Thursday, May 19, 2016

Report: MoCo traffic congestion costing you $1834 per year

The failure of the Montgomery County Council to complete the County's master plan highway system is costing each resident an average of $1834 per year, according to a report released this week by the national transportation research non-profit TRIP. You lose about 82 hours a year idling in traffic jams, the report says, and the incomplete road network is costing Maryland $4.1 billion dollars a year in lost productivity and wasted fuel.

How much fuel? 85 million gallons. Which translates into significant additional pollutants and greenhouse gases that would not exist if traffic could keep moving smoothly.

According to the TRIP study, Montgomery County is home to the worst bottleneck in the state, at the Capital Beltway and I-270 spur in Bethesda. The Council's failure to build a planned Potomac River crossing north of the American Legion Bridge, and the Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83) - among other unbuilt freeways, creates traffic jams averaging 12.3 miles in length at the spur, lasting an average of 168 minutes per day there.

TRIP's latest numbers on vehicle miles traveled show most commuters still aren't "getting out of their cars." Vehicle miles traveled haven't declined in Maryland - in fact, they've increased: 12% since 2000, and 2% in the last 12 months alone. Metro ridership has declined over the same period. The report forecasts that VMT will increase another 20% by 2030, requiring new highway capacity to meet the demand. 

VMT increases almost 1% for every 1% of added population in Maryland, a damning statistic for those who claim that infinite growth is possible in Montgomery County.

Other County bottlenecks caused by unbuilt highways on TRIP's list include the Beltway at Connecticut Avenue (unbuilt Northwest Freeway, Outer Beltway, Rockville Freeway, I-95 through D.C.) in Kensington and the Beltway at Georgia Avenue (the unbuilt roads mentioned for the Connecticut exit, plus the unbuilt North Central Freeway and Northern Parkway) in Silver Spring. Multiple other I-270 interchanges made the list, as well.

The report notes that a 2013 survey of corporate executives found that Highway Accessibility is the top factor - after skilled labor - that firms consider when relocating their headquarters. Montgomery County has failed to attract a single major corporate headquarters in almost 20 years.

"Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand," the report says. "Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system." Intelsat reportedly was considering moving its D.C. headquarters to 4500 East-West Highway in Bethesda, but ultimately chose Tysons with its superior highway access with Express Lanes, and direct highway access to Dulles Airport. In the near future, there will also be direct Metro access to Dulles from Tysons, to boot.

"Highways are vitally important to continued economic development in Maryland," the report argues, "particularly to the state’s tourism, agriculture, energy and manufacturing sectors."

The only good news in the report is that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's emphasis on addressing failing infrastructure appears to be bearing immediate fruit. There were 97 bridges rated "structurally-deficient" across the state in 2012; that number has fallen to 69 during Hogan's first term.

“From Governor Hogan’s $2 billion investment in highways and bridges to innovative projects and practical design, Maryland is committed to improving safety and reducing hours lost every day to congestion,” Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete K. Rahn said in a statement reacting to the TRIP report.

But without completing Montgomery County's master plan highway system, economic development and quality of life will continue to decline. “Without additional transportation funding, Maryland’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, the state will miss out on opportunities for economic growth, and quality of life will suffer,” TRIP Executive Director Will Wilkins said in a statement.


63 comments:

Anonymous said...

first

Anonymous said...

Also more reason to build more density in metro centric locations, create more walkable and bike able environments, and push more and improved mass transit.

Wrol said...

Also more reason to build more density in metro centric locations, create more walkable and bike able environments, and push more and improved mass transit.

Anonymous said...

MoCo is great , but can be greater!

Anonymous said...

More "attaboys" for Larry Hogan from our local "journalist". LOL

Anonymous said...

Does Dyer actually believe that the Beltway or I-270 would be LESS congested, had the North Central Freeway been built?

And does he believe that the voters of the County want to build a six-lane freeway through the middle of Sligo Creek Park, Wheaton Regional Park and Northwest Branch Park? And to tear down several hundred homes in the Woodside neighborhood of Silver Spring?

And has he forgotten that the capacity of I-270 has been tripled during the past four decades?

Anonymous said...

Robert, this is the internet. You are allowed and even encouraged to provide a link so people can read the information for themselves.

http://www.tripnet.org/docs/MD_Progress_and_Challenges_TRIP_Report_May_2016.pdf

A reader may be interested to find that despite your sentence on "County bottlenecks caused by unbuilt highways on TRIP's list", there was no mention of any of those highway projects in the report. You are stating this as if it was a conclusion of the report and not your personal opinion. If that's not intentional to mislead readers, it's certainly bad journalism.

Also, many of those un-built highways haven't even been on the drawing board for 40 years. I-95 through DC was canceled in the 70s. Some of the more recent ones were killed back in the 80s. Maybe some of them could still work, but most were tossed out for good reason.

