Bottleworks Lane may only be a block long, but Congressman Chris Van Hollen still stopped by to dedicate the new street between East-West Highway and Kennett Street in South Silver Spring at a brief ceremony Friday afternoon.
Van Hollen was one of several public officials to cut a ribbon of plastic Canada Dry bottles - a nod to the nearby bottling plant-turned-condominium - including state Senator Jamie Raskin, County Executive Ike Leggett and Council President Nancy Floreen. Reemberto Rodriguez, director of the Silver Spring Regional Center, and Evan Glass, president of the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association, also gave a few words.
"Happy holidays, South Silver Spring," said Council President Nancy Floreen. "We actually got you something."
First introduced in 2002 (PDF!), the $3.9 million Pedestrian Linkages (PDF!) project sought to break up the big blocks of South Silver Spring to improve circulation and foster redevelopment of the formerly industrial neighborhood. Van Hollen, who represents much of below-the-Beltway Silver Spring, noted the project's use of federal Community Development Block Grants. U.S. Senator Ben Cardin was scheduled to attend but sent a representative instead.
Not all of the proposed pedestrian lanes were fully funded, but the first phase - a former service lane behind East-West Highway called Arts Alley - opened in 2005. Bottleworks Lane is the only street in the project open to cars, with one lane for eastbound traffic and several parallel, metered parking spaces. A landscaped bioswale on the north side of the street will filter stormwater, preventing pollutants from running off into the sewers.
About twenty or so lookers-on, including staff from the offices of Councilmember Elrich and Leventhal (me) were in attendance. "It's funny," one man said, "I never knew this street was here before." "That's because it wasn't," a woman standing next to him replied.
Check out this slideshow of the Bottleworks Lane ribbon-cutting.