On May 24, the Montgomery County Council approved a $4.6 billion total County operating budget for Fiscal Year 2013, which begins July 1, 2012.
Transportation-related items include:
An increase in the Ride On Monthly Pass from $40 to $45.
An increase in the cash or token Ride On fare from $1.70 to $1.80.
An increase in the regular SmarTrip Ride On fare from $1.50 to $1.60.
An increase in the Senior/Disabled cash/token fare from $0.85 to $0.90.
An increase in the Senior/Disabled SmarTrip fare from $0.75 to $0.80.
In the Bethesda Parking Lot District, an increase in: the short-term parking fee from $1/hour to $1.25/hour; long-term parking from $0.75/hour to $0.80/hour; the monthly pass from $140 to $150; and the associated daily and carpool passes.
In the Silver Spring Parking Lot District: an increase in the short-term parking fee from $0.75/hour to $1/hour; long-term parking from $0.60/hour to $0.65/hour; the monthly pass from $113 to $123; and the associated daily and carpool passes, effective Jan. 1, 2013.
A pilot program whereby residents of South Silver Spring can buy a monthly parking pass for the Kennett and King Street garages for the discounted price of $95; the pilot will run from Oct. 1, 2012 until June 30, 2014.
In the Wheaton Parking Lot District, an increase in the short-term parking fee from $0.50/hour to $0.75/hour, long-term parking from $0.50/hour to $0.60/hour, the monthly pass from $95 to $113, and the associated daily and carpool passes.
Approved items in the Capital Improvement Projects Budge include:
An increase in funding of by $16.25 million (95 percent) for roadway patching and resurfacing in FY 2013.
An increase in funding of $2.5 million (40 percent) for sidewalk and curb replacement in FY 2013.
A new parking garage on the Rockville campus of Montgomery College by FY 2015.
Design and construction of the Capital Crescent Trail, costing $49.5 million.
Construction funding for the Metropolitan Branch Trail and the Silver Spring Green Trail.
Construction of new bike trails along Frederick Road in Clarksburg, Needwood Road in Derwood and Gold Mine Road east of Brookeville.
On March 15, County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his recommended $4.56 billion operating budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013 that begins July 1. Leggett’s budget strategically restores some of the most critical and important services that were cut back dramatically over the past five years as the County faced unprecedented budget challenges. Leggett’s approach to the FY13 budget attempts to balance the backlog of resident needs with the County’s new economic reality.
Below are the transportation priorities in the proposed budget:
A 10.4 percent increase for the Department of Transportation;
Hire more Ride On bus drivers;
Inaugurate three new RideOn routes:
South Germantown, connecting Richter Farm, Dawson Farm and the Soccerplex to the Germantown Transit Center;
Potomac and PARC Potomac; and
Gaithersburg, Watkins Mill extended.
Match Bikesharing grants;
Enhance residential road resurfacing programs;
Reduce the price for the second Call ‘N Ride coupon book by about five dollars; and
Enhance pedestrian safety programs, including additional contractor support for crosswalk markings and signs and marking materials.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett unveiled his six-year Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Capital Budget and FY 2013-2018 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) that strikes a careful balance between meeting capital construction priorities and the continued need to put the County’s fiscal house in order. The transportation portion of the budget includes important projects that will help relieve traffic congestion and improve pedestrian and vehicular safety.
A close alliance between the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Environmental Protection has been forged as they work together to meet State stormwater management requirements.
Mass Transit: Mass transit is a critical element in keeping the County moving.
A new Montgomery Mall Transit Center is funded.
Through a combination of federal and local funds, 39 Ride On buses will be replaced through the CIP.
Included in the CIP are planning funds for the Bethesda South Metro Station project and funds to construct bus stop improvements and transit parking lot renovations.
New bridge projects will replace the Gold Mine Road Bridge over the Hawlings River and replace two of the existing Whites Ferry Road Bridges.
Design work is funded for the Garrett Park Road Bridge and the Beach Drive Bridge.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety: The budget continues to provide for increased opportunities for safe and convenient travel for bikers and walkers.
New project funding has been recommended to design a shared use path along the south side of Needwood Road between Equestrian Lane and Muncaster Mill Road.
Construction funding has been added for the Maryland Route 355 sidewalks project in Hyattstown.
