Thursday, November 8, 2012

BRT: Planning Board tonight at 7:30

The Planning Board will discuss the BRT routes, proposals for dedicated lanes, rights-of-way required, and Master Plan this evening.  Location: 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring.
From the Staff Report to be discussed this evening:
Buses first:
"Where bus rapid transit would move people most efficiently in that corridor, the first lane assignment should be dedicated to transit. The remaining lanes would be available for general traffic. If congestion is too high in these lanes, the question is then whether we can and should provide an additional general traffic lane. The burden to justify the impacts associated with constructing additional pavement – construction costs, environmental impacts, community impacts, etc. – should be placed on the less efficient mode."

Not enough information provided.
"In general, however, we have not yet completed an analysis of the ROW impacts of the recommended treatments. Even where lanes are proposed to be repurposed, additional ROW may be needed to provide adequate sidewalks, bike facilities, and green space for landscaping and stormwater management. The ROW impacts of the recommended corridors and treatments will be included in our Staff Draft of the Functional Plan."
Problem:  ROW details will not be made public until December 27th,  which of course is AFTER the public meetings in November (next week).

Station Locations?
"Our thinking now is that the final location of these stations should be determined during Facility Planning when the operating agencies will have a service plan in place that can guide whether these stations should be on the near or far side of the intersection, for example."

General plan says growth in urban areas and 270 corridor:
"the General Plan Refinement advocates increased intensity of development in the Urban Ring and the I-270 Corridor to accommodate growth, which preserving the Wedge areas, reducing traffic congestion, and protecting the environment. To achieve this greater intensity, the Refinement supports the development of multi-family housing, higher density employment locations, and alternatives to the single-occupant automobile.”

but then:"While our test for lane-repurposing was to determine where forecast ridership would exceed general
travel lane capacity, the conversion of existing travel lanes to dedicated bus lanes gives us the ability to
move more of our forecast transportation demand in the same space, enabling future growth in areas
such as White Oak, where it has been stymied for years because of a lack of transportation capacity.

This is the first time the public has seen the schedule:
"Our current schedule is as follows:
January 8, 2013: Board approval to publish Staff Draft as Public Hearing Draft
February 2013: Public Hearings
February-April 2013: Worksessions
May 2013: Transmit Planning Board Draft to County Council"

Since no real details (other than route alignment and proposed treatment) are included in the current report, the public will only have about one month to respond to the Hearing Draft that will be issued in January.
To read the entire staff report go here.
Reminder on the public meetings: (Please note even though routes planned include Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road, there are no meetings scheduled in those areas.)
Three public meetings are scheduled for 6:30-9 p.m. on the following evenings:
 Tuesday, November 13: Blair HS
 Wednesday, November 14: Shady Grove Training Facility
 Thursday, November 15: Wheaton Library


  1. The schedule was originally published last year as part of the BRT scope of work and has been continuously updated on our BRT website since that time:

    While the staff's ROW recommendations will not be done until after this second set of public meetings, they will be part of the Public Hearing Draft; the public will have the opportunity to comment at the Public Hearings. -

  2. Thank you Mr. Cole, for the clarifications. The fact is, though, when we bring this up with our neighbors, they still have no idea this is going on. In particular those of us living next to White Flint, the Rockville Pike, and Old Georgetown, no one knows this is happening. And, none of the public meetings are near the Pike or White Flint even though according to staff, this area is predicted as one of the areas with highest ridership, needing BRT the most. By the time the public draft comes out it will be too late for public input.

  3. Mr. Cole, can staff please publish the studies that were done before the routes were chosen, to determine the routes. What were the choices, among all the roads and developments in the county? On what basis and what factors were the final routes chosen? Thank you.


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