Trash and recycling pick up for Thursday routes will be moved back to Friday, with Friday routes moved back to Saturday.
All parking at county curbside, lot or garage meters will be free.
If you’re in Woodmont Triangle and hope to leave Bethesda on Thursday morning, make sure to get out before 8:30 a.m. or wait until after 10:30 a.m. For that two-hour period, parts of Wisconsin Avenue and Old Georgetown Road will be closed for the 31st annual Turkey Chase 10K race.
The event attracts thousands of runners who start in waves at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase YMCA (9401 Old Georgetown Rd.) before heading south on Old Georgetown, hanging a left on Cedar Lane, winding through Alta Vista and Pooks Hill and continuing south on Wisconsin Avenue. The race course then cuts through on Commerce Lane back to northbound Old Georgetown and the YMCA.
MCPS is also closed Friday.
It’ll likely be mostly rain, but with near-freezing temperatures it’ll be enough for our first Winter Weather Advisory of the season.
The National Weather Service issued the Advisory on Monday afternoon for Montgomery County and many other jurisdictions in the D.C. area for 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday:
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW…SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO 1 PM EST TUESDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE…PRECIPITATION WILL START AS A BRIEF PERIOD OF SNOW AND SLEET LATE TONIGHT AND EARLY TUESDAY THEN IS EXPECTED TO CHANGE TO FREEZING RAIN BY MID MORNING TUESDAY AND CONTINUE AS FREEZING RAIN INTO EARLY TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
* ACCUMULATIONS…UP TO AN INCH OF SNOW AND SLEET BY EARLY TUESDAY MORNING FOLLOWED BY AROUND A TENTH OF AN INCH OF FREEZING RAIN TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
* TIMING…BEGINNING BETWEEN 4 AM AND 6 AM AND CONTINUING INTO EARLY AFTERNOON TUESDAY.
* TEMPERATURES…IN THE UPPER 20S TONIGHT…MID 30S BY EARLY TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
* WINDS…NORTHEAST 5 MPH.
* IMPACTS…THE COMBINATION OF SNOW…SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN WILL PRODUCE SLIPPERY CONDITIONS LATE TONIGHT THROUGH EARLY TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
Forecasters say to expect mostly normal rain in the inner suburbs. Despite today’s cold, temperatures on Tuesday should get up around 40. From the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang:
Tomorrow (Tuesday): Rain is likely (greater than 90 percent chance), possibly beginning as a brief period of mixed precipitation (snow/sleet/freezing rain) early in the morning (40 percent chance). I can’t rule out a few slick spots or even delays from a light coating, especially in our colder north and west suburbs. But temperatures will rise above freezing from southeast to northwest by mid-morning, when precipitation gradually becomes all rain. During the afternoon, rain gradually increases in intensity, with highs around 40. 0.25-0.5 inch of rain is possible by dark. Confidence: Low-Medium
Tomorrow night: A driving rain is likely, with over 1 inch filling gauges overnight; some areas may see 2 inches with localized thunder and flooding a possibility. Temperatures may actually rise overnight, especially east of I-95 (to 50 or so), as fetch of milder air streams northward. Locations farther west may stay in the cold side of the storm, with temperatures hovering close to 40.
AAA Mid-Atlantic says there will be a slight decrease in the number of Washington area residents who travel out of town for Thanksgiving this year, but that number will still surpass the 1 million mark.
AAA projects 1,058,000 metro area residents will head 50 miles or more from home from Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1, the official Thanksgiving travel period. Most of those people will leave Wednesday and about a quarter, according to the projections, will return later than Dec. 1, taking full advantage of the long holiday weekend.
The projection is a 1.1 percent decrease, about 12,000 people, short of last year’s number. But it marks the fourth straight year AAA says over a million people will get away for Thanksgiving after the Recession caused big decreases in 2008 and 2009.
AAA thinks federal budget cuts and the federal government shutdown might be behind this year’s decrease.
“Despite the big drop in gas prices this holiday when compared to last Thanksgiving, local residents have been coping with the lingering impact of the sequestration and they are still reeling from the effects of the federal government shutdown in October, both of which hit the regional labor market really hard, especially government contract workers, at the psychic, pocketbook and deeply personal levels,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic government affairs official John Townsend III.
