Could Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Be the Answer To Montgomery County's Traffic Nightmares?

10:20 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WUSA9) -- Drivers, what do you think of when you hear the word "traffic?" Now, what do you think of when you hear the word "bus?"

If you think "slow" or "crawling," you may want to continue reading. Because some say the latter could save you from the former, if you live in Montgomery County.

If you think traffic on Rockville Pike through North Bethesda can be patience-zapping, think about what it would be like with 200,000 more commuters. 

That's the county's estimate of projected growth in the next 20 years. 

Stewart Schwartz of the Coalition for Smarter Growth says Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is the way to go, "It can cover more ground in this big sprawling county."

Schwartz met with us at the White Flint Metro station to talk about the project's impact on that specific area.

To be clear, the proposed BRT plan will encompass many bus routes. Schwartz says development in the White Flint area is already ramping up, attracting residents more likely to forego cars along Rockville Pike, and looking for public transit options., "They're going to get on a rapid transit system where they'll have wireless, they'll be able to get work done, they'll ride in much more comfort with less stress. And with the dedicated lane, the rapid transit system could be, in the peak hour, faster than driving in a car. "

That's a statement that BRT critic and Bethesda Row blogger Robert Dyer doesn't agree with, "I don't believe there's any evidence because first of all the county has not provided us any solid data to show it. For them to say they're going to take 33% capacity off Rockville Pike, it really is a war on cars." 

Dyer is referring to the proposal to dedicate an existing lane on Rockville Pike to the BRT.

Mike Baldyga is the perfect candidate for the BRT. He lives right off Route 35, and currently commutes to D.C. on the Metro, "Maybe I would consider taking it, but for right now I have a system that works, it doesn't work perfectly, if there is such a thing let me know."

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