On May 26, the Montgomery County Council approved the fiscal year 2012 operating budget. Highlights of the County’s Department of Transportation approved budget include:
The Kids Ride Free Program was restored, allowing students up to 18 years old to ride free on Ride On and Metrobus in Montgomery County weekdays between 2 and 7 p.m.
Funding for tree maintenance will increase.
A 10-cent an hour increase in long-term parking fees in Bethesda and Silver Spring was proposed by the County Executive in his recommended budget. The rate increase will take effect July 1 in Bethesda and January 2012 in Silver Spring.
Monthly parking passes for Bethesda parking will rise by $20 to $140 a month and increase $18 in Silver Spring to $113 a month.
Monthly Ride On passes will increase by $10 beginning in July.
Current Ride On bus service was maintained.
Funding for the Greater Shady Grove Transportation Management District.
Creation of a new $5.9 million reserve fund for snow removal and storm cleanup.
The U.S. Open Championship will be held from June 13 to19 at the Congressional Country Club on River Road.
A private contractor, Transportation Management Services (TMS), will be offering a U.S. Golf Association-sanctioned shuttle service from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station located in North Bethesda. The shuttle bus ride will drop spectators within 200 yards of the 5th hole Admission Gate at Congressional Country Club.
MetroBus Route T2 is another option. It runs along River Road with a stop in front of Congressional Country Club. The T2 makes connections with the Friendship Heights and Rockville Metro stations.
Daily TMS shuttle passes are $8 and good for unlimited trips during the day. A weekly shuttle pass is $35, and will provide unlimited bus access to and from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Station and Congressional Country Club throughout the week of the championship. All adults and children over 12 must have a shuttle pass in order to board the bus.
A limited number of shuttle passes is available. Spectators MUST make a reservation in advance. No shuttle passes available will be sold at the Metro stations or on-site at the U.S. Open.
TMS Shuttle Hours of Operation:
June 13 - June 19
Monday through Friday: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For additional information regarding TMS shuttle bus service from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station, visit the TMS website or call TMS directly at (800) 437-7629.
Effective May 1, schedules for nine Ride On bus routes were adjusted to better match the time it takes for buses to complete routes. No changes to the route or stop locations were made. Ride On makes these types of adjustments periodically to take into account traffic conditions, construction projects and other factors that can affect the time it takes for a bus to complete its route.
Battery Lane, Old Columbia Pike and Potomac Falls Neighborhood
The Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) is resurfacing Battery Lane in Bethesda, from Wisconsin Avenue to Old Georgetown Road. The Battery Lane work began May 9 and should take about three to four weeks.
DHS is also repaving Old Columbia Pike, from Spencerville Road (MD 198) to Columbia Pike (US 29). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is the source of funding for the Old Columbia Pike project, which began in April and is expected to be completed in early July.
For both projects, DHS will patch areas of distressed pavement; mill the roadway surface, removing one to two inches to improve drainage; make utility adjustments; seal cracks; repave the road using hot mix asphalt; and restore the lane markings.
Work is also planned to begin to preserve roads in the Potomac Falls neighborhood using micro seal resurfacing. For this project, DHS will patch areas of distressed pavement; make utility adjustments; seal cracks; restore the lane markings; and use a micro seal material that fills cracks and small voids and extends the life of the road pavement. The project will begin in early June and should take about a week.
With the return of warmer weather, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) has resumed repairs to sidewalks and curbs as part of its Renew Montgomery program. Renew Montgomery coordinates Department of Transportation services to improve the infrastructure of older neighborhoods.
Repairs are in progress in the Flower Hill neighborhood, Gaithersburg; and Connecticut Avenue Estates and the Wheaton Woods community in Wheaton.
The work involves removing and replacing damaged sidewalks and ensuring that curb ramps are accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, removing and replacing damaged and misaligned curbs and restoring disturbed areas with soil, grass seed and straw mulch. While DHS is in the neighborhood, residents can take advantage of the competitive price offered by the County to replace driveway aprons (the portion of the driveway that is within the public right-of-way) and lead walks (the sidewalk from the edge of the road to a homeowner’s property line).
Montgomery County Police participated in the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign during the month of May by aggressively enforcing Maryland’s seat belt laws.
Residents are reminded that the driver, front seat passenger and all other vehicle occupants under the age of 16 must wear a seat belt or be secured in a child restraint system (child safety seat or booster seat) while riding in a Maryland registered motor vehicle. The penalty for not wearing a seat belt is $25. The penalty for violating the child restraint law is $60.
Maryland law mandates that every child under eight years of age must be secured in a federally-approved and correctly used child restraint system, unless the child is 4’9” or taller, or weighs more than 65 pounds. Montgomery County Police recommend the use of seat belts for every motor vehicle passenger over the age and size requirements for use of child restraint systems.
Anyone not wearing a seat belt increases their risk for injury or even death. Drivers and passengers are urged to buckle up.
Members of the public were invited to attend a Montgomery County Civic Federation Bike Summit on May 14. Attendees joined staff from the County’s Department of Transportation, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, elected and appointed officials, bicyclists and bicycle advocates to brainstorm how to get more people to bicycle to transit, work, shopping, errands, entertainment, recreation, and to and from school and after-school activities.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has announced its 25th Annual Beautification and Photography contests, both of which are sponsored by MCDOT in cooperation with the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) Task Force.
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 the award.
The Amateur Photography Contest photos of County locations or residents are judged on effective composition, originality, interest and relevance of the subject matter, and technique. Subject categories include Montgomery County by day or by night, County landmarks, people, and persons at work. There is also an optional youth category for kids under 18 who wish to be judged only against their peers.
Nominations for both contests are due by June 20. For more information or downloadable nomination forms, visit MCDOT’s website or contact the Community Outreach Office by calling 240-777-7155.
