The Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) is touted as the key to Montgomery County’s “Science City”. The developers, politicians and county officials point to the CCT as the people-mover that will prevent the Science City from becoming congested, as tens of thousands of workers and residents are added to Belward Farm and the area around the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.
(Please see www.scale-it-back.com for a map of the Master Plan area.)
The CCT is the trigger for the staging of the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan and could open the floodgates for the massive amount of development proposed by the master plan.
Under Stage 1 of the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan, approximately 17,500 people could be added to the Science City area, regardless of the funding or construction of the CCT.
Under Stage 2 of the master plan, the Corridor Cities Transitway must be funded to Metropolitan Grove. Stage 2 could add 11,750 more people.
Stage 3 of the master plan requires that the Corridor Cities Transitway must be under construction to Metropolitan Grove. Under Stage 3 approximately 11,000 more people could be added.
Stage 4 requires that the Corridor Cities Transitway must be operating to the Comsat building in Clarksburg in order to add approximately 6,000 more people.
Since the Corridor Cities Transitway is only expected to carry 12 to 15 percent of the additional workers and residents, at least 85% or tens of thousands of newcomers will be on the roads in their cars.
In order to accommodate this massive influx of people, the Montgomery County Planning Board proposed widening Great Seneca Highway and Muddy Branch Road to six lanes. Key West Avenue would be widened to eight lanes. Twelve- to sixteen-lane, two- and three-level interchanges have been mentioned for Great Seneca Highway near Belward Farm and the Science City.
If the Science City is built out, the County Council staff stated that the traffic on Great Seneca Highway would travel at an average speed of 9 – 11 mph, even after all the roads have been widened and the interchanges have been built. Hundreds of idling cars will contribute to the pollution of the air and water.
For the past four years, the residents who live near the Science City have argued for a more rational approach to the expansion of the biotechs but the County and the developers, especially Johns Hopkins Real Estate, are focused on the money-making possibilities.
Why can’t Montgomery County be the “Science County” instead of trying to jam all the development into an area of less than one and a half square miles --that is already congested -- and is five miles from the nearest Metro station?
Royce Hanson, former Chairman of the Planning Board, was asked if the potential for science jobs would be siphoned away from the rest of the county if the Science City was built as envisioned. He said it would, for many years to come.
It doesn’t make any sense to me but when Johns Hopkins Real Estate is driving the bus, the politicians are the first ones to jump on board.