Leggett Proposes FY10 Budget Amendments to Restore Some Ride On Service — back
Following a forum held in March to solicit public input on proposed service cuts, Ride On staff looked at additional, creative ways to preserve service to four routes that impact the largest number of people. Based on their analysis, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has recommended to the County Council that weekday service to Route 53, Saturday service to Route 29, and a portion of service to Routes 93 and 7 be restored for fiscal year 2010 that begins July 1.
Staff recommended specific fee increases to generate more income that will offset the cost of the service restorations. These fee changes include instituting a $3 Express Fare for the Route 70 bus and increasing the fare from 35 cents to the regular Ride On fare of $1.35 for Routes 93 and 96.
Leggett had some very difficult challenges in preparing the recommended fiscal year operating budget that begins July 1. Faced with a $587 million budget gap in the coming year, he had little choice but to propose making cuts to some services that he fully supports - such as Ride On.
The proposed service restoration, along with changes to other Ride On routes and fees, must be approved by the County Council. The Council will approve the final budget on May 21.
Ride On's Annual Food Drive to be Held Week of May 10 - back
Ride On bus passengers in Montgomery County can help needy families and receive free bus rides by donating canned or nonperishable food during Ride On's annual food drive. A free trip will be provided to riders who donate food from Sunday, May 10 through Saturday, May 16. Food collected through the drive goes to Manna Food Center, which feeds 3,000 hungry families a month.
During the Give and Ride promotion, food collection bags will be placed near the fare boxes on all Ride On buses. Riders using free shuttles and other transit services can participate by bringing their donations to a Ride On bus. In addition to non-perishable food, children's items are also needed. Disposable diapers, formula, baby or toddler food and juice are especially useful to families in need. Plastic containers are preferred.
All food donations, regardless of the number of cans, will be valued at the regular fare rate of $1.35. This year, passengers who transfer buses will need an additional food donation to ride free on the second bus. Riders who wish to buy a Regional One-Day pass will need to add $1.65 to the fare box. Residents who do not ride the bus but wish to donate food can participate by giving their donations to a bus operator at any Ride On bus stop. Checks made out to Manna Food Center will also be accepted. Writing in "Ride On" on the "For" or "Memo" line in the lower left corner of a check will make it easier to track the success of the program.
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 at www.rideonbus.com, then click on "Ride On." SmarTrip® and passes can be purchased online.
Credit Card Use Grows at County Parking Garages - back
The option to pay for parking with a credit card is proving to be very popular at five County parking garages that have almost one-third of the public parking spaces in the County.
In January, Montgomery County Department of Transportation Parking Division added the credit card payment option at the following five garages:
- Woodmont Corner Garage, Bethesda
- Cameron /Second Garage, Silver Spring
- Wayne Avenue Garage, Silver Spring
- Town Square Garage, Silver Spring
- Amherst Garage, Wheaton
For information about the location, number of spaces, and hours requiring payment for each garage, visit the Division of Parking Management's website or call the Montgomery County Department of Transportation Customer Service Center at 240-777-6000.
Burning Tree Road Bridge Replacement Completed - back
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation's (MCDOT) Division of Transportation Engineering recently completed a major refurbishment of the Burning Tree Road Bridge that was built in 1963. The bridge spans Booze Creek in the Bradley Hills community north of River Road. Construction began in the summer of 2008.
The project reused the bridge abutments to support a new superstructure and installed two 11-foot travel lanes, shoulders and sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. The rehabilitation was completed on schedule and the project came in slightly below budget at $1.3 million dollars.
Montgomery County maintains 303 bridges and routinely inspects them to ensure they are safe. Other major rehabilitation projects underway include bridges on Clarksburg Road, East Deer Park Road, East Gude Drive, Nicholson Lane and White Ground Road..
Rollingwood Neighborhood Streets to be Rehabilitated - back
Starting this month, the Rollingwood neighborhood in Chevy Chase will be getting a facelift under a program begun last year that is taking a more systematic and comprehensive approach to maintaining the County's transportation infrastructure.
