Walk Score: Transit Score: Maintained by: 4 5 Civic Park Type: Stake Holder: Names: Civic Park Type: Stake Holder: Names: Walk Score: Transit Score: Maintained by: 7 Civic Park Type: Stake Holder: Names: 9 Source: http://www.mcatlas.org/viewer/ Civic Places Stalkeholders Page 3 9 Court First Security Bank National Association c/o Discovery Communications Inc. Unknown Discovery Pl. Silver Spring, MD 20910 97 / Source: www.walkscore.com 90 / Source: www.walkscore.com Silver Spring Urban District Civic Park Type: Urban Square Stake Holder: Montgomery County c/o Peterson Retail Management LC Names: Unknown 917 Ellsworth Dr. Silver Spring, MD 20910 Walk Score: 97 / Source: www.walkscore.com Transit Score: 87 / Source: www.walkscore.com Maintained by: Peterson Retail Management LC Walk Score: Transit Score: Maintained by: 6 8 Walk Score: Transit Score: Maintained by: Urban Square United Therapeutics Corporation BioWall Plaza 1040 Spring St. Silver Spring, MD 20910 97 / Source: www.walkscore.com 87 / Source: www.walkscore.com United Therapeutics Corporation Urban Square Fairfield Silver Spring LP Unknown 1104 Spring St. Silver Spring, MD 20910 97 / Source: www.walkscore.com 87 / Source: www.walkscore.com Behringer Harvard Residential Court (Proposed) Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Unknown 8400 Colesville Road 
Silver Spring, MD 20910 94 / Source: www.walkscore.com 90 / Source: www.walkscore.com TBD Civic Park Type: Urban Square Stake Holder: Montgomery County Names: Unknown 8435 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910 Walk Score: 98 / Source: www.walkscore.com Transit Score: 90 / Source: www.walkscore.com Maintained by: Silver Spring Urban District Civic Park Type: Neighborhood Park Stake Holder: Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Names: Jesup Blair Park 900 Jesup Blair Dr., 
Silver Spring, MD 20912 Walk Score: 75 / Source: www.walkscore.com Transit Score: 79 / Source: www.walkscore.com Maintained by: Montgomery Parks and Historical Preservation Office
  • 5. Definitions “A park is a protected area set aside for human recreation and enjoyment.” 3 D Defining plazas, gardens, urban squares, and neighborhood parks gives one an ample understanding of the purpose and character a civic place offers to the public.  It is the intention of this assessment to enlighten citizens about uses, characters, and purposes of existing and proposed civic places located within Silver Spring’s urban core.  While definitions cannot summarize the use, purpose, and character of plazas, gardens, urban squares, and neighborhood parks, it is the intent of these definitions to convey a general idea and identified the nine (9) civic places in this assessment. Definitions in this assessment were taken from Dhiru A. Thadani’s book “The Language of Town Cities, A Visual Dictionary” and Rollins College’s Metropolitan Greenpaces Web Page. (http://www.rollins.edu/greenspaces/greenways.html) A B C D E A D Plaza Plaza is a Spanish word related to “field” that describes an urban public space, such as a city square. The plaza is the center of the community life and may serve as military parade ground, public gathering place, or a place for celebratory events. The plaza is usually located at the intersection of important thoroughfares and is circumscribed by building frontages. A majority of plazas are hardscape with little or no vegetation, usually requiring minimal maintenance. (Thadani, Pg. 537) B C B D Court A court is an interior space that may be defined by buildings, fencing, vegetation, balustrades, or walls. The space may be accessible to pedestrians only, or it may have access to a thoroughfare that permits vehicular delivery. The ground plane may be hardscape, vegetative, or a combination of both (Thadani, Pg. 198) Gardens A garden may be a public or private, and may be as large as a relative small park; a garden differs from a park in that it is generally not used for civic gatherings, demonstrations, or active recreation. Gardens tend to be more internally focused, most often walled or fenced; they provide hushed environments honoring the fragility of the man–made and natural materials. (Thadani, Pg. 278) Urban Squares They are comparatively small, formal ornamental grounds, often with a hard surface and dominated by surrounding buildings.  They are intimately ordered with the abutting streets and are usually graced by monuments, statues, and fountains. (http://www.rollins.edu/greenspaces/urban-squares-plazas.html) Neighborhood Parks Neighborhood parks integrate open space and active play and can range in size from 1 to 20 acres. Their purpose is to provide recreational activities for visitors and residents of a neighborhood area. Playgrounds provide healthy activity for children although they may be loud when occupied by them.  Therefore they should be screened from adjacent residents and occupied buildings or located at the center of larger parks systems. (http://www.rollins.edu/greenspaces/neighborhood-parks.html) E 3 Thadani, Dhiru A. The Language of Town Cities, A Visual Dictionary. Pg. 483 Source: http://www.mcatlas.org/viewer/ Civic Places Definitions Page 4
