Greater Greater Washington

Transit


Planners water down Montgomery BRT in latest draft

Over the past 5 years, Montgomery County has envisioned building a countywide Bus Rapid Transit network, making it a model for communities around the country. But transit advocates worry that the latest proposal takes another step backward from the vision.


Photo by the author.

Last November, planners proposed a 92-mile system where buses had their own lanes, whether in the median or in repurposed car lanes, on all or part of each of the 10 routes. But some residents and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation resisted calls to take away street space from cars.

The latest draft of the plan, which now has 79 miles of routes, has backed away from that recommendation. Under the current proposal, the only places that would get "gold-standard" BRT with dedicated lanes are Route 355 and portions of Route 29 and New Hampshire Avenue that have wide medians.


The BRT network proposed in November. Blue represents curb bus lanes, purple is buses running in mixed traffic, and median busways are red. Click for an interactive version.


The current BRT proposal. Image from the Montgomery County Planning Department.

Planners removed repurposed lanes along Route 29 in Four Corners after vocal opposition from a small group of neighbors, but say it's because bus lanes would conflict with an on-ramp to the Beltway. On Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase, where neighbors say the buses would endanger their kids, curb lanes have replaced a median busway.

Meanwhile, dedicated lanes on Georgia Avenue between 16th Street and University Boulevard, on Randolph Road between Rockville Pike and Georgia Avenue, and Stewart Lane and Lockwood Drive in White Oak have disappeared altogether. These sections were part of a "Phase 2" in earlier drafts that was meant to be built in the future.

County transportation planner Larry Cole says that many parts of the county aren't currently dense enough to justify the expense and disruption of creating dedicated bus lanes, especially where streets are constrained by buildings or steep slopes. Likewise, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, the world's leading experts on BRT, recommended that the county only pursue 4 of the 10 proposed routes where demand was highest.

Planning staff made the plan more ambitious because the Planning Board wanted an "aspirational plan to look beyond current land use," Cole says. "Phase 1 is what we, the staff, wanted all along. We didn't feel pressure all along. We're the ones who pushed the board to move Phase 2 to the appendix because it caused a lot of confusion and concern from the public."

Plan allows bikes, right-turns in bus lanes

The new draft does have some strengths. It calls for recommend "gold-standard" BRT, with dedicated lanes in the median, all along Route 355, which will support future development in places like downtown Bethesda and White Flint. And there are still repurposed bus lanes on Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring. While these streets are already congested, they all serve areas with the county's highest transit ridership, meaning those buses will be well-used.

"We're not backing off on repurposing lanes," Cole said. "We've been pretty hardcore about that."

It also recommends letting bicyclists, emergency vehicles and right-turning drivers use the bus lanes, which lets more people use them without making them as congested as regular lanes. "If a bus was coming every 2, 4 minutes, that would be a safer place for [bicyclists] to be then in the general traffic lanes," says Cole.

Finally, the new draft also explains what the plan will actually do, like identifying areas where the county should put dedicated bus lanes, and what it won't do, like decide what kind of buses to use or how much fares should cost.

Cole notes that this plan simply gives policy direction to things that county and state officials can already do. "Some people are determined that nothing should happen," he says. "As far as curb lanes go, the reality is that [the Maryland State Highway Administration] could make that change today without the master plan."

We have to think big

Many residents support the county's BRT efforts, which grew out of a 2008 proposal by Councilmember Marc Elrich. Both planning consultants and task force of community and business leaders found could provide alternatives to driving and support future population growth.

The Action Committee for Transit, an advocacy group for transit, wrote a letter urging them not to "water down" the BRT plan. "To be worthy of support, the bus rapid transit plan must put bus lanes on the most congested roads, not the least congested ones, and include lane repurposing as a major component," it says.

It's good that planners want to take a realistic approach, but to those who don't want BRT on their street, the plan's evolution sends a different message: yell loudly enough, and it'll go away or get watered down. That's a bad precedent for our public process, but worse for drivers and transit riders who will continue to be stuck in traffic.

