MARYLAND

Planners propose two bus only lanes for Rockville Pike

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A bold new plan to alleviate traffic troubles in Montgomery County would eliminate two traffic lanes on Rockville Pike.

By 2040, the county's population is expected to increase by 21 percent while employment increases 39 percent and lane congestion spikes 70 percent.

Planners hope to counter these trends by dedicating the two middle lanes of Rockville Pike between Bethesda and White Flint to buses only.

But that means two fewer lanes for drivers like Sandy Hoe, who thinks investing money in expanding fixed rail is the way to go.

"I have some doubts as to whether the average American driver, in particular in the Washington, D.C. area, is going to be attracted to the buses," she explained.

Driver Christian Quintana says if people have to pick they'll drive before hopping on a bus.

"In the D.C.-area, it's just bad anywhere you go, so you just have to find the back ways," Quintana said.

Larry Cole, the architect of the proposal, says the concept will lead to faster bus service along the six-mile stretch. He also believes the average speed of all drivers will go up under his bus lane proposal, assuming enough drivers become bus riders.

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