Ben in the Washington Post: The untapped potential of suburban Maryland’s rail network
Ben Shnider's letter to the editor posted on December 15, 2017.
Regarding Jason Neuringer’s Dec. 10 Local Opinions essay, “Let’s really open up Montgomery’s roads”:
Mr. Neuringer and I agree that our community faces a traffic crisis, but we disagree about how to address it. Research demonstrates that we can’t pave our way out of traffic.
• Other metropolitan areas offer quality regional rail. Why not suburban Maryland? We should work toward all-day, week-long MARC service from Frederick to the District.
• We also need to give commuters more options for connecting to rail in the first place, as well as to nearby employment and commercial centers. Bus rapid transit (BRT) has proved a popular option in other cities. In fact, 30 percent of additional trips generated by BRT in car-centric Los Angeles served customers who were new to transit.
• Nationwide, the majority of vehicle trips are less than 10 miles. Smart-growth policies that foster neighborhoods where people live, work and play are a vital component of congestion relief.
• Finally, we should consider adding two reversible lanes to Interstate 270 and give priority to carpools and buses. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) four lanes would pave over neighborhoods and cost an untenable amount.
I’d be happy to accept Mr. Neuringer’s invitation to join him for a commute over the American Legion Bridge. In turn, I hope he would join me on the MARC train from Union Station to Rockville to witness the untapped potential of our region’s rail network.
Ben Shnider, Rockville
The writer, a Democrat, is a candidate for Montgomery County Council District 3.
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