Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today joined federal, state and local officials in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Glenmont Metro Station parking garage. The garage will be a LEED certified building, helping the county attain its sustainability goals. This second garage at Glenmont Station, which will be located on the west side of Georgia Avenue, replaces one of the station’s Kiss & Ride lots and will add an additional 1,200 parking spaces. When the garage is completed, there will be 3,000 parking spaces at Glenmont.
“Improving access to transit is one of the County’s highest priorities in our fight to reduce traffic congestion,” said Leggett. “The popularity of the Glenmont station means we are succeeding in our efforts to encourage commuters to take advantage of mass transit options. The current demand for parking at Glenmont is overwhelming and far exceeds available capacity, with the garage filling up by 7:45 a.m. on most weekdays. When this new garage is completed in 2012, commuters will no longer be turned away due to lack of station parking.”
Leggett was joined by U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), County Council President Valerie Ervin, County Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Roger Berliner, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) Interim General Manager Richard Sarles and other community leaders and transportation officials.
“The Glenmont Garage will be a major step forward for all types of commuters,” said Ervin. “We ask residents to use the most efficient form of transportation, but we do not always provide the means, and the incentive, to make it convenient. For many years, residents in this area have told us they want to take Metro, but the parking situation has made that impossible. This commitment will take more than a thousand cars off the road every morning and shows how we can maximize use of infrastructure we already have in place.”
“The Glenmont Garage has been a high priority for the County Council,” said Floreen, who chairs the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. “This project not only will improve access to Metro, but it dovetails with existing Ride On service in the area, and thanks to an increased appropriation from the Council several years ago, it will feature a visually appealing facade that fits well within the community.”
“Glenmont’s central location, transit access and family-friendly neighborhoods make it one of the County’s finest communities,” said County Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who represents areas around the Glenmont station. “The opening of this garage is one of the first steps in the area’s revitalization, and I am excited to work with the community as we plan for future improvements and amenities.”
Commuters displaced from the Kiss & Ride lot during construction will be able to use the other Kiss & Ride lot on the east side of Georgia Avenue. To further accommodate commuters during construction, Van Hollen obtained a $500,000 federal earmark towards the purchase of two new buses that will enhance the frequency of Ride On bus service to the station. Ride On’s Route 51 bus increased service by 33 percent, or eight additional trips from the 235-space Norbeck Park and Ride Lot, located one-quarter mile east of Georgia Avenue. The upgraded service began in September.
“The new, LEED-certified Glenmont garage is a good move for transit,” said Van Hollen. “It will open up spaces for more commuters to utilize the Glenmont Metro Stop rather than driving further in or foregoing Metro altogether. It’s an important step to ease congestion and improve air quality in our region.”
Most end of line Metro stations have at least 3,000 parking spaces to encourage commuters coming from areas with fewer transit options to use alternative transportation for at least part of their trip. The lack of available parking at Glenmont causes many commuters who wish to take transit to actually drive further to find space in another parking garage, or even forgo the use of transit altogether.
“One of Governor O’Malley’s top priorities is increasing transit ridership and creating more sustainable, walkable communities,” said Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley. “Today, we are taking a key step forward to getting more Marylanders out of their cars and onto transit by nearly doubling the parking spaces available at the Glenmont Metro Station.”
Metro is managing the design/build project for the County and has contracted with Forrester Construction Company, a local Rockville firm. When completed, the garage will be operated and maintained by Metro.
“By increasing parking at Glenmont from just under 1,800 spaces, to almost 3,000 parking spaces, we are making Metro a much more attractive alternative to driving down Georgia Avenue,” said Richard Sarles, Metro’s interim general manager.
Community workshops were held to solicit input on the design of the parking garage. The garage will have six levels of parking, with one level below ground. The design will incorporate a number of environmentally sensitive features to earn the garage a LEED rating, including energy efficient light fixtures and measures to reduce energy use; maximizing recycling and reuse of construction, demolition and land clearing debris; and use of building materials that are locally produced or contain recycled content. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a rating system developed by the United States Green Buildings Council that identifies criteria that positively impact the energy and environmental characteristics of a building, including sustainability of a site, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
A canopy will connect the garage entrance to the Metrorail entrance. The garage will feature customer assistance phones, extra lighting, digital security cameras, and a police room with window access to the garage to enhance security.
Parking at the garage will cost $4.75. Commuters will use the ‘SmartTrip’ fare card for payment, as in other Metro lots and garages.
The cost of the garage is $24.7 million, and financing will be provided from County revenue and liquor bonds backed by Metro; a special parking surcharge at all Metro stations in the County; and a $1.6 million matching grant from the State of Maryland. The County is planning to purchase the remaining land on the Metro site to locate Fire Station #18 next to the garage. This fire station must be relocated as part of the new Georgia/Randolph interchange project.
The Glenmont Metro Station first opened in 1999. With an average of almost 6,000 weekday boardings, the station has the fourth highest ridership of transit stations in Montgomery County. (Silver Spring and Shady Grove stations have the most ridership with more than 13,000 daily boardings.)
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