The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), in partnership with Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT), recently began a series of intersection improvements on state roads. MCDOT is helping to fund these enhancements to reduce traffic congestion at selected bottlenecks and improve vehicular and pedestrian safety, because state roads carry the heaviest traffic volumes in the County.
The County’s 50 percent contribution of $3.2 million for the design, right-of-way acquisition and construction costs of these projects has allowed the improvements to move forward more quickly. SHA is designing and constructing the projects.
The intersection improvements are part of a list of priority transportation projects developed by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and the County Council. Funding for the projects was approved by the County Council as part of the County’s project for State Transportation Participation that began in fiscal year 2007.
The 10 intersection projects and their status are:
Maryland routes 355 and 118, which will extend the existing left-turn lane along southbound Route 355. Under construction.
Maryland Route 27 at Sweepstakes Road. Installation of an exclusive right turn lane on northbound Route 27. Under construction.
Maryland Route 650 at Adelphi Road. Widen southbound Route 650 to accommodate additional through lane, widen Adelphi Road to accommodate double left turn lanes. Under construction.
Maryland Route 355 at East Middle Lane. Extend southbound Route 355 left turn lane. Under construction.
Maryland Route 198 at Dino Road. Widen westbound Route 198 at Dino Road to provide a truck apron to accommodate U-Turns. Under construction.
Maryland Route 107 at Partnership Road. Widen spur to accommodate two lanes. Widen eastbound Route 107 to provide a 10-foot shoulder/bypass lane. Under construction.
Maryland Route 118 at Wisteria Drive and at Middlebrook Road. Extension of northbound left turn lanes. Under construction.
Maryland Route 182 and Norwood Road. Install signal and exclusive left and right turn lanes onto Norwood Road. Construction bids opened. Construction to start October 2011.
Maryland 108 at Bowie Mill Road. Install full signal extension of hiker/biker trail along northbound Route 108. Construction bids opened. Construction to start December 2011.
Maryland Route 185, Washington Street to Saul Road. Construct new sidewalk on southbound Maryland Route 185. Right–of-way acquisition underway. Construction to start March 2012.
Nine road maintenance projects by the Division of Highway Services (DHS) are beginning or are underway in local subdivisions:
Local streets in the Park Overlook subdivision are being resurfaced with hot mix asphalt.
Gold Mine Road is receiving permanent, structural patching, which is a cost-effective way to maintain roadway structural integrity.
Lockwood Drive, Shakespeare Boulevard and Observation Drive have received pavement preservation treatments, in which crews complete full depth patching in deteriorated pavement, seal cracks and apply micro-resurfacing material.
DHS is installing concrete curbs and gutters and making sidewalk repairs in the following communities: the Tivoli subdivision, Ken-Gar community; Glenmont Hills community, Greencastle Lakes community and Longmead Crossing subdivision.
Additional analysis of data on pedestrian safety released during last month’s CountyStat meeting shows that County Executive Ike Leggett’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative is working to reduce the number and severity of pedestrian collisions. The data shows improvements in the areas targeted by the County with engineering, enforcement and education efforts.
A decline in severe pedestrian injuries to 24 percent for the first six months of 2011. This percentage has been declining since 2007. Prior to 2007, severe injuries - - where pedestrians were either killed or incapacitated - - exceeded 30 percent of all pedestrian collisions.
In the County’s eight High Incidence Areas (locations with the highest number of pedestrian collisions) there was a 56 percent decline in pedestrian collisions in 2010, as compared to the preceding five-year average of collisions (18 in 2010 and 42 for the preceding five-year average).
As of June 2011, there was a 70 percent decline in pedestrian collision at schools where engineering, education and enforcement actions were completed. Data compared incidents from the three years preceding improvements to the three years afterwards.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and County Councilmember Nancy Navarro joined community members earlier this month to celebrate pedestrian and traffic safety improvements installed by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) along Castle Boulevard from Briggs Chaney Road to Castle Terrace.
On behalf of the community, Navarro had asked MCDOT to study what could be done to address concerns about speeding and safe walking. Nine collisions occurred on the road over a three year period, including two pedestrian crashes. A speed study conducted by MCDOT found that 21 percent of drivers were driving 10 miles or more over the speed limit of 30 miles an hour.
The traffic calming measures installed on Castle Boulevard included new concrete bump-outs and pedestrian refuge islands; modified curbs, gutters and sidewalks to ensure compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards; relocated bus stops to improve safety for transit users; enhanced crossings at bus stops; new traffic signs and pavement markings; and additional minor roadway repairs. Engineers ensured that the traffic calming design would not impede biking. The construction company for the project was D&F Construction Company Inc.
See the County’s website for more information on pedestrian safety in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett celebrated the completion of a 3,400-foot extension of Woodfield Road from north of Main Street (Maryland Route 108) to Ridge Road (Maryland Route 27) to provide critical traffic congestion relief and improve safety. Without the extension, an analysis showed that five intersections in Damascus would be inadequate to handle projected traffic volumes by 2010.
