As reported on WTOP, a County Council committee has approved $7.5 million in design funding for the Route 29 BRT as well as funding to continue work on the Route 355 BRT. The Route 29 BRT should begin operations in 2020.
The current plan, which is set to put 14 buses on the road in Montgomery County by late 2019, would see the express buses run on the shoulders of Route 29 between the Burtonsville Park and Ride and Industrial Drive and in regular traffic between and downtown Silver Spring. The county projects the buses running every 15 minutes outside rush hour and twice as often during rush hour would draw about 13,000 daily weekday riders in 2020 (nearly 4,000 of them new transit riders who would otherwise drive) and 20,000 in 2040 after additional development happens in and around White Oak.
While the buses would save significant time for commuters riding the length of the corridor by running on the shoulder at the northern end of the route, Marc Elrich and other supporters believe a dedicated lane along much of the rest of the line is crucial to making it a dramatic improvement over today’s options.
The Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee directed the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to come up with a plan for a detailed study of how to implement dedicated lanes for the buses.
Four Corners resident Sean Emerson submitted a plan council members found particularly appealing that would provide one, reversible dedicated bus lane between White Oak and Four Corners, two dedicated lanes for a stretch south of that, and one dedicated lane past Sligo Creek Parkway.