Still, nearly one out of five area residents will head out of town this Thanksgiving, most by car. Thanksgiving air travel is expected to drop 3.6 percent form last year with 72,900 D.C. area travelers.
The County Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to support a master plan for bus rapid transit that allows dedicated lanes for buses on most of the network, but provides minimal guidelines for implementation of those lanes.
The Council, by a 6-3 straw vote, also agreed on Councilmember Roger Berliner’s recommendation to keep the section of BRT for Wisconsin Avenue south of the Bethesda Metro station to Friendship Heights in the plan, but only as a dotted line. Montgomery County would need to see master planning for a similar transit system from the D.C. government on its side of Wisconsin Avenue before studying BRT in Chevy Chase.
Most comments from the councilmembers on Tuesday focused on the long-term nature of the plan, an aspect some said was misunderstood by the public.
The master plan will allow for bus rapid transit in 10 county corridors. Berliner said roughly 78 percent of those routes will include a dedicated lane for buses, meaning a lane reserved for transit and cut off from regular traffic.
“Citizens misunderstood the pace and the imminency of these plans,” Councilmember George Leventhal said. “That’s true with virtually every master plan we take up.”
The Planning Board-approved master plan included recommendations for specific road treatments — meaning where those dedicated lanes would be put. That caused great concern in Bethesda and Chevy Chase, specifically in the Chevy Chase West neighborhood. Curb lanes were recommended there. Residents worried right-of-way would be taken to provide for bus stations or more road space.
The Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee passed on making those specific recommendations. The county’s Department of Transportation will have to determine best corridor treatments in the engineering stage of the plan.
Some in Bethesda were also against the Planning Board-approved idea of using the two median lanes on Rockville Pike for dedicated bus lanes.
On Tuesday, the Council unanimously agreed to add language to the master plan that requires another set of public forums, meetings and hearings before the Council funds any implementation. Leventhal added an amendment that would require a Citizens Advisory Board for each proposed route before Council funding.
Councilmember Nancy Floreen, who criticized many aspects of the plan and voted against the Friendship Heights extension on the Transportation Committee, said it’s important the public understands the build-out of the BRT network will likely take a long time.
Floreen was one of three who voted against Berliner’s dotted line approach to extending BRT to Friendship Heights. Councilmember Phil Andrews and Councilmember Hans Riemer, who recommended the section be included in the master plan, also voted against it.
But more than anything else, councilmembers focused on the many steps left in creating the BRT network.
“The average person doesn’t know what passing a master plan means in terms of the affect on their lives,” Riemer said. “All we’re saying is, ‘Public transportation should have dedicated lanes in the future.’ It’s a very far-sighted proposal.”
The Council will have a final vote on the plan next week. The Department of Transportation is already budgeting money for studies and conceptual planning of three bus rapid transit corridors, including 355 South Corridor on Rockville Pike and Wisconsin Avenue.
“Hopefully, some of us will be around in the future to see it come to fruition,” Council President Nancy Navarro said.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Tuesday afternoon.
That means a potential impact on afternoon traffic along Rockville Pike in and out of downtown Bethesda. From Bethesda Transportation Solutions:
This afternoon, Tuesday, November 5 from approximately 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm, increased security measures at the Walter Reed National MilitaryMedical Center (WRNMMC) could have a significant impact to local traffic and NIH shuttle routes, particularly along Rockville Pike.
Employees and visitors can expect delays and intermittent road closures.
The official schedule has Obama leaving the White House at 2:10 p.m. and arriving in Bethesda at 2:30 p.m. Obama will start his visit at 2:40 p.m., visit the Fisher House on base starting at 4:15 p.m. and leave for home at 5 p.m.
His trip home will take about 10 minutes. With road closures anticipated, expect that yours will last longer.
Check the NIH’s traffic website for live cameras of the Cedar Lane intersections at Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike.
The proposal took a big hit on Friday, when the Planning Department, which included the BRT line all the way to the D.C. line in its master plan, reversed course and agreed with Council staff that it should stop at a planned Bethesda Metro entrance on Elm Street.
The three-member Transportation Committee was split, producing a 1-1-1 vote for keeping the section of BRT to Friendship Heights, getting rid of it entirely and drawing it as a dotted line to indicate the county would study it if and when D.C. looked at transit of its own for Wisconsin Avenue.
