For Montgomery County, we support continued investment in transit-oriented development at the county’s Red Line Metro stations, redesign of commercial corridors like Rockville Pike into walkable, mixed-use communities, expanded protection of the Agricultural Reserve, strengthening of the moderately priced dwelling unit program and addressing the east-west jobs/housing imbalance. Our core focus in 2012/2013 is on the Next Generation of Transit for the county — a “three-legged stool” of strengthening Metro, building the Purple Line, and investing in a complementary rapid transit network.
Rapid Transit System
The Montgomery County Transit Task Force has advanced a proposal for a new rapid transit system – or RTS – for Montgomery County, joining other area jurisdictions such as DC, Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax in studying and advancing new systems.
We believe that the region needs to invest in the next generation of transit, which can be bus rapid transit, light rail, streetcar and Metro, provided that in each case the transit mode selected is well-integrated with walkable, transit-oriented development and fits current and future needs.
We are leading an education campaign in Montgomery County on the many benefits that can come from investing in a next generation of transit network like the RTS, to link with existing Metrorail service and the future Purple Line.
- Learn more about our work for rapid transit in Montgomery County at our Next Generation of Transit campaign hub!
Protecting Wetlands, Farmland, and Streams
The Midcounty Highway Extended, or M-83, is a proposed limited access highway that would connect Clarksburg to Gaithersburg, and was initially proposed in the 1960s. The 6-lane highway, which would run parallel to Route 355 to the east, would harm wetlands, fragile stream valleys, the agricultural reserve, and divide existing neighborhoods in Montgomery Village and Germantown.
Currently, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is seeking an environmental permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers for the highway, because of its impact on wetlands and federal waterways. We expect a decision on the preferred alignment by MCDOT, followed by a decision on the permit by the Army Corps later in 2014.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth has partnered with the grassroots coalition Transit Alternatives to the Midcounty Highway Extended (TAME) to build support for real sustainable transit alternatives to the M-83 highway that can help realize the original vision of Clarksburg as a transit-oriented community.
Together with TAME we have turned out speakers to hearings about the M-83 project, generated hundreds of written comments, and helped win media coverage. Coalition for Smarter Growth and TAME support the low impact alternatives 2 and 5 that make improvements to 355, while opposing Alternatives 4, 8, and 9. We have been calling for a transit alternative to be considered as well, though one has not been studied to this date.
We also joined the Ten Mile Creek Coalition in the fight to preserve Montgomery County’s Ten Mile Creek in the fight to preserve this key drinking water supply. Our joint alternative will better ensure that Clarksburg fulfills its promise as a walkable, transit-oriented community in a way that protects this important watershed.