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The County’s long-term, comprehensive transportation plan will significantly increase spending on new roads, transit, hiker-biker trails, and pedestrian safety.

Monday, June 28, 2010

311 Launched – One Easy-to-Remember Phone Number Will Now Access Nearly All County Government Services

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett unveiled his latest initiative this month to ensure a responsive and accountable County Government. Residents will now be able to call 311 to report an issue or request information from County departments. The phone line will be staffed Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Along with the phone line, the County also launched a companion 311 website that is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
 
Now, by simply dialing 311, residents will be able to access the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s more than 75 different transportation-related services. For example, requesting a Ride Bus schedule, reporting a pothole or a traffic signal light out, asking where to purchase a parking permit, or alerting crews of a hanging tree limb in the right-of-way can now all be handled through one telephone number.
 
311 is accessible by most cell phone providers and will connect you when you are physically in Montgomery County.  Fees may apply, so check with your cell phone provider. Outside the County, access operators by calling 240-777-0311.
CATEGORIES: 311
POSTED: 9:00:00 AM |

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ride On Fares to Increase and Other Changes to Take Effect June 27; Kids Ride Free and Code Red Ride Free to be Suspended

Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system will change its fares on June 27 to coordinate with the introduction of a new fare structure by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro). The Ride On fare changes are designed to make transfers between Metrobus and Ride On simpler and less confusing by keeping fares for the two transit systems compatible. In addition, to help close Montgomery County’s nearly $1 billion budget gap for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1, Ride On will also be making other changes. 
 
The new Ride On fares are shown below:
 
Ride On Fare Change 
New Fare
Regular cash fare or token   
$1.70
Regular fare paid with SmarTrip card
$1.50
Express Route 70 cash fare or token
$3.85
Express Route 70 fare paid with SmarTrip card
$3.65
Senior/Disabled with identification card
or Attendant accompanying disabled customer with Attendant-Eligible card
from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays      
Free (Unchanged from current fare)     
Senior/Disabled with identification card
or Attendant accompanying disabled customer with Attendant-Eligible card
except from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays
with cash fare or token: 85¢
 
with SmarTrip card: 75¢           
Metrorail to Ride On bus transfer         
$1.00
Youth Cruiser Pass      
$11.00 a month
Summer Youth Cruiser Pass
(good for June, July and August)          
$18.00
Regional One Day bus pass     
Discontinued
Change bus-to-bus transfer period 
From 3 hours to 2 hours
 
Beginning June 27, Ride On will also suspend the Kids Ride Free program. However, those under 18 can still take Ride On at steeply discounted rates by purchasing a Youth Cruiser Pass for $11 a month, good for unlimited rides. During the summer, the even less expensive three-month, $18 Summer Youth Cruiser Pass provides unlimited rides during June, July and August.
 
Ride On is also suspending the Code Red, Ride Free program, which has provided free rides on Code Red or Code Purple Days when air quality is considered unhealthy or very unhealthy, respectively. Single Code Red days saw minimal or no ridership increase and cost the County $45,000 on a weekday, $26,000 on a Saturday and $20,000 on a Sunday. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission discontinued their program last year, and Metrobus also will not participate this year. 
 
More information about Ride On is available on the County’s website or by calling the County’s Transit Information Center at 311.
CATEGORIES: Ride On
POSTED: 8:00:00 AM |

Monday, June 28, 2010

Department of Transportation Testing New Pedestrian-Oriented Traffic Signal

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Traffic Engineering Division is testing a new type of pedestrian-oriented traffic signal on Gude Drive in Rockville in an area that has had eight pedestrian collisions in the past two years.
 
The new signal is called a HAWK, short for High-intensity Activated crossWalK. It’s designed for locations where a full traffic signal isn’t suitable, but where standard treatments, such as signs or flashing lights, have had only limited success. The effectiveness of the HAWK signal in stopping traffic for pedestrians has been as high as 97 percent in other parts of the country.
 
The HAWK signal on Gude Drive flashes yellow at all times to provide a warning that pedestrians may be present. When a walker pushes a button on the signal, it first turns solid yellow and then red, allowing the pedestrian to cross two lanes of traffic. Once in the median, the pedestrian repeats the process to cross the remaining two lanes. Traffic impacts are minimized, while pedestrian safety is enhanced.
 
MCDOT will be collecting “before” and “after” data to evaluate the HAWK’s effectiveness. For more information on pedestrian safety, visit the County’s website.
CATEGORIES: Traffic Signal
POSTED: 7:00:00 AM |

Monday, June 28, 2010

Aggressive Drivers Beware: 'Smooth Operator' is Back

The Montgomery County Police Department is once again participating in the regional “Smooth Operator” campaign, which began Sunday, June 6, and will take place one week out of each of the summer months and two weeks in September.
 
The campaign targets aggressive drivers in Maryland, Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Pennsylvania. Aggressive driving behaviors include: speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changing, failing to yield the right-of-way, and running red lights and stop signs. 
 
