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.
The annual collection of leaves by the Division of Highway Services (DHS) in the southern part of the county began on November 9, and will continue through mid-December. DHS makes two collections on every street in the vacuum leaf collection district during the fall.
Residents should look for signs posted along the streets announcing the collection dates in their neighborhoods. Green signs indicate the first collection, and red signs indicate the second and final collection.
The leaf vacuum collection district is bounded by I-495, I-270, the Rockville City limits, Norbeck, Bel Pre and Bonifant roads, Northwest Branch Park, and the District of Columbia and Prince George's County lines.
Leaves should be placed in piles or containers on the grass or behind the curb. Placing leaves in streets or alleys can disrupt traffic and surface drainage, hamper snow removal operations, or pose a fire hazard to automobiles parked over them.
Earlier this month, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Division of Highway Services (DHS) began testing their preparedness for this winter’s storms. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett attended the County’s snow summit, where officials from all agencies in the County with snow removal responsibilities assess their readiness and discuss new initiatives.
DHS also conducted an all-day exercise to test the County’s snow plans and fleet by simulating a six-inch snow storm at the Snow Operations Center. Patrols drove snow routes on most of the 4,800 lane miles of County-maintained roads.
Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation, Division of Transportation Engineering (DTE), is in the first stages of developing concept plans and obtaining public input on four projects:
1) Possible extension of Roberts Tavern Drive in Clarksburg, currently located between Observation Drive and Latrobe Lane, to Maryland Route 355. Goals for the project include diverting regional traffic around Clarksburg Town Center and its historic district, providing congestion relief, expanding neighborhood connections, and enhancing access to bikeways.
2)The addition of sidewalks along Central Avenue from Maryland Route 355 to Oakmont Street; on Oakmont Street from Central to Oakmont avenues; and on Oakmont Avenue, from Oakmont Street to the Washington Grove MARC train station. Sidewalks would provide better pedestrian and bicycle access between Oakmont Manor, Washington Grove Elementary School, Gaithersburg High School, Bohrer Park, shopping, restaurants and places of worship. The sidewalks project is being addressed in response to requests from the Oakmont Manor neighborhood in Gaithersburg.
DTE staff will hold a meeting to give the public an opportunity to provide input on the project on Thursday, December 3 at the Washington
Grove Elementary School, 8712 Oakmont Street, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
3)The addition of a sidewalk and bikeway along Bradley Boulevard between Wilson Lane and Goldsboro Road to provide better neighborhood access to transit, commercial districts, schools, and recreation.
4) Possible roadway improvements for East Gude Drive in Rockville will be studied. The improvements include sidewalks, bikeways and widening of the road . DTE staff will hold a meeting to give the public an opportunity to provide input on the project on Monday, December 7 at the Earle B. Wood Middle School, 14615 Bauer Drive, Rockville, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Another project, the Seven Locks Road Sidewalk and Bikeway, which runs from Montrose Road to Bradley Boulevard, is in the next stage of planning with preliminary engineering underway. The public is invited to a workshop to discuss the plans on Wednesday, December 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Heights School, Chesterton Hall, 10400 Seven Locks Road, Potomac.
The proposed improvements for this road section include:
Two 11-foot-wide travel lanes plus five-foot-wide on-road bike lanes along both sides of Seven Locks Road.
An eight-foot off-road shared use bike path on the west side of Seven Locks Road.
A five-foot-wide sidewalk on the east side of Seven Locks Road.
An eight-foot-wide off-road shared use path along Montrose Road between Seven Locks Road and the I-270 ramp.
Northbound and eastbound auxiliary through lanes at the intersection of Seven Locks Road and Tuckerman Lane.
Residents with comments on any of these projects can contact the Division of Transportation at email@example.com, 240-777-7220 or 100 Edison Park Drive, 4th Floor, Gaithersburg, MD 20878.
The Division of Highway Services is completing a bridge improvement project on Huntmaster Road in the Laytonsville area to redeck and repave the bridge, as well as replace the guardrail along the bridge. The bridge has been closed for about four weeks during the construction project.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett launched a new pedestrian education program along Piney Branch Road between Flower Avenue and the Prince George’s County line, as part of the County’s overall strategy to make pedestrian safety improvements where the most pedestrian collisions in the County occur. Between January 2003 and December 2007, the 1.6 mile Piney Branch corridor had 26 pedestrian-or bicycle-related crashes, one of which was a fatality.
Pedestrian safety promotion teams are intercepting pedestrians who are engaged in risky behaviors and providing them with information about safe walking practices. The teams are working several days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas and distributing information on safe walking, driving and biking in both English and Spanish. They are also providing reflective items to help pedestrians be more visible in the dark. In addition to on-street interventions, the teams are conducting pedestrian safety education at stores, apartment complexes, organized community events, and religious institutions.
The education initiative also includes ads at local movie theaters and on Ride On buses and bus shelters.
Go to the County’s website for more information about engineering and enforcement efforts to increase pedestrian safety along Piney Branch Road.
To raise awareness about this fall’s regional Street Smart pedestrian safety campaign, Montgomery County Police challenged drivers to see what it would take to get them to pay attention to pedestrians and yield to those in crosswalks. Using the full-size costumed characters McGruff and Sparky, Police conducted an enforcement effort in Silver Spring. Despite the undisputed visibility of the “dogs,” some motorists still failed to yield to them in the crosswalk, especially as they turned right or left into the path of the oncoming pedestrians. Police officers issued tickets to motorists who failed to yield and they also distributed educational materials to pedestrians who did not observe safe walking rules.
To see Sparky and McGruff in action, go to the County’s website.
The State Highway Administration, along with local officials, recently celebrated the completion of a $7 million project to improve pedestrian safety at the intersection of University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue. The area, known as the Takoma-Langley Crossroads, handles 95,000 vehicles daily and a very high number of pedestrians, including some 3,500 bus passengers.
The investments involved reconstructing the medians and installing barriers to discourage jaywalking and channel pedestrian to the crosswalks. Additional streetscape improvements were made throughout the vicinity, such as contrasting colored crosswalks and walkways, extensive signage, countdown signals, and ramps to meet Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. Sidewalk gaps were constructed and other sidewalk segments were widened to meet ADA standards where needed.
The State resurfaced the roadways and reconstructed curbs, gutters, and the storm water maintenance system. Phase Two of the project will be the construction of the Takoma-Langley Park Transit Center at the location currently occupied by a local restaurant. This Center will serve transit riders with bus bays and raised platforms. Eventually the Center will be a part of the Purple Line which will serve this area with an east-west light rail connection.
On December 1, the Montgomery County Council will hold a public meeting about a proposal to raise the cost of Ride On’s monthly pass by $5, from $25 to $30, beginning January 1, 2010. The monthly pass provides unlimited rides. Even with the proposed increase, regular Ride On customers will still receive a substantial savings compared to paying the regular daily fare. The increase is one of many actions proposed by the County Executive to help offset the County’s nearly $370 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2010.
The meeting will start at 1:30 p.m.* in the 3rd Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville. Comments on the proposed Ride On fare change may be sent to the Montgomery County Council by the close of business on November 30 at:
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.”