Monday, July 29, 2013

Leggett Celebrates Completion of Shady Grove Access Bike Path

Bike Path Will Enhance Smart Growth Initiative Transforming the Area

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett celebrated the completion of the Shady Grove Access Bike Path that provides a safe pathway to the Shady Grove Metro Station for bicyclists and pedestrians and a connection to other area sidewalks and bikeways.

By improving access to transit, residents may be encouraged to travel by bike in conjunction with buses, Metro and walking.

The new, 10-foot bike path extends 4,700 feet from Shady Grove Road to Redland Road along the east side of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metro Access Road. Included in the project is a bikeway ramp from the new bike path to an existing bikeway on Crabbs Branch Way. To enhance safety, a pedestrian-activated traffic signal was installed at the crossing to the Metro station.

Update on Road Maintenance Projects

Several new road maintenance projects by the Division of Highway Services are beginning in local subdivisions.

Paving projects, in which crews will resurface the local streets with hot mix asphalt:
  • To begin in August, Fernwood Road in Bethesda from Rockledge Drive to Democracy Boulevard. Paving should take eight weeks to complete, weather permitting, and occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Bonifant Road in Colesville from Layhill Road to New Hampshire Avenue. Paving should take eight weeks to complete, weather permitting, and occur between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Permanent patching projects, in which crews make structural, permanent patches to the road, are a cost effective interim solution that maintains roadway structural integrity. Work for the following projects is expected to take three to four weeks, weather permitting, and occur between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday:
  • Begun in July, Peach Tree Road in Barnesville from Darnestown Road to Old Hundred Road.
  • Beginning in August, the entire length of Lloyd Road in Travilah from Glen Mill Road to its dead end. Work is expected to take three to four weeks, weather permitting, and occur between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Beginning in late July, the Rock Creek Manor community in Rockville.
A drainage improvement project is replacing two culverts on Log House Road in Gaithersburg between Newbury Road and Log House Court. The culvert pipes have eroded, and there is an urgent need to replace them. Approval from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Army Corps of Engineers is required.

Work to replace the first culvert was completed this month. The second culvert will be replaced later this summer after its design is approved by the environmental agencies. During culvert replacement, the road will temporary close for about two weeks.

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.

MCDOT Installs New Sidewalk along Seven Locks Road

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Division of Transportation Engineering recently installed 1.25 miles of new sidewalk along Seven Locks Road. In response to a request from the president of the Montgomery Square Civic Association, MCDOT replaced a series of asphalt and dirt paths between Montrose Road and Tuckerman Lane. This project included installing ADA-compliant ramps at intersections and a new, five-foot-wide concrete sidewalk.

The sidewalk, costing about $270,000, provides a safe and convenient pedestrian connection to synagogues, churches, retail stores and other activity centers. The Division of Highway Services is also resurfacing this segment of Seven Locks Road. They will mill and patch the pavement where needed, apply a layer of hot mix asphalt, then re-stripe the road.

More information on sidewalk or roadway projects is available on the County’s website.

Construction of Century Boulevard Extension

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Division of Transportation Engineering began construction of an extension to Century Boulevard in Germantown in July. About a half-mile of road will be added from Century Boulevard’s endpoint south of Oxbridge Road to the road’s intersection with the future extension of Dorsey Mill Road. A bike path, sidewalk, retaining wall and street lighting are part of the project.

Construction will take about 15 months. Work will occur Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with occasional Saturday work to make up for weather delays. No lane closures are expected, alternate routes for pedestrians and drivers will be provided, and side streets and driveways will remain accessible.

Road Rehabilitation Begins in Franklin Knolls

The Franklin Knolls community is the latest neighborhood to benefit from the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Residential Road Rehabilitation program.

In response to County Executive Ike Leggett’s call for a more systematic approach to maintaining the County’s transportation infrastructure, MCDOT biennially assesses the condition of every County road. Franklin Knolls, located in Silver Spring just north of Takoma Park, had many streets rated very poor. The rehabilitation project will renew seven lane miles of concrete and asphalt and provides the option for residents to make concrete repairs on their property at reduced cost.

