by David Humpton, EVP
MVF Election 2017 is in the books! Congratulations to the election winners Tammy Holloway, Peter Webb and Peter Young who will be installed as MVF Board members during the Annual Meeting on Thursday, March 23 at North Creek Community Center, 20125 Arrowhead Road. The Annual Meeting is expected to start at approximately 7:45 p.m. following the regular March MVF Board meeting that will start at 7 p.m. Following the Annual Meeting, the MVF Board will reconvene to elect the Officers of the Foundation.
Transportation is a big issue in the entire region, and I will continue to keep residents informed about major projects affecting our community.
• Watkins Mill Interchange Project – Governor Hogan authorized moving forward with this important project, which was advertised on February 21, 2017, and is fully funded. The bid opening is expected during summer of 2017. The State Highway Administration (SHA) approved a scope of work to include a full diamond interchange, with four ramps to/from I-270 and Watkins Mill Road, and ramp re-alignment towards MD 124. This scope is consistent with the previous advertisement of 2015.
According to the SHA project manager, the scope of this project will be coordinated with plans to widen I-270 from Clarksburg to Frederick. Once constructed, the new interchange will help reduce traffic congestion along Montgomery Village Avenue from the existing interchange.
The State District 39 Team of Senator Nancy King and Delegates Barkley, Reznik and Robinson will continue to monitor this project scope and schedule because it has been a political football!
• M-83 (Midcounty Highway) Supplement Report – Montgomery County Department of Transportation has completed yet another study, which they are including as a supplement to the Midcounty Corridor Study.
The purpose of the study was to assess the effect of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along MD 355 on the projected traffic operations in the study area for the different scenarios/alternatives considered in the Midcounty Corridor Study. One new scenario that considered a reversible two-lane parkway configuration was reviewed and evaluated as part of the supplement.
Council President Berliner is expected to hold a briefing or work session on the study in the coming months, and it is possible that M-NCPPC will be asked to review the study as well. The full supplement can be found at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/corridor/Resources/Files/Feb%2010%202017%20Midcounty%20Corridor%20Study%20Supplement%20Report.PDF.
The Findings section from the released report noted: “As a basic conclusion, implementation of versions of the Midcounty Highway (in the preferred alignment defined in the previous round of planning) and the MD 355 BRT, separately and in combination with each other, provide substantial improvement to the transportation network performance in the study area. Across the metrics considered (Vehicle Miles Traveled, Person-throughput, mode-choice, travel time and intersection operations), the projects perform differently as illustrated through the scenarios analyzed. As a basic finding, this analysis shows that both projects (BRT and the preferred alignment of the Midcounty Corridor Study) are beneficial and neither project substantially replaces the benefit of the other. Rather, the benefits of the projects are cumulative.”
It will be interesting to see if the county council will continue to maintain its current position not to fund any of the alternatives of the Midcounty Highway, and if they will push for accelerated funding of BRT in the upcounty.