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Newsletter | May, 2007 Back to Go Montgomery | Archive

Ride On Now Accepts SmarTrip Cards back to top

SmarTrip cards are now accepted on Montgomery County's Ride On buses! The convenient electronic card can be used to pay for MetroRail, MetroBus, Ride On bus, and parking at Metro stations. Customers can check balances and add money to the card on Ride On buses as well as at Metro stations.

Ride On is the first transit system in Maryland to accept SmarTrip, and soon every transit system in the region will accept the card. Using SmarTrip eliminates the need for cash, tokens, farecards, or special passes as customers travel throughout the Washington area. Metro expects to enhance SmarTrip's capabilities to compute special pass rates by next year.

For more information on Ride On, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/RideOn, or call the County's Transit Information Center at 240-777-RIDE (7433).

SmarTrip cards can be purchased online with a credit card at the Division of Transit Services' website, online at Metro's website, by mail, at Metro sales offices, retail outlets and commuter stores, and through vending machines at most Metro stations in Montgomery County except Silver Spring, Takoma, Medical Center, Bethesda and Friendship Heights.

For more information about SmarTrip, customers can call 1-888-SMARTRIP (762-7874) weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. or send your comment on Metro website.

Safe Speed Program Underway back to top

Montgomery County's Safe Speed automated photo enforcement program began on
May 2. The program only operates in residential areas and school zones with speed limits of 35 mph. Vehicles traveling more than 10 mph above the posted speed limit are photographed, and the owner receives a $40 citation in the mail.

Speeding is a significant public safety problem in Montgomery County and around the state. In 2005, speed-related crashes accounted for 35 percent of all Maryland traffic fatalities, with most occurring on non-Interstate roads. That same year, 214 people were killed in speeding-related crashes in Maryland, with at least 16 of those deaths occurring in Montgomery County. The public cost of these crashes is more than $732 million.

Rockville also began its automated speed enforcement program the same day, and later this year, Chevy Chase Village, Gaithersburg and Takoma Park will begin speed camera programs.

For more information on the safe speed program, visit the County's website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/safespeed.

Leggett Announces New Pedestrian Safety Initiative for Schools back to top

On May 21, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced that the first $25,000 in net revenues received under the County's new speed camera program will be earmarked for pedestrian safety improvements at public schools. This additional funding will allow the County to accelerate planned safety improvements by one to two years for one to two County schools.

Also at the event, Leggett and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jerry D. Weast thanked Honda of North America, Inc. for donating 400 copies of a 14-minute DVD on pedestrian safety called "Step to Safety with ASIMO." The DVD, aimed at five-to-nine year-olds, is going to every public and private K-5 school in Montgomery County. Each County public library will receive two copies of the DVD.

State Delegate Bill Bronrott (D-District 16, Bethesda) initiated discussions with Honda that led to the donation after their sponsorship of this year's regional Street Smart pedestrian safety campaign that ran from March 18 to April 14.

Honda has given permission for a link on the County's website that allows residents to view the DVD online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/walk.

Ride On Route 45 Service Extended to Fallsgrove back to top

Ride On's Route 45 bus service was extended to the Rockville Regional Transportation Center in Fallsgrove on May 7. The extended route forms the basis of a new shuttle connecting the Fallsgrove community with the Rockville and Twinbrook Metro stations. Route 45 provides service to the Center via Hurley Avenue, Wootton Parkway, Glen Mill Road, Darnestown Road, Shady Grove Road, Blackwell Road and Fallsgrove Drive.

Once Rockville Town Center is completed, modifications to the route will be made to include the new commercial area. Rockville has applied for federal funds that, if granted, will be used to purchase six specially painted and branded small buses dedicated to Rockville.

Bus Stop Safety and Access Improvements Well Underway back to top

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's "Safe Streets and Secure Neighborhoods" initiative is making bus stops safer and more accessible for passengers. After assessing every bus stop in the County for safety, the County's Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) has been making extensive pedestrian and traffic improvements. Under this multi-year project, significant improvements have been completed to sections of Veirs Mill Road, Connecticut Avenue, Clopper Road, River Road, and Goldsboro Road. New Hampshire Avenue will be addressed over the next few months.

Ride On Food Collection a Success back to top

Ride On collected over 8,600 pounds of food donations in April during its first springtime "Give and Ride" program from April 16 through April 22. Participating bus passengers helped needy families and received free bus rides by donating canned or nonperishable food during this 20th annual food drive. Previous Give and Ride drives collected food at Thanksgiving. However, food donation centers tend to receive more food than they can store during the winter holiday season. So this year, Manna Food Center, the non-profit organization that distributes Ride On's food contributions, asked that the time of its food drive be changed to the spring.