Funding has been continued to complete the Bethesda Bikeway and Pedestrian Facilities Improvements, Dale Drive sidewalk, Frederick Road bike path, MacArthur Boulevard bikeway improvements and the Greentree Road sidewalk projects, as well as a grant to Takoma Park for Flower Avenue sidewalks.
Federal funding will be used to improve Maryland Route 355 vehicular and pedestrian traffic around the Walter Reed National Medical Center, the National Institutes for Health and the National Medical Center Metrorail station.
Roads: Three new road projects are included in the recommended capital budget.
East Gude Drive improvements will increase roadway capacity and enhance vehicular and pedestrian safety from Crabbs Branch Way to Southlawn Lane.
Planning funds have been included for the Seminary Road intersection at Brookeville Raoad, Seminary Place, Linden Lane and Second Avenue and roadway improvements that will enhance traffic flow and improve safety for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.
Leggett has included a new Clarksburg Transportation Connections project to fund roadway and intersection improvements to increase capacity and reduce congestion. Agreements have been reached to implement this public-private partnership.
Other road improvements that will be completed include Travilah Road, Thompson Road connection and Redland Road from Crabbs Branch Way to Baederwood Lane.
Progress will continue on the Century Boulevard, Chapman Avenue Extended, Goshen Road South, Platt Ridge Drive Extended, Montrose Parkway East, Snouffer School Road, Snouffer School North and Wapakoneta Road improvement projects.
Improvements on roads in the White Flint area will continue as part of larger redevelopment efforts.
Leggett has increased funding for road resurfacing to address the backlog of roads needing repair.
Funding for core transportation infrastructure has been maintained or increased for items such as Americans with Disabilities Act compliance; the Advanced Transportation Management System; bridge preservation and renovation; guardrails; intersection improvements; neighborhood traffic calming; sidewalks; streetlights; pedestrian safety, sidewalk and infrastructure improvements; streetlighting; street tree preservation; traffic signals and the related traffic signal system; and Colesville depot improvements.
The old traffic signal system will be retired in FY12, and ongoing funding has been included to provide additional capabilities and tools to optimize traffic flow – an important element in enhancing road network capacity and minimizing the environmental impacts of traffic.
Storm drain projects in the Town of Chevy Chase and on Maple Avenue will be completed by FY13 and FY14, respectively. Funding for general storm drain activity, facility planning and outfall repairs has also been maintained with modest increases planned in later years.
Parking: A number of parking projects are moving forward through partnerships with private developers, including:
The Bethesda Lot 31 Parking Garage will begin construction in FY12 and be completed in FY15, providing 940 County-owned spaces and 295 spaces owned by the developer.
The Silver Spring Lot 3 Parking Garage will be completed in the spring of 2016 and will provide 152 County-owned and operated underground parking spaces.
On May 26, the Montgomery County Council approved the fiscal year 2012 operating budget. Highlights of the County’s Department of Transportation approved budget include:
The Kids Ride Free Program was restored, allowing students up to 18 years old to ride free on Ride On and Metrobus in Montgomery County weekdays between 2 and 7 p.m.
Funding for tree maintenance will increase.
A 10-cent an hour increase in long-term parking fees in Bethesda and Silver Spring was proposed by the County Executive in his recommended budget. The rate increase will take effect July 1 in Bethesda and January 2012 in Silver Spring.
Monthly parking passes for Bethesda parking will rise by $20 to $140 a month and increase $18 in Silver Spring to $113 a month.
Monthly Ride On passes will increase by $10 beginning in July.
Current Ride On bus service was maintained.
Funding for the Greater Shady Grove Transportation Management District.
Creation of a new $5.9 million reserve fund for snow removal and storm cleanup.
Working to close a $300 million dollar budget gap in fiscal year (FY) 2012, which begins July 1, County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his recommended operating budget on March 15. The County continues to struggle with a challenging financial situation as the economy recovers.
The proposed budget for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) contains several program and service reductions, but in no case will the public’s safety be compromised. The budget reduced funding for general roadway maintenance, such as grass mowing and road patching; and reduced spending for non-safety traffic engineering work, such as traffic studies, signal loop detector repairs and pedestrian signal retiming.
Other budget measures involved fee increases. The discount on Ride On’s monthly pass would be reduced, the cost of Call and Ride’s second voucher book would be increased, long term parking rates in Bethesda and Silver Spring are proposed to increase by 10 cents an hour and parking charges are proposed for Bethesda ’s lots and garages on Saturdays.
