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Go Montgomery! - Archive


The County’s long-term, comprehensive transportation plan will significantly increase spending on new roads, transit, hiker-biker trails, and pedestrian safety.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Governor O'Malley Announces Corridor Cities Transitway is Locally Preferred Alternative

Governor Martin O’Malley announced that the locally preferred alternative (LPA) for the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) will be Maryland’s first Bus Rapid Transit system and will operate along a 15-mile north-south corridor from the Shady Grove Metrorail station to the COMSAT facility near Clarksburg. The next step is for the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to submit the project to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under its New Starts Program as the MTA prepares for the preliminary engineering phase of the project.
 
The preferred alternative will connect major employment, residential and activity centers in the corridor including Shady Grove, King Farm, Crown Farm, Life Sciences Center (LSC), Kentlands, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Metropolitan Grove, Germantown, and COMSAT. There will be direct connections to the Red Line at Shady Grove, the MARC Brunswick Line at Metropolitan Grove and local bus service throughout the corridor.
 
The CCT LPA will be a pedestrian-friendly system with 16 proposed stations that is expected to have 47,700 boardings a day by 2035. The CCT will operate at street level on a fully dedicated right-of-way with no shared use segments, allowing for fast and reliable transit operations.   Parking will be available through existing and/or new Park and Rides at Shady Grove, Crown Farm, LSC West, Metropolitan Grove, Germantown, and COMSAT. The transitway is also being designed to accommodate a future hiker/biker trail.
CATEGORIES: Projects , News
POSTED: 9:30:00 AM |

Thursday, May 31, 2012

COG, Clean Air Partners Sponsor Weather Line for D.C. Area Residents

Residents of metropolitan Washington can now dial (202) 589-1212 for current weather, air quality information and forecasts. According to its sponsors, the Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG) and Clean Air Partners, the weather line has received about 170,000 calls since January 2012.
 
COG has provided regional air quality forecasts since the 1970s, and the Clean Air Partners program educates people on ways to reduce air pollution and protect their health. The line encourages callers to visit the Clean Air Partners website to sign up for Air Quality Alerts, a free service that emails air quality information to subscribers.
(From Metropolitan Memo, May 2012)
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 3:30:00 AM |

Monday, April 30, 2012

Study Finds Texting While Driving is Top Reason for Teenage Deaths

John Aaron, WTOP Radio, reported that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting while driving is the number one killer of American teens. The not-for-profit Texting Awareness Foundation hopes that statistic will convince drivers to put away their phones when behind the wheel.
 
As part of Distracted Driver Awareness Month, the foundation released the following facts:
  • Answering a text takes the driver’s attention away from the road for about five seconds, enough time to travel the length of a football field.
  • When a driver is texting, steering capability decreases by 91 percent.
  • While texting, reaction time decreases by 35 percent.
  • About 6,000 deaths and a half a million injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year.
  • Text messaging increases crash risk 23 times more than driving under normal circumstances.
CATEGORIES: News , Safety
POSTED: 3:00:00 AM |

Monday, April 30, 2012

Clean Air Partners Educates Region on Air Quality

Clean Air Partners is a non-profit, public-private partnership that distributes daily air quality forecast alerts and action tips for the metropolitan Washington-Baltimore region, western Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Their alerts use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI), which rates air quality by color codes and levels of air pollution.
 
The group educates residents about the health risks associated with poor air quality, and encourages individuals and organizations to take simple actions to protect public health, improve air quality and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that can impact the climate. Tips include driving less. Cars are THE major source of air pollution in the Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore region. By leaving one’s car at home one day a week, 55 pounds of air pollution is prevented.
 
The Clean Air Partners color-coded air quality alerts are:
  • Green – good air quality.
  • Yellow – moderate air quality. Make fewer vehicle trips and combine errands on each trip.
  • Orange – unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups. Postpone errands and try to schedule meetings and trips to the grocery store when air quality is better.
  • Red – unhealthy air quality. Don't drive alone. Instead, carpool, take public transit or telecommute to reduce air pollution contributions and greenhouse gas emissions which can lead to climate change.
  • Purple -- very unhealthy air quality. Children (especially those with asthma) are at higher risk for illnesses from air pollution. Even the simple act of playing outdoors can become a health hazard.
 Sign up to receive free air quality forecast alerts.  
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 2:00:00 AM |

Monday, February 27, 2012

Two Websites Provide Regional Transportation Information During Emergencies

During emergencies, having up-to-date transportation information is essential. Two websites are now available to serve as clearing houses for information during emergencies. The two sites are Capital Region Updates and the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination (MATOC) program.
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 2:00:00 AM |

Monday, October 31, 2011

New State Law on Illegal Signs along State Roads Begins in October

(Taken from State Highway Administration News Release, September 30)

Beginning October 1, the State Highway Administration (SHA) and local governments will begin issuing warnings to those who illegally post signs along State-maintained highways. Beginning January 2012, jurisdictions will start fining offenders a $25 for each sign in order to recoup the costs of removing them from highways.

