Greater Greater Washington

Transit


Montgomery County added 100,000 residents since 2002, but driving didn't increase

Montgomery County has 100,000 more residents than 10 years ago, but the amount of driving in the county has actually stayed the same, says a new study on how people get around. Meanwhile, more people are walking and biking inside the Beltway, and bus ridership is growing well outside it.


Montgomery County's population has grown, but the amount of driving miles hasn't.
Graph from the Planning Department.

Drivers traveled about 7.3 million miles on state roads in the county in 2012. It's a slight decrease from 2011, but about the same as in 2002, when the county had just over 900,000 residents, compared to 1.005 million residents today. It's in line with both regional and national trends, and suggests that people didn't stop driving simply because of the Great Recession.

The results come from the Mobility Assessment Report, which the Planning Department conducts every few years to identify Montgomery County's biggest transportation needs. County planners measured pedestrian, bicycle, and car traffic throughout the area, in addition to looking at transit ridership.

Silver Spring has more foot traffic, Bethesda has more cyclists

Planners counted the number of pedestrians at 171 locations and the number of cyclists at 25 locations across the county, and plan to do more detailed studies in the future. Not surprisingly, the most walkers and bikers can be found in the county's urban centers, including Silver Spring, Bethesda, and Wheaton, as well as White Flint.


9,500 people use the intersection of Georgia and Colesville each day. All photos by the author unless noted.

The county's busiest pedestrian intersection is Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring, with 9,500 pedestrians each day. (By comparison, the intersection of 7th and H streets NW in the District sees 29,764 pedestrians daily.) All of the county's busiest intersections for cyclists were in Bethesda; number 1 is Woodmont Avenue and Montgomery Lane, with 163 bikes during the morning and evening rush hours.

More bus riders in the Upcounty

Montgomery's busiest Metro stations are inside the Beltway, including Silver Spring, Bethesda, and Friendship Heights, as well as Shady Grove, a major park-and-ride station. The most-used Metrobus routes are also closer in, like the C2/C4, which serves Langley Park, Wheaton, and Twinbrook and serves over 11,000 people each day, and the J line, which serves Bethesda and Silver Spring.

Surprisingly, the county's busiest Ride On routes are now in the Upcounty: the 55, which runs along Route 355 between Rockville and Germantown, and the 59, which serves Rockville, Gaithersburg, and Montgomery Village. These routes all carry between 3,000 and 4,000 riders each day; the 55 is one of the county's most frequent bus routes, running every 10 minutes during most of the day.


A Ride On bus in Germantown.

That said, transit use in the county has fluctuated in recent years. After decreasing during the recession, daily Metrorail ridership has remained stable since 2009 and fell slightly from 28,504 riders between July 2012 and July 2013 to 27,360 during the following year. About 57,000 people rode Metrobus each day over the past year, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous year.

Most transit riders in the county take Ride On, which carried 88,370 people between July 2012 and July 2013. While it's a slight increase from the year before, it's still 7,000 fewer riders than in 2008, when the county made significant service cuts that were never restored.

More people are using the ICC, but fewer than expected

Meanwhile, more people are using the Intercounty Connector, the highway between Gaithersburg and Laurel north of the Beltway that opened in 2012 and will finish construction this year. An average of 30,000 vehicles used the toll road each weekday in 2012, while traffic rates have increased about 3% each month.

But traffic on the ICC is still much lower than state officials' estimates, raising the question if it was worth the $2.4 billion cost. It does appear to have taken cars off of parallel roads, like Route 108, Route 198, and Norbeck Road, where traffic has fallen by up to 16.9% since the highway opened.

Some roads are always busy

Planners noted several roads that have consistently high congestion, like Rockville Pike, Georgia Avenue, Veirs Mill Road, and Colesville Road. It's no coincidence that these are four of the corridors where both the county and the State of Maryland are studying the potential for Bus Rapid Transit.

There isn't a lot of room to widen these roads or build more interchanges, meaning we have to find new ways to add capacity. Trends suggest that Montgomery County residents are driving less and using transit more, at least when it's frequent and reliable. And as the county continues to grow, we'll have to provide more alternatives to driving if we want to offer a way out of traffic.

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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I was killing time in Rockville a couple of days ago while my car was in the shop, and decided to walk a couple of miles down the 355 corridor. While there were sidewalks almost everywhere I wanted to go, I experienced a number of crosswalk signals that did not work (either the buttons were broken, or simply did not result in a walk signal). This meant that I had to go when the car signal was green, though the walk signal stayed red. Dangerous and unacceptable.

