Maryland may eliminate 3 of the 5 bus routes on the Intercounty Connector. The move is a classic bait and switch from highway builders: Get political buy-in with the promise of a multimodal road, then cut the multimodal aspects at the first opportunity.
The Maryland Transit Administration operates 5 bus routes on the ICC. It’s proposing to eliminate routes 202, 203, and 205. Only the 201 and 204 would remain, running from Gaithersburg to BWI Airport and Frederick to College Park.
When planning the ICC, Maryland promised it would include good transit service and a high-quality bike trail. Officials cut much of the trail in 2004. The bus service was never very good either, so it never got many riders. Now the state is citing that as a reason to cut it significantly.
Of course, cars aren’t held to the same standard.
There also aren’t many drivers on the ICC. Around 21,000 cars per day use the road. The state says that meets projections, but the projections seem to change. At one point they were as high as 71,000.
But is anyone proposing the state shut the road? Nope. Instead, the strategy is to try and boost car use.
When it comes to bikes and transit, it’s cut and run at the first hint of a problem. For cars, it’s roll out the red carpet and hope for more traffic.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. When Virginia’s I-95 HOT lanes were first proposed, the firm hoping to expand the highway called its proposal “BRT/HOT lanes,” but of course nothing resembling actual BRT was ever built.
Transportation advocates should remember this the next time someone proposes a “multimodal” highway. Odds are they won’t deliver.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.