Transit Backers Launch Campaign for All-Day Train Service to Frederick and Brunswick
Press release issued February 28, 2011
A leafleting campaign launched today by the Action Committee for Transit calls for all-day two-way train service from Washington D.C to Frederick and Brunswick, Maryland. Leaflets will be distributed to MARC train riders, at park-and-rides, and in downtown Frederick.
A plan drawn up four years ago by Maryland transportation planners, called the MARC Growth and Investment Plan, would vastly improve service on the commuter train line from Washington to Frederick and Brunswick. Trains would run all day in both directions, and in rush hour trains would run every 15 minutes from Union Station through Rockville and Germantown to Point of Rocks. Rush-hour trains would go to Frederick and Brunswick every half hour. Trains would also run mid-day, evenings, and weekends, but less frequently.
ACT president Tina Slater pointed out that the Maryland legislature is now considering an increased gasoline tax to fund transportation. The citizens group is asking MARC riders and other voters to write to their state legislators and ask them to use a portion of the gas tax money for the MARC train improvements. Total cost of the planned improvements on the train line to Frederick and Brunswick is $560 million, but the plan can be carried out in stages as money is available. All-day MARC service is part of the comprehensive transit plan that ACT advocates for the I-270 corridor.
"MARC is a great way to commute if your schedule fits the MARC schedule," said ACT vice-president Miriam Schoenbaum of Boyds, "but right now the trains only go one way for a few hours in the morning, and the other way for a few hours in the afternoon. It could do a lot more if it ran all day both ways." Schoenbaum was an organizer of the successful effort four years ago to prevent closing of the Dickerson and Boyds train stations.
ACT member Brian DiNunno of Frederick suggested that, as a first step, the 991 commuter bus route to Shady Grove could be extended to the train station in downtown Frederick. There it would connect with eight Frederick TransIt bus routes, opening up new job opportunities in the I-270 corridor to Frederick residents whose families only have one car. DiNunno, who writes the Green Pivots blog about land use and transportation in Frederick, pointed out that better transit connections would enhance the economic health of downtown Frederick and support creation of walkable neighborhoods through the proposed East Frederick and the Golden Mile redevelopment projects.