The Coalition, a D.C. based nonprofit advocating for bus rapid transit, put out a press release on Monday urging the full Council to reconsider:
Stopping the route at Bethesda, instead of connecting it an additional 1.5 miles to the D.C. border could shortchange the area and the county in several ways, supporters said.
“With traffic congestion rising and the possibility of local Metro stations shut down for extensive repairs, residents in our area are seeking more options for getting north to Bethesda and beyond, or to Friendship Heights and D.C.” said Chevy Chase resident Ronit Dancis. “BRT would be a great new option for our neighborhoods.”
Residents in the Chevy Chase West neighborhood are opposed to BRT south of Bradley Lane because of safety issues and because they think it would make it more difficult to turn in and out of the neighborhood. Council staff analyst Glenn Orlin dismissed those fears, but said he was against extending BRT into Chevy Chase because he didn’t see who would use it.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth’s release cites developers JBG and the Chevy Chase Land Company as supporters of extending BRT south. Both developers have properties in downtown Bethesda and Friendship Heights. Other supporters include the Friendship Heights Transportation Management District Advisory Committee, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce and Ward 3 Vision, a partner group of the Coalition for Smarter Growth that operates in D.C.
“Cutting short this key route would sever an important transit connection between Montgomery County and D.C., putting more cars on the road and make both Bethesda and Friendship Heights less competitive locations for business,” the Coalition of Smarter Growth’s Kelly Blynn said in the release. “Extending the route has few downsides. The plan proposes wider sidewalks and an improved pedestrian environment, while recommending no changes to the median or street width.
“Connecting the Montgomery Rapid Transit to Friendship Heights will enhance transit connections with D.C and its extensive bus network and the city’s own growing express network. The BRT link on 355 between Bethesda and Friendship Heights is a critical connection that needs to be made,” Blynn said.
The Transportation Committee will host two more worksessions on BRT on Tuesday.
Beginning tonight (Friday), State Highway Administration contractors will continue construction work on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase that could cause traffic delays and loud noise.
The two right lanes of southbound Connecticut Avenue will close at 9 p.m. on Friday until Sunday afternoon.
The SHA is continuing patching work between Bradley Lane and Chevy Chase Circle. According to the SHA website, crews are also installing concrete bus pads.
A new bus rapid transit system could include a route into Bethesda, but the system’s fate for Wisconsin Avenue south of Bradley Lane toward Friendship Heights is unclear.
The County Council’s Transportation Committee on Friday wrangled over the MD 355 South and North Bethesda Transitway corridors part of a Planning Board-approved master plan.
All the recommended routes and treatments in the 81-mile, 10-corridor proposal are subject to more detailed studies and deliberation by the county. But there were major disagreements about what should be included in the master plan and the effectiveness of a Rockville Pike BRT system at all.
Councilmember Nancy Floreen (D-At large), of Garrett Park, argued the Rockville Pike BRT corridor should not continue south of the Grosvenor Metro station. Floreen contended 355 is too constrained in those sections to actually implement the system.
“You can put this in here, but it is absolutely not doable,” Floreen said. “We’re presenting a solution that in no way in this lifetime is going to get constructed. So why are we pretending?”
Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Hans Riemer voted 2-1 to keep a BRT route into Bethesda in the plan. The specific treatment of the route — whether it’s the Planning Board-approved two median lanes, a single-reversible lane based on rush hour or a community-preferred curb lane approach — would be subject to the county’s project planning studies.
Councilmember Marc Elrich, who’s credited with first proposing a BRT system, said he has had conversations with NIH officials who suggested they’d be open to finding more space for BRT. The Committee made it clear it would not take up the conterversial proposal to repurpose two existing median lanes for exclusive bus use. That, again, would be taken up in the implementation process.
In a surprise, lead planner Larry Cole said he agreed with Council staff on its recommendation to ditch the BRT line Cole proposed for Wisconsin Avenue south of Bradley Lane.
Council transportation analyst Glenn Orlin said concerns from Chevy Chase residents — that a BRT line would be dangerous or mean a widening of the road — were completely unfounded. Orlin said he was agains extending the route to Friendship Heights simply because it wouldn’t serve anybody. There are no stations planned between Bradley Lane and the Friendship Heights Metro.
Berliner proposed a dotted-line approach, to convey the county would only look at the section south of Bradley Lane if D.C. was contemplating a similar transit system down the rest of Wisconsin Avenue. Riemer voted to stick with keeping it in the plan. Floreen was against having a route there at all. That means all three Committee members have different views.
