Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system launched its “S” Service Plan that is designed to provide bus service on every route during snow, storms or emergencies. During adverse weather, riders can expect less frequent service than normal. However, for the first time, Ride On’s S Plan provides a guideline to passengers that spells out how often buses are expected to run on each route and when the first and last trips will occur.
The S Service Plan applies to weekdays, so Ride On never needed to put the Plan in place during the record-setting winter storm that began on Friday, December 18. On Saturday, December 19, Ride On was the only regional bus system to operate until 3 p.m., despite blizzard conditions. By Sunday, Ride On provided its normal service, albeit with some weather and road-related delays.
Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Division of Highway Services staff continue to clear the record snowfall that occurred the week before Christmas, plowing and spreading abrasives throughout residential areas. With up to 24 inches of snow in some parts of the County, crews worked round the clock for three days to ensure the safety and well being of residents, clear snow from emergency and bus routes, and provide access to all roads in the County. Snow began falling Friday evening, December 18 and by Tuesday morning’s rush hour, every main and secondary road in the County was clear and every residential street had been plowed at least once. MCDOT’s goal is to make every residential street passable -- not to necessarily clear them to bare pavement.
Residents can report roads that need immediate attention on the County’s website, or they can call the MCDOT Customer Service Center at 240-777-6000.
MCDOT is responsible for clearing more than 5,000 lane miles of County roads. The Maryland State Highway Administration clears all numbered routes in the County (such as Georgia Avenue, Maryland Route 97) and municipalities, such as Rockville, Gaithersburg and Takoma Park, clear their own streets.
Funding has been recommended for the U.S. Department of Transportation that includes an additional $4.4 million designated for improvements along MD Route 355/Rockville Pike at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Three million dollars and $1.97 million were already appropriated for FY2009 and FY2008, respectively, and supplement $29.2 million in funding from the State of Maryland for the intersections improvement project.
The funding would pay for intersection improvements at:
Cedar Lane and Rockville Pike
Jones Bridge Road and Rockville Pike
Jones Bridge Road and Connecticut Avenue
Cedar Lane and Old Georgetown Road, which includes the Trolley Trail extension to the National Institutes for Health
For more information about projects related to the expansion of the Medical Center as a result of the federal Base Realignment and Closure policies (BRAC), visit the County’s BRAC website.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill which includes $300 million for BRAC-related transportation mitigation efforts at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD and facilities in Virginia. Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin fought for funds to prepare Maryland communities and military bases for the 2005 BRAC process. The BRAC Commission’s recommendations are expected to bring 45,000 to 60,000 new jobs to Maryland by 2020 as well as new sources of state revenue.
The South Silver Spring Pedestrian Linkages Project was completed in December when officials opened Bottleworks Lane, a one-way street connecting East-West Highway and Kennett Street. The roadway runs beside Gramax Towers, a 15-story former office building that stood vacant for 15 years before being converted into 182 housing units. This key County project is designed to enhance pedestrian safety, business development and overall livability in an emerging South Silver Spring community.
Developed by the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs over ten years, the project consists of eight segments of convenient, safe and attractive pedestrian walkway links through South Silver Spring. The links help overcome the inconvenience and isolation created by the unusually large block pattern in the area.
The name “Bottleworks Lane” was selected for the final segment in recognition of the former Canada Dry Factory that was located near this link. Bottleworks Lane includes pedestrian lighting, parking meters and a bifiltration structure that collects runoff before it enters the storm water management system.
In 2006, Montgomery County received an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for the Silver Spring Pedestrian Linkages Project.
More information about the project is available on the County website.
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) has begun a $1.4 million safety and resurfacing project for New Hampshire Avenue between Route 410 and Holton Lane in Takoma Park. The work is expected to continue through spring 2010.
The Montgomery County Ride On bus system is now offering online trip planning tools using Google Maps to make it even easier for commuters to plan a trip on Ride On from home, work or on the go. Google Maps now includes Ride On transit route and schedule information.
To use the trip planner, go to Google Maps and select “By Public Transit” and the results will show the Ride On route options for the trip. Passengers can also select a future date and time by clicking the “Show Options” button.
Google Mobile also allows commuters with a GPS enabled smart phone and Google Maps to obtain Ride On trip information based on their current location and time.
For additional information about Ride On, visit the Division of Transit Services’s website or call the Transit Information Center at 240-777-7433 (RIDE).
The temporary closing of Parking Lot 31A in Bethesda that was previously scheduled to begin on December 7 has been postponed. A new date, most likely in January, will be announced soon.
Lot 31A is located south of Bethesda Avenue and east of Woodmont Avenue. It is across the street from the much larger Parking Lot 31. The larger lot remains open.
The temporary closure of the small parking lot will be necessary during utility relocation related to a public/private re-development of Lot 31 and 31A in spring 2011 that will include a new public underground parking garage.
Metrobus service will change on three bus routes in Maryland, beginning Sunday, December 27, including relocation of bus stops at the Prince George’s Plaza, Rockville and Wheaton Metrorail stations to accommodate some of the service changes.
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.