Would dedicating one lane of traffic on major thoroughfares like Rockville Pike and Colesville Road for buses reduce overall traffic? Planners proposing a 79-mile, 10-route bus rapid transit system think so. Now, members of the Montgomery County Planning Board want to hear what you think.
A public hearing is planned for Thursday, May 16, at 6 p.m. at the Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium, 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. To sign up to speak, visit the planning board's website.
Bus Rapid Transit would focus on highly traveled routes within the county and provide connections to Metrorail, MARC and the planned Purple Line. Recommendations included some dedicated lanes with high-speed buses, along routes that include Rockville Pike/MD-355 from the Capital Beltway to Western Avenue and Colesville Road/Columbia Pike/MD-29 from Georgia Avenue to 16th Street in downtown Silver Spring and Lockwood Drive to Southwood Drive in White Oak. The proposal also suggested some buses driving in mixed traffic.
Sections of roadways in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Takoma Park and Silver Spring would be dedicated to buses under the plan's recommendations.
High-speed buses could become an inexpensive alternative to cars and rail as both Montgomery County's population and jobs are expected to significantly increase in the next 30 years, planners said, while the roads have no further capacity to expand.
After the hearing, the board will review the plan in a series of work sessions this summer before the plan goes before the County Council July 25.