Montgomery County residents do not have to read the Washington Post to know the D.C. region ranks No. 1 as the most congested metropolitan area in the United States; we experience it everyday.
As I laid out in my Leadership in Action Agenda, we need an all of the above approach to create 21st century infrastructure to improve mobility, reduce congestion and further improve our quality of life. And we need a proven leader to break through the County’s paralysis by analysis that can actually get things done.
Invest In Cost-Effective, Multi-Modal Transportation Solutions:
We need to invest in modern, comprehensive solutions for all modes of travel — bus and light-rail transit, roads, sidewalks and bike trails and more. We need leadership and vision to get some big things done, and we need to think outside the box to create state-of-the-art telework centers and better integrated transit, road, pedestrian and bike networks to better serve our communities. It takes an “all of the above” approach to seriously cut congestion and support job growth in our region.
Silver Spring Transit Center:
Years of delays and millions of dollars over budget, the Silver Spring Transit Center is an eyesore for the Silver Spring community and the County. Together, we worked to revitalize and reverse the blight that had plagued Silver Spring for decades. When elected, we will work together again to fix and safely open the center. On my first day in office, I will convene a meeting to establish a plan to finally resolve the issues that have plagued the Silver Spring Transit Center. Our current Executive and Council have not acted. I will provide weekly public updates on our progress. Montgomery County residents deserve better — better management and transparency from the Executive and better oversight from the Council to hold people accountable and demand results. I promise to do that, I have done it before and will do it again.
Complete Comprehensive Bike Transportation System:
Bicycling is quickly becoming a popular mode of alternative transit, particularly in high-density areas. The statistics show that a vast majority of people will bicycle if there is some sort of designated or protected lane.
I want to initiate a Cycle Montgomery Plan of setting yearly goals for miles of protected bike infrastructure, including cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes and off road trails. We need to quickly complete the Metropolitan Branch Trail, the ICC bike facilities, and remaking the roads in Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Silver Spring and Takoma Park. This will ensure the success of bikeshare. Through the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, working together with bicycle advocates, such as the Montgomery County Bicycle Action Group or the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, to name a few, we can ensure the success of this plan.
Further, I want to ingratiate the biking culture into our community, particularly in our schools, so it becomes second nature – kind of like when recycling was introduced years ago and now is a given. It will improve our community, our environment and our economy.
When previously County Executive, then Police Chief Charles Moose approached me one day to let me know that we had just as many if not more pedestrian related deaths in the county than murders; on top of that an extreme majority affected the Latino community. In response, we acted by creating and implementing nationally award-winning programs to educate the public and save lives. The County has built upon those efforts and we will continue that tradition. One pedestrian death is too many, and Montgomery County will not rest to ensure pedestrian safety.
We need to look at our already established bus system — Ride On — to make sure that it is as efficient and effective as it can be in helping transport people all over the County, particularly upcounty where it is the only public transit option. All Montgomery County residents deserve a reliable source of public transit, and anything less means we are failing to serve the public. We must take a hard look at the current route system and determine how we can make it more effective as well as energy efficient.
It seems every other morning the Washington Post sends out alerts regarding delays on the Metro in Montgomery County. If Montgomery County hopes to reduce congestion on the roads, we need reliable forms of public transportation, particularly Metro’s Red Line. Montgomery County needs an executive who will work together with WMATA while also holding them accountable for substandard performance, and who will be an outspoken advocate for making sure the needs of Montgomery County Metro commuters are being met.
Build Multi-Modal Express Lanes On I-270:
Montgomery County must capitalize on new Public Private Partnership opportunities in the state of Maryland, to expand lane capacity and alleviate growing congestion in the I-270 corridor by adding new express lanes with enhanced regional bus-rapid-transit service. This is part of a comprehensive, forward-looking vision for the I-270 corridor that also includes the Corridor Cities Transitway for linking key activities centers from Shady Grove to Clarksburg. Revenue from the new express lanes can help finance expanded transit service, leveraging private-sector dollars for the construction costs instead of tax dollars. Studies show this approach would provide dramatic, lasting, traffic relief right where we need it most.
Bus Rapid Transit:
Montgomery County Council recently approved a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan throughout different parts of the county to help alleviate congestion by providing another affordable and reliable way for people to get around the County. I support the BRT, and would like to see the suggested routes for the Greater Seneca Science Center and the White Flint area built before moving forward with other proposed corridors, as this is where the ridership demand and potential to leverage private sector investment and job growth is greatest. We must see how it works in these priority areas first, and establish whether or not it will be efficient and effective elsewhere in reducing congestion and getting people to where they want to go in a timely and cost effective manner.
I have long supported the concept of the Purple Line, including both an earlier alternative route that ran outside the beltway and the current route inside the beltway. This project is critical in providing access to closer-in communities from Bethesda to Silver Spring and beyond, and it has my full support. We must work together with the state to pursue and secure federal and private funding to begin construction on the purple line. In doing that, we must ensure that we maintain the quality of the Capital Crescent Trail and work with the businesses and residents it will affect.