Takoma Park officials have submitted feedback to the county’s Department of Transportation regarding the Ride On Reimagined draft network concept.
MCDOT’s Ride On Reimagined study is set to bring about significant changes in how the county transit system operates to meet current and future needs. The study will examine the existing and planned transit systems, including Metrobus services within the county and the upcoming Purple Line. By gathering and analyzing data and involving the community, the study will help shape the future direction of Ride On. It will also make recommendations for system-wide changes to address the current and future needs of the community served by Ride On and Metrobus services.
The draft network concept is part of the project’s planning process that suggests changes to current bus routes throughout the county, including the majority of routes that serve Takoma Park.
Last month, the MCDOT, Coalition for Smarter Growth, and the Action Committee for Transit held a virtual open house to present the Ride On Reimagined plans (video below).
Takoma Park officials expressed their support for the proposal but raised a few conditions. An analysis by the staff found that the proposal maintains the current extensive bus network coverage and includes some adjustments specifically requested by Takoma Park residents, such as a bus route connecting the interim library location, the Recreation Center, and the Community Center.
“Some of the proposed changes will reduce the number of bus lines that serve certain high-volume corridors in an effort to consolidate routes that duplicate each other, including on Maple Avenue and Flower Avenue. When City staff reached out to the County’s project planner, they were notified that the frequency of bus service would not be determined until later in the process when budgetary impacts were established. For this reason, The City’s letter specifically supports the changes to routes so long as bus frequency remains similar to or better than current bus headways, especially on the corridors that serve many of the City’s residents who most rely upon public transit.”
Ira Kowler, the Acting Director of Housing and Community Development in Takoma Park, conveyed his concerns in a letter to MCDOT Director Christopher Conklin.
“The City still holds reservations related to bus frequency on some of the proposed new routes. The overall coverage of the proposed bus network remains nearly identical; however, when broken down by routes, some of our most densely populated and important throughways are seeing reduction in the number of bus lines that serve them. In particular, the draft concept map proposes reducing three routes to two serving Maple Avenue and two routes to one serving Flower Avenue. In exchanges with Ride On Reimagined staff, City staff were told that the frequency of buses on a given route would not be decided until further along in the process, when the budget impacts are determined. The City would like to see that the headways on these routes remain similar to or more frequent than the existing services, especially when providing Takoma Park residents access to key transit hubs such as Takoma Metro, Takoma/Langley Crossroads Transit Center, Long Branch Purple Line Station and Silver Spring Transit Center. Hopefully efficiencies gained in other route realignments would support this request.”
The Ride On Reimagined team plans to incorporate the feedback from the draft network concept into a Service and Implementation Plan by January 2024. Any actions regarding the Service and Implementation Plan will require a designated budget in the County’s annual budget.
Takoma Park’s full letter of support for the Ride On Reimagined study can be viewed online (PDF).