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Maryland vs. Virginia

A poster on this blog made an interesting observation over the weekend that I'd like to discuss with you.

Here's what "Baltimore" said to us:
"I find it very interesting that the posts regarding transportation in Virginia tend to get a much bigger response than the posts regarding transportation in Maryland (other than the ICC, of course). I'm curious: is that because Virginia has worse traffic, or because this issue is something that is being so actively debated politically? Has Maryland done a better job in managing traffic than Virginia? Or are Maryland's other main traffic issues (the 270 corridor, Southern Maryland) just not receiving the political attention?"

Or maybe Virginians have more interest in blogs about transportation issues. But as I read letters to Dr. Gridlock, engage in online discussions and speak to community groups, I do sense more passion at the moment among Virginians than among Marylanders over transportation issues.

I'm really not sure why that is, but will offer a couple of theories for debate:

-- On the traffic front, Virginia is a mess. Correspondents complain about a lot more pressure points in Virginia than anywhere else in the region.

-- Virginians are farther apart about how to solve their traffic problems. There's a big split over how things got so bad and who's responsible for fixing the transportation network. People everywhere are as likely to blame other travelers for troubles on the roads and rails as they are to blame government or a contractor. But that blame game seems most intense among Virginians.

-- By contrast, the Marylanders I hear from tend to be more united on solving transportation problems through transit and "smart growth," the clustering of development around transit centers. So the debate about solutions in Maryland has less of an edge.

-- Right now, Marylanders don't have as much to debate in transportation politics. While Virginia is trying to resolve conflicting plans offered by Democrats, Republicans, upstaters and downstaters, Marylanders are waiting to see what priorities will be set by the new administrations in Annapolis and Rockville.

A few notes: The Maryland situation could change in a hurry if some of the big projects such as the intercounty connector, the Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway come back into the news. People everywhere write in about Metro transit, which is a shared experience for the region. And I'm not saying Maryland is better, just that at the moment, I sense a different tone in the transportation conversation in these two jurisdictions.

By Robert Thomson  |  January 22, 2007; 6:05 AM ET
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Next: Trouble Ahead For Tysons Travelers

Comments

I would ask, are 80% of Montgomery and PG county residents from somewhere else originally, as they are in NoVA? I think the newness of the residents here feeeds the debate more. You know, like theyve just discovered that NoVA traffic is bad. VA is also friendlier to property owner rights which has fueled more development, allowing people to live way the hell out, then complain about their commute.

Posted by: Stick | January 22, 2007 7:43 AM | Report abuse

I think part of the problem stems from NoVA residents that feel ripped-off because they see so many of their tax dollars go elsewhere in the state.

When it comes to transportation problems in in Maryland, it basically comes down to two roads (I-95/I-270) and one area (the B-W corridor). Contrast that with VA with transportation bottlenecks in NoVA, Richmond, and the Tidewater areas.

Annapolis is embedded in the worst traffic area for Maryland, while Richmond is easily removed from 2/3 of the traffic problems in that state.

Posted by: Zizzy | January 22, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I've always theorized that one part of the equation is that Virginia drivers who commute into DC tend to be more concerned about traffic issues because we have a more narrowly-defined set of choke points to which we all funnel--the bridges over the Potomac. If you want to get into DC and, say, the 14th Street Bridge is snarled, you only have a few other possible routes. The same is not true in Maryland.

I know that's a limited part of the traffic picture, but it's one fundamental distinction.

Posted by: Rich | January 22, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I'll second Zizzy. If there is a cultural divide between the regions of Maryland, you don't hear about it as much.

For years, Northern Virginia and Tidewater regions have watched the Good Ol' Boy Network take the money our regions provide to support the more rural/distant regions of the state.

In Maryland, these less populated regions are pretty much outside of the heavily populated, greater Washington D.C./Baltimore area. In Virginia, there are a few larger cities outside of the DC area, and they carry enough political weight that they can (and do) disrupt the way money is spent.

I recognize that parts of the state outside of the immediate NoVa/Tidewater areas need our financial help. But we've finally come to a point where NoVa actually NEEDS our tax money, and RoVa appears to be loathe to give up a cent.

I can remember when Mark Warner first put the local sales tax for transportation issue on the ballot. I'm not sure what the exit pollers found, but I know amongst my friends and families, we trusted Mark Warner...we didn't trust Richmond to find a loophole and take the money we had generated for ourselves.