  • 6. “A community is more than bricksand-mortar. Its expression, values, and future are determined by the time and effort people spend with each other. From story hour at the library to job training, Silver Spring will build a stronger community. The physical environment should support that growth.” Source: Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan, Pg. 21 Source: http://www.mcatlas.org/viewer/ 2013 Aerial Civic Park Type: Plaza Stake Holder: Montgomery County Name: Veterans Plaza Veterans Plaza is a modern version of historical plazas seen in cities built during the Spanish commission of the Law of the Indies. This plaza serves as a common congregation node in Silver Spring. It is a gathering place where cultural events such as music concerts, arts festivals, and educational activities take place. This plaza was designed with modern architectural lines with multiple levels of active and passive terraces. Walking northeast on Ellsworth Drive the pedestrian is welcomed by a promenade of lined trees guiding one to the main entrance of the iconic Silver Spring Civic Building. Monuments of those who sacrificed their life for the betterment of the community and the nation exist in this plaza alongside concrete benches, wood rocking chairs, and a modern glass covered area to protect citizens from the inclement weather. This is also a perfect setting for music concerts, or other activities. Veterans Plaza is surrounded by a movie theater, restaurants, retail, cafes, and parking garage. At night, the Veterans Plaza atmosphere becomes a safe active celebration of diverse cultural ethnicities, musical performances, and families strolling with their children. Veterans Plaza is truly a place of social capital necessary for an urban core to thrive.   Veterans Plaza Page 5
  • 7. “This Plan views civic facilities as partners in economic revitalization. New and regenerated facilities will draw people downtown, returning it to the center of community life and creating opportunities for economic and social connections.” Source: Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan, Pg. 21 Source: http://www.mcatlas.org/viewer/ 2013 Aerial Civic Park Type: Garden Stake Holder: First Security Bank National Assoc. c/o Discovery Communications, Inc. Name: Sensory Garden “The Philosophy of the Sensory Gardens was to conceive a landscape of discovery – One that unfolds in layers, revealing information in both literal and figurative ways. The content was driven by means of how people explore their world the senses.” (Source: Discovery Communications, Inc. Sign) From the pedestrian point of view, the Sensory Garden inspires serenity, natural holistic enjoyment, and a place to re-connect with nature. In this garden, different concrete and green pathways guide one to discover hidden places of meditation and tranquility. In the main semi-circle green, activities such as a family picnic, sunbathing, or just tossing a Frisbee are adequate. If one is looking for a secluded place, the Sensory Garden provides different areas for passive time. Scattered wooden tables with umbrellas are located in the back of the garden. Each space has benches for sitting, tree canopy, and different types of landscape accentuating visual senses. The garden is enclosed by the Discovery Communications Building and edged by intermodal modes of transportation such as Silver Spring Green Trail, pathways and bus stops connecting Silver Spring to DC’s metropolitan region. Sensory Garden Page 6
  • 8. “This Plan views civic facilities as Civic spaces are formal or informal, large or small, public or privateanywhere people meet, cross paths, and gather. From sidewalks to plazas, Silver Spring should have a variety of civic spaces.” Source: Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan, Pg. 21 Source: http://www.mcatlas.org/viewer/ 2013 Aerial Civic Park Type: Court Stake Holder: First Security Bank National Assoc. c/o Discovery Communications, Inc. Name: Unknown Located at the intersection of Georgia and Wayne Avenue, this court serves as a natural buffer between major bisecting thoroughfares and the Discovery Communications Building. This public court resembles a hidden naturalistic wooden setting for minor community gatherings. Furthermore, this civic place serves as a point of arrival or departure node with an easy access to the Silver Spring Bike Trail and spacious pedestrian walkways. The masonry materials used in this court accentuate the epicenter of a circle as the most important place of assembly. Some of the amenities found in this court are mature trees, rock or wood benches, and bike racks. Additionally, from Monday to Friday, a food cart vendor locates in this court and allows visitors to enjoy a snack. Discovery Court Page 7
