Foursquare ITP developed several visionary streetscape concepts for Norfolk Avenue in Downtown Bethesda to promote the street’s conversion into a shared space streatery. Foursquare ITP also conducted the public outreach campaign for the effort.

Norfolk Avenue’s current but temporary streatery began life under COVID-19, and the streatery’s popularity prompted a growing coalition of stakeholders to explore converting it into a permanent, full-time amenity. This project sought to build support for that conversion by developing a unified shared street concept for the corridor while maintaining full multimodal access to the adjacent land uses. After several preliminary shared street concepts garnered a positive public appetite for a permanent conversion, the project team refined those concepts into a preferred recommendation. Shared at a public meeting and garnering attention from the regional media, public support for the preferred concept will help MCDOT proceed to the next project phases, which include funding procurement and construction.

The overwhelmingly positive feedback to the proposed conversion reinforces MCDOT’s vision for transforming more neighborhood streets in Montgomery County from their current auto-centric functions into richer multimodal amenities, especially for outdoor dining and recreation. This feedback from stakeholders, social media, and traditional media reveals a strong appetite for rethinking Bethesda’s streets to offer more amenities for residents, business owners, workers, and visitors.

Solutions and Outcomes
  • Identified six intermediate street typology concepts, resulting in one preferred concept with two block-specific variations (‘complete closure to vehicular traffic’ and ‘road diet with cycling infrastructure’).
  • Led intensive, two-part public outreach campaign with popups, surveys, and public workshops for both the intermediate and preferred concepts, with thousands of public comments received.
  • Garnered intensive, positive coverage in Washington DC area media, which will help build funding and construction support for the concept in a future MCDOT project phase.