I also remember a friend of mine from college who was from a rural exurb of Roanoke. Almost 20 years ago, we came up from one of our fine Virginia colleges for the day to do some research. As we approached DC on 66 and the road became traffic- and pothole-ridden, he turned to me and said "How can you drive in this? And why do you let your interstate get this bad? Our roads around Roanoke are great!" It was all I could do THEN not to give him the lecture.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | January 22, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Based on my daily commute (Silver Spring to Tysons) I see alot of Marylanders who work in VA. This is likely adding to the chorus of complaints about VA traffic as well as the overall volume of traffic.

Posted by: kml | January 22, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I drive in DC, Maryland and Virginia as part of my job. I sometimes go as far north as Columbia and as far south as Richmond. Annapolis and Waldorf to the east and Frederick, Hagerstown and Winchester to the west. These are the two things I've noticed...

If it's got a Maryland tag, watch out it's probably going to do something irratic (61% of cars with a Maryland plate that I passed or passed me on a Sunday) and Virginia's roads are a little more confusing.

There are too many repeat lights in too many high-traffic locations. Rte. 123 in Vienna comes to mind, all of "downtown" Fairfax City, Minnieville Road, Rte. 7 in Tyson's Corner, Rte. 123 in McLean, and parts of the Prince William County Parkway come to mind.

It seems that in Maryland, things were spaced out so that you had at least 1/2 mile between most intersections with lights and that side roads were routed to coincide with this.

In Virginia, it's "let's build here and we're going to need a stop light 500 feet from the last two".

I live 5 minutes from I-66, but have to pass through a minimum of 4 lights (6 if my road is covered in ice) to get there and they're never timed right making this a 20-minute trek in the morning.

On all the roads I've been on in Maryland and I've seen Collington Road (exit 11 off 50) go from being a quick way to avoid 301 when getting to the Bowie ballpark, to a quick moving highway with shopping and other fun diversions. But it's still easy to get to 301. If that shopping center with Safeway was built in Virginia, there would have been at least 4 lights getting out of there, all within 1,500 feet of each other.

Maryland just seemed to plan smarter, Virginia just grew and grew and grew and nobody thought about the design of the roads (i. e. whether to tunnel Metro or not through Tyson's). If Metro goes above ground through Tyson's, traffic will be even worse but hey, it's cheaper...now.

Posted by: SportsAnnouncing | January 22, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Rich. It's not the ENTIRE issue, since there's still lots of traffic within NoVA outer suburbs. But given that there are only a limited number of entry points to DC from VA (whereas MD folks can get in any number of ways), there's bound to be chaos. Any major MD commuting routes that involve bridges get seriously backed up, too, but it's not such a large proportion of the commuters that require these bridges.

I also recently heard that in some closer-in VA suburbs, local planners are very careful about making sure local road can only be used for residential purposes (e.g., with speedbumps, lots of loops an turns), so they are more resident-friendly. It's a nice approach, but the downside is that everyone has to take the major highways to get anywhere more than a mile or two away.

Posted by: Bridges, dear Watson | January 22, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I think some of it may be that Maryland's traffic woes have more of a "well, what can you do about it?" attitude. Yes, the ICC should've been built 30 years ago, but aside from that, there's not much you can do to help Rockville Pike, I-270 or the Beltway. Plus our leaders seem responsive so we get an "at least they're working on it" feel as opposed to the showdowns in Virginia where constant arguing about things like draw the headlines. This may change once the Purple Line route is chosen.

Posted by: tallbear | January 22, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Oops, that was supposed to be "arguing about things like the Tysons tunnel draw the headlines".

Posted by: tallbear | January 22, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

One issue that makes traffic a more difficult problem in Va. than in Md. is that Va. has multiple employment centers, such as Tysons, the Dulles Toll Road corridor, and the Pentagon. This makes it harder to solve traffic problems because there are competing demands. Md. has some such areas, too, of course, but on the whole, Md. traffic is much more singly focused on getting into DC.

Also, is Maryland really that much better about reliance upon mass transit? It seems to me that Maryland has permitted a great deal of growth in areas such as Columbia, Crofton, Laurel, and Howard County in general, where mass transit is relatively scarce. I know there is MARC and a few buses that run to New Carrollton from these places, but Virginia has VRE and a few buses that run from outlying areas to feeder Metro stops as well. What makes Maryland's approach necessarily more transit-friendly?