  • 9. “An urban area’s greatest economic asset and strongest physical definition comes from its pedestrian environment. Sidewalks and streets scaled to walkers create active environments where people can shop, commute, recreate, and socialize.” Source: Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan, Pg. 24 Source: http://www.mcatlas.org/viewer/ 2013 Aerial Civic Park Type: Urban Square Stake Holder: Montgomery County c/o Peterson Retail Management LC Name: Unknown Situated within the Downtown Silver Spring development, this urban square is one of the most iconic civic places in Silver Spring. This urban square is designed to prioritize pedestrian safety with its friendly pathways and limited automobile access. The Downtown Silver Spring urban square, while small in size, gives one the experience of prominent pedestrian friendly squares found in large U.S. cities.   In the central area of the square is the multicolored splash fountain, a popular amenity for youth. At night, the neon lights, ornamentally landscaped light poles, and array of restaurants with outdoor sitting provide a great ambiance. Family friendly activities, such as farmers market, live music, or art festivals make this urban square an activity destination for all citizens to enjoy. The Regal Cinema Majestic Stadium 20, New York & Company, Lebanese Tavern Cafe, to mention a few, serve as anchors in this pedestrian friendly civic place. Furthermore, the square’s proximity to Veterans Plaza enhances pedestrian traffic and civic activities between this urban square and the plaza.  Downtown Silver Spring Page 8
  • 10. SILVER SPRING TRANSIT CENTER SILVER SPRING, M D JOINT DEVELOPMENT PROJECT “Transportation choices go beyond the car to link local and regional buses and trains, bikes and foot travel. A system of paths combined with a full complement of transportation options and sidewalks can increase mobility for the elderly, handicapped, children, and those without a car.” Source: Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan, Pg. 17 L E V E L 3 2 6’ ISSUE DATE 01-06-06 THIS OPTIONAL METHOD SUBMITTAL APPLIES TO THE AREA WITHIN THE LIMITS DEPICTED ON SHEETS 4,5,6,7,8 AND 10. WORK OUTSIDE OF THOSE LIMITS, WHETHER DEPICTED OR SUGGESTED BY THESE DRAWINGS, IS BY OTHERS AND MAY NOT BE ACCURATELY DEPICTED. SILVER SPRING TRANSIT CENTER SILVER SPRING, M D JOINT DEVELOPMENT PROJECT APPROVED FOREST CONSERVATION PLAN SHEET 60 Source: http://www.mcatlas.org/viewer/ 2013 Aerial Civic Park Type: Court (Proposed) Stake Holder: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Name: Unknown ISSUE DATE 11-08-04 REVISED 01-06-06 THIS OPTIONAL METHOD SUBMITTAL APPLIES TO THE AREA WITHIN THE LIMITS DEPICTED ON SHEETS 4,5,6,7,8 AND 10. WORK OUTSIDE OF THOSE LIMITS, WHETHER DEPICTED OR SUGGESTED BY THESE DRAWINGS, IS BY OTHERS AND MAY NOT BE ACCURATELY DEPICTED. The Silver Spring Transit Center site, zoned as CBD-2, will be developed as a “well-functioning, compact urban environment near transit center and foster a variety of land uses designed at a pedestrian scale.”4 The 2006 proposed documents submitted to Montgomery County Planning Board established that this 5.67acree site will be developed with a hotel, two (2) residential towers, and several multilevel interconnected courts with generous tree canopy, water fountains, and benches for sitting. Note: Renderings and plan view shown on this page were taken from the Montgomery Planning Web Site. (http://www.mcatlas.org/Development_Info/Default. aspx) SHEET 41 4 Montgomery Planning. http://montgomeryplanning.org/info/documents/CBD-2.pdf Silver Springs Transit Center Page 9
