Moses Hall and Beltway Expansion Seeing Action on Many Fronts

Some 60 people, mostly Cabin John residents along with members of Carderock’s citizens association, a smattering of activists, and a couple of government officials joined the Feb. 24 CJCA Zoom meeting that provided an update on the flurry of activity surrounding the intertwined efforts of the preservation of the Morningstar 88 Moses Hall & Cemetery and the state’s massive Beltway Expansion plans. 

Charlotte Troup Leighton, CJCA vice president for advocacy and a founding member of the Friends of Moses Hall, provided a detailed and insightful update. One of the important takeaways was that the State Highway Administration’s selection of Preferred Alternative 9, which calls for two managed toll lanes in each direction on I-495 and I-270, as well as its choice of a pre-development public-private partnership (P3) partner, now shifts the focus to the state’s Board of Public Works (BPW) and its upcoming vote to approve the pre- development partner and the next phase of work. 

The swing vote on the board is Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has announced his candidacy for governor in 2022, and Charlotte suggested that a writing campaign to him may at least force more stipulations in the BPW vote. Her full presentation, which details numerous other efforts and points of interest, is linked to this story on the Cabin John website. 

Meeting participants also benefited from the wisdom of Carol Rubin, Special Project Manager for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) dealing with the Beltway expansion, who joined the call to hear more about the community’s concerns. In February the M-NPPC voiced opposition to the state’s selection of a preferred alternative that does not use any tolls to fund mass transit. The commission has also raised a wide range of environmental concerns about the expansion plans. 

At the meeting, Rubin answered a host of questions about the massive project’s potential impacts. She noted that the National Park Service is “just as upset as we are at this point” and mentioned specific concerns they have about the Clara Barton Parkway and Plummer’s Island. She believes any P3 contractor that comes in should be told they have “to respect the [Gibson Grove] church and the cemetery,” adding that she wants developers to create an interpretive walking museum at the cemetery. 

The community will have the chance to meet again with Rubin later in March. The Cabin John Citizens Association and the Friends of Moses Hall also will be participating in a March 10 meeting with state officials concerning a preliminary draft of how it intends to minimize or mitigate any impacts to historical and cultural resources as part of the Beltway Expansion project. Stay tuned… 

By Susan Shipp
CJCA President 

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