The TAME Coalition has produced a new film, “Road to Ruin: A Moral Choice.” The film’s title is the decision facing Montgomery County’s elected and appointed officials.
Montgomery County officials have two critical plans before them to be finished in 2021: Thrive Montgomery 2050 and Climate Action Plan. Both government draft plans are committing to best strategies in order to fight climate change.
County Officials must incorporate a No New Highways policy in both Plans, along with a related climate action in this direction: removal of proposed M-83 highway from the county’s master plans.
Removing M-83 highway from the master plans, and stepping-up investments in Upcounty transit, will set a clear direction toward people-centric and away from car-centric travel; will avoid increasing the county’s carbon emissions from transportation; and will enhance climate resilience through protection of existing forests, wetlands and stream valleys in Upcounty communities.
Welcome to the TAME Coalition!
The TAME Coalition is affiliated with Montgomery County residents and organizations, from the Upcounty and beyond; with elected county and state officials, and; with state and regional organizations – all dedicated to promoting transit alternatives to Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83 Highway), as well as safe walkable and bikeable streets, and to protect our communities and the Climate Resilience Forest of the Upcounty by eliminating the proposed M-83 Highway. We are about protecting the health, safety, and quality of life for all residents of Montgomery Village, Gaithersburg, Germantown and Clarksburg; and to support Ride On Bus Service, Bus Rapid Transit, all-day two-way MARC Train service, safe streets for walkers and cyclists, and telework.
TAME Coalition’s Honest Vision
TAME Coalition envisions this future for our County – let’s work together to make this reality:
Montgomery County, Maryland shifts from a car-centric transportation system to a people-centric system. Local elected and appointed officials, working with residents including through the TAME Coalition, cancel the proposed M-83 highway and remove it from the Master Plan of Highways and Transitways. The funds saved by these actions are devoted to transit projects, telework, pedestrian, and bicycle projects, including for the Upcounty communities of Clarksburg, Germantown, Gaithersburg, and Montgomery Village. Guided by their commitments to racial equity and social justice, County officials fully support residents who choose to not own cars, or cannot afford cars, enabling them to travel to work, school, shopping, and park destinations via upgraded and extensive transit networks, and safe walkable and bikable streets.
This shift to people-centric transportation in the Upcounty enables progress towards climate justice, including permanent preservation of the Climate Resilience Forest of Great Seneca Creek and its tributaries. This Climate Resilience Forest continues to absorb summertime heat, and to provide clean air and water, and nature-based outdoor recreation, to residents of Montgomery Village, Gaithersburg, Germantown and Clarksburg. As a result of these actions, Upcounty families are healthier, transit-based access to jobs is more reliable, the air and water are cleaner, and neighborhood social connections are stronger.
Who We Are
“M-83 Highway would be devastating, life-quality-changing, a disaster. Let us look at a third way.”
Maurice Miles is a life-long resident of Gaithersburg in Montgomery County, a former member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, and former D39 candidate for State Senate. In his sharing of stories from his life with TAME Coalition leaders, he has recounted some of his experiences of racial segregation of the Montgomery County of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Maurice graduated in 1950 from the County’s first ‘Negro High School’ – Lincoln High School in Rockville, where he played varsity baseball.
He worked as a research technician for NIH for thirty years, and for seven years as a community case aide for the County’s Housing Opportunities Commission. Both as a youth and as an adult, Maurice played sandlot baseball in Montgomery Village, in the Whetstone Run floodplain that is now part of Watkins Mill Elementary School grounds.
Sharing his thoughts and feelings about the threat to this place posed by the proposed M-83 highway, Maurice says about Whetstone Run, “I love this creek, and I have a lot of history on this creek…I can’t believe how anyone in their right mind would even think of putting a highway through this creek.”
Brief History of the TAME Coalition: Advocacy for Upcounty Transit and ‘No M-83’
Since 1975, there has been a 45-year history of advocacy to eliminate proposed Mid-County Highway Extended (M-83). In 2009, the TAME Coalition was organized from those residents of Montgomery Village, Gaithersburg, Germantown neighborhoods, and the Dayspring Silent Retreat Center who came together to advocate for transit alternatives to the Mid-County Highway Extended (M-83). TAME has grown to include state and local elected officials, civic organizations, HOA and COA groups, faith-based communities, environmental and climate advocates, transit justice groups, urbanists, rural groups and coalitions.
TAME Coalition continues the 45-year history of citizen opposition to the proposed Mid-County Highway Extended (M-83). Photo caption: Jane and Rich Wilder testifying at the October 17, 2017 Montgomery County Council hearing.
TAME Coalition is an active member of the Better Buses Campaign, an initiative of the Coalition for Smarter Growth.
