After several years of asking, Frederick County officials now know when work will begin on a new park and ride parking lot at U.S. 340 and Mt. Zion Road near Jefferson.
Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn announced at a meeting Wednesday night with county and state officials that work on the park and ride will begin in late 2020.
The announcement came as welcome news to Frederick County officials who have pressed the state for several years to commit to building the lot.
In its letter to Rahn in April listing the county’s top transportation priorities, the county noted that it would “like to once again bring to your attention” the status of the project.
“We don’t believe it should take over four years just to design and build a parking lot and are disappointed that this concern has been ignored by MDOT SHA over the past years,” the letter said.
Previous county letters have also raised the issue with the state.
Wednesday’s announcement was the first priorities meeting with the state in which the county has had commitments with dates, Ron Burns, transportation safety manager for the county’s Planning and Permitting Division, said Friday.
Plans for the project would build a 200-space lot near the intersection of U.S. 340 and Mt. Zion Road.
There are currently two smaller lots with fewer than 100 spaces at the location, which will likely stay as overflow lots.
Burns said the county has gotten complaints from people concerned about those who park along roads near the lots when they get full.
He suspects that many of the vehicles at the park and ride are from Bechtel workers who continue to live in Frederick after the company moved its operations to Virginia in 2015, although he can’t prove there’s a connection.
“There’s a pent-up demand for that parking” in the U.S. 15/340 corridor, Burns said.
The park and ride is also used by a lot of van pools, whose riders park there before heading down to Washington, D.C. or other areas, said Kendall Tiffany a spokeswoman for TransIT Services of Frederick County.
It’s also a departure point for the system’s Meet the MARC service, which shuttles riders to the MARC train station in Point of Rocks.
Tiffany said there are no current plans to expand service to the lots, unless the demand increases with the larger lot.
But the transit system could change the size of the vehicles it uses if the new lot brings more passengers, she said.