Posted by: Tom T. | January 22, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I work in Maryland during the week but live in Charlottesville, VA. The bottom line is that Annapolis is a part of the metro Washington-Baltimore region, and Richmond, VA is NOT. In Virginia, all the focus for highway and transportation funding is filtered through the eyes of Richmond, not Reston. Richmond metro has very few traffic problems. It is no wonder to me that Richmond gets all the butter. If Northern Virginia splits from Virginia, or makes a very strong run to do so, then the transportation problems up here will be solved much quicker.

Posted by: TwoTown | January 22, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Rich put his finger on something so obvious I think it gets forgotten. The long continuous DC/Maryland border makes commuting much more flexible, whether you are commuting to one of the inner Maryland suburbs or to downtown DC.

I live in east Takoma Park/ West Hyattsville and there are a bunch of different "secret commute routes" to sneak in where you need to go. (No I am not going to mention them specifically, but I don't have to because everyone here knows them and anyone not here wouldn't care.) My friends in Old Town Alexandria live only slightly farther away from downtown DC as the crow flies, but they are seriously limited in their choice of routes to get there.

It feels great driving to downtown totally on surface streets, too. Less freeway driving means less heartache. Freeways stress me out.

So Virginia drivers who HAVE to use a freeway to get to downtown might experience more stress, even given equal amount of time on the roads. Maryland drivers can use more relaxing surface street routes. This might be an additional reason why there is more traffic complaint from Virginia.

Posted by: east takoma park | January 22, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I've driven around the Metro area for years, in DC, VA, and MD.
I've noticed that VA residential areas seem to be designed so that there are no ways for traffic to get through them, therefore through traffic is forced onto the major arteries. Alternate routes with less traffic are rare.
While in MD, older homes were built along the roads that were there or roads were made that were through the development. Most modern large residential areas have several ways to get through them. This gives the drivers who are familiar with the area (local ones or those that use maps) alternate routes to use when there are congested spots or accidents which spreads out the traffic.

Posted by: Historian | January 22, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

In Maryland, the transportation problems are in areas that are politically dominant in the State. These areas get attention from Annapolis, although there's always room for a bit of argument as to the type and extent of attention.

In Virginia, you have NOVA paying a tremendous amount of taxes to Richmond, but getting substantially less attention than the area deserves. This includes, but is not limited to, transportation. As an outsider looking in, it sometimes seems like the rest of Virginia only grudgingly accepts NOVA as a part of the Commonwealth.

Posted by: Terry in Maryland | January 22, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

What Maryland and DC fail to realize is that while a HUGE portion of Maryland is encompassed in the DC metro area and therefore designed to serve that area, Northern Virginia is only a small geographic area of Virginia. Virginia has two major hubs of population (NoVA and Hampton Roads) with significant traffic challenges, and a limited base from which to draw revenue.

As for those who complain that NoVA is not "set up" correctly, I beg to differ. Arlington and Alexandria are, frankly, a breeze to get through. The exurbs are a challenge, but honestly, driving from Gaithersburg to DC is a royal pain in the neck too. Marylanders have so many ways into the city; we in VA have the American Legion Bridge, the Chain Bridge, the Key Bridge, the TR Bridge, the 14th Street Bridge, and the Wilson Bridge. That is it. There's only so much that can be done there.

I am tired to death of people around here slagging on Virginia's roads, especially when the parking lots at Tyson's, Pentagon City and every grocery store in NoVA are full to the brim of DC and Maryland tags.

Posted by: bamagirlinVA | January 22, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

We slag Va's roads AND moan about the comparative lack of shopping in DC and the Md suburbs. It's sort of a hobby.

Posted by: Terry in Maryland | January 22, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"we in VA have the American Legion Bridge, the Chain Bridge, the Key Bridge, the TR Bridge, the 14th Street Bridge, and the Wilson Bridge. That is it. There's only so much that can be done there."

Arlington Memorial Bridge, too, actually (which is the only one that really LOOKS worthy of this city....well, maybe Key Bridge does, and I reserve judgment on the new Wilson Bridges until both spans are done).

