Montgomery County, Md., launched the start of construction for the FLASH, the County’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) line, which will operate along US 29 — the busiest transit corridor in the county.
Starting in 2020, the 14-mile, 11-station BRT will run between Burtonsville and downtown Silver Spring and is expected to serve about 20,000 riders per day.
Construction of the US 29 BRT will cost about $31 million, of which $10 million will be paid by the federal TIGER grant.
The FLASH will be a new, innovative transit option in Montgomery County that provides immediate, positive benefits to the diverse population living within the highly congested US 29 corridor, supports smart growth development, expands mobility options, and provides future connections to the Purple Line.
The BRT buses, which will carry as many as 90 passengers, will use existing roadway pavement when possible to minimize the need for new infrastructure improvements. The new BRT service will link a continuous corridor of suburban centers, highway developments, shopping centers, federal offices, neighborhoods, a regional Park and Ride Lot, and job centers. Discussions with Howard County continue about making the US 29 FLASH a bi-county service.
The FLASH could cut commutes by an estimated 30% compared with current bus routes because of its added features that include all-door boarding, exclusive transit use of the shoulders along the northern section of US 29, and traffic signal priority. Other passenger amenities include WiFi and USB ports.
Stations along the route will feature weather protection, pre-payment kiosks, and real-time transit information. As part of the project, community-friendly design elements will be added that include improved pedestrian walkways and ADA-sidewalk upgrades, bike facilities and 10 new bike-share stations.
Montgomery County also is studying BRT lines along MD 355 and MD 586 (Veirs Mill Road).