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Maryland recommends closing Randolph Road at train tracks, angering drivers

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Local,Maryland,Kate Jacobson

Maryland transportation officials are recommending the closure of Randolph Road, a major east-west Montgomery County artery, at the CSX railroad tracks, angering residents who frequently use the road.

The closure is being suggested as the State Highway Administration plans the extension of Montrose Parkway east across Rockville Pike to Parklawn Drive. Officials recommend closing down Randolph Road at the railroad crossing to reduce accidents and establish a quiet zone in the area.

The closure was one of two options the SHA has proposed as part of the extension project, which was brought to the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday. The other option would be to keep the road open. Currently, Randolph Road goes over the train tracks just north of the White Flint Metro and connects the road -- and the neighborhood on the other side -- to Rockville Pike.

The project is part of the bigger White Flint Sector Plan and redevelopment initiative.

Chad Salganik, president of the Randolph Civic Association, said the group understands the extension is necessary, but Randolph provides easy access to Rockville Pike from the smaller local roads in the neighborhood.

Currently, the road provides access for those trying to cross the county without having to get on the Capital Beltway or Interstate 270. The Randolph Hills neighborhood sits on one side of the tracks and White Flint on the other.

Salganik said association members are pushing to keep the railroad crossing.

"The overwhelming majority [of members] want to maintain the connectivity," he said.

Friends of White Flint member Barnaby Zall, who blogged about a recent meeting of SHA officials, residents and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, criticized White Flint planners for not providing east-west crossings.

He said getting rid of the crossing near the Randolph Hills neighborhood would further separate residents from getting easily to and from White Flint.

"We've been trying for years to figure out a way to bridge that gap," he said. "And now the alternatives proposed for Montrose Parkway East will make that worse, not better."

kjacobson@washingtonexaminer.com

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