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Montgomery County Council Approves Bus Rapid Transit Plan

Groundwork set for countywide transit system.

Proposed BRT routes in Montgomery County. (Credit: Montgomery County Planning Department)
Proposed BRT routes in Montgomery County. (Credit: Montgomery County Planning Department)

A plan unanimously approved by the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday sets the groundwork for a proposed countywide a transit system.

Known as Bus Rapid Transit or BRT, the proposed network of bus routes would cover about 82 miles and 110 stations throughout the county, in an attempt to ease traffic congestion for commuters.

BRT typically involves creating dedicated bus lanes that attempt to move the most people in a single lane of traffic. The dedicated lanes can be added  to a road way or the BRT can take over existing lanes, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Patch has reported.

What the council approved on Tuesday establishes guidelines for routes and possible station locations for the BRT. The council approved the plan in a straw vote last week.

But nothing is set in stone.

The Washington Post reports that there was no money set aside for the venture, which would cost between $1 billion and $2 billion to build.

Ten BRT routes are planned for the cross-county network, but not all routes necessarily would be completed at the same time, in the same decade, or at all, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Patch reports.

Council members agreed that nothing would be built unless public hearings had been held and the public had been fully informed, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Patch reports.

(>>>See: Council Unanimously Supports Bus Rapid Transit Plan in Straw Vote at Bethesda-Chevy Chase Patch)

Here are routes or "corridors" that would affect the Rockville area, according to county records:

Corridor 3: Md. 355 North. A proposed 15.3-mile corridor that would run almost entirely on Md. 355 between the Rockville Metro Station and Redgrave Place in Clarksburg, with two routes in Germantown East. The southern portion of the corridor lies within the City of Rockville and the center portion lies within the City of Gaithersburg. 

Corridor 4: Md. 355 South. A proposed 7.8-mile corridor that would run entirely on Rockville Pike/Wisconsin Avenue (Md. 355) between the Rockville and Bethesda Metro Stations. Despite the fact that it would run directly parallel to the Red Line, it is projected to carry more riders than any other proposed BRT route in this plan. 

Corridor 6: North Bethesda Transitway. A proposed 2.7-mile corridor that would run from either the Grosvenor or White Flint Metro Station to Old Georgetown Road, south on Old Georgetown Road to Rock Spring Drive, and west on Rock Spring drive and Fernwood Road to Montgomery Mall. There would also be a new interchange connecting Fernwood Road to the HOV lane to and from the south on I-270. This is part of a planned transit/HOV lane that would connect to the HOT lanes in Virginia. 

Corridor 7: Randolph Road. A proposed 10.l-mile corridor that would run in mixed traffic nearly entirely on Randolph Road between the White Flint Metro Station and the U.S. Route 29 corridor station at Tech Road. In the western segment of the corridor, an alternative would be to add a BRT lane on Montrose Parkway between Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike. 

Corridor 10: Veirs Mill Road. A proposed 6.2-mile corridor that would run almost entirely on Veirs Mill Road (Md. 586) between the Wheaton and Rockville Metro Stations.

The full map is posted at the Montgomery County Planning Department's website.

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