Bus Rapid Transit May Offer Relief to Route 29 Commuters
The planning board recommends a mix of methods to relief congestion on Colesville Road/Columbia Pike in Silver Spring.
Imagine a smooth ride up or down the Route 29 corridor during rush hour. Montgomery County planners are prepared to recommend plans for a bus rapid transit (BRT) strategy tomorrow that would create such a road, or, at least one that's less congested than the one commuters face now. Prospective transit riders would wait up to 15 minutes before hopping on a streetcar-like vehicle that travels much of the way in its own dedicated lane.
Route 29, named Colesville Road south of Four Corners and Columbia Pike to the north, is one of a few heavily trafficked corridors in the county that is being studied for inclusion in a possible new transit program, according to a news release from the planning department.
With 17,000 riders each day traveling between the Howard County border and downtown Silver Spring, officials suggest a mix of dedicated lanes (to be deployed south of Lockwood Drive in White Oak), a hybrid system near the White Oak Transit Center at Lockwood and Stewart Lane, and a median busway north of Stewart Lane.
Four corridors were studied using the department's transportation model:
- Rockville Pike
- Georgia Avenue
- Colesville Road/Columbia Pike
- New Hampshire Avenue
The study determined how a new bus system would impact transit ridership, how many miles vehicles travel on the roads and how many hours vehicles would travel in the year 2040. Planners said the benefits of the system were greatest down county. In Silver Spring, vehicle miles traveled would be reduced by 6 percent, the news release said.
In May, a county-commissioned task force called for a “comprehensive” bus rapid transit network across Montgomery County that would span 160 miles, providing an alternative to congested roads, Patch reported. The study called for up to 25 routes.
Planners will present their findings at the Park and Planning headquartes, 8787 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8.