Despite the difficult fiscal picture, MCDOT will continue its commitment to innovation and providing an efficient transportation system. The Executive proposed no reduction in Ride On service. The traffic signal modernization program remains on track. New funding was added for replacement of the Division of Highway Services’ oldest dump trucks. Other initiatives that will continue include real-time bus information for Ride On passengers and installing more energy efficient lighting in the County’s parking garages.
On January 14, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Capital Budget and proposed amendments to the FY 11-16 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). Recognizing the serious budget constraints facing the County, the recommendations delay some planned projects while focusing only on funding critical capital needs. Some shifts in funds for earlier years in the CIP were made possible by developing more realistic implementation plans for existing projects.
Leggett’s fiscal plan reduces tax-supported current revenue funded projects in FY12. He recommends reductions in the levels of borrowing in FY11 and FY12. Ongoing shortfalls in forecasted revenues for FY11 through FY16 will not support the rising debt service costs. Leggett will continue to scrutinize CIP projects for further opportunities to reduce General Obligation bond borrowing.
In his message to the County Council, Leggett stated he will review all new (pre- construction) facility projects and plans to ensure they are feasible in light of the County’s tight fiscal constraints. He also urged Council members to resist increasing Spending Affordability Guidelines in order to maintain responsible debt capacity levels and ensure continuation of Montgomery County ’s AAA credit rating.
Under a 1996 County Charter amendment, a new CIP is developed in even-numbered calendar years. In alternate years, like 2011, the Executive may recommend amendments to the existing six-year CIP.
Highlights of Leggett’s transportation CIP recommendations are listed below:
Roads and Bridges
To preserve roadways and minimize more costly future repairs, the CIP includes $4 million in additional funding for resurfacing of residential/rural roads as an FY11 supplemental appropriation. Leggett also recommends design and construction of the Platt Ridge Drive Extension project to provide relief for residential neighborhoods adjacent to the Naval Medical Center Base Relocation and Consolidation project. To address safety concerns, funds are provided for facility planning for the Spring Street Bridge and the Brink Road Bridge .
Construction of the Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) is one of Leggett’s top priorities because of the enhancements it will bring to transit and transit-oriented development. Budget recommendations provide additional funding for completion of the SSTC. The CIP delays a limited number of bus purchases due to a significant reduction in State and Federal funding. Because of environmental concerns, Leggett recommends delaying the North County Maintenance Depot to assess the feasibility of relocating the project to an alternative site.
Leggett has transmitted his CIP recommendations to the County Council for their approval. The entire CIP is available online.
On April 27, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett sent a new proposed Transportation Policy Area Review (TPAR) strategy to the County Council. TPAR is a starting point for discussions about the best way to identify future transportation inadequacies and solutions in the development process in each of the County’s 21 Policy Areas. Most of those involved in the planning process agree that the current transportation test used to determine the adequacy of transportation facilities is confusing and flawed. The new proposed transportation review will be a significant step forward to address the congestion experienced by County residents.
The proposed TPAR policy:
Is simple to understand and monitor.
Classifies each Policy Area as urban, suburban or rural.
Establishes separate adequacy standards for transit and roadways for each Policy Area in the County. These standards reflect adequate balance between transportation and development for the upcoming 10-year period.
States that if the forecasted 10-year Policy Area adequacy standards are not met, the County should program the transit services and/or road improvements in the operating or capital improvement projects budgets to meet forecasted development activity and address present and future congestion issues.
Recommends funding the proposed improvements through a public-private partnership, with different levels of participation, based on public policy considerations of where growth is most desirable.
Allows balanced growth in all Policy Areas of the County.
Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Residential Road Rehabilitation program continues in the Glen Echo community. In response to County Executive Isiah Leggett’s call for a more systematic approach to maintaining the County’s transportation infrastructure, MCDOT responded by rating the condition of every road. Under this program, Glen Echo had many streets rated very poor.
Due to the size and scope of the project, improvements are being made in two phases, with work in Tulip Hill and Mohican Hills completed last summer, and improvements to Glen Echo Heights starting this spring. A total of 18 lane-miles of road will be reconstructed at a projected cost of almost $4 million dollars.
This summer, 16 lane miles of concrete and asphalt work will begin in Forest Glen to rehabilitate that neighborhood.
DOT does not widen or alter the character of the streets in these communities and takes special care to preserve the trees in the right-of-way during construction.