Illegal signs distract drivers and, in some cases, can impede drivers’ vision or block legal signs from view. They can also affect maintenance operations, interfere with the work of utility crews and mar the landscape along Maryland ’s scenic routes.

Along state highways – including interstates, U.S. and Maryland numbered routes – private signs are prohibited in the medians and along the sides on the public property or “right-of-way.” The illegal signs are often found attached to utility poles or stacked together on wooden posts littering medians.

For more information on the new law, visit the SHA website.

CATEGORIES: Safety , SHA , News
POSTED: 3:00:00 AM |

Monday, October 31, 2011

Maryland Begins 511 Service

The Maryland Department of Transportation has launched a new official travel information service called Maryland 511. Travel information is provided through the internet at www.md511.org, by phone at 511 (for those in Maryland or key roads in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia ) or by smartphone. Those outside Maryland can call 1 - 855 - GOMD511 (466-3511).

Maryland 511 provides users with real time traffic information, transportation alternatives and links to tourism spots across the State. Travelers will be able to access information on:

  • Traffic conditions
  • Live traffic camera feeds
  • Highway construction updates
  • Weather conditions and forecasts
  • Transit and airport information
  • Toll facility information

Travelers can also follow the latest information from Maryland 511 on Twitter, which can be accessed from the Maryland 511 website.

CATEGORIES: Traffic , News
POSTED: 1:00:00 AM |

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Car Free Day Celebrated September 22

To celebrate International Car Free Day, Montgomery County Commuter Services (MCCS) staff held prize drawings and provided information on transportation options during morning rush hour at the Silver Spring, Bethesda, Twinbrook and Friendship Heights Metrorail stations.  Participants were eligible to win a $200 SmarTrip Card, a Kindle 3G with Wi-Fi and promotional items, including discount coupons to local retailers.

 

International Car Free Day is an annual, worldwide event that encourages the public to find alternatives to using cars or reduce the amount of driving they do. Using transit, biking, and walking – instead of driving – reduces noise, pollution and stress. 

MCCS offers assistance in finding “Better Ways to Work,” not just on September 22, but year-round by walking, taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, biking or teleworking. Check the County’s website for more information or call 240-773-2989.  Those traveling near downtown Silver Spring or Friendship Heights can stop in at the County’s TRiPS Commuter stores, located at 8413 Ramsey Avenue in Silver Spring and 17 Wisconsin Circle in Friendship Heights. Both stores are located within a short walk of Metrorail stations, sell transit fare media and provide a variety of personalized assistance with transportation alternatives.

 

CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 3:00:00 AM |

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Irene Update: MCDOT Crews Were Hard at Work

When Hurricane Irene hit the County on August 27, Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) crews were fully mobilized to respond. The following is a summary of how each of MCDOT’s divisions responded during the storm:

Highway Services:

  • Crews and 25 tree contractors were mobilized Saturday evening and remained on duty through Monday.
  • 595 requests for service were logged.
  • 209 of the requests were related to downed trees or power lines
  • Thirty roads were closed due to blockages or high water.

Traffic Engineering and Operations:

  • Additional technicians were mobilized Saturday evening and remained on duty throughout the storm until Monday.
  • 130 traffic signals were either dark or on flash due to power outages

Parking Management:

  • The Parking Maintenance Team spent several days in advance of the hurricane preparing parking facilities for the storm. This work included sand bagging all areas that tend to have flooding issues; testing and fueling all back-up power generators; obtaining plywood to secure windows if broken; cleaning all facility drains; and adjusting all crew schedules to provide coverage for the weekend.
  • On Sunday morning, two garages and two lots in Bethesda were without power, as were one lot in Silver Spring , one lot in Montgomery Hills, and the Burtonsville Park and Ride lot. In addition, Garage 2 in Silver Spring was flooded and the Barnesville MARC Station lost power and was flooded.
  • By Monday morning all Parking Lot District facilities, all Park and Ride lots, all MARC stations, and the Transit Centers were restored to normal service and clean up was complete.

Transit Services:

  • Buses were fueled before the storm hit to ensure that they were ready for Monday service.
  • Staff stayed in close contact with Metro staff throughout the storm.
  • Up to 10 bus routes had to be detoured over the course of the storm due to road closures.

Transportation Engineering:

  • Engineers inspected 25 bridges for damage after the storm that could have been impacted by high water.
  • No foundation damage was found to any of the bridges.
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 7:00:00 AM |

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

U.S. Open Transportation Options

The U.S. Open Championship will be held from June 13 to19 at the Congressional Country Club on River Road. 

