WINSTON STANDS TO PROFIT FROM LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS, WHILE ADVOCATING BRT-RELATED DEVELOPMENT
The public relations disasters for Montgomery County Bus Rapid Transit advocates just keep on coming.
Among the most memorable were the revelation that the BRT vehicles would move 15 miles in 50 minutes.
And that Communist Chinese officials were advising the county government on the development of its BRT system.
Just last week, the Montgomery County Planning Board sent planning staff back to the drawing board, after Master Planner Larry Cole and others produced fictional BRT data that was not even close to real-world accurate.
Cole also tried out this whopper: he said traffic volume on area roads will increase 70%. The solution? Cole recommended reducing current highway capacity by 33% on roads like Rockville Pike, by turning already-jammed car lanes into bus lanes.
Let's add that up, folks: to handle volume increase of 70%, reduce capacity by 33%.
These people not only need a calculator, but also some spray-tan. Because they obviously don't get out very much. Here's the real world numbers, Mr. Cole: at 4:00 PM last week, it took me an hour to drive from Bethesda to Rockville Town Center. The Pike was crawling, and lights were not synchronized, contrary to government statements otherwise.
You're going to make that 33% worse?
One secret driving force behind BRT has been that land along the BRT routes will be eligible for taller, denser, urban-style development. Whether anyone rides the Emperor's New Bus, or not.
Now a Washington Post article has revealed BRT Task Force Chair L. Mark Winston's ties to development interests. According to the Post, Winston stands to profit from local transit-oriented development projects. Hmm. Sound familiar?
But wait, there's more!
Winston's law firm, Glazer Winston, is all about real estate development. On its website, Winston's firm touts the following:
"In its Real Estate practice, the Firm represents local, regional and national real estate owners, developers and investors in the acquisition, development, financing, leasing and sale of office and industrial properties, retail shopping centers, apartment projects, hotels and raw land."
Isn't this a conflict of interest, to chair a commission pushing a pro-development agenda that you could also profit from, if successful?
What lands around the county might Glazer Winston have a financial interest in, now or in the future?
The final irony?
Winston - a fervent advocate for the rest of us to get out of our cars, and take the bus - says "it has been a while" since a rode a bus himself.
Classic Montgomery County elite hypocrisy. Smart growth, transit-only advocates should take the medicine they prescribe for everyone else.