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Planning Board Advances Study of Transportation Options for I-270 Corridor

February 18, 2021

On February 18, 2021, Planning Staff briefed the Montgomery County Planning Board on the results of its months-long pre-screening of potential transit options for the I-270 Corridor. The work was undertaken as a part of the I-270 Transit Plan known as Corridor Forward.

The 13 options investigated by Staff included enhancements or new Metrorail, light rail, monorail, bus rapid transit, commuter bus, and MARC service intending to improve access along the I-270 corridor and potentially to extend transit service from Frederick through Montgomery County to Northern Virginia.  Note that these transit options are distinguished from ongoing efforts related to the widening of I-270 and the potential addition of toll lanes.

After reviewing its pre-screening methodology, which included an evaluation of cost, geography and performance factors, Staff recommended advancing six options for further study:

  • MARC station and service upgrades along the Brunswick Line
  • Red Line Extension to Germantown
  • Corridor Cities Transitway with current alignment
  • Purple Line Extension to Tysons
  • Monorail or Light Rail along I-270 from Shady Grove to Frederick
  • I-270 BRT from Frederick to Northern Virginia plus Corridor Cities Transitway supplemental concept.

Here is a concept from the Corridor Forward: The I-270 Transit Plan showing the various alternatives:

Planning Staff was quick to note that implementation of several specific options would require interagency and inter-jurisdictional coordination, including coordination with the Maryland Transit Administration, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Maryland State Highway Administration and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

The Planning Board directed Staff to advance detailed review for each of the six options recommended for further evaluation.   At the Planning Board’s direction, Staff will now:

  1. Advance the six (6) options into detailed study;
  2. Develop evaluation metrics and a methodology to advance the Corridor Forward policy goals; and
  3. Work with stakeholders and the Planning Board to prioritize options based on the evaluation.

Staff anticipates returning to the Planning Board in late May or early June to present preliminary recommendations, which will include Staff’s recommended prioritization of the six (6) options.  Following Planning Board direction at that time, we anticipate Staff will then begin to develop a draft “Implementation Plan” to achieve the highest priority project(s).  Staff anticipates including its Implementation Plan with the Corridor Forward Working Draft, scheduled for presentation to the Planning Board in mid-Fall of 2021.

For additional information on Corridor Forward or other transportation and land use matters, please contact Shulman Rogers attorneys, Todd Brown or Nancy Regelin.