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Newsletter | June, 2009 Back to Go Montgomery | Archive

Ride On, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Assist Metro in Aftermath of Tragedy back to top

Following the terrible Metro train accident on June 22, Montgomery County's Fire and Rescue Service and Ride On bus service provided assistance. Fire and Rescue heroically aided in rescue and recovery operations. Ride On provided bus bridges to help commuters travel around the affected areas. County Executive Isiah Leggett thanked all the staff for the professionalism, courage and preparedness they demonstrate every day - and especially during emergencies.

Refresh Montgomery in Full Swing this Spring back to top

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation's (MCDOT) Highway Services Division began their annual "Refresh Montgomery" spring cleaning program in April. Three crews spent two months picking up litter countywide, collecting more than 30 tons of trash from alongside county roads.

The crews coordinated their work with the 240 groups in the volunteer-based Adopt-A-Road program who joined Highway Services in cleanups on their adopted road segments.

For more information on Adopt-A-Road, visit DOT's Community Outreach website. For more about Highway Services visit their website, or call MCDOT's Customer Service Center at 240-777-6000.

Glen Echo is Second Neighborhood to be Refurbished Under New Program back to top

After completing the rehabilitation of the streets and sidewalks in the Battery Park neighborhood of Bethesda in December, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Highway Services' new Residential Road Rehabilitation Program will be turning next to Glen Echo. Last year, the County began taking a more systematic and comprehensive approach to maintaining the county's transportation infrastructure using data-driven methods to ensure that critical services are provided in the most effective and efficient ways.

Highway Services completed a comprehensive evaluation of all of the nearly 5,000 lane miles of County roads and assigned ratings of very good, good, fair, poor or very poor to each road using a formula-based scoring system. Glen Echo was selected as the next neighborhood because it has many streets in very poor condition.

The first step in the refurbishment is developing a tree protection plan to use during construction. Next, MCDOT will replace deteriorated curbs and sidewalks, making sure existing curb ramps comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Road repairs will follow that include grinding off the surface of the streets prior to repaving them with hot mix asphalt. Because of the magnitude of the work needed in Glen Echo, this refurbishment project is expected to begin this year and be completed next Spring.

Urgent Repair of East Deer Park Drive Bridge Underway back to top

The East Deer Park Drive Bridge in Gaithersburg closed to traffic in June for urgent repairs. The bridge, also known as the Humpback Bridge, is located between Central Avenue and Railroad Street. Engineers found that the supports below the bridge had deteriorated and required replacement. The bridge, which was built in 1946 and is listed in the Locational Atlas and Index of Historical Sites, will otherwise remain unchanged.

Because the bridge spans the CSX railroad tracks, Montgomery County's Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Division of Transportation Engineering had to devise an innovative way of supporting the bridge from above while the repairs are made. Temporary steel beams support hangers lift the bridge superstructure and suspend it while new supports are installed.

The bridge is expected to reopen before school begins, and the entire project should be completed in the Fall.

Cattail Road Bridge Deck Replacement Scheduled for June back to top

Montgomery County's Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Division of Transportation Engineering is also making repairs to the Cattail Road Bridge that runs over Dry Seneca Creek near Poolesville. While MCDOT replaces the bridge deck, Cattail Road will be closed about one-half mile from Fisher Avenue, and traffic will be detoured along Darnestown Road, Jerusalem Road, Elgin Road, Beallsville Road and Fisher Avenue. Residents who live in the closed road section will continue to have access to their homes. The work should be completed by the beginning of July.

For more information, call 240-777-7220.

Extension of Locbury Drive Complete back to top

The Division of Transportation Engineering recently completed the extension of Locbury Drive in Germantown. Locbury Drive runs next to the park behind the Germantown Library. The project connected two separate street segments and increased local access for residents and visitors to the library. Total project cost, including storm drains, was $315,000.

To see 'before' and 'after' pictures of the project, visit the Department of Transportation's website.

Ride On Celebrates National Dump the Pump Day back to top

On June 18, Ride On joined other public transportation systems nationwide in celebrating the fourth annual National Dump the Pump Day. Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) , National Dump the Pump Day encourages people to take public transportation to save money, protect the environment, reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil and improve their quality of life.

Residents in the Washington region can achieve an average annual savings of $9,000 by taking public transportation instead of driving and by living with one less car. APTA estimates that for every one dollar invested in public transportation infrastructure, six dollars is generated in economic returns to communities.

Nationwide, public transportation saves 900,000 automobile fill-ups each day - the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline a year. Switching to public transportation can reduce individual carbon emissions by 20 pounds a day or 4,800 pounds a year.

