We all know that more people need to get out of their cars and into public transportation, which not only is environmentally friendly, but also is the best way to deal with traffic and encourage economic development.
I am pleased to announce that this week we launched the first bus service of its kind in Maryland. We are calling it Flash and it will run north and south along Maryland Route 29—one our most congested traffic routes. This is the start of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network I first proposed a dozen years ago, a network that will eventually connect the major commuting routes in the County.
For the eastern portion of our County, which is starting to see its economic possibilities with the FDA headquarters, the new Adventist Medical Center, the growth of White Oak and so much more, Flash will be a major contributor to what is ahead in its future.
When I proposed BRT, few people wanted to listen. But then our County put together a task force to study real transit—transit that would be reliable, easy to use and would take people where they needed to go—and people liked what they heard. It took a long time, but we finally got it started. It was exciting to see the unique 16 Flash buses roll out on their new routes. But this is just the start. We are also reviewing Flash routes for corridors such as Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike. BRT will not solve all of our traffic problems, but it can make a difference.
In my video this week, I talk about this service. You can also read the story about Flash in this newsletter to learn more about why this is different from our existing bus service.
Regarding the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, we have begun seeing a slight uptick in the numbers and we are watching it very carefully. I know everyone is eager to continue reopening, but we will continue to watch the data and proceed with caution. You may have seen that this new uptick is happening across the country and the world. We are encouraging people to get tested, especially if you think you may have been exposed—and please continue to follow the safety guidelines to prevent the spread of this virus. Getting tested is easy and fast, and on the upcoming schedule, we have 49 test clinics scheduled—the most we have ever scheduled in an eight-day period. They are at various times and at locations across the County. Here is more information on where to get tested.
This week, some special individuals, a dedicated organization and an important national business that calls Montgomery County home were all honored at the annual Montgomery Serves Awards. In a normal year, they would have been honored at a major ceremony, and I would have loved to have been with them to celebrate, but we all know this is not a normal year, so they were honored in virtual ceremonies. Their contributions, however, have been just as monumental as ever.
The Montgomery Serves Awards represent the County’s highest honor for service and volunteerism. You can watch the ceremonies at bit.ly/Watch2020MSA.
Each of the honorees are models of what can be done to help and inspire others. They have been involved in projects that reach a cross-section of our County, ranging from making our neighborhoods stronger, preserving the history of our Black communities, inspiring our youth to become more involved, lifting up the arts and helping our homeless residents.
We are very proud of this year’s award winners, and we thank them for their work and their commitment to Montgomery County.