Saturday, November 26, 2016

Local weatherman unloads on impotent Montgomery County Council over traffic congestion

WUSA9 meteorologist Howard Bernstein had some frank talk on Black Friday for the Montgomery County Council, over its failure to upgrade I-270 and build the M-83 MidCounty Highway Extended to Clarksburg. Those failures have led to even worse traffic snarls upcounty following the opening of the Clarksburg Premium Outlets mall.

The Council - and the Planning Board members they hand-select - have approved growth that has expanded the population of Clarksburg by over 1000% since 2000. Yet our impotent elected officials have never funded or built the M-83, which has been on the books for decades, and would divert Clarksburg and Damascus-bound traffic off of I-270. They've also kicked the can down the road on widening the interstate, and adding Express Lanes, even as they allowed the housing and mall to go forward.

Reporting the backups on I-270 on his Twitter account, Bernstein asked Councilman Craig Rice (D-District 2), "What are you and the Council going to do about it?"

The short answer is, nothing.

One of several residents who seconded Bernstein's sentiments had some frank talk for the Council, and noted that he is now moving out of the county "asap" due to the mess our elected officials have created. 

"Did the county ever think about the quality of life issues impacted by this," Bernstein asked in a second tweet. The answer to that question is yes.

They thought about it when I debated them in 2010 and in 2014. And then they did absolutely nothing. It is now 2016. 

Another humiliation for our incompetent Council, and kudos to Bernstein for calling them out on it.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

The citizens of Gaithersburg, Germantown and Clarksburg do not want M-83. That's why it hasn't been built.

Anonymous said...

Try again. He never mentioned M83 which is just another boondoggle that no one with any common sense supports, like a new Potomac crossing.

Anonymous said...

Some guy named "Rick" says he's "moving out ASAP".

Your Anecdote of the Day.

Anonymous said...

How would building M-83 or widening I-270 have improved the traffic around the outlets? Seems more likely that doing those would have dumped even more traffic on an already congested area.

Anonymous said...

Did Bernstein actually say that the problem was I-270 was too small? Or was he saying that the outlet center was poorly located?

Robert Dyer said...

6:48: Sorry, man, that's total BS - the people applauding me in the video I linked to are Clarksburg, Germantown and Gaithersburg residents who want the M-83 Highway.

6:49: Of course he didn't - the average citizen has never heard of the M-83. It's not a boondoggle; it was a required piece of infrastructure to support the growth in Germantown, Clarksburg and Damascus.

7:01: Uh, by removing a sizeable chunk of the traffic headed towards Clarksburg and Damascus from I-270 north of Watkins Mill Road? M-83 doesn't "dump" traffic at the outlets. It is supposed to connect to Snowden Farm Parkway at MD 27.

7:38: He said what he said in the tweets shown here. The general point is that poor planning has produced the current result. They either had to build the missing highway improvements and projects, or postpone the outlets.

6:56: Real resident. Moving out. Wake up, man. We've lost several billion in revenue from the people who've moved to Frederick County alone.

Anonymous said...

You're transportation priorities are literally the worst I ever heard. Even your champion governor doesn't agree with you.

Just in case you missed it: Your champion Hogan has repeatedly stated that he doesn't agree with another Potomac crossing or widening I-270, and is more interested in building transit like the Purple Line and improving the bridges and highways we already have by replacing the 2-lane, crumbling Nice bridge, bringing HOT lanes across the Legion bridge, and innovative improvements along 270.

It's refreshing to actually see a moderate, pragmatic Republican as opposed to lying extremist wingnuts like Trump, Ficker, and Dye with absurd policies.

Anonymous said...

One resident out of 1 million. Not exactly an emigration crisis.

Anonymous said...

Why does Damascus need M-83? You've called it a "rural" community many times here.

Anonymous said...

Quality of life of residents who commute via the 270/495 corridor certainly has decreased over the past decade.
And there's no relief coming. Another reason I voted for term limits.

Anonymous said...

People who bought a house that required a long commute via I-270, and expected "quality of life" are Birdbrains.

Skippy said...

When the MoCo Council loses the weathermen, they've lost the County.

Anonymous said...

Since when does Dyer disapprove of suburban growth?

Roald said...

This is a good sign. The overwhelming passage of term limits may give cover for more folks in local legacy media to speak out and defy this inept Council.

Robert Dyer said...

10:00: My transportation priorities are the best: They move the most commuters the fastest, for the lowest cost. That was the stated goal of Gov. Hogan when he took office. If his priorities have changed, so be it. We don't need the state to do any of this, by the way. M-83 is a County project. The new Potomac crossing and highway extension can be built as a private toll facility at no cost to taxpayers, as can I-270 Express Lanes.

M-83, or the Potomac bridge, alone, would carry more commuters daily than the Purple Line or BRT system. Facts.

Robert Dyer said...

10:09: Ask all the "Rodeo Drive" shops that have closed in Chevy Chase about the emigration crisis. Check out the weak revenue stream and budget deficit in the county. Wake up.

Robert Dyer said...

10:12: The Council is quadrupling the population of Damascus. M-83 is a master plan project required to support that growth, as was the Damascus Bypass.