In the residential road rehabilitation program, MCDOT does not widen or alter the character of the streets and, during construction, takes special care to preserve the trees in the right-of-way. Contractors remove and replace defective curbs or sidewalks, conduct full depth pavement patching and repave the streets with hot mix asphalt.

Rehabilitation is expected to wrap up this fall. More information about the project is available on the County’s website.

Public Hearing for Midcounty Corridor Study Set for August 7

The public is invited to a public hearing on the Midcounty Corridor Study being held by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) on Wednesday, August 7 at Seneca Valley High, 19401 Crystal Rock Drive, Germantown. An informal session with staff will be held in the cafeteria from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and public testimony will be heard in the auditorium from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.

USACE and MDE are soliciting views, opinions and information on MCDOT’s Draft Environmental Effects Report and permit application for the project. MCDOT is proposing a number of alternatives to improve transportation east of I-270 between Clarksburg and Gaithersburg. The improvements are expected to relieve projected congestion on roads; provide better north-south options for short- and moderate-length trips; improve vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle access to residential, commercial and employment destinations in Clarksburg and in the eastern areas of Gaithersburg and Germantown; and minimize and/or mitigate environmental impacts.

More information about the meeting, how to testify and the alternatives being considered is available online.

County Pedestrian Safety Investments and Activities Make Piney Branch Safer

When County Executive Ike Leggett announced his Pedestrian Safety Initiative nearly six years ago, a key approach focused efforts on areas with the highest number of pedestrian collisions. Piney Branch Road, between Flower Avenue and the County line, was one of the first areas targeted because of its high collision rates. Since work began, pedestrian collisions along Piney Branch corridor have decreased by 36 percent.

The latest investments in a multi-year effort to enhance safety on Piney Branch are two new crosswalks with pedestrian refuge islands and flashing beacons that warn motorists to stop. In 2010 and 2011, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation upgraded sidewalks and ADA ramps in the corridor. Through agreements with PEPCO, additional street lights were installed and other lights were brightened. In 2011, traffic signal upgrades for pedestrians were installed, with more being planned in cooperation with the State of Maryland.

In addition, staff conducted extensive grassroots education and Police conducted intensive enforcement, writing 700 citations to both pedestrians and motorists.

For more information, visit MCDOT’s pedestrian safety website.

Council to Hold Public Hearing September 10 on Transit Corridors Plan

The Montgomery County Council will hold a public hearing on the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan on September 10 at 7:30 pm in the Council Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville.

This plan will affect development of the County’s proposed Rapid Transit System (RTS).  For more information on the RTS, visit the Montgomery County Department of Transportation website or call Chuck Lattucca, RTS Manager, at 240-777-7170. 

For more information on the public hearing or to testify, call 240-777-7803 before 10 a.m. on September 10 or visit the Council’s website.

Two Transportation Advisory Groups Seeking Applicants

Both the Silver Spring Transportation Management District (SSTMD) and the Bethesda Transportation Management District are seeking members for their resident advisory groups. 

There are four vacancies on the SSTMD for two large business representatives (50 or more employees) and two small business representatives (fewer than 50 employees). Applications must be submitted no later than August 7.

There is also an upcoming vacancy on the Bethesda TMD. Applicants must reside in a neighborhood adjacent to the Bethesda TMD or in the Town of Chevy Chase. The deadline is August 15.

Members serve three-year terms without compensation. Applicants should submit a brief résumé detailing pertinent experience, interests and community activities. Get more information and apply online on the County’s website.

For more information about the SSTMD vacancies, contact Jim Carlson at 240-777-8382 or by email.

For more details about the Bethesda opening, contact Karen Thon at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center at 240-777-8210 or by email.

Spring/Summer Street Sweeping Protects Local Streams

Since April, the Division of Highway Services has been cleaning residential roadways and has nearly finished the street sweeping program for the season.

This joint effort between the Montgomery County departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection removes abrasives and other debris left behind after the winter snow season in priority watersheds. Street sweeping also helps keep drainage systems clean and improves the appearance and safety of County streets. Based on past results, officials expect the effort to remove about 2,000 tons of material that would, otherwise, be washed into local streams.

