Montgomery County Corridor Cities Transitway – An Alphabet Soup?

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Dealing with Montgomery County’s real estate growth is not an easy challenge. There is an alphabet soup of agencies and programs: the ICC (Inter-County Connector), MTA (Maryland Transit Administration), MSHA (Maryland State Highway Administration), MDOT (Maryland Department of Transportation). If you are thinking about moving to Montgomery County, you need to take into account development and transit plans.

One of the key programs on the drawing board to deal with the expected increase in homes in Montgomery County is the CCT – Corridor Cities Transitway, combining ETL’s (express toll lanes), LRT (light rail transit), and BRT (bus rapid transit) as an extension of the Metro subway Red Line. There is debate as to which of these is preferable.

Since the 1980’s this transit system – the I-270/US 15 Multi-Modal Corridor Study has been identified as part of Montgomery County’s planning goals. It was set up to analyze Frederick and Montgomery Counties most congested areas and the goal was to find solutions to ease the congestion along the 30 mile stretch from US 15 to I-270 at Shady Grove Metro. Solutions and options range from highway improvements, BRT and LRT, as well at ETL’s on I-270 at 370 up to Rt. 80 in Frederick

All proposed ETL’s, BRT’s and LRT’s will be managed lanes – separate from regular traffic lanes.

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As more and more homes are being built in Clarksburg, this proposal has taken on more urgency. The proposal covers 14 miles extending from Shady Grove Metro to Clarksburg, with planned stops at King Farm, Crown Farm, Quince Orchard Park, NIST, Metropolitan Grove, Germantown and Clarksburg. The Gaithersburg Science City, now known as the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan, depends on this plan to alleviate traffic concerns in the Gaithersburg and Rockville areas.

In 2008, MTA estimated that the CCT ridership could be 26,000-30,000 on an average workday in 2030. Some studies have shown an incredible growth in Montgomery County housing development in 2030. Work continues on planned development along the corridor so that the right of way remains protected and consistent with adopted master plans.

The MTA is examining the feasibility and impact of changing the proposed alignment to better serve the Life Sciences area of Gaithersburg West.

About the Author: Bob Myers, Re/Max Realty Services has been a Realtor in Montgomery County since 1986. 

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Moving forward and more on the Corridor Cities Transitway…..

Though never considered a problem under federal law, the environmental impact of the CCT was required to be analyzed. According to a new state study, the routing of the proposed CCT would have a minor impact on the environment, partially due to the fact that the buses or trains would be traveling in the middle of existing roads. The impact on the natural environment and wildlife habitat would be minor, since the area is already built up.

The Maryland Transit Authority recently reviewed the route changes to better serve the new developments of Crown Farm and Science City, west of I-270 near Shady Grove, and putting a station closer to the Kentlands.

Justifying construction of a new station hinges on the future plans of Science City in Gaithersburg. Science City, also known as the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan, is slated to triple the jobs in the area, as well as resulting in approximately 9000 new housing units. Now the caveat – much of Science City development depends on having the transitway built first.

On December 15 a public hearing will be held to determine whether express buses or a light-rail would be the best mode of transportation. The Montgomery County Council endorsed the light-rail at a cost of nearly $1 billion dollars, as opposed to an estimated $530 million for a bus-way. However, due to monetary resources, bus rapid transit would be welcomed and supported just as well.

Plans to ease congestion on I-270 are also in the works: new interchanges to accommodate future widening, adding lanes and adding express toll lanes.

State transportation officials are seeking Federal money to build a light rail between Bethesda and New Carrollton (purple line) and a light rail in Baltimore (red line).
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