Many stretches of the sidewalk along 355 are unpleasantly close to speeding traffic, without any separation via landscaping or other means. I tried to walk as much as possible along the many strip malls instead of directly along 355, but these are not designed to be traveled between. In addition to the signs in each parking lot state they will tow your car if you leave the particular shopping center, there are inevitably fences or other landscaping barriers preventing foot travel directly between each strip mall. These are designed to be driven to, one-by-one.

Other than the new downtown development in Rockville, you can't help but get the feeling that you are not supposed to traverse this area by foot.

by engrish_major on Apr 23, 2014 10:53 am • linkreport

VMT doesn't move, but roads and intersections get more congested! magic!

by charlie on Apr 23, 2014 11:04 am • linkreport

Just a small correction - the C2/C4 ridership you mentioned is measured in trips/boardings. There is no way to disaggregate actually people taking those trips. Great article otherwise!!!

by AA on Apr 23, 2014 11:41 am • linkreport

Most of the people riding buses on 355 come from Veirs Mill Road. Most popular stop being MCC Rockville.
Despite it being considered a busy corridor, many of 355 bus stops don't even have benches.
The push for BRT keeps being done by "355 only" people who neither want the bus to stop withing MCC nor come from Veirs Mill through First Street. Complete rejection of the needs of the public gets venerated by the pro-BRT lobby.
Veirs Mill BRT got pushed in for approval without adequate public input just trying to get it done before Navarro changed jobs and before Christmas Break, irregardless of how the public was mostly unaware about it. Approved after only one public Council meeting allowing general comments. It's absurd to think that millions and construction and lane closures are being proposed (and pre-approved, without environmental study) to be paid out without adequate discussion. You'd think it was about spending as much cash down here on unwanted road changes to avoid it being spent up in Gaithersburg.. or you'd think that if you're thinking what they're doing out, and who is behind this.

by asffa on Apr 23, 2014 12:04 pm • linkreport

Montgomery County's busiest pedestrian intersection (Georgia and Colesville) is nevertheless quite hostile to foot traffic. Pedestrian usage (and DTSS retail) would soar if DTSS were made more pedestrian friendly.

by Paul on Apr 23, 2014 1:24 pm • linkreport

^+1 Paul

Yep, there's a reason the pedestrian traffic in Silver Spring is usually focused on Ellsworth and Fenton. Colesville and Georgia need a road diet.

by Nick on Apr 23, 2014 1:29 pm • linkreport

Every time I ride the ICC I notice it keeps getting busier. So much for the "white elephant" status it was designated by naysayers and other anti growth groups who fall into the Sierra Club/ACT umbrella. So its either induced demand if it becomes congested or a white elephant if it is not.. Can't have it both ways. the ICC is a success and suburban Maryland will continue to reap rewards for decades to come. Opportunistic groups such as Sierra Club/ACT will not hesitate to fabricate lies to kill transportation infrastructure in America.

by Cyrus on Apr 23, 2014 1:40 pm • linkreport

MoCo has a ways to go, but this is still impressive.

One of the things anti-transit anti-bike NIMBYs like to say is that American are so attached to the automobile that they will drive no matter what, and so we need to design all transportation with cars in mind first because that is what people will use. Statistics such as these prove the NIMBYs wrong in that if you give people alternatives to driving, they will use them.

by KingmanPark on Apr 23, 2014 1:41 pm • linkreport

@charlie: Roads and intersections did not get more congested: "... several roads that have consistently high congestion..."

i.e., VMT did not change, and congestion did not change. Math.

by alurin on Apr 23, 2014 1:42 pm • linkreport

Is that 7 million or 7 billion miles? 7 million sounds really low.

by BTA on Apr 23, 2014 1:55 pm • linkreport

@Cyrus

Your anecdotal observations are backed up by evidence.

AADT counts for the ICC at Toll #11

2012: 24,979 (http://roads.maryland.gov/Traffic_Volume_Maps/12_Traffic_Volume_Maps.pdf)
2013: 31,892 (http://sha.maryland.gov/Traffic_Volume_Maps/montgomery.pdf)

Unfortunately that's the only data we have yet.

by Nick on Apr 23, 2014 1:56 pm • linkreport

@BTA

It's billions.

by MLD on Apr 23, 2014 1:59 pm • linkreport

Since the projections for the ICC were 52,013 to 56,175 vehicles by now, it's still a white elephant. If it were a transit project, it would be held up to ridicule.

by alurin on Apr 23, 2014 2:12 pm • linkreport

@alurin

Thx, I didn't know what the projections were. Do you have a link? I'm curious.

by Nick on Apr 23, 2014 2:21 pm • linkreport

English_major nor does it feel like, by bus. Bus stops with no benches, the main stores ex. Trader joes, Microcenter, generally placed furthest back from the road with the stops, a situation that wouldn't be altered in the least by BRT, nor accessibility for people to use such a bus made any easier. As you already noted, anyone wanting to ride any bus who couldn't manage there by walking would get towed. Then if you get far enough, you have the ridiculous, impassable design at Randolph and 355 caused by when they diverted Montrose Pkwy. Someone either decided they'd divide Rockville that way, or just managed that through poor design. anyway

by asffa on Apr 23, 2014 2:24 pm • linkreport

@charlie "VMT doesn't move, but roads and intersections get more congested! magic!"

