From the County Council Office of Valerie Ervin

Dear Resident, 


With more than 57,000 patrons and 1,250 bus trips per day, the Silver Spring Transit Center is one of the largest transportation hubs in the region. Ridership is expected to grow to 97,000 people by 2024. County residents, especially those who live in and around Silver Spring, have endured the public transportation obstacles associated with the ongoing delays associated with the Silver Spring Transit Center for far too long. I continue to request information from the Executive Branch on this critical issue for our County.


Like you, I am frustrated with the difficulties accessing transit in Silver Spring, and I understand why many residents are choosing to take public transportation at other nearby stations.  The ongoing issues with the Silver Spring Transit Center not only inconvenience our residents, but also negatively impact the bottom line for businesses in and around Silver Spring and hampers economic development. To help mitigate this, I have requested that the Council provide funding in the County's Economic Development Fund to provide financial assistance to businesses that continue to experience financial impacts associated with the construction.  


We all agree, it's time to move forward with appropriate remediation efforts to correct the problems identified at the Silver Spring Transit Center, so our residents can get moving again.  I will continue to provide you with information on this project as I receive it from the Executive Branch. 


All the best, 

Valerie Ervin  

Valerie Ervin 

Month of the Military Child: Valerie's Story

April is the Month of the Military Child, and we honor the many children growing up in military families. Several of our local public officials, including myself, were military children, and we will be taking some time out this month to share our stories.


Month of the Military Child--Valerie's Story
Valerie's Story


Donna Edwards
Donna Edwards

No Boundaries: 

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake


On March 15, I filmed the latest edition of No Boundaries with Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at Seibel's Restaurant in Burtonsville. We discussed a broad range of issues including economic development, balancing a budget during difficult fiscal times, and student achievement. Stephanie is a dynamic leader, and I am happy to be able to help share her amazing story.


No Boundaries: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake


And check out previous episode's of No Boundaries:

Food Recovery: Turning Waste into Hope



The Food Recovery Work Group, which I sponsored and was unanimously established by the County Council in October 2012, was asked to develop a report detailing how to create and implement a food recovery system in Montgomery County. This will be the first project of this type in any U.S. county. This implementation group is evaluating best practices; mapping existing resources; identifying ways to enhance communication among non-profits, organizations, service providers, and food suppliers; and recommending any needed legislative changes to assist in these efforts. 


The Council just received the work group's interim report, which included a recommendation to set aside funding in the FY14 Operating Budget to implement a food recovery network. In addition, the Crossroads Community Food Network proposed a way to duplicate what they do on a larger scale across the county, and increase access to fresh, local produce by multiplying the buying power of low-income shoppers through the "Fresh Checks" voucher program at farmers markets. These are both important initiatives to combat hunger in our community. I am thankful for the support of the Montgomery County Food Council and the Silver Spring Advisory Board for sending letters of support for these funding requests. 


I look forward to the final report from the Food Recovery Work Group on July 1. 

Food, Nutrition, and Hunger in Montgomery County


As you may know, theproblem of hunger is ever increasing in our county, as approximately one-third of county students currently qualify for Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs). After all the momentum generated from the SNAP the Silence challenge in February, I was invited by the Silver Spring Advisory Board to host a panel discussion on Food, Nutrition & Hunger in Montgomery County on April 8, which included:

  • Erin M. Kvach, Food Service Supervisor, MCPS Food & Nutrition Services;
  • D'Juan Hopewell, Maryland No Kid Hungry Campaign, Share Our Strength;
  • David Vismara, Community Gardens Program, Department of Parks;
  • Mia Zavalij, Food Recovery Network Co-Founder & Co-President of UMD Chapter

We discussed what we could do to address food insecurity and access to nutritious foods in our community. This includes increasing school breakfast funding, the Kennedy Cluster project, the county's Food Recovery Work Group, and many other important initiatives.


This panel discussion took place on the opening night of the Kramer Gallery's "Seeing Food" exhibition. The exhibition will remain on view until May 24 from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. For more information about the artists and related events, please visit the Arts & Humanities Council website:

Honoring Harry Sanders


Harry Sanders was devoted to the creation of the Purple Line, which will connect the Bethesda Metro Station in Montgomery County to the New Carrollton Metro Station in Prince George's County.


What I admired most about Harry Sanders was that he understood that the success of the Purple Line was connected to organizing transit riders. They are among the many thousands of people who don't own cars and who must ride transit everyday out of necessity. Harry understood this. He taught me that you must be passionate about an idea that you believe in, and never let it go. I learned that true leadership is not loud or obnoxious. It is not mean or indignant. It is about building trust and community.



In March, the community honored Mr. Sanders through a memorial located in Silver Spring's Woodside Urban Park. Friends and neighbors of Mr. Sanders, who lived on Noyes Lane in Silver Spring, started planning a permanent tribute to him with the Montgomery Parks Foundation, shortly after his passing in 2010. The memorial, which includes a purple-flowering tree and plaque, reads: "For Woodside neighbor and friend Harry Sanders, who strove to connect communities and people." This memorial helps to ensure that Harry's legacy is remembered by future generations.

Week of the Young Child 


A child's early years are critical in shaping her/his development. For the past 10 years, Montgomery County has built an effective, comprehensive system of early interventions, childcare, recreation, pre-kindergarten education, and other support services for families. School readiness statistics indicate that this system of services is working to help close the socioeconomic gap for Montgomery County children. The work of our county agencies and private sector partners is instrumental in this goal.


