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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.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Storm

On Sunday, July 25, the County was struck by a sudden and violent summer storm that knocked out power to almost 220,000 Pepco customers (out of a total of 302,000). Food safety tips and tips for disposing of spoiled food are on the County’s website. The power loss impacted some 330  traffic signals (out of a total of 750). More than 250 roads were closed due to downed trees. The Potomac Water Treatment Plant, which provides about 70 percent of Montgomery County’s water, lost power, requiring an immediate ban on outdoor water use. Rockville City’s water system was impacted and Shady Grove Hospital lost power. Many County facilities also lost power. The Aspen Hill, Kensington, Silver Spring and Bethesda areas were hardest hit.
 
The County sprang into action, activating the Emergency Operations Center, opening the 3-1-1 Call Center to work around the clock, opening shelters for those without power, and responding to critical needs and damage immediately. 
 
Police officers directed traffic at main intersections and the Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Traffic Engineering Division deployed temporary stop signs to other locations. MCDOT Highway Services crews mobilized to remove downed trees and branches from public right-of-ways.  Because MCDOT cannot touch trees entangled in power lines, County crews waited for Pepco to clear the power lines and make sure it was safe. 
 
Residents were urged to treat all intersections without working traffic signals as four-way stops. Stop – then proceed cautiously. Visit the County’s website for information on the disposal of trees and branches from residents’ private property. 
 
An emergency like this one further highlights how important communication is during a crisis. Residents are urged to register for Alert Montgomery, which sends messages about severe weather, traffic problems or emergencies directly to cell phones, PDAs and emails. It will take less than five minutes to sign up for this critical service on the County’s website.  News and the most recent updates are also available on the County’s Facebook page and through Twitter.  Go to the County’s website to sign up.
 
CATEGORIES: Safety
POSTED: 4:00:00 PM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

County Council Approves Revisions to Purple Line Plan

The Montgomery County Council approved revisions to the Purple Line Functional Plan that addresses station locations, alignment of some portions of the route, and adding access points adjacent to the Capital Crescent Trail. The Purple Line is a proposed 16-mile rapid transit line extending from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County. It will provide a direct connection to the Metrorail Red, Green, and Orange lines. The Purple Line will also connect to MARC, AMTRAK and local bus services.
 
The original draft of the Purple Line Plan was submitted by the Montgomery County Planning Board.  Recommended changes to the plan have since been offered by the public; the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environmental Committee; and the full Council.
 
Among the recommended changes the Council approved on July 27 are:
  • Adding specific station locations east of the Silver Spring Station.
  • Building the Capital Crescent Trail on the north side of the tracks rather than on the south side between Bethesda and Rock Creek. The trail will run parallel to the Purple Line from Bethesda to Silver Spring,
  • Adding more access points to the trail, creating a total of more than 20 locations where residents can enter the trail.
  • Relocating the Sanders/Woodside Station (that honors Harry Sanders, an activist who led the campaign for the Purple Line) from Spring Street to 16th Street.
  • Showing a possible future station on Wayne Avenue near Dale Drive in East Silver Spring, but not building the station without further consensus from the community.
 
For more information, visit the Council’s website.
 
CATEGORIES: Metro
POSTED: 11:30:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

County Begins Work to Improve and Extend Watkins Mill Road; Road is Vital East-West Transportation Link for MARC and Future Corridor Cities Transitway

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Division of Transportation Engineering has begun construction of Watkins Mill Road Extended, designated in the Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan as a vital east-west link. The project will connect Watkins Mill Road east of I-270 to Frederick Road/Maryland Route 355 and, ultimately, to the Metropolitan Grove station and interim terminus for the Corridor Cities Transitway. In the future, the State will build an interchange at I-270 and Watkins Mill Road to relieve congestion at the Maryland 124/I-270 interchange, and the Frederick Road/Montgomery Village Avenue and Quince Orchard Road/Clopper Road intersections.  
 
Under an agreement with the County and the City of Gaithersburg, a private developer, BP Realty Investments, constructed a four-lane portion of Watkins Mill Road, from west of I-270 to an existing section of road east of Clopper Road/Maryland Route 117. The developer is paying for nearly one-fourth of the Watkins Mill Road Extended project and the County and the City are paying the remaining amount. The developer also dedicated the land for the future interchange and a new 6th District County Police Station.  
 
Watkins Mill Road Extended will be a six-lane highway that includes a sidewalk, a bike path and street lighting. A wildlife management plan, conducted in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, has helped move vulnerable animals away from the path of the project.
 
The road should be completed next summer at a cost of $7.7 million. 
 
CATEGORIES: Projects , Road Repair
POSTED: 11:00:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

White Oak Transit Improvements Completed

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation recently completed construction of a series of customer service enhancements for Ride On and Metrobus riders in White Oak. The upgrades will help meet the transit needs of White Oak’s more than 1,200 daily passengers, which is expected to double by 2013. 
 
