Skip to comments.Maryland is focusing on adding toll lanes in plan to widen the Beltway and I-270
Posted on 03/14/2019 10:55:15 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
As part of its controversial plan to widen the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270, Maryland says it intends to focus on the implementation of toll lanes as many as four on each highway and abandon earlier considerations of more general-purpose lanes, bus rapid transit and bus-only lanes.
Maryland transportation officials have narrowed the number of possible construction alternatives to seven from an original list of 15 for further study of potential toll operations in the two corridors that suffer some of the worst traffic congestion in the region.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in September 2017 proposed widening the highways to add managed toll lanes through a public-private partnership.
The concept, which is expected to cost between $9 billion and $11 billion for both highways, is undergoing a complex federal review process that will explore a variety of possible improvements before settling on a preferred alternative.
State transportation officials have said the goal is to find the best solution that not only provides some relief for commuters, but also is financially viable. The original set of options unveiled last summer included congestion-priced toll lanes and dedicated bus lanes, as well as spot improvements to the existing road and the conversion of existing HOV lanes to toll lanes on I-270.
The state announced this week it is proceeding with a smaller pool of options that focus on a system of managed toll lanes. Moving forward, the decision will be mostly choosing between a high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane system, similar to Virginias Express Lanes on interstates 66, 495, and 95, where carpoolers use the lanes free, or express toll lanes, which require all road users to pay. The no-build option also remains, as required in the federal environmental review process.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
How in the Sam Hell did they build highways in my fathers day without double taxing everyone?
This is getting very old.
If the government in our parents and grandparents day had acted like the government does today, there would have been very few highways.
Most of the DC beltway is 4 lanes in each direction, although parts are both wider and narrower. I oppose this plan because I think over 3 lanes in each direction costs more than the marginal increase in capacity is worth. The other problem is than the roads once you get off the beltway cannot handle any increase in traffic, I have seen the off ramps to River, Connecticut, and Georgia Roads back up onto the beltway.
Can you sneak over to Annapolis some day and whisper that into Gov. Hogan's ear? Adding lanes is just going to create a wider parking lot in rush hour. That said, if Maryland has money to burn and Maryland pols want to pander to frustrated commuters, so be it. Since I don't pay taxes in Maryland, I really don't much care what they do to the beltway and 270 -- as long as they don't degrade the neighborhoods along the corridor in the process. And that will likely be a showstopper.
I get dogmatic about doing no harm to the neighborhoods because, in the long run, people need to start living closer to their jobs. There are now nearly ten million people in the combined metropolitan statistical area. The 1960's idea that building another high speed commuter sewer is always the first solution should have been abandoned long ago. Degrading close-in neighborhoods to accommodate long distance commuters gets the priorities exactly backwards. Make the older, close-in neighborhoods more attractive to encourage people to move back in. DC itself is full of revitalized neighborhoods where the transition is mind-boggling. The suburban counties need to make this sort of thing their top priority. And as an aside: if we wanted to dramatically change the urban-suburban dynamic overnight, voucher the schools so that people didn't feel they had to flee to the distant suburbs to afford a decent school district.
If I were going to spend money on anything related to the beltway and 270, 66 and 95, I'd focus on more places to cross the interstates. I'm not going to look up the number now, but a very high percentage of trips by automobile are short, under 3 miles, under five miles, under ten miles, etc. At the shorter end of that range, we should be designing neighborhoods that encourage people to get out of their cars. For short trips still requiring a car, spend the highway dollars on making it easier to get around the neighborhoods without getting on the major arterial roads.
The whole transit system is dominated by a spokes and hub approach that has reached maximum capacity. When the hub is choking on traffic, and doesn't have enough parking even after you struggle in after your two hour commute, building bigger feeder pipes from Urbana, Haymarket and Woodbridge isn't a solution. Most of the population lives in the suburbs. A majority of the jobs are in the suburbs. Most of the job growth is in the existing and emerging suburban and edge cities, many of which are becoming densely urban in character. Intersuburban commutes and lateral movement should be the priorities. The spokes and hub model needs to be replaced by a web. And the web needs to be developed with an eye towards intermodal options, so that as many people as possible can be enticed out of their cars.
This “Lexus Lane” project is a “private-public” project. Plan call for the construction to be privately built using the eminent domain authority of the government. Toll charged will go to the private contract for 15+ years. Pouring more concrete is not the answer. I-270 was intended to be a truck route from DC to Breezewood, PA to link up with the PA Turnpike. The road was built over farm land and was two lanes in each direction. Today the farms are gone replaced by medium to high density homes and rush hour traffic sucks.
The question is, what do all these people do in the DC area? The vast majority work either for the Federal Government or companies that support the bloated agencies.
My solution to the traffic problem. Reduce the size of the government and relocate the remaining personnel to flyover country.
Theres no room to effectively widen these roads.
I’m guessing they can attach them to the toll lanes on the Virginia side. If the can add a new bridge for those 4 lines, it will help everybody by moving rich people out of the regular lanes.
No road work really “eases” traffic. It spreads it out, although it also brings back more people who are working weird hours or taking longer routes.
There is a level of pain we get used to, and if you make the roads wider, more people WILL use them, and that tends to keep the pain levels the same, but it will still help because MORE people will be able to live a more normal schedule or drive less distance.
“Easing traffic” is a poor metric for heavily congested roads, the real measure is how many people are willing to USE the roads, and if you make them wider, more people will be willing to drive them.
Maryland had to lengthen the deceleration lane on the Inner Loop for Georgia Avenue South to nearly a mile to accommodate the backups.
I believe there is room to widen I-270 between Germantown and Frederick, but the remainder of the affected roadways is already built out, with all sorts of houses, apartments and office buildings backing up to them.
The American Legion bridge is a key to flow on the northwest side, although the Potomac/ River Road bend also slows traffic, especially at sunset.
How they’re going to fix the Old G-town Rd to CT Ave/ GA Ave section is beyond me. Plenty of space there, but w/ the 270 merge, that’ll be another mixing bowl project (which works great, now, btw).
I’m all for the toll lanes — works great in VA. Just needs to be extended the entire route around the belt.
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