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Video shows what BRT means for Montgomery

What would Bus Rapid Transit mean for Montgomery County? I talk about the benefits of BRT alongside residents and community leaders in a new video produced by the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

The video also features interviews with a variety of local residents and community leaders, including Planning Board member Casey Anderson, Friends of White Flint executive director Lindsay Hoffman, college student Jonathan Jayes-Green, local Sierra Club chair David Hauck, and activist Elaine Binder. Transportation planner Larry Cole, who led the BRT planning process, also talks about how traffic continues to increase in Montgomery County.

For almost 5 years, Montgomery County has been working on a plan for a countywide BRT network, including routes on major corridors like Rockville Pike, Route 29, Georgia Avenue, and Veirs Mill Road. The plan, which the Planning Board approved last month, has significant issues, but it's still a huge step forward for the county as it seeks to accommodate new residents and workers while helping everyone get around more quickly and affordably.

We don't have room on our streets today to accommodate everyone in a car today, let alone in the future. If done properly, and if given its own dedicated lanes, BRT can give people a new transportation choice that's faster than driving will ever be in many of the county's congested corridors. We simply cannot afford not to make a significant investment in new transit that can support future growth, economic development, and environmental stewardship.

The plan goes before the County Council this fall, but first, they will hold two public hearings on September 24 and 26 to hear from the community. If you'd like to show your support for BRT, you can visit CSG's Next Generation of Transit website to learn more or visit the council's website to sign up to testify or send written comments.

Dan Reed is an urban planner at Nelson\Nygaard. He 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. All opinions are his own. 


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Would you please arrange CSG to caption the video? And I suggest GGW established a policy requiring all video be captioned.

There are many people who are deaf and hard of hearing. And Washington Metro area has the largest deaf/HH professionals per capita.

by Dave on Aug 22, 2013 1:05 pm • linkreport

Very nice. I'm a skeptic about those driverless cars Google is touting, but what about driverless BRT? Especially given some of those tight routes shown on the video.

by Thayer-D on Aug 22, 2013 1:14 pm • linkreport

Dave --

Thanks for your feedback on the captioning. As CSG's Communications Manager, I wanted to let you know that it's something we're looking into, but don't have available just yet. It's definitely on our radar as we start producing more videos, though - thanks!

by Aimee Custis on Aug 22, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

Here's the YouTube video, which is indeed captioned. Enjoy!

(If the embed doesn't work, here's a plain old link.)

by Aimee Custis on Aug 22, 2013 2:30 pm • linkreport

A well done and compelling video, thanks!

As for the need for BRT, my gut tells me that as the density of road lanes increases at a given location, that adding new road lanes becomes increasingly less productive at increasing road carrying capacity by some exponential decay function. What with shortened distances between busy intersections and more interference from cars having to change more lanes to get from the right to left lane, etc. At some point, a mass transit solution like BRT has to be the only way to effectively increase transportation capacity and parts of Montgomery County must be near to that point already.

Any studies about this?

by Dave S on Aug 22, 2013 8:26 pm • linkreport

Great video. Would this inevitably involve taking away lanes from cars? How do they plan to respond to the pushback on that?

by Avery on Aug 23, 2013 4:37 pm • linkreport

FWIW, BRT is best for long distance travel, and not for trip chaining going from "shopping center to shopping center."

The video is attractively produced, but doesn't really discuss how BRT specifically could improve what we might call sector to sector and intra-sector (using MoCo's planning term of "sectors") which probably are the units of interest as it relates to solving the kinds of problems that Ms. Hoffman and others describe.

... although as I said, I don't think BRT is designed to facilitate that kind of transit.

by Richard Layman on Aug 23, 2013 9:05 pm • linkreport

WHat I maybe should have said instead is, that BRT works best as a trunkline service, complemented by intra-district services developed around BRT stations as nodes. That's how it works on Wilshire Blvd. in LA.

by Richard Layman on Aug 24, 2013 1:33 pm • linkreport

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