Friday, June 28, 2013

MCDOT Improving Transportation Infrastructure

In response to the County Executive Isiah Leggett’s call for a more systematic approach to maintaining the County’s transportation infrastructure, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) responded by rating the condition of every County road. Under this program, the Franklin Knolls neighborhood in Silver Spring had many streets rated very poor. A project to reconstruct the roads, sidewalks and curbs began in June and should be completed this fall.

MCDOT will not widen or alter the character of the streets in Franklin Knolls. Typical steps include developing a tree protection plan; identifying curbs and sidewalks needing repair, then reconstructing them; replacing driveway aprons for residents who opt into this program; making extensive pavement repairs; milling the road surface; and finally resurfacing the streets with hot mix asphalt.

In late June and early July, MCDOT starts road maintenance projects using hot mix asphalt to resurface streets. Construction will occur weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Hunters Woods subdivision, Gaithersburg, is expected to take seven to 10 weeks.
  • In Rockville, Tilden Lane, from Old Stage Road to Tilden Lane’s dead end, is expected to take three to four weeks. 
Pavement preservation projects are also underway. These include full depth patching in portions of the pavement that have deteriorated, sealing cracks and applying a micro-resurfacing material. The projects listed below are expected to take three to four weeks, weather permitting. Construction will occur weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Tildenwood Drive, from Montrose Road to Old Stage Road, Rockville.
  • Old Stage Road, from Hitching Post Lane to Farmland Drive, Rockville.
MCDOT continues its seasonal repairs of concrete curbs, gutters and sidewalks. While MCDOT is in the neighborhood, residents may take advantage of discounts for concrete work under the driveway apron and lead walk repair program.

Work will begin in late June and take six to eight weeks to complete (weather permitting) in the Foxhall subdivision of Aspen Hill; Greenwood Knolls subdivision, Wheaton; and Hoyles Mill Village subdivision, Boyds. Construction will occur between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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

Starting July 1, Bethesda and Montgomery Hills Parking Rates Change

On July 1, a new public parking rate pricing structure will begin in Bethesda that charges more for the spaces in highest demand. The new rates eliminate rate differences between long- and short-term parking, instead basing charges on the type of parking that is used.

The new parking rates will be: $2 per hour for on-street parking meters; $1.25 per hour for surface parking lots; and $.80 per hour for garage parking. Current rates in Bethesda are $1.25 per hour for short-term parking (four hours or less) and $.80 per hour for long term parking (greater than four hours).

Customers should be aware that parking time restrictions still apply and parking spaces may be restricted to short term or long term parking.

A parking rate increase was also approved for Montgomery Hills. The rates will be $.50 per hour for both short-term and long-term parking.

The Montgomery County Council approved the parking rate changes as part of the County’s fiscal year 2014 budget adopted in May.

For additional information on parking rates and options in Bethesda, Montgomery Hills and the other County parking lot districts, visit the Division of Parking Management’s website, call 240-777-8740 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or email the Parking Division directly at

Sign Up for Safe Routes to School Newsletter

The goal of Montgomery County’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is to increase the number of children who choose to walk and bike to school by promoting safe and active walking and bicycling and improving accessibility for children, including those with disabilities. Other benefits of the Safe Routes to School program include enhancing children’s health and well-being, easing traffic congestion near schools, improving air quality and improving overall quality of life.

To learn more about the SRTS program and keep up-to-date on the latest news and resources, visit MCDOT's Safe Routes to School website or subscribe to the Safe Routes to School online newsletter ‘Sound Steps.’

For more information, contact the SRTS coordinator, Nadji Kirby, at 240.777.7169 or by email.

Montgomery County Police Join Intensive Regionwide Enforcement of Pedestrian Safety Laws

Each spring, Montgomery County Police participate in the Washington region’s Street Smart campaign to educate drivers and pedestrians about their shared responsibility for pedestrian safety. An important component of this effort is stepped up enforcement.

During May, County Police conducted 12 stings in locations that experience more pedestrian crashes and issued a total of 271 citations and 52 warnings to drivers and 16 citations to pedestrians. In addition, another 90 citations were issued in March and April of 2013.

Locations of the May enforcement activities were:
  • 5/8 Veirs Mill Rd. & Turkey Branch Pkwy.
  • 5/9 Democracy Blvd. (WJHS)
  • 5/14 Democracy Blvd. (WJHS)
  • 5/15 Wootton HS
  • 5/21 Bethesda ES
  • 5/22 Randolph Rd. & Blue Hill
  • 5/23 Muddy Branch Rd. & Suffield Dr.
  • 5/24 Piney Branch Rd.
  • 5/30 Piney Branch Rd.
  • 5/31 Aircraft Dr./Transit Stop
During 2013, Montgomery County Police are focusing their pedestrian safety enforcement efforts on drivers. During the first quarter of this year, 107 collisions involving pedestrians were reported.

Information on pedestrian safety enforcement and traffic laws is available online.

Construction of Century Boulevard Extended to Begin in July

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation will begin construction in July to extend Century Boulevard to Father Hurley Boulevard, add a six-to eight-foot wide shared use bike path along the south side of the road and a sidewalk along the north side. Other project elements include installation of retaining walls, street lighting and landscaping; upgrades to the existing storm drain system; installation of stormwater treatment facilities; and construction of about 2,800 feet of water line, fire hydrants and other Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission structures.

