Bethesda traffic could be impacted with the closure of a key street during construction of a new development at the corner of Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues.
A portion of Woodmont will close around Sept. 4, according to a recent project update by developer Stonebridge Carras. The construction has already shut down two parking lots in the vicinity, removing almost 300 parking spaces. When completed, the new mixed-use development will contain an underground parking garage with 940 public parking spaces, the update said. But the street closure and lack of parking could continue for up to 20 months.
Officials, however, say that the construction will be just a minor inconvenience to traffic and parking in the area.
“I think that some folks will be adjusting to the new change, but it’s not a major change to traffic patterns,” regional services director Kenneth Hartman said in a phone interview. “We don’t expect it to create gridlock in Bethesda.”
To offset the possible parking difficulties, some long-term parking spaces have been converted into four-hour spaces, Montgomery County officials said in a press release. This will help alleviate the potential issue, Hartman said, and ensure businesses remain busy in the area. But some students and residents still think Bethesda’s traffic problem could be exacerbated.
“There’s already a huge problem with parking and traffic,” senior Tina Vaziri said. “This could only make it worse.”
The construction could most impact pedestrians walking around Bethesda Row, Hartman said. But, overall, the project should further develop the thriving area.
“It’s going to be a big plus for Bethesda,” Hartman said.