Until 9pm on May 16, 2013
Stewart Schwartz, 703-599-6437
Kelly Blynn, 610-220-5378
MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Dozens of Montgomery residents packed the Montgomery County Planning Department headquarters in Silver Spring Thursday evening to support the Planning Department’s goal of advancing a new rapid transit system for Montgomery.
Citing the proposed system’s potential for offering the best solution to the County’s traffic challenges, reducing local air pollution from car emissions, and providing more affordable transit options and access to jobs for working families and young people, the residents asked the Planning Board to adopt the proposed system into Montgomery’s General Plan for transportation.
“For the past 14 years I have been commuting to work and running errands along 355 from Comus Road south thru Clarksburg to Germantown and have seen first-hand the impact development without infrastructure improvements has had on our local roads,” said Beth Daly, of Dickerson in northern Montgomery.” We need transit options to get up-county residents (and thru commuters from growing Frederick County and beyond) off the roads and to their work centers and back home. For that reason, I support the 355 North corridor of the BRT.”
Out of a full 3 hours of testimony, over 25 people testified in favor of the proposal, including representatives of well known organizations such as Montgomery County Sierra Club, the Action Committee for Transit, the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, the League of Women Voters, Friends of White Flint, and the Montgomery County Young Democrats.
“The proposed Rapid Transit System for Montgomery County, by shifting more trips from cars to transit, will help the environment by reducing the emissions that cause air pollution and global climate change,” Said Ethan Goffman of the Sierra Club. “Successful smart growth helps preserve Montgomery County’s open spaces and watersheds, which benefits everyone.”
Planning staff have spent over a year modeling transit ridership based on projected population and jobs growth to determine the corridors where transit offers the best solution to move more people as population and traffic continue to rise. Now, the Planning Board is reviewing the recommended corridors for inclusion in the master plan, which they will determine later this summer and then send on to the County Council.
While some civic activists have specific concerns with how the system might affect their neighborhoods, several voiced their support. “The Greater Colesville Civic Association has urged the county for decades to address the road congestion problem and the spillover effect of cut-through traffic in residential areas,” said Dan Wilhelm, on behalf of his civic association. ”The BRT corridors included in the Draft Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan are a good start to building the BRT network. Once implemented, the 10 proposed corridors will start to address the road congestion.
About the Coalition for Smarter Growth
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington D.C. region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Our mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies needed to make those communities flourish. To learn more, visit the Coalition’s website at www.smartergrowth.net.