  • 11. “Incorporating environmental improvements, recreation facilities, and landscaped parks, plazas, and sidewalks into downtown revitalization will make Silver Spring more competitive in the metropolitan-area commercial and residential markets.” Source: Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan, Pg. 22 Source: http://www.mcatlas.org/viewer/ 2013 Aerial Civic Park Type: Urban Squares Stake Holder: United Therapeutics Corporation Name: BioWall Plaza Stake Holder: Fairfield Silver Spring LP Name: Unknown Located at the United Therapeutics Corporation, the BioWall Plaza is one-ofkind urban squares in Silver Spring. Their modern motif highlights sustainable green infrastructure with interactive high-tech display of science. The BioWall Plaza has sleek spiral benches, stone pavements, lighted elements capsules, and a high-resolution screen displaying nature scenes. In this square, one could explore the world of science and mesmerize with the richness of our world’s ecology presented on the high-resolution screen. With a smart phone one can scan bar codes and learn about the chemical element symbols displayed on the lighted capsules. The fountain with its subtle sounds and the tree canopies give the visitors of this urban square a relaxed experience. The modern United Therapeutics Medical Laboratories’ building and Cameron Street frame the BioWall Plaza. In The Cameron, a mixed-use development, and a modern interpretation of columns provide a clear edge to this urban square. The main entrance, an axial element of trees promenade accentuates modern architectural details. In the terrace one will find wood benches, green areas, bike racks, and dining tables. In the elevated green there are three metal sculptural spheres called; Sysyphus by Wendy M. Ross. The main terrace serves as a gathering place and entrance to The Cameron and Surgcenter of Silver Spring. BioWall Plaza & The Cameron Urban Square Page 10
  • 12. “linked open space system of gardens and parks should be designed and located for high visibility to offer seasonal variety, to be safe, to increase property values, and to provide flexible recreation opportunities.” Source: Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan, Pg. 23 Source: http://www.mcatlas.org/viewer/ 2013 Aerial Civic Park Type: Urban Square Stake Holder: Montgomery County Name: Unknown Anchored by  “La Madeleine”, a country French cafe, this urban square is located at the corner of Georgia and Wayne Avenues.  The centerpiece of this urban square is a sculpture called “Petalos Refrejantes” by Wilfredo Valladere. In this civic place citizens can sit in wooden benches surrounding the sculpture. Attractive paths connect this square to other areas in downtown Silver Spring. This civic area serves as “a strategic spot in a city into which an observer can enter, and which are the intense foci to and from which he is traveling.”5Trees, urns, manicured lawn, stones, pebbles, or rocks are some of the garden elements one could find in this site. 5 Lynch Kevin, The Image of The City, pg 47 Georgia and Wayne Ave. Urban Square Page 11
  • 13. “Incorporating nature into the city makes both economic and environmental sense. An environment of superior aesthetic...the improved image and amenity of a welldesigned and located park-creates value for property owners and users, employees and residents. Source: Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan, Pg. 22 Source: http://www.mcatlas.org/viewer/ 2013 Aerial Civic Park Type: Stake Holder: Name: Neighborhood Park Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Jesup Blair Park Jesup Blair Park is located at the southernmost boundary line between Silver Spring, Maryland and the Commonwealth of the District of Columbia. This historical picturesque park is edged to the south by Blair Road, to the west Georgia Avenue, and to the north, Jesup Blair Drive and train tracks. Jesup Blair Park is divided in two sections; one is passive and the second is active. To the west, this passive area has curved picturesque pathways, wood benches, a mature tree canopy, picnic tables, and the Jesup Blair historical house. Retail, multifamily housing, and the Montgomery College frame this section of the park. To the east, this neighborhood park is divided in several active areas including a children’s playground, one and half (1 ½) basketball courts, two (2) tennis courts, a green field, and small terrace with concrete benches. Jesup Blair Park is pedestrian and automobile accessible. Two of the main entrances to this park are located on Georgia Avenue and at the intersection of Blair Road. Additionally, pathways bordering this park and the Montgomery College pedestrian bridge provide easy access for those wanting to enjoy a day at the park. Jesup Blair Park offers plenty opportunities for relaxation or sport activities within Silver Spring urban core. Jesup Blair Park Page 12
  • 14. Source: Google /Images Source: Google /Images Source: Google /Images Source: Google /Images Prepared by: JCAyala Town Planner + Designer jc.ayala@iclould.com - Cell. (240) 463-7462 Source: Google /Images Source: Google /Images

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