Finally, Floreen questioned the fundamental purpose of having a North Bethesda BRT route from White Flint Metro to Montgomery Mall, when there is already a master plan for a route from the Grosvenor Metro to Montgomery Mall.
Planners switched it to White Flint Metro with the thinking that it would serve more people, as White Flint is expected to become a larger and more attractive activity center. Floreen argued it should stay at Grosvenor, and proceed west via Tuckerman Lane, in order to provide drivers with parking with which they could then use the BRT system.
“I really don’t think, as much as the developers would like us to believe it, that White Flint is going to be the center of the universe,” Floreen said.
At the end of the nearly three-hour session, which also included deliberation on a 355 North route into Rockville and Gaithersburg, it was clear the full Council will still have much to hash out when it takes BRT up later this month.
Firefighters have put the car fire out and are looking for the occupant, who according to scanner traffic ran from the fire. The two other motorists involved reportedly suffered minor injuries.
Photo via TrafficLand.com
Next up in the County Council’s discussion of Bus Rapid Transit is the plan for Rockville Pike/Wisconsin Avenue, which for months has caused controversy about potential road treatments and right of way issues with adjacent neighborhoods.
In his recommendations, released today, Council transportation analyst Glenn Orlin says the Council should ditch plans to extend a Wisconsin Avenue BRT route south of Bradley Lane to Friendship Heights.
Orlin also recommended changes to a number of other aspects of the Planning Board-approved master plan, including getting rid of a station at Cedar Lane.
The Transportation Committee will take up the issues at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.
Orlin says “there is no purpose” in extending BRT south of Bradley Lane, where the Red Line already runs:
The reason is that there is no purpose in duplicating the service already provided by the Red Line. The only proposed station between Bethesda Metro and Friendship Heights Metro would be Bradley Boulevard, and any homes or businesses near it will be within an easy walk of the programmed south entrance of the Bethesda Metro. However, in the future, should the District of Columbia consider establishing a true BRT service on Wisconsin Avenue to, say, the Cathedral area and Georgetown — where Metrorail does not now go — then the Council should reconsider BR T service in this segment.
Chevy Chase West, the Town of Somerset and others in the neighborhoods along that stretch of Wisconsin Avenue came out vehemently against BRT for fears that it would pose safety or traffic risks.
In its worksession on Tuesday, the Committee discussed a similar issue in Silver Spring, where the Planning Department plan calls for a BRT route to extend past the Silver Spring Transit Center to 16th Street and the D.C. line.
Despite Orlin’s recommendation to stop the route at the Transit Center, Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Hans Riemer voted to keep it in the master plan. Councilmember Nancy Floreen, who has questioned many aspects of the BRT plan, voted to ditch it.
Orlin recommended the Committee stick with the Planning Department’s plan for BRT on Rockville Pike in North Bethesda and White Flint, writing that the system would not duplicate the Metro Red Line because “the Metro stations are more than a mile apart in this section, while the Rockville Pike corridor has consistently significant density of employment and housing along most of its length between Grosvenor and Shady Grove that is not within walking distance of a Metro station.”
But Orlin wrote the stretch south of the Grosvenor Metro Station presents a different situation. Orlin said there is only one “high-density location” not within walking distance of a Metro station: Pooks Hill.
To improve travel times for BRT, Orlin recommended taking a station at Cedar Lane and Rockville Pike out of the plan.
He also recommended that the county should do a more detailed study on treatments. The plan calls for two median lanes. Orlin said the county, during project planning, should seriously look at one single lane that would reverse direction based on rush hours and taking curb lanes for reserved bus use.
As far as the North Bethesda Transitway, which would run 2.7 miles from the White Flint Metro station along Old Georgetown Road to Westfield Montgomery Mall, Orlin agreed with much of the Planning Department master plan.
Based on public hearing testimony, Orlin said a station planned for Edson Drive and Poindexter Lane should be moved to Nicholson Lane or Executive Boulevard.
Photo by Juanman 3 via Wikipedia
The Council’s Transportation Committee will continue worksessions on the Planning Board’s master plan for the BRT system on Friday.
Since the last meeting, when Councilmember George Leventhal (D-At large) asked which existing roads are wide enough to hold the 10 proposed BRT corridors, planners did a “sketch-level review.”
