Friday, May 30, 2014

Leggett Joins Lieutenant Governor Brown, Federal Delegation, Local and State Dignitaries to Celebrate Start of Cedar Lane Intersection Improvement

BRAC Project Will Help Reduce Bethesda Traffic Congestion

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (third from left) joined federal, state and local officials to celebrate the greenlighting of another BRAC project; the MD 355 and Cedar Lane Intersection Project in Bethesda. Pictured from left to right are: Deputy Transportation Secretary Wilson H. Parran, Senator Richard Madaleno, Leggett, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown, Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and County Councilmember Roger Berliner.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett joined Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown to celebrate the start of improvements to the Cedar Lane and MD 355/Rockville Pike intersection -- a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) project to help mitigate the traffic impacts from the expansion of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). Leggett joined U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards and Deputy Transportation Secretary Wilson H. Parran to highlight the many other BRAC-related improvements that have been made to ease traffic in Bethesda.

Staff at WRNMMC has increased from about 8,000 to nearly 11,600 and the number of visitors, most of whom arrive by car, has doubled to nearly one million. In 2007, Montgomery County and State of Maryland officials, together with community leaders and the U.S. Navy, created a comprehensive mobility plan to address the traffic impacts of BRAC through projects that improve traffic flow at key intersections and provide better pedestrian and bicycle access.

Montgomery County and the State of Maryland began implementing the plan, but additional resources were needed to complete it. The County’s congressional delegation, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Congressman Chris Van Hollen, succeeded in obtaining nearly $120 million from the Federal government to make all the changes needed.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has completed construction of the following new and upgraded hiker-biker paths and sidewalks to serve the Medical Center with the help of a U.S. Department of Defense grant:
  • A hiker-biker path along Jones Bridge Road from Rockville Pike to Connecticut Avenue, provides a connection to the Capital Crescent and Rock Creek trails; 
  • A hiker-biker path along Cedar Lane, from Rockville Pike to Old Georgetown Road, and a wider Cedar Lane bridge across Rock Creek connects to the Bethesda Trolley and Rock Creek trails; and 
  • New and improved sidewalks and bike paths serve the Medical Center on Rockville Pike and in the Battery Lane neighborhood. 
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will upgrade the Cedar Lane intersection to: 
  • Add a southbound left turn lane onto Wilson Drive (at the National Institutes of Health) from westbound Cedar Lane. 
  • Add a northbound right turn lane onto Cedar Lane from North Wood Drive, Naval Support Activity Bethesda. 
  • Add a morning rush hour signal for southbound left turns onto North Wood Drive, Naval Support Activity Bethesda. 
  • Increase space for more vehicles waiting to turn left going southbound at North