Friday, October 05, 2007

One small step towards finally getting bus service to downtown Bethesda along River Road. This was a major issue in my campaign. It boggles the mind: in a county where politicians claim to support mass transit use, and a cleaner environment, there is no bus to take you from the River Road-area suburbs of Bethesda to the downtown! In other words, by not offering this service, county officials are implicitly advocating automotive travel for 100% of trips to downtown Bethesda.

On the eve of Bethesda's biggest annual event, the Best of Bethesda/Taste of Bethesda, tomorrow, October 6 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, I have taken my message to the top. Montgomery County's cable channel 6 aired a live program in which one could ask questions of County Executive Ike Leggett and County Council President Marilyn Praisner. I managed to get through and made my case for the River Road express bus to downtown Bethesda. Both officials promised to forward this proposal for review, and to determine the potential ridership for the route.

Such a bus would allow residents to avoid the traffic and parking problems in downtown Bethesda. One could simply disembark from the bus and use the Bethesda Circulator to access restaurants, shopping, and all of the other amenities the downtown offers. Senior citizens, and minors who can't drive, would finally have a one stop service to downtown Bethesda.

Best of all, the environment would be cleaner. This would be an excellent route to use a natural gas, hybrid, or hydrogen-powered bus. We have to make the commitment to a cleaner environment and this is a tangible and easy way to accomplish this. I would hope that, eventually, the route could officially be an "Express Bus," using not only an environmentally-friendly vehicle, but also the new technology that would enable it to change lights to green as it approaches each intersection. It can be done. So write to the County Executive and Council, and tell them you want bus service to downtown Bethesda on River Road.

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