sy Commuter bus 2

A commuter bus that originated at Shady Grove drops passengers off Friday afternoon at the Monocacy MARC station. The I-270 Corridor Transit Plan is looking at a bus rapid transit system that would extend from Frederick to northern Virginia.

A transportation plan for the Interstate 270 corridor being developed in Montgomery County could include a rapid-service bus component that would stretch from Frederick to northern Virginia.

The I-270 Corridor Transit Plan is in its early phases, but one of the elements being considered is a bus rapid transit line that could run from Biggs Ford Road along U.S. 15 north of Frederick to Tysons Corner in Virginia.

The project would utilize new toll lanes along I-270, an element that got a boost Friday with the announcement that a revised proposal for the project to add toll lanes to I-270 would include a clarification to ensure that public buses will be allowed to use the lanes free of charge.

The study is still in a conceptual phase at this point, said Cherian Eapen, a traffic engineer with the city of Frederick who has attended meetings on the topic.

Planners would need to look at things such as where stations would be, and whether the buses would run in the median of I-270 or somewhere else, Eapen said.

Bus rapid transit, which transports riders on express routes with limited stops, is a great option for long-distance travel, Montgomery County Councilman Hans Riemer (D) said Friday. And the region needs such a system, he said, to help people get from Frederick to Montgomery County and northern Virginia.

“This is the kind of trip that it’s really meant for,” Riemer said.

A lot of Montgomery County workers live in Frederick County, he said, and companies need to know that their workers can get to the office through the region’s congestion.

According to 2018 numbers from the state’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, nearly 24 percent of Frederick County residents work in Montgomery County, with 3 percent working in Washington, D.C., and almost 6 percent in Virginia.

Riemer said the state should also be looking at adding more MARC rail service to Frederick, but a BRT route would be more affordable.

The I-270 Corridor Transit Plan will consider both short-term transit options and longer-term ideas, and help restart momentum for Montgomery’s Corridor Cities Transitway.

That project, a BRT route that would stretch from the Shady Grove Metro station to the Clarksburg area, was removed from the state’s transportation capital budget in 2019.

Work on the I-270 transit plan is in its early stages, Gwen Wright, planning director for the Montgomery County Planning Department, said in a statement Friday.

“This plan will be looking at many different options — from BRT to monorail to managed lanes and we are just at the beginning of the process for this plan,” Wright said. “We don’t have any data or recommendations to offer yet, but there will be more information coming on this work soon.”

Riemer said the Montgomery County Council wants to move fast, and is hoping the study will be finished in 2020.

“We need to get ahead of the game here,” he said.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP.

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(20) comments

francesca_easa

We need a 3x/daily train to/from Frederick to BWI. Folks can take light rail from airport to other points around Baltimore.

Bayrunner is quite expensive and Greyhound horribly unreliable.

flyga

Sign me up. When does it start? Can the bus please be outfitted with a bicycle rack so I can ride from home to the bus, and from bus to work in TC?

DickD

Good idea, but don't hold your breath.

threecents

Excellent idea. For me this could be a game changer.

flyga

+1

BunnyLou

There is no such thing as a rapid route to anything in this area let alone from Frederick to Virginia.

DickD

Do you use 270, Bunny? Have you ever used Metro? Have you ever take the bus from Frederick to Shady Grove? Have you commuted to Virginia? Have you ridden in a van pool? I have done all. Do you know what you are talking about, Bunny?

BunnyLou

Why so unhinged Dick? To answer your question, yes, Dick I do travel the 270 corridor and 15. I work in Reston, VA, but sometimes I need to be in Rockville. I’ve used all forms of transport and found none fast, efficient or cost effective.

sevenstones1000

It would be a lot more rapid if we could get a lot of these cars off the road and get people in mass transit, wouldn’t it?

DickD

Both the bus routes and monorail make more sense than adding more lanes to 270. Buses are the most and cheaper.

FCPS-Principal

Nuts. Buses, subways, trains are all nice but fail utterly. Why? They're great for the 1% who work within walking distance of a dropoff point. The problem that remains as always is the last mile. How do you get from the station to work? Dropoff points are usually located in open space, far away from office buildings. Just imagine the problem in reverse. How does a MoCo or Tysons Corner resident who takes a bus to his high-paying job in FrCo at Sonic or the new go-cart entertainment center get to work from the MARC station? Answer: He has to call a cab! What a joke.

DickD

If you are within a mile you should be able to walk there in 15 minutes and get needed exercise at the same time.

BunnyLou

DDDDIIIICCCCKKK, woulddd you wannttt to walkkk the lasttt 15 minutess in say 20 degree weather with a 15 MPH wind?

DickD

How many days are like that Bunny? I used to walk for an hour at noon time to just get exercise. Dress warm, exercise will keep you warm, quit being a pansy.

threecents

[thumbup]DD. Or get an Uber.

gabrielshorn2013

Agreed Dick. When we lived Mo Village, I used to take Metro from Shady Grove to Metro Center, and then walk to my office on 14th and New York. Rain, shine, hot or cold. You get used to it, and it was good exercise. Also, the train was a very good place to get work done before arriving at my office.

DickD

When did you move to Middletown, Gabe?

sevenstones1000

FCPS, no, the buses from Frederick let you off at the Shady Grove Metro, where you can catch either the subway or many local routes. I got from Frederick to 2 blocks from my DC office this way.

Where are you coming up with the idea that they let you off a mile from civilization?

Oh, and good luck finding parking two steps from your office in DC, as you seem to think likely if you drive yourself.

threecents

[thumbup]7

francesca_easa

Interesting point Principal.

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