Monorail Study Moves Forward in Maryland

A plan to widen Interstate 270 in Maryland was approved earlier this year under the condition that the state also study a plan to build a monorail along the route.

December 17, 2019, 12:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Dan Malouf writes: "Maryland will officially study a proposal to build a monorail along I-270, from Shady Grove to Frederick. Let’s examine whether that’s a crazy idea, or if monorail is a legitimate and practical possibility."

As noted by Malouf, the monorail feasibility plan is a component of a larger plan to widen I-270, approved by the Maryland Public Works Board in June 2019.

"If built, the foundation’s plan would see a 27-mile monorail, mostly along I-270, with six stops: Frederick, Urbana, Comsat (Clarksburg), Germantown, Metropolitan Grove, and Shady Grove. They say the elevated monorail would take 31 minutes to get from Frederick to Shady Grove, carry between 39,000 and 55,000 riders per day, and cost around $3.4 billion to build," explains Malouf.

Malouf digs into the strengths (e.g., lighter, cheaper, and aesthetic above ground) and weaknesses (e.g., must be elevated, can't switch tracks, potentially more expensive).

The High Road Foundation, the advocates behind the proposal, "seem most keen to provide a direct transit connection between Frederick and Montgomery County, according to Malouf, so the article also considers the potential of other modes (e.g., bus rapid transit, Metro rail, light rail, Diesel Multiple Units) to meet the need.

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