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On the Agenda: More HOV Lanes on I-270?

Transportation committee will discuss designating a southbound Interstate 270 lane for high-occupancy vehicles during morning rush hour

A Montgomery County Council committee today will discuss devoting one lane of Interstate 270 to high-occupancy vehicles during morning rush hour.

Up for discussion is the designation of an HOV lane on the inner-most southbound lane of I-270, between Clarksburg Road and I-370. The hope is to ease traffic congestion Upcounty, county records show.

The Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment committee is scheduled to meet 9:30 a.m. at Montgomery County Council headquarters in Rockville. The meeting will be televised on County Cable Montgomery.

Here are some details, according to a Council staff memo filed Tuesday:

Background: In the early 1990s, the State Highway Administration received federal approvals to add an HOV lane in each direction I-270 from Germantown to MD 121 in Clarksburg, a move county officials supported. But in 1997, state delegates representing Dist. 39 — which includes Germantown, Laytonsville and Damascus — opposed the use of HOV lanes.

As a compromise, the State Highway Administration decided the new northbound lane would be reserved for HOVs in the evening peak as planned, but the new southbound lane would be open for general use.

 Why now: According to county officials, current transportation options aren’t meeting the demand spurred by recent population growth. Germantown's population increased from 58,000 to 86,000 (48 percent) and Clarksburg's population rose from 2,000 to 17,000 (750 percent).

What Council staff recommends: Council staff wants SHA to perform a “more comprehensive analysis” of designating the inner, southbound lane as a HOV 2+ lane and, if SHA can get federal approval, implement the change “as soon as possible.”

The entire memo is available on the County Council’s website.

What do you think:  Do you think this would work? Would adding an HOV lane ease southbound traffic in the morning? 

Charles R Tilford September 21, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Long overdue.
KMedlen September 21, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I agree, long overdue. The merging of traffic at West Diamond Ave, to those going to the ICC, along with the single drivers that need to move over before the HOV lane begins, always causes a bottleneck. Starting the HOV farther north would defiantly help.

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