@alurin "VMT did not change, and congestion did not change. Math."

Actually, Charlie could be right - except about the magic. 900,000 new residents surely increased the number of cars in MoCo. The VMT data is an estimate of total annual mileage driven, not of the number of cars on the road.

Increase the number of cars by 10%, reduce the amount of driving everyone does by 10%: VMT would stay the same, but congestion could still increase at certain periods if more people were driving during those periods (e.g., rush hours). Math.

by John Henry Holliday on Apr 23, 2014 2:29 pm • linkreport

Oops, meant 100,000 new residents.

by John Henry Holliday on Apr 23, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

Interesting stats. Driving will likely continue to decrease or at least won't grow at previous levels relative to population growth.

Aside from Clarksburg, most new residential development in the county has been dense mixed-use/transit oriented, decreasing the need for 1 car for each adult. I'm not just talking about multi-family units either. Most sfh's in MoCo are now being built in planned mixed-use communities within close proximity to transit, and most are townhomes. Crown Farm, King Farm, Shady Grove Watkins Mill Town Center, and Shady Grove Station (EYA) are all large mixed-use, transit accessible communities with mixes of single- multi-family dwellings.

On the transit side, the Purple Line, CCT, BRT lines, and future MARC improvements will only accelerate the decline.

I figured the Colesville-Georgia intersection was the busiest in the county. Everytime I go through it there area always a ton of pedestrians crossing, no matter what time of day/night. The Wayne Ave-Georgia Ave intersection can't be that far behind.

by King Terrapin on Apr 23, 2014 2:53 pm • linkreport

Either the stats are flawed or they are quoting more poor people moving into Montgomery County.

by tom on Apr 23, 2014 3:05 pm • linkreport

When those kids grow up, what will happen?

by asffa on Apr 23, 2014 6:58 pm • linkreport

Can anyone explain how the Metrorail ridership numbers are calculated? The report says average weekday ridership is 27,360, but total average weekday boardings at the county's stations are something like 80,000. Does the "ridership" number only include trips starting and ending within the county?

by jimble on Apr 23, 2014 8:27 pm • linkreport

Rockville continues to work on its plan for an improved 355 with wider, safer sidewalks, better pedestrian crossings, and separate bike lanes, among other changes. There has been room for public comment and I believe will be more once the planning board releases its version of the Rockville's Pike plan. There should also be opportunity to coordinate BRT with upgrades to TOD--it's worth speaking up to make sure this happens. The fact that the 55 bus is so well used despite poor conditions along 355 shows great possibility for the future. The 46 bus, which serves 355 south of Rockville Station, is undependable and inadequate; better service there would likely attract a large number of passengers. I expect a really attractive, well run BRT to exceed projected passenger numbers.

by Ethan on Apr 23, 2014 9:42 pm • linkreport

Ethan Is the plan to close half the driving lanes?

by asffa on Apr 23, 2014 10:54 pm • linkreport

No, there are no plans to close or repurpose any driving lanes north of the beltway.

by Ethan on Apr 23, 2014 11:02 pm • linkreport

"Opportunistic groups such as Sierra Club/ACT will not hesitate to fabricate lies to kill transportation infrastructure in America."
by Cyrus
so will "Smart Growth" committees.

by asffa on Apr 23, 2014 11:07 pm • linkreport

Ethan So no roads will be closed or repurposed on 355?

by asffa on Apr 23, 2014 11:08 pm • linkreport

"Yep, there's a reason the pedestrian traffic in Silver Spring is usually focused on Ellsworth and Fenton. Colesville and Georgia need a road diet." by Nick

So people make a city area "walkable" and then people walk it, and then that's seen as a failure?

by asffa on Apr 23, 2014 11:34 pm • linkreport

The MAR is one of the most low utility report that the Planning Dept puts out. Most of the data in the report is useless and irrelevant, for example, the CLV reported for Darnestown Rd/Riffle Ford Rd intersection is from data that is over 5 years old!! The high CLV reported for the intersection was questioned then due to turning movement count validity, but yet, it is still in the report! Data for several of the "top 10" worst intersections are more than a year old and at least two are about 5 years old! Virtually useless in the traffic world, especially when some of the intersections reflect data from 2004 and 2006!! Also, what is the utility of listing MD 355 and Cedar Lane as the worst intersection given the ongoing improvements (which are only noted later)?