Posted by: Rich | January 22, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I should add to my last post that of course I am aware that Memorial Bridge does not enter Virginia, but I would wager that 99.9% of the people who use it are going to and from Virginia, so I think it counts for purposes of Virginia access points to DC.

(For those who think I'm nuts, look it up on Google Maps. The western end of the bridge, where that traffic circle is, happens to be on Columbia Island, and all the islands in the Potomac are in either DC or Maryland. That's where the name "Boundary Channel Drive" comes from--Boundary Channel is the creek that separates that island from Virginia, and the DC-VA boundary is at the average high water mark on the west side of the channel.)

Posted by: Rich | January 22, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I see much truth in contributor's comments. I've lived in MD and worked in VA, DC, and MD at different times. The traffic is worse in NoVa, because of uncontrolled development and a demonization of taxes. In MD, we understand that you get what you pay for...there is no free lunch and no free roads. However, MD has ignored the lesson of NoVa recently and unless MD can effectively control or even freeze over-development, their traffic will undoubtably reach the problem levels we experience in NoVa. It's a cliche by now, but the ICC is a corrupt joke...3 billion (conservatively), a $7 toll each way, no relief for beltway traffic, etc. If O'Malley is as smart as I think he is, he's taking a slow route towards killing that ridiculous boondoggle. Best of luck to my fellow long-suffering commuters...we just want to get to work!

Posted by: MD Taxpayer | January 22, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Been here in NoVa for 35 years and I think it is largely a matter related to two facts: One -- In Virginia, local governments have virtually no authority to build or improvement any roadways (I think this was related to a huge fraud scandal 70-80 years ago in roadbuilding in the state). And, Two -- Va is a much larger state -- there are 100 counties and for decades the balance of power in VA. politics has been with the rural downstate areas...Not long ago I read that only 17 cents on the dollar are returned to NoVa from the State government (for all programs - not just roads) - so we've been pretty much screwed -- but the population of NoVa and the Hampton Roads areas is finally starting to carry weight in Richmond...Hopefully the Golden Goose for Richmond's coffers won't be totaly strangled by traffic before help gets on the way!

Posted by: john | January 22, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the growth that has occured in the areas that Tom T. mentioned needs to be checked. But the majority of the folks who live in those areas work at Fort Meade and with BRAC happening, MD is already making changes to try and handle the influx of a potential 40K people.

Yes, we live in a "tri-state" area and we need to either quit getting angry at each other for living in MD and working in VA or we need to get the companies to have 2 offices, one in each state. As the employee I can't help where my skill sets take me. I don't have a polygraph so I can't work at Fort Meade so I work in NoVA. But I can't afford NoVA living expenses so I live in MD, plus I attend a MD college so I need to keep my in state status to work.

How do we solve our transportation problems? Encourage more telecommuting and flexible hours.

Posted by: AMG | January 22, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree with many of the comments made regarding ease of access between DC and MD compared to DC and VA and the fact that Annapolis unlike Richmond is in the DC Metro Area.

I would add that as a relative new comer to MD, my experience has been that overall, MD did something VA failed to do: build roads. While planning and development maybe part of issue, the fact is that MD built roads to support the development that has taken place. In areas where road building is not practical, the state has or is developing either mass transit projects (Purple Line)or alternative routes (such as the ICC and upgrading Rte. 29). My fear is that MD is going to use Smart Growth as a justification for not building new roads even though 90% of the population is car dependent.

Posted by: ARG | January 22, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree, MD traffic is no where near as bad as VA, but I'm afraid we are catching up. Tried to get through Waldorf on a Saturday or during rush hour? The newer developments in Charles County seem to be following the VA xburbs plan of one way in and out and just a few roads to travel on to get to shopping, work, etc. Hope mass transit makes its way south soon!

Posted by: Sue | January 22, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Grew up and learned to drive in MD. Moved to VA to be closer to job. World of difference. Everything road-related in Maryland is better: signage is clearer, roads are in better condition, traffic flows better. After two years being here, I honestly believe I had less stress driving from Columbia to Falls Church everyday vs. Old Town to Falls Church because, for most of the trip, the traffic was predictable. But I do like my extra hour and a half of sleep in the morning, so the move was worth it (also get home early enough to enjoy happy hour specials).

