A free community shuttle bus is operating between the Bethesda Metrorail station and the Chevy Chase Lake community in North Chevy Chase.
The Chevy Chase Land Co., which owns much of the Chevy Chase Lake area, recently opened a shuttle service to the public that it had previously limited to its retail and office tenants. About 75 people take the bus daily, about 30 of them from the community, said Lisa Fadden, a spokeswoman for the land company. The public service was first reported on the Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row blog.
The shuttle operates between the Metro station and an office building at 8401 Connecticut Ave., just south of Manor Road, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday to Friday. Pickups at each location occur about every 40 minutes. A schedule is available at www.cclandco.com.
Fadden said the company has provided the shuttle to its retail and office tenants for four to five years and opened it to the community on a trial basis over the holiday season, largely to help more people reach the businesses. She said the company will gauge the community’s interest before deciding whether to keep the public service. She declined to say how much the company spends on the shuttle service, which is free to all passengers.
Fadden said the expanded service had no connection with the land company trying to build community support for its development plans for the area, which drew opposition because of the density and height of buildings proposed and the development’s potential impacts on traffic. The company had proposed a cluster of buildings 10 to 19 stories tall on Connecticut Avenue about three-fourths of a mile inside the Capital Beltway, where the Chevy Chase Supermarket sits on one side of Connecticut and a Starbucks in a shopping center on the other.
Fadden said the company is soliciting community input and reworking its development plans, which are expected to go before the Montgomery County Planning Board in May.
The area is slated for a station on a future 16-mile light rail Purple Line proposed between Bethesda and New Carrollton. The land company has advocated for the $1.93 billion project, which has no designated construction funding.
“It’s not Purple Line-related in any way,” Fadden said of opening the shuttle service to the public. “We get good ridership from our tenants, but the buses weren’t full, so it’s an opportunity to help the community.”
She added: “I hope people feel this is a worthwhile opportunity to get to know us and work with us.”