In March, the County completed installing a pay-by-cell phone parking system for over 5,000 meters in Bethesda. Now, Silver Spring has been completed. By summer, the program will be expanded to include Wheaton, Montgomery Hills and North Bethesda for a total of 11,000 meters with the convenient service.
The program provides another payment option to parking customers who currently can use cash, a monthly permit, or the cash key. A great feature of pay by cell is the ability to receive a text message reminder when parking time is about to expire and then extend parking time using the cell phone, as long as the maximum parking time on the meter is not exceeded. Unlike the other payment options, parkers pay only for the time used.
There is a 35-cent transaction fee for each parking session.
To register for an account, go to the County’s website or call 301-830-7074.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett is seeking applicants to fill four public member vacancies on the Montgomery County Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee. Three incumbents are eligible to apply for reappointment.
The 17-member Advisory Committee includes six government representatives, one public school representative, one Maryland Municipal League representative and nine general public members who represent various regions of Montgomery County, including one representative of the bicycle advocacy community.
This committee advises the County Executive, County Council, and elected officials on implementation of the County’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative, priorities and needs in the area of pedestrian and bicycle safety and access, gathers information on pedestrian and bicycle safety, and identifies any new issues that may emerge.
Members serve three-year terms without compensation but are eligible for reimbursement for travel and dependent care for meetings attended. Meetings generally are held every other month on weekday evenings. All members are also expected to serve on various sub-committees, and these meetings will be held as needed.
For more information about pedestrian safety in the County, see the MCDOT website. For information about these committee vacancies, see the County Executive’s website or call Beth Gochrach at 240-777-2528.
The Maryland State Highway Administration began the following three road repair projects in early May:
Resurfacing of less than one mile of MD 355 (Rockville Pike) between MD 911 (First Street) and Templeton Place should be completed in early June.
Overnight road patching on MD 28 (Norbeck Road) between MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) and the bridge over Rock Creek Trail, just south of Baltimore Road, should be completed in late May. Following these repairs, the road will be resurfaced in early summer.
Resurfacing of 1.5 miles of MD 186 (Brookville Road) between Western Avenue and MD 410 (East West Highway) should be completed in late June.
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will soon begin a two-year bridge rehabilitation project on the I-495 Northwest Branch Bridge between MD 650 (New Hampshire Avenue) and MD 193 (University Boulevard) in Silver Spring. The existing structure was built in 1967 and its deck is showing signs of deterioration. Construction will begin this spring and should be completed in the fall of 2012, weather permitting.
Repairs include replacing portions of the existing concrete bridge deck. SHA will also replace the traffic barriers, install new concrete to resurface portions of the bridge deck not being replaced, and resurface the approach roadway once bridge work is complete.
Crews will manage construction in eight phases, incorporating multiple lane shifts for the duration of the project. Pattern changes include a temporary traffic split around the work zone and temporary lane shifts on both sides of I-495.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) recently approved a request from the Maryland Department of Transportation to allow travelers going to BWI airport to park for up to one week in the Burtonsville/MD198 Park & Ride Lot. The Maryland Transit Administration’s (MTA) new Route 201 intercity bus line to BWI airport will provide transportation from the lot to the airport.
MCDOT also approved a similar measure that allows travelers to park at the Metropolitan Grove MARC rail station and take the MTA Route 202 intercity bus line to BWI airport.
Both intercity bus lines use the Intercounty Connector/MD200 to quickly reach the airport. For more information on commuter bus service, visit MTA’s website.
Residents, property owners, businesses, civic groups and other stakeholders are invited to participate in a multi-agency charette process about the White Flint Sector Plan proposed public amenities. These amenities include a recreation center, neighborhood library, community meeting space, civic green, a satellite Regional Services Center, modifications to Wall Park and a recreation trail that links these facilities to each other and other locations.
The initial public charette will be held on June 1 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in the Walter Johnson High School cafeteria, 6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda. Attendees will be asked for input about how the public amenities can meet existing and anticipated community needs, contribute to the vitality of the area and help to shape and define White Flint as a world-class center in which to live, shop, work and play. Staff will present examples of community-defining facilities and review the public amenities outlined in the White Flint Master Plan.
In smaller groups, attendees will develop ideas on the following issues:
How the public amenities can meet existing and emerging community needs;
How the facilities can help shape the identity of White Flint as a premier destination;
How to develop facilities that are environmentally, operationally and programmatically sustainable; and
How to plan facilities that are coordinated and do not duplicate services, nor unduly compete with privately provided amenities and businesses.
A second charette will be held on June 16 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. also in the Walter Johnson High School cafeteria. County staff will present a conceptual implementation plan based on input received at the June 1 meeting.
The charettes are being held by the Montgomery County Department of General Services in collaboration with public agencies including, Public Libraries, Department of Recreation, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, Department of Transportation and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Several White Flint developers have generously helped fund this effort, including Federal Realty Investment Trust, Gables Residential, JBG Associates, L.L.C., LCOR White Flint, L.L.C., Promark Real Estate Services, L.L.C., Saul Holdings Limited Partnership, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust and White Flint Mall, L.L.C.
Goals of the charette process are to develop a White Flint Amenities Implementation strategy that will:
Create an inviting and iconic sense of community and place;
Maximize the benefits to the public;
Create synergies with existing and planned public and private facilities;
Maximize use of a recreation loop and transit to promote greater accessibility, use and enjoyment;
Maximize use and efficiency of amenities;
Avoid unintended redundancy and competition between public and private facilities; and
Be affordable, “right-sized” and sustainable.
Anyone needing ADA, sign language interpreters or other special accommodations to attend the charettes must contact Rob Klein at 240-777-6016 or email@example.com at least three business days before each meeting.