While CLV is useful discrete data (though useless when tied to County's Policy Area Congestion Standard), TTI hopefully in future years will be an extremely useful indicator of real travel congestion. The TTI documenting MD 355 within the Shady Grove policy area as being the most congested and especially noting congestion in Clarksburg can be directly correlated to the need to complete the missing section of Midcounty Highway (M-83). Completing the roadway will provide much relief to travel congestion all along the east side of I-270.

The "claim and the conclusion" that "driving did not increase" based on information in the MAR is pretty close to putting someone's professional credibility on the line because the decrease in VMT quite likely is not statistically significant and there probably is no correlation between number of people driving and VMT in such an abstract data chart. Note that the data is only for State roads and does not include County roads. It would have been nice if the MAR included data for County roads as well; who knows, it may very well show a corresponding increase in VMT!!

The stabilization of the VMT could also be a bad omen for Montgomery County from an economic growth standpoint. This could be just the proof that Virginia as well as Frederick, Howard, and Prince George's Counties are taking jobs away from Montgomery. There is nothing "smart" about that (MoCo politicos can pat themselves on their back for a job well done). The reality is that for a significant number of future years (beyond 2040), driving will still be the mode of preferred and practical travel in American cities. The MWCOG/TPB projections show hardly any shift in mode into 2040. For many in the County (over 40% of the County population) north of Viers Mill Rd and Shady Grove Rd, BRT will be a white elephant, if it ever can be built at all.

The "claim" about more Upcounty bus riders should also be qualified. The statements in the article relative to RideOn Routes 55 and 59 reflects a general lack of understanding of these routes. Sure, there are a lot of riders, but most riders are short-trippers on both these routes. No one in their sane mind will ride the entire length these routes! This is quite likely going to be the cause for failure of CCT as well. The fact is that there is no ridership to financially support a MD 355 BRT north of Shady Grove even if it could be built by taking lanes away from MD 355 and by acquiring very expensive rights-of-way. The end result could be that BRT will operate as worse as general traffic (higher congestion with MD 355 lanes taken) and significant fare recovery loss. The article notes the obvious that fare increases quite like may have decreased transit use. This is not just a RideOn issue, it is a WMATA issues as well.

Data is data, and I hope people will be careful making wild claims and conclusions without any understanding of complicated underlying issues and technical aspects.

by Realist on Apr 24, 2014 12:11 pm • linkreport

"This could be just the proof that Virginia as well as Frederick, Howard, and Prince George's Counties are taking jobs away from Montgomery. "

1. Did the total number of employed people increase alongside the population or was it all seniors, kids, and UE?
2. If more MoCo people are commuting to work outside the county, one would expect more VMT on state roads, no?
3. It could be fewer people commuting INTO MoCo, I suppose
4. the location in FFX with the most job growth (apart from BRAC locations) is Tysons, which will increasingly be transit oriented.
5. The stable auto mode share MWCOG projects is despite income growth and further decentralization of employment from DC, both factors that one would expect to lead to increased auto mode share.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 24, 2014 12:20 pm • linkreport

Nick( Colesville and Georgia need a road diet.)

So what you are really saying is in order to reduce population is to make driving difficult in Silver Spring. However no one ever pushes a road diet option in downtown DC(along the National Mall), Arlington(Rosslyn, Ballston, Clarendon, Pentagon City, and Crystal City), Tysons Corner, Fairfax, Reston, Sterling, and Springfield.

by tom on Apr 24, 2014 1:05 pm • linkreport

tom

actually arlington is implementing two way traffic on previously one way streets in Crytal City, to calm traffic. There are many of us who would support road diets on arterials in FFX but VDOT won't allow it - they do allow (and there have been)road diets on less congested streets in Fairfax county.