Robert Dyer said...

11:13: Wrong! The Council lied in promising them the M-83, a world+class Clarksburg Town Center, and a gold-standard CCT light rail system. None have been delivered over a decade later. Humiliating.

Robert Dyer said...

12:52: I don't. And I highly approve of the outlet mall - but you have to deliver the infrastructure along with the growth.

Anonymous said...

"Roald" = "Skippy" = #UnsignedDyer

Robert Dyer said...

7:51: Nice try. I put my name next to every comment I post, unlike you, coward.

JD said...

Why have a masterplan, including extending the 370 crossing the Potomac into VA and the M-83 if you don't keep to it, but only allow the houses and mall to be build? Answer is that the tree huggers have a bigger mouth than the average hard working citizens. Council members are afraid of them, because they might not be re-elected. It's time to kick the current council members out and elect common sense members in.

Anonymous said...

"The tree huggers have a bigger mouth than the average hard working citizens."

The overwhelming majority of Montgomery County residents realize the need to protect our environment.

Your statement is idiotic and childish.

Robert Dyer said...

11:47: Wrong. Most of the people fighting both highways are out-of-county folks with dark money funding from developers who want growth to be urban, inside the Beltway, because that's where they own property, and from other shadowy "foundations." The thought of the working person being able to commute easily to an affordable 3 bedrooms and a backyard terrifies them.

Anonymous said...

@11:47 Projects like the outer Beltway may actually protect the environment better than not building it. Currently, drivers from Frederick who head to a place like Dulles need to head all the way down 270, cross at American Legion, then basically back-track via the Toll Road. This trip would be a lot shorter = less driving time = less pollution, if the outer Beltway existed.

An example I encountered just last week. Thanks to the ICC, which was delayed years due to environmentalists, I can travel much faster to Olney and Wheaton from Bethesda. Now I take 270 to the ICC and get off at the Georgia Ave or New Hampshire Ave exit. Before the ICC, I'd be stuck on the part of 495 that always seems to have traffic, even on weekends. So thanks to the ICC, my trip was better for the environment than before the ICC>

Robert Dyer said...

11:15: You are correct. Idling vehicles in traffic jams cause the deaths of thousands each year in the United States. The County Council policy is to make traffic intentionally worse, so they are actively raising the death toll in our region.

Your trip to Olney and Wheaton could be even faster, if the Rockville Facility (a.k.a. Rockville Freeway and Montrose Parkway) was fully completed between Falls Road and the ICC, as originally intended. You could exit just south of the Aspen Hill commerical areas on Connecticut, or Georgia. Your trip would begin at the current Montrose Road exit of I-270.

Anonymous said...

Or you could buy a hybrid that cuts off the engine instead of idling, or an EV that doesn't create any emissions.

Robert Dyer said...

5:38: That's already happening, and will accelerate in the future. But those zero emission cars will still need highways to get around. Hence how stupid our County Council is to have a "transit-only" policy, when transit ridership is in decline, and will essentially vanish when autonomous cars replace it in a few decades.

Anonymous said...

How will autonomous cars magically eliminate traffic? They will occupy the same physical space as normal cars.

Robert Dyer said...

6:15: Very simply - on highways, they will be able to travel closer together under computer control than they can now. You still have to provide the roads for them to run on, however. They will also eliminate the urban congestion caused by people searching for parking spaces. They will drop off the driver, and can go to a designated parking facility the computer knows has space available.

Anonymous said...

A 1,000-car accident will be an awesome opportunity for personal-injury attorneys.

Anonymous said...

@Dyer

"Most of the people fighting both highways are out-of-county folks with dark money funding from developers who want growth to be urban, inside the Beltway, because that's where they own property, and from other shadowy "foundations."


Have you totally lost it?

Anonymous said...

No "dark money funding" for suburban, greenfield development?

Robert Dyer said...

6:44: No, just reading their list of donors, knucklehead.

Facts.

6:58: Not behind these groups; they're trying to undermine Toll Brothers, Ryan Homes, etc.

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion.
I've lived in the county for more years than most of you have been alive.
I used to be pro-growth. About 30-35 years ago, the county started decimating their approved plans. Keep 3 of 5 things and ignore the other 2. Plans that were smart, logical and forward-leaning were altered.
Roads and other infrastructures weren't followed through on. So gridlock was essentially allowed.
And it continues to this day.


RLP 3 said...

Seems to me that the fact that Montgomery County is all about money is the issue. The County Council and the owners of the Outlet Mall is in bed with one another and it doesn't take a civil engineer or a rocket scientist to see that. I mean come on, Stringtown Road basically closes for 2 years and in the middle of that they open a Outlet Mall, and do nothing with regard to traffic up and down 355, I-270 and we have people on here arguing? No wonder the County Council does things with no regards for the people living up here in Clarksburg. I was told basically that the Council is more worried about things in Silver Spring and that area and to hell with upcounty issues. So although this is a major pain in the arse we as Clarksburg residents have 2 choices, deal with it, or move. Nothing is going to be done about it so why continue to bemoan. The good thing is housing is up and selling your house you will most likely get a nice profit.