NEW: OCT 17 M-NCPPC ANALYSIS OF I-495 & I-270 WIDENING AT CABE495.ORG
M-NCPPC Report Faults M-DOT Beltway Analysis, Advances Modified Lexus Lanes for Detailed Study
Reversible lanes, mass transit, but only one modified version of the state's proposal for adding Lexus Lanes to both I-495 and I-270, are among the proposals that would advance for detailed engineering and environmental study per a Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) staff report.
The M-NCPPC analysis presented at an Oct 17 M-NCPPC briefing strongly criticizes the Maryland-Dept. of Transportation/State Highway Administration's justification for I-495/I-270 Lexus Lanes and rejects many of M-DOT/SHA’s 15+ proposals as “fatally flawed” and undeserving of further study.
M-NCPPC’s proposed mod to the Governor's plan to widen I-495 and I-270 for four private-profit toll lanes (two in each direction) would turn the I-270 HOV lane into a 24/7 free lane and let carpoolers use the Lexus Lane for free (essentially, merging them.)
The new report also advances a proposal for two reversible for-profit toll lanes, but only on the Beltway, for further study.
M-NCPPC's report fulfills its role under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) review process. But, importantly, it also keeps M-NCPCC at the table to guide M-DOT's selection of a few Alternatives Requiring Detailed Study (aka ARDs) by Feb 2019 and final design by next fall. M-DOT released 15+ alternatives for I-495/I-270 for public inspection last spring.
Commissioners and staff at the briefing stressed that advancing a proposal for detailed study doesn’t mean the M-NCPPC supports or approves it. Some commissioners were openly skeptical of Lexus Lanes and expressed "real doubts" Hogan could keep his promise not to raze houses. (Other commissioner's didn't seem to care.)
Other M-DOT/SHA the Oct 17 M-NCPPC staff presentation advances for detailed study include:
- Not building anything
- Making operational changes to improve traffic flow on both roads,
- Adding one new HOV lane to both roads in each direction
- Converting I-270’s HOV lanes into reversible toll lanes,
- Extending heavy and light rail systems. (Ex: extending Metro’s Red Line to Metropolitan Grove and Germantown Transit Center and the Purple Line into Virginia.)
- Adding Bus Rapid Transit to the HOV or other managed lanes proposed for I-495/I270
To see all of the M-DOT/SHA proposals, click this link to the M-DOT SHA toll lane project site.