A private contractor, Transportation Management Services (TMS), will be offering a U.S. Golf Association-sanctioned shuttle service from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station located in North Bethesda.  The shuttle bus ride will drop spectators within 200 yards of the 5th hole Admission Gate at Congressional Country Club.

MetroBus Route T2 is another option.  It runs along River Road with a stop in front of Congressional Country Club.  The T2 makes connections with the Friendship Heights and Rockville Metro stations.

Daily TMS shuttle passes are $8 and good for unlimited trips during the day.  A weekly shuttle pass is $35, and will provide unlimited bus access to and from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Station and Congressional Country Club throughout the week of the championship.  All adults and children over 12 must have a shuttle pass in order to board the bus. 

A limited number of shuttle passes is available. Spectators MUST make a reservation in advance.  No shuttle passes available will be sold at the Metro stations or on-site at the U.S. Open.

TMS Shuttle Hours of Operation:

  • June 13 - June 19
  • Monday through Friday: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For additional information regarding TMS shuttle bus service from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station, visit the TMS website or call TMS directly at (800) 437-7629. 

CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 2:00:00 PM |

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Register Now to Participate in Bike to Work Day 2011

Join thousands of area commuters on Bike to Work Day on May 20 for a celebration of bicycling as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work. Ride solo or join friends and colleagues in a bike convoy. Registrants are eligible to win prizes and bikes through regional and local raffles and receive a free Bike to Work Day t-shirt.

In 2010, this event attracted more than 8,000 bicyclists at 32 pit stops throughout the Washington area. This year, there are 49 regional pit stops with great prizes, food, drinks and more.

Bicycling is a cost-effective and healthy commuting alternative that provides the benefits of exercise, stress reduction, air quality improvements and traffic congestion reduction.

The 10 pit stops in Montgomery County are:

  • Downtown Bethesda
  • Rock Spring Business Park
  • Bethesda , National Institutes of Health Building One
  • Bethesda , National Institutes of Health Executive Boulevard
  • Bethesda Naval Medical Center
  • Rockville Town Center
  • North Bethesda White Flint Mall
  • Rockville-Fallsgrove Transportation Center
  • Silver Spring Discovery Communications
  • Silver Spring Food and Drug Administration, White Oak

To find out more about Bike to Work Day and register for the event, go the Washington Area Bicyclist Association website.

CATEGORIES: Bikeways , Commuter Services , News
POSTED: 4:30:00 AM |

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Better Ways to Work Online Newsletter

A new, bi-monthly e-newsletter from the Commuter Services Section of the Division of Transit Services, called “ Better Ways to Work,” will keep you informed about commuting options and transportation news in Montgomery County .

To sign up for the newsletter, go to the County’s website. For more information about commuting in Montgomery County , go to Commuter Services website.

CATEGORIES: Commuter Services , News
POSTED: 3:30:00 AM |

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Department of Transportation Helped Collect Food Donations Over Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Weekend

Montgomery County ’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) joined 71 other groups over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in a food drive that collected 40,030 pounds of food. The food drive was organized by Montgomery County 's Volunteer Center in cooperation with the Manna Food Center at 28 local Giant supermarkets.

MCDOT organized collection shifts at the Blair Park Giant in Silver Spring on Sunday and the Montgomery County Silver Spring Regional Services Center collected food at that location on Saturday. Blair Park was the top donation site, with the volunteers collecting 3,360 pounds of food. Giant Food handled bulk packaging of the donations and delivery to the Manna Food Center in Rockville .

For more information on Manna, call 301-424-1130. For information on volunteer opportunities, visit the County’s Volunteer Center website.

CATEGORIES: Ride On , News
POSTED: 3:00:00 AM |

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Leggett Forms Rapid Transit Task Force

Following County Executive Leggett’s formation of a Rapid Transit Task Force, MCDOT recently briefed members and interested residents on the results of a feasibility study that looked at constructing bus rapid transit lines throughout the County.

The study recommended developing bus rapid transit along 16 corridors, totaling 150 miles. Such a system would feature streamlined vehicles with service similar to light rail, but at a lower cost. Passengers would pay their fares in advance and enter low floor buses directly through multiple doors with no steps or lifts.

Buses would arrive at stations every 10 minutes or less, preferably operating in the median of major roads, such as Veirs Mill Road, Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road . When operating on general use lanes, the buses could be given priority at traffic signals—meaning buses can hold the green light a little longer while clearing the intersection.

CATEGORIES: News , Task Force
POSTED: 2:00:00 AM |

Monday, February 28, 2011

Leggett Establishes Transit Task Force

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced the launch of a Transit Task Force whose mission is making a comprehensive rapid transit system a reality in Montgomery County.  The Task Force will advocate for developing and implementing a system that is consistent with state transportation objectives and complements regional transit operations. 

