In order to deal with Montgomery County’s $1 billion budget shortfall, Ride On, earlier this year, proposed service reductions to help reduce the deficit. These reductions represented about 7.5 percent of all Ride On service and included route and route segment eliminations, and reductions in frequency of service.
Based on input from a February 1 public forum, the fiscal year (FY) 2011 County budget approved by the County Council on May 27 avoided many of the initially proposed cuts. The result was a 2.3 percent reduction of all Ride On service with no full Ride On routes eliminated. These changes, however, are likely to result in more crowded buses, but overall service will be preserved.
The service changes that will become effective Sunday, September 5 include:
Route segment eliminations on Routes 7, 22, 32, 33, 43
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Residential Road Rehabilitation program continues in the Forest Glen community. In response to the County Executive’s call for a more systematic approach to maintaining the County’s transportation infrastructure, MCDOT responded by rating the condition of every County road. Under this program, Forest Glen had many streets rated very poor. This project, which involves 16 lane miles of concrete and asphalt work, started this month and will be completed by the fall of 2011.
MCDOT will not widen or alter the character of the streets in Forest Glen. Typical steps include developing a tree protection plan; identifying curbing and sidewalks needing repair and then reconstructing them; replacing driveway aprons for residents who opt into this program; making extensive pavement repairs; milling the road surface; and finally resurfacing the streets with hot mix asphalt.
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.
Replacing roadway lane markings.
MCDOT began patching the following roadways in August:
Brooke Road from Olney Sandy Spring Road to New Hampshire Avenue and Burnt Mills Hills neighborhood, Colesville area;
Green Hills neighborhood in the Damascus area;
Farmland Drive, Bethesda area;
Aspen Hill Park neighborhood, Silver Spring area; and
Potomac Falls neighborhood, Gaithersburg West area.
MCDOT will be repaving the following streets:
Tuckerman Lane from Seven Locks Road to Old Georgetown Road and Eldwick Way, Bethesda area;
Carroll Avenue from Piney Branch Road to University Boulevard, Silver Spring area;
Lost Knife Road from Montgomery Village Avenue to Odendhal Avenue, Gaithersburg area;
Longdraft Road from Quince Orchard Road to Clopper Road, Gaithersburg West area;
Twinbrook Parkway from Viers Mill Road to the CSX Railroad Bridge, Rockville; and
Fairland Acres neighborhood, Colesville area.
MCDOT will be resurfacing the following streets:
Muddy Branch Road from Diamondback Drive to Darnestown Road, Gaithersburg West area;
Tilden Lane from Old Georgetown to Old Stage Road and Tuckerman Lane from Seven Locks to Falls Road, Bethesda area; and
Observation Drive from Germantown Road to Ridge Road, Gaithersburg East area.
In addition, concrete repairs will be made to the Connecticut Avenue Estates neighborhood in the Silver Spring area.
Another summer storm caused widespread damage in Montgomery County on August 12. The storm left about 75,000 customers without power, 32 roads closed and localized flooding in its wake. Many County facilities and traffic signals also lost power.
By law, County staff cannot touch trees entangled in power lines – only the power utility crews can do so. During the storm aftermath, County crews worked in tandem with Pepco crews. As soon as Pepco removed wires or cut power to downed utility lines, County crews worked quickly to clear roads of debris and get traffic moving again. Pepco also employs tree crews who remove downed trees or cut down ones damaged by the storm.
Residents can report downed trees or tree debris in the public right-of-way by calling 311, or going to the 311 website at http://montgomerycountymd.gov/311. The 311 call center handles all non-emergency service or information requests. Normal hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Communication during an emergency is critically important. 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. To sign up, go to the County’s website.
Announces Installation of New Permanent Speed Camera at White Oak Middle School
To promote pedestrian safety before school began for nearly 142,000 local children on Monday, August 30, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced the installation of a new permanent speed camera at White Oak Middle School. This is the County’s 61st speed camera and the first new permanent one to be installed since 2009.White Oak Middle School was selected because traditional enforcement practices have not been successful in slowing traffic and reducing collisions at this location. Police also announced that they will be enhancing traffic enforcement activities in school zones during the first few weeks of school.
For decades, Police have combated persistent speeding on New Hampshire Avenue near the school, an area that has a history of serious personal injury collisions. However, they have been unable to change driver behavior using traditional traffic enforcement methods. The new speed camera is expected to help reduce speeds not only near White Oak Middle School, but to have an impact at St Johns Catholic School, Jackson Road Elementary, the Martin Luther King Recreational Park and Swim Center and Springbrook High School, all of which are located within three-quarters of a mile of the camera.
