Monday, October 19, 2020

Rockville Mayor and Council to discuss undergrounding MD 355 in Rockville Town Center

Redevelopment of Rockville 
Metro station also to be discussed

A long-term goal of Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, the undergrounding of MD Route 355 where it passes through Rockville Town Center, will officially come before the Mayor and Council for the first time tonight at its 6:00 PM virtual meeting. The idea has been floated for decades, such as the above rendering from the 2001 Rockville Town Center master plan.

Newton revived the idea in recent years, with a goal of creating more public space for city events, and a calmer traffic environment for the town center. The space could replace the lost town center parking lots where events like Hometown Holidays formerly hosted concerts and carnival rides, but with less asphalt. City staff estimates the potential cost of such a project to be in the $200-300 million range.

This 1990s concept drawing of the
undergrounding of MD 355 created by
a city-hired consultant envisioned the
future redevelopment of the
Rockville Metro station surface areas

There is potential to combine such a project with development or redevelopment of the Rockville Metro station surface lots, and the Rockville Mall-era structure across MD 355 from it. Coincidentally, the Mayor and Council will also be discussing the former topic at tonight's meeting, as well. The staff report notes that the city's Rockville 2040 comprehensive plan draft calls for "a blend of moderate-density housing and neighborhood-serving retail" on the station site, and at the edge of East Rockville.

Images via City of Rockville


  1. So this at the intersection of Rockville Pike/Hungerford Drive and Middle Lane? The second picture shows a simple underpass under Middle Lane. The first picture shows a deck starting at Middle Lane and extending south from there, but how far south is it proposed to go?

    1. There hasn't been a study yet for the current proposal, so there aren't renderings of it yet. But it would be more like the top photo - the underground area probably between the Rockville Fire Department and ending short of the "mixing bowl" intersection at Veirs Mill.

      However, there are many engineering and geological considerations that will determine the final scope and location.

  2. The proposal here is the regurgitation of a concept plan developed and proposed in the mid 90's. It included the grade separated interchange at E/W Middle Lane and extended the underground segment to the Veirs Mill Road interchange. As you, Robert, state this was to encourage and accommodate any redevelopment of the Metro site. I'm sure the previous plan still exist at the city and perhaps in the library system. This is a rehash of the old plan.