Speak Out: BRAC Traffic On The Rockville Pike

Has the number of cars actually decreased on the congested corridor since 2007? Yes, according to one study.

A Walter Reed study found that traffic on much of the Rockville Pike and Jones Bridge Road has decreased since 2007, despite the dramatic increase in employees and visitors to the brought on by BRAC, the Washington Post reported this week.

The federally-mandated Base Realignment and Closure program drew 2,500 new employees to the military hospital last year as the Walter Reed Army Medical Center relocated to Bethesda, and yearly visitors there are expected to nearly double to 1 million.

Compared with 2007, much of the two clogged thoroughfares saw between 1 percent and 34 percent fewer vehicles during the morning and evening rush hours as of October, the study found, according to the Post.

While base officials point to employees using transit, teleworking and flexible schedules as one reason for the decrease in cars along the congested routes, some analysts argue the study could be misleading, the Post reported. Fewer cars may be passing mechanical counters because of increased congestion, analysts say, and drivers altering their commute times may have lead to “peak spreading” or extended rush hours.

Neighbors say traffic has gotten worse since the BRAC transition.

 “It’s one massive rush hour period now,” Ilaya Rome Hopkins, Walter Reed BRAC Integration Committee chairwoman and base neighbor told The Post. “It’s sequential, cumulative and unpredictable.”

Has traffic on the Rockville Pike gone from bad to worse since BRAC, or are the backups about the same? Do you alter your commute times or avoid the Rockville Pike altogether to avoid congestion? Are you noticing longer rush hours? Tell us in the comments.

BERNIE FISKEN August 08, 2012 at 10:47 AM
If you believe that traffic on Rockville Pike and Jones Bridge Road has decreased since 2007, then you also believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the high quality of PEPCO services, Sometimes these studies are self-serving.
LaurenL August 08, 2012 at 02:49 PM
The folks who conducted this study have obviously never come by the actual area of Rockville Pike and Jones Bridge. To say that traffic has decreased is absurd. Not only has it increased, but the rush 'hour' in the afternoon now spans from about 2:30 until 7:00. I'd like to challenge the leaders of this study to get from the intersection of Jones Bridge, north on Rockille Pike, up to Cedar Lane (about 3/4 of a mile, mind you) in less than 25 minutes after 4:00 pm. This study is absolutely laughable.
Michael Shapiro August 08, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I read the more detailed story, in the WaPo, and could only find one fudge factor after another in the report. There is no question that the methodology and/or skewed written report is total horse$%&@. The old saying is that statistics lie and liars use statistics. What they don't say is that anyone with an IQ over 100 and a modicum of sense can see through bad stats. We should always look at these reports with a cynical gaze. That is not negative, it's just logical.
Robin August 08, 2012 at 07:50 PM
The traffic on Rockville Pike is atrocious and I fear will stay that way. The additional people (staff, patients, families) coming to the Naval Center has to have an impact, along with the fact that NIH is expanding. Why in the world planners aren't looking at the Purple Line connecting NIH with Silver Spring is beyond me. If ever there was a need, this is it. Data and studies are years out of date. It's time to stop the madness.
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