Storm drains are NOT trash cans! Yet, typical items placed in storm drains include antifreeze, motor oil, paint, plastics and yard waste. When these items wash down a storm drain, they don’t just disappear, but instead pollute waterways. The pollution travels from the storm drain directly to local creeks, then to streams and rivers, and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay.
You can help maintain the health of our region’s waterways by spreading the word about the misuse of storm drains. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) provides residents and community organizations with free, bright blue signs for neighborhood storm drain inlets. They say, in English and Spanish, “No Dumping -- Drains To Your Creek!” The latest version has a new design now used by all jurisdictions in the Washington D.C. area.
To get your free kit with up to 25 signs, call 240-777-7155 or visit the County’s website.
Montgomery County Commuter Services (MCCS) invited residents and employees to join the Washington region in celebrating Car Free Day on September 22. This annual, worldwide event encourages everyone to find an alternative to using their car or to simply reduce the amount of driving they do that day. Car Free Day gives residents the opportunity to consider what the area would be like if there was more use of transit, biking and walking instead of driving.
To celebrate Car Free Day, MCCS sent a letter to employers in the county encouraging them and their employees to:
Look for MCCS staff in bright blue shirts at the Silver Spring, Bethesda, Grosvenor-Strathmore, Wheaton and Friendship Heights Metrorail stations on Car
Free Day to sign up for prize drawings, such as $50 towards a car-free commute, coupons for local retailers, walking shoes or a bicycle;
Pledge to go car-free or car-lite for the day; and
Learn more about MCCS’ Better Ways to Work program that promotes taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, biking or teleworking.
More than 2000 commuters registered for ridesharing information at the various events held in the county.
For more information about transportation options in the county, contact Commuter Services or call 240-773-2989. Those near downtown Silver Spring or Friendship Heights can stop in at the County’s TRiPS Commuter Stores, located at 8413 Ramsey Avenue in Silver Spring and 17 Wisconsin Circle in FriendshipHeights.Both stores are a short walk from Metro, sell transit fare media and provide a variety of information on transportation alternatives.
Beginning Monday, October 5, the City of Rockville will extend the days and hours of paid parking at the Town Square garages and meters. The hours for paid parking will be Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The rate is $1 per hour.
MCDOT does NOT operate parking meters or other parking facilities within the city limits of Rockville. To find out more, including how city residents can obtain parking coupons, visit the City of Rockville’s website or call 240-314-5000.
With school back in session, residents are encouraged to make the safety of children a top priority. All drivers should be on the lookout for young pedestrians walking to and from school. Parents can help by reminding their children to:
Cross streets at marked crosswalks, look both ways before crossing the street, and avoid crossing the street between parked cars;
Walk on the left side facing traffic if there is no sidewalk and it is necessary to walk in the street;
Follow the directions of crossing guards at schools, who are there to assist and protect students; and
Wear helmets if they are riding bicycles to school. Riders should also follow all traffic rules and signs.
Drivers are reminded to:
Stop at least 20 feet from school buses that are stopped with flashing red lights. Passing a school bus with flashing red lights incurs a fine of $570 and three points.
Slow down and obey speed limits. Automated speed enforcement cameras are operating in some school zones where speeding has been documented. If stopped by an officer for speeding in a school zone, drivers may incur a fine of up to $1,000 and five points.
Parents can help if they:
Accompany young children to bus stops and remain with them until the bus arrives; and
Obey the “No Parking, No Stopping, and No Standing” signs in a School Zone when dropping off or picking up students. A violation incurs a fine of $50.
Montgomery County Commuter Services (MCCS) has a new TRiPS Commuter Store in Friendship Heights at 17 Wisconsin Circle that is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. TRiPS stands for “Transportation Resources, Information and Places to See.” The store provides regional transit fare media for visitors, residents and commuters along with trip planning information and resources to make getting to their destinations easier. Bus passes and tokens for Montgomery County’s Ride On buses can be purchased, as well as fare media for Metrobus and Metrorail, including the SmartTrip Card.
The TRiPS Commuter Store staff promote environmentally friendly travel modes, including transit, car/vanpooling, biking, walking and car sharing at both the Friendship Heights and Silver Spring TRiPS stores. Staff also provide complimentary services to help Montgomery County employers and their employees beat traffic, save time and reduce expenses. Transportation marketing specialists are available to visit businesses and set up customized commuting benefits programs tailored to their needs.