In addition to using public transportation, the County encourages residents to consider other ways to "dump the pump" such as carpooling, walking, bike riding or vanpooling. Residents can also consider planning ahead in order to shorten trip lengths and combine trips. These travel changes can help consumers save money and conserve fuel.

Results of Ride On's "Give and Ride" Food Drive back to top

Montgomery County's Ride On bus system collected nearly 5,800 pounds of food and other items during its 22nd annual "Give and Ride" food drive that took place between May 10 and May 16. 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. Manna requested that Ride On hold its annual food collection drive in the spring to better meet community food distribution needs.

Manna Food Center accepts food donations and contributions year-round. Demand for their services has more than doubled as the economic crisis has worsened. Information about the food center is available at Manna's website.

Fare on Three Ride On Bus Routes to Change July 1 back to top

On Wednesday, July 1, Ride On bus fares will change on Routes 93, 96 and 70. The regular Ride On fare will be charged for Routes 93 and 96, which is $1.35 when using cash. When using a SmarTrip Card, passengers will pay only $1.25. An additional benefit for riders using SmarTrip is that they receive free transfers to other buses and a 50-cent discount when transferring to and from Metrorail.

The new rate for passengers on the Route 70 Express will be $3.10 for customers using cash and $3.00 for those using SmarTrip. Riders using SmarTrip who transfer from a regular fare route to an express route will only pay an additional $1.75 (cash only), the difference between a regular fare and the express fare. By next year, passengers will be able to use their SmarTrip card to pay the additional $1.75.

Express fares for passengers using Ride On's Monthly Pass, Metro's Weekly Pass and the Regional One Day Pass will be reduced by $1.25.

To meet the serious budget challenges facing the County for the fiscal year starting July 1, the operating budget proposed cutting back on some Ride On bus service. After hearing from residents, the County was able to find additional cost savings to maintain current bus service levels. The rate increases for Routes 93, 96 and 70 are the only service changes that will be implemented July 1.

For more information or Ride On bus schedules, contact the Transit Information Center at 240-777-RIDE (7433) or montgomerycountymd.gov/rideon

Metro Riders Advisory Council Seeks County Representative back to top

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) is soliciting applications from customers interested in filling a vacancy as a Montgomery County representative on its Riders Advisory Council. The council advises Metro's Board of Directors and staff on how to improve service. Residents who wish to share their good ideas about Metro are encouraged to apply.

To be a representative, applicants must live in Montgomery County and use Metrobus, Metrorail or MetroAccess. Elected officials and Metro employees or contractors are not eligible.

More information about the Riders Advisory Council and an online application are available at Metro's website. Or, contact them at 202-962-2891.

Metro to Re-Launch Next Bus on July 1 - back to top

In preparation for the re-launch of the Next Bus system on July 1, Metro has started posting Next Bus signs at Metrobus stops throughout the region. Next Bus is Metro's system that allows riders to get real-time bus arrival information for a particular bus stop by phone or the internet. Select Metrobus stops will feature electronic signs that display the arrival time information. Metro is posting round, red, white and blue Next Bus signs at each Metrobus stop that includes the phone number and a unique bus stop number. More than 12,000 Metrobus stops in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia are included in the system.

For more information about Metro's Next Bus system, visit Metro's website

County Executive Leggett Says Speed Cameras are Making the County Safer back to top

In the most recent issue of Isiah Leggett Reports, the County Executive said the following about the speed camera program:

"Our County Police believe that there is only one explanation for the fact that over the past two years fatalities resulting from vehicle collisions in the county have decreased 50 percent on county roads - although the number of vehicles has not declined. Speed cameras are improving safety because they are slowing drivers down. It's also interesting to note that none of our neighboring jurisdictions have experienced similar declines in fatalities.

"According to the Federal Highway Administration, almost one of every three traffic fatalities is related to speeding. And the greater the vehicle speed at the time of impact, the more severe the injuries that result. The County's first 11 speed cameras have reduced roadway speed by 22 percent and reduced crashes by 25 percent. Even one-quarter mile from the cameras, they are still reducing crashes by 15 percent.

"The cameras also are working to deter aggressive drivers and improve safety for other drivers and pedestrians. Every day, County Police receive more requests from residents who want cameras in their neighborhoods than complaints about the cameras. Yet, to some, they remain controversial.

"The bottom line is: those who receive a speed camera ticket are breaking the law. And, these speeders are not breaking the law by one or two miles over the limit. They are breaking the law by speeding 11 miles per hour or more over the limit. They are speeding near schools and in residential zones, where our kids and neighbors are playing, walking and driving, putting everyone in jeopardy.

"I hope that soon, no one in the county will receive another speed camera ticket, because that will mean that drivers have slowed down and are obeying the law. And, that makes all of us safer."

Last edited: 6/30/2009