Posted by: alexandria | January 22, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

After living in all three jurisdictions, I noticed some distinct differences in Maryland v. Virginia. I grew up in Maryland, and lived in Hybla Valley for a number of years, then moved to Bowie.

-Roads aren't as obvious in Virginia. For example, the service roads on route 1 south of the beltway. There are so many ways in and out the shopping centers that people use them for shortcuts and cut each other off and stress you out. Other nuisances: less signage and no cut throughs (such as between Hybla Valley to Kingstowne, which didn't have a cut through until Van Dorn went through a year or two ago, despite being at a similar latitude).

-As mentioned before, the lights are an issue. Too close together, bad timing. Though the aforementioned MD197 in Bowie has some awfully timed lights north of route 50 (the smooth stretch is south).

-It may be that Annapolis is part of the DC Metro area, but it seems like Maryland's best roads are in Howard and Anne Arundel Counties. Roads like 32, 175, 100, etc., where there are actual freeways. I can get from Bowie to Clarksville (via 197, 295 and 32) in western HoCo in 20 minutes, with three stoplights. The only road that is even comprable in Fairfax County is 7100, and that has a ton of stoplights.

Don't know what the answer is, but there certainly is a difference. And I'm very glad I'm on the Maryland side. Don't mind VA, but MD is much easier on my stress level.

Posted by: kate | January 22, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

As a lifelong Marylander who just moved to Virginia in June to be closer to my job and avoid the unpredictable and aggravating commute, I can safely say that Maryland is better. Case in point, try driving out to Gaithersburg via 270 on a weekend and then try to drive out Fair Oaks on 66 and see which one moves better.

There are six lanes on 270 and three on 66. Side Note: Why aren't the closed traffic lanes opened when there is an accident or congestion? Also, whoever thought it would be a good idea to only have two lanes on a major inbound artery inside the Beltway (again, route 66) should be strung up.

Posted by: agrunig | January 22, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Maryland's traffic infrastructure is vastly superior to Virginia. This is primarily due to the fact that Maryland is the most densely populated state in the union. Washington is only 40 miles from Baltimore and Annapolis, while Richmond is 120 miles away. The longer a road is the more expensive it is to build and because MD's budget is roughly the same as VA, the Old Line state can do much more than the Old Dominion. It shows. MD has a mesh of limited access and large arterial roads. MD roads are better designed (e.g. I-270, arguably the best in region). Also MD has a multitude of options to enter DC, while VA has fewer and they tend to funnel at the 14th Street bridge or the Roosevelt bridge. Lets not forget that MD has its problems too. The worst one being 495 from 270 to 95, but it is no where near as bad as Virginia. It all goes back to the pluses and minuses of Maryland and Virginia.

Posted by: George | January 22, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Maryland, get your crime rates under control, your police force organized, and your college sports teams out of the bias of Washington DC metro area reporters, and you can get your roads fixed.

Posted by: Miguel | January 23, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Virginia roads would be fine if it were only Virginians using them.

Next time you are in Virginia sitting in traffic, at a mall or in your work parking lot please take a look at the plates on cars around you. Then do the same during your next trip around Maryland.

How nice it must be to criticize the traffic all around Virginia while you all shop, work and visit here.

Hmmm, I guess Richmond should be planning better for all you DC and Marylanders.

Posted by: Stay on your side | January 23, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Virginia traffic sucks but it is worth it to not be a Marylander.

Posted by: Worth It | January 23, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"Maryland, get your crime rates under control, your police force organized, and your college sports teams out of the bias of Washington DC metro area reporters, and you can get your roads fixed."

And where are from? The dark side of the moon?

Compared to road-hating, "let 'em take Metro and pay their camera tickets" DC and "we can't find the money" Virginia, Maryland roads are quite fine, thanks.

And don't get me started on crime. Virginia has MS 13 and DC is well, DC.

