I am a homeowner in Derwood, and I say "ICC, YES." This is a decision that has been a long time coming for a road that has been needed for decades.
I plan to use the ICC to travel to BWI Airport, visit my family in Baltimore and basically avoid the Washington Beltway as much as possible when I need to travel east from Derwood. I usually use Route 28 (Norbeck Road) to Route 198, but the ICC will be much better.
I have driven every road between BWI Airport and Interstate 270, commuting from Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties and northwest Washington for work from 1992 to 2001 (from Route 108 in the north down to Route 410 (East West Highway) in the south and every road in between. There is no good way to do this.
The impact on my neighborhood will be small. We are about two miles from Route 370 and Shady Grove Road. But even if the ICC were in my back yard, I would be in favor of the road. It has been on the books for 50 years, and I would have known it was a possibility. And my property values would have reflected that fact.
I live in a neighborhood affected by the ICC route -- approximately 1/8 to 1/4 mile from Longmead Crossing on Twin Valley Lane. When we purchased our home in 1991, I reviewed the master plan and knew we were near the proposed road. We support the construction!
The segment of Route 28 that we travel was not built for the volume and nature of traffic it carries every day. Since the extension segment between Layhill Road and New Hampshire Avenue was completed, exiting our neighborhood is difficult, with backups of 11/2 miles from Georgia past our street many mornings. New traffic signals are seriously under consideration, particularly for Wintergate Drive (this would be in addition to the lights at the Leisure World entrance). There have been fatalities on Route 28, as it is a narrow, winding road with virtually no shoulders. The road has been closed because of accidents, necessitating convoluted detours through the neighborhoods west of Layhill Road.
Traveling east from Olney on Norwood Road past the Red Door Store, mile-long backups are the norm. Route 108 has had several newsmaking accidents and backups in recent years, yet further development is allowed. A new shopping center will be built at Route 108 and New Hampshire Avenue, and the current roads simply do not adequately support the related traffic!
The familiar blue signs "Proposed route of the Intercounty Connector" were posted for many years; if people chose to ignore them, that is their personal problem. It is ridiculously difficult to travel cross-county on the existing winding roads -- Route 28 or Route 108 -- and the trucks traveling these routes pose safety issues.
The development of the outer county continues, with housing developments along New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring and Ashton and the growth of cities and towns out along Ednor Road and into Clarksville over the last 10 years bringing large volumes of commuters each day. Many people seem to favor development until their house is completed, then the surrounding roads should be closed and all future growth should be halted; since that is not going to happen, it is high time the necessary related roads were built. While the road may traverse areas that concern the environmentalists, hundreds of cars idling in traffic certainly can't be good for the environment, either!
I welcome the decision on the ICC -- though I doubt that I'll be around to see it finished, and I live within a mile of its crossing Norbeck Road!
The crucial element here is Norbeck Road -- which is presently the unnamed intercounty connector. The morning and evening traffic on this road is horrendous in both directions. Since the road we live on has no egress except Norbeck -- as is the case with all but three or four of the roads that intersect with Norbeck in this stretch -- we have no way to leave our neighborhood except to sometimes wait, and wait, to get a free space in which to pull out of our street. One night the wait was almost nine minutes long. Another time, I counted more than 100 cars passing us heading east. Since there are so many people who live east and apparently work west, and vice versa, there has to be some way to get them there. All traffic coming from or going to Muncaster Mill Road to Gaithersburg, Gude Drive from Gaithersburg and Interstate 270/370, Route 28 from Rockville and 270, and on Wootton Parkway from the Potomac area and 270 heading east comes across Norbeck Road.
The proposed expensive and disruptive upgrade of the Georgia Avenue/Norbeck Road intersection is unnecessary and would be pointless if the ICC were already in place. The intersection is overburdened with the east-west traffic, which would be alleviated if there were a better road to use.
I find it amazing that people from other, more distant areas write letters telling us that it will not relieve Beltway traffic or congestion on Georgia Avenue, or whatever. The people who come our way would not go south to the Beltway, and they are not going north-south but east-west. Let's help them get there. Development? It's already there!
Barbara P. Johannes
The ICC is vital if for no other reason than that it would provide an escape from I-95 (or I-270, for that matter) when the north-south interstates are blocked by accidents or other tie-ups at the bottom ends near the Beltway. When I commuted between Bethesda and Baltimore, if I-95 was jammed because of traffic flow or an accident, there was no effective alternative to go west. The ICC may have economic benefits for the state, but it will have the most benefit as a traffic safety valve.
Ira R. Allen
I support the selection of the southern route for the ICC and its immediate construction.
This route has been on planning maps for 40 years and it's about time! Yes, it may attract development along its route, but development is already happening; the roads right now are just inadequate to handle the traffic.
Personally, I don't think where I live just south of Olney will be significantly affected, which I admit affects my position.
Now, let's get on with an Outer Beltway. We can begin with a new Washington Bypass I-95 about 20 miles east of the current one and make the current one I-95B!!
It's about time. This has been on the books for decades, was tossed around as a political football by the last (unlamented) administration and is needed to relieve Beltway pressure.
It is about time the majority got what it's asked for.
Elizabeth and George Vary
As a resident of Montgomery County, I find it beyond humor to see the "Technology Corridor" signs along Interstate 270 with no efficient way for industry along 270 in Rockville, Gaithersburg or Germantown to get to BWI, Maryland's international airport. Clearly the lack of a reasonable way to reach BWI was a significant reason that industry mushroomed along the Dulles Access Road while a diverse industrial base has declined in Montgomery County over the past 15 years, together with the associated tax base.
It is ridiculous that now, in the 21st century, the only highway that binds Montgomery County east to west is the Capital Beltway. It is ridiculous to ignore the declining quality of life in Montgomery County as related to ever-increasing intra- and intercounty travel time and increasing air pollution, as they are related to ever-increasing local stop-and-go automotive traffic. It is ridiculous not to understand that the only effective means of travel between home and the workplace in our "hire and lay off" employment environment is efficient circumferential highways supporting automotive travel between home and workplace. The radial rapid transit net of Metro is a mid-20th-century solution to a 21st-century metropolitan circumferential transportation problem.
Build the ICC now! Build the ICC to prevent Montgomery County's choking on its own traffic!