Skip to comments.I-270 gridlock cries out for solutions
Posted on 01/08/2013 6:40:13 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
WASHINGTON - Interstate 270 is considered one of the most choked roads in the Washington region, but solutions for the gridlock are few and far between.
Figures from the Maryland Department of Transportation show about 114,000 cars use I-270 daily, and that number is expected to jump to 200,000 in the next 10 to 15 years.
"Everyone who is familiar with 270 knows it is jammed up in the morning rush hour and evening rush hour," says Gus Bauman, who studies transportation and funding and who chaired a Maryland Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding.
One proposal to ease congestion is the Corridor Cities Transitway, which would link Shady Grove, Gaithersburg and Clarskburg.
"It will not end congestion on 270. It will help by providing an alternative route, so that you don't have to be on the road that is congested," Bauman says.
The Corridor Cities Transitway project has been on the books since the 1970s, and would likely cost between $500 million to $875 million, depending on the calculation and whether it would be a light rail project or bus rapid transit.
With Gov. Martin O'Malley and lawmakers concentrating on how to replenish the Tran sportation Trust Fund so it can be help fund the Purple Line and Baltimore's Red Line, the Corridor Cities Transitway seems years away. Maryland's Transportation Trust Fun may run of money in 2018.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett sees the I-270 and Corridor Cities Transitway project as equal on the priority list to the Purple Line.
"The county's economic well being -- and the state's -- depends on a plan to move forward with securing new transportation revenues for critically needed infrastructure," says Leggett in a statement to WTOP.
Widening and expanding I-270 could present just as many challenges.
"The right of way on I-270 is 300 feet, but there are 12 lanes already. It's unlike Northern Virginia where they had space in the middle to build the new Beltway Express Lanes, I-270 doesn't have that space in the middle. It's pretty much maxed out," Bauman says.
While there is some talk about potential options closer to Frederick County, it appears in the heart of Montgomery County, particularly south of Gaithersburg, there may not be room to create brand new lanes.
Instead, the talk between Montgomery County and the Maryland State Highway Administration revolves around expanding High Occupancy Vehicle lanes.
In a statement to WTOP, the SHA points out one suggestion from the Montgomery County Council to remove the shoulder along I-270 and convert it to a HOV lane would pose some challenges.
SHA spokesman Dave Buck says it would severely impact emergency vehicle response times and force broken down cars or accident victims into travel lanes, posing a safety risk.
"While there are challenges to overcome and investments to be made, the Maryland Department of Transportation is committed to a partnership with Montgomery County and VDOT. Maryland is completing an analysis on the west side of I-495 and the southern end of I-270 (West Side Mobility Study), reviewing real-time traffic data to assist in identifying short, medium and long-term options along these corridors," says Buck.
As for express toll lanes, similar to those on the Capital Beltway in Virginia, the Maryland Transportation Authority, the agency that that operates the state's toll roads, tells WTOP there have been no conversations with anyone in Montgomery County nor with the transportation department about any projects for I-270 or the Beltway.
I don’t know what the solutions are, but I am pretty sure they will involve a lot of government spending that gets into the pockets of politically connected contractors.
I suspect that if they extended the Metro from Shady Grove up to Frederick, that would help considerably. For me, the best solution was to just not get a job in The City.
The study's authors anonymously tracked more than 350,000 Bay Area drivers using their cellphone and GPS signals -- the first time that's been done -- to gather some of the most detailed data yet on what causes our traffic jams.
IMHO, I-270 congestion is a sign of morbidly obese, bloated federal, state, local government within Maryland, DC and Virginia. Same with I-695 and I-495.
The I-270 issue is but a symptom of the bigger problem.
It's not like this situation hasn't been discussed before. Science fiction fans will remember the Foundation series by Issac Asimov, and how the planet Trantor became one very large city because it was the "seat" of the Galactic Empire...and the problems all that centralization caused. And how the Empire finally broke into little bitty pieces because of the concentration.
Make all the moronic government employees take their vaunted buses, light rail and subways. Instead, either they provide parking spaces for these dregs or give them drivers. The head of WDC Metro system has a taxpayer provided car and driver. Take Metro, you putz!
I have a solution. Congress can meet virtually via video conferencing. If they did their work from their district, perhaps they wouldn’t so quickly become such creatures of Washington.
Stop voting Democrat.
Baltimore's Red Line?
The solution is obvious. Put the Detroit city council in charge of the DC region.
These days the Federal Gov’t is huge jobs program for liberals and affirmative action hires all kinds meaning, women, blacks, gays Hispanic etc. This is how Federal hiring is trending in the DC area. Why will any programs be cut if this means a loss of jobs for liberals and Obama voters? Defense in the largest exception.
Obama wants to slash defense and kill off NASA. This is where the white guys work who tend to be right of center. So reduce their jobs while increasing Federal employment at the Department of education which is heavily female, gay and minority. Those jobs are “reparations” jobs. Take from the “whiter” productive private sector via higher taxes and transfer the wealth to all kinds of Federal employees who are unneeded, doing useless work or over-regulating.
Not mention taking from the private sector (taxes) and give to the Obama voters via welfare, Section8, 0bama-Care and more
It’s quite simple. The state does exactly what the Fed does - They treat the transportation and airport “trust funds” like part of the general revenue. There are no trusts funds, and consequently, no trust of yet one more aspect of government.
I know a good solution to all that gridlock! The trucking industry just needs to stop sending any trucks into the region just like I did when I owned my own trucking business.
“All roads lead to the new Rome, and its clear they are quite crowded.”
With people with their snouts in the public trough.
If there is no room to expand the shoulders, why don’t they stack one highway on top of another as they do in parts of the NYC metro area?
Other solutions would include smarter bus or train service, such as a dedicated bus run only for a large employer such as a major government agency, combined with employees-only personal consumer options built into any large employer. Such a building should have a grocery, a deli, a dry cleaner, a gym, medical office, dentist, hairdresser, kiosks from larger entities like Home Depot where a consultant can help people order what they need and have it delivered, and all the other things people try to do on the way home that presently necessitate a private car.
I believe that the problem is not the HOV on the Spur, but the number of people trying to shift lanes between the 270 split and Montrose RD. If you are trying to make the Montrose Road exit from the spur, you need to cross three lanes while traffic from the outer loop is trying to cross at least three lanes to get to the through lanes.
The next monster bottleneck is Northbound past Father Hurley where the road goes from three lanes to two. I have seen this pinch point back traffic up past 118.
You are spot on. The unemployment figures surrounding DC are well below the national average. Zero keeps increaseing the the size o f government 18,000 new IRS employees for Zero Care compliance alone.