Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Leggett Recommends Post-Annapolis Budget Amendments that Significantly Enhance Road Maintenance Funds

On April 28, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett submitted recommended adjustments to the FY15 Operating and Capital Budgets to the County Council using funds set aside in March to address the uncertainty about State legislative actions. Along with other items, Leggett recommended adding $9.3 million for additional road maintenance and improvements.

Leggett has made road maintenance and resurfacing a priority of his administration over the last eight years. Compared to the prior eight years, his budgets have included $67 million – an increase of 80 percent – for arterial and primary road maintenance and $138 million – a 676 percent increase for residential and rural roads.

Highlights of other key transportation-related recommendations in the budget amendment will:
  • Add $18.5 million for Purple Line related projects at Bethesda Station South, Capital Crescent Trail, and the Silver Spring Green Trail; 
  • Fund replacement of the Lyttonsville Place Bridge concrete deck; and 
  • Add community grants to support senior transportation, behavioral health outreach and education, youth leadership programs and workplace excellence. 
Leggett is also continuing to hold in reserve funds for storm cleanup should Montgomery County experience severe weather this spring. More details on the overall budget request is available online.

MCDOT’s Pothole Blitz in April Repairs More Than 3,000 Potholes

For two weeks in April, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation Division of Highway Services (DHS) conducted an intensive effort to fill the County’s potholes. DHS devoted about 60 percent of its resources to filling potholes and replacing damaged road sections. Although DHS repairs potholes every day of the year except during rain and snow, the severe winter took a particularly tough toll on County roads.

During February’s brief warm spell, DHS conducted the first pothole blitz, filling 2,600 potholes.

DHS relies on resident reports of potholes and repair crews also stop to fill any other potholes encountered as they make their rounds. Residents can report potholes online or call the MC311 Call Center at 311, 240-777-0311 or TTY, 301-251-4850, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Drivers are asked to be cautious and patient when encountering crews filling potholes.

Refresh Montgomery Cleans Up County Roads During Earth Month

In April, the Division of Highway Services (DHS) kicked off its annual “Refresh Montgomery” program – an annual, two week, countywide litter pickup that focuses on areas with the most trash.

DHS’ efforts this year were supplemented by almost 400 volunteer groups under the Adopt A Road program who conduct roadside cleaning on a monthly basis. During March and April, volunteers conducted 85 clean ups and removed 643 bags (30 to 50 gallons each) of trash and debris from roadways.

MCDOT Resumes Full Schedule of Road Maintenance Projects as Warm Weather Finally Returns

The Division of Highway Services ramped up its seasonal road maintenance projects that use hot mix asphalt for resurfacing. Projects listed below (unless otherwise noted) are expected to take four to six weeks, weather permitting, with construction occurring between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Talley Lane and Talley Court in Darnestown began in mid-April. 
  • Ganley Road in Barnesville began in early April. 
  • Chapel Road in Potomac began in early April. 
  • Silver Brook Drive in Rockville began in early April. 
  • Briars Acres neighborhood in Olney began in late April. 
  • Gunners Lake and Gunners View neighborhoods in Germantown began in late April. 
  • Quince Orchard Road in Darnestown will begin in mid-May. The project is expected to take about five weeks, weather permitting, with construction occurring between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. 
Pavement preservation projects also began. These efforts include full depth patching in portions of the pavement that have deteriorated, sealing cracks and applying a micro-resurfacing material.
  • Peach Tree Road in Barnesville was repaired in early April. Resurfacing of the road will occur later in the season. 
Crews make concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk repairs to replace defective sections of curbs or sidewalks; ensure structural integrity and proper drainage; and remove tripping hazards. Residents can take advantage of discounts for concrete work under the driveway apron and entrance walkway repair program. Upcoming projects include:
  • Kensington Heights in Kensington began in early April. The project is expected to take about eight weeks, weather permitting, with construction occurring between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. 
  • 14104 Glen Mill Road in Rockville was completed in April with installation of 230 linear feet of concrete curb and gutter. In addition, DHS trimmed and/or removed vegetation encroaching on the east side sidewalk. 
  • Parkside subdivision in North Bethesda received new curbs and gutters in March. 
More information on resurfacing projects throughout the County is available on the Division of Highway Services’ website or by calling 311 (TTY, call 301-251-4850), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

West Chevy Chase and Sligo Park Neighborhood Streets to be Rehabilitated

The Sligo Park Hills neighborhood in Silver Spring and the West Chevy Chase neighborhood in Bethesda are the next areas slated for road rehabilitation. Under a program that County Executive Ike Leggett began in 2008, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) completely refurbishes roads, sidewalks and curbs determined to be in the poorest condition by a bi-annual Countywide survey.

The Sligo Park Hills neighborhood project will begin this spring and be completed at the end of the summer. Because of the size of the West Chevy Chase project, it will be completed in two phases. The first phase will begin this spring and continue through spring of 2015. The second phase will begin spring 2015 and be completed in summer 2016.

During rehabilitation, MCDOT does not alter the character of the streets throughout the community. To preserve the trees in the right-of-way during construction, every neighborhood tree is inspected by the County arborist and a tree protection plan instituted.

