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Montgomery Co. unveils plan for future bus rapid transit system

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

ROCKVILLE, Md. – As traffic around the region worsens, Montgomery County wants to fight it by creating a countywide bus rapid transit network.

The preliminary plan is to run buses that look like streetcars on major roads, such as Georgia Avenue and Rockville Pike.

To reduce costs and potential harm to the environment, the goal is to use existing lanes when possible.

Some existing lanes of traffic would be “repurposed” and turned into bus-only lanes.

In other places, lanes for buses would be carved out of medians.

“We’ve recommended lane repurposing where forecast ridership exceeds the number of people that could be moved in a normal lane,” Master Planner Larry Cole told the Montgomery County Planning Board Thursday night.

“We believe that improved transit service on Montgomery County’s recommended corridors should begin with peak hour use only, that could expand as ridership increases.”

Cole says if the plan does go forward, the changes won’t happen for decades.

“We’re talking about 2040, we’re not talking about tomorrow and you’ve lost the lane and now you have to figure out how to get to work.”

“Congestion is going to continue to get worse, so transit is going to be a more acceptable option,” says Cole.

Three open-house style public meetings on the plan are scheduled for next week. Each runs from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Those interested can show up at 7 p.m. to see a presentation. The meetings are:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 13 at Montgomery Blair High School
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the Shady Grove Training Facility
  • Thursday, Nov. 15 at Wheaton Library.

Read more about the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan. MontgomeryPlanning.org details where the specifi cs of the plan and its corriders and shows maps and graphs.

Cole explains the project’s scope in this video from Montgomery County cable:

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