There are three things wrong with the ICC decision.
1. It is too late. The ICC should have been built years ago.
2. The ICC should not be a toll road. More traffic will be removed from other roads if there is no toll.
3. There should be more interchanges so more traffic will be removed from other roads.
Better east-west connections across the county are sorely needed, and improved transit cannot realistically substitute for more road capacity where the ICC is concerned. Let's get it built.
Robert E. Oshel
I am looking forward to the ICC winning final approval because of the impact it will have in reducing traffic on the local roads in our neighborhood. The studies have shown for years that this project will have a major positive effect on traffic, but I am most looking forward to the impact the ICC will have on getting me where I need to go with more predictability.
As someone whose job requires traveling throughout Montgomery and the region on a daily basis, including trips to Baltimore, Columbia, Prince George's County, BWI, Annapolis and all the shorter trips I make along the way, I find that it is getting extremely difficult to know how long it will take me to get across the county. It could be 30 minutes, it could be an hour and a half or more, and I never know which.
With the ICC, we will finally have a more direct and more predictable route, a route that will save me a half-hour each way, and the added capacity will free up our local roads to serve local traffic again -- as they used to. The ICC can't come soon enough.
President and chief executive,
Montgomery County Chamber
I've looked at the ICC from both sides now. And I am on both sides of the issue.
I have lived in Olney since 1984 and have experienced the joys and challenges of growth. Since 1988, I have commuted to Northern Virginia, and I have wasted countless hours and generated unnecessary pollutants sitting in artery, Interstate 270 and Beltway traffic. For reasons of quality of life, reduced use of fuel, less pollution, safety and greater productivity, I support the ICC. And by the way, it will cross Georgia Avenue within two miles of my home.
I am also an outdoor enthusiast. I have discovered the natural wonders right here in Montgomery County. My wife and I frequently kayak in the Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge reservoirs as well as the "Patuxent Stream" in between. We often bike in Rock Creek Park, including weekend rides from Olney down to the D.C. monuments, back up the Capital Crescent Trail through Bethesda, then home. During the week, I'll bike after work to Needwood Lake, at the head of the Rock Creek Trail. We hike with our dog at Meadowside [Nature Center] and Lake Frank. Many of these unspoiled sites, remarkably tranquil and yet surrounded by sprawl, are on or near the ICC route. And so I support and enjoy the special natural areas that are treasures amid the growth.
So where do I come down on the ICC? I reject trade-offs and either-or alternatives. There is no reason not to have both a much-needed ICC and one that is built with environmental sensitivity. Moreover, if done right, it could provide increased access to our natural preserves. Make it an attractive parkway, not a functional interstate.
Give me both. Build the ICC, but do it in a way that preserves the environment. Include an east-west hiker-biker trail so I can ride to Annapolis. Provide increased access to our unspoiled areas for the disabled. With today's technology and innovation, I know we can achieve both. And please, get on with it so we can begin to reap its benefits.
As a resident of Darnestown, I welcome the idea of an intercounty connector. Since moving here from the Los Angeles area in 1998, I have been struck by how inefficient the traffic patterns are. To travel north to Baltimore using the best roads, I have to go south through heavy traffic to reach the Beltway and then travel east to reach Interstate 95 north. Is it any wonder there is gridlock?
My observation, after seven years of living here, is that there is endless discussion and fighting about new roads, but nothing ever is actually built. A significant portion of the population resists any change or growth, which only contributes to deterioration in our quality of life as we all endure ever-increasing traffic. In California, this clearly needed road would have been planned and completed in the time I've lived here. I doubt, however, that the ICC will be built in Maryland before I have to give up driving because of old age.
Kathleen M. Wailes
I have lived in Montgomery County since 1951. I don't remember a time when this road was not on the master plan. If it had been built when it should have been, we wouldn't be going through all this hand-wringing to get it built.
The house we live in is just off Notley Road. We will be able to see the road from our front yard. I can't wait for them to get this road started and finished. We have a second home in Western Maryland (at Deep Creek Lake). The worst part of our trip to the lake is from our house to Interstate 270. We go through many neighborhoods and multiple traffic lights. Once this road has been finished, our trip will improve considerably, and the neighborhoods can go back to having just local traffic.
That said, I also understand the environmental concerns. As long as everything possible is done to protect the environment, I fail to understand why this long-planned road should be further derailed. Mass transit is a great idea and can supplement the road, but mass transit won't address many of the "getting from here to there" scenarios, such as I mentioned above. They can't start this road soon enough!