Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Clarksburg Master Plan: “Transit is an essential feature of this plan; without it, the Plan’s vision cannot be realized.”

For the past 14 years I have been commuting to work and running errands along Route 355 from Comus Road south thru Clarksburg to Germantown and have seen first-hand the impact development without infrastructure improvements has had on our local roads. And I am concerned.  
Beth Daly
Beth Daly, Dickerson

The Master Plan envisions a Clarksburg of 40,000 residents located squarely between two 2-lane roads—Routes 355 and 27—with no plans for widening either one in the next few years.  These roads are already bumper to bumper during a broad rush hour period.   And 2/3 of the Clarksburg homes have yet to be built.  Add a destination mall with 2,100 parking spaces and I fear absolute traffic gridlock will ensue.

We need transit options to get Upcounty residents (and thru commuters from growing Frederick County and beyond) off the roads and to their work centers, social destinations and back home.  For that reason, I support the 355 North corridor of the BRT and urge that the line be extended in the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan to Clarksburg —and not end at Germantown’s Milestone.  In fact, on page 22 of the Clarksburg Master Plan it states:  “Transit is an essential feature of this plan; without it, the Plan’s vision cannot be realized.”  

In order to be embraced by the Upcounty community, the BRT system needs to get residents to Metro, work centers, and other places as quickly (if not faster than) driving in a carThat means the system needs to have:
--Dedicated bus ways that don’t add to the congestion on local roads
--Express BRT routes to Shady Grove with the hopes of extending routes north to Frederick County to get “thru commuters” off the congested roads
--Traffic light control options to keep lights green for oncoming buses
--Platforms for safety, ease of use, and our neighbors who are physically challenged  

I also fully support the idea of a third track of the Brunswick MARC line which serves the Ag Reserve and points north as well as high density areas throughout Montgomery County.
Montgomery County’s Upcounty is the fastest growing region in the County and is home to its 2nd largest community—Germantown-- with nearly 90,000 residents.  Yet hundreds of thousands of Upcounty residents are not served by a nearby Metro station or any comprehensive transit system.  It is time for that to change.  The Corridor Cities Transitway and Bus Rapid Transit system—if done right—and a third track on the MARC Brunswick line could ease the traffic congestion and make the region more attractive to businesses.

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