Montgomery County is known for doing big things. 50 years ago, we created a visionary plan to direct growth into urban areas and preserve farmland. 40 years ago, we created one of the nation's largest subsidized housing programs. 30 years ago, we preserved almost 1/3 of the county as open space forever.

It's likely that each of those things encountered some opposition, but in the end they made this county a better place to live. BRT isn't a panacea, but it is right for the corridors that county planners have studied. And it could be the next big thing that Montgomery County's known for. That is, if we don't let a few naysayers dominate the conversation.

If the Planning Board votes to approve this plan, it'll go to the County Council later this month, with a public hearing to follow in the fall. Hopefully, they'll make sure that this bus doesn't stop prematurely.

A planner and architect by training, Dan Reed also writes his own blog, Just Up the Pike, and serves as the Land Use Chair for the Action Committee for Transit. He lives in downtown Silver Spring. 

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Great layout. Thanks for staying on top of this vital story for Montgomery County. I'd differ with the county's assesment that certain lines don't warrent the upgraded version of BRT becasue they don't have the density. I though good regional planning entailed identifying the locations most able to handle growth? Eitherway, I hope this plan moves forward.

by Thayer-D on Jul 11, 2013 10:47 am • linkreport

Gosh, who'd have thunk it? "BRT creep" wins again. Can't say I'm surprised since it's happened over and over again.

by Cavan on Jul 11, 2013 10:52 am • linkreport

Another example of why BRT generally doesn't work. It's seen as just another way to 'bid-down' public transit to the cheapest form. BRT is just a stepping stone down from rail to bus to generally to nothing at all.

BRT works when buses have their own dedicated lanes (otherwise, what you have there is not "BRT" but a "bus", my good sir).

That, and taking lanes away from private cars is a non-starter in most of the U.S.

by AlexG on Jul 11, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

Ha Ha Ha. A BRT proposal used as a means of replacing any rail based transit proposals, and then when BRT is adopted, it is more easily downsized and dismantled. The next step is when any of the bus-only lanes start to share their lanes with other traffic, and BRT becomes just another bus.

Shocking. Who could have predicted?

by JustMe on Jul 11, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

Regarding "It calls for recommend "gold-standard" BRT, with dedicated lanes in the median, all along Route 355, which will support future development in places like downtown Bethesda and White Flint", isn't there this thing called the Red Line that supports future development in Bethesda and White Flint? Why have "gold standard" BRT drive on top of even golder standard transit? Seems like less marginal value.

And, kind of disappointing that East/Downcounty routes that seem less well-served by transit (e.g., NH Ave, Rte. 29, and Viers Mill) are, with the exception of NH in Takoma Park and the bigger exception of Rte. 29 starting a bit south of White Oak) are getting more tarnish-standard BRT. And, the part on 29 south of White Oak seems like it would be more like Bus "Rapid" Transit than Bus Rapid Transit...

by EMD on Jul 11, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

as BRT creep goes, this doesnt look that bad. It keeps a lot of the gold standard miles in the areas most suited (esp if you add CCT back into the mileage), and much of the rest is "silver standard" - IE still in dedicated ROW, if not center running. And many of the downgraded areas are places where rail was never really in the picture, IIUC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

:(

by Richard B on Jul 11, 2013 11:26 am • linkreport

There is another crucial piece of watering down. The new draft requires a "traffic analysis" (a study of vehicle movement, not a study of people movement) that yields "acceptable" results before lane repurposing. You are only allowed to repurpose lanes if car traffic will be free-flowing -- but in that case, there's no need for buses to get their own lanes. This is actually a step backwards, because as Larry Cole points out here, right now SHA can create bus lanes anywhere, and no traffic study is required

by Ben Ross on Jul 11, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

@EMD -- BRT and Metro serve different purposes. The Red Line primarily serves to take people from the 'burbs, into the city, and vice versa. BRT would be a way for folks to travel along 355, within the county. The suburban Red Line, like most of Metro outside of the city, is a commuter line. It is not like, for example, the NYC subway, which typically has stops each mile and complements pedestrian traffic as well as longer-range commuter traffic. To that end, it might complement the Metro, making it more accessible. It might also enhance economic development, as it might encourage commuting within the County. The White Flint plan envisions even shorter trips, with folks using it instead of cars for short-range trips. Certainly, there are points along 355 and 29 that are not really served by Metro. However, I have to wonder what it will take to change behavior to get people to wait for and take the bus instead of jumping in their cars for the short-range trips.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jul 11, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

However, I have to wonder what it will take to change behavior to get people to wait for and take the bus instead of jumping in their cars for the short-range trips.

