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Newslette | April, 2007 Back to Go Montgomery | Archive

Observation Drive Extended - top

A Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) study team is finalizing their Phase I facility plan recommendation for the extension of Observation Drive in Germantown that will provide a north-south corridor linking to Stringtown Road. The team suggested a modification to the Master Plan alignment at Linthicum Farm to avoid impacting an existing reforestation area.

The proposal for the new road includes four lanes, curbs, gutters, a five-foot-wide sidewalk and an eight-foot-wide off-road bike path. In addition, a 58 foot-wide raised median will accommodate the future Corridor Cities Transitway.

Once the study team's technical report is completed, it will be presented to decision-makers at DPWT, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Montgomery County Council, which may still make modifications. Once the plan is approved, the next step will be to prepare the Phase II preliminary engineering plan over the next two years. The plan will include a detailed scope, schedule and cost estimate for the project.

Public input on Observation Drive Extended continues to be welcome. Contact Project Manager Uzair A. Asadullah at 240-777-7242 or uzair.asadullah@montgomerycountymd.gov. To be added to the mailing list for updates on the project, call Marsha Wheeler-Christ at 240-777-6174.

Major North Bethesda Storm Drain Project Completed - top

DPWT's Division of Capital Development has finished construction of a major storm drain and roadway improvement project in the Sonoma-Ayrlawn neighborhood of North Bethesda, bringing the project in on time and below budget. The improvements will alleviate extensive flooding of sidewalks, streets and homeowners' basements during heavy rainstorms.

The community now has a permanent system of storm drain inlets and underground piping which replaced a failing patchwork drainage system along Sonoma Road, Grant Street and Mohawk and Seneca lanes. Each street was lowered from six to 12 inches to provide better drainage. DPWT installed more than 8,000 feet of new concrete curbs and gutters and reconstructed and resurfaced the roadbed.

The new drainage system included 1,800 feet of underground storm drain pipe, 39 new storm drain structures and a new sanitary sewer main. Careful construction management protected trees. Only one significant tree out of 91 within the project's boundaries was removed and many existing trees were given more space for future growth. DPWT's contractor was NZI Construction Corporation.

For information on this and other storm drain projects, including how to apply for the Drainage Assistance Program, visit the Division of Capital Development's website.

Upcoming Street Paving Operations - top

With the return of warm weather, DPWT is resuming its paving operations to patch and repair neighborhood streets. Over the next few weeks, asphalt paving is scheduled for the Hollywood Park and East Springbrook neighborhoods in the east county and Sligo Creek Parkway from Maple Avenue to New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring. Residents with questions about the paving can call 240-777-6000 or email highway@montgomerycountymd.gov.

What is Meter Feeding and What Do I Need to Know About It? - top

Residents may not be aware that it is illegal to re-feed a parking meter in most jurisdictions in the country, including Montgomery County. These prohibitions exist to assist the business community by increasing the supply of parking spaces available for their customers. For example, during an eight hour period, four different patrons will be able to park in front of a business with a two-hour meter, as opposed to potentially one long-term parker.

To avoid being ticketed, those who park at meters should never re-feed the same meter to get more parking time. If an on-street meter expires, a car must move to another block. If a car is parked in the 800 block of a street, the car cannot park in another parking space on that block (including across the street). For parking meters in lots and garages, the entire lot and garage are considered part of the limit, so a vehicle cannot just move to another space with the same duration parking meter within that facility. If a person parks at a two-hour space in a garage, they can always move to a 15-hour space once their time is up. They are not required to leave the facility, but they cannot move to a new two-hour space without risking a parking ticket.

For more information on parking rates and regulations, go to DPWT's Parking website or call 240-777-6000.

Ride On Continues to Set Records - top

In February, Ride On bus ridership increased 10.6 percent over February 2007. Ridership is up 7.3 percent for 2008 and 29 percent over the last four years. Ride On expects to provide more than 30 million trips in fiscal year 2008 to 93,500 riders a day.

Ride On surveys have found that more customers are staying with Ride On, rather than switching to cars or other forms of transportation. That says a lot about the ease and convenience of using Ride On and their commitment to customer service.

For more information about Ride On services, call the Transit Information Center at 240-777-RIDE (7433) or visit Ride On on the County's website.

Public Can Still Comment on Ride On Pass Changes and Increased Parking Charges for Silver Spring and Wheaton - top

In March, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett proposed changes to Ride On fares and fees to increase revenues in face of the County's budget shortage. The Montgomery County Council held a public hearing on April 22 on the proposed changes, including elimination of the Ride On "Ride About" two-week pass; creation of a new $25 Ride On monthly pass; and an increase from $20 to $27of the Ride On 20-trip ticket.

