To help prepare for winter, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Division of Highway Services held its annual Storm Summit on November 4. County Executive Isiah Leggett kicked off the event that brings together County crews and contractors to review the latest improved snow removal strategies. Highway Services partners with private contractors to supplement the County’s snow removal resources when needed. During the February blizzards, nearly 1,000 pieces of contractor equipment were used.
The day before the summit, snow plow operators held a practice drill by simulating a six-inch snow storm. The “mock” snow storm gave staff the opportunity to run their plow routes, test equipment and procedures, and familiarize new drivers with their routes.
Having experienced more than 100 inches of snow and ice last season, MCDOT is prepared for the worst that Mother Nature may throw at us this season. Last winter, the County received more than 100 inches of snow or ice. A key to MCDOT’s readiness is the Storm Operation Center, where staff manages clean-up operations using state-of-the-art technology to monitor conditions and target resources.
When a snow storm hits, residents can access storm information on the County’s website or by calling 311.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation Division of Highway Services (DHS) began its annual vacuum collection of leaves in the southern part of the county. During November and through mid-December, DHS makes two collections on every street in the vacuum leaf collection district.
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. Collections are restricted to leaves only. Tree debris, sticks, branches, or coarse garden debris should be placed in containers or tied in bundles not more than four feet long and placed where household trash is regularly picked up.
Residents who miss the two scheduled vacuum collections can still have their leaves collected by placing them in paper yard waste bags or reusable containers for pick up on their regular yard waste collection day. Leaves placed in plastic bags will not be accepted.
DHS reminds residents that although every effort is made to maintain the posted schedules, weather and equipment issues can affect the timing.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) recently completed pedestrian improvements on Hewitt Avenue in Silver Spring that will enhance safety for transit users and the entire community.
Following a request from a resident, MCDOT installed three pedestrian refuge islands (an area between lanes of traffic where pedestrians may safely wait) along the nearly one-mile stretch of Hewitt Avenue between Georgia Avenue and Blue Spruce Lane.
The refuge islands not only help calm traffic, but also reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians. The improvement project narrowed the travel lanes on the roadway to reduce vehicle speeds. MCDOT also installed marked crosswalks, “State Law: Stop for Pedestrians” signs, lane markings, and raised pavement markers. In addition, staff modified the parking restrictions on Hewitt around the refuge islands and adjusted bus stop locations.
MCDOT analyzed traffic volumes and speeds along Hewitt Avenue and found that 85 percent of vehicles were traveling 37 mph or less. The speed limit is 30 mph. A review of the crash data for five years between 2004 and 2008 revealed a total of 35 non-intersection related crashes. Of these, two involved pedestrians.
As road paving season ends with the start of cold weather, the Division of Highway Services (DHS) is winding down its resurfacing activities.
DHS has completed resurfacing of Avery Road and completed full depth patching work on Fields Road and Omega Drive.
In progress are repair and resurfacing of Democracy Lane between Seven Locks Road and Falls Road/Maryland Route 189 and resurfacing of Observation Road between Ridge Road/Maryland 27 and the County line.
DHS is also completing patching and resurfacing of neighborhood roads in Burnt Mills Hills; Potomac Falls/Great Falls Estates; and Ballinger Drive from Robey Road to Wexhall Drive, all of which should be completed by December.
DHS is also finishing concrete repairs to curbs, gutters, and sidewalks in Kensington Heights, the Oranges subdivision, and Greentree Manor subdivision.
This fall’s Street Smart kick-off took place in Arlington, one of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) partners in promoting pedestrian safety throughout the region. The goal of the Street Smart public awareness and enforcement campaign, now in its eighth year, is to reduce the number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths in the Washington metropolitan area.
Enforcement of traffic safety laws is a focus of the month-long campaign. In 2009, pedestrian and cyclist deaths accounted for more than one quarter (27 percent) of the region’s traffic-related fatalities. A total of 79 area walkers and bikers lost their lives in traffic crashes, averaging one death every five days. Overall, the region experienced an eight percent decrease in fatalities over the past year.
In response to a request from the South Bradley Hills Civic Association for greater pedestrian access along Bradley Boulevard, MCDOT held a public workshop on November 10 and presented three new alternatives for public input. The proposed project extends from Wilson Lane to Goldsboro Road and includes the following options:
Sidewalk on the north side of Bradley Boulevard with consistent bikeable shoulders
Sidewalk on both sides of Bradley Boulevard with consistent bikeable shoulders
Eight-foot shared use path (reduced from 12 feet) on the north side and a sidewalk on the south side of Bradley Boulevard with consistent bikeable shoulders.
Comments on these latest alternatives will be accepted from the community until December 8. Email or call 240-777-7231. For more information on the project, go to the County’s website.
Residents are reminded that effective October 1, Maryland’s new cell phone law went into effect which means it is illegal to hold and talk on a cell phone while driving. Texting while driving has been illegal for a year
The Communications Traffic Safety Act of 2010 prohibits “…a driver of a motor vehicle that is in motion from using the driver’s hands to use a handheld telephone except to initiate or terminate a wireless call or to turn on or off the handheld phone.” Violating the law may result in a $40 fine for a first offense and $100 fine for a second offense.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) announced 34 winners of its 24th annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) community beautification awards and honored 17 amateur photographers in the 19th Annual Amateur Photography Contest.
More than 20 years ago, concerned volunteers formed the KMCB Task Force to work with the County to develop beautification projects and anti-litter and recycling programs. The group also conducts public education campaigns to change residnets’ attitudes about littering and graffiti.
The beautification contest is open to community groups, businesses, public institutions, and other organizations undertaking landscaping projects that enhance the appearance of commonly owned sections of commercial or residential properties. Landscaping along County roadsides, medians, or other public locations is also eligible for awards.
The photography contest is open to individuals, and there is also a youth category for those under the age of 18. Photos were judged on effective composition, originality, technique, interest and relevance of the subject matter.
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) has begun resurfacing 1.4 miles of University Boulevard (Maryland Route 193) between Arcola Avenue and US 29 (Colesville Road). In preparation for the winter, the first stage is temporary asphalt patching to smooth out the most damaged sections of roadway.
Under the project, the road will be ground, patched and resurfaced,; sidewalks and ramps will be reconstructed to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements; inlets and pipes will be cleaned and repaired; repair and/or replace curbs, gutters and guardrails will be repaired and/or replaced; and new pavement markings will be installed. SHA expects the work to be completed in fall 2011.