TAME activists organize rallies focusing on members of the Montgomery County Council and the Maryland General Assembly to demand full funding of transit projects, and the cancellation of new highway projects like proposed M-83 Highway. We schedule hikes along the M-83 right-of-way’s climate resilience forest and wetlands. TAME activists host online issue briefings, testify at hearings at the County Council, Planning Board and the State’s standing committees, and issues public educational reports. Our faith-based members boost awareness through sermons, earth ministry courses, and the power of prayer.
Bios of TAME Leaders
Margaret Schoap, Organizer of the TAME Coalition, got her start as a staff member with a DC-based national membership organization advocating for citizens’ rights. This long-term career took her far from her roots on the Kansas prairies of the Flint Hills. Lobbying institutions and organizing grass-roots groups became her daily objectives. This experience, honed over decades, culminated in forming the TAME Coalition. Life-giving activities for Margaret include: strategizing for TAME, attending silent retreats, studying world religions, creating new enterprises with her family, working on a farm, and reading political history.
Diane Cameron, TAME Coalition Director, got her start as an activist in 1970, when she protested the destruction of forest and meadow in her neighborhood in Massachusetts. Fast-forward to Montgomery County 2020, Diane is advocating for protecting Dayspring Creek, Great Seneca, and Whetstone Run in Germantown and Gaithersburg, through the TAME Coalition. Diane also works with Friends of Ten Mile Creek and Little Seneca Reservoir, Montgomery Countryside Alliance, and Conservation Montgomery to protect our County’s clean streams by protecting the forests and farms that filter our drinking water supply. She served on the staff of NRDC (1989-1998); and Audubon Naturalist Society (2008-2016). Diane co-founded the Montgomery County Stormwater Partners Network in 2005.
Bus Rapid Transit on Route 355 in the Upcounty is found by MCDOT to be the highest-benefit transportation approach. TAME Coalition’s advocacy led to the issuance in 2017 by Montgomery County Department of Transportation of a Midcounty Corridor Study Supplemental Report that for the first time, included a transit alternative to the proposed Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83).
MCDOT’s Supplemental Report states that “During the past several decades, Montgomery County has been working to employ smart growth principles including reducing the reliance on automobiles for travel and providing transit alternatives throughout the County.”
According to MCDOT’s 2017 study of the Midcounty Corridor, Bus Rapid Transit on Route 355, plus local intersection and roadway improvements, is the approach with the lowest vehicle miles traveled. This translates to the lowest carbon emissions – a crucial climate goal.
Montgomery County Council passes Resolution 18-957 prohibiting use of M-83 Highway in future master plans. The Resolution is a victory for transit alternatives to the proposed Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83). This Resolution, Transportation Solutions for Northwest Montgomery County, prohibits decisionmakers from using the proposed M-83 Highway in future master plans for transportation planning.
« The Council directs the Montgomery County Planning Board not to assume additional road capacity from the northern extension of Midcounty Highway when calculating the land use – transportation balance in future master plans, including but not limited to the upcoming Gaithersburg East Master Plan and the Germantown Plan for Town Sector Zone. This step ensures that any new development allowed under these plans does not rely on the northern extension of Midcounty Highway, while retaining the right-of-way for this extension in these plans. »Montgomery County Maryland – Council Resolution #18-957, “Transportation Solutions for Northwest Montgomery County” Adopted October 31, 2017.
TAME Reports document the case for Transit Alternatives to the proposed M-83 Highway. The reports’ authors include the TAME core founders, who come from lifelong careers as biologists, physicists, mathematicians, economists, graphic designers, environmentalists, and entrepreneurs. They applied their deep expertise to produce the reports. The reports highlight the role of transit in providing effective transportation to the Upcounty.
Best Transportation Improvements for Midcounty Corridor Area (2017). Authored by TAME Coalition. 21 pages.
The TAME Coalition’s research team found multiple existing road projects around the Midcounty Corridor area, that collectively provide significant traffic improvements, without needing M-83 highway. EPA’s concerns about the environmental injustices of the proposed M-83 highway were confirmed by TAME’s analysis.
The Environmental and Economic Case for Removing the Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83) From the Master Plan of Highways and Transitways (2016). Authored by the TAME Coalition. Eight reports, 80 pages.
- Testimony by Georgetown Law Institute for Public Representation on flawed assumptions used to promote M-83 highway;
- Montgomery Parks staffs’ analysis that recommended against M-83 highway;
- Analyses of M-83 highway impacts on: wetlands, streams, and floodplains, and increased pollution of Great Seneca Creek;
- The Math of Highways, showing how small increases in transit use significantly reduce traffic congestion.
The Case for Cancelling the Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83) and Investing in More Effective and Sustainable Alternatives (2015). Coauthored by the Coalition for Smarter Growth and TAME Coalition. 41 pages.
This report shows how transit-based alternatives meet MCDOT’s goals for the Midcounty, including reducing congestion, improving safety, and enhancing connectivity.
Maps show that transit-based alternatives will better serve all residents, including lower-income families, than the M-83 highway.