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Study seeks to improve base traffic

Lexington Park, MD – “The ability to move from home to a place of employment should be the easiest part of an individual’s day,” the second sentence in a multi-modal study being conducted for the Calvert – St. Mary’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (C-SMMPO) is far from a reality for St. Mary’s County citizens.

The study’s goal is to make that a reality by reducing the impact of base traffic on the area, encouraging commuters to find alternative transportation.

JMT (Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson) is charged with conducting the Naval Base Commuter Multi-Modal Mobility Planning Study that will inform the county and base on what their best options are to achieve better traffic flow and reduce congestion. Currently sitting in the “information gathering stage,” JMT held a public workshop for workers on base and other citizens to stop in, provide feedback, and fill out a survey that will be available online through June 10.

“We’re really looking for people to fill out the online survey and make sure we get everything in there,” stated the study’s Consultant Project Manager Jennifer Ray at the mid-May workshop. Ray explained the importance of getting feedback from the community and what exactly “multi-modal” means for the base. “What multi-modal means is we’re offering flexibility in transportation options so that any given day people have a variety of choices.” Some of these choices the study is considering include bringing back the on-base shuttle, improving pedestrian connectivity, bike share facilities, and even bringing food trucks on base among others.

Elaborating on the effectiveness of the food trucks was Sarah Diehl, a member of the JMT team. Diehl explained that the use of food trucks is a “short term, easily implemented, option” to help reduce lunchtime traffic in the area.

The largest employer in the county, consisting of 9,800 civilian employees, 5,700 contractors, and 2,400 active duty military personnel, according to JMT’s proposal.

The county sees providing options for workers to get around on the base as an essential part of encouraging carpooling and other multiple occupancy transportations.

Ray explained that maneuvering to different facilities on base could be a vital restriction to commuters electing to drive their own car to work. She said that some of the solutions like the bike share or shuttle “offer people an option when they get to the base, they know that if they have to get somewhere during the day, they have other options.”

Those present at the workshop expressed the importance of hearing back from the community on improving traffic. Questions range from the county you live into how often you use off base services during the day with room for feedback at the end.

They encourage all to fill out the survey online here, before June 10.

Contact Jerold at staffwriter@thebaynet.com.

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