M83 (Mid-County Hwy Extension) Can Be Part of the Congestion Solution

I believe in multimodal solutions to our transportation challenges.  While transit options are incredibly important to get cars off our roads, there are critical additions and improvements that I feel would be a boon to our city.  I sent the following letter to County Councilman Katz regarding M83:

As someone who lives within earshot of MidCounty Hwy in the city of Gaithersburg, I eagerly await the ability to travel upcounty easier to enjoy the offerings of Germantown and Clarksburg, much like the residents of the Kentlands are able to use Great Seneca Highway.  Of course, the Master Plan has always included an East Side Hwy to mirror Great Seneca Hwy, with 355 as the business district. 

While the transit options on the table are certainly a key component for improving congestion conditions throughout the Upcounty area, we cannot forget that families who do not live in these new urbanist communities do and will want to take advantage of the wonderful retail and restaurant offerings. And quite frankly, a family of 4 from Saybrooke, Montgomery Village, or other surrounding neighborhoods is never going to choose public transit to go out to dinner over driving. Or go shopping for that matter. 

We need to rethink our transportation grid from only feeding DC and downcounty, and instead realize that the upcounty areas have developed their own centers of gravity. As such, we have an obligation to provide multimodal options for consumers to access these developing hubs. This has to include adequate highway access. 

One only has to look at the challenges being faced by Main Street in Kentlands to see that New Urbanist developments cannot survive solely on the residents who reside from within its own borders. 

While New Urbanism continues to be the guiding philosophy for NEW development, the County Council cannot ignore the needs of our countless legacy neighborhoods who do not have walkable retail options.  We want to support these wonderful new economic hubs across the county. But we need the ability to get there without sitting in traffic for an hour. This isn’t about the fear of attracting more drivers. We’re already here. And quite frankly, we were here first... with the master-plan promise that we would have a highway option to get us around easier. 

Please fulfill the promise of the M83 extension. 

Thank you,

Jim McNulty