Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ceremony Honors Award Winners of the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Annual Beautification and Amateur Photography Competitions

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) celebrated 71 winners of its 28th annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) community beautification awards. Fifty-five amateur photographers were also honored and two Clean Sweep Awards for the Adopt A Road were presented.

The beautification competition is open to community groups, businesses, public institutions and other organizations undertaking landscaping projects that enhance the appearance of commonly owned sections of commercial or residential properties. Landscaping can also take place along County roadsides, medians or other public locations.

More than 20 years ago, concerned volunteers formed the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Task Force to work with the County to develop beautification projects and anti-litter and recycling programs. The group also conducts public education to change resident attitudes about littering and graffiti. Business and organization sponsors that assist MCDOT in staging this annual ceremony included the Bethesda Urban Partnership and Bethesda Florist. Read More.

Leggett, Stonebridge Carras and Bozzuto Announce Agreement for Redevelopment of Downtown Wheaton

More than One Million Square Feet of Mixed Use Projects Will Reshape Wheaton Triangle and M-NCPPC Site in Silver Spring 

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced the signing of a public-private partnership agreement that will remake the downtown Wheaton Triangle. The agreement will also create a new Georgia Avenue gateway to Silver Spring with mixed-use development on the site of the current headquarters of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), which also houses the County’s Planning Board and Planning Department staff.

Together, the two sites represent 1.1 million square feet of development that is expected to advance Montgomery County’s smart growth, continue the revitalization of downtown Wheaton, and move County departments and agencies from leased space to a more cost-effective, environmentally sensitive, publically owned building.
The County’s partners in this joint venture are affiliates of StonebridgeCarras, LLC, a Bethesda-based real estate firm, and The Bozzuto Group, a Greenbelt-based residential real estate company.

Wheaton’s new downtown will be a transit-oriented development that includes a town square, a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified office building, retail, residences, including affordable housing, and public parking.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation spearheaded the agreement. Under the terms of the public-private partnership, StonebridgeCarras and Bozzuto will construct the following in Wheaton on the existing County Regional Services Center and the large surface parking lot on Reedie Drive:
      • A 265,000 square-foot office building that will house the headquarters of the M-NCPPC,
        Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services and Department of Environmental
        Protection, the Mid-County Regional Services Center and Wheaton Urban District;
      • New retail space on Triangle Lane;
      • A new Town Square civic space adjacent to the Wheaton Metro Station;
      • A 395-space underground parking garage; and
      • About 200 units of mixed-income apartment community, of which 20 to 30 percent will be
        designated affordable housing.

In exchange, StonebridgeCarras and Bozzuto will acquire the current M-NCPPC site located at 8787 Georgia Avenue to redevelop into a 430,000 square-foot, mixed-use project, including 26,000 square feet of retail and 360 residential units.

The current M-NCPPC headquarters was built in 1953 and requires significant renovation and expansion. Constructing a new building in Wheaton for M-NCPPC provides a more cost-effective opportunity to also put in one place key County agencies that are related to the development process. Design of the new 12-story building has begun. Construction is expected to begin in 2016, with completion in early 2019.

County Leaf Collection Underway; Continues Through Mid-December

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) is conducting its annual vacuum collection of leaves in the southern part of the County through mid-December. DHS makes two collections on every street in the vacuum leaf collection district during the fall. A third collection may also be provided on an as-needed basis.  

The leaf vacuum collection district is bounded by I-495, I-270, the Rockville City limits, Norbeck, Bel Pre and Bonifant roads, Northwest Branch Park, and the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County lines. 
Residents should look for signs posted along the streets for information. DHS crews are posting new, larger, more informative signs this season that will direct residents to DHS’s website for more information about collection dates.

