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.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation recently completed a quarter- mile extension of Nebel Street to connect the road to the intersection of Bou and Chapman avenues.
The four-lane extension, with two lanes in each direction, also included a new sidewalk and a bike path. Road amenities include street lights, storm water management and a new traffic signal at Randolph and Nebel.
The extension of Nebel Street is an important component in the North Bethesda Master Plan and ties into changes planned as White Flint is redeveloped. The new road will help relieve traffic congestion along Rockville Pike between the White Flint Mall and Twinbrook Parkway, and help link employment areas to the White Flint and Twinbrook Metro stations and a proposed MARC station at Montrose Crossing.
For information about this and other transportation construction projects, go to the County’s website.
The public is invited to attend a public hearing on a proposal by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to construct a bike path along the north side of River Road (Maryland Route 190) from Riverwood Drive to River Oaks Lane in Potomac. The meeting will be held February 1 at 7 p.m. in the Lobby Level Auditorium of the Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville.
Proposed improvements include construction of a 1,200-foot long, five-foot wide concrete bike path with a grass buffer between the edge of the road and the proposed bike path. The project will also include landscape trees and reconstruction of a portion of the existing guard rail. Every effort will be made during construction to minimize disruptions within the public right-of-way and to adjacent properties.
The public may review project files in or provide written comments to the Department of Transportation, Division of Transportation Engineering, 4th Floor, 100 Edison Park Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20878.
Three new Maryland Transportation Administration (MTA) intercity bus routes have begun service using the new Intercounty Connector, also known as Maryland Route 200, with stops in Montgomery County (Routes 201 and 202 are existing routes):
Route 201: Gaithersburg to BWI Airport
Route 202: Gaithersburg to Fort Meade
Route 203: Bethesda to Columbia
Route 204: Frederick to College Park
Route 205: Germantown to College Park
For more information, visit MTA’s website or call Toll Free: 1-866-RIDE-MTA (1-866-743-3682).
On November 29, the Montgomery County Council introduced Bill 37-11 that would allow installation of cameras on the outsides of County school buses to monitor vehicles that illegally pass stopped buses.
A public hearing on the bill was held January 24, and the public can still provide written comments to: Montgomery County Council, Office of Legislative Information Services, 5th Floor, Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue., Rockville, MD 20850.
The Council bill is needed to locally enact Maryland State Senate Bill 679, which was passed by the 2011 General Assembly, and allowed cameras to be installed on the outside of County school buses. Drivers caught illegally passing a stopped school bus would be subject to a maximum civil fine of $250.
Beginning January 1, federal tax-free transit benefits decreased to $125 a month and the parking benefit increased to $240 a month. Congress did not extend transit benefits that allowed employees or employers to take a tax-free or pre-tax transit benefit of $230 a month for those who commute to work using transit or vanpools.
Starting Monday, January 30, Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system began partnering with the Maryland Transit Administration MARC Train to ease commutes for Germantown MARC train passengers. A new shuttle service, Ride On Route 94, is transporting passengers during peak commuting times between the Park and Ride Lot at Kingsview, located at Clopper Road and Kingsview Village Avenue, and the Germantown MARC station.
Morning shuttle service leaves from Kingsview for the MARC Station at 7:25, 7:42 and 8:02 a.m. In the evening, the shuttle departs from the MARC Station at 4:21, 4:36, 5:13, 6:05, 6:29, 6:51, 7:19 and 8:01 p.m.
Riders who have a MARC weekly, MARC monthly or TLC ticket can show them to the bus operator and ride free, the same as on all Ride On buses. Other riders will be charged the regular fare of $1.50 for SmarTrip users or $1.70 for passengers paying the fare with cash or other Ride On fare media.
For more information, check Ride On’s website at www.rideonbus.com or call 311, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.