Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Rockville, snobbish? Hard to believe. But Rockville has now been named the 8th "Snobbiest Small City in America," tied with Encinitas, CA. The list, created by the Movoto blog, claims to represent a serious study of data on small towns across America.

Criteria for earning a high place on the list included median home price, median household income, percent of population with a college degree, private schools-per-capita, performing arts-per-capita, art galleries-per-capita, and the number of fast food restaurants.

The only snobbish attitude I've encountered in decades in Rockville, is coming from outsiders who want to urbanize the small-town atmosphere that exists in it today. People who believe that state highways are not designed to move commuters, but are places well-suited to dining on croissants and cappuccinos.

To suggest the presence of the arts equals snobbery makes little sense, when you consider that the arts often flourish in areas less wealthy than Rockville. H Street?

"Fast food restaurants per capita (the more the better[)]?" Either Movoto needs to hire a copy editor, or this was off-base. Ordinarily, fast food restaurants are not considered snobbish. Rockville could actually use more fast food restaurants, in my opinion. Starting with restoring one to the now-vacant Chicken Out in College Plaza, which used to be an A&W Restaurant.


  1. "Small town atmosphere???" Haha. Time to book a trip back to reality. Prety much nothing in Rockville makes me (or any other sane person) think "small town." Rockville bulldozed whatever "small town atmosphere" it had in the '60s.

    Now, the city of Rockville is composed of:
    1. corporate office parks along I-270 and Shady Grove Road
    2. typical new upper-middle class suburban sub-developments with cookie cutter "luxury" townhomes, sfhs, and mcmansions
    3. old post-war suburban developments on the east side
    4. a ridiculously long strip of typical, large suburban shopping centers along MD 355 with large, big-box stores and equally large parking lots
    5. A dense, URBAN downtown area with a selection of 10-20 story buildings on the south end and an ugly mismash of parking lots and low-scale buildings on the north end (which is in the process of becoming more like the much better south end, despite the opposition of NIMBYs such as yourself)

    None of the above even remotely matches the description of a "small town atmosphere." Ironically, further urbanizing Rockville and making it more pedestrian friendly in lower-density areas will make some parts feel more "small town." In any case, if you so desperately desire a small-town atmosphere move to Damascus or Mt Airy. The local politics would probably be more your speed as well.

  2. "If you so desperately desire" an urban atmosphere, move to a big city. The "ridiculously long" retail strip along Rockville Pike is one of the most ridiculously successful in the world. The White Flint vision developers want to bring to Rockville has been a flop so far: no Fortune 500 companies, no chef-driven restaurants and an endless sea of concrete and minimum wage retail/restaurant jobs. Not a winning formula for Rockville to emulate.

  3. Perhaps it isn't small, but compared to the hustle and bustle of today's Bethesda, Rockville certainly has more of a mid-sized town feel.

    "Ironically, further urbanizing Rockville and making it more pedestrian friendly in lower-density areas will make some parts feel more "small town.""

    Um... what? Take a look at urbanization in Bethesda - there's nothing small town about large, pricey condo and apartment buildings, some of which are paving over small shops and SFHs that represent the remnants of Bethesda's rapidly fading small town identity.

  4. @ Robert Dyer

    "Most ridiculously successful in the world?" Hahaha. I guess that's why the strip mall owners like Saul Centers and FRIT are so eager to redevelop and White Flint Mall is empty and ready for demolition. Obviously they do make some coin, but please don't get delusional.

    White Flint is a flop? Wut?? The first project under the new White Flint Plan (Pike & Rose Ph. 1) hasn't even been completed yet. Not to mention that it'll take a least a decade or two before the area looks remotely urban. Maybe you can take a trip back after you've retired to live the "good life" in Damascus or Poolesville.

    Don't know who promised you that WF would have Fortune 500s and chef-driven restaurants barely 4 years after the plan passed, but he/she was crazy. Merrill Lynch, Whole Foods, Pinstripes, Shophouse, Strathmore, and an iPic theater are a great start though.

    As for the "endless sea of concrete and minimum wage retail/restaurant jobs," that's exactly what Rockville Pike is now and what the White Flint plan is seeking to change. You're even contradicting yourself now.

    @ Steve D.

    "Mid-sized town" is more accurate, but read my post again. My point was that small town centers are easily walkable. Nothing in Rockville south of MD 28 is walkable.

    Through urbanization Rockville would become walkable (like DT Bethesda), not magically transform into a small town.

  5. The White Flint plan has failed for economic development, jobs and affordable housing. The new jobs are retail and restaurant, with offices scattered here and there. Concrete everywhere. Just like today, but ultimately with less office space than there is today.

    The county representative who was the public representative of the failed plan to expand White Flint into the City of Rockville said White Flint couldn't compete with Tysons, etc., without adding land from Rockville. That plan having failed, would suggest White Flint now cannot compete, and thus is a failure. Superintendent Starr said the White Flint development will not reduce income inequality in the area, nor provide adequate affordable housing. We are getting lots of minimum wage jobs, luxury apartments, and crowded roads and schools. If it's too early to criticize, then I assume you would agree it was too early for a smart growth group to give White Flint an award, as happened in 2013?

    It's the actual businesses and stores that are wildly successful, as evidenced by the crowded parking lots. Of course the developers could make more money if they are allowed to put up tall luxury apartments. But as a society, we have laws to protect the public from the consequences of numerous profitable activities and transactions that harm others.

  6. "Fast food restaurants per capita" I think it means the fewer the better. Anyway these criteria are terrible for what they are attempting to say.