Leggett made the commitment to establish the Task Force in his 2010 inaugural address to the residents of Montgomery County.  The Task Force is a public/private partnership with 20 members appointed by the County Executive and chaired by Mark Winston, a lawyer in private practice with the firm of Glazer Winston Honigman Ellick, PLLC, who was a member of the Maryland State Transportation Commission and State Roads Commission. The group includes Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich, who has championed a bus rapid transit network for the County, and County Council Vice President Roger Berliner.

For more information about the Task Force and its members, go to the County’s website.

CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 7:00:00 AM |

Monday, February 28, 2011

Montgomery County Department of Transportation Receives Nearly $15.4 Million in ARRA Funds

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation has received nearly $15.4 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding designed to help local governments jumpstart their economies.  The funded projects -- intended to help improve the County’s economy and transportation infrastructure -- have either been completed or are underway. 

The Division of Highway Services (DHS) received about $6.7 million to improve seven roadways that, due to their deteriorated condition, were designated as high priority projects under DHS’ inventory of Countywide roadway conditions. 

The Division of Transit Services (DTS) received $6.55 million to replace existing buses with 12 energy efficient, diesel-electric hybrids and one clean diesel bus.  DTS also received $350,000 to purchase new bid/dispatch software that will increase efficiency in managing work assignments and daily dispatching. 

The Division of Traffic Engineering received nearly $1.75 million for four projects to improve traffic flow and traffic and pedestrian safety. 

More information about the projects is available on the County’s website.  Information about other ARRA funds awarded to the County is also available on the County’s website.

CATEGORIES: News , Projects
POSTED: 6:00:00 AM |

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Glenmont 'Green' Garage Will Double Number of Parking Spaces at Popular Metro Station

On January 18, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett joined federal, state and local officials in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Glenmont Metro Station parking garage. The garage will be a LEED certified building, helping the County attain its sustainability goals. This second garage at Glenmont Station, which will be located on the west side of Georgia Avenue , replaces one of the station’s Kiss & Ride lots and will add 1,200 parking spaces. When the garage is completed, there will be 3,000 parking spaces at Glenmont.

Commuters displaced from the Kiss & Ride lot during construction will be able to use the other Kiss & Ride lot on the east side of Georgia Avenue . To further accommodate commuters during construction, U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen obtained a $500,000 federal earmark towards the purchase of two new buses, thereby enhancing the frequency of Ride On bus service to the station. Ride On’s Route 51 bus increased service by 33 percent, or eight additional trips, from the 235-space Norbeck Park and Ride Lot, located one-quarter mile east of Georgia Avenue . The upgraded service began in September.

Most end-of-line Metro stations have at least 3,000 parking spaces to encourage commuters coming from areas with fewer transit options to use alternative transportation for at least part of their trip. The lack of available parking at Glenmont causes many commuters who wish to take transit to actually drive further to find space in another parking garage, or even forgo the use of transit altogether.

Metro is managing the design/build project for the County and has contracted with Forrester Construction Company, a Rockville firm. When completed, the garage will be operated and maintained by Metro.

 

CATEGORIES: Metro , Parking , Projects , News
POSTED: 8:00:00 AM |

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ride On Customers Can Add Bus Passes to Their SmarTrip Cards

smartrip cardRide On customers who purchase a 7-Day Bus Pass can now load the pass directly onto their SmarTrip® card.  Bus passes on SmarTrip® are valid for seven consecutive days of unlimited travel, not only on Ride On, but also on Metrobus, ART, DASH, DC Circulator, CUE, Fairfax Connector and TheBus.

The pass is activated the first day a customer uses it, regardless of the day, and then is valid for seven consecutive days.  As an added convenience, customers may load two bus passes at a time onto their SmarTrip® card.

The cost of the 7-Day Bus Pass on SmarTrip® is $15 for the regular bus pass and $7.50 for the senior/disabled bus pass, the same cost as paper bus passes.  Bus passes cannot be loaded onto a SmarTrip® card that has a negative balance.

Customers may add the 7-Day Bus Pass to their SmarTrip® card at any Metro sales office, regional transit store or select retail outlets.  For a complete list of locations, visit Metro's website or call 202-637-7000.