The transit upgrades include six new bus shelters on Lockwood Drive at the White Oak Shopping Center. Passenger waiting areas now have benches, low-level lighting, trash cans, streetlights, pedestrian crossings, and landscaping. Additionally, curbs and sidewalks on both sides of Lockwood were reconstructed and traffic calming devices installed, including two additional concrete medians.
 
The cost of these improvements was $1.6 million. Since 2003, with the consolidation of U.S. Food and Drug Administration in White Oak, almost 4,600 employees have relocated to the campus. 
CATEGORIES: Projects
POSTED: 10:00:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

Highway Services Continues Paving and Concrete Repair Projects

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s pavement preservation program is using long-term strategies to preserve and enhance the County’s transportation infrastructure. Under this program, roadways rated as fair or worse began receiving attention in the Spring once the weather became warm enough to allow for the use of hot mix asphalt. 
 
The work consists of the following steps:
  • Full depth patching removes and replaces distressed pavement areas to restore the pavement’s structural integrity and ability to support vehicle loads.
  • Edge and full-width pavement milling removes the entire surface of the roadway to a depth of one to two inches.
  • Utility adjustments to bring storm drain and sewer manhole covers and valves to the same grade as the renewed pavement.
  • Crack sealing to repair large cracks with a flexible filler.
  • Concrete curb replacement (if needed or appropriate) to remove and replace damaged and misaligned curbs.
  • Paving with hot mix asphalt.
  • Replacement of roadway lane markings.
Resurfacing using hot mix asphalt is planned for the following arterial roads: Brink Road between Laytonsville Road and Route 124 (Woodfield Road) in the Gaithersburg East area; and Clarksburg Road between Bethesda Church Road and Price’s Distillery Road and Bethesda Church Road between Clarksburg Road and the Frederick County line, both in the Damascus area.
 
Arterial roadway preservation using micro paving is ongoing for Norbeck Road between Layhill Road and New Hampshire Avenue.  
 
Highway Services is also resurfacing neighborhood streets in the Indian Springs community of Silver Spring.  
CATEGORIES: Projects , Road Repair , Cleaning
POSTED: 9:00:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

MCDOT Wins Govenor’s 2010 Smart, Green and Growing Award

Governor Martin O’Malley recently awarded the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) his 2010 Smart, Green and Growing Award for encouraging transportation choices. The award praised the efforts of Commuter Services and the Advanced Transportation Management System.
 
The award recognizes localities that have demonstrated Smart Growth practices. The County was commended for creating Transportation Management Districts; developing incentives to employers who help fund employees’ transit costs or telework programs; providing short-term car rentals at Metro stations; and effectively marketing transit, the Guaranteed Ride Home program, and bike-to-work events. 
 
MCDOT was also recognized for its Advanced Transportation Management System. By locating Ride On central communications with the traffic and emergency operations centers, the County efficiently uses intelligent transportation systems to monitor conditions, adjust traffic signals, respond to incidents, and re-route buses when necessary.
 
CATEGORIES: Award
POSTED: 8:00:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

Metro Drops Price of SmarTrip Card in August

Beginning August 29, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) will drop the price of its SmarTrip card from $5 to $2.50 as a further incentive to encourage more people to use it. Passengers already pay more to use cash on buses and on August 1, Metrorail passengers will start paying a 25 cent premium for using paper fare cares. 
 
SmarTrip cards are a great convenience, because they can be used on all regional transit services, including Montgomery County’s Ride On buses. Loading value onto the reusable, rechargeable fare card, resembling a credit card, is simple and can be done at any Metrorail station or on any bus. Purchase SmarTrip cards at Metro sales offices, retail outlets and commuter stores or through vending machines at all Metrorail stations where parking is available.
 
CATEGORIES: Ride On , Commuter Services
POSTED: 7:00:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

BethesdaCenter No Longer Selling Ride On Fare Media; Other Sites in County Available

The Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center has announced that, effective June 28, it will discontinue selling all Youth Cruiser passes, Ride On Monthly passes, Senior Fare cards, and Senior SmarTrip cards. The regional service centers were forced to reduce staff as part of the County’s efforts to close a massive budget shortfall in the fiscal year that began July 1.
 