First installed in Montgomery County in 2007, permanent speed cameras have proven to be a deterrent to unsafe driving by reducing speeding. Montgomery County also uses mobile and portable cameras in residential areas and school zones with speed limits of 35 mph or less. All locations are marked with “Photo Enforced” signs. A list of the speed enforcement areas is available on the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/safespeed.
Staying safe while crossing the street is the responsibility of both pedestrians and drivers. As Fall approaches and daylight hours shorten, the danger of being involved in a pedestrian collision increases. The following advice will help you stay safe:
Myth: A green light means that it is safe to cross.
Fact: A green light or pedestrian walk signal means that crossing is allowed. But, to be safe, first stop and look for cars. Before stepping off the curb, look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT. When it is safe to cross, continue looking left and right. Be especially alert for vehicles making a right turn on red.
Myth: You are safe in a crosswalk.
Fact: Before crossing in a crosswalk, stop at the curb and look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT for cars. When it is clear, cross and keep looking left and right.
Myth: If you see the driver, the driver sees you.
Fact: The driver may not see you. Make certain the driver sees you and stops before you cross in front of the car. Try to make eye contact with the driver.
Myth: The driver will stop if you are in a crosswalk, at a green light or a pedestrian walk signal.
Fact: The driver may not see you. The driver’s view may be blocked. The driver may run a traffic light illegally. The driver may turn without looking for pedestrians.
Myth: Wearing white at night makes you visible to drivers.
Fact: Even if pedestrians wear white clothes, drivers will have a difficult time seeing them at night. Carry a flashlight. Wear retro-reflective clothing. Walk facing traffic.
The street is a danger zone. Remember, when crossing a street always:
Stop at the edge of parked cars, the curb, or other vehicles.
Look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT for moving cars.
Cross when clear, and keep looking left and right.
Walk, don’t run or dart, into the street.
Look for signs that a car is about to move (rear lights, exhaust smoke, sound of motor, wheels turning).
Children and teens should be reminded that there are different rules for exiting public transit buses, like Ride On and Metrobus, as compared to school buses. When school bus riders exit the bus, they should cross in front of waiting school buses. Passengers exiting Ride On or Metro buses should wait to cross the street until the bus has departed.
Motorists are urged to watch for children traveling to and from school. It is difficult to predict their actions, but it is the driver’s responsibility to be extra cautious, anticipate the unexpected and be prepared to stop.
Motorists should also know the school bus law and understand the flashing light system that school bus drivers use:
Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop and load or unload children. Motorists need to slow down and prepare to stop.
Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm mean the bus has stopped and children are boarding or exiting the bus. Motorists must come to a complete stop a safe distance from the bus and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the arm is retracted, and the bus begins moving before they start driving again.
Single family homes in Montgomery County with curbside recycling collection services also are provided with year-round collection of yard trimmings on their recycling day. It is important to properly prepare tree branches or debris for collection.
Here are the guidelines:
On Private Property:
Tree debris on private property will be collected on a resident’s regular recycling day if it is no more than four-feet in length and four inches in diameter.
Bag, bundle, or containerize tree branches and limbs, keeping bundles less than 45 pounds and less than 30 inches in diameter.
Tree debris that is too large for curbside collection or cannot be bagged, bundled, or containerized (up to 500 pounds) can be recycled at no charge to single family home residents at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station, located at 16101 Frederick Road, Derwood. Check the County’s website for hours of operation and directions.
Another option is to contact a private company, such as a tree, landscaping or lawn service, for assistance in removing and disposing of storm debris.
Residents may want to check with their home insurance company, which may cover storm debris removal and disposal.
In the Public Right-of-Way:
Montgomery County Department of Transportation crews collect trees and branches that have fallen into the public right-of-way.
To report tree debris in the public right-of-way, call 311, or report online.
More people in the metropolitan Washington region are taking transit to work or teleworking than at any point in the past 10 years, according to findings of the Commuter Connections program sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG).
According to the 2010 “State of the Commute” survey, since 2001 the number of workers in the region driving alone to work has declined from 70 percent to 64 percent, while the those who use transit and telework at least one day a week has risen to 21 percent (from 17 percent) and six percent (from three percent) respectively.