Monday, November 12, 2012

learn about BRT at open houses this week

Bus Approaching, Reseda Station
Boarding a bus at a BRT station in Los Angeles.
Montgomery County planners are holding three open houses on the county's proposed Bus Rapid Transit network this week. Whether you think BRT is a great idea, a terrible idea, or simply want to learn more, this is a great chance to get involved.

The latest recommendations say that the best way to tackle congestion in the coming years will be giving lanes currently open to everyone to buses. 

Estimates show that a trip from Randolph Road and Route 29 to downtown Silver Spring, a distance of about 7 miles, could take 70 minutes at rush hour in 2040. That's not acceptable if Montgomery County wants to remain a desirable place for people to live and work.

Street Space For 60 People: Car, Bus, Bicycle
Buses can carry the same number of people in far less space than cars. Image by carltonreid on Flickr.

It may seem counterintuitive that taking away lanes from cars would actually improve traffic. But it's simple geometry: a single person in a car requires a lot of space. We don't have a lot of street space in many parts of the county, and as demand for that space increases, we simply won't be able to fit everyone if they have to drive.

Here are the dates and locations of each of the open houses. At each meeting, planners will give a presentation at 7pm and take questions.

6:30pm tomorrow at Blair High School, 51 East University Boulevard in Silver Spring
6:30pm Wednesday at the Shady Grove Training Facility, 16641 Crabbs Branch Way in Rockville
6:30pm Thursday at the Wheaton Library, 11701 Georgia Avenue in Wheaton

We've seen how a well-designed and well-executed Bus Rapid Transit system can dramatically improve commutes. Now it's time to explore how BRT can allow Montgomery County to continue to grow and prosper.

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