On April 16, I joined with childcare providers and advocates to celebrate April 14-20 as the Week of the Young Child. The purpose of this week is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families.


Those attending included:Wendy Baber, Chair, Commission on Child Care; Debbie Shepard and Beth Molesworth, Early Care and Education Congress DHHS;  Carol Walsh, Collaboration Council; Meredith Myers, Family Services, Inc; Kathi Carey-Fletcher, Montgomery College; Jane Seffel, Organization of Child Care Directors; and Maryanne Lazarchick, Family Child Care Association of Montgomery County.

New Mural in Long Branch


I began working with the Long Branch Business League and the arts community a year ago on how public art could be a catalyst for cultural and economic revitalization.  I want to thank everyone for their partnership on this project and their commitment to the arts. 


On April 3, I joined Carlos Perozo, President of the Long Branch Business League, Rob Goldman from Montgomery Housing Partnership and Claire Schwadron, from Class Acts Arts to commemorate a new mural in Long Branch.  The beautiful "Flower Dreams" mural, placed in the heart of Long Branch's vibrant cultural center, is the first of many future aesthetic enhancements. 

Met Branch Trail

The Metropolitan Branch Trail project is part of a larger system of non-motorized trails throughout the region. It is a critical link for pedestrians and bicyclists traveling to, from, and through downtown Silver Spring. It creates a more bicycle-friendly Silver Spring, facilitates multimodal access to the new Silver Spring Transit Center, and contributes to the revitalization of the area. 


I have long advocated for this important project. I am excited to report that some portions of the Metropolitan Branch Trail have been completed, including a segment next to Montgomery College's Takoma Park Campus. Design and construction of the trail is underway on the District of Columbia's extension to Union Station.  Fearing a lack of progress, I was able to get the trail funded in the Capital Improvements program budget in 2010, and kept it in the budget when it was recommended for removal in 2012.


As of February, the next piece of the trail from Ripley Street to the MARC train platform at the Silver Spring Metro Station is now open. I am happy to hear that this project is moving forward. I will continue to monitor its progress.  


For more information, click here.

Bikeshare is Coming!


Since 2008, I have been pushing at the local, state, and federal levels for funding for a Montgomery County bikeshare program and expanded interconnected bike routes. Bikesharing provides short-term bicycle rentals at self-service, automated, solar-powered docking stations sited at publicly accessible locations. Bikes may be picked up at one location and returned to another, creating a system that allows for one-way trips. 


The Recommended FY14 Operating Budget includes funding to launch, coordinate, and administer the county's bikeshare program. The Department of Transportation is finalizing the contact and station locations, but expects that this program will begin this summer. I expect 20 stations and 200 bikes in the Rockville area and 29 stations and 200 bikes in the downcounty area, including Silver Spring and Takoma Park. 


Any business interested in hosting or sponsoring a bikeshare station location should contact Sande Brecher at 240-777-8383. 


I am committed to expanding low-cost transportation options through reliable transit and facilities that allow bicyclists and pedestrians to travel in a safe, reliable, and convenient way. I am so excited to have the resources necessary to keep moving this initiative forward. 

Early Learning Center Dedication


One of Montgomery County's greatest assets is Montgomery College (MC), and our partnership with the college goes well beyond classroom instruction.  Since expanding high-quality childcare options has been one of my top legislative priorities for years, I was excited to join Dr. DeRionne Pollard and her staff to dedicate a new early learning center at the Germantown Campus just a few weeks ago. 


I was profoundly moved when Kristin Freeman, an MC student and parent of a child who attends the Early Learning Center, shared her story about being a single mother in college and how the center has changed her life.  She is now a junior at University of Maryland University College.  Her story is very much like my own, and that is why I am a champion for early childhood funding and programming.  Congratulations to Dr. Pollard on a job well done.  


As we celebrate the Week of the Young Child, this new Early Childhood Education Center is a prime example of MC's commitment to our community and to life-long learning. 

MCPS Seeking Additional Summer Food Sites


Hunger doesn't take a summer vacation. The Summer Food program, which has expanded significantly since 2007 when I urged that the program be increased and improved, is aimed at increasing the number of eligible children who have healthy food options during the summer.  Over the past five years, the number of children in the program has increased by approximately 30 percent.


If you are interested in hosting a Summer Food site, please contact Erin M. Kvach at 

(301) 840-8184 or 

Zoning Code Rewrite

On April 2, I wrote a memorandum to the Planning, Housing & Economic Development (PHED) Committee regarding the zoning ordinance rewrite. 


The last comprehensive revision to the zoning ordinance occurred in 1977. Since that time, zoning changes and our piecemeal zoning text amendment process has created a fragmented document that guides our county's land use.  With 123 zones, more than 1,200 pages, and over 400 land uses, the County Council requested a process that would create a zoning ordinance that is understandable, efficient, and rational.  The goal was to create a readily usable document that property owners and other stakeholders could understand.     


Accomplishing the goals of the zoning code rewrite is extraordinarily ambitious, and I believe that the Planning Board has made significant progress.  I also want to recognize the extremely hard work of Planning Department staff and those serving on the ZAP; however, many stakeholders have raised significant issues that I believe the Council should consider as we develop our strategy for reviewing the proposed new zoning ordinance and evaluate whether changes should be made all at the same time.  


The Council is currently scheduled to hold a public hearing on the zoning rewrite in June.  I encourage residents to provide their input on this important issue.