Construction of New Parking Garage will Triple Number of Parking Spaces
Beginning in mid-January, two surface parking lots in Bethesda (known as Lots 31 and 31A), located at the intersection of Woodmont and Bethesda avenues, will close for about 30 months for the construction of a public-private partnership project that will more than triple the number of public parking spaces available on the site. The project includes two residential buildings with 250 units and retail space at ground level and an underground parking garage with 290 private parking spaces for tenants and 940 public spaces.
One to two months after construction begins, Woodmont Avenue, between Bethesda Avenue and Leland Street, will also close for about 20 months. The adjacent Capital Crescent Trail will remain open during the entire construction project.
Lots 31 and 31A have 279 spaces and are popular with short- and long-term parkers who frequent nearby shops, restaurants and movies, or use the Capital Crescent Trail. To assist parkers, the County is enhancing other parking options in the area during construction.
At the Bethesda-Elm Parking Garage (Garage 57), which has more than 900 parking spaces and is located between Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street, staff will convert 103 long-term spaces to four-hour spaces. In addition, a new messaging system at the garage’s entrance will show drivers how many parking spaces are available.
Drivers who need to park for longer periods of time will be encouraged to use other garages in Bethesda. Long-term parking spaces are available at the Woodmont Corner Garage (Garage 11), at Woodmont and Old Georgetown Road, and the Auburn-Del Ray Garage (Garage 36), as well as at privately operated parking facilities surrounding Lot 31.
Long-term parkers can also use the free Bethesda Circulator shuttle bus. Starting in December, and throughout the construction period, the Circulator schedule will expand, and the frequency of service will increase. Click here for additional information on Circulator service.
The project should be completed in Summer 2013. Check the County’s website for more information on parking in Montgomery County’s public lots and garages.
Montgomery County Executive Leggett joined State, local, and regional leaders for a biannual Street Smart effort to promote pedestrian safety. Leggett announced the installation of curb markings along a segment of Piney Branch Road, the first of its kind in Maryland. The markers indicate where it is and is not safe for pedestrians to cross the street in both English and Spanish, reminding pedestrians to think twice before crossing mid-block and risking injury or death. In addition to engineering enhancements, education teams on the street are intervening when they see unsafe behaviors, and County Police are issuing tickets to drivers and pedestrians who are not obeying the law.
The County has moved aggressively since 2007 -- when the Executive introduced his Pedestrian Safety Initiative -- to reduce pedestrian collisions and to make the community safer for walkers, bikers, and motorists. In eight areas of the County with the highest rates of pedestrian collisions – including this Piney Branch corridor -- there was a 56 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions in 2010, when compared to the preceding five-year average. The severity of the collisions also declined.
Visit the County’s website for more information on safe walking.
On November 2, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett gave the welcoming remarks at the Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) snow summit, an annual event to assess the preparedness of the County’s snow plans and fleet.
This year, MCDOT discussed, what it believes to be, its first-in-the-nation navigation system that uses conventional off-the-shelf technology programmed in-house to boost efficiency for drivers and contractors. MCDOT also described its improved approach to ensure adequate snow removal resources are available to respond to winter storms.
The following day, Montgomery County conducted a winter storm emergency preparedness exercise that involved departments and agencies throughout the County. Staff simulated handling a 20-inch snow storm that caused power outages to 300,000 households.
During the exercise, MCDOT tested the preparedness of the County’s snow plans and fleet. Snow plow operators ran their snow routes on the nearly 5,000 lane miles of County-maintained roads.
Go to the County’s website for more information about snow removal and to view the County’s interactive snow map that indicates the status of plowing operations during snow storms.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) takes the lead during storms to clear roads of snow, remove downed trees and limbs and respond to problems caused by flooding. It may not be as well known that DHS also repairs some bridges. The bridge over Dry Seneca Creek on Montevideo Road in the western portion of the County was severely damaged last August during flooding caused by Hurricane Irene. Montevideo is classified as a rustic road, so the road and bridge must retain their historic character.
After the Division of Transportation Engineering developed a strategy to repair the bridge, a DHS crew that specializes in bridge maintenance set to work. They rebuilt natural stone walls leading up to the bridge, stabilized the old stone abutments, rebuilt the road embankment, reset guard rails, and resurfaced the approaches. To maintain its historic character, the Highway crew used native stone found near the bridge. This painstaking work took six weeks, and the road reopened to traffic late in October.
