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Roadbuilding in Maryland - "Intercounty connector"


as planners, most of you probably subscribe to the idea of 'if you build it they will come' when it comes to roadbuilding - that is, new roads create more traffic problems than they solve.

the situation in suburban md seems a bit more complicated, however. for years, environmentalists and anti-sprawl activists have vigorously opposed the 'inter-county connector' to run between interstates 270 and 95 (connecting rockville and laurel). and, for years, their efforts were successful, especially with an environmental activist governor. now, it appears the road will be built within the next 10 years or so...

as much as i hate suburban (read: auto-dependent) development, there are a handful of things which make me think this road project is a good idea:

-southern montgomery is almost completely developed, so building this road would serve already-built areas,
-maryland is progressive in its land use, restricting suburban growth to "priority funding areas" which are basically in synch with with the 'urbanized area' in maps
-it better connects the i-270 biotech corridor with baltimore city, the port of baltimore, and bwi airport. currently, connecting these places requires using traffic-clogged secondary roads or the capital beltway.

thoughts about this kind of project? are issues like this one burning elsewhere?


After the inter-county connector is built how many new trips will it attract ?

how much will it cost the state in police and other emergency responses?

how much will it cost to maintain per year (annual operating costs)?

what kind of emmissions will this be adding to the region?

What kind of investment in transit could be made with the state money going into the highway?

that highway if/when built will be a nightmare where it merges with 270 and 95.

A similar project is proposed in south jersey where state legislators and the developers that fund them want Rt. 55 "finished" to connect with the Garden State Parkway near Cape May.

the math just doesn't make sense - it's out of our region so here's what i wrote in for the public comment period

If traffic is already backed up on the Parkway, Rte.47, and other routes to Cape May beaches, adding capacity to Rte. 55 isn’t going to do anything to change that. You’re just going to wind up with more traffic that will then “require” the widening of dozens of other county roads. Essentially you’re just moving the traffic from Port Elizabeth closer to the beach and creating a critical pinch point in which traffic will be absolutely horrific.

Cars don’t just disappear once they exit the freeway. They stack up on arterials and then on collectors.

The only thing a Rte. 55 extension is going to accomplish is some temporary congestion relief on Rte. 47 and other parallel routes and this will only come at the expense of more traffic emptying on to the Parkway and other local roads in the vicinity of Sea Isle City.

It’s my prediction that after a season of sitting in traffic at a new Parkway/Rte. 55 interchange many drivers will just go back to their original routes.

So in effect you’ve just added capacity to the road network on an already seasonally traffic choked peninsula.

Your problem is too many cars in a finite space so your solution to the problem is to make room for even more cars?