New Wheaton Study Calls for Multicultural Business Designation

The Montgomery County Planning Department released its Wheaton Downtown study aimed at continuing the area’s revitalization.

The 51-page study showcased the need for an “urban design framework to create a cohesive downtown that integrates recent development in Wheaton with its small-scale character, while still meeting the needs and aspirations of small businesses, property owners, and residents of the Wheaton CBD and vicinity.”

One suggestion was the creation of a special designation or name to highlight the multicultural businesses and improvement of store frontages “in keeping with the multicultural presence in the downtown area.”

The study examined what progress has been made and what is still needed since its 2012 Sector Plan was released. The report involved market research, data collection community outreach and meetings. There was an online questionnaire, and planners interviewed property owners, neighborhood leaders, public officials and business owners.

Wheaton’s approved 2012 Sector Plan envisioned a major mixed-use center for the Georgia Avenue corridor with culturally diverse retail and entertainment, business and government services and easy access to a variety of public transit options.

Some suggestions from the newly released study include improving pedestrian safety with wider sidewalks, updating landscaping to connect communities to the downtown area and locating funding to add to the public art and pop up amenities there.

Another goal includes the expansion of public use space in the downtown area.

The study called for a reduced speed limit on Georgia Avenue and University Boulevard to improve safety and make the area more walkable.

The report included information on ongoing development projects and what exists now, including how many parking spaces are available. Wheaton’s parking lot district has 1,554 parking spaces, including 917 in two parking garages, 320 in five parking lots and 317 metered on-the-street parking.


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