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=road+diet+fairfax&gbv=2&oq=road+diet+fairfax&gs_l=heirloom-hp.3...687.3916.0.4259.23.15.3.5.5.0.156.1529.9j6.15.0....0...1ac.1.34.heirloom-hp..4.19.1591.39Gyk_iIQa4

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 24, 2014 1:16 pm • linkreport

Though one of the first local road diet examples I remember hearing about locally was on Lawyer's road in Fairfax ;).

by drumz on Apr 24, 2014 1:31 pm • linkreport

I would concur that Georgia and Colesville need a road diet, if nothing else, to put bike lanes in. There are shiny new Cabi stations in Silver Spring, but I never see anyone riding them. They put bikeshare in, but did not do anything to make riding in downtown Silver Spring any more pleasant. Any cycling is a battle on those two roads because of the multi-lane, highway-like atmosphere.

by engrish_major on Apr 24, 2014 1:48 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity, What does that have to do with US Highway 1(Jefferson Davis Highway), US Highway 29(Lee Highway), US Highway 50(Arlington Blvd.), Glebe Road, Fairfax Drive, and Wilson Blvd in Arlington??????

by tom on Apr 24, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

US 1 in Arlington does not pass through the middle of Crytasl City, though it does seperate CC from Potomac City. IIUC its a VDOT controlled road, and Arlco can do nothing about it. LRT/BRT will go down roads IN CC. I think there has been talk about BRT on Rte 50, not sure if VDOT can stop that. Wilson and FFX blvd have bike lanes.

There is a road diet on the way on Army Navy Drive, near Pentagon City, BTW. basically its happening bit by bit. Where its not its because local circumstances don't make it feasible, there are institutional obstacles from VDOT, etc. Its not because somehow road diets are unknown in Va, are incompatable with growth, or are a conspiracy against MoCo.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 24, 2014 2:49 pm • linkreport

drumz, And they just widen US Highway 29/50(Fairfax Blvd.) through Fairfax City Limits.

by tom on Apr 24, 2014 2:51 pm • linkreport

tom

if you think road diets in MoCo are a bad idea, by all means make the case, but please stop pointing to NoVa as a counter example - your posts seem to ignore the cases where road diets are done in NoVa, and the instances where the locality wants to do it but is overridden by VDOT.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 24, 2014 2:55 pm • linkreport

engrish_major, Georgia Ave and Colesvillr Rd are the only major roads through silver spring. The only to reduce any travel lanes on the two most busiest roads in silver spring is to build I-270(8-14 lanes) through Downtown Silver Spring.....

by tom on Apr 24, 2014 3:00 pm • linkreport

@tom as usual, you're reading selectively. I think you'll find people complaining about VDOT's obsession with road widening in multiple stories just in the past couple of days.

As to your question about what VDOT has to do with roads in Arlington, it is VDOT policies which forbid arlington from taking lanes on the US routes. On the roads where arlington actually does set policy they have been trying to improve the pedestrian experience. E.g., at fairfax/glebe/wilson, they're in the middle of a project to pull out slip lanes and reduce the road ROW right now.

by Mike on Apr 24, 2014 3:02 pm • linkreport

Tom, this is not the year 1955.

by engrish_major on Apr 24, 2014 3:03 pm • linkreport

no one ever pushes a road diet option in downtown DC

Except for Pennsylvania Avenue. And 15th Street. And L Street. And M Street. And K Street.

by David C on Apr 24, 2014 3:05 pm • linkreport

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

by tom on Apr 24, 2014 3:09 pm • linkreport

I dont see how it shows a hidden agenda in MoCo. In fact whats being forced on NoVa is the exact opposite wide roads that interfere with our attempts to improve walking, biking and transit.

Im also unclear on what you mean by the masses. Here in NoVa many working class people use mass transit, walk, and bike. And many very affluent people drive.

look there are folks in MoCo who went to make things easier for people not using the auto, by adding road diets. There are some motorists strongly opposed to that. Some of those motorists may actually be less affluent than the average MoCo resident, or they may perceive themselves as oppressed because they are african american. I dunno, I dont follow MoCo politics THAT closely. If you dont like BRT, or whatever else MCDOT is doing, MoCo has elections. go organize.

But the fact is the same rationales for multimodalism that exist in MoCo exist in NoVa, and local govts are pushing similar solutions to varying degrees (more so in ArlCo and Alex than in FFX, more in FFX than in LoCo or PWC) and that is held back to a considerable degree by VDOT (that MAY change eventually)

Believe me VDOT is not doing so out a concern for egalitarianism or racial justice.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 24, 2014 3:17 pm • linkreport

"AWalkerInTheCity, you keep saying VDOT but the roads You people are attacking in Suburban Maryland are runned by State owned MDOT.... "

I am not attacking any roads in maryland - I am not discussing any roads in Maryland. I am responding to your statements about NoVa. You ask why Jeff Davis highway has not been studied for a road diet - because Arlington County does not control Jeff Davis highway. BTW if they did, it wouldn't be called Jeff Davis highway anymore. VDOT, which opposes road diets, defends the name, and ArlCo, which dotes on non-auto modes, hates it. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 24, 2014 3:20 pm • linkreport

AWITC - I should have said in my post that "This could be just the proof that Virginia as well as Frederick, Howard, and Prince George's Counties are having better economic growth compared to Montgomery." It was not my intent to say "jobs".