Public comment was also sought on several proposed parking rate increases for the Silver Spring and Wheaton Parking Lot Districts. The proposed rate changes for Silver Spring will increase rates from $0.45 to $0.50 an hour for long-term (more than three hours) parking and from $0.60 to $0.75 an hour for short-term (less than three hours) parking. The new rates will apply throughout the District, including the Wayne Avenue and Town Square Garages. The new rates will bring Silver Spring's parking charges in line with the rates charged in Bethesda. There are no proposed changes to the hours of collection in Silver Spring.

In Wheaton, rates are proposed to increase from $0.35 to $0.50 an hour for long term parking, making the rates the same as those charged in Silver Spring and Bethesda. There are no proposed changes to the hours of collection in Wheaton.

To comment on these fare and rate change proposals, contact County Council President Mike Knapp.

Ride On Food Drive Collects Nearly 8,500 Pounds of Food - top

Montgomery County's Ride On bus system collected 8,456 pounds of food and other items during its 21st annual "Give and Ride" food drive that took place between April 7 and 13. Bus passengers received free rides by donating canned or nonperishable food, disposable diapers, formula, baby or toddler food, and juice.

All food donations were sent to the Manna Food Center, a Rockville-based non-profit organization that distributes food to the county's neediest residents.

Last year, Manna asked Ride On to hold its annual food collection drive in the spring to better meet community food distribution needs. Ride On accommodated the request by moving Give and Ride from before Thanksgiving to April.

For bus stop locations or bus schedules, call the County's Transit Information Center at 240-777-7433; TDD/TTY 240-777-5869. Route and timetable information is also available on Ride On's web site. Tokens and passes can be purchased online.

Ride On, Manna Food and Whole Foods Team Up in May for "Stuff a Bus" Food Drive - top

Look for Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett on Wednesday, May 14 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Whole Foods Market as he helps Manna Food Center celebrate their 25th anniversary. Montgomery County's Ride On transit service will team up with Whole Foods Market and Manna to sponsor a "stuff a bus" food drive and Leggett will participate as a "celebrity bagger" at the Rockville store. Donations of non-perishable food that day will be donated to Manna's food bank. According to Manna, it is seeing a record number of people turning to the center for help feeding their families.

Look for the Ride On bus in the parking lot of each Montgomery County Whole Foods Market store and bring canned goods, non-perishable food and children's items such as disposable diapers, formula, baby or toddler food and juice. Plastic containers are preferred.

In addition to this food drive, five percent of Whole Foods Market sales that day from the four county stores will be donated to Manna. Donations will be accepted while the stores are open. They are located at:

Whole Foods Market Bethesda
5269 River Rd.
Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Whole Foods Market, Kentlands Store
316 Kentlands Blvd., Gaithersburg
Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Whole Foods Market, Congressional Plaza
1649 Rockville Pike, Rockville
Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Whole Foods Market, Silver Spring
833 Wayne Ave.
Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Police Support Regional Litter Enforcement Week - top

During the week of March 30, the Montgomery County Police Department joined other regional law enforcement agencies in 2008 Litter Enforcement Week activities to reduce litter, keep trash out of storm drains and keep waterways clean. Sponsored by the Alice Ferguson Foundation (AFF) and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Police Chiefs' Committee, this was the first time the partnership simultaneously coordinated intensive enforcement activities. Litter Enforcement Week coincided with the 20th Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, which was held this year on Saturday, April 5at over 400 sites.

Montgomery County Police, and other metro-area law enforcement agencies strictly enforced existing litter laws. All those who live, work and travel in Montgomery County are reminded that throwing or dumping items onto any public highway or property (other than personal property) without the owner's permission is illegal. Anti-littering and dumping laws include:

  • Maryland State Law CR 10-110 states that littering or dumping of items under 100 pounds is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to $1,500 and/or 30 days in jail. Prohibitions against littering or dumping of items over 100 pounds are also spelled out.
  • Maryland Motor Vehicle Law 21-111 states that it is illegal to drop or place an injurious substance on a roadway. It is also illegal to throw, deposit or discharge refuse from a vehicle onto the roadway. A citation can result in a fine of up to $140 and two points. A littered substance that results in injury carries a penalty of up to $280 and three points.
  • Montgomery County Code, Chapter 48, Section 11 provides both criminal and civil violations against dumping or littering on property and roadways. A criminal violation carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. A civil violation carries a penalty of up to $500.

Montgomery County supports the regional Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative and the public education effort aimed at reducing litter in our communities. Volunteers for DPWT's Adopt-a-Road program are needed to help keep litter out of the community's storm drains and out of the Chesapeake Bay. For more information on how to begin cleaning a road segment, visit DPWT's Community Outreach website or call 240-777-7155.

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Last edited: 4/29/2008