by Robert Hydorn, President of Montgomery Village Foundation
re-printed from Montgomery Village News, August 13, 2013
It was standing room only at Seneca Valley High School [on August 7, 2013] when county officials presented various M-83 alternatives. In the past, Village residents have stood united. We have opposed Alternative 4 through Wightman and Brink Roads; Alternative 8 through Stedwick and Blohm Park to Watkins Mill Road; and Alternative 9 through a ravine with a creek that floods over South Valley Park, within a couple hundred feet of Watkins Mill Elementary School, over Blohm Park and within inches of Stedwick Homes Corporation.
For more than five years, I have consistently said that it is wrong to destroy one community (Montgomery Village) to benefit another (Clarksburg). Looking at the alternatives, I am more convinced than ever of the truth of that statement.
Furthermore, it is wrong to drive a road through our planned community which will not benefit our residents. M-83 is an expressway for people who don't live here in the Village. Heck, they don't even live in Montgomery County! We're building roads for people from Frederick, Carroll, Howard and even Washington counties so they can get to wherever it is they are going.
So, What Are The Options?
- Village residents should not be punished for the planning errors of Clarksburg. Instead, the county should use historic commercial routes such as Route 355 (Frederick Road) and existing throughways such as Great Seneca Highway and I-270. Why hasn't I-270 been widened north of Germantown? The same can be said for Route 355 north of the Milestone Shopping Center and Route 27 which passes Clarksburg. Both roads are long overdue for widening.
- County officials must realize that they can't pave their way out of the predicament which they find themselves. We need mass transit and we need it now. Commuters from as far away as Hagerstown are coming to Shady Grove Road to take Metro to Rockville, Bethesda and Washington. They need to have another way besides automobile to get to their destinations. For the short term, we need improved MARC service to provide an alternative to vehicular traffic for to commuters to our north. The railroad tracks are there. The number of MARC trains need to be increased, and better scheduling to provide an attractive alternative to commuters far north of us. And in the long run, we need to extend Metro's Red Line to Frederick and beyond.
- Montgomery Village must remain united against M-83. The MVF Board of Directors - with input from Village homes corporations and condominium associations and the MVF Transportation, Development and Public Facilities Committee - has consistently voted against M-83. It is a record that is well known to county and state officials.
We will not accept an alternative that will devastate any part of Montgomery Village, put our school children or pedestrians in harm's way or destroy the natural beauty of our planned community.
The county staff should be embarrassed for entertaining such ideas.