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MARC Communities Plan

Testimony to Planning Board, February 1, 2018

Action Committee for Transit is an advocacy group dedicated to better communities through improved public transit in Montgomery County. We support this plan's recommendations to promote better transit, pedestrian, and bicycle connections to the MARC stations in Boyds and Germantown and to promote a range of safe transportation alternatives.

All-day, two-way, weekday and weekend MARC service is an important part of the comprehensive transportation plan that ACT advocates for the 270 corridor. Therefore, we support the proposed expansion of the Boyds station onto the Anderson properties, with RideOn connections to Clarksburg and Germantown, while keeping the surrounding roads at two lanes as they currently are. We also support a fine-grained network of local roads and pedestrian/bicycle facilities around the Germantown station, so that more people will walk and bike to MARC.

In addition, as supporters of Vision Zero, ACT supports the plan's recommendations for making the area safe to walk and bike, as well as drive. This includes extending the Urban Road Code and Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Areas and redesigning the roads, especially Middlebrook. High school students should be able to walk to school without fear of being hit by cars.

Finally, we support mixed-use infill development in the Germantown station area. However, we believe that, unfortunately, the current, highly-limited MARC service is not enough to support much TOD. Therefore, we ask for staged rezoning to higher densities: specifically, zoning at the level in the 2009 Germantown sector plan until there is committed funding for all-day, two-way MARC service. In addition, because safe walking and biking are so important to the transformation of the area, we ask you to exclude the vehicle traffic from future upzoning from your traffic models.