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How Does A New Garage Help Take Cars Off The Road?

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Metro has seen a spike in vehicle break-ins at Metro garages and parking lots during the past few weeks.
David Schultz
Metro has seen a spike in vehicle break-ins at Metro garages and parking lots during the past few weeks.

Montgomery County, Md., is offering a solution to traffic congestion that sounds a little counter-intuitive: creating more parking spaces. It's building a new garage at the Glenmont Metro Station.

But how will a parking structure designed to make it more convenient to drive help take cars off the road?

At a groundbreaking for the new Glenmont garage, County Council Member Nancy Floreen says it will encourage suburbanites to use Metro instead of driving all the way into the city.

"We can't change the choices that people have made today as to where they want to live, in suburbia or further out beyond our county lines. And those people have chosen to drive," she says.

But Cheryl Cort, policy director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth, says that can be changed. She says the county could've taken the money it's spending on the Glenmont garage and used it to encourage more concentrated development.

"We really need to look at the opportunity of a mixed-use development, more housing on top of that Metro station, and create really a place around that Metro station," Cort says.

The new garage will double the available parking at Glenmont at a cost of $24 million to build. That's more than $20,000 per space.

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