Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Residents and Business Representatives Sought for Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Advisory Committees

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) are looking for volunteers -- residents, businesses and community organizations -- to serve on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor Advisory Committees (CACs). The two agencies are seeking public input as they develop concepts for a Rapid Transit System (RTS), a network of BRT routes that is being studied along various County and State roadways.

Over the next two years, four major corridors that have been divided into seven segments will be evaluated for RTS. The four main corridors include Georgia Avenue, US Route 29 (Colesville Road and Columbia Pike), Maryland Route 355 (Frederick Road, Rockville Pike and Wisconsin Avenue) and Veirs Mill Road. Seven CACs will be established for each corridor segment under consideration.

Bus Rapid Transit is a cost-effective and versatile way for communities to meet their transit needs. BRT uses well-planned bus routes and facilities that provide for high speed travel at a lower cost than other forms of transit – high frequency all-day service, off-board fare collection, attractive stations, dedicated roadways, and real-time passenger information. BRT buses have features similar to light rail, including level floors, multiple wide doors for easy boarding and departures, and comfortable interiors that include space for wheelchairs and bicycle storage.

The CACs are essential to ensuring that community stakeholders have ample opportunity to participate in the RTS planning process. The committees will advise MCDOT and SHA on BRT design concepts, study assumptions, transit access and operations, coordination with other studies, planning for public involvement, and community needs and concerns. MCDOT is recruiting committee members who live or work within or adjacent to the communities in the proposed transit corridors as well as those with a general interest in the system.

A CAC nomination form, due on November 21, is available online and details the structure, selection procedures, specific tasks, formation process, and operating guidelines for the CACs. Residents along the corridors under study are asked to send their nomination forms to the president of the civic/homeowner association that represents them. Each civic group along the corridor will select one representative to serve on the CAC for that corridor.

Businesses along the proposed routes are asked to send their nomination forms to their respective Chamber of Commerce, which will make recommendations on proposed business representatives. The chambers are the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Montgomery County, Olney Chamber of Commerce, Rockville Chamber of Commerce, Wheaton and Kensington Chamber of Commerce, Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, and Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce. Links to all the chambers are available online.

Each committee also allows for a number of “at large” representatives who may not live or work directly along the corridor but have an interest in the project. Those forms, also due November 21, should be submitted by email to CAC Nomination Form or mailed to MCDOT Director’s Office, 101 Monroe Street, 10th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850. Residents may nominate themselves or be nominated by others.

To be eligible to serve on a CAC, representatives must be willing to regularly attend meetings, which are expected to be held at least four to six times a year.

For more information, call 240-777-7155, email or visit the RTS website.