Pleasant Drive in King Farm: connect?

The October edition of the King Farm Chronicle, the community’s monthly newspaper which is mailed to over 3,500 homes within King Farm, will feature the upcoming Rockville City election.  They asked the candidates to provide answers to four questions, limiting our response to 250 words or less, by 5:00 pm on Friday, October 2, 2009.

Now that the deadline has passed, I thought others may be interested in my opinions (I’m happy to give my opinion whenever someone asks) but I’ll post each separately in case anyone wants to respond (they must be somewhat controversial, otherwise why ask me?).

Here’s the first one:

1. Do you agree with the Pleasant Drive expansion, allowing a direct route from 370 and Shady Grove Road through the Mattie Stepanek Park and into King Farm?

If you look at the City of Rockville map, Pleasant Drive appears to be a convenient way to zoom right into King Farm. But when you stand on the street, you can imagine it won’t be so pleasant for the community if it is connected. As we know, highways are bursting from the traffic and drivers are seeking relief. If Pleasant Drive is connected, it will not only increase traffic in King Farm but also through King Farm as drivers avoid 355. This would be acceptable in a commercial district, but Pleasant Drive is lined with houses and parks.

Intersection of Pleasant and Piccard in King Farm

Intersection of Pleasant and Piccard in King Farm

Indeed, King Farm was consciously planned with narrow roads and circles to reduce and slow down traffic, and at this location there’s an active children’s playground and a dog park. Increasing the traffic in this location would conflict with the need for safety with dogs and children (try as hard as we might, you can’t always control what they do and it’s just a matter of time before one of them darts into the street). You’d really have to persuade me of the value of opening this street to additional traffic (especially since it is linked to 370), so I would strongly recommend against this connection unless several traffic calming and reduction measures were also in place.

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