You ask good questions. The fact is that the aggregate modeling data probably is not going to tell the whole story.

1. Yes, MoCo's problem is that they cannot keep the young people here. MoCo is dealing with a high senior population and tremendous growth in school population driven by immigrants. All new residents seems to have good paying jobs and settle along transit corridors, mostly Shady Grove and south. More affluent immigrants with high paying jobs are in Clarksburg, who are auto dependent, but pay significant tax money every year to the County with no infrastructure to show for it.

2. I do not think the jobs situation in MoCo has changed much in the last 10 years to affect VMT. I know of folks working in the tech sector and made extremely good money who moved out to NoVA from MoCo. At some point people have to wonder why you have to keep supporting the follies of MoCo politicians who are just happy to throw around other peoples money.

3. Fewer people to MoCo could be a legitimate reason. I don't know. But I can't think of many new big employers moving into MoCo. MoCo lost jobs to NoVA.

4. Good point. Again, the political process in MoCo is so screwed up to the point that folks on the Council reduced Planning Board recommended density in Chevy Chase Lake where the Purple Line will have a station! I guess the DC smart growth and transit folks got caught in some traffic congestion while this was going on. A great missed opportunity.

5. Not sure if any of these factors are true. Income growth? Only folks on the MoCo County Council got a 100% raise :) Job decentralization from DC? The Feds have lost jobs!

In any case, the future growth should be in activity centers served by transit, which could help with reducing the VMT. That is long way out. But we have grown and the workforce comes (and will continue to come from) PA and WV.

by Realist on Apr 24, 2014 3:46 pm • linkreport

"Again, the political process in MoCo is so screwed up to the point that folks on the Council reduced Planning Board recommended density in Chevy Chase Lake where the Purple Line will have a station! I guess the DC smart growth and transit folks got caught in some traffic congestion while this was going on. A great missed opportunity."

i have no idea what that last sentence is supposed to mean. GGW and CSG are somehow responsible for the decisions of the MoCo council?

"5. Not sure if any of these factors are true. Income growth? Only folks on the MoCo County Council got a 100% raise :) Job decentralization from DC? The Feds have lost jobs!"

I was referring to the MWCOG number you cited on auto mode share, which I assumed is for the whole region, and for the future. Income is I believe projected to increase in that period, and yes, employment is becoming more decentralized within the region. Especially private sector employment, but also Fed jobs due to BRAC. In Va the movement of DoD jobs from Crytal City to Ft Belvoir has certainly had an impact on auto mode share.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 24, 2014 3:53 pm • linkreport

So no roads will be closed or repurposed on 355?

So far as I know. 355 is a state road, so the City of Rockville or Montgomery County can do a whole lot of zilch about the road itself. The Rockville Pike Plan mostly uses public access easements. You can read more about the plan on the City's website: http://www.rockvillemd.gov/index.aspx?NID=656

by Shannon on Apr 24, 2014 9:16 pm • linkreport

@Shannon: To be fair, Georgia Ave, Colesville Rd, and Viers Mill Rd are also state roads.

Meanwhile, an earlier comment by AWITC brings up a curiosity. He notes that Route 1 in Arlington is VDOT-controlled (correct) and they don't want to change the name from Jefferson Davis Hwy. Meanwhile, the adjacent section of Route 1 in Alexandria is CITY-controlled, yet still has the same Jefferson Davis Hwy name. In addition, going further south, Route 1 in Fairfax County is again VDOT-controlled, but is Richmond Hwy instead of Jefferson Davis Hwy.

by Froggie on Apr 25, 2014 8:23 am • linkreport

AWalkerIntheCity - Some people move from Northern Virginia and DC because the traffic there is so congested and terrible, and now Northern Virginians and DC residents want Montgomery COunty to have "road diets" "BRT" etc. to make it as bad as their own homes.
Stop being jealous and leave it alone.

by asffa on Apr 25, 2014 10:53 pm • linkreport

Some people move from Northern Virginia and DC because the traffic there is so congested and terrible,

Then those people are delusional. Driving within the city, even during rush hour, is easier and shorter than driving in plenty of the congested parts of the burbs. Far more cross streets and different ways to avoid traffic on arterials.

