Monday, December 30, 2013

Leggett Launches Spanish/English Pedestrian Safety Education Campaign Using Graphic Novel Style Ads

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett recently launched a new public education campaign about the consequences of failing to practice safe pedestrian behaviors. The ads use an eye-catching graphic novel format in both English and Spanish. The first in a series, the ads appear on Ride On buses and in bus shelters located in the first five High Incidence Areas (HIAs) designated by the County as having the highest concentrations of pedestrian collisions. The event initiating the campaign was held along Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring where significant engineering improvements have been made between Flower and New Hampshire avenues.

The graphic novel ad has two messages: Maryland state law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and those who don’t use crosswalks are putting themselves at risk. The ad features characters named Maria and Marco in a scene in which Marco fails to use a crosswalk -- with dire consequences.

More information about the campaign and the County’s pedestrian safety program is available online.

Ride On Route 94 to Begin New Service in the New Year

Beginning January 13, Ride On will offer a new rush hour Route 94 “Meet the MARC” bus that will run between Clarksburg and the Germantown MARC Train Station.

A map of the new Route 94 is available on Ride On’s website. Schedules will be available online in January.

Ride On, Metro, and Public Parking Modifications for New Year’s Day

On New Year’s Eve, December 31, Ride On will follow a normal weekday schedule and on the New Year’s holiday, January 1, will operate on a Sunday Schedule. Look here for more information and schedules in English and Spanish, or call 311 (TTY, call 301-251-4850), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Metrobus and Metrorail will also operate on a Sunday schedule on New Year’s Day. For more information, call 202-637-7000 or visit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s website.

The Silver Spring and Friendship Heights TRiPS Commuter Stores will be closed on New Year’s Day.

Parking at public garages, lots and curbside meters will be free on New Year’s Day. For more information, visit the Division of Parking Management’s website.

Metro Extends Route K9 Bus Service Along New Hampshire Avenue to FDA

One year after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) created the K9 limited-stop bus service from the Fort Totten Metro Station to Northwest Park, it extended the service to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/Federal Research Center beginning December 29. The service will provide buses every 16 to 18 minutes during morning and evening weekday rush hours, further helping to relieve crowding along the busy New Hampshire Avenue corridor,

The K9 service has been very successful, increasing ridership from about 500 passengers a day to frequently exceeding 1,000 passengers a day along the New Hampshire Avenue corridor. Overall, ridership on Metro’s K6 more local service has also increased. The K9 extension is part of Metro’s Better Bus improvement program, a $5 million initiative to improve on-time performance and reliability while reducing crowding for customers.

See more about the K9 route (pdf).

Update on Road Maintenance Projects

In December, concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk repairs were made in the Parkside subdivision in Silver Spring and Devonshire Estates subdivision in North Bethesda. Crews replaced defective sections of curbs or sidewalks to ensure proper drainage and remove tripping hazards.

For more information on resurfacing projects throughout the County, or to report road defects or other maintenance concerns in need of immediate attention, 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.

Use SoberRide This Holiday Season

Don’t let a holiday celebration become a tragedy. Every year in Montgomery County, more than 400 people are injured in alcohol-related collisions. When drinking, be sure to designate a driver, get a ride home with someone sober or call 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. Get a ride home from the District or surrounding counties, including Montgomery, by calling SoberRide at 800-200-TAXI. SoberRide provides free rides home, up to a $30 fare. Since 1993, SoberRide has provided 55,000 free cab rides to impaired drivers.

More information is available on SoberRide’s website. For more information on taxi service in Montgomery County, visit the Division of Transit Services’ website or call 311, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 301-251-4850 TTY, or 240-777-0311 (from outside the County).

Adopt A Spot to Help Keep Montgomery County Beautiful

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has launched a new initiative called Adopt A Spot that expands the popular Adopt A Road program to address litter at parks, landmarks, school yards, vacant lots, walkways and trails, or other commonly-owned sites. Adopt A Spot will enlist volunteers to remove litter from these locations at least once a month. MCDOT will post a sign at the location with the group’s name on it and provide cleaning equipment, such as trash bags or gloves.

Adopt A Spot and Adopt A Road keep the County looking attractive and protect local streams and creeks. In fiscal year 2013, several thousand Adopt A Road volunteers picked up more than 2,000 bags of litter from 350 road segments. These initiatives were developed in consultation with the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Task Force.

To learn more or volunteer for Adopt a Road or Spot, visit the County’s website.

Public Input Sought on New Entrance to the Medical Center Metro Station

Tentatively scheduled for January 9, the Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed construction of a new entrance to the Medical Center Metro Station at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The hearing will be at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Headquarters, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring.

The new Metro Station entrance - which is fully funded by the Federal Government - will provide Metrorail access using three elevators on the east side of MD 355. Included in the project are a pedestrian and bike underpass, stairs, escalators and elevators.

Check the Planning Board’s website on the Monday prior to the hearing date to confirm the date and time of the meeting. More information about the project is available on the County’s website.

County Council to Hold Several Transportation-Related Public Hearings in January

The Montgomery County Council will hold several public hearings on issues impacting the County’s current or future transportation network:
  • January 14, 7:30 pm: Bethesda Purple Line Station Minor Master Plan Amendment. Sign up to testify by January 14 at 10 a.m.
  • January 23, 7:30 pm: Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety. Sign up to testify by January 23 at 10 a.m.
  • January 28, 1:30 pm: Bill 32-13, Motor Vehicles and Traffic - Off-Street Public Parking Regulations - Plug-in Vehicles. Sign up to testify by January 27 at 5 p.m.
For further information or to sign up to testify, check the Council website or call 240-777-7803.

National Study Reveals More Elementary and Middle School Children Are Walking to School

New research from the National Center for Safe Routes to School shows that more kindergarten through eighth grade (K-8) students are walking to and from school. The research is based on parent surveys conducted from 2007 to 2012 at nearly 4,700 schools across the country.

According to the study, the percentage of K-8 children who walked to school in the morning increased from 12.4 percent to 15.7 percent, representing a 27 percent increase. The percentage of K-8 children who walked from school in the afternoon increased from 15.8 percent to 19.7 percent, representing a 24 percent increase. Another significant finding was that the percentage of parents who reported that their child’s school supported walking and bicycling rose from 24.9 to 33 percent.

The full report, “Trends in Walking and Bicycling to School from 2007 to 2012,” is available on the National Center for Safe Routes to Schools website. Montgomery County’s Safe Routes to School Program routinely surveys local schools in partnership with the State of Maryland.