MCDOT wants your input on the North Bethesda Bus Rapid Transit Route

Pease take a brief project survey to help refine goals and recommendations for the  North Bethesda Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Planning Study. The survey will be open until April 29, 2022.

Please complete the project survey and share it with your network so we can gather input from as many community members as possible. The survey is available in English and Spanish. 

Look for our project outreach team at bus stops along the corridor and at Pike and Rose and Montgomery Mall the weekend of April 2-3. 

MD 355 BRT/Flash Project Update

The MD 355 Flash project will bring fast and reliable bus service in dedicated lanes to this busy corridor. The project will create new connections, and support growth and redevelopment. MCDOT is working on the preliminary design for the MD 355 Flash. We completed a survey of the corridor last year to inform the work. We are designing the parts of the corridor with dedicated lanes (Grosvenor to Germantown) first. Segments without dedicated lanes will be designed later. This phase of design will run through the end of 2022.

MCDOT seeking input on “project design, procurement, and financing” for BRT

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has released a Request for Information (RFI) to gather knowledge in best practices, emerging technologies and innovative opportunities for implementing a cost-effective Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service along MD 355 from Bethesda to Clarksburg.

FLASH, the BRT system in development in Montgomery County, will greatly increase high-quality transit service to the County’s most densely developed corridors and areas of planned growth. With the first corridor currently under construction on US 29 between Silver Spring and Burtonsville, seven additional corridors totaling over 100 miles have been identified for BRT in the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan.

An Alternatives Study for the MD 355 BRT project was recently completed. MCDOT is leading the effort to better understand the opportunities associated with implementing a BRT system and would like to explore methods of project design, procurement, and financing. The Department is seeking input from firms with experience in innovative project delivery, including private financial participation, novel design, construction, and operating strategies for BRT. MCDOT would also like to gauge interest from industry on the market availability of these services. The considerations and questions included in the RFI cover a broad range of topics to maximize MCDOT’s understanding of the existing and emerging technology of state-of-the-art BRT systems, and approaches to implementing, operating, maintaining, and financing the system. Firms considering replying need not respond to all subjects included in the RFI.

More information on the MD 355 BRT Planning Study can be found at:

The Planning Dept. Staff’s Take on Route 355 BRT

The Planning Department staff has submitted their thoughts on Bus Rapid Transit on Route 355. Below are the highlights. (If you need to get caught up with what’s going on with BRT on Route 355, read our blog on the topic.)

1. Advance Alternative B, Median Transitway, as the preferred alternative and seek to increase the use of two-lane median transitways, especially south of Shady Grove Metrorail Station.

2. Construct the MD 355 BRT project in two phases: a. Phase 1: Clarksburg Outlets to Rockville Metrorail Station, including the spur to Germantown. b. Phase 2: Rockville Metrorail Station to Downtown Bethesda.

3. Advance preliminary engineering for both the Veirs Mill Road BRT project and the MD 355 BRT project concurrently. Prioritize construction of the entire Veirs Mill Road BRT project and Phase 1 of the MD 355 BRT project.

4. Proceed with the Snowden Farm Parkway alignment in Segment 7.

5. Concur with the recommended station location and phasing.

6. Conduct additional traffic evaluation and mitigation to determine whether it is feasible to convert general purpose traffic lanes to transit only lanes to reduce the cost and impacts of the project without creating excessive traffic delay.

7. Develop and implement interim improvements to Rockville Pike in White Flint to spur redevelopment and property dedication.

Here are more sections of the staff report that directly affect the White Flint/Pike District area:

Due to the high cost of right-of-way acquisition in Segment 2 (White Flint and Twinbrook), staff believes it would be unwise to implement BRT in this area until additional property dedication occurs. Understanding that current market conditions make redevelopment (and therefore property dedication) unlikely without transforming MD 355 from an auto-centric highway to a multimodal boulevard, staff recommends developing an innovative and exciting program of improvements to spur redevelopment by improving multimodal connections and implementing placemaking activities that create a buzz for Rockville Pike, including: White Flint Circulator Bus, Streetscape Enhancements, Off-Peak Parking, Additional Protected Pedestrian Crossings, Sidewalk Improvements along MD 355, Bikeway Improvements on Side Streets.

The cost of right-of-way acquisition in Segment 2 (White Flint and Twinbrook) is estimated to be about $184 million for Alternative B and Alternative B Modified and $99 million for Alternative C, or over 20 percent of the total cost of each alternative. This presents Montgomery County with a dilemma. Due to these high costs, there is an incentive for Montgomery County to delay implementation of BRT in Segment 2 in the hope that redevelopment and the resulting right-of-way dedication will reduce the cost and impacts of property acquisition. However, due to current market conditions, property owns have indicated that they are unlikely to move forward with redevelopment until MD 355 is transformed from the unenticing auto-centric highway that it is today into an appealing multimodal boulevard as envisioned in the White Flint Sector Plan.

Friends of White Flint will provide testimony at the Planning Board hearing Thursday night at 6:15 that argues for constructing the White Flint section first since it has the highest projected ridership and is such a vital component of the implementation of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan. While we agree that making the Rockville Pike area and side streets prettier, more walkable, and more bikeable are key priorities, that alone may not be enough to transform the White Flint area.

Check out the Route 355 BRT Presentation

Couldn’t make it to one of the open houses? Click these links to learn all about the Route 355 Bus Rapid Transit Route — station options, cost, benefits, numbers of riders, options. This is a large, important transit project for the White Flint/Pike District area, and you should know more about it. Don’t have time to look through these presentations? We’ve put four key images below.





Learn about Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) tonight and tomorrow night

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is studying options for a new BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) service along MD 355 called FLASH.

MCDOT invites you to a public Open House to learn more about FLASH on MD 355 and to see the results of the extensive evaluation and preliminary engineering of the alternatives, including ridership, benefits, impacts, and estimated costs.

They look forward to answering questions and collecting your valuable input. Your feedback will help inform the selection of a Recommended Alternative.

Wednesday, June 26   6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Activity Center at Bohrer Park
506 S. Frederick Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD

Thursday, June 27   6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
B-CC Regional Services Center
Wisconsin Room
4805 Edgemoor Lane
Bethesda, MD
Learn More

BRT Presentation from last week’s Community Meeting

Corey Pitts of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) gave a succinct and informative presentation about Bus Rapid Transit on Route 355 at last week’s community meeting.  We’re happy that we can share the slides from that presentation with you today. (Click on a slide to enlarge it.)