During its meeting on November 12, Montgomery County Council members were briefed on a plan to use bus rapid transit (BRT) lines to combat traffic congestion in the county. BRT is an approach that reserves certain lanes exclusively for buses. Buses would be able to travel in existing medians across one or two lanes, curbside or in mixed traffic. As reported by the Washington Post:
Plans are on the books for a BRT route called the Corridor Cities Transitway, which would serve fast-growing northern Montgomery communities and businesses along Interstate 270 from Shady Grove to Clarksburg.
But planners envision a more elaborate 98-mile network of enhanced bus service on 10 of the county’s most congested roads, including Georgia Avenue from Glenmont to Olney; MD 355 (Rockville Pike/Wisconsin Avenue) from Rockville as far south as Friendship Heights; U.S. 29 (Colesville Road) from Burtonsville to downtown Silver Spring; and Veirs Mill Road from Rockville to Wheaton.
While funding has not been identified for this proposal and more study is anticipated, the county’s planning board has approved a broad outline of a proposal and the County Council is expected to tentatively approve the proposal on November 26.
This approach is viewed as a more cost-effective solution to the counties congestion problems.
Light rail is a far more expensive alternative — $75 million to $100 million a mile vs. roughly $36 million a mile for the current BRT plan — and there is little room for new roads, advocates contend.