Monday, April 7, 2014

Thank You for County Executive’s removal of M-83 Highway from the Capital Improvement Projects

April 7, 2014
To: County Executive Isaiah Leggett and Montgomery County Councilmembers

Dear County Executive Leggett and Councilmembers,

The TAME Coalition sends its genuine gratitude for the adjustments Mr. Leggett has made to the CIP FY15-20 budget requesting removal of M-83 from Facility Planning.[1] The TAME Coalition supporters (43 organizations and 8 elected officials) were pleased to read the March 17th memo to Council President Craig Rice stating, "Funding for facility planning for the MidCounty Highway (M-83) has not been included in the FY 15-20 CIP."

We believe it would be unacceptable for the Council and Executive to program funds for additional study of M-83. MCDOT has not yet completed its environmental study, it is very uncertain whether M-83 will receive the necessary federal environmental approval given concerns raised by federal agencies, and the Council and Executive have not had an opportunity to weigh in on a preferred alternative. As of now, none of the six alternatives on the table represent the best transportation solution for Upcounty communities. Alternatives 4, 8, and 9 unacceptably harm existing neighborhoods and environmentally sensitive areas.  Alternatives 2 and 5 are more acceptable, but fail to include transit as a solution.  Given the current status and ongoing issues with the project, we urge the Council to confirm the CIP adjustment to remove M-83 from the facility planning packet.

The master planned M-83, long favored by MCDOT, would impact biologically important parkland; productive farmland, forests, wetlands, and stream valleys; present great impacts to existing neighborhoods; cost hundreds of millions of dollars of county funds; and offer seemingly little traffic relief. In particular, Dayspring Creek and Wildcat Branch are two of the county’s few high quality creeks and are two of several threatened by this highway project.

We are very encouraged by the $10 million included in this CIP in part for the study of Bus Rapid Transit on 355 from Bethesda to Clarksburg, and are hopeful that this transit line can present a viable, sustainable, and cost effective alternative for Upcounty commuters. We have been deeply concerned that a high quality transit alternative to M-83 has never been studied, and hope that a part of this important study will be to analyze Bus Rapid Transit on 355 as an alternative to provide a more sustainable, less destructive travel option for Clarksburg residents.

Sixty years after the conception of M83 highway and 10 years after the start of this current environmental review, we hope that Mr. Leggett’s action to not include M83 in the FY15-20CIP signals a commitment to working with the County Council this year to finally put this destructive highway plan to rest.  It is time to commit in its place to a sustainable, forward-thinking alternative that can better fulfill the promise of a transit-oriented Clarksburg and a sustainable Upcounty.

We look forward to working with the County Executive and County Council on the next steps for eliminating this destructive highway project, and embracing a viable, high quality transit alternative in its place.

Many thanks for your attention,

TAME Coalition Supporters 

[1] March 17th Memorandum, “Budget Adjustments: FY15-20 Recommended Capital Improvements Program”:

Join TAME Coalition as we work with organizations and government to bring Transit Atlernatives to Mid-County Highway Extended.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

ACT Supports Transit Alternative Study for Mid-County Highway Extended - No Joke!

1. We agree with the Planning Department Staff Report that MCDOT should do a thorough study of a transit option for M-83 Highway. The Montgomery County Council has now adopted a Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan. Putting BRT service on 355 and extending it all the way to Clarksburg is an option that must be studied in detail. (Note also that the 355 BRT corridor would have the second-highest daily ridership of the 10 proposed transit corridors and therefore is likely to be among the earliest implemented.)

2. Given tight budget resources, we should think carefully about allocating one-third of a billion dollars to a new highway, when those same funds might be invested in transit that makes use of existing roadways. Building new roads generates new traffic and begets sprawl development, which requires further investment in expensive infrastructure --- it is a vicious cycle. If instead we build the transit that is in our plans (e.g., BRT and the CCT), we'll give people the option to live with fewer cars, to use transit and to walk and bike within new Town Centers.

3. While Millennials and Boomers differ in many ways, on this topic we might view them as a "pair of bookends." Millennials want to live near transit (the percentage of young people with automobile licenses has plunged). As for aging Boomers, we're beginning to contemplate the day when we won't be driving anymore. So for both these generations, please give strong consideration to building more transit now. Roadways alone will never be able to support the area's travel needs — do we really want to excavate parkland to build a new highway, thereby attracting even more cars, from even farther out? 

Action Committee for Transit urges the County to vigorously pursue a robust transit alternative to M-83.