Opponents are concerned the proposed system would require the taking of right-of-way that would infringe upon businesses and homes.
Planners found that where a median busway is recommended with lane repurposing, as is the case on MD 355 from White Flint to Bradley Boulevard, BRT “may be accommodated in some areas where existing medians are wider than normal, but this will not be true typically.”
Council staff took that analysis a level further and determined that the existing section of MD 355 from White Flint to Bradley Boulevard is not wide enough to hold a median bus station. Council staff found the proposed curb lane treatment for MD 355 south of Bradley Boulevard to the District line is wide enough.
Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Chevy Chase) asked Planning Department staff where existing right-of-way would have to be increased to accommodate the proposed BRT corridors.
According to the staff report, there are only two segments where right-of-way would have to be increased from what’s in the existing master plan:
• University Boulevard between Piney Branch Road and Carroll Avenue: Additional right-of-way is recommended per the current Purple Line plans and the portion within the limits of the Long Branch Sector Plan restates what is recommended in that plan. No additional right-of-way beyond that is recommended for BRT.
• MD 355 South between 250′ south of Twinbrook Parkway and 200′ south of Hoya Street: The existing master plan recommends 134′ and the Draft Plan recommends a 150′ width that is expandable to 162′ through additional reservation for streetscape improvements. This is intended to duplicate the recommendations for MD 355 in the White Flint Sector Plan. While this additional right-of-way is not mandatory, the desire would be to have a consistent typical section through this commercial area
The Transportation Committee isn’t scheduled to make recommendations on the MD 355 South BRT corridor until a worksession next week.
But of interest is the Council staff’s recommendation for the US 29/Colesville Road BRT corridor in Silver Spring. Council staff is recommending the Council establish that the US 29 corridor end at the Silver Spring Transit Center, and not extend south to the District line:
However, there is no reason to carry these lanes further south than the Silver Spring Transit Center at Wayne Avenue until or unless the District ofColumbia wishes to create BRT service on 16th Street.
That idea could be a possibility for the MD 355 corridor, which is proposed to run all the way to the District line in Friendship Heights. Residents of the Chevy Chase West neighborhood, who have fought against the proposal, say the corridor should stop at Bradley Boulevard or even the Bethesda Metro station.
Also of note in the Council staff report is a recommendation against adding a Connecticut Avenue BRT corridor, as Councilmember March Elrich (D-At large) has encouraged.
The nonprofit Communities for Transit, a group lobbying for the 81-mile, 10-corridor BRT network proposed by the Planning Board, said 37 of 61 people who testified were “fully in support” of the system and another nine were supportive of the overall concept but had concerns about routes through specific neighborhoods.
The analysis says 15 people, less than a quarter of those who spoke, “fully opposed” bus rapid transit, or rapid transit system (RTS):
In a diverse county of nearly one million residents, it is noteworthy that most of the opposition to the RTS (10 of the 15 opponents) was concentrated in two neighborhoods: 1) the Woodmoor-Four Corners area of Route 29, and 2) the “Green Mile” area (aka the neighborhoods along Wisconsin Avenue between Bradley Blvd and Friendship Heights). Outside of these two areas, the tally of critics from the rest of Montgomery County (5 of the 61 speakers) falls to less than 10% of the residents who testified about rapid transit.
“The numbers are clear: the overwhelming majority of residents, environmental leaders, and business representatives who testified at the Montgomery County transit hearings fully supported a rapid transit solution,” Communities for Transit’s Scott Williamson said in a release. “Conventional wisdom dictates that it is easier to mobilize opponents for public hearings than it is to bring out supporters. But when it comes to rapid transit, Montgomery County residents are making it clear that they embrace transit as a potential solution to growing traffic problems.”
The County Council’s Transportation Committee will continue worksessions on specific corridors and treatments on Friday.
In the first two worksessions, much of the discussion has been about what exactly the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan allows for and doesn’t allow for. The County Department of Transportation would have to conduct its own traffic studies, planning and public approval process before implementing the system, but some of that work is already being budgeted for.
During the Sept. 24 hearing, Bienenfeld got into an argument with Councilmember Marc Elrich, who said her claim that the system would mean the taking of 3,000 properties were false.
A group of bus rapid transit supporters say AAA Mid-Atlantic’s opposition to bus-only lanes is rooted in a “fatally flawed,” traffic-solving approach of building more roads and more lanes.
