If you live or work in Montgomery County, you’ve probably heard about the ambitious plans to build Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) here. You can learn more about the proposal at a panel discussion in Silver Spring this Wednesday.
Bus Rapid Transit is a type of transit using buses, which can include many of the aspects normally associated with light rail. Attributes like reserved lanes, all-door boarding, traffic signal priority, and off-board fare collection speed up buses, and allow transit riders to get where they’re going faster.
The county has announced plans to build as much as 160 miles worth of BRT in Montgomery, to bring quick transit to as many residents as possible.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is … Continue reading
Building a successful and attractive transit system takes more than drawing lines on a map and buying snazzy vehicles. In addition to the many technical issues, one of the most important factors is values. Who is the system for, and why will they use it?
International transportation consultant Jarrett Walker, who writes the blog Human Transit, has a new book by the same title about the values behind transit, transit’s limits and opportunities, and why people do and don’t ride.
On Tuesday, February 7, the Planning Commission is hosting Jarrett as a part of our speaker series. The talk will start at 7:30 pm in the Planning Board auditorium at 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.
If you can’t … Continue reading
As a part of the Purple Line, Montgomery County will fund upgrades to the Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring. Tomorrow, the Planning Board will hear recommendations from its transportation planning staff about several issues facing the trail. After hearing testimony, the Planning Board will send recommendations to the Montgomery County Council.
The current design from the Maryland Transit Administration includes a number of improvements to the trail. The upgraded trail will be expanded to 12 feet wide, where feasible, and paved. Additionally, the trail will be extended from its current terminus at Lyttonsville 1.5 miles farther east to Downtown Silver Spring. New overpasses or underpasses will be provided over Connecticut Avenue, Jones Mill Road, 16th Street, … Continue reading
Land in our urban areas is very valuable and much of it is currently used for parking. But what might places like Silver Spring be if they had more park space? Today, we are participating in National Park(ing) Day to find out.
Taking several spaces on Ellsworth Drive in Downtown Silver Spring, planners from the Montgomery County Planning Department and other organizations have claimed a few more square feet for parkland in the central business district.
The event is being held today on Ellsworth Drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participating in the event are 5 organizations who support a greener future. In addition to the Planning Department (2 spaces), the DC chapter of the Congress for New … Continue reading
Ever wondered how the names of waterways vary from state to state? An interesting map now shows the differences in waterway toponyms in the United States.
The patterns of settlement across the country give reason to the difference. From the brooks of New England and the kills of New Netherland York to the bayous of New France Louisiana and the rios of New Mexico, the variety of names adds flavor to a diverse nation.
The stark differences, especially in the Mid-Atlantic and New England show how varied the histories of those regions are, despite their size.
The map shows creeks and rivers in gray, since those names are so common nationwide. Though sometimes things get mixed up. Consider Philadelphia’s … Continue reading
Planners in Montgomery County are working to determine how to best accommodate bicyclists as the county continues to grow. They’ve created a tool known as a “heat map” to figure out the best places to invest in bike infrastructure.
With limited funds, planners have to prioritize bike infrastructure, just like other types of infrastructure. This tool should help planners figure out which projects will have the biggest impact.
As expected, the primary bicycle hot spots are in the more urban communities in the downcounty area. Silver Spring, Bethesda, and Friendship Heights top the list of areas with high cycling demand.
Wheaton, White Flint, and Rockville also have high demand for cycling infrastructure.
The map was developed by measuring proximity … Continue reading
Last week, I had the opportunity to spend a full day in Cleveland, Ohio. And I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. As it turns out, Cleveland is a pretty nice place.
I’d only ever passed through Cleveland on Amtrak’s Capitol Limited in the middle of the night. So I was unsure of what to expect, but my perceptions certainly focused on Cleveland as a rust belt city with some pretty serious environmental problems.
What I found was a city (and a region) facing a severe economic crisis, but one whose downtown and core neighborhoods cling to vibrancy. I was impressed with the urban form of Downtown, a district which has seen better days, but whose architecture … Continue reading
When it comes to the built environment, the Washington region has long been one of the proving grounds for Planning.
From the first-ever National Planning Conference in 1909 to the demonstration of New Urbanism at Kentlands, Washington has benefited from planning ideas that often seemed far-fetched at the time.
Greenbelt, Maryland is no exception. It’s the best-preserved example of New Deal-era utopian town planning in the United States, and has been named a National Planning Landmark. This Saturday, I’m leading a bike tour of the community (details below). I hope you can make it.
About Greenbelt: Faced with housing shortages, a decimated economy, and deteriorating conditions in cities, the Roosevelt Administration, as a part of the New Deal, set … Continue reading
This past weekend, the Capitol Riverfront area celebrated the grand opening of the Yards Park.
The new park is located along the Anacostia River between 3rd Street SE and the Navy Yard. It was built as a public-private partnership between the developer of the Yards, the government of the District of Columbia, and the General Services Administration. It’s managed by the Capitol Riverfront BID.
A festival marked the opening this weekend. It included bands, artists, vendors, and more. I had the opportunity to stop by, and I snapped some photos. The park is very well designed, and I can only hope it is an example of future waterfront parks in the area.
It has many features which help to … Continue reading
In March, one of our planners, Claudia Kousoulas, showed the difference in scale between urban development and the infrastructure underlying suburban development by overlaying the I-270/I-370 interchange on top of Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle area.
The amount of space we devote to moving cars is almost surreal at times. At Montrose Road, Interstate 270 is a whopping 14 lanes wide. At that rate, it seems we’re trying to rival places like Atlanta and Los Angeles.
But what is even more amazing is the amount of space we devote to storing cars. When people think of the automobile, it is invariably involved in going somewhere. But cars spend the vast majority of their time parked.
In Montgomery County, we devote about … Continue reading