Join TAME Coalition as we work with organizations and government to bring Transit Atlernatives to Mid-County Highway Extended.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Metro Momentum as a Transit Alternative to Mid-County Highway Extended


Metro's Momentum plan will bring vital capacity improvements to the existing Metro system through 2025, and add big projects through 2040.

Check out our 3-minute video explaining Momentum -- and if you agree we need Momentum, send an email to your elected officials. >>

If you're still not sure we NEED Momentum, consider these numbers:

  • To move as many people into the city without Metro and Momentum we would need the equivalent of 16-18 new lanes of freeway and 30,000 new downtown parking spaces
  • The capacity increases in Momentum will take 135,000 cars from the region's roads -- saving drivers about 25 million hours of sitting in traffic and $130 million  each year.
  • The cost of building Momentum ($1.50/trip) is far cheaper per trip than widening I-270 ($7.50/trip) or I-66 ($3.50)

We've heard from many of you about your daily frustrations with WMATA. Without Momentum to provide more railcars, buses and other improvements, and without funding commitments soon, we'll be in much worse shape than we are right now.

We need to reinvest in our Metro and build it for the future. That is why we support Momentum. We hope you will, too. >>

PS - Still have questions about Momentum? Send them to us, and we'll answer the most common ones in an upcoming email.

Thank you,

Aimee Custis
Coalition for Smarter Growth

Join TAME Coalition as we work with organizations and government to bring Transit Alternatives to Mid-County Highway Extended.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Newest Voice of TAME: Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer

Sent to TAME Coalition January 2, 2014
Dear Tame,
Thank you for contacting me about M-83. This is a major transportation proposal, and I have given it a lot of thought.
In reviewing the six alternatives proposed by the county's Department of Transportation, I don't believe that any of them provides the right solution. The no-build option has the least cost but it does nothing about legitimate transportation problems faced by Upcounty residents. Alternative 4 (Brink-Wightman-Snouffer School-Muncaster Mill) is out of the way, impacts more than 350 properties and is burdensome on nearby residents. The master plan alignments (Alternatives 8 and 9) are extremely expensive and have adverse environmental impacts. And Alternatives 2 and 5, which focus on MD-355, have no transit component.
I believe the best option for county residents is a mix of intersection improvements on MD-355 and a Bus Rapid Transit route down MD-355 from Clarksburg to Shady Grove. This provides the best combination of mobility, affordability, environmental stewardship and sustainability. I look forward to working with you to make this happen and to getting a real win for our Upcounty communities.
Hans Riemer
Councilmember At-Large
240/777-7964 OR 240/777-7900  •  MD RELAY - DIAL 711   •  FAX 240/777-7989

TAME Coalition thanks Councilmember Riemer for his public presence and commitment in supporting progressive and sustainable transportation alternatives to M-83. YES!, we are working with you to make this happen.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

M-83 Walks through Montgomery Village

Join Us as TAME Coalition raises public awareness showing Montgomery Village residents what they will lose if Mid-County Highway Extended (M-83) is constructed.

1) Walk By The Woods 2014Saturday, March 1st - 1:30pm (easier walk on paths, parking lots)
2) "Waggle" Through The Woods 2014: Sat, March 1st - 1:30pm  (woody, uneven ground)
3) A Walk Along the West Edge of the Village 2014: Sat, March 15th - 1:30pm (grassy and woody uneven ground)
4) Rain-dates on Sat, March 8th & 22nd, respectively
Sign-up begins at 12:30pm at South Valley Park (parking spaces for walk also at South Valley Park)

Click here for link to: for full description on Walks in Montgomery Village and to pre-register your group on line.

  • M-83 Walks through Montgomery Village in March 2014

What will you do to help? We hope you'll Join Us.

On all three Walks, Montgomery Village residents will see the location of their homes, property and community, in relation to the destruction caused by proposed M-83.  Match the circled numbers on the map to the corresponding numbers on the (below) Legend.

Map Legend: 

Red Line in middle of map is proposed 6-lane M-83 highway.
  1. Christopher Court Condos
  2. Normandie I and II Condos
  3. Breckenridge Condos
  4. Walker's Choice Town Homes and South Valley Park  (between 4 & 5) Walker's Run, tributary to Whetstone Run
  5. Retention pond below Woodland Hills HOA
  6. Woodland Hills HOA
  7. Heron's Cove Condos
  8. South Valley Park ball fields
  9. Watkins Mill Elementary School and ball fields
  10. Windbrooke Condos
  11. Clusters I of Stedwick HOA, Watkins Mill Dr.
  12. Whetstone Run (at Watkins Mill Rd., under 1997 bridge)
  13. Blohm Park ( City of Gaithersburg)
  14. Montgomery Meadows HOA
  15. Clusters II of Stedwick HOA
  16. Gatlin Dr. of Seneca-Whetstone HOA 
  17. Game Preserve Rd of Seneca-Whetstone HOA
  18. The Ridges of Stedwick HOA
  19. Great Seneca Creek (500+ ft. bridge to be built in parkland)