The project also reconstructed and widened a 2,000-foot portion of Ridge Road from 500 feet south of Woodfield Road to 1,500 feet north of Woodfield Road. This portion of Ridge Road now has two, 12-foot wide travel lanes, two, four-foot wide paved shoulders and an auxiliary left turn lane at the intersection with Woodfield Road.
The new road extension is a 28-foot wide curbed roadway with two, 14-foot wide lanes. A separate eight-foot wide bikeway/shared use path was built along Woodfield Road Extended and along Ridge Road.
Safety improvements were an important part of the project and included vertical realignment of Ridge Road for better sight distances. Faith Lane was also realigned to intersect Woodfield Road at a point south of Ridge Road.
Environmental features include construction of six acres of offsite reforestation area, 1.3 acres of offsite wetlands and three storm water management facilities.
In addition to the bikeway, the project also includes traffic signals, streetlights, crosswalks, bus stops and Americans with Disabilities Act ramps to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
Next time there are traffic delays because of collisions, road closures or other problems, the websites for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) divisions of Traffic Engineering and Transit Services may be the helpful in planning your route.
Traffic Engineering provides up-to-the-minute information on traffic incidents or detours occurring throughout the County. In addition, the website provides links to State of Maryland incident information, road closures, local weather station data, speed sensor data and I-95 travel information. Other links from the page provide information on parking, winter storms, school closures and activities, trash and recycling pickup changes during weather events, and Metro and Ride On bus service.
Or, view traffic in real-time at one of the County’s nearly 200 traffic cameras.
RideOn also lists current information on service interruptions and detours.
Looking for a healthy way to start the day? Join thousands of students, parents and community members throughout Montgomery County in celebrating the simple act of walking and bicycling to school on International Walk to School Day, Wednesday, October 5. Last year, about 30 schools participated in events designed to promote health, identify safer routes for walking, and improve air quality.
International Walk to School Day was founded in 1997 as a way to bring community leaders and children together to promote more walkable communities, safer streets, healthier habits and cleaner air. For those who live too far from school to walk, drive part of the distance, park and then walk the rest of the way.
This year, the focus school in the County will be Captain James Daly Elementary School in Germantown.
For more information about Walk to School Day or organizing an event at your child’s school, visit the County’s website.
To celebrate International Car Free Day, Montgomery County Commuter Services (MCCS) staff held prize drawings and provided information on transportation options during morning rush hour at the Silver Spring, Bethesda, Twinbrook and Friendship Heights Metrorail stations. Participants were eligible to win a $200 SmarTrip Card, a Kindle 3G with Wi-Fi and promotional items, including discount coupons to local retailers.
International Car Free Day is an annual, worldwide event that encourages the public to find alternatives to using cars or reduce the amount of driving they do. Using transit, biking, and walking – instead of driving – reduces noise, pollution and stress.
MCCS offers assistance in finding “Better Ways to Work,” not just on September 22, but year-round by walking, taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, biking or teleworking. Check the County’s website for more information or call 240-773-2989. Those traveling 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 Friendship Heights. Both stores are located within a short walk of Metrorail stations, sell transit fare media and provide a variety of personalized assistance with transportation alternatives.
With the recent conversion of 1,089 meters in North Bethesda, cell phones can now be used to pay for parking at nearly 12,000 meters in County Parking Lot Districts. Since March of this year, parking meters in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton and Montgomery Hills have been converted.
To use pay-by-cell, first-time patrons register once by going online anytime to www.mc.goparknow.com or calling 301-830-7074. Parkers set up an account and indicate which credit card will be used for the parking charges. The step-by-step instructions, printed on each meter, direct parkers to:
Use a cell phone to call 301-830-7074 or send a text message to 32075.
Follow the phone/text prompts to enter the meter location number (located on the meter decal).
Select the amount of time desired for parking.
The patron then receives voice and text messages confirming the start of the parking session. A 35-cent transaction fee will be charged in addition to the parking fee.
Pay-by-cell provides many conveniences to parkers. Those who use the payment system get a text message reminder that their parking time is about to expire. Patrons can extend parking time remotely and view transactions online. Parkers can stop a parking session upon returning to a vehicle, so they only pay for the parking time they have used.
Get more information on the pay-by-cell initiative, or register for an account, online.
The Fillmore, the County’s newest music venue in downtown Silver Spring, opened earlier this month. To help patrons attending shows and events, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has offered tips on getting there and/or where to park:
Take Transit. The Fillmore is an easy walk from the Silver Spring Metro station. Metro operates until midnight on weekdays and to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. There are also several Metrobus and Ride On bus routes that serve the area. Check transit options on the County’s website.
Driving. For those who choose to drive, MCDOT recommends using the Spring Street/Cameron Street garage located at 1800 Cameron Street. With more than 1,300 spaces, this garage is generally less congested than some of the other parking garages and lots in the area and is just a short stroll from the Fillmore’s front door. Parking is free after 7 p.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday. Get more information about parking options on the County’s website.