CATEGORIES: Metro , News , Ride On , Commuter Services
POSTED: 4:00:00 AM |

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ride On is One of the Country’s Largest Suburban Bus Systems

ride on logoSince its beginning in 1975, Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system has become one of the largest suburban-based transit systems in the country.  Here are some facts about the bus that connects your community with shops, schools, work sites and Metro:

  • Ride On carries about 28 million riders a year.
  • Over 40 percent of the Ride On fleet is now fueled by alternative fuels (compressed natural gas and diesel/electric hybrid).
  • The average age of a bus in Ride On’s fleet is five years.
  • Ride On improved disabled access and pedestrian safety at nearly 400 bus stops in fiscal year 2010 as part of its ongoing bus stop improvement program.  About 1,800 bus stops have been improved in the last four years.
  • Ride On increased security on its buses and at its facilities by installing cameras.  About 90 percent of the bus fleet is now equipped with cameras.
  • Ride On accepts the regional SmarTrip card along with Metrobus and the other local transit operators in the region.  Paper transfers were eliminated and now weekly bus passes are also available on SmarTrip cards.
  • Every Ride On bus is handicapped accessible and has a bike rack.

 

For schedule information, visit Ride On’s website

CATEGORIES: Ride On , News
POSTED: 3:00:00 AM |

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Highway Services Continues Paving and Concrete Repair Projects

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) pavement preservation program is using long-term strategies to preserve and enhance the County’s transportation infrastructure. Under this program, roadways rated as fair or worse receive attention during the months when in the spring once the weather became warm enough to allow for the use of paving materials. 
 
The work consists of the following steps:
  • Full depth patching removes and replaces distressed pavement areas to restore the pavement’s structural integrity and ability to support vehicle loads.
  • Edge and full-width pavement milling removes the entire surface of the roadway to a depth of one to two inches.
  • Utility adjustments to bring storm drain and sewer manhole covers and valves to the same grade as the renewed pavement.
  • Crack sealing to repair large cracks with a flexible filler.
  • Concrete curb replacement (if needed or appropriate) to remove and replace damaged and misaligned curbs.
  • Paving with hot mix asphalt.
  • Replacing roadway lane markings.
This fall, MCDOT will continue improvements to the County’s road network. The following arterial and residential roads will be resurfaced, patched and/or repaired:
  • Democracy Boulevard between Seven Locks Road and Falls Road, Bethesda area;
  • Battery Lane between Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike, Bethesda area;    
  • Shakespeare Boulevard between Maryland Route 355 and Observation Drive, Germantown;
  • Tenbrook Drive between Forest Glen Road and Dennis Avenue, Silver Spring area;
  • Barnesville Road between Bucklodge Road and Mount Ephraim Road (this project is funded using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds), Barnesville;
  • Avery Road, from Muncaster Mill Road to the end of County maintenance, Gaithersburg East service area;
  • Observation Road from Ridge Road (Maryland Route 27) and the end of County maintenance, Gaithersburg West service area;
  • Eldwick Way between Falls Road (Maryland Route 189) and Broad Green Drive, Gaithersburg West service area;
  • Fields Road and Omega Drive between Key West Avenue to and Sam Eig Highway, Gaithersburg West service area;
  • Fairland Acres neighborhood, Briggs Chaney area; and
  • Brighton Knolls neighborhood, Colesville area.
 Concrete curb and sidewalk repairs in the Kensington Heights and Oranges neighborhoods, Silver Spring area.
 
 
CATEGORIES: Road Repair , News
POSTED: 7:00:00 AM |

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Friendship Heights Commuter Store Marks First Year of Operation

Montgomery County Commuter Services’ TRiPS Commuter Store in Friendship Heights recently marked its first anniversary. The store, located at 17 Wisconsin Circle, is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
TRiPS stands for “Transportation Resources, Information and Places to See.” The store sells bus passes and tokens for Montgomery County’s Ride On buses, as well as fare media for Metrobus and Metrorail, including the SmartTrip Card.  Regional transit fare media is available along with trip planning information and resources. 
 
The TRiPS Commuter Store staff promotes environmentally friendly travel modes, including transit, car/vanpooling, biking, walking and car sharing at both the Friendship Heights and Silver Spring TRiPS stores. Staff also provides complimentary services to help Montgomery County employers and their employees beat traffic, save time and reduce expenses. Transportation marketing specialists are available to visit businesses and set up customized commuting benefits programs tailored to their needs.
 
For more information, call Commuter Services at 240-773-TRiPS (8747) or 240-777-8380, or visit the Commuter Services’ website. The promotion of alternate transportation is a component of the Division of Transit Services within MCDOT.
 
 
CATEGORIES: Commuter Services , News
POSTED: 4:00:00 AM |

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Montgomery County Celebrated Car Free Day on September 22

Montgomery County Commuter Services (MCCS) joined the Washington region in celebrating Car Free Day on Wednesday, September 22. This annual, worldwide event encourages the public to find alternatives to using cars or reduce the amount of driving that day. Organizers promote the idea that using transit, biking and walking – instead of driving – will reduce noise, pollution and stress.
 
