Bowie seeks more transit options -- Gazette.Net



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Bowie residents will be able hop on a direct bus line from the heart of the city to Greenbelt or other nearby cities if Prince George’s County officials accept the recommendations in Bowie’s annual transportation priorities letter.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Bowie staff and council members discussed transportation projects that would be top priorities for them over the next year, including projects on MD 450, MD 197 and Church Road in Bowie.

City officials are preparing letters to send to Prince George’s County and Maryland transportation authorities pushing for these priorities as well as additional public transportation options.

While city officials send similar letters to the state and county every year, city staff recommended the letters be more forceful this year in an effort to get some of the projects funded and moving forward, said city planning director Joe Meinert.

This year’s letters will include the city’s first specific requests for the addition of a downtown circulator bus and establishing county bus service along several popular routes, such as between the MD 450 main street area in Bowie and Greenbelt, Meinert said.

“We believe that the city has grown to the point that we would like to make specific recommendations for the county to bring its bus service to Bowie,” Meinert said. “There is significant critical mass [in the downtown area] that we feel like you could have a continuously running circulator in the Bowie Center.”

Ramida Jones of Bowie said she there should be more public transportation options such as buses for Bowie residents and more connectivity between Bowie and nearby municipalities.

“We need to have all these services. We need to be going to Annapolis and Laurel,” she said. “I think it would be a really good thing for Bowie. We have a lot of people and a lot of people want to take the transit system.”

Councilman Dennis Brady (At-Large) said he is in favor of exploring the expansion of county bus services, known as “The Bus,” in Bowie.

“I think that is the future and where we need to look,” he said. “There’s a glaring hole when you look at Bowie relative to some of the other routes. What it sounds like [Meinert described at the meeting] is, if you will, a hold in the web of a spider that basically is Bowie.”

Meinert said the letters, which are scheduled to be sent in early fall, will function as official recommendations of the city’s transportation needs and play a key role during talks with county and state officials.

“[The letters] really serve an important purpose in that they are a communication from our elected officials to the officials on the county level. It’s really an important tool we use,” Meinert said. “It’s like a pecking thing. You have to keep making the noise, but in order to be successful, you have to be specific.”

eeastman@gazette.net