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Voice of TAME: Sugarloaf Citizens' Association Protecting the Ag Reserve from M-83

I am presenting this letter as my testimony on behalf of the Sugarloaf Citizens Association, of which I am a Director and immediate Past President. We are a not-for-profit volunteer organization with a 40-year history of work to preserve the agricultural tradition and environmental health of upper Montgomery County and to protect the viability of its Agricultural Reserve. During our long history, we have repeatedly and vociferously opposed the imposition of any major new roads in or through the Reserve—whether the OuterBeltway or any other highway proposal

We are in opposition to any incursion of M83 into the Reserve.

Planning staff recommendations recognize that the Reserve was established to ensure the continuing economic viability of farming through the preservation of a large, contiguous area permanently dedicated to farmland. The proposed master plan alignment alternatives have the potential to impact nearly 400 acres of Rural Density Transfer-zoned land and would surely create pressure for re-zoning out of agriculture and into redevelopment of properties along these alternatives.

Any fragmentation of the Reserve is a threat to its long term viability. Our farms provide not only food security and scenic open space; here, I reference the County’s own reports that the, “…Reserve is an important environmental resource for future farm enterprises. A strong agricultural heritage provides a diverse business community and a strong economic base. Combining these strengths with the commitment for farmland preservation makes Montgomery County an attractive place to live and work."

illustration & copyright - Tina Brown
"The County's diverse agricultural industry's 561 farmland 350 horticultural enterprises produce more than $243 million in economic contribution from agricultural products and operations. The majority of Montgomery County farms are family-run operations, many reaching back several generations, which employ more than 10,000 residents. Of the County's 561 farms, 43% are farmed as a primary occupation.” 

Let me reiterate: 10,000 jobs and $243 million from the Agricultural Reserve; no M83 incursion, no fragmentation.

Thank you.

Sugarloaf Citizens’ Association
Anne Sturm, Director and Past President

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Voice of TAME: Dayspring Earth Ministry Keeps Vigil Over A Larger Vision

View from Dayspring's Meadow
Meditation Interrupted

Alone in a meadow of many meditations,
adsorbing silent beauty of rolling woodland
in the relative darkness of a sub-urban night;
a tragic specter gripped me, more chilling than the evening air.

This road, dead wrong since the day
its ink first scrawled onto paper,
has, in spite of its deadliness
a life of its own.

First imagined to carry smiling faces in the family sedan
to where they are not presently,
born M-5, now grown to M-83,
its slick asphalt a linear tombstone
covering a billion violent deaths in just 5.7 miles;
precious, innocent lives taken with ease,
without a shiver of conscience
Children's Sunday at Dayspring Creek
by the tracked monster named progress.

Blinking, I see it’s not here yet  ---
but I feel the approaching tragedy in my bones,
great glaring lights and rolling rubber roaring
where tonight only great horned hooting
punctuates the night on a land still at peace with its residents.

Can reason and compassion triumph over entrenched error?
Error upon error upon error,
accumulating into a vast document
whose Purpose and Need page one
renders irrelevant the ever-growing
compendium of outrageous insults
to trees and toads, raptors and reptiles,
flowers and flickers, sunfish and salamanders,
One of nature's miracles
solemn rocks and bubbling streams,
happy neighborhoods and healthy schoolyards,
dark nights and silent retreats.

It’s the Purpose we must change, and the Need.
What do we really need?
What do our great grandchildren’s great grandchildren need?
What is this deadly force, which relentlessly pushes
to consume and destroy the precious planet
which alone sustains our life?

How can this tale have a happy ending
when fifty years of bad decisions become entrenched one-by-one,
while six hundred new moons have shone upon the growing record
of recognized rack and ruin,
filed away to show future generations we knew
what we were doing,
and we did it anyway?

O Great Spirit, Holy Creator of all that is,
As you smiled an impossible Yes! into the belly of a peasant girl,
we beg You to stand before this encroaching terror,
and deliver – through the surprised lips of the assembled decision-makers –
A final, miraculous No!

Written by Gale Quist  
Member of 1992 MoCo's M-83 Citizens Advisory Committee 

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