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The Corridor Cities Transitway: Facts and Issues

The Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) is the trigger for the stages of the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan.

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

art slesinger February 18, 2012 at 03:33 PM
This might sound reasonable to the average MoCo resident, but the 9 to 11 mph average speed is for BOTH directions. So the contra lanes are moving at 25+ mph, the congested lanes are crawling at 4 mph or less! We paid Parks and Planning to guarantee congestion?? This is NIH Bethesda reborn with our consent. what? Art
Donna Baron (Scale-it-back.com) February 18, 2012 at 09:03 PM
And, keep in mind, Great Seneca Highway is posted at 50 mph now. I asked the highway guys where they will divert the traffic while they are widening Great Seneca and building the multilevel interchanges but I could not get a straight answer. So if you think the traffic is bad on Darnestown Road now, stay tuned.
Maria Fusco February 19, 2012 at 04:12 AM
I heard about this... how many roads are they talking about for Great Seneca? And how far do these all reach? Where is the map for this? THank You!
Donna Baron (Scale-it-back.com) February 19, 2012 at 05:23 PM
New roads outside the 1.5 square miles of the “Science City” are not on the books. The Planners have said the new “road networks” within Belward Farm or around the hospital will alleviate congestion. The five roads that surround the Science City: Key West Ave., Darnestown Road, Great Seneca Highway, Muddy Branch Road and Shady Grove Road will be widened and/or interchanges will be built. The commercial capacity for the Science City is 17.5 million square feet plus 9,000 housing units (apartments) which would accommodate approximately 80,000 people give or take twenty thousand. The planners assume that a large number of the newcomers who will work in the Science City will live in the proposed apartments. But, what will happen to the roads that carry thousands of commuters like the people who live in Virginia and drive back and forth on River Road and Piney Meetinghouse Road to the Science City? Or the other rustic roads in Potomac? What will happen to the area around the Route 28 interchange at I-270 which is already a mess during rush hour? What will happen when thousands of additional people try to drive through Rockville? Or Gaithersburg? Or Darnestown and Poolesville? According to the planners, this should not be of concern because a large percentage of those who choose not to live within the confines of the apartments in the Science City will take public transportation to and from work...a seismic shift for most Montgomery County commuters.
Maria Fusco February 19, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Yes... and if Belward made into JHU's commercial venture, will choke even more.... I hope that JHU honors Mrs. Bank's wishes.
Donna Baron (Scale-it-back.com) February 19, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Johns Hopkins' proposed massive high-rise commercial office complex for 15,000 to 20,000 people on Belward Farm will be, by far, the biggest contributor to the future gridlock. And since Hopkins has not committed to occupy any of the buildings in the office complex, they will be just like any other absentee landlord. If, on the other hand, Hopkins agrees to or is forced to moderate their plans to honor Ms. Banks wishes, the resulting academic/research campus could be built without completely overwhelming the surrounding area.
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