MDOT: Great idea, but . . . .

MDOT: Great idea, but . . . .

Friends of White Flint is part of a broad coalition of Montgomery County groups supporting Councilmember Roger Berliner’s attempt to designate Rockville Pike as a “Sustainable Transportation Corridor.” STC designation would permit greater inter-governmental cooperation on transportation issues (meaning Metro), and provide greater access to federal funding. As part of that effort, FoWF and the other organizations (Sierra Club, B-CC Chamber of Commerce, Coalition for Smarter Growth and others) sent a letter to Gov. O’Malley asking for his support for the STC designation.

Now Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley has replied to our letter. Although she noted that “MDOT welcomes a sincere and ongoing discussion of the issues that surround your letter,” Swaim-Staley did not respond directly to the STC proposal.

Instead she talked about the new legal requirements to reduce carbon (which I talked about in both my Sept. 22 testimony to the County Council and in my introduction to the White Flint Town Hall), MDOT’s support for “project development practices that are multi-modal and context-sensitive,” “review and expansion of existing Smart Growth initiatives, and an aggressive transit expansion and transit-oriented develo9pment strategy.”

She even talked about Rockville Pike in White Flint: “In consultation with several partners, MDOT has begun to articulate a process for a unique corridor study that assesses land use and transportation strategies, tentatively called ‘green corridors.'”

Sounds great. But (and you knew there’s going to be a “but”), “Current budgetary constraints, however, are limiting our ability to move forward with such a program at this point.”

Sigh. This is so “White Flint.” Everyone talks about doing something, but never¬†explains where the¬†money will come from to do it. (Except for Montrose Parkway and the new surface parking lot just north of Montrose/Randolph Rd.). All those people talking about great things on Rockville Pike, transit improvements and the like, that we’ll get without the White Flint Plan, need to show us the money. There’s no public money to be had.

Yet another example of how we need the kind of comprehensive plan, with “buy-in” from all stakeholders, that the White Flint Sector Plan represents. It’s the only way to pay for what everybody says they want.

Here’s a copy of the MDOT letter I received today: MDOT letter on STC

Barnaby Zall

Barnaby Zall


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