Maryland’s Board of Public Works voted two-to-one to advance a proposal to widen I-270 and I-495 with toll lanes. Now, state officials can begin to solicit bids to build the project. However, transit advocates and environmentalists won some concessions that will dramatically re-order the three-phase proposed project.
You can now bike from downtown Washington, D.C., to Beltsville, Maryland, almost entirely on paved trails, courtesy of an effectively-complete, not officially-opened, extension of the Little Paint Branch Trail along Cherry Hill Road.
On the narrow question of does this project achieve it’s stated goals — shortening highway commute times — Maryland may have a success. But on the greater question of proactive, responsible planning according to objective public policy, this plan is highly suspect.
Prince George’s County officials had harsh words for Maryland transportation officials pushing plans to add new lanes to the Beltway. Members of the Prince George’s County Council were briefed on the proposal, dubbed the I-495-I-270 Managed Lanes Study, at a March 25 meeting. The proposal calls for the addition of variable-rate toll lanes to the Maryland portion of the Capital Beltway. During discussion of the proposal – heavily backed by Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration – District Three County Councilor Danielle Glaros said the project lacked broad buy-in from local communities. She contrasted the toll lane proposal with the efforts to build the Purple Line, a transportation infrastructure project more enthusiastically endorsed by the communities and local governments through which it wends.
Required Reading is a simple, daily roundup of news coverage relevant to Prince George’s County and its Route 1 communities. In our Jan. 11, 2019, edition: Details of a Capital Bikeshare expansion in Greenbelt; Delays in Purple Line construction; How a government shutdown affects a new Hyattsville distillery, and more stories after the jump:
Purple Line opening delayed at least one year – The Washington Post
Key quote: “The private consortium’s reports don’t say how much it would cost in additional labor, equipment and other expenses to open the line in February 2023. The negotiations have focused on who — the state or team of companies — is to blame for which delays and who should pay to offset them.” Capital Bikeshare plans Greenbelt expansion – Greenbelt News Review
Key quote: “According to the proposal, the five locations being considered in Greenbelt are: Greenbelt Station Parkway and North Center Drive; Breezewood Drive and Cherrywood Lane; Roosevelt Center; Crescent Road and Ridge Road (near the police station), and on Hanover Parkway near Eleanor Roosevelt High School”
Board of Public Works awards state tax system overhaul contract – Prince George’s Sentinel
Key quote: “The comptroller’s office currently uses various systems to collect taxes – one of which is a mainframe business tax-collection system that dates to 1987 and another system for individual income taxes and the sales tax, which began use in 1992.”
let’s put Metorail’s woes into context. Below, we’ve used an official average daily ridership dataset from Metrorail, passed on by Hyattsville Economic Development Corporation, to chart the system’s changing ridership fortunes. Broken down station-by-station, the data allows you to see how each expansion of Metrorail has impacted ridership on other parts of the system.
Required reading is a simple, daily roundup of news and views relevant to Prince George’s County and its Route 1 communities. In our Dec. 21, 2018 edition: Jordan McNair’s last moments get more scrutiny; a statewide school funding formula gets delayed; and a Laurel dispensary has diner blues. University of Maryland releases surveillance footage of Jordan McNair’s last practice – Baltimore Sun
Maryland school funding plan delayed – WAMU
Laurel Medical Marijuana dispensary at Tastee Diner delt setback – Laurel Leader
Maryland gets $2 million grant to prep Purple Line corridor – The Washington Post
Election changes to come after Prince George’s voting delays – WRC