To celebrate Car Free Day, Commuter Services staff distributed refreshments, offered drawings for valuable, donated coupons from local retailers, and provided transportation option information at several locations throughout the county.
 
Check the MCCS website for more information or call 240-773-2989.  Those traveling near downtown Silver Spring or Friendship Heights can stop in at the County’s TRiPS Commuter Stores, located at 8413 Ramsey Avenue in Silver Spring and 17 Wisconsin Circle in Friendship Heights. Both stores are located within a short walk of Metrorail stations, sell transit fare media, and provide a variety of information on transportation alternatives.
 
Montgomery County provides and promotes a comprehensive and balanced transportation program that includes a wide variety of transit, ridesharing, bicycling, pedestrian and teleworking options for residents, businesses, employees and visitors. These alternative modes of transportation are effective and efficient solutions, reducing pollution and transportation costs, helping address climate change concerns and ensuring the economic and environmental vitality of the community.
CATEGORIES: News , Public Forum , Commuter Services
POSTED: 3:00:00 AM |

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Six Bills Passed by the Maryland General Assembly Will Improve Enhance Alternative Transportation

The following bills passed in the last legislative session will promote alternative transportation and improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Members of the Montgomery County delegation were prime sponsors of bills 1), 2) and 5) listed below. 
 
All the bills went into effect October 1, except Chapter 525, which went into effect on July 1.  The bills are:
  1. Bicycle Safety: Chapter Number 517 requires motorists to provide cyclists a three-foot buffer when passing on a roadway.
  2. Bicycles and Motor Scooters - Rules of the Road: Chapter Number 518 recognizes bicyclists and motor scooter riders as legitimate road users and helps bring Maryland law in conformity with the vast majority of other states.  
  3. Bicycle and Pedestrian Access, Funding and Reporting: Chapter Number 145 declares that it is the policy of the State that, in developing the annual Consolidated Transportation Program, the Maryland Department of Transportation will work to ensure that there is a balance between funding for specified transportation projects for pedestrians and bicycle riders and specified highway construction projects. 
  4. Smarter Transportation Choices for Maryland Bill: Senate Bill 760 and House Bill 1155 requires the Maryland Department of Transportation to evaluate all State-funded transportation projects against existing state transportation goals, which include safety and security, environmental stewardship, and fixing existing roads and bridges first. 
  5. Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding: Chapter 525 establishes a Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding that will review, evaluate and make recommendations concerning funding sources and structure of the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund. The commission will also look at short- and long-term transit, highway, pedestrian and bicycle facility construction and maintenance funding needs; the impacts of economic development and smart growth on transportation funding and options for sustainable, long–term revenue sources for transportation.
  6. Sidewalk or Bicycle Pathway Construction: Chapter Number 700 requires the State Highway Administration to give funding priority to sidewalk or bicycle pathway construction projects that are located in a priority funding area. It also authorizes the State to fund the entire cost of specified sidewalks or bicycle pathways. 
CATEGORIES: News , Safety
POSTED: 2:00:00 AM |

Monday, June 28, 2010

MontgomeryCounty Announces First “Green” Refuse and Recycling Trucks In Mid-Atlantic Region

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help improve local air quality and save money, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Solid Waste Services has put into service the first 20 of 100 refuse and recycling collection trucks powered with compressed natural gas (CNG).
 
The first 20 trucks were used for the first time in April. Twenty additional trucks will enter service July 1, and the remaining 60 vehicles will be phased in over the next two years.
 
Because they are powered with compressed natural gas, the trucks will be much quieter than their diesel-powered predecessors. But the brightly colored blue and white trucks displaying the message “Think Green, Breathe Clean, Compressed Natural Gas” will be very easy to see in Montgomery County neighborhoods.  
 
Nationwide figures indicate that, on the average, CNG costs are 15 percent less than diesel fuel. Moreover, 97 percent of the natural gas used in the U.S. is produced in this country.
 
The environmental benefits of compressed natural gas include:
  • Reducing smog-causing nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by 80 percent;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions 10 to 15 percent;
  • Reducing asthma-causing particulate matter by 74 to 90 percent; and
  • Providing cleaner air for collection personnel and residents.
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 4:00:00 AM |

Friday, May 28, 2010

Highway Services Continues Spring Paving and Concrete Repair Projects

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s pavement preservation program is using long-term strategies to preserve and enhance the County’s transportation infrastructure.  Under this program, roadways rated as fair or worse are receiving attention now that the warmer weather allows for the use of hot mix asphalt. 