More information about the project is available on the Division of Highway Services’ website.

Montgomery County Begins Residential Street Sweeping

Montgomery County’s annual street sweeping program on residential roadways began in April. This joint effort between the Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) removes abrasives and other debris left behind after the winter snow season and improves the appearance and safety of streets. Based on past results, the spring cleaning on about 4,000 of the County’s 5,000 lane miles of roads should remove 2,000 tons of material that could otherwise be washed into streams.

Removing excess debris and abrasives from road surfaces helps to keep drainage systems clean, improves water quality and reduces pollutants flowing into local streams and the Chesapeake Bay. Roads in areas identified by DEP as priority watersheds will be swept first and, if needed, will receive additional sweepings.

Brightly colored signs are posted in neighborhoods a few days before street sweeping begins. To improve the quality of service and the effectiveness of the sweeping program, residents are urged to find alternative parking while their streets are cleaned.

Daily updates detailing which areas are scheduled for street sweeping are available online on the County’s website. Additional information about the street sweeping program is available by calling 311 or 240-777-0311 from outside the County weekdays (or TTY, call 301-251-4850) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Credit Cards Popular with Parking Meter Customers in Bethesda

In April, 40 percent of customers were using their credit cards to pay for parking at Bethesda’s “smart” parking meters. The Division of Parking Management (DPM) installed the new meters at the end of February, which are the first in the County to accept credit card payment.

Not only are credit card payments proving to be more convenient and popular, they are also saving the County money. Since the number of people who pay for parking with coins has significantly decreased, DPM was able to cut contract collection of coins from meters to just three days a week.

More information on the new meters is available on the Division of Parking Management’s website.

Montgomery County Celebrates Bike to School Day May 7

Montgomery County will be joining communities across the nation to celebrate the third annual Bike to School Day that builds on the success of Walk to School Day observed internationally every October. Bike to School Day events raise awareness of the need to create safer routes for bicycling and walking and emphasize the importance of increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion and concern for the environment. The events also develop stronger connections between families, schools and the broader community.

This year’s focus event will be held at Takoma Park Middle School, located at 7611 Piney Branch Rd., Silver Spring. Partners in the event include Takoma Park Safe Routes to School, Takoma Park Middle School, Takoma Park Police, Bikes for the World, SafeKids Worldwide and SafeKids Montgomery County.

Other Montgomery County schools that are participating in Bike to School Day include Piney Branch, East Silver Spring, Coldspring, Wyngate and Kensington-Parkwood elementary schools as well as Silver Spring International Middle School.

MCDOT Hosted Seventh Chinese Delegation

The Department of Transportation (MCDOT) recently hosted a delegation from Inner Mongolia, China interested in learning about the County’s overall transportation system, MCDOT’s operations and the Department of General Services’ (DGS) Fleet Maintenance operations and facility.

The visitors received briefings on MCDOT’s road, bridge, sidewalk, bike trail and storm drain construction processes; traffic management; parking construction and operations; and transit system, including employer outreach and paratransit support. A tour featured the David F. Bone Equipment Maintenance & Transit Operations Center in Rockville and its green building features; the Division of Highway Services’ operations and salt dome, which is the largest east of the Mississippi River; and DGS’ state-of-the-art fleet operations and automated parts storage and delivery units.

Reminder to Motorists when Encountering Emergency Vehicles

The Department of Fire and Rescues Services reminds motorists that when they hear or see an emergency vehicle on call, CLEAR for them, following these simple rules.
  • Calmly pull parallel to and close to the nearest curb or road-edge and STOP! 
  • Leave room. Keep intersections clear, and never try to follow emergency vehicles. 
  • Enter into traffic with caution after the emergency vehicle has passed, remembering to signal. 
  • Aware - be aware of surroundings, keeping the radio volume low, and checking rear view mirrors frequently. 
  • Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed, and check for additional emergency vehicles behind them. 
Motorists are reminded that failure to yield to emergency vehicles can result in up to $195 in fines and three points on a driving record.

AARP Smart Driver Course to be Offered at Germantown Library

A four-and-a-half hour American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Smart Driver course will be presented at the Germantown Library on Thursday, May 22 from 1 to 5:30 p.m. The library is located at 19840 Century Blvd.

Participants will have an opportunity to tune up driving skills, learn safe driving strategies and update knowledge of the rules of the road. The instructor will provide information about normal age-related physical changes and how to adjust driving to allow for these changes. After completing the class, students will receive a certificate. Some insurance companies operating in Maryland consider drivers who take the course qualified for reduced or discounted premiums.

Space is limited and registration is required. Register online. The fee is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. Fees will be collected at the class. AARP members should bring their membership card and each student should bring a check payable to AARP and a pen to class.

The library’s meeting room is equipped with an audio induction loop system for people who use hearing aid amplification with a telecoil switch or cochlear implants. A limited number of receivers are available for individuals who do not use amplification devices.

To request a sign language interpreter or other deaf/hard of hearing services for library-sponsored programs, email, preferably with at least three business days notice.

To request other accommodations, for more information about the meeting room or to receive assistance from staff to register, call the library at 240-777-0110.