Gas at $5+ per gallon and poor traffic for SOVs once roads are reconfigured to move as many people as possible rather than as many vehicles as possible.

by MLD on Jul 11, 2013 11:39 am • linkreport

Speaking of what it might take to encourage more bus travel -- I don't think that the County should take away lanes from car traffic. While this might induce demand for buses because of the additional congestion it would cause in car lanes, the government shouldn't be in the business of making life more miserable for drivers just to get them to switch travel modes. There are too many economically valuable uses of cars to treat drivers as a scourge to be eliminated.

I know it would really drive up the cost, but if the county wants to put in dedicated bus lanes, they should be in addition rather than instead of traffic lanes. Where possible, medians could be repurposed, but the county could also consider widening some roads. In some commercial corridors, at least, there is room for that.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jul 11, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

the government shouldn't be in the business of making life more miserable for drivers just to get them to switch travel modes.

I don't think its that but rather that gov't should be interested in getting the most effiency out of the infrastructure it has. In some cases that means giving road space to higher capacity vehicles. Widening the road may seem fairer but it also has costs that may be greater than the county would or should be willing to bear.

Otherwise you could apply it retroactively and wonder why I-66 wasn't widened and instead the median reserved for the Orange line.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

@ Fischy

Regarding BRT complementing Metro, okay. But it seems there are very transit-dependent communities along Viers Mill, University, Rte 29, and New Hampshire who travel within the county. I guess the attitude is that they already schlep around on the Q, Z, Y, and K buses, and a bunch of RideOn buses, so we don't need to give them anything better.

DC is using streetcars (which seem like a reasonable analogy to BRT, bridging a gap between Metro and walking) to help move redevelopment along. It doesn't seem like Bethesda needs a great deal of additional help, and my guess is that White Flint, already served by Metro and very easy to get to from other already-developed areas. If the county is trying to develop White Oak and other East/downcounty areas, why do all the watering down where BRT could be of greater value?

by EMD on Jul 11, 2013 11:52 am • linkreport

So basically, this is slowly but surely getting watered down until we get the MoCo version of the MetroExtra buses? Le sigh.

On the other hand, 355 still keeps its dedicated lanes, which is the one corridor that, in my opinion, must have them. So, it appears they got one thing right.

by Justin..... on Jul 11, 2013 11:54 am • linkreport

@Fischy: Just to be clear, I don't want to imply that you have the attitude that a lot of people already use the Q, Z, Y, and K buses, so no reason to give them anything better. I mean that it seems like it's the county's attitude.

by EMD on Jul 11, 2013 11:54 am • linkreport

AWalkerinthecity is correct: Viers Mill and Georgia Avenue north of the Wheaton metro station also have a median lane in this plan. So MoCo goes from having nothing to bus rapid transit on 5 state highways plus the Corridor Cities Transitway.

by Jim Titus on Jul 11, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

must. not. be. cynical...
We've got to hope that if buses running on a dedicated right of way appear anywhere (not a given by any means) then the advantages will become so obvious that it will be easier to make a case for them elsewhere.

by renegade09 on Jul 11, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

@Jim, Walker, renegade09

I agree. I struggled to find a balance between being overly harsh and overly positive in my post. (I don't know if that happened.) I firmly believe that Montgomery County can and should shoot for the stars with this BRT plan. But even at this stage we're still doing more than many places in the country, particularly for places like Montgomery County. And that's a good thing.

by dan reed! on Jul 11, 2013 12:40 pm • linkreport

Fischy: I think it would be a really bad idea to make the roads even wider than they are now. Currently, the government seems to be in the business of making life miserable for pedestrians and transit riders, in order to encourage private vehicle use. Intersections in MoCo are difficult enough to cross as it is, with long lights, too many lanes of traffic to cross, and many major intersections missing at least one crosswalk. Don't even think about biking on the roads!