The work consists of the following steps:

  • Full depth patching removes and replaces distressed pavement areas to restore the pavement’s structural integrity and ability to support vehicle loads.
  • Edge and full width pavement milling removes the entire surface of the roadway to a depth of one to two inches.
  • Utility adjustments to bring storm drain and sewer manhole covers and valves to the same grade as the renewed pavement.
  • Crack sealing to repair large cracks with a flexible filler.
  • Concrete curb replacement (if needed or appropriate) to remove and replace damaged and misaligned curbs.
  • Paving with hot mix asphalt.
  • Replacement of roadway lane markings.

Work on the following residential neighborhoods is scheduled to begin in this spring: Wildwood Hills, Bethesda; Olney Mill, Olney; Kemp Mill Estates, Silver Spring; and Maplewood, Bethesda.

Arterial roads that will be resurfaced using hot mix asphalt are: Carroll Avenue, from Piney Branch Road (Maryland Route 320) to University Boulevard (Maryland 193); Blueridge Avenue, from Georgia Avenue to Amherst Avenue; Fenton Street, from Wayne Avenue to 410 Philadelphia Avenue; and Emory Lane, from Muncaster Mill Road to Hillcroft Road.

Arterial roads that will be resurfaced using a micro surface process are: Muddy Branch Road, from Diamondback Drive to Darnestown Road (Maryland Route 28) and Norbeck Road, from Layhill Road to New Hampshire Avenue. 

In addition, DOT will repair sidewalks and curbs this summer in the Germantown Park, Germantown; Tanglewood, Silver Spring; Longmead Crossing, Silver Spring; Plyers Mill Estates/ Carroll Knolls, Silver Spring; Wheaton Woods, Wheaton; Garrett Park; Greentree Manor, Bethesda; and Oranges neighborhoods.  The work involves removing and replacing damaged sidewalks and ensuring that curb ramps are accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, removal and replacement of damaged and misaligned curbs and restoration of disturbed areas with soil, grass seed and straw mulch.  While DOT is in the neighborhood, residents can take advantage of the competitive price offered by the County to replace driveway aprons (the portion of the driveway that is within the public right-of-way) and lead walks (the sidewalk from the edge of the road to a homeowners property line). 

For more information, email DHS at mcdot.highway@montgomerycountymd.gov or call 240-777-6000.

CATEGORIES: Road Repair , Projects , News
POSTED: 7:00:00 AM |

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Leggett Sends Proposed Transportation Policy Area Review to County Council; Policy Will Help Guide Future Transportation Investment Decisions

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. 
 The full TPAR proposal is available on the County’s website.
CATEGORIES: Budget , News , Public Forum
POSTED: 10:44:00 AM |

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Winning Photos and Pictures of Landscape Projects Now on Website

Photos of winning entries from the annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) photography and beautification contests are now displayed on the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Community Outreach website
 
The annual beautification contest is open to community groups, businesses, public institutions, and other organizations undertaking landscaping projects that enhance the appearance of non-residential properties. The photo contest is open to residents whose photographs capture the beauty of landmarks, people, and places within Montgomery County.
 
Twenty years ago, concerned volunteers formed the KMCB Task Force to work with the County to develop beautification projects, anti-litter and recycling programs, and to educate and change citizen attitudes about littering and graffiti.
 
Nominations forms for this year’s competition will soon be available. For more information, see the website or call the Office of Community Outreach at 240-777-7155.
CATEGORIES: Commuter Services , News
POSTED: 10:33:00 AM |

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

For Next Two Weeks, Residents May Offer Comments on the Proposed Parkwood Drive Sidewalk

For a limited time, the County Executive has reopened the public hearing record on the Division of Transportation Engineering’s proposed Parkwood Drive sidewalk project. Residents may submit their comments beginning Monday, February 1 until Monday February 15 at 5 p.m.   Information and documents previously submitted for the public hearing conducted on August 25, 2009 will continue to be included in the official hearing record and do not need to be re-submitted.
 
The public record has been reopened to receive additional information from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and other interested parties. After the record is closed, the Hearing Officer will report his/her findings and recommendations to the County Executive for further consideration, as outlined by the County Code.
 
Written comments should be submitted to: Jan Melvin, Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Annual Sidewalk Program, 100 Edison Park Road, 4th Floor, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. For more information, contact Jan Melvin at
240-777-7271 or by e-mail.
 
CATEGORIES: News , Commuter Services
POSTED: 8:55:00 PM |

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leggett Seeks Applicants to Fill Two Public Member Vacancies on the Taxicab Services Advisory Committee

Two openings for members who represent the general public are available on the County’s Taxicab Services Advisory Committee (TSAC).   The nine-member committee advises the Department of Transportation director and helps evaluate the performance of the taxicab industry in serving all residents, including those with special transportation needs, such as seniors and persons with disabilities.  Four members of the committee represent the taxicab industry and five members represent the general public.
 
