Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Seneca Valley Trout Unlimited Becomes A TAME Coalition Supporter





 
The Coalition for Transit Alternatives to Mid-County Highway Extended (TAME) announces that Seneca Valley Trout Unlimited (SVTU) Chapter has signed on with TAME's 50+ organizations and elected officials to stop further planning, design and construction for Alternatives 4, 8 & 9 in the Midcounty Corridor Study of Mid-County Highway Extended (known as M-83). 

SVTU is a local voice of Trout Unlimited. TU's vision statement is to conserve, protect and restore North America's coldwater fisheries and their watershed. One way SVTU supports TU's national vision is: to help with maintenance activities on Little Seneca Creek in Montgomery Co., southern Catoctin brook trout streams in Frederick Co., and maintenance of warmwater streams like Great Seneca Creek and areas of the Potomac River.

TAME Coalition supports multiple, viable and sustainable transportation alternatives as solutions to replace the old Mid-County Highway Extended (M-83) plan; and is working with Maryland's state and local elected officials, as well as with MNCPPC Planning Board, to remove M-83 from the Master Plan of Highways and Transitways.

Montgomery County Department of Transportation's (MCDOT) Draft Environmental Effects Report (EER) strongly favors building the 50-year-old-designed highway on alternatives with the highest bio-diverse areas and in the densest sub-urban neighborhoods of any of the original 11 alternative alignments (Alternatives 8 and/or 9). Their Draft EER acknowledges an additional nine intersections will fail county congestion standards after construction. MCDOT lists the cost of the proposed 6.2 mile highway to be $350 million. After mitigation costs are added, the total price tag is expected to double. 

MCDOT's proposed M-83 Alternatives 8 & 9 (from Montgomery Village Avenue to Rt. 27) do not align on any existing road, and will negatively impact 16 stream and wetland crossings, including Wildcat Branch (Class III natural trout reproducing stream) near Butlers Orchard, and parts of Dayspring Creek ecosystem adjacent to Dayspring Silent Retreat Center and the 300 acre North Germantown-Greenway Park.  These two alignments are made up of 90% forest, wetlands and pristine parkland, which would be irreversibly eliminated and paved over, if M-83 were built. The overall effect from deforestation of nearly 100 accumulative acres of mature ecosystems will drastically increase sediment loads in the Seneca Creek watershed, making it impossible to lower sediment levels mandated by the state. 

Transportation solutions (for north-south traffic) supported by TAME Coalition focus on:

Transit Alternatives
  1. Mass transit along existing roads being seriously considered as a viable and sustainable alternative
  2. Dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane along MD 355
  3. Building the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) from Shady Grove to Clarksburg 
  4. Increasing MARC Train to full service, adding a third track
  5. Finishing Metro's Purple Line from Rockville to Silver Spring (east/west traffic)
  6. Transportation solutions benefiting all citizens in Montgomery County
Traffic Demand Management Solutions
  1. Traffic demand management being seriously considered on existing roads 
  2. Encouraging more carpooling and vanpooling
  3. Bus lanes on I-270 during peak periods
  4. Better traffic signal operation
  5. Upgrade intersections
  6. Ramp metering

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