The road system should be redesigned, not to specifically make drivers miserable, but perhaps to redistribute the misery a bit, and, by making more efficient use of the infrastructure, reducing the total amount of misery.

by alurin on Jul 11, 2013 12:57 pm • linkreport

dan, no I think you did okay. On the one hand there's the need to not be absolutist and to accept a real improvement - but on the other you still want to keep everyone's feet to the fire and push to make the system better, since there are people pushing the other way.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2013 1:05 pm • linkreport

Reminds me of that TLC song...

by h st ll on Jul 11, 2013 1:12 pm • linkreport

A report from the Mineta Institute has some interesting history:
In 1956, Nashville became the first city to install concurrent-flow bus priority lanes... [Chicago and Baltimore followed.] By early 1959, other cities implementing bus lanes included Atlanta, Dallas, Newark, Rochester, and Winnipeg...

Not all of these operations stood the test of time, and many of these bus lanes were ultimately abandoned, for a wide variety of reasons. Mid-street platforms like those adopted on Washington Street in Chicago, once commonplace in the streetcar era, came to be seen as safety hazards and maintenance problems. They were gradually removed in favor of painted pedestrian islands, or moved to the curb (where the Washington Street lane runs today). Atlanta established exclusive bus lanes on four downtown streets in early 1958, but abandoned them in 1962-63 as streets were converted to one-way operations, or re-engineered to facilitate traffic flow. Even Baltimore’s bus lanes, which had been expanded by 1972 to include about 60 blocks (5 miles) of bus lanes, were largely abandoned by the 1980s

by Ben Ross on Jul 11, 2013 1:19 pm • linkreport

"There are too many economically valuable uses of cars to treat drivers as a scourge to be eliminated."

I agree completely. There are many trips for which cars are the most economically efficient means of travel, and therefore we should not treat drivers as a scourge to be eliminated.

The problem is that, due to distortions in the market (e.g., that external costs imposed by car travel have not been internalized), car travel is cheaper (for the driver) than it should be in order to enable the driver to make travel decisions based on price signals. Thus it is hard/impossible to know in any case whether taking the car, rather than a bus, Metro, or bike, is economically efficient for a particular trip.

The solutions are complex (real-time variable road pricing) or simple (raising the gas tax a dollar or two, depending on which estimates of external costs you credit), but unpopular.

An inferior, but possibly doable, approach is to raise the level of inconvenience (a non-cash cost) of driving somewhat while reducing the level of inconvenience of other modes of travel.

Taking away a lane is very far from eliminating driving or treating drivers as a "scourge."

by Black Jack on Jul 11, 2013 1:20 pm • linkreport

Renegade09,

Fair point. I would hope that would be the case before MCDOT decides to widen roadways instead of repurposing lanes for some of the routes.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2013 1:24 pm • linkreport

There are too many economically valuable uses of cars to treat drivers as a scourge to be eliminated.

They're not being eliminated. It's just that other users of the public infrastructure are getting certain priority infrastructure provided to them. If a car is so economically useful for a given trip, then it will be used, despite the costs. But the needs of moving large amounts of people, quickly, take a priority over some low-utility car trips in favor of higher-utility (but lower volume) car trips.

by JustMe on Jul 11, 2013 1:53 pm • linkreport

link under "county's highest transit ridership" is broken.

by goldfish on Jul 11, 2013 2:01 pm • linkreport

Can someone explain to me why buses in dedicated median lanes is better than buses in dedicated curb lanes? In curb lanes, you get let off the bus at the safety of the sidewalk, and as noted earlier, these lanes can work as bike and turn lanes (and may make it somewhat more palatable to take away a car lane if you can still turn from it). It seems to work well in Ocean City anyway. With the median lanes, you're dropped of in the median, not where I think i'd want to be. Do cars get to use the median lanes to turn left? Are there full blown stations built in the median for pedestrian safety?

by Gull on Jul 11, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

"In general, a center-running alignment is preferable if we want a high level of service. It eliminates conflicts with right-turning vehicles and bicycles, generally gives exclusive signal phasing for transit vehicles, and it breaks up wide streets in a way that can dramatically improve pedestrian crossings. There is a reason why virtually all transit (both trams and buses) in the Netherlands runs in the center of the street,"

"As far as I can tell, there are two main reasons to choose curb-running over center-running lanes. First, if there is not enough right-of-way to fit in the center platforms. Second, if there is a political unwillingness to completely take away car travel lanes."