For more information about Highway Services, visit their website.
Montgomery County received $90 million for transportation projects from the Office of Economic Adjustment, an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. The funds will be used to address traffic congestion in Bethesda resulting from the move of Walter Reed to the National Naval Medical Center as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC).
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett made the announcement, saying, “These funds will enable us to construct and complete six separate projects that will reduce gridlock, improve vehicular mobility, and promote pedestrian safety in Bethesda around the newly-designated Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and NIH.
“Last April, thanks largely to the tireless efforts of Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, Congress established a fund for certain BRAC-related transportation programs. This announcement is the culmination of their hard work.”
These projects are in addition to new and renovated bike paths and sidewalks the County’s Department of Transportation has already constructed around the Medical Center. The newly-funded projects include:
$40 million for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to construct the Maryland Route 355 Crossing Project. This supplements $28 million already provided by the Department of Defense for deep elevators on the east side of Rockville Pike to the Medical Center Metro Station platform and a pedestrian tunnel that will accommodate bus and carpool commuters and pedestrians. This project will enhance transit use, provide safe and convenient access for pedestrians and alleviate gridlock around the Navy’s main gate.
$48.9 million for the State Highway Administration to construct improvements at four major intersections: Rockville Pike at Cedar Lane; Connecticut Avenue at Jones Bridge Road; West Cedar Lane at Old Georgetown Road; and Rockville Pike at Jones Bridge Road. The new funds will supplement approximately $30 million already budgeted by the Maryland Department of Transportation and $9.4 million already appropriated by the United States Congress for the projects. These projects will improve vehicular and pedestrian operations at the busy intersections and help ease gridlock in the area around the Medical Center.
The Division of Highway Services has begun a number of permanent patching projects in Olney Village, the Parkside-Stoneybrook community, and the Windsor Knolls community. For these projects, crews make structural, permanent patches to the road, which is a cost-effective interim solution that maintains roadway structural integrity.
Crews are repairing concrete curbs, gutters and sidewalks repairs in the Kensington Heights community. Defective sections of curbs or sidewalks are replaced to ensure structural integrity and proper drainage and remove tripping hazards. When this work occurs in a neighborhood, residents can take advantage of discounts for concrete work to driveway aprons and lead walks.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation Division of Highway Services (DHS) is conducting its annual vacuum collection of leaves in the southern part of the County from November 7 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. The green signs indicating the first collection should have been posted the week of October 31. 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) announced announces 47 winners of its 25th annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) community beautification awards. Fourteen amateur photographers were also honored in addition to two Adopt A Road volunteers.
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 residents’ 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 Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) invites the public to provide comments on a bikesharing initiative proposed for an area stretching from the District of Columbia line to the Beltway along both Montgomery County portions of the Metrorail Red Line, including Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Forest Glen and Wheaton on the eastern metrorail leg, and Friendship Heights, Bethesda and Medical Center along the western portion. Staff is seeking input on bikesharing locations as part of a grant application to the Maryland Department of Transportation for a bikesharing system.
The open house will be held on Tuesday, November 29 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the lobby auditorium of the Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville. The building is a short walk from the Rockville station on the Metrorail red line.
This grant is part of a larger MCDOT initiative to institute bikesharing throughout Montgomery County to increase options for non-automobile travel.
On November 21, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett joined other federal, state and local officials at a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the next segment of the InterCounty Connector (ICC). The new segment extends the road to Interstate 95. Until December 4, commuters can test drive the ICC at no charge.
In addition to the ICC, road improvements were completed to more than one mile of US 29 and nearly two miles of Interstate 95’s auxiliary lane.
Officials predict that using the ICC will cut the travel time between Gaithersburg and Laurel by 30 minutes.
Those who plan to use the road are encouraged to get an E-ZPass. Drivers who do not use E-ZPass will receive a bill by mail, for 150 percent of the original toll.
Future work includes interchanges that will provide access between the ICC and MD 182, MD 650, US 29, Briggs Chaney Road, and I-95. These interchanges route traffic over US 29 and I-95, and under Old Columbia Pike, Briggs Chaney Road and Old Gunpowder Road.
Starting in January, the Maryland Transit Administration will launch additional ICC bus service.
For more information about the ICC, visit the State Highway Administration’s website. Visit montgomerycountymd.gov/commute and click on the mtaiccbus.com link to learn more about proposed routes.