Speak Out: Should Drivers Lose Lanes For BRT?

It could be a tight squeeze to dedicate traffic lanes for a proposed rapid bus network along some of the county's most congested corridors.

If transportation planners have their way, drivers in some of Montgomery County’s most congested corridors could start losing some of their traffic lanes.

The reason: a sprawling network of high-speed buses that will need dedicated lanes, particularly in Silver Spring, Bethesda, Germantown and White Oak.

Unlike decades-old proposals for mass transit lines like the Corridor Cities Transitway—which has nearly all of its 15-mile right-of-way already set aside—the Bus Rapid Transit network would have to find room along county roadways.

That has raised concerns of even more crowded roadways and increased commute times for those who can’t—or won’t—shake their driving habits, reported The Washington Post.

“Is there a risk here? Yes,” Mark Winston, chairman of the BRT task force, told The Post. “But I think the greater risk over the long run is doing nothing.”

Will enough drivers leave their cars behind to make the BRT venture worth it? Tell us what you think in the comments section.

Bob B November 13, 2012 at 06:23 PM
What an absolutely stupid idea.
jag November 13, 2012 at 06:42 PM
"Its another example of transportation planners thinking they can affect behavior rather than planning for what that behavior actually is." Are you joking? You think the natural order to life is for people to spend 90 hours a month in a single occupancy vehicle travelling over thousands of miles of asphalt? Transportation planners just spent 60 years modifying your behavior to the point where the obvious irony of your statement eludes you. "You want people to ride busses? Make them clean, predictable, often, on time, safe, and cover a wide area. Then make planning a route simple and repeatable." That's the entire point. I agree that it's obviously necessary and has the proper ridership numbers for select routes (Rockville Pike, I'm lookin' at you), but doesn't make financial sense on a mass scale yet.
David W November 13, 2012 at 08:46 PM
It will work if they expand current policy trends by regulating and taxing cars and fuel until we cant afford them. Why assume they will stop at cigs, oversized sodas and now meatless mondays?
Frank November 13, 2012 at 10:40 PM
What does "if it feels good, do it" have to do with driving or not driving?
Brian Lev November 17, 2012 at 08:44 AM
In the past month, I have repeatedly been caught in traffic back-ups caused by Metro or MoCo RideOn buses that had broken down. I am only one of several thousand local citizens along the affected corridors whose job has requirements that make use of public transportation extremely problematic at best. In recent weather emergencies I was able to move freely over most of the county in my (run-of-the-mill) personal vehicle, several times with my entire family accompanying me, while public transportation could not run. A single vehicle failure of a personal vehicle causes some amount of traffic congestion and interrupts the travel of a single-digit number of occupants. A single vehicle failure of a "rapid transit" bus causes an equal amount of traffic congestion but interrupts the travel of 20-40 people at a time. When I, my family, my friends, and my co-workers go shopping, it is a regular occurrence for us to have to carry more bags than can be easily (or safely) carried on an empty bus -- and enough of a load to make boarding & finding space in a crowded bus an absolute impossibility. Should we give up lanes on major thoroughfares paid for with our tax dollars for a "rapid" transit system based on large internal combustion vehicles even more subject to constraints of time, weather, and mechanical failure than our personal vehicles? ABSOLUTELY NOT.


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