Under this program, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) targets the oldest and worst neighborhood roads for rehabilitation and repair. In Rollingwood, MCDOT will remove and replace deteriorated concrete sidewalks; curbs and gutters, as needed; grind up two to four inches of the roadway surface; further evaluate the road substructure for damage; patch where needed; install geo-textile fabrics to strengthen the road base and resurface the roadway with hot mix asphalt. Curbs and sidewalks will also be replaced.
The project should be completed in September. For more information, call MCDOT's Customer Service Line at 240-777-6000, or go to their website.
Metro Adds More Cars to Red Line - back
Metro has made some changes to the Red and Green lines that may benefit Montgomery County residents. Three trains on each line have been converted from six-car to eight-car trains during rush hours. The additional service will also help baseball fans get to and from Nationals games throughout the baseball season.
The transit authority added 20 rail cars to the fleet on Monday, April 13, putting, for the first time, 850 rail cars in use during the morning and afternoon rush hours each weekday. The new cars will also be used to fill in when another train experiences problems or to enhance service during the summer tourist season.
For more information, visit Metro's website.
Tips on Using SmarTrip Cards on Ride On - back
Using SmarTrip Cards is a convenient way to speed trips on Ride On. Just tap the card to the target on the farebox and the small screen indicates the fare deducted and the balance remaining on the card.
To add value to the card, follow these steps:
- First, push the "Add Value" button on the farebox.
- THEN touch the card to the target.
- Deposit coins or bills in the farebox.
- And then touch the card AGAIN to the target to deduct the fare for the trip. The small screen will indicate the new card balance.
Metro buses and Metrorail also accept the SmarTrip card for payment of fares. SmarTrip cards are the only way for passengers to get a free transfer from bus to bus or to qualify for discounts on MetroRail when transferring from bus to rail. Seniors ride free by showing the Senior SmarTrip card.
For more information, go to Ride On's website or call the Transit Information Center at 240-777-7433.
County Begins Street Sweeping Operations - back
Each Spring, MCDOT's highway maintenance crews put away their snow plows and turn to spring cleaning the county's streets. Street sweeping started in mid-March on both arterial roads and residential streets. Crews typically collect more than 2,000 tons of road debris each year, which keeps this dirt, debris and potential pollutants out of County streams and the Chesapeake Bay.
In early April, "Refresh Montgomery" kicked off. For about two months, three road crews will pick-up litter countywide on a fulltime basis. Last year, the program collected more than 20 tons of trash. The crews coordinate their work with the volunteer-based Adopt-A-Road program. All of the 240 volunteer groups are now conducting roadside cleanups.
Elsewhere in the county, county crews are sweeping bridge decks and drainage systems, repairing and restoring roads, and patching potholes.
For more information, including sweeping schedules, or to report a pothole, visit the County's website or call 240-777-6000.
Ride On Ridership Growth Slows - back
Ridership on the County's Ride On bus system declined by 1.1 percent for the month of March as compared to March 2008. There were 2.4 million riders, a drop of about 100,000 passengers. For the first nine months of this fiscal year, ridership actually increased by 1.6 percent as compared to the same period as last year. However, over the past five months ridership was down by 2.3 percent, most likely due to the slowing economy. SmartTrip card usage for the month of March was about 35 percent, the same level as the previous month.
For information on Ride On, visit the Division of Transit Services's website or call the Transit Information Center at 240-777-RIDE (7433).
Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee Has Vacancies - back
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett is seeking applicants to fill two public member openings on the Montgomery County Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee. One vacancy is designated for a representative from the bicycling community. Committee incumbents are eligible to reapply.
The 17-member Advisory Committee includes six government representatives, one public school representative, one Maryland Municipal League representative, eight general public members who represent various regions of Montgomery County, and one representative of the bicycle advocacy community.
This Committee provides advice to the County Executive, County Council, and elected officials on priorities and needs in the area of pedestrian and bicycle safety and access, gathers information on pedestrian and bicycle safety and identifies new issues for the County to consider.
Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability and ethnicity are encouraged to apply by May 15. Write to: County Executive Isiah Leggett, Executive Office Building, l0l Monroe St., Rockville, MD 20850 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a brief resume, with work and home phone numbers and e-mail address.
For more information on these vacancies, see the County's website. Information on safe walking in Montgomery County is available at MCDOT's website.