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Council Hears Transportation Recommendations

Council president Steve Silverman called the Transportation Policy Report Montgomery County's version of the television show "Survivor."\par

"Was everybody's goal to be voted off the task force? Maybe everyone should be given a free Ride-On pass for the next 18 mont

hs," said Silverman, referring to the 34 task force members who worked for 18 months to offer the county long-term recommendations for improving transportation.\par

Both the Planning Board and the Task Force members gave presentations regarding the final report of TPR II to the County Council this morning, Tuesday, Jan. 22.\par

Task force members had in mind more than survival, having attended hundreds of hours of meetings and engaged in intense debate and disagreement about the future of the county.\par

}\pard\plain \s1 \f20\fs48 \ldblquote I would characterize this as a sore disappointment,\rdblquote said TPR cochair Stan Schiff. \ldblquote

We shortchanged the discussion of policy measures. There is an imbalance between supply and demand. The Planning Board included a discussion on increasing supply, it ignored demand.\rdblquote \par

\pard\plain {\fs48

"This is the start of a process designed to address land use and transportation issues on a more integrated basis than has been done in the past," reads the introduction to the report, which promises to be used for the next 10, even 25 years. "It will be s

ubject to further evaluation and debate and must be implemented through Master Plans and other actions by the County Council."\par

Although the majority of the appointed TPR advisory task force which studied transportation options for the past 18 months voted for a \ldblquote low techway\rdblquote

to cross the Potomac River, as well as the widening of River Road, the Planning Board deleted these options in its report.\par

The report does recommend: \par

* added HOV lanes on the beltway from I-95 to Virginia, \par

* the inner purple line, \par

* added bus system improvements, \par

* interchange improvements, \par

* transit projects, \par

* I-270 widenings, \par

* and policies for more housing, jobs and commercial uses at Metrorail station areas. \par

BOX

<mh>Get Involved

<lst>County Council will hold public hearings on the Transportation Policy Report on Feb. 12 and 13. Afterwards, it will hold its own worksessions before making changes and adopting the document.

To speak at the Feb. 12 and 13, 7:30 p.m. public forums, call 240-777-7931.

To get a copy of the report, see www.mc-mncppc.org or call Community Relations, Planning Board at 301-495-4600.

<hd>Council Hears Transportation Recommendations

<1b>By KEN MOORE

<2b>Almanac Managing Editor

<bt>

Council president Steve Silverman called the Transportation Policy Report Montgomery County's version of the television show "Survivor."

"Was everybody's goal to be voted off the task force? Maybe everyone should be given a free Ride-On pass for the next 18 months," said Silverman, referring to the 34 task force members who worked for 18 months to offer the county long-term recommendations for improving transportation.

Both the Planning Board and the Task Force members gave presentations regarding the final report of TPR II to the County Council this morning, Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Task force members had in mind more than survival, having attended hundreds of hours of meetings and engaged in intense debate and disagreement about the future of the county.

“I would characterize this as a sore disappointment,” said TPR cochair Stan Schiff. “We shortchanged the discussion of policy measures. There is an imbalance between supply and demand. The Planning Board included a discussion on increasing supply, it ignored demand.”

"This is the start of a process designed to address land use and transportation issues on a more integrated basis than has been done in the past," reads the introduction to the report, which promises to be used for the next 10, even 25 years. "It will be subject to further evaluation and debate and must be implemented through Master Plans and other actions by the County Council."

Although the majority of the appointed TPR advisory task force which studied transportation options for the past 18 months voted for a “low techway” to cross the Potomac River, as well as the widening of River Road, the Planning Board deleted these options in its report.

The report does recommend:

* added HOV lanes on the beltway from I-95 to Virginia,

* the inner purple line,

* added bus system improvements,

* interchange improvements,

* transit projects,

* I-270 widenings,

* and policies for more housing, jobs and commercial uses at Metrorail station areas.

"This was the most intensive and comprehensive effort ever undertaken by advisory group and planning staff," said Art Holmes Jr., chairman of the Planning Board, who referred to the 165 meetings, 14 focus groups, 10 community workshops, plus committee meetings, that were attended by task force members.

The Planning Board received hundreds of pieces of correspondence about the task force.

Controversial projects recommended include the Inter-county Connector (I-CC) and Montrose Parkway.

The estimated cost of the recommended network presented in the report is $6.9 billion dollars, $3.9 which is part of the board's priority network.

"We can't, whether we focus on transit, road, or both, buy our way out of congestion. I am surprised that issue of growth management policy isn't an issue. If we can't buy our way out of congestion, then why not consider whether growth should be managed," said Blair Ewing (D-At-Large.)

Task force members gave the Council its own report, still in draft form, which will be completed in a month.

"The challenge to the task force was vast, far reaching and very complex. I have a room full of notebooks that are going out with the next pickup," said Sam Raker, co-chair of the Task Force.

The Council will hold public hearings on Feb. 12 and 13 and will start worksessions later in the spring. The Council will adopt its own transportation priorities between June 1 and July 15.