●The line will be bus rapid transit (BRT) rather than light rail. With light rail being advanced for the Purple Line and Baltimore Red Line, the more suburban Corridor Cities Transitway would have been one rail line too many for the state to afford. Everyone would rather have light rail, but as I said in 2008 and again in 2009, doing BRT for the CCT is the right decision given the constraints.
●The route will follow its long-planned alignment along King Farm Boulevard, despite objections from some neighbors.
●The Crown Farm station will be located to maximize the planned transit oriented development at that location.
●There will be four stations in the Life Sciences Center office park, which will serve a lot of workers and help to redevelop that area, but which will also slow down buses considerably.
●The Kentlands station is sensibly placed on the west side of Great Seneca Highway, where it will be ideal for future infill.
●The final station is at Comsat office park in Clarksburg, which means the route unfortunately misses two potentially major nearby centers, Clarksburg Town Center and the Milestone shopping center.
Overall, the adopted plan addresses many of the problems I identified in 2006. It’s not perfect, but it’s workable, and it will have a hugely positive effect on how Gaithersburg operates.
Maryland can now move the project into the federal government’s New Starts process, where it will compete with other projects around the country for funding. Ideally they will move into more specific engineering in another year or so, with construction beginning in 2018 and service beginning on the first phase in 2020.
Dan Malouff is an Arlington County transportation planner who blogs independently at BeyondDC.com. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.