Members serve three-year terms without compensation, but are eligible for reimbursement for travel and dependent care associated with attending the committee’s meetings. The evening meetings are held at least quarterly at the Executive Office Building in Rockville.
 
For more information on applying for the vacancies, visit the County Executive’s Boards, Committees, and Commissions website.
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 8:53:00 PM |

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Maryland Gets High Marks for Safety Policies

On January 12, the Baltimore Sun reported that Maryland ranked among the top four states in the nation on the annual report card issued by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS). The state got a ratings boost from its recently adopted ban on text-messaging behind the wheel.
 
The state was given credit for adopting more than 11 of the 15 model laws recommended by AHAS. Achieving a high score in the ranking has become more difficult as the group has ratcheted up its goals for tougher laws.
 
Ranking first in safety in this year’s list was the District of Columbia, which was credited with adopting more than 13 of the model laws. New Jersey and Illinois also scored higher than Maryland. The laws cover such areas as required safety devices (seat belts and motorcycle helmets), child passenger safety, teen driving, drunk driving and distracted driving.
 
Areas in which the group said Maryland fell short were its failure to set 16 as the minimum age for a learner’s permit (it did raise the bar to 15 years, nine months), passenger and cell phone restrictions on teen drivers and an ignition interlock requirement for all drunk drivers. Maryland improved its score by adopting the texting ban and by raising its minimum age for an unrestricted license to 18 in 2009.
(Source: Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun, January 12, 2010.)
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 8:50:00 PM |

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Help Keep Pollutants Out of Storm Drains

Storm drains are NOT trash cans! Yet, typical items placed in storm drains include antifreeze, motor oil, paint, plastics and yard waste. When these items wash down a storm drain, they don’t just disappear, but instead pollute waterways. The pollution travels from the storm drain directly to local creeks, then to streams and rivers, and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay.
 
You can help maintain the health of our region’s waterways by spreading the word about the misuse of storm drains. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) provides residents and community organizations with free, bright blue signs for neighborhood storm drain inlets. They say, in English and Spanish, “No Dumping -- Drains To Your Creek!” The latest version has a new design now used by all jurisdictions in the Washington D.C. area. 
 
To get your free kit with up to 25 signs, call 240-777-7155 or visit the County’s website
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 11:23:00 AM |

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

County Celebrated Car Free Day on September 22

Montgomery County Commuter Services (MCCS) invited residents and employees to join the Washington region in celebrating Car Free Day on September 22. This annual, worldwide event encourages everyone to find an alternative to using their car or to simply reduce the amount of driving they do that day.   Car Free Day gives residents the opportunity to consider what the area would be like if there was more use of transit, biking and walking instead of driving.      
 
To celebrate Car Free Day, MCCS sent a letter to employers in the county encouraging them and their employees to:
  • Look for MCCS staff in bright blue shirts at the Silver Spring, Bethesda, Grosvenor-Strathmore, Wheaton and Friendship Heights Metrorail stations on Car
Free Day to sign up for prize drawings, such as $50 towards a car-free commute, coupons for local retailers, walking shoes or a bicycle;
  • Pledge to go car-free or car-lite for the day; and
  • Learn more about MCCS’ Better Ways to Work program that promotes taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, biking or teleworking.
 
More than 2000 commuters registered for ridesharing information at the various events held in the county.
 
For more information about transportation options in the county, contact Commuter Services or call 240-773-2989.  Those near downtown Silver Spring or Friendship Heights can stop in at the County’s TRiPS Commuter Stores, located at 8413 Ramsey Avenue in Silver Spring and 17 Wisconsin Circle in FriendshipHeights.   Both stores are a short walk from Metro, sell transit fare media and provide a variety of information on transportation alternatives.
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 11:20:00 AM |

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Leggett Holds Town Hall Meeting and Discusses Transportation Issues

On Wednesday, September 23, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett held a town hall meeting in Bethesda at Thomas W. Pyle Middle School. At the meeting, he discussed a number of transportation initiatives, including:

  • The construction of a new sidewalk along Fernwood Road, between Democracy Boulevard and Greentree Road. Pedestrian safety is also being improved with traffic calming features and redesigned bus stops.
  • An increase by the County Council of parking rates in the Bethesda Parking Lot District, effective last July. Short term spaces now cost $1 an hour, and long term spaces cost 65 cents an hour.
  • MCDOT is conducting a 90-day test, at the request of local businesses, of changes in the number of short versus long term spaces in the Bethesda-Elm Street Garage.
  • Identification of High Incidence Areas for pedestrian collisions on Wisconsin Avenue from Montgomery Avenue to Leland Street and on Rockville Pike from Halpine Road to Hubbard Drive. Audits were conducted and discussions are underway to determine appropriate County or State measures.
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 11:11:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010