Anonymous said...

Hogan gave Dyer an attaboy? Please give the link.

Anonymous said...

"External links are a security risk", babbles Dyer.

Robert Dyer said...

5:50: So what do you attribute the traffic congestion to? Why do you think we are below capacity and therefore having traffic jams? Why does the report mention highways throughout? You make it sound like the report is advocating for bicycles as the solution.

Bringing the fresh data of this report to the public is indeed GOOD, not "bad", journalism.

Robert Dyer said...

5:36: I've gotten zero "attaboys" from Hogan or any other elected official. That's how you know I'm a real journalist and not a tool.

Robert Dyer said...

5:12: The hard data of this report shows that approach has failed to reduce traffic or vehicle miles traveled. Hence we need more highway capacity.

Anonymous said...

@5:12 Metro needs to stop being on fire before it has any value to planners.

Anonymous said...

Haha...sad but true.
Our Bethesda station is closed regularly now. Metro isn't a reliable transit option at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Bringing the fresh data of the report to the public is indeed good. Freely mixing the report's facts with your own opinion without distinguishing between the two is what's bad.

Robert Dyer said...

5:45: Uh, yeah they would be.Tripling capacity doesn't do squat for I-270 if you allow population growth many times that in Germantown, Clarksburg and Damascus AND fail to build the master plan M-83 to serve those communities.

Northern Parkway is just that - a parkway. It would not be 6 lanes.

Anonymous said...

You don't seem to understand what the phrase "below capacity" actually means.

Robert Dyer said...

6:22: Again, if you are challenging the idea that an incomplete freeway system is to blame for a lack of vehicle capacity, what is to blame instead in your opinion?

The whole report is talking about building highways! The unbuilt roads I refer to are the only ones that have rights-of-way set aside. How is that opinion? It is fact!

Robert Dyer said...

6:24: How so? More cars on a road network than it can handle is not a lack of vehicle capacity? Do tell!

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha- regardless of whether or not your a real journalist, your definitely a tool Robert.

Anonymous said...

Education, education, education. If 6:40 grew up around here, our schools are crap.

Anonymous said...

In the Post today, front page at the fold: story about suburban office parks, near highways, going vacant. Companies want to move to urban areas near pubic transportation.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's what MoCo needs - more highways to induce even more people to drive in from Howard County, Frederick, Urbana, etc. That'll surely help unclog our roads! After all, adding more and more highways has worked so well in the past! (hope I laid all that sarcasm on thick enough for you, Dyer)

Anonymous said...

And then a company moves from downtown Bethesda to Executive Blvd. Completely ignoring that trend.

There was a report out earlier this year that indicated over 80% of people drive themselves and they don't expect that % to change.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:22, 6:26, 6:29 - The situation you are describing is "above capacity", not "below capacity".

#InnumerateBirdbrain

@ 6:53 - Sounds like you're referring to a story that was published in Bethesda Magazine yesterday. Expect your comment to be deleted in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

Anonymous said...

5:50 I don't think the goal of the report's authors was to suggest projects to improve traffic -- it was to report on the current traffic situation.

Anonymous said...

What kind of bootleg operation is this that Dyer can't even get the time to be EST? Talk about a worthless piece of shit

Anonymous said...

What's really weird is that his Rockville blog appears to use the correct time zone.

Too bad no one actually reads it. LOL

BikesToWork said...

Woohoo! That's about $1800 that I'm not wasting in traffic by riding bicycles instead.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:45 AM - What's even more interesting is all the tales of woe come from Northern Virginia - Skyline City, Crystal City, Chantilly, Herndon, Manassas, Merrifield, Reston.

@ 6:53 AM - Looks like MoCo is doing better than NoVa. Thank you, MoCo Machine!

Anonymous said...

National Bike To Work Day is tomorrow, Friday May 20.

Will Dyer ride his trike up and down the stairs to Mom's basement?

Anonymous said...

"There were 97 bridges rated "structurally-deficient" across the state in 2012; that number has fallen to 69 during Hogan's first term."

A four-year period in which Hogan was actually in office only in the very last year.

#InnumerateBirdbrain

Robert Dyer said...

7:10: It's the only serious news site in Rockville, and the most-read. Don't know what planet you're on.

Anonymous said...

7:10am apparently you're a loyal reader.

Anonymous said...

7:21 are you riding your trike to work tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

There are many who read the Rockville blog. Most don't lower themselves to the pre-school insults and obsessive fanboy antics.
We leave that to you rich folk in Bethesda.

Anonymous said...

Dyer's distorted "quote":

"The report notes that a 2013 survey of corporate executives found that Highway Accessibility is the top factor - after skilled labor - that firms consider when relocating their headquarters."

