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.