The passes and fare cards are available in other locations in the Bethesda/Rockville area and throughout the region, including:
 
TRiPS Commuter Store in Friendship Heights
17 Wisconsin Circle
(Near the Friendship Heights Metro Station)
Monday-Friday, 11am-7pm
240-773-TRiPS (8747)
 
TRiPS Commuter Store in downtown Silver Spring
8413 Ramsey Ave
(Near the Silver Spring Metro Station)
Monday-Friday, 7am-5pm
240-773-TRiPS (8747)
 
Montgomery County Transit Information Center in downtown Rockville
101 Monroe Street, 5th Floor
Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm
240-777-RIDE (7433)
 
For additional locations, check the County’s website
 
CATEGORIES: Ride On
POSTED: 6:00:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

Transportation Update Videos Now Available on Website

Each week, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Community Outreach office produces the “Go Montgomery Transportation Update,” a 60-second news video that airs on the half hour on Montgomery Cable Channel 6 during morning and evening rush hours. During rush hours, viewers can also check road conditions or delays as the Transportation Management Center (TMC) provides views from its 750 intersection cameras. 
 
The latest video clips of Transportation Update are now available on the County’s website. The Updates cover capital projects, road maintenance work, upcoming public hearings and topics of general interest for anyone traveling in the County. TMC traffic cameras are also accessible on the website, or check Transportation Engineering’s website for the latest road incidents, construction closures, and special events impacting local streets.
CATEGORIES: Projects
POSTED: 5:00:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bethesda Circulator Announces New Hours of Service

The Bethesda Circulator, the free trolley that runs every 10 minutes and connects parking garages and Metro in downtown Bethesda, has announced new hours of operation:
  • Monday - Thursday: 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.
  • Friday: 7 a.m.  -  midnight
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. – midnight
For more information visit the Bethesda Urban Partnership’s website or call 301-215-6661.
CATEGORIES: Bethesda , Commuter Services
POSTED: 4:00:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

Public Advised Nighttime Work at the Silver Spring Transit Center to Begin in August

Beginning the week of August 23, residents and employees in the vicinity of the Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) site – bordered by Colesville Road, the Metro Red Line Station, Wayne Avenue and Ramsey Avenue – are advised that crews will begin nighttime concrete deliveries and work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. every other week through January. Working at night will keep the public’s exposure to truck traffic at a minimum and increase safety for transit users near the site. 
 
The concrete work is expected to take place during the following weeks: September 7 and 21; October 5 and 19; November 2, 16 and 30; December 14 and 28; and January 11 and 25.  The concrete work is weather dependent, so dates may vary. 
 
Each weekly concrete “pour” will deliver about 600 cubic yards of concrete – equivalent to about 65 loads. Twenty trucks will go back and forth between the concrete plant and the SSTC to deliver the concrete.
 
For more information about the SSTC, check the County’s Department of General Services website.
CATEGORIES: Projects , SSTC
POSTED: 3:00:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

More Metrorail Fare Adjustments to Take Effect in August

The second phase of Metrorail fare adjustments will take effect on Sunday, August 1, with the implementation of a new 20-cent surcharge during peak-of-the-peak weekday travel periods, an increase in the cost of three Metrorail passes and a 25-cent discount per trip for customers who use a SmarTrip® card instead of a paper fare card.
 
Beginning August 2, Metro will be making a number of changes:
  • The Weekly Short Trip Pass will be $32.35.
  • The Weekly Fast Pass will be $47.
  • The Transit Link Card for MARC and VRE riders will be $102.
  • Metrorail customers who use a paper fare card instead of a SmarTrip® card will be charged an extra 25 cents.
  • Starting Monday, August 2, riders will pay an extra 20 cents during peak-of-the-peak afternoon trips between 4:30 and 6 p.m. weekdays. 
  • Because of technology issues, the new 20 peak-of-the-peak morning fare increase between 7:30 and 9 a.m. weekdays will not begin until late August. 
 
There is good news among all the fare increases. Metro is reducing the cost of a SmarTrip® card from $5 to $2.50 starting on August 29 to make it easier for customers to take advantage of SmarTrip® savings. This is the first reduction in the price of the cards since SmarTrip® was introduced in 1999.
 
For more information visit Metro’s website or call 202-637-7000.
CATEGORIES: Commuter Services
POSTED: 2:00:00 AM |

Friday, July 30, 2010

Public Advised Nighttime Work at the Silver Spring Transit Center to Begin in August

Beginning the week of August 23, residents and employees in the vicinity of the Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) site – bordered by Colesville Road, the Metro Red Line Station, Wayne Avenue and Ramsey Avenue – are advised that crews will begin nighttime concrete deliveries and work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. every other week through January. Working at night will keep the public’s exposure to truck traffic at a minimum and increase safety for transit users near the site. 
 
The concrete work is expected to take place during the following weeks: September 7 and 21; October 5 and 19; November 2, 16 and 30; December 14 and 28; and January 11 and 25.  The concrete work is weather dependent, so dates may vary. 
 
Each weekly concrete “pour” will deliver about 600 cubic yards of concrete – equivalent to about 65 loads. Twenty trucks will go back and forth between the concrete plant and the SSTC to deliver the concrete.
 
For more information about the SSTC, check the County’s Department of General Services website.
CATEGORIES: Pedestrian Safety
POSTED: 1:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010