Saturday, June 23, 2012
What is BRT?
BRT is an acronym for ‘Bus Rapid Transit.’ However, in
this system has been relabeled ‘RTV' for ‘Rapid Transit Vehicle.’ The new acronym was chosen by the people planning the system because they did not believe people would ride the vehicles if they were called buses. The government has stated that one of their most important issues is ‘branding,’ and they believe that more people will ride the bus if it has a different name. Montgomery County
But aren’t they buses?
Yes. They are.
What is the Transit Task Force (TTF)?
The TTF was appointed in 2011 by
Ike Leggett. The TTF members are listed below, with their affiliations. The TTF met through 2011 and 2012 and presented their final report with recommendations for the BRT, routes, financing, and the like in May 2012. County Executive
Marilyn Balcombe, CCT (Corridor Cities Transitway) Coalition
Roger Berliner (D-District 1), County Council
Nat Bottingheimer ,WMATA
Francoise Carrier, Chair of the
Planning Board, M-NCPPC Montgomery County
Marc Elrich (D-At-large), County Council
Lisa Fadden, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
Jonathan Genn, Percontee
David Hauck, Sierra Club
Art Holmes, Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT)
David McDonough, Johns
Darrell Mobley, MCDOT
Henry Montes, Latin American Advisory Group
Rich Parsons, Parsons & Associates
Craig Simoneau, City of
Tina Slater, ACT
Francine Waters, Lerner
Dan Wilhelm, Montgomery County Civic Federation
Mark Winston, Task Force Chair
Brian Feldman, MD General Assembly
Rob Garagiola, MD General Assembly
Steve Silverman, Montgomery County Department of Economic Development
Joan Kleinman (Van Hollen designee) U.S. House of Representatives
Terra Sabag (Edwards designee) U.S. House of Representatives
Ken Reichard (Cardin designee U.S. Senate
Where are the bus routes?
The Transit Task Force (TTF) has identified 160 miles of road corridor. The bus routes are proposed to be implemented in three phases. General maps are here. There are also very detailed aerial photos in 'binders.' These 'binders' are not yet available to the public.
(I-270 to 29/Colesville Road) 22.9 miles ( ~51.8 “new construction” miles in Phase One, if ICC =“RTV ready”)
(355/Rockville Pike to
) 12.5 miles
Mont Village Ave
to Bethesda Metro Station) 12.1 miles
ROUTE 29/COLESVILLE ROAD
(Burtonsville/198 to Silver Spring Metro) 10.7 miles
Veirs Mill Road
) 9.8 miles
(Rockville/County Office Buildings/Metro to
Wheaton Metro Station/Georgia Ave
) 6.7 miles
TOTAL MILES IN PHASE ONE: ~74.7 miles
*) 10.1 miles Fort Totten
(Georgia Avenue/Aspen Hill to Purple Line and spur on
Jones Bridge Road
to Rockville Pike/Medical Center) 7.6 miles
to New Hampshire Ave/Purple Line) 6.4 miles
Montrose Parkway/Randolph Road
Bethesda Metro/Wisconsin Avenue
) 5.8 miles
ROUTE 28 TO ICC
Veirs Mill Road
to ICC) 5.5 miles
(Route 28/Monroe St/County Offices/Metro to Life Sciences Center/CCT connection) 5.3 miles
(355/Rockville Pike to Tuckerman to Democracy Blvd/Montgomery Mall) 5.1 miles
TOTAL MILES IN PHASE TWO: ~45.8 miles
Montgomery Village Avenue
to Clarksburg/CCT, including the Spur at
and Montgomery College-Germantown) 14.9 miles
(Clarksburg/MD 27 to ICC) 13.4 miles (Total of ~139.6 "new construction" miles if ICC = "RTV Ready")
LAKEFOREST MALL/MUDDY BRANCH RD
) 7.2 miles Gaithersburg
Veirs Mill Road
to ) 3.9 miles Silver Spring Transit Center
(Bethesda Metro to Friendship Heights Metro) 1.6 miles
(Between CCT and 355 - TBD) 1.0 miles
TOTAL MILES IN PHASE THREE: ~42.0 miles
Wait, I see my street on this list. I know there is not enough width on this street for a dedicated bus lane.
In some cases the BRT will take a lane from the existing roadwidth to create a new dedicated BRT lane. In other cases, the county government will take right-of-way to widen the street and create a new center BRT-dedicated lane. The system also requires bus stations along the route. The DOT has commented on this aspect of the proposal, you can read their comments here.
Will the BRT reduce traffic congestion in
? Montgomery County
The BRT will reduce traffic temporarily if all goes as planned. The BRT will reduce traffic enough so that more development can occur. According to the TTF Report, "The RTV system will also provide a long-term sustainable platform for continued growth and development in the County, beyond the current 20 year growth projections." (p. 3 of TTF report)
How much will the BRT cost?
The County estimates an initial cost of $1.826 Billion in 2012 dollars with an additional $1.1Million for maintenance. The estimate for the initial cost does not include debt service or the accrual of capital reserves (pp. 91-92 of the TTF Report)
Is that an accurate estimate?
No one knows. However Parsons Brinckerhoff, and architect and engineering firm, has suggested the cost is too low and the true cost will be about twice that amount. And, other planners who study these megaprojects found that cost runovers occur in nine out of ten projects.
Who pays for the BRT?
You do! There are a number of taxing scenarios in the TTF report. There would be a special taxing district. Homeowners within one mile of the BRT line are likely to pay the costs of the BRT.
Posted by Paula Bienenfeld at 3:15 PM