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

@Gull

The Orange Line BRT in Los Angeles is a good example of what median BRT is supposed to look like. The stations are fairly substantial and comparable to light-rail stations in Baltimore. They allow buses to go faster because there are fewer conflicts with side streets and driveways (like a curb lane), but they do require more space.

by dan reed! on Jul 11, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

Black Jack, so in other words you support inconveniencing Maryland tax paying car owners by reducing lanes in Montgomery county while not pushing for the samething in northern Virginia. Ah I get it that it is an agenda scheme for discouraging population growth in suburban Maryland in hopes that population will continue to increase in northern Virginia....

by Ed on Jul 11, 2013 2:38 pm • linkreport

It's erroneous to portray the move of the Phase 2 treatments out of the Plan and into the Appendix as watering down the BRT plan. Phase 2 was never "meant to be built in the future", as Dan puts it; the Phase 2 treatments were only meant to be considered in the future as part of a follow-up master plan. The move of the Phase 2 treatments into the Appendix is meant to clarify to the public that they aren't "in" the Plan, and they never were.

Also, while I said that the reality is that SHA can make the operational decision to implement dedicated curb lanes on State highways today, as they did on one segment of Veirs Mill Road several years ago, I also said that it's beneficial to recommend those curb lanes in the master plan where we think it's appropriate to make clear what the County's policy is.

by Larry Cole on Jul 11, 2013 2:40 pm • linkreport

no its a scheme to force virginians to shop in Maryland.

VDOT pretty much stops (so far) localities with VDOT maintained roads from taking away auto lanes for transitways, so in order to get transitways they will need to widen roads (several are proposed in Fairfax County). In order to pay for these widenings, among other projects, sales taxes are going up in NoVa.

Its a conspiracy to drive people away from lifestyle centers in NoVa (like RTC, Shirlington, Pentagon Row, Fairfax Corners) in order to them to shop in Maryland, in places like Bethesda Row, Rockville Town center, and eventually, White Flint.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2013 2:43 pm • linkreport

drumz, Yep I knew there was far more sinister reason for the unessesary push for pushing an unreliable brt all in the name of discouraging business and population growth for suburban Maryland.....SMDH

by Ed on Jul 11, 2013 2:45 pm • linkreport

ed why are you supporting the nefarious scheme to get virginians to shop in Md? There are many interests behind it.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2013 2:47 pm • linkreport

You're on fire today Ed. Clearly Virginia is controlling MoCo county politicians via some sort of mind control device that makes them want to make the county crappy which then ups NOVA's general attractiveness.

Its amazing to know that this reaches beyond shopping malls.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2013 2:51 pm • linkreport

@Fischy (Ed F.) "However, I have to wonder what it will take to change behavior to get people to wait for and take the bus instead of jumping in their cars for the short-range trips."

Simple - provide world-class transit options. I was recently in Singapore, and the transit system there was much, much better than anything in the DC area. Give us a system like that and I will gladly leave the car at home.

Successful transit is not merely a matter of location, it is a matter of convenience and performance as well.

by Chris S. on Jul 11, 2013 2:56 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity, wow very funny, and thanks again for proving my point that it is an agenda to discourage population and business growth in suburban Maryland while sprawling businesses and population growth is respected in northern Virginia.

by Ed on Jul 11, 2013 3:05 pm • linkreport

it is an agenda to force virginians to shop in Chevy Chase instead of Tysons Galleria, by raising sales to add lanes to roads. To undermine the Tysons reinvention and to revive otherwise failing MoCo by making White Flint a more desirable place to the young single folks who buy condos, pay real estate taxes and dont have kids the county needs to educate. Meanwhile Fairfax struggles with school budgets and cuts library funding.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2013 3:14 pm • linkreport

Ed, you're clearly a far more subtle and far-seeing thinker than I.

