If you live in Montgomery County, you for surely have driven down Rockville Pike, for some reason or another. Shopping, entertainment, meeting friends, getting on the Metro, going to college, dinner on the pike, or near it, hospitals, churches, funeral homes, malls, hotels, useful services, car shopping, cemeteries, or just getting to DC and back by not taking the 495 interstate..as a diversion.
Do you know that plans are in the works to totally change the layout and vibe of Rockville Pike? Many people feel that that street- Rt. 355 is a vehicle nightmare. On the other hand, the road is not so bad in some respects. Lots of lanes, turning lanes, timed lights, pretty well marked, and it leads you to DC versus taking the interstate highways. Plus, it has what you need.
Plans are in the works to make Rockville Pike a totally different destination and community by changing the layout and traffic patterns and supporting a pedestrian friendly plan for new "village" type layouts to encourage a city type feel with many urban friendly amenites..whereby locals have entertainment, shopping, churches, education, culture and more within walking distance. This is in the future, and by local standards, it could take many years. I used to live in Singapore, and things could change overnight..here any changes take 10-20 years...I have no idea why....but I think it has a lot to do with money and beauracracy, and probably politics.
Although I have to say, if you haven't checked out Rockville Town Center recently, you MUST do so. It has great vibes..great restaurants, many with free entertainment, specialty retail, easy parking- free at night..family friendly fountains, ice skating, movies, ice cream, burgers, upscale international restaurants, lots of locals meeting and greeting and making friends. Urban suburbian.
All this I think is wonderful, and I will detail more on these plans later, but I was fascinated by a story I read recently about the history of Rockville Pike. And I thought I should share it with you, if you are interested. It dates back to the times of the original Indians who inhabited these lands.
So if you are interested in the history of Rockville Pike, which goes back to - well, I will let the historians tell you the tale....
"You don't have to visit the Smithsonian to view exhibits of a younger Maryland. Our past is right in front of us—along a busy stretch of highway once named the Great Road (as well as Rock Creek Road, Braddock’s Road, the rolling road, the road west, and Sinequa Trail), but known today as Rockville Pike.
In its most primitive state almost 10,000 years ago, a part of what is now Rockville Pike began as a Native American trail. Given its proximity to the “Potowmack,” Monocacy, and Patuxent rivers, this north-south path was a convenient and bountiful passageway for tribes such as the Senecas, Piscataways, and Susquehannocks.
The statue of the Madonna of the Trail—one of 12 such monuments lining the National Old Trails Road—was erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1929 and marks the beginning of the frontier trail. (The statue is now located in front of the Wisconsin Avenue post office in downtown Bethesda.)
The history of Rockville Pike