Next Generation of Transit, a project of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, on Thursday issued a response to AAA Mid-Atlantic’s testimony from Monday.
The Coalition is lobbying for the Planning Board’s Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan, which establishes the framework for a 10-corridor, 81-mile bus rapid transit network in the county. The plan is now in front of the County Council’s Transportation Committee.
In May, AAA spokesperson Lon Anderson said proponents’ claims that drivers would flock to bus rapid transit, “makes one wonder if they’re smoking something funny.” AAA is against dedicated bus rapid transit lanes where it would mean the loss of a regular mixed traffic lane.
Next Generation of Transit said dedicated lanes will mean a better chance to solve traffic issues at a cheaper cost than building new lanes and roads. The group also said AAA Mid-Atlantic “misused and took out of context,” a report from an outside consultant that concluded Rockville Pike/Wisconsin Avenue was the only road in Montgomery that could support a gold standard bus rapid transit system:
AAA’s approach of continuing to solve our traffic problems by building ever more and wider roads is fatally flawed. Solving our traffic challenges means focusing on moving people, not just cars, and that means using our existing infrastructure most efficiently. By making it attractive to walk, bicycle, and take a high quality bus rapid transit service, we can provide more choices and make the transportation system work better for everyone – especially those who need to or choose to use a car.
Dedicating travel lanes to transit will provide a better chance for our road network to function more effectively – and will do so at far less cost to our communities than the other major option – increasing the size of our major arterial roads. Many jurisdictions that have dedicated roadspace to transit or bicyclists have seen no impact or even an improvement in traffic. Even LA has dedicated lanes to buses this year on their congested Wilshire Boulevard, knowing that the only way forward is to focus on providing options to move people, not just cars.
The bus rapid transit proposal before the County Council right now is a great opportunity for Montgomery County to provide new transportation choices along major roads like Rockville Pike where new construction is bringing thousands of new residents. Experts like the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (whose report AAA misused and took out of context) say that the 355 corridor, in addition to US29, Veirs Mill, and Georgia Avenue are all good candidates to start upgrades to transit service to achieve a BRT network. Montgomery’s own planning department who conducted much more detailed modeling indicates a similar prioritization of corridors.
To solve our transportation challenges, we must look to the future, not an auto-oriented past. That’s why a diverse coalition of over 36 business, civic, environmental, and social justice organizations have come together to call for a future that includes a robust bus rapid transit network for Montgomery County.
The Council’s Transportation Committee will hold a worksession on the proposed east county BRT corridors on Monday morning.
The Record of Decision was signed on Aug. 29 and published in the Federal Register on Tuesday.
The construction and expansion, which went through two rounds of traffic and environmental impact studies, will add about 270 employees to the base on a daily basis. The Record of Decision (ROD) estimates the changes will generate an additional 149 to 178 staff trips to the base during the morning peak hour and an additional 177 to 209 staff trips to the base during the afternoon peak hour.
Navy officials will give a presentation on the ROD on Tuesday at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane) during the regular meeting of the county’s Walter Reed BRAC Integration Committee. The meeting is set for 7 p.m.
Traffic and parking have been chief concerns of Montgomery County officials and residents near the base, which has seen an increase in daily visits since Walter Reed opened on the installation in 2011.
The draft EIS concluded the base additions will mean it will take the average commuter about 15 more seconds to get from downtown Bethesda through the intersections that access NSAB.
NSAB officials played down that figure as a minor inconvenience in a trip that has already become 10 minutes, 15 minutes or even longer between Jones Bridge Road and Cedar Lane.
The ROD says construction on the new medical facility should take five years. The Navy will demolish five hospital buildings (Buildings 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8) and build a single replacement facility in the same general footprint. The Navy can’t disturb the main tower building (Building 1) because of its various historical designations.
Construction will include a 500-space parking garage at the existing H-Lot near Jones Bridge Road. The new medical facility will mean an increase of about 50 employees.
The Uniformed Services University expansion should take two years and will consist of a new, 341,000-square foot education and research facility (Building F) and a 400-space staff parking garage just west of the existing USU campus.
The 220 expected additional employees from the University expansion already visit the Bethesda base regularly. The move will consolidate the staff in Bethesda.
The Navy is considering three sites for interim medical buildings.