Desire to ruin a perfectly uncongested MoCo is what's driving BRT proposals? Uhh no - it's the complaints about all the traffic from people who live in MoCo!

by MLD on Apr 26, 2014 8:12 am • linkreport

MLD Nobody using common sense reacts to a heavily used road with "lets close it! Let's take lanes away!" "ROAD DIET". The solutions they have or proposed for NoVa were brand new Metro lines, train lines, new roads, etc. They talk about *building* more there.
Legitimate complaints about the current Red Line service and focus on work there is treated like whining here and MontCo gets suggested they just _wait. People will/have to stop using it to get to work when it is not reliable or safe- that is not acceptable. Also not acceptable - to me - I think who is driving some BRT proposals are those who oppose long-overdue road fixes in Gaithersburg.
Chevy Chase, Old Town Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, Bethesda, all those Smart Growth advocates - they all "LOVE BRT" long as it's for Wheaton/Glenmont/Rockville- who don't *want* to be thrown under the bus. Nor have expensive, worse service - BRT routes that don't go into MCC Rockville Campus, that stop fewer places, that don't run from Veirs Mill to 355. Stupid, and just useless. At a cost approaching billions, serving fewer people.
In the interim, the repairs, the benches, shelters, and service improvements and how the Red Line doesn't work, etc. aren't getting these lobbyist's or "smart growth" proponent's attention. You would think if someone is serious about making 10% more people ride the bus, they'd make sure there was a bench, add bike racks, etc. and want to improve the service.
Again I think what's driving BRT proposals are attempts to divert work away from Gaithersburg road improvements and to NIMBY it to towns with less political pull. A way to appear good "We love BRT!" while being evil, essentially.

by asffa on Apr 26, 2014 9:50 am • linkreport

MLD Nobody using common sense reacts to a heavily used road with "lets close it! Let's take lanes away!" "ROAD DIET"

What if the common sense is wrong? What if the actual impacts on traffic are more counterintuitive than one would think with 'common sense.'

by Alex B. on Apr 26, 2014 10:05 am • linkreport

Alex B I just read a proposal to "Street diet" 355 by taking away driving lanes and making them street parking.
I see no reason not to follow my "common sense" and oppose these concepts until I actually see this reduce congestion.

by asffa on Apr 26, 2014 10:17 am • linkreport

Ah the good old conspiracy that says MoCos efforts to improve transit is actually a conspiracy by NOVA officials to keep traffic bad.

Because as we all know. There is no traffic in Northern Virginia.

by Drumz on Apr 26, 2014 10:17 am • linkreport

Oh my mistake, the correct euphemism is "road diet"

by asffa on Apr 26, 2014 10:18 am • linkreport

Drumz who says that?

by asffa on Apr 26, 2014 10:20 am • linkreport

Drumz who says that?

Uhh, you said:

now Northern Virginians and DC residents want Montgomery COunty to have "road diets" "BRT" etc. to make it as bad as their own homes.

We get it, you don't like transit. Roads are for moving as many cars as possible, not as many people as possible.

by MLD on Apr 26, 2014 12:44 pm • linkreport

MLD
Impossible not to be unfairly criticized if I don't follow the lobby herd, but I don't think I deserve such wrath..

How about you criticize the people who say they want "road diets and BRT
- but haven't improved the local bus service and stops to see what impact that could have without spending nearly a billion dollars.

- "Love BRT" but not where they live - but in Wheaton/Glenmont/Rockville.

- "Love BRT" and want a "Road Diet" on Rockville's 355 because they don't want the long overdue Mid County Highway to be built that'd mean people go directly from Gaithersburg to 270. (P.S. This RUSE is transparent - "Committee")

- "Love BRT" though it's outrageously expensive, but think "the county couldn't afford" to put a stop with a bench in MCC's Takoma Park Campus on Georgia Ave.

- "Love BRT" but want MCC's Rockville campus to walk an extra mile a day to use the bus.
---
MLD - Having just driven Georgia because Transit Doesn't Run Right on Saturdays. you trying to tell me what I like/want this afternoon was amusing.

by asffa on Apr 26, 2014 3:58 pm • linkreport

but haven't improved the local bus service and stops to see what impact that could have without spending nearly a billion dollars.
The BRT plan is mostly about addressing peak-period travel, when MoCo already has robust service.

"Love BRT" but not where they live - but in Wheaton/Glenmont/Rockville.

Is this assumption about who is pushing the BRT plan rooted in any sort of evidence?

"Love BRT" and want a "Road Diet" on Rockville's 355 because they don't want the long overdue Mid County Highway to be built that'd mean people go directly from Gaithersburg to 270. (P.S. This RUSE is transparent - "Committee")

The Mid-County Highway doesn't connect Gaithersburg to 270. Gaithersburg is already right next to 270.

"Love BRT" though it's outrageously expensive, but think "the county couldn't afford" to put a stop with a bench in MCC's Takoma Park Campus on Georgia Ave.

Who are you quoting who said that?