For more information, visit the County’s website or call MCDOT’s Customer Service Line at 240-777-6000.
On March 15, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his recommended $4.3 billion operating budget that closes a $779 million gap for fiscal year (FY) 2011 that begins July 1. Leggett’s budget focuses on protecting essential services and his priorities of education, public safety and the safety net for the most vulnerable, but includes significant reductions in services and staffing levels.
His hard choices resulted from the continued severity of the economic recession; doubling in the local rate of unemployment; declining residential and commercial development; ongoing, sharp declines in tax revenues and state aid; and emergencies such as the H1N1 flu outbreak and snow removal from this winter’s historic blizzards. Leggett’s budget brings the County government’s tax-supported growth rate down from a 14.1 percent increase in FY07, the year before he took office, to an historic minus 6.1 percent in the FY11 Recommended Budget compared with the current year. The overall 3.8 percent decrease for all County agencies from all sources represents the only reduction in the annual County budget in modern County history -- since the adoption of the current charter in 1968.
Many Montgomery County Department of Transportation services will be maintained, but there will be unavoidable reductions in certain areas. To view the budget highlights and the full budget, go to the Office of Management and Budget’s website. For transportation related items, see sections 46-48.
Approval of the budget is the responsibility of the County Council. The Council has now begun reviewing the proposed budget leading to their approval of the final budget by the end of May. The public can submit comments on the proposed budget through the Council’s public hearings, which will be held in Rockville on April 5-8. Residents may sign up to speak by calling 240-777-7803, by email, by regular mail at 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850, or by calling the Council’s budget hotline at 240-777-7802.
On January 15, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his recommended FY 2011 capital budget and Capital Improvements Program FY2011-2016 (CIP) that includes important transportation projects to help relieve traffic congestion and improve pedestrian and vehicle safety. Below is a summary of the transportation projects in the CIP.
Funding is included to accelerate the modernization of the County’s nearly 30 year-old traffic signal management system. November’s traffic system failure demonstrated how essential a modern, state-of-the-art system is to the economic well-being of the county. Leggett put funding for the six-year upgrade in his first CIP budget. This budget accelerates that schedule.
Under this budget, the Silver Spring Transit Center, Montrose Parkway West, Father Hurley Boulevard and Woodfield Road Extended projects will be completed. Increased funding will be provided to construct the Montrose Parkway East and Chapman Avenue Extended. A new project is recommended that will begin planning, design and right-of-way acquisition for improvements along Snouffer School Road. Funding is included to determine the next steps in allowing future improvements to dedicated but un-maintained County roads.
To maintain the County’s transportation infrastructure, Leggett recommended a new permanent patching project for residential/rural roads to accelerate extensive patching on roads that are not scheduled to be rehabilitated in the near future.
With the County’s bus transit system nearing capacity, new and expanded bus depots are needed to park and maintain the bus fleet. Funds are included to complete the Brookville Service Park, construct the North County Maintenance Depot and relocate the Equipment and Maintenance Operations Center. Funding is also provided for renovations to existing park and ride lots and completion of the Transit Center at Montgomery Mall, the Northern Damascus Park and Ride Lot and the Brookville Service Park.
This budget enhances pedestrian and cyclist safety and supports alternative transportation. Continued funding is recommended for the Annual Sidewalk Program, Pedestrian Safety Program, and the Sidewalk and Infrastructure Revitalization Project. A new project is recommended to begin planning and design for the Metropolitan Branch Trail that will connect the Silver Spring Transit Center and an existing trail in Takoma Park. Funds have been included for a shared use bike path on Needwood Road. The budget funds construction of the Dale Drive Sidewalk, the Greentree Road Sidewalk, the Shady Grove Access Bike Path and McArthur Boulevard Bikeway improvements, and continues design for the Falls Road East Side Hiker/Biker Path. The budget adds funds to construct a bikeway network and pedestrian facilities surrounding the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda in anticipation of the federal Base Realignment and Closure consolidation.
Funding is recommended to rehabilitate the Cedar Lane Bridge over Rock Creek and replace or rehabilitate the Clarksburg Road, White Ground Road and East Gude Drive bridges.
This CIP also includes funding for several storm drainage and roadway improvement projects on Henderson Avenue in the Kensington/Wheaton area and Maple Avenue in Bethesda. In addition, two more phases of improvements to the storm drainage system in the Town of Chevy Chase will address ongoing frequent flooding.