Montgomery County's Go Montgomery! transit plan, to be implemented over the next ten years, aims to ease congestion in the Four Corners area with a new Metro line, bus system improvements and HOV lanes.
On Jan 13, Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan announced a $1-billion plan to reduce gridlock and improve transit, roads and pedestrian safety. The following features will affect Blair, according to Go Montgomery! Senior Transportation Planner Aruna Miller.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
Fourteen low-emission transit buses will be built to improve air quality and make the transit system more efficient and reliable.
Addition of HOV lanes
Go Montgomery! recommends that an HOV lane be built on I-495 from the American Legion Bridge to the Prince George's County line. Express bus service will be provided along the HOV lanes.
According to Go Montgomery! Director Art Holmes, the organization has begun installing traffic lights that alert pedestrians to how much time they have to cross the street. Intersections will be restriped with different material in order to alert drivers. Barriers to slow traffic will be installed between intersections.
Metro Purple Line
On Jan 8, Duncan proposed that the long-disputed Purple Line link Silver Spring and Bethesda by means of a heavy-rail train running partly inside the Beltway, according to the Washington Post.
However, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission stated on Jan 29 that the Go Montgomery! transportation plan would be too costly, cause environmental damage and require analyses that would extend past Maryland's one-month deadline to decide upon a plan and apply for federal funding.
The commission supported a plan, favored by Montgomery's and Prince George's county councils, in which a lighter trolley would run completely inside the Beltway.
Go Montgomery! is currently seeking state authorization to fund these changes with a three-cent transportation tax increase, a ten-cent gas tax increase and a $25 registration fee for local vehicles.
Duncan is lobbying for the construction of the Intercounty Connector, a highway proposed to connect I-270 in Gaithersburg to I-95 in Laurel. The road has drawn criticism from environmental and anti-sprawl groups and has cast doubts about its effectiveness in cutting traffic.
According to the Go Montgomery! website, the county's traffic congestion currently ranks third-worst in the nation.
Additional reporting by Gabe
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