As a reader of this blog, you know that Friends of White Flint believes that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is the right solution for the traffic on 355. We’ve posted before that congestion in this region is only getting worse – and is projected to do so substantially. We must seek a sustainable solution. On May 16th, FoWF testified before the County Planning Board in support of a BRT plan that dedicates lanes to the rapid transit vehicles. In areas of Rockville Pike/Wisconsin Avenue that are already constricted, that means repurposing lanes presently used for cars.
In fact, we believe that dedicated lanes are the only way this plan will reach its potential. Otherwise, these “rapid transit” vehicles will just be vehicles sitting in traffic along with everyone else. By dedicating lanes with frequent stations, the rapid transit vehicles will move swiftly and reliably – moving more people in the same amount of space. Community concern has been vocalized, particularly in areas south of White Flint, and this has prompted the County Planning Board to extend its deadline for comments from today until June 7th.
It would be a shame for this concept to be derailed, pardon the pun, because of misunderstandings about the project. Rapid transit is a successfully functioning system in many urban parts of the world and is the flexible, cost-efficient solution to our record-breaking traffic problem. It’s been suggested that resources would be better spent by improving Metro and bus service. But, the Metro stations between Friendship Heights and Rockville are not as well-spaced as they are downtown, leaving unwalkable gaps. Similarly, there’s only so much we can do to improve existing bus service when its reliability deteriorates due to traffic delays.
As we’ve said, by taking fewer than 1% of cars from the roads, we will feel a substantial difference in our traffic. But, in order for folks to leave their cars behind, we need to give them a fast and reliable alternative. BRT is the solution and, if you agree, please let the Planning Board know by emailing them by June 7th at MCP-Chairman@mncppc-mc.org.
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