The 2010 campaign will take place during the following weeks:
  • July 4 – 10
  • August 1 – 7
  • September 5 – 18
 During these waves, Montgomery County Police will be especially committed to enforcing aggressive driving laws and traffic violations. 
CATEGORIES: Safety , Pedestrian Safety
POSTED: 6:00:00 AM |

Monday, June 28, 2010

Construction Crews to Work at Night on Silver SpringTransitCenter Project for Three Months

Earlier this month, crews began relocating utilities on Colesville Road for the Silver Spring Transit Center. The work will take about three months and will be conducted at night, Sundays through Thursdays, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next morning.  Colesville Road will be fully opened to traffic by 5 a.m. every morning.
 
The new Transit Center will be located next to the MetroRail station in downtown Silver Spring. It will bring together buses, Metrorail and MARC trains, and bikeways into one facility. A mixed-use project with two towers of apartments and condominiums and a 200-room hotel will be located above the center. 
 
For more information, visit the Department of General Services’ website
CATEGORIES: Projects
POSTED: 5:00:00 AM |

Monday, June 28, 2010

MontgomeryCounty Announces First “Green” Refuse and Recycling Trucks In Mid-Atlantic Region

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help improve local air quality and save money, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Solid Waste Services has put into service the first 20 of 100 refuse and recycling collection trucks powered with compressed natural gas (CNG).
 
The first 20 trucks were used for the first time in April. Twenty additional trucks will enter service July 1, and the remaining 60 vehicles will be phased in over the next two years.
 
Because they are powered with compressed natural gas, the trucks will be much quieter than their diesel-powered predecessors. But the brightly colored blue and white trucks displaying the message “Think Green, Breathe Clean, Compressed Natural Gas” will be very easy to see in Montgomery County neighborhoods.  
 
Nationwide figures indicate that, on the average, CNG costs are 15 percent less than diesel fuel. Moreover, 97 percent of the natural gas used in the U.S. is produced in this country.
 
The environmental benefits of compressed natural gas include:
  • Reducing smog-causing nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by 80 percent;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions 10 to 15 percent;
  • Reducing asthma-causing particulate matter by 74 to 90 percent; and
  • Providing cleaner air for collection personnel and residents.
CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: 4:00:00 AM |

Monday, June 28, 2010

Department of Transportation’s Annual Report Now Available Online

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has published its online 2010 Annual Report that outlines its accomplishments during the fiscal year. The short report features photos, including one of the new Ride On logo and the revised paint scheme that facilitates side-of-the-bus advertising.
 
The section entitled “Directions” features new initiatives and pilot programs the department will be implementing this fiscal year and beyond. Read about cell phone-based technology being tested as a new way to pay for parking; learn why a third Ride On depot is needed and how the bus fleet is getting greener; understand the new pavement monitoring system and how it’s used to determine the next road to be resurfaced; and see how some traffic signals are kept fully operational even when the power fails.
 
The Annual Report is light reading but informative for anyone who travels in Montgomery County. 
CATEGORIES: Publication
POSTED: 3:00:00 AM |

Monday, June 28, 2010

Maryland State Highway Administration Update

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration, working with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, opened two new access ramps to MD 355 (Rockville Pike) on June 17 and June 18.

The ramp from Montrose Parkway to northbound MD 355 and the ramp from northbound Hoya Street, formerly “old” Old Georgetown Road, to southbound MD 355 are now permanently open to traffic. With these ramps open, the access to MD 355 from Montrose Road, Montrose Parkway, and Hoya Street will be closed.

With the new traffic patterns, access to northbound MD 355 is described below:

  • Drivers traveling on Montrose Parkway use the existing signal to turn left or right at the entrance of the new ramp to northbound MD 355;
  • Drivers traveling on northbound Hoya Street turn right onto eastbound Montrose Parkway and turn left at the existing signal at the entrance of the new ramp; and
  • Drivers traveling on Montrose Road turn right onto Hoya Street, turn left onto eastbound Montrose Parkway, and turn left at the existing signal at the entrance of the new ramp.

To access southbound MD 355:

  • Drivers traveling westbound on Montrose Parkway turn right at Hoya Street and continue to the new ramp;
  • Drivers traveling eastbound on Montrose Parkway turn left at Hoya Street and continue to the new ramp;
  • Drivers on eastbound Montrose Road turn left at Hoya Street and continue to the new ramp; and
  • Drivers on northbound Hoya Street continue straight to the new ramp.
CATEGORIES: Highway
POSTED: 2:00:00 AM |

Monday, June 28, 2010

Governors Highway Safety Association Issues Report About Nationwide Efforts to Curb Distracted Driving

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a report about steps states are taking to reduce distracted driving. GHSA is a nonprofit association that works to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management, and represents the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

According to the GHSA news release about the report, “the survey found that states are aggressively pursuing solutions to distracted driving including: stronger laws, increased data collection, new education programs, public/private partnerships and a growing reliance on new media to spread the message.”

The report states that Maryland is one of 27 states that has made distracted driving a priority and has included efforts to combat this problem in its strategic highway safety plans.

Maryland also collects information about the number of crashes in which distraction (of any kind) is a factor in a crash; has distracted driving materials targeting teen drivers and/or their parents; includes distracted driving on the State’s Driver License Test; educates the public about the dangers of distracted driving using traditional methods but not social media; work with employers to develop distracted driving policies; and has novice driver cell phone bans.

The report is available online at the GHSA website.
CATEGORIES: Highway
POSTED: 1:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010