Leggett, Governor O'Malley and State Officials Honored
Those Who Promote Alternative Transportation back to top

On May 14, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett honored employers and individuals who have excelled in promoting the use of transit, vanpools, and other alternatives to driving single occupancy vehicles. Sponsored by Montgomery County's Department of Public Works and Transportation Commuter Services, the event highlighted the benefits of alternative transportation, including easing traffic congestion, improving air quality, reducing commuting stress, and enhancing the quality of life in Montgomery County and the Washington region.

This year's 20th annual Transportation Awards Ceremony featured Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley as the keynote speaker. For more information about the awards and the recipients, see (press release).

Live Near Your Work" Workshop Held back to top

On May 9, the North Bethesda Transportation Management District sponsored a free workshop on "Live Near Your Work" initiatives -- programs that make it easier and more affordable for employees to find housing options closer to where they work. The workshop was held in downtown Bethesda in conjunction with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

The workshop, aimed at employers, developers, and housing and transportation officials, highlighted programs such as Freddie Mac's Workforce Home Benefit, Maryland's Smart Keys 4 Employees and House Keys 4 Employees, and initiatives offered by Montgomery County that address Smart Growth and affordable housing.

Bethesda Parking Garage Renovation Wins Award back to top

The Woodmont Corner Garage has been a part of Bethesda since 1970. The original garage experienced major structural deterioration, so in 2003 the Department of Public Works and Transportation's (DPWT) Division of Capital Development began an extensive restoration. After an $18 million refurbishment that took over two years to complete, DPWT received a prestigious Award of Excellence from the International Parking Institute for the project.

The renovation included upgrading the floor slabs, elevators, stairs, electrical and plumbing systems, and installing a more efficient Pay-on-Foot payment procedure. During the construction, DPWT -- in partnership with the Regional Services Center, the Bethesda Urban Partnership, and other local organizations -- conducted an extensive education campaign to inform residents about parking alternatives. Communication with patrons and local business owners was vital because more than 700 parking spaces were temporarily unavailable during construction. To further assist merchants and customers, the County installed a covered pedestrian walkway around the garage.

For information on parking options, visit the Division of Operations' website.

Summer Pedestrian Safety Tips back to top

With the spring season in full bloom and the start of summer fast approaching, more people are enjoying outdoor activities. Children and their parents are urged to exercise caution when crossing the street, and drivers are asked to slow down and watch out for children.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian injury is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages five to 14. To stay safe this summer, please follow these pedestrian and bicycling safety tips:

Pedestrian Tips

  • Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections. Do not jaywalk.
  • Before crossing, look left, right, and left again. Then look over your shoulder for turning vehicles.
  • Make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you.
  • Use pedestrian pushbuttons.
  • Begin crossing the street on the "Walk" signal.
  • Wear light-colored or reflective clothing to be visible after dark and in bad weather.
  • Do not wear headphones while walking.
  • Watch out for trucks and buses backing out of parking spaces and driveways.

Driver Tips

  • Stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks.
  • Obey traffic signs, traffic signals and speed limits. Never run a red light.
  • Slow down and obey the posted speed limit.
  • When turning right on red, stop, look both ways, and always yield to pedestrians
  • Do not block crosswalks, sidewalks or intersections.
  • Look before opening your door.
  • Be careful when passing stopped vehicles.
  • Allow 3 feet when passing bicyclists.
  • Expect the unexpected.

Bicycling Tips

  • Obey all regulatory signs and traffic lights.
  • Never ride against traffic. Ride with traffic to avoid potential accidents.
  • Use hand signals to tell motorists what you intend to do.
  • Ride in a straight line to the right of traffic and about a car door width away from parked cars.
  • Always wear a helmet. Helmets dramatically reduce the risk of head injury in a bicycle accident.
  • Use lights at night and when visibility is poor.

County Celebrates National Public Works Week back to top

In recognition of National Public Works Week (NPWW) -- May 20 through 26 -- the Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) hosted an employee appreciation celebration that honored its employees and featured exhibits about DPWT's services. The winners of photo and children's poster contests that celebrated employee contributions to the community were also announced.

NPWW is sponsored by the American Public Works Association. This year's theme is "Public Works: Moving Life Forward." To further recognize staff, each DPWT employee received a letter signed by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and DPWT Director Art Holmes, Jr. thanking them for their hard work and dedication. Posters and banners were displayed in County buildings and specially designed pennants announcing National Public Works Week were affixed to DPWT fleet cars during the week.

DPWT further promoted NPWW by taking a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Hybrid Ride On bus, an ethanol fueled pickup truck and the Recyclemobile to nine public schools and three private schools. Students had the opportunity to learn more about these vehicles and services provided by DPWT.

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Last edited: 8/14/2007