Earlier tonight, Friends of White Flint’s Amy Donin testified before the Montgomery County Planning Board in support of Bus Rapid Transit in White Flint. Find our testimony below:
Good evening, Commissioners, my name is Amy Donin and I am here on behalf of the Friends of White Flint.
Friends promotes a sustainable, walkable and engaging White Flint. We include residents, businesses, and property owners and seek consensus to achieve positive solutions. We have been actively involved in the White Flint Sector Plan since 2007, holding hundreds of meetings and meeting with thousands of residents to find consensus and community support for the Plan in place today.
The award-winning White Flint Sector Plan recommends [quote] “a transit-focused, multi-modal mobility system that supports the proposed urban center and local neighborhoods.” More specifically, it suggests Bus Rapid Transit on Rockville Pike, and we believe it is the right solution for this emerging area. We are pleased that the Countywide Transit Corridors Plan includes BRT through White Flint, and notes that “The MD 355 South corridor [where White Flint is] has the highest daily ridership forecast for any corridor evaluated in this Plan.” White Flint is already a nationally recognized example of suburban redevelopment, and is poised to become an economic engine in this county, which is the economic engine for the state of Maryland. But, in order for White Flint to reach its potential, we must have the most forward-thinking infrastructure possible.
Right now, traffic on Rockville Pike through White Flint is no treat. Even without redevelopment, this traffic will only get worse unless we put some smart solutions to work. We use cars because we don’t have a choice. However, with a reliable alternative, we can entice more drivers out of their cars for more of their trips.
We believe that this is only, truly, Rapid Transit when lanes are dedicated for its use. Otherwise, the vehicles are just buses sitting in the same traffic as everyone else. The reliability offered by dedicated lanes gives riders the confidence to trust transit to get them where they need to be, when they need to be there. And, each time a rapid transit vehicle buzzes by cars stalled in gridlock, the system will earn a few new customers.
We are not anti-car, we are pro-options. But, car has long been king on Rockville Pike, and just as we are introducing a new mix of uses on the Pike, we need to introduce new modes of transportation as well. We do not want to welcome our new neighbors and businesses to the area with unmanageable traffic, nor penalize those who are already here, many of whom are excited to be a part of a visionary new community, but are understandably concerned about an increasingly bad traffic situation. A new Rockville Pike is the crux of a new White Flint. We ask that you continue to support the vision of the White Flint Sector Plan with the Countywide Transit Corridors Plan, and not only include BRT on Rockville Pike but also dedicate lanes for transit. Thank you for your time and attention.