Since I live in Maryland (and am a tax-paying car owner there), my knowledge and concerns (and tax payments and voting privileges) are focused there. There are citizens in northern Virginia who think as I do, as well as some who disagree. They have their own conflicts to work out.

Based on my limited driving forays in northern Virginia, I would not describe traffic conditions there as wonderful. In any case, I don't think that small differences in the level of driving convenience are the primary criteria most people use in deciding whether to settle in MD or VA.

by Black Jack on Jul 11, 2013 3:14 pm • linkreport

@Ed, @Black Jack

As a tax-paying, but non-car-owning person who recently moved to White Flint, I'd say MoCo's push for less car-centric development has been a complete failure at curbing population growth.

by alurin on Jul 11, 2013 3:30 pm • linkreport

Black Jack, well it is clearly proven that the toll lanes on Virginia's I-495 is a success along with the Springfield mixing bowl.

by Ed on Jul 11, 2013 4:15 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity, that is good that they will be adding extra lanes on Maryland Highway 355 between Chevy Chase and Rockville to loosen the bottleneck near NIH/Walter Reed. As for the BRT they can elevate it above the major roads.

by Ed on Jul 11, 2013 4:20 pm • linkreport

The toll lanes on 495 mean more dollars to pay for roads, which should be free, as we all know. The only toll road like that in Md is the ICC, which doesnt go anywhere anyway, so you dont need to pay the toll and can drive for free, OR take the bus.

Also that walter reed moved to md was part of the agenda to keep as many doctors as possible in md, cause the powers that control everything know that more doctors in NoVa would change Virginia to progressive, leading it to be the new California with silicon vallye, and they must stop that.

And also the GOP is fighting EPA to keep coal fired power plants to have global warming, in order to flood out Old Town Alexandria and get everyone to move to Bethesda.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2013 4:25 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity, wow.... Still does not take away from the fact that the BRT is a pure waste of Maryland tax payer's money that will not benefit the majority of the Maryland tax paying population and the efforts to discourage population and business growth in suburban Maryland with the BRT pipe dream will not ever become fruition due to heavy opposition resistance from authentic Maryland tax paying population.

by Ed on Jul 11, 2013 4:40 pm • linkreport

"Still does not take away from the fact that the BRT is a pure waste of Maryland tax payer's money that will not benefit the majority of the Maryland tax paying population and the efforts to discourage population and business growth in suburban Maryland with the BRT pipe dream will not ever become fruition due to heavy opposition resistance from authentic Maryland tax paying population. "

I495 lanes have express buses paid by FFX county. FFX county is contemplating parking MAXIMUMS in tysons to discourage auto traffic and make it walkable.

Opposition to BRT in MoCo is part of agenda to weaken growth of WF and get more people to live and work in Tysons.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2013 4:49 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity, and at the end of the day the BRT will still be a waste of Maryland tax payers money due to it not being dependable and its just an agenda scheme to inconvenience Maryland drivers.

by Ed on Jul 11, 2013 5:03 pm • linkreport

opposition to BRT is an agenda scheme to weaken transit, weaken development, and strengthen Tysons Corner.

its all an agenda scheme.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2013 5:13 pm • linkreport

to discourage population and business growth in suburban Maryland

See, the thing is that if you want population growth, you need to move a lot of people around, and single-occupancy cars are an ineffective way to move a large number of people around. So if you want to grow beyond a certain point, you need to have some kind of transit mechanism other than cars.

by JustMe on Jul 11, 2013 5:37 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity, Tysons Corner has a high speed subway and a 12 lane beltway and you wish to have white filing mall demolish instead of expansion along with wasting Maryland tax payers money to built a worthless BRT on major suburban Maryland roads just to increase inconvenient drive and have the audacity to hustle talk that it would improve business growth and population growth for suburban maryland. Sir or ma'am stop selling the kool-aid cause ain't nobody from Maryland with an ounce of common intelligence will buy into the utter transit smart growth BS that you and the special interest groups is trying to force spoon feed on to the tax paying Maryland population. Chile Cheese, Bye Bye wit SS BS

by Ed on Jul 11, 2013 7:26 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by Ed on Jul 11, 2013 7:27 pm • linkreport