Construction will occur Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Occasional Saturday work may be necessary to make up for weather delays. No lane closures are anticipated on the existing portion of Century Boulevard.

The project is expected to take about 15 months to complete.

Bikeshare Coming to Montgomery County; New Website Now Available

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation announced that Capital Bikeshare will soon expand into Montgomery County and a website has been created that provides information about the program. Grants from the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, County funds and contributions from developers and the City of Rockville are providing the seed money for the Bikeshare program.

The Downcounty Bikeshare System will consist of 30 bikeshare stations with 250 bikes, providing service along the east and west legs of the Metrorail Red Line from the District of Columbia border to Silver Spring/Takoma Park on the east and Friendship Heights, Bethesda and Medical Center Metro on the west.

The Rockville/Shady Grove/Life Sciences Center Bikeshare System will have 21 bikeshare stations with 250 bikes. This system is part of a pilot program to encourage use of BikeShare by lower income workers commuting to work, school or training.

For information on transit connections to these Bikeshare stations as well as other transportation resources, visit MCDOT’s website.

Latest Census Data Reveal Region’s Commuters Shifting Away from Solo Driving, But Slowly

(Source: Transportation Planning Board (TPB) Weekly Report on The Yardstick, May 23, 2013)

Commuters in the Washington region have been shifting away from driving alone as their primary method of getting to and from work, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, which was analyzed recently by the Transportation Planning Board.

Commuters leaving their cars at home in favor of public transit increased from just over 11 percent in 2000 to 15.4 percent in 2011. With federal jobs increasing in the region over the past 10 years, federal workers have led the shift. The rate of federal workers taking transit increased from 19 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2011. The report cited the $240 per month transit subsidy offered to federal workers as a “likely contributor to this shift.”

The biggest drops in driving alone came from the District and Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Arlington counties.

See the full report online.

MCDOT Announces RFP for Redevelopment in Wheaton and Silver Spring

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is advertising for a qualified team to redevelop up to four County sites in downtown Wheaton and Silver Spring. This project will include a government office building, a town square, public parking and private development. It will meet the County’s objectives of increased density, mixed-use and appropriate levels of affordable housing.

In Wheaton, the County request includes construction of an office building to house the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) currently in Silver Spring at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Spring Street, the Regional Service Center, the Urban District offices and possibly space for the departments of Environmental Protection and Permitting Services. County-owned public parking lost under the proposed development must be replaced.

Development of the four properties is interrelated. Upon completion of the Wheaton structures, M-NCPPC will relocate to Wheaton. Proposals for its Silver Spring site must accentuate the location’s prominence as a gateway to downtown and conform to the area’s Sector Plan.

Developer responses to the RFP (Request for Proposals) are due July 31 by 4 p.m. For more details, visit MCDOT's website.

Public Meeting on Proposed Franklin Avenue Sidewalk to be Held July 10

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Division of Transportation Engineering will host a public meeting about upcoming improvements to a sidewalk on Franklin Avenue located between Colesville Road (US 29) and University Boulevard (MD 193). The meeting will be held at Eastern Middle School, 300 University Boulevard East, Silver Spring on Wednesday, July 10 at 7 p.m.

At the meeting, staff will discuss the existing sidewalk condition and solicit input from area residents on sidewalk, curb and drainage issues.

For more information or to submit written comments, email Program Director Michael F. Mitchell or call 240-777-7262.

Ride On’s Ridership Increases in April and May

The Division of Transit Services reports that Ride On’s ridership increased 3.3 percent in April, 2013 compared to April 2012 and three percent this May over last May.

Ride On Real Time makes it even easier to use transit by providing real-time information on bus arrivals using the internet, texting, a smart phone or mobile applications (apps) for iPhones or Android phones.

The real-time information is tied to a unique identification (ID) number on each of the County’s 4,800 bus stops. The ID numbers are used by the real time system to pinpoint a passenger’s location and give arriving bus times at that stop.

More information about Ride On Real Time and Ride On is available on the County’s website or by calling 311 (240-777-0311 outside Montgomery County) or TDD/TTY 301-251-4850 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bethesda TMD Advisory Group Seeks Volunteer; Applications Due August 15

The Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board is seeking applicants to fill one vacancy on the Bethesda Transportation Management District (TMD) Advisory Committee. The nominee must live in a neighborhood adjacent to the Bethesda Transportation Management District or in the Town of Chevy Chase, Transportation management organizations manage transportation demand and promote carpooling and the use of public transportation.

Advisory committee members serve three-year terms without compensation and meet in downtown Bethesda on the third Friday morning of alternate months.

Applicants should send a brief resume detailing pertinent experience, interests and community activities no later than August 15 to the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814.

For more information, contact Karen Thon at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center or call 240-777-8210.

Second National Bike to School Day Has Outstanding Participation

According to the National Center for Safe Routes to Schools, tens of thousands of school children across the country biked to school throughout the month of May in celebration of the second National Bike to School Day. In all, 1,705 schools registered to participate in events—80 percent more than the inaugural event held last year.

For more information, visit the National Center for Safe Routes to Schools’ website. Or, check MCDOT’s Safe Routes to School website for more tips on safe walking and biking to County schools.