For more information, call Commuter Services at 240-773-TRiPS (8747) or 240-777-8380, go to the website or visit Montgomery County Commuter Services at 1110 Bonifant Street, Suite 400, Silver Spring.
On Wednesday, September 23, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett held a town hall meeting in Bethesda at Thomas W. Pyle Middle School. At the meeting, he discussed a number of transportation initiatives, including:
The construction of a new sidewalk along Fernwood Road, between Democracy Boulevard and Greentree Road. Pedestrian safety is also being improved with traffic calming features and redesigned bus stops.
An increase by the County Council of parking rates in the Bethesda Parking Lot District, effective last July. Short term spaces now cost $1 an hour, and long term spaces cost 65 cents an hour.
MCDOT is conducting a 90-day test, at the request of local businesses, of changes in the number of short versus long term spaces in the Bethesda-Elm Street Garage.
Identification of High Incidence Areas for pedestrian collisions on Wisconsin Avenue from Montgomery Avenue to Leland Street and on Rockville Pike from Halpine Road to Hubbard Drive. Audits were conducted and discussions are underway to determine appropriate County or State measures.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’sDivision of Highway Services is working to resurface and repair roads and repair or replace curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Recent road resurfacing projects include Emory Grove Road from Goshen Road to Washington Grove Lane; Bou Avenue from Rockville Pike to Chapman Avenue; Connecticut Avenue from Bel Pre Road to Leisure World Boulevard; and the Manor Oaks, Ashton Manor and Ashton Meadows neighborhoods.
The following neighborhoods are scheduled to be resurfaced next: Manor Oaks, Goldmine Crossing, James Creek, Kings Bridge and Prathertown.
Concrete curb installation, sidewalk repairs or drainage improvements are underway on Fernwood Road from Democracy Boulevard to Brixton Lane and in the Wheaton Woods community.
The Division of Transportation Engineering has begun a project to extend Woodfield Road 3,000 feet between Main Street in Damascus and the intersection of Faith Lane and Ridge Road. In addition, portions of Maryland Route 27 will be widened to accommodate turns. The project is designed to provide traffic congestion relief and improve safety.
The improvements will:
Make the extension of Woodfield Road a 28-foot wide curbed roadway with two 14-foot wide lanes;
Realign Faith Lane to intersect Woodfield Road at a point south of Ridge Road;
Construct a separate eight-foot wide bikeway along the eastern side of Woodfield Road Extended from Main Street to Ridge Road;
Widen Ridge Road to provide two 12-foot-wide travel lanes, two four-foot-wide paved shoulders and an auxiliary left turn lane at the proposed intersection with Woodfield Road;
Realign Ridge Road to improve the sight distance along a segment of the roadway to north of Woodfield Road Extended;
Construct street lighting, traffic signal and landscaping improvements, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities along Woodfield Road Extended and Ridge Road.
The project began in September and is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2011. For more information, go to the County’s website or call 240-777-7210.
Responding to the Office of Legislative Oversight’s (OLO) report on speed cameras, the County Executive stated, “The report confirms what we have been saying all along about speed cameras – slowing traffic down reduces collisions and makes our roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians.
“OLO found that, in the first year, collisions near speed camera sites declined by 28 percent and the percentage of vehicles traveling at or below the speed limit increased by about 20 percent. What is even more compelling is that serious collisions involving an injury or fatality declined by 39 percent.”
Leggett said that speed cameras curb aggressive driving and are an important tool in the County’s efforts to improve traffic safety and protect pedestrians.
Montgomery County is requesting $14.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds from the federal government that will be dedicated to transportation projects. The funds would be used to:
Install an uninterruptible power supply/battery backup for about 40 traffic signals to prevent outages during electrical power losses;
Install streetlights on MD 124;
Install communication lines to support field devices and the traffic signal system modernization program;
Upgrade traffic warning signs;
Upgrade guardrail end treatments;
Resurface several primary roads, including Barnesville Road between Mt. Ephraim Road and Route 117; Shady Grove Road between I-270 and Darnestown Road; Forest Glen Road between Georgia Avenue and Brunett Avenue; Old Columbia Pike between Spencerville Road and the US 29 Columbia Pike ramp; and Randolph Road from east of the Nebel Street railroad tracks to the Rock Creek Bridge.
The County’s website tracks how the nation’s stimulus funds are being used to improve the local economy and achieve County Executive Isiah Leggett’s customer results for his priority objectives. For more information on the County's overall request for stimulus funding under the ARRA, see the County’s recovery site.