The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is committed to keeping roadsides beautiful, which includes road maintenance, litter removal and eradicating graffiti. A partner in graffiti removal is GRAB, which stands for GRaffiti ABatement. This non-profit organization is supported by businesses and government and works to eliminate graffiti vandalism through eradication, education and enforcement strategies.
GRAB’s approach to graffiti is to remove it immediately and then develop long-term strategies to target at-risk youth.
In fiscal year 2010, GRAB, working with the Montgomery County Department of Corrections, cleaned up a total of 125 sites across the County, including signal boxes, retaining walls, roads, bridge underpasses, pedestrian tunnels and fences. They removed or painted over 32,000 square feet of surface. GRAB responds to graffiti reports countywide and coordinates the clean-up.
If you spot graffiti in the County, call GRAB’s hotline at 301-607-4722.
Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Traffic Engineering Division is testing a new type of pedestrian-oriented traffic signal on Gude Drive in Rockville in an area that has had eight pedestrian collisions in the past two years.
The new signal is called a HAWK, short for High-intensity Activated crossWalK. It’s designed for locations where a full traffic signal isn’t suitable, but where standard treatments, such as signs or flashing lights, have had only limited success. The effectiveness of the HAWK signal in stopping traffic for pedestrians has been as high as 97 percent in other parts of the country.
The HAWK signal on Gude Drive flashes yellow at all times to provide a warning that pedestrians may be present. When a walker pushes a button on the signal, it first turns solid yellow and then red, allowing the pedestrian to cross two lanes of traffic. Once in the median, the pedestrian repeats the process to cross the remaining two lanes. Traffic impacts are minimized, while pedestrian safety is enhanced.
MCDOT will be collecting “before” and “after” data to evaluate the HAWK’s effectiveness. For more information on pedestrian safety, visit the County’s website.
Starting in February, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) will begin a $1 million traffic signal upgrade on Georgia Avenue between East West Highway and Wayne Avenue in Silver Spring. The project is expected to be completed in summer 2011.
SHA will upgrade the existing signals to include accessible/countdown pedestrian signal, upgrade existing sidewalk ramps to Americans with Disabilities Act standards, paint signal poles and upgrade lighting to provide improved visibility of pedestrian crosswalks.
SHA is also enhancing the intersections of US 29 with the following roads:
The State Highway Administration will soon announce when in January they will significantly shift traffic patterns at the new interchange at Rockville Pike and Randolph Road. Changes follow the shifts recently made to traffic patterns involving Montrose Road to the west of the interchange. The new traffic pattern is part of the $47.2 million MD 355/Montrose Parkway/Randolph Road interchange project in Montgomery County, which should be completed in late fall 2010.
The new traffic patterns will:
1) Motorists traveling west on Randolph Road beyond Rockville Pike must use Montrose Parkway, which connects to Randolph near Maple and Chapman avenues. Westbound traffic will have direct access from Randolph Road to the new underpass beneath Rockville Pike. Drivers wishing to access I-270 or all other points west will simply stay on westbound Montrose Parkway, as the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has now opened the last segment of Montrose Parkway between East Jefferson and “old” Old Georgetown Road.
2) While a new ramp is constructed, motorists driving west on Randolph Road will not be able to turn left or right onto Rockville Pike. Drivers will be required to follow westbound Montrose Parkway, go under Rockville Pike, make an immediate right onto “old” Old Georgetown Road and then another right onto Montrose Road to get to Rockville Pike. Drivers will then be able to turn left to go north or right to go south.
3) Motorists driving north on Rockville Pike will no longer be allowed to turn left at Montrose Road. Drivers wishing to access westbound Montrose Road will be required to use the new exit ramp to Montrose Parkway. At the bottom of the ramp, drivers will take a left at the new signal onto westbound Montrose Parkway, make an immediate right onto “old” Old Georgetown Road and then turn left onto Montrose Road.
4) Motorists driving west on Randolph Road will no longer be allowed to cross over Rockville Pike to access Montrose Road. To access Montrose Road from westbound Randolph Road, drivers will take westbound Montrose Parkway, pass under Rockville Pike, make an immediate right onto “old” Old Georgetown Road and then a left onto Montrose Road.
To view a map, go to MCDOT’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot, click on “New Traffic Pattern at Randolph Road and Rockville Pike” and follow link and directions in news item. For more information about Maryland Route 355 or any State numbered roadway in Montgomery County, call SHA’s District 3 office at 1-800-749-0737.
A significant shift in traffic patterns has occurred along Montrose Parkway and Montrose Road as the Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA) continues construction of the new interchange at Rockville Pike and Montrose Road.
Motorists traveling in the area should be aware of the following:
Those traveling to Randolph Road from points west, such as I-270, will be directed onto Montrose Parkway, which begins near Tilden Lane and angles to the right off of Montrose Road..
At the same time, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation will open the last segment of Montrose Parkway between East Jefferson and Old Georgetown Road. Eastbound Parkway traffic will have direct access to the new underpass beneath Rockville Pike. Traffic will then merge onto Randolph Road on the other side of the Pike.
Local traffic driving eastbound on Montrose Road will be able to turn right or left onto East Jefferson Street and Rockville Pike. However, eastbound traffic will not be allowed to cross the Pike to Randolph Road.
Traffic going north on Rockville Pike must use a new ramp to turn right onto Randolph Road.
For detailed information on the traffic shift, visit MSHA’s website. For more information on other projects impacting traffic, visit MCDOT’s website.
In the early morning hours of November 4, the County’s traffic signal computer system failed. Although all signals were working, the failure meant that the signals did not switch over to rush hour mode, which gives preference to the predominant flow of traffic, and the signals were not synchronized along major commuting routes. Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) engineers successfully resolved the problem by reestablishing the connection between the computer and the traffic signals in the early evening of November 5.
Montgomery County is the only jurisdiction in the region with the capability to respond to traffic tie-ups in real time by monitoring and adjusting all 835 signaled intersections. Every commuter knows how congested the region’s roads are. But the average person had little knowledge about how much MCDOT’s intervention helps to keep traffic moving until the system stopped working.
To assist commuters during the outage, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett directed Ride On buses to offer free rides on Thursday and Friday, November 5 and 6.
Leggett said, “When I took office in 2006, the traffic management system was 26 years old and counting and no provision had been made for replacement. I, however, changed that by initiating a six-year $35 million project, $12 million of which is from the State of Maryland, to replace, upgrade and modernize the system.
“We are now in the second year of that six-year process – doing the design and planning. Since November 4, our system has, again, worked perfectly. But we can’t count on that indefinitely. I have asked our engineers to take a hard look at accelerating this complex project to get a new system in place sooner rather than later.
“I also directed our Department of Transportation to devise a failsafe plan to engineer individual traffic signals in our most critical corridors so that, were the system to go out again before we secure a replacement, they would be able to operate on rush-hour and non-rush hour timing – even if the central computer went down. Engineers have now completed this work at the 200 most important intersections in the County.”