JustMe, Unfortunately Maryland is not New York or Chicago and it will not go the way you want it or else it would have already worked in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Houston. Reducing roads in Maryland in place of useless BRT will only result in business and population reduction in which that could be the main agenda scheme.

by Ed on Jul 11, 2013 7:32 pm • linkreport

There is no "agenda scheme." Ed, you sound ridiculous. AWITC, I can't tell if you're satirizing him, but if not you're being silly as well.

by ImThat1Guy on Jul 11, 2013 9:14 pm • linkreport

Ed, you are posting with a false email address. Our comment policy requires a real one. I have blocked your ability to comment until you start using a valid email address. We will keep it secret, but you have to use a real address so we can contact you back if your comments violate the policy (as a few did).

by David Alpert on Jul 12, 2013 5:06 am • linkreport

BRT is a BAD decision regardless.

The lifecycle cost is much higher than rail and the ridership will eb at least a third lower than if it were rail.

by Alan Drake (AlanfromBigEasy) on Jul 12, 2013 8:53 am • linkreport

There are a few wealthy citizens of southern and western MoCo that i'm sure would love to implement any policy that reduces population and business growth in MD, because they are the prime example of NIMBY. The rest of the County wants growth, and the elected officials and planners with stake in the BRT project are taking a bet that having better transit will become a means for growth in the 21st century. It may not benefit us this year or next, but in 10 or 15 years it very well may make a difference in regional growth. AT some point NOVA's never ending road widening is unsustainable for the environment and for the taxpayer.

by Gull on Jul 12, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

"AWITC, I can't tell if you're satirizing him, but if not you're being silly as well. "

yeah of course I believe in agenda schemes in which policy decisions in one county are made in order to strengthen a competing county. I even believe that "agenda scheme" is a thing. Also, man has never landed on the moon.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 12, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport

"The lifecycle cost is much higher than rail and the ridership will eb at least a third lower than if it were rail."

Alan - the big bang for the buck on rail over bus in in the same operating conditions, in terms of ridership, is when buses max out on volume. The studies are mixed on the mode preference for rail in other cases - there almost certainly is some preference, but probably not a third. IIUC none of these corridors are at volumes where they hit capacity constraints with buses, but I dont know.

I would be concerned about the life cycle cost with redoing the pavement. Not sure how that works out, fully discounted. Against that, you have the flexibility of running feeder buses from off corridor places with no transit investment onto the corridor. The negative of flexibility is reduced impact on development - but at least in the 355 corridor, the Red line is already a prod to development. And some of the other corridors do not have major development opportunities. CCT though, might be the best candidate for conversion to rail, as it has prime development opportunities (IIUC) and is not right on the Red line.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 12, 2013 10:11 am • linkreport

Ima need rant bus what? Get off my lane!

by Mike on Jul 12, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

There hasn't been near enough asking for public (not lobby) input on the first targets of BRT - Veirs Mill and Georgia. It was just October 25,2013 when the proposal of a "dedicated""repurposed right-of-way","reversible" lane on Veirs Mill was even made. No specifics are current on where "stations" are going to be placed.
Nobody rational can claim this has really been proposed for years when nobody even knows what the BRT plan for the first target even looks like. TBH, I think BRT should be scrapped. According to the State transportation experts, it'll take a "precision dance" to prevent "head-on collisions" with their currently proposed design.
The Council should have interjected to forget it, and scrap the plan at that point. Instead Berliner said as quickly as possible something along the lines of "any objections to the BRT plan from the Council? Good, no objections".
I think they're wrong, and trying to force this all through without public inquiry and comment, otherwise, Veirs Mill will object. Georgia Ave will object. Almost all Montgomery County will, really.
BRT plans involve taking paid community resources - buses, streets, billions in tax dollars - and making them exclusive stations and bus services for the few wealthy so called "choice" riders (who currently and futurely don't ride buses) living beside the 5-8 stations along the road.

by asffa on Nov 2, 2013 3:42 pm • linkreport

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