During snowstorms, Montgomery County’s homepage features a “Winter Storm Information” graphic that links to up-to-the-minute news about the County’s storm response and provides useful links and information, including the County’s new snow map.
The best source of information on the County’s services continues to be the 311 telephone information line, which can be accessed by calling 311 (240-777-0311 from outside the County) or online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/311. During storms or other emergencies, 311 operating hours are extended as needed.
Residents are encouraged to also sign up for Alert Montgomery, which delivers important emergency alerts, notifications and updates through an e-mail account (work, home, other); cell phone; text pager; BlackBerry; wireless PDA; or text message. Or, follow Montgomery County on Facebook or Twitter.
On Presidents’ Day, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett joined Governor Martin O’Malley, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other local officials to celebrate the completion of the first segment of the Intercounty Connector (ICC), a road that has been planned since the 1950’s. Officially designated as MD 200, the project is the State’s first all-electronic toll road.
The first segment connects I-370 in Gaithersburg to Georgia Avenue, just south of Olney. A temporary ramp beyond Georgia Avenue connects eastbound motorists with Norbeck Road, which connects to MD198 and I-95. The rest of the highway is expected to open in 2012.
Motorists are encouraged to “test drive” the road at no charge until March 6. The ICC tolling system uses E-Z Pass® technology that works at highway speeds, eliminating the need for toll plazas. For this first six-mile segment, the toll will be $1.45 during weekday peak hours, $1.15 off-peak, and $0.60 overnight.
To learn more about the ICC, go to the Maryland Transportation Authority’s website.
On March 1, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) will introduce ICC bus routes 201 and 202. The bus routes will provide free service for the first two weeks of operation. Fares will be collected beginning Tuesday, March 15.
According to MTA, the two bus routes link Gaithersburg to job and transportation centers at Fort Meade and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
ICC Bus Route 201 provides service between the Gaithersburg Park and Ride lot located at I-270 and MD 124 in Montgomery County and BWI Marshall Airport.
ICC Bus Route 202 is designed to serve employees working at NSA and Fort Meade.
Detailed information on routes, times and fares can be found at the ICC website. Or, customers can also call the MTA Transit Information Center Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 410-539-5000 or TTY 410-539-3497.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced the launch of a Transit Task Force whose mission is making a comprehensive rapid transit system a reality in Montgomery County. The Task Force will advocate for developing and implementing a system that is consistent with state transportation objectives and complements regional transit operations.
Leggett made the commitment to establish the Task Force in his 2010 inaugural address to the residents of Montgomery County. The Task Force is a public/private partnership with 20 members appointed by the County Executive and chaired by Mark Winston, a lawyer in private practice with the firm of Glazer Winston Honigman Ellick, PLLC, who was a member of the Maryland State Transportation Commission and State Roads Commission. The group includes Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich, who has championed a bus rapid transit network for the County, and County Council Vice President Roger Berliner.
For more information about the Task Force and its members, go to the County’s website.
Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation has received nearly $15.4 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding designed to help local governments jumpstart their economies. The funded projects -- intended to help improve the County’s economy and transportation infrastructure -- have either been completed or are underway.
The Division of Highway Services (DHS) received about $6.7 million to improve seven roadways that, due to their deteriorated condition, were designated as high priority projects under DHS’ inventory of Countywide roadway conditions.
The Division of Transit Services (DTS) received $6.55 million to replace existing buses with 12 energy efficient, diesel-electric hybrids and one clean diesel bus. DTS also received $350,000 to purchase new bid/dispatch software that will increase efficiency in managing work assignments and daily dispatching.
The Division of Traffic Engineering received nearly $1.75 million for four projects to improve traffic flow and traffic and pedestrian safety.
More information about the projects is available on the County’s website. Information about other ARRA funds awarded to the County is also available on the County’s website.
On January 31, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett sent a report to the County Council outlining recommendations for practical and appropriate ways of dealing with solicitors who sell goods, panhandle or solicit for charities from roadway medians or adjacent sidewalks. These solicitors not only endanger themselves, but also put motorists at risk. Leggett convened the Task Force last year to look at the problem.
Leggett has asked State legislators who served on the Task Force to introduce a bill in the current legislative session that would enable the County to establish a permit system for roadside solicitation. Solicitors without a County permit would be banned. Leggett asked for the County Council’s support for this legislation.
A new link on the Montgomery County homepage makes it even easier for residents to provide comments and ideas on government restructuring, cost savings and other thoughts about closing the County’s projected $300 million budget gap for the coming fiscal year (FY). The idea for the new link came from Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal.
Resident feedback will be used by both the Montgomery County Council, during its budget deliberations, and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, as he prepares his recommended operating budget, which will be presented to the County Council on March 15.
The County Executive held five budget forums in January throughout the County and the County Council is holding a series of Town Hall meetings to hear directly from residents about their suggestions.
The County Council approves the FY 2012 budget in May. The new fiscal year begins July 1. The budget form is available on the County’s website.
Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation’s Division of Transportation Engineering will soon begin reconstructing the bridge that carries Cedar Lane over Rock Creek. The bridge was originally constructed in 1959 and is used by more than 12,500 vehicles a day. A routine inspection found that the bridge superstructure and pier caps need to be reconstructed.
During the first phase of the project this winter, a fabricator will construct and install a temporary pedestrian bridge across Rock Creek. A trail south of the bridge will also be built. Phase two of the project will begin at the end of the school year. Cedar Lane will be closed and vehicles will be detoured.
Residents should be aware that placing landscaping, such as river stones or planters, or structures, such as a decks, sheds, or fences, within the area on their property reserved for drainage is prohibited. These items can cause flooding downstream if they interfere with the drainage system.
Homeowners may not be aware that the deed to their property may have designated storm water or storm drain easements that handle water runoff. These easements reserve a swatch of land about 15 to 20 feet wide for drainage, either above or below ground. They are typically found in front of a house, running parallel to the road, but may also be in side or back yards.
Residents should check the deeds on their property for a drainage easement before building a structure or an addition or installing landscaping. To make changes to an easement location, residents must obtain a “revocable permit” from the Department of Permitting Services.
For more information about storm drain easements or permits to build on them, call 311, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Bonifant-Dixon Garage (Garage 5) in downtown Silver Spring is partially closed for deck restoration. The project will take about a year. The Dixon Avenue entrance will be closed during construction, but more than 950 parking spaces remain open and can be accessed using the Bonifant Street entrance.
The garage serves the Silver Spring Metro Rail Station as well as surrounding businesses.