"Love BRT" but want MCC's Rockville campus to walk an extra mile a day to use the bus.

Again, who has said anything about MCC other than you? And since when is the BRT plan in any sort of stage where stop locations have been finalized?

by MLD on Apr 26, 2014 4:28 pm • linkreport

MLD This post http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/21886/brainstorming-ways-to-bring-bus-rapid-transit-to-rockville-from-better-sidewalks-to-a-tunnel/
I was quoting someone from a phone call making such a request.
And here, read something about Rockville 355 traffic made worse by Gaithersburg roads not being built http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/corridor/Resources/Files/pdf/PublicHearing/MCS_Briefing_Gaithersburg_1305.pdf
Then see who opposes all the road building options

Thank you for mentioning how nobody is being direct about station locations - that's been another concern Why should proposals have reached approval without that information clear to the public? So premature.

by asffa on Apr 26, 2014 11:44 pm • linkreport

That's completely normal and necessary. Consider, someone will have the job of deciding potential station locations and that person needs to paid for that work and since it's a job that takes skill it's also not cheap. Imagine the outcry if the county decided they'd spend a bunch of money on designing a system without any debate in whether it's something we want/need?

I promise you there'll be opportunities for input once they start considering stop locations.

by Drumz on Apr 27, 2014 12:37 am • linkreport

I was quoting someone from a phone call making such a request.
Still unclear to me. Looks like from that other post that stops have benches.

And here, read something about Rockville 355 traffic made worse by Gaithersburg roads not being built
This is different from your first statement that said 355 traffic was generated by people just passing through.

Then see who opposes all the road building options
I guess our opinions on who opposes it will have to differ.

Thank you for mentioning how nobody is being direct about station locations - that's been another concern Why should proposals have reached approval without that information clear to the public? So premature.
So which order should it be done in? MoCo should spend a bunch of time and money coming up with a final plan for the entire system, only to have it picked apart and changed by public input? That would be a waste of county resources.

The only "proposals" that have been approved are studying what service could be put into place and what service levels would be appropriate for each corridor. Nobody has voted on "yes we should build THIS plan." So I don't know what you think is premature here.

If your particular issue on this BRT plan is the MCC issue, I think you need to step back and really think about 20 years from now. Will MCC students be better off if no traffic-separated bus is built near the college (so the bus is stuck in regular traffic), but there is stop right by the school, or will they be better off if the bus is much faster but they have to walk a bit further? Or change to a shuttle that loops around campus?

by MLD on Apr 27, 2014 9:57 am • linkreport

MLD - Not all stops have benches. Not even all stops on BRT proposed roads have benches.
- I agree I wasn't clear to how it affects 355 congestion. But it does.
- ok
- Even approvals for six million per road study that doesn't study traffic impact should not have been given without adequate, local public approval and dialogue IMHO. But more it sounded like giving approval for the BRTs themselves in Veirs Mill, which was vastly rushed and premature.
- 20 years - I know it's important to me today that the partly disabled can use buses and get to college. If 40k+ employees were regular to a business that wasn't a college, and they were unusually willing to ride the bus and the only needs many had was an additional half-mile loop, seems wasteful for a replacement bus system not to run the loop. Seems fine to treat college students as well as business employees, in my book.

by asffa on Apr 27, 2014 11:32 am • linkreport

MLD btw, I have complicated feelings about Veirs Mill BRT. I looked at Veirs Mill design, and some alternative plans to skip "BRT" orthodoxy of mid-street stations, limited routes, etc. and instead run more Qbuses in a reversible lane through the medians to 355 and back were things I could support. The design was you cross to the middle of the street and you ride, a pattern I saw in some trains in other cities. I could see 20 year hope for that.
The "precision dance" required "to avoid head-on" collisions based on reversible lanes in the initial proposals I think isn't as big a likelihood when they propose planning to use a loop to turn around - at MCC in fact. MCC buses are super popular, anyway and I worried about diminishing service for Veirs Mill when most are going to 355 destinations.
Even more - Currently the medians are torn up and leveled of greenery and a nearby lane closed at times from construction from the water company working in them - a project that been taking months and causing unpleasant delays all around. If they plan to do a Veirs Mill project, they are going to have to rebuild there anyways, it'd be nice if it could happen now and not redundantly. If they just went "level it the rest of the way - pave, repaint it differently" it'd be an idea. Unlike many targets, there's nothing there - no trees, no pretty median, to preserve. It's a thought.

by asffa on Apr 27, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

MLD before you go look, I didn't explain the Q bus route all that well. Sorry. So don't read my description and bang your head against a keyboard - google it instead.:)

by asffa on Apr 27, 2014 5:18 pm • linkreport

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