Friday, December 21, 2012

Leggett Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary of His Pedestrian Safety Initiative; Efforts are Reducing Collisions and Saving Lives

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett celebrated the five-year anniversary of his December 2007 Pedestrian Safety Initiative, which for the first time provided a blueprint to improve pedestrian safety based on measurable strategies. 
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett celebrated the five-year anniversary of his December 2007 Pedestrian Safety Initiative, which for the first time provided a blueprint for action to improve pedestrian safety based on measurable strategies. 

 The Initiative outlined an approach to pedestrian and traffic safety that focused on three essential components: education, engineering and enforcement.  The Initiative significantly enhanced the County’s investment in educating motorists and pedestrians, keeping enforcement efforts visible and intensive and aggressively applying the most innovative and pedestrian-friendly road engineering designs. 

Some of the achievements of the Initiative include:

  • Reducing pedestrian fatalities from a high of 19 fatalities in 2008 to 11 last year and six so far in 2012..
  • Reducing pedestrian collisions 12 percent since 2009.
  • Reducing the most severe collisions that incapacitate or kill pedestrians 21 percent since 2009.
  • Reducing collisions 35 percent in areas where traffic calming measures have been installed. 
  • Reducing collisions by 45 percent in High Incidence Areas (HIAs), locations with the highest concentrations of collisions.
  • Reducing collisions by 72 percent within a quarter mile of schools targeted for engineering, education and enforcement activities under the Safe Routes to Schools program.
 For more information, see the press release or view the Initiative on the County’s website.

Old Georgetown Road Pedestrian Bridge Reopens

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has reopened the Old Georgetown Road pedestrian bridge after completing repairs.  The bridge crosses over Old Georgetown Road between Woodmont Avenue and Edgemoor Lane, connecting Bethesda Place to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, the Metropolitan Apartments and a 1,100-space public parking garage.

The truss bridge was built in 1999.  Work included repairs to the fascia girders and replacement of cladding, railings, the drainage system, concrete pavers and the expansion joint.  The bridge was also cleaned and repainted.  

Maryland Leaders Convene at Transportation Summit

Elected officials, policy makers and business leaders from across Maryland’s Baltimore-Washington region, including Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III and Charles County Commission President Candice Quinn Kelly, met in Annapolis on December 12 for a Maryland Transportation Summit. 

Attendees stressed the urgent need for investment in transportation projects statewide. Maryland must submit finalized financial plans to the federal government by mid-2013 to be eligible for federal funding.  Absent a revenue increase or federal aid, it is unlikely that projects, such as the Purple Line and the Red Line extension of the Baltimore Metrorail system will be constructed.  Preliminary funding for these projects runs out in 2014. 

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

At the 26th annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) community beautification awards ceremony, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) announced 56 winners, honored 17 amateur photographers, presented two Clean Sweep Awards for the Adopt-A-Road program and presented two Grey Tolson Awards from the Forestry Board.

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

More than twenty years ago, concerned volunteers formed KMCB to help 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 of the annual ceremony included the Bethesda Urban Partnership, Bethesda Florist, Graffiti Abatement, Inc., and Penn Camera, Rockville.

More information on the award winners is available in the County’s press release.   

Transit Holiday Schedules for Christmas and New Year’s

Ride On bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule on both Christmas Day, December 25, and New Year’s Day, January 1.  On Monday, December 24, Christmas Eve, bus service will end early with the last trips departing terminals at around 10 p.m.  For information, call 311 or visit Ride On’s website.

The County’s TRiPS Commuter Stores in Silver Spring and Friendship Heights will be closed on both holidays.

Metrobus and Metrorail will operate on a Sunday schedule on both holidays, as well.  For more information, call 202-637-7000, or visit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s website.
Parking at public garages, lots and curbside meters is free on both holidays. For more information, visit the Division of Parking Management’s website.

Bethesda Avenue-Woodmont Avenue Project Update

Work continues on the public-private partnership project located on the former parking lot (Lot 31) at the corner of Bethesda and Woodmont avenues in Bethesda:
  •  On December 5, Clark Construction began blasting through dense, hard rock as it excavates the site.  The blasting will continue for two to three months, with about two blasts a day occurring only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Blasting was suspended on December 13 until after January 1.
  •  Before an impending blast, a horn is sounded to notify those nearby.  The horn sounds about 15 minutes and five minutes prior to the blast, and then immediately after the blast.
  •  Drivers are reminded that Woodmont Avenue remains closed from Miller to Bethesda avenues. Only automobiles with business on Miller Avenue or who use Miller Avenue to access their homes may enter Woodmont Avenue northbound at Wisconsin Avenue.
  •  Seeding and mulching along the Capital Crescent Trail is complete. Overhead protection of the trail has been completed, as well as the restoration of the portion of the trail immediately adjacent to Lot 31.
 For more information on parking options in Bethesda, visit the Division of Parking Management’s website.

Parking Rates in Silver Spring and North Bethesda to Increase January 2, 2013

The Montgomery County Council approved a parking rate increase in Silver Spring and North Bethesda parking lots, garages and at meters as part of the fiscal year 2013 budget approved in May.  

The following new rates are effective January 2, 2013:

  • Short term parking rates for the first four hours will increase from 75-cents an hour to $1 an hour. 
  • Long term parking rates for more than four hours will increase from 60-cents an hour to 65-cents an hour. 
  • The monthly parking convenience sticker will increase from $113 to $123.
For additional information on parking options in North Bethesda, Silver Spring or the other County parking lot districts, visit the Division of Parking Management’s website.   

Don’t Let a Holiday Celebration Become a Tragedy

Every year, more than 400 people are injured in alcohol-related collisions in Montgomery County.  Always designate a driver when attending an event where alcohol is served.  If someone at a party has had too much to drink, see that they get a ride home with someone sober, or call them a taxi. 

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), is a non-profit, public-private coalition formed to fight drunk driving.  Through state, federal and corporate funding, WRAP operates a free cab service called SoberRide.  Free rides home, up to a $30 fare, are available from the District or surrounding counties, including Montgomery County, by calling SoberRide at 800-200-TAXI.  Since 1993, SoberRide has provided 50,000 free cab rides to impaired drivers.

More information about taxi service in Montgomery County is available on the County’s website.  

Sierra Club Report Lists Purple Line as one of the 50 Best Projects in the U.S.

A November 2012 report by the Sierra Club on the 50 best and worst transportation projects in the U.S. included the Purple Line as one of the best.  It was the only Maryland project listed.  

The Purple Line is a proposed 16-mile light rail line that will link the two sides of the Red Line Metrorail sysem and link Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.  Planners estimate that the Purple Line will have 68,000 daily commuters.  

Metro Survey Seeks Public Input on Strategic Plan

Metro is seeking public input to help develop its strategic plan for the next decade and beyond through an online survey that will be available through December 31.  The survey asks customers for their opinions on a range of topics, including how to improve safety and service, how to make the system more accessible for people with disabilities and how to fund Metro.

Metro will use the survey results to help prepare for and identify priorities, including how best to improve safety, deliver quality service, meet future needs and help create transit-connected communities.

For more information, visit Metro’s website.