Brightly colored signs are posted in neighborhoods a few days before the sweeper arrives. To improve the effectiveness of the program, residents are urged to find alternate parking while their streets are cleaned. Daily updates on the street sweeping schedule are available online at the Division of Highway Services’ website. Or call 311 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Register for Bethesda Transportation Solutions’ Walk and Ride Challenge

This year’s Bethesda Transportation Solutions’ (BTS) Annual Walk and Ride Challenge will be held September 8-28. Open to all downtown Bethesda-based companies and their employees, the Challenge encourages participants to form teams and incorporate walking into their daily commuting routine.

Participants will be entered into a drawing for prizes.

See BTS’ website for more details and to register for the Challenge.

Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues 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.

During the remainder of the summer, crews will complete the final excavation of dirt/rock from the site and install sub-drainage. Concrete installation has begun and the first slab poured along the ground floor of the building.

The truck ramp is being removed and the dirt along the ramp will be taken away in stages. Sheeting/shoring in the area of the ramp will follow. Once the truck ramp is gone, only trucks that can be removed from the construction site by a tower crane will remain in the construction hole. Excavation should be complete in August.

MTA to Continue ICC Commuter Bus Routes 202 and 203 - Will Eliminate Route 205

In response to public input from passengers and elected officials, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) will continue service on Intercounty Connector (ICC) Commuter Bus Routes 202 (from Metropolitan Grove to Fort Meade) and 203 (from Snowden River Park & Ride in Columbia to Medical Center Metro Station in Bethesda). The routes were being considered for termination because of low ridership.

To make the routes more efficient, MTA will eliminate midday service on the two routes. A later bus in the afternoon will be added on Route 203 based on comments from passengers asking that service accommodate persons with longer work schedules.

Beginning August 1, the MTA will discontinue ICC Commuter Bus Route 205 (service from College Park/MARC Station to the Germantown Transit Center) because of extremely low ridership. The average trip on this service had only two riders.

Check MTA’s website for the latest information about service or get emails about service modifications and delays. Customers can also call the MTA Transit Information Center Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 410-539-5000. TTY 410-539-3497. Or, visit MTA’s Facebook page or Twitter feed for updated information.

Forest Glen Annex Temporarily Closing Gate: Ride On Route 4 Affected

On July 15, the Forest Glen Annex closed its Linden Gate entrance to vehicles and pedestrians as a result of sequester staffing reductions. Vehicles and pedestrians must now use the Brookville Gate for all entries and exits.

With this change, the Ride On Route 4 bus will no longer be allowed to enter the Annex. Instead, riders on this route must use the bus stop at the intersection of Linden and Warren streets, then walk to the Brookville Gate entrance. An option for northbound riders is to use the Ride On Route 2 bus, which will continue to enter the Annex.

More information and maps are available on Fort Detrick’s website. For more information, contact the Fort Detrick Public Affairs Office at 301-619-2018.

Insurance Study Finds Red-Light Cameras in Arlington Reduce Violations

(Source: NETSWork e-Newsletter, February 2013)

“In a newly released study, researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that red-light running rates declined at Arlington County, Virgina intersections equipped with red-light cameras. The decreases were particularly large for the most dangerous violations -- those happening 1.5 seconds or longer after the light turned red.

“The number of U.S. communities using red-light cameras has grown to about 540, IIHS said. The safety benefits of reducing red-light running violations are considerable. In 2010, 673 people were killed and an estimated 122,000 were injured in crashes involving a motorist running a red light, IIHS said.”

See the full article at Automotive Fleet Magazine's website.

Get Rid of Graffiti by Calling GRAB

GRaffiti ABatement Partners, Inc, or GRAB, is a non-profit, private-public partnership that helps eliminate graffiti vandalism in Montgomery County through eradication, education and enforcement strategies. Comprised of community, business and government, GRAB was established in 1996 and is the vision of former Montgomery County councilmembers Betty Ann Krahnke and Marilyn Praisner.

According to GRAB, graffiti vandalism is a complex behavioral problem that cannot be addressed by “quick fix” legislative initiatives alone. GRAB’s approach is to remove graffiti immediately and develop long-term strategies to engage youth susceptible to at-risk behaviors.

If you see graffiti, notify GRAB for assistance and advice.