Leaves should be placed in piles or containers on the grass or behind the curb, off the road pavement, but near the street. Placing leaves in streets or alleys can disrupt traffic, negatively impact drainage infrastructure, hamper snow removal operations, pose a risk of fire hazard for automobiles parked over them, limit the availability of residential parking and pose a safety risk to children and adults, alike. This is why residents are asked to keep leaves off road shoulders, and out of rain gardens and bikeshare lanes. Leaves, especially when wet, can pose a hazard for cyclists and pedestrians.

The leaf collection program is restricted to leaves only. Tree debris, sticks, branches or coarse garden debris should be placed in containers or tied in bundles no more than four feet long and placed where yard trim is regularly picked up.

Residents who miss the two scheduled vacuum collections can still have their leaves collected by placing them in paper yard trim bags or reusable containers for pick up on their regular yard trim collection day. Leaves placed in plastic bags will not be accepted.
DHS will make every effort to maintain the schedules posted online, but weather and equipment issues can affect the timing.

To determine if a residence is within the boundaries of the leaf vacuum collection district or view the leaf collection schedule, visit DHS’s website or call 311. 

New Cycle Track on Woodglen Drive from Edson Lane to Nicholson Lane Nears Completion

The first cycle track in Montgomery County is nearing completion in North Bethesda. Construction of the eight-foot-wide, 1,500-foot long path will provide a protected bikeway, called a cycle track, on the west side of Woodglen Drive. This project is an important element in recreating the White Flint area into a walkable, bikeable community.

The project includes roadway resurfacing, installation of new directional route signs, crosswalks, green pavement at driveway access points and a bike box with bicycle detectors at Nicholson Lane and Woodglen Drive.

Update on Road Maintenance Projects

The Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) pavement management system biennually evaluates more than 5,000 lane miles of County roads to assess their condition and prioritize repair and rehabilitation efforts. 

DHS has resurfaced residential roads using hot mix asphalt in the Goshen Estates neighborhood, Gaithersburg; Avery Village, Derwood; and Wisteria Drive from Germantown Road to Waring Station Road, Germantown. This pavement preservation technique keeps pavement serviceable for many years.  

Other resurfacing projects completed include Black Rock Road, from Darnestown Road to Burdette Lane, in Germantown. DHS conducted full-depth pavement patching; sealed cracks; applied a chipseal surfacing material; swept residual stone; and repainted lane markings.  

For projects to preserve pavement, DHS will complete full-depth patching of pavement, which removes failed areas of pavement with hot mix asphalt. Preservation was completed in the Hillandale neighborhood, Silver Spring in October and began in November in the Olney Mill neighborhood. Patching will take about five weeks to complete, weather permitting. Work hours are between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

DHS identifies curbs and sidewalks in need of replacement or repair and ensure that curb ramps comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. When DHS is doing concrete work in a neighborhood, residents can take advantage of the driveway apron and lead walk repair program.

Projects were recently completed in the Flower Hill neighborhood in Gaithersburg and Stoneybrook Estates, Silver Spring.  

For more information on resurfacing projects throughout the County, visit the Division of Highway Services’ website or call 311 (outside Montgomery County, call 240-777-0311; TTY, call 301-251-4850), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan Available

The Montgomery County Planning Department’s approved and adopted Countywide Transit Corridors  Functional Master Plan is now available online. The plan recommends a bus rapid
transit (BRT) network throughout Montgomery County that will improve accessibility and mobility on County roads. The plan was adopted on December 18, 2013 by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, as modified by the County Council on November 25, 2013

Learn About Existing and Proposed Bikeways in Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Planning Department has created a new webpage about bikeways in Montgomery County featuring all of the existing and proposed bikeways and an interactive map. Also posted online is the Silver Spring Bicycle Parking Station Study that evaluates future demand and possible locations for a bicycle parking station near the Silver Spring Transit Center and the planned connection of the Capital Crescent Trail and Metropolitan Branch Trail.

Online visitors can also review “An Assessmentof Purple Line Corridor Bicycle and Pedestrian Issues” for the proposed Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring and pedestrian issues around the Purple Line.