The ICC Won't Solve Our Traffic Problems

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Discussions of the intercounty connector expose the error in advocates' assumption that the road will relieve traffic congestion.

For 30 years I made the same assumption. I repeatedly voted for appropriations to buy the right of way when it was threatened with new housing or other development. But then the environmental impact study published in 1997 forecast no significant relief for congestion. At that point I changed my mind and joined the opposition.

The new impact study confirms the results of the one completed in 1997. For the Capital Beltway, it shows no relief -- rather, a slight increase in average weekday traffic in 2030 over the forecast for the no-build alternative. Other highways expected to have an increase in traffic as a result of building the connector are Interstate 270, Interstate 95, Route 29, Connecticut Avenue and Georgia Avenue. Traffic would decline on Route 355, Route 1 and New Hampshire Avenue, but both the increases and the decreases would be small.

Clearly, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan spoke from the old, mistaken assumptions when he called the connector "the most promising thing we have to reduce gridlock in our region" ["Foes of ICC Look Toward Last-Minute Roadblock," Metro, Dec. 28].

I hope that our elected officials will look at the data from the study, recognize that the ICC will not reduce gridlock and change their minds, as I have done.


Chevy Chase

The writer, a Democrat, is a former Montgomery County executive.

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