From the actual TRIP report:

"Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2013 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine"

From the article in Area Development Magazine, "28th Annual Survey of Corporate Executives: Availability of Skilled Labor New Top Priority", cited and linked in the TRIP report:

"...planning for new facilities, expansion, and/or relocation..."

Neither of those refers to "relocating their headquarters" and absolutely nothing else, Birdbrain.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:08 AM - Robert Dyer does not understand the concept of a direct quote.

Anonymous said...

@829 - it seems that he doesnt understand much of anything. Worthless Imbecile

Poppy said...

@7:21 I managed to outfit the whole family in time for ride your bike to work day tomorrow. I am so excited for it!

Anonymous said...

The TRIPS article identified congestion on state highways, which fall under the jurisdiction of the SHA. It's up to the state to alleviate the problems. If you were really objective you would be criticizing the state and your beloved governor Hogan. But we know you're not going to.

Oh yeah, fun fact The Hogan administration has no intention of building another Potomac crossing. He doesn't even want to replace the ancient Nice bridge which is only 2 lanes wide and always congested.

Anonymous said...

Another fun fact - Virginia doesn't want it, either, especially the rich NIMBYs living in Great Falls, VA.

Anonymous said...

I love Rockville Nights. Quality reporting and readers aren't shaken down for cash.
Remember, Leventhal said not to give to crazy pan handlers!

Anonymous said...

Dyer's Shill is a busy man this morning. He can't let all these insults to his hero go unchallenged. He's like the brave little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, holding back the flood.

Anonymous said...

9:13am keep your finger in the dike talk to yourself

Anonymous said...

Whatever you guys say about Dyer, the fact remains that anyone in the world can go on spotify right now and listen to an album he recorded. You can't say that, Robert-haters!

Anonymous said...

@ 9:20 AM - Robert Dyer is a self-published Renaissance Man!

@ 9:17 AM - @ 9:13 AM said "dike", not "dyke". You can stop blushing now.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:33 AM - Your finger is at risk of developing gangrene.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's weird. Dyer is now deleting his own Shill's comments.

Anonymous said...

@8:57 The other Potomac crossing would be way past Great Falls (closer to Ashburn/Sterling) so the people of Great Falls would not be affected negatively by it.

VA-28 and VA-268 (Fairfax Co Parkway) were already engineered to interstate standards to be part of an outer beltway. MD just needs to get their act together.

Anonymous said...

Is Dyer gas lighting 9:37am?

Anonymous said...

VA-268 would require extensive upgrades to meet "interstate standards".

Ashburn/Sterling does not go to the river. The area along the river is called Great Falls, VA.

Anonymous said...

Who da hell even goes to NoVa. That place sucks ass

Robert Dyer said...

8:08: All of your quotes completely back up my statement. You're still "Dumass material all the way."

Anonymous said...

And now Dyer is back to his game of "who do you believe, me or your lying eyes reading the actual quote?", again.

Anonymous said...

Exposing Dyer's Innumeracy, again:

Saith Dyer: "TRIP's latest numbers on vehicle miles traveled show most commuters still aren't 'getting out of their cars'."

"Vehicle miles traveled haven't declined in Maryland - in fact, they've increased: 12% since 2000..."

"VMT increases almost 1% for every 1% of added population in Maryland"

Do you realize that "almost 1%" is LESS THAN "1%"? Meaning that the VMT is growing SLOWER than the growth of population. Meaning that, although the population is increasing, VMT per individual Montgomery County has DECREASED.

Here is the change in population in Montgomery County between 2000 and 2015 [Wikipedia]:

2000 population (US Census): 873,341
2015 Population (estimated): 1,040,116

That represents an increase in population of 16%. Whereas the TRIP study shows VMT increasing only 12% during the same time frame. So the increase VMT is lagging population growth by a factor of 3/4. That's pretty substantial, don't you agree?

Anonymous said...

S/B "...VMT per individual Montgomery County resident..."

Robert Dyer said...

4:21: What is means is that the population increase is clearly increasing VMT, instead of the promise that most new residents will use transit. Clearly they are not. Therefore, the brainless argument that adding significantly more people to Montgomery County is a good or sustainable idea is pretty much demolished.

You would have to have VMT data broken out by County to make your last argument. 16% growth is much higher than the statewide growth number used by this study.

Anonymous said...

Well both are shitty is what the data shows. Total population and commuters and vehicle numbers have grown sure so yes traffic has still increased. The data doesn't say highway capacity is the answer.

Anonymous said...

Dyer would whine no matter what

Anonymous said...

4:59 Pot...Kettle

Anonymous said...

@ 6:07 AM - Clingy

Anonymous said...

The 6:51 fanboy hates it when someone says anything kind to his obsession.