On January 14, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Capital Budget and proposed amendments to the FY 11-16 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). Recognizing the serious budget constraints facing the County, the recommendations delay some planned projects while focusing only on funding critical capital needs. Some shifts in funds for earlier years in the CIP were made possible by developing more realistic implementation plans for existing projects.
Leggett’s fiscal plan reduces tax-supported current revenue funded projects in FY12. He recommends reductions in the levels of borrowing in FY11 and FY12. Ongoing shortfalls in forecasted revenues for FY11 through FY16 will not support the rising debt service costs. Leggett will continue to scrutinize CIP projects for further opportunities to reduce General Obligation bond borrowing.
In his message to the County Council, Leggett stated he will review all new (pre- construction) facility projects and plans to ensure they are feasible in light of the County’s tight fiscal constraints. He also urged Council members to resist increasing Spending Affordability Guidelines in order to maintain responsible debt capacity levels and ensure continuation of Montgomery County ’s AAA credit rating.
Under a 1996 County Charter amendment, a new CIP is developed in even-numbered calendar years. In alternate years, like 2011, the Executive may recommend amendments to the existing six-year CIP.
Highlights of Leggett’s transportation CIP recommendations are listed below:
Roads and Bridges
To preserve roadways and minimize more costly future repairs, the CIP includes $4 million in additional funding for resurfacing of residential/rural roads as an FY11 supplemental appropriation. Leggett also recommends design and construction of the Platt Ridge Drive Extension project to provide relief for residential neighborhoods adjacent to the Naval Medical Center Base Relocation and Consolidation project. To address safety concerns, funds are provided for facility planning for the Spring Street Bridge and the Brink Road Bridge .
Construction of the Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) is one of Leggett’s top priorities because of the enhancements it will bring to transit and transit-oriented development. Budget recommendations provide additional funding for completion of the SSTC. The CIP delays a limited number of bus purchases due to a significant reduction in State and Federal funding. Because of environmental concerns, Leggett recommends delaying the North County Maintenance Depot to assess the feasibility of relocating the project to an alternative site.
Leggett has transmitted his CIP recommendations to the County Council for their approval. The entire CIP is available online.
On January 18, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett 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 1,200 parking spaces. When the garage is completed, there will be 3,000 parking spaces at Glenmont.
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, U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen obtained a $500,000 federal earmark towards the purchase of two new buses, thereby enhancing 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.
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.
Metro is managing the design/build project for the County and has contracted with Forrester Construction Company, a Rockville firm. When completed, the garage will be operated and maintained by Metro.
The Montgomery County Division of Transportation Engineering (MCDTE) received a Top Storm Water Management project award from Water Quality Solutions magazine for the Mont rose Parkway West ’s stormwater management system. The road was completed in May 2009.
To meet regulatory requirements, MCDTE was required to provide stormwater facilities that captured and treated the equivalent of 90 percent of the annual runoff from the project’s impervious surfaces for a one-inch storm. Installation of stormwater management facilities was complicated because of the limited space within the Mont rose Road right-of-way and the need to avoid impacting the wetlands adjacent to Old Farm Creek.
To manage stormwater, MCDTE found a creative way to install four, large, pre-cast, structural sand filters within the Mont rose Road median during construction while maintaining traffic flow (averaging 55,000 vehicles a day) and the existing storm drainage system.
The final project reduced and mitigated stream impacts from the road by:
Replacing existing culverts that conveyed Old Farm Creek under Mont rose Road ;
Installing a precast, 16’x 9’ culvert to contain an Old Farm Creek tributary crossing;
Stabilizing 1,200 linear feet of Booze Creek;
Creating 9,000 square feet of forested wetlands on the site; and
Narrowing the road’s travel lane widths from 12 to 11 feet.
As part of an ongoing partnership between the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Division of Traffic Engineering and the Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA), MCDOT staff replaced traditional signals with pedestrian countdown signals at five intersections on Wisconsin Avenue . The intersections are Leland Street , Willow Lane/ Bethesda Avenue, Elm Street , Elm Street/Waverly Street and Old Georgetown Road .
This area of Wisconsin Avenue experienced 17 pedestrian collisions from 2005 to 2009. The Federal Highway Administration has reported that a conversion to countdown pedestrian signals in urban areas may reduce pedestrian-related crashes by as much as 25 percent. (Source: Desktop Reference for Crash Reduction Factors, Report No. FHWA-SA-08-001, Sept. 2008)
For more information about Montgomery County ’s pedestrian safety program, go to the County’s website.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation(MCDOT) is seeking public input to assist in the development of a preliminary design for a sidewalk in Hyattstown along Frederick Road between Hyattstown Mill Road and the County line. Given the historic nature of the community, MCDOT is attempting to minimize impacts of the sidewalk to properties and mature trees.
MCDOT is seeking community opinions on the location of the sidewalk, the choice of materials for the sidewalk and retaining walls, crosswalk locations, drainage and erosion issues, signage and other considerations.
A public meeting will be held this spring to present a preliminary design. For more information about the project, go to the MCDOT’s website. To comment on the project, email email@example.com.
On Monday, January 24, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation Division of Parking Management closed the stairwell in the northwest corner of the Dixon/Bonifant parking garage to make immediate repairs. The stairwell will be closed through March.
For more information, call the Division of Parking Management at 240 777-8740.
Beginning in early spring, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Division of Transportation Engineering will rehabilitate the bridge that carries three westbound lanes of East Gude Drive over the railroad tracks owned by CSX and Metro (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority). An inspection of the bridge found that the concrete deck and substructure had deteriorated. The bridge carries about 20,600 vehicles a day.
During construction, which should take about a year to complete, two lanes of westbound traffic will be maintained at all times. Rehabilitation activities will include removing the existing bridge deck, cleaning and painting steel beams, replacing the bearings, and replacing parts of the abutments and piers. Construction will occur Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. , with some Saturday work.
The cost of the project is $1.8 million. More information about the project is available on the MCDOT’s website.
Beginning in January, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will begin resurfacing Maryland Route 187 ( Old Georgetown Road ) between North Brook Land and Maryland Route 355 ( Wisconsin Avenue ). SHA will grind and resurface all lanes, replace inlets, clean pipes, install pavement markings, replace curb and gutter, and upgrade existing sidewalks and ramps to meet American with Disabilities Act standards.
Motorists can expect single lane closures Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. During the paving phase of the project, double lane closures will occur Sunday through Thursday from 9 p.m. through 5 a.m.
It probably comes as no surprise to local commuters who fight traffic daily that the 2010 Urban Mobility Report, published by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University , rates the Washington DC area as the worst in the nation in annual delays and excess fuel consumption due to traffic congestion.
According to the report, national congestion costs continue to rise. Measured in constant 2009 dollars, the cost of congestion has risen from $24 billion in 1982 to $115 billion in 2009. The total amount of wasted fuel in 2009 topped 3.9 billion gallons – equal to 130 days of flow in the Alaska Pipeline. Cost to the average commuter: $808 in 2009, compared to an inflation-adjusted $351 in 1982. Yearly peak delay for the average commuter was 34 hours in 2009, up from 14 hours in 1982.