Gaithersburg considering city bus system -- Gazette.Net


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This story was corrected on July 23. An explanation of the correction follows.

Gaithersburg is weighing the possibility of a new circulator bus system that would link residents with workplaces and transit stations.

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board approved funding Wednesday for the city to conduct a feasibility study on the circulator bus. The Board’s grant of $45,000 will fully fund the study.

“A goal of the study is to provide enhanced access to employment centers for low- to moderate-income households,” according to a Board document. The board will provide technical consultants to help the city conduct the study.

According to the city’s grant application, the bus “is envisioned to operate exclusively in the northeastern portion of Gaithersburg.” The area is roughly north of Clopper Road and Olde Towne Gaithersburg and south of the city’s northern limits.

The circulator would help the city with “filling in some of the gaps” between the planned Corridor Cities Transit stations, the transit center near Lakeforest Mall and MARC rail stations at Metropolitan Grove and in Olde Towne, said Rob Robinson, long-range planner for the City of Gaithersburg.

“We’re missing something to link all those things together, especially with [the] Watkins Mill Interchange coming in,” Robinson said.

The Watkins Mill Interchange, which will link two ends of Watkins Mill Road over Interstate 270 in Gaithersburg, is expected to increase accessibility to transit and businesses in the area and reduce congestion at the Md. 355/Montgomery Village Avenue intersection.

Robinson said the study should answer city staff’s preliminary questions about a possible bus system.

“If we were to develop something, how would it operate? What are the costs?” he said.

Robinson said the Board has not yet informed the city who it will place on the technical team for the study.

This story previously identified the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments as the body that approved funding for the study. It was the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board.

scarignan@gazette.net