June 15, 2022

Online and In-Person Events to Seek Input on Flash Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Plans for North Bethesda, New Hampshire Avenue and Rockville Pike/Frederick Road

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will have a series of events to seek input on the planned expansion of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service, branded Flash, on New Hampshire Avenue, North Bethesda and MD 355. Flash bus corridors provide frequent, upgraded bus services on highly traveled corridors. The next scheduled event, regarding the New Hampshire Avenue line, will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, at CHI Centers, Inc., which is located at 10501 New Hampshire Ave. in Silver Spring.

Residents can provide input throughout the month of June. MCDOT is offering multiple opportunities to learn about Flash, engage with project teams, have questions answered and provide feedback.

“Expansion of our Flash bus corridors is important for residents to have equitable access to jobs, education and essential services,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. " Our current and future riders have valuable insights, and we want to hear from you. Your comments will help us shape and improve these services. I encourage all riders, as well as interested residents and community leaders, to participate in these upcoming engagement events.”

The first Flash corridor opened in 2020 and operates on Colesville Road/Columbia Pike (US 29) from the Silver Spring Transit Center to White Oak, Briggs Chaney and Burtonsville with stops along the way.

The service—which uses 60-foot-long articulated buses—carries more than 2,100 riders per day. Buses run every 15 minutes from 5:30 a.m. until midnight seven days a week and every seven to 10 minutes during peak hours. Flash buses feature bike racks inside, free Wi-Fi service and USB ports.

“Flash will make it easier for residents to travel around the county to get to schools, work, access healthcare, childcare and parks,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We’re advancing projects that will have the greatest benefits for our residents. The American Public Transportation Association tells us that for every dollar spent on reliable public transit, about four dollars are generated in economic return. Reliable transportation has life-changing impacts on the economy, on the environment and on equity.”

The schedule for public engagement events:

Rockville Pike / Frederick Road/ Wisconsin Ave (MD 355)

MCDOT is asking for feedback on the preliminary design plan for MD 355, which includes improvements to roadways, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements and stations. The MD 355 BRT corridor will run from Bethesda to Clarksburg once complete. The County is first advancing the central segment, between the Montgomery College campuses in Rockville and Germantown.

Opportunities for comment include:
  • Online: Attend one of four online chats to learn more and speak to project team members directly. Details and link to register are on the project webpage.
  • Phone: Call 240-801-5794 to speak one-on-one with a project team member on Mondays, 11 a.m.-noon or Wednesdays, 2-3 p.m. through June 22.
  • In Person: Attend an in-person event. More than 10 events will be held through June 21. Visit the project webpage for locations, dates and times.
  • Survey: Take the survey for a chance to win $50.
North Bethesda

MCDOT is seeking input on the planning study for the North Bethesda Flash BRT, which will connect Montgomery Mall with the Metrorail Red Line. Visit the project webpage to learn more. Opportunities for comment include:
  • Online: Attend an online open house.
New Hampshire Avenue

MCDOT is seek input on the planning study for the New Hampshire Avenue Flash BRT. The study area extends from the Colesville Park and Ride to the Washington, D.C. line. Visit the project webpage to learn more. Opportunities for comment include:
  • In person: Attend an in-person open house.
    • Saturday, June 18. 11 a.m.-1 p.m., CHI Centers, Inc., 10501 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring. Presentations at 11 a.m. and noon.
The US 29 Flash was the first step in creating a network of rapid transit lines in the County. BRT features include:
  • Frequent, reliable service.
  • Dedicated bus lanes where possible, reducing bus delays due to traffic.
  • Bus lanes at intersections that allow buses to keep moving, known as “queue jump lanes.”
  • Priority green light signaling, allowing for shorter travel times.
  • Comfortable stations providing weather protection, fare pre-payment kiosks and real-time transit information via electronic message boards.
  • Raised station platforms, facilitating quick and efficient accessible boarding and exiting from multiple doors.
  • Community-friendly design with enhanced pedestrian walkways and bike facilities.
To learn more about the Flash Service, visit the website here.