Posted by: CEEAF | January 23, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I lived in Falls Church for 20 years, and now have lived in Maryland for 4. I will say that a lot of people do commute to VA from MD, because the corporate environment is less restrictive in VA, and thus, there are more jobs there. MD, however, thanks to better planning, has a higher standard of living. There are more parks, buses, metro stops, etc., here.
A few reasons traffic is worse in VA.
1 - The arterial surface streets (think Arlington Blvd, 236, Braddock, Ffx Co Pkwy, vs. University, Connecticut, Great Seneca Hwy) are 2 lanes in Virginia, with a nice wide shoulder, ornate median, and 50,000 stoplights. In Maryland, they are all three narrower lanes, with an ugly curb in the middle. Not as pretty, but it works better.
2 - VA NEVER puts stoplights on flash late at night, except in Fairfax City and maybe Arlington. This is a huge timewaster at night. It used to take me longer to get from Fairfax City to Annandale at 11pm than it did at 4pm because of all of the badly timed lights.
3 - Virginia never bothered to encourage or sustain mass transit. Ride-On beats the Connector buses hands down. We have far more metro stops up here, even if they all are on one line.
4 - Virginia's NIMBY's have placed such an emphasis on traffic calming, that even major roads have ridiculous speed limits of 25 or 35 mph. Think the entire cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. Think of large sections of VA 123.
Lastly, the Dillon rules have completely handcuffed Northern Virginia. Like most of the government in Richmond, those rules have outlived their purpose.
As far as MD drivers being erratic, here is the rule of thumb that I live by: The Maryland driver will cut you off even if it doesn't have to be in your lane. The VA driver will be completely oblivious to all that is going on around them, and the DC driver is simply shellshocked.

Posted by: Joe in SS | January 23, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

" My fear is that MD is going to use Smart Growth as a justification for not building new roads even though 90% of the population is car dependent."

That's exactly what happened under "Green" Glendening.

Not one single limited access highway was built in Maryland during "Greenie's" tenure. Instead of working for the greater good, "Greenie" chose to pander to environmentalists. Thanks to him, the ICC is still not yet built; once re-elected in 1998, he reneged on his promise to build the ICC and even tried to sell off the right of way to ensure it would never be built. As Controller, William Donald Shaeffer was able to stop him.

A bit of trivia:, "Greenie" is credited with inventing the term "smart growth".

Posted by: CEEAF | January 24, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

One area in Maryland that seems to get little to no attention are the communities of Southern Maryland: Indian Head, Fort Washington and Waldorf. Waldorf especially is growing by leaps and bounds, and just watch in 5 years it will become much like Silver Spring. Just take a drive down Rt. 5 about 13 miles South of the Beltway and see what I mean. Not only that but Rt. 301 usually gets a lot of the residual traffic that try to avoid the Mixing Bowl area in going to the states down South. This extra flow of traffic and new residents is creating gridlock all hours of the day every day of the week. Give us some attention too.

Posted by: Waldorf MD resident | January 24, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

We in Maryland have our heavy traffic woes from over-development especially in areas such as Bowie/Upper Marlboro and Clinton/Waldorf. Traffic is a nightmare in both of these areas, you have to plan your departure and arrival times. In Clinton we have heavy traffic even on weekends, especially Sundays before and after Church. A serious challenge to solving these problems is there isn't any available space to widen roads because housing/commerical buildings are very close to the road. Attempts to restrict new developments have been defeated by pressures from developers and the pubblic demand for new homes. I am seriously concerned about remaining in the area for another 5 years.

Posted by: Barbara | January 24, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Barbara, you are exactly right. Every time I drive down 301, traffic just gets worse and worse. It's unbelievable how congested Charles County is.

And for anyone that thinks localities are capable of handling traffic and growth decisions on their own without some sort of regional oversight, I submit to you Waldorf. Rt. 5 merges with 301 just above the PG County/Charles County line. That's where traffic starts to be really horrendous on 301. And these cars aren't going to PG County. Take a look at mapquest. There are large open spaces in PG County. At the county line, development everywhere. This is why we need regional planning.

Posted by: Baltimore | January 24, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

"This is primarily due to the fact that Maryland is the most densely populated state in the union."

Sorry to nitpick George, but New Jersey is the most densely populated state (not counting DC). It has 1134 people per square mile vs 542 for Maryland.
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-_box_head_nbr=GCT-PH1&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-redoLog=false&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U_GCTP14_US9&-format=US-9&-CONTEXT=gct

Posted by: Andy | January 25, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Andy,
That's probably due to the fact that Maryland has two large areas of relatively rural proportions: the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland. I'd imagine the DC to north of Baltimore corridor compares very similarly to NJ, but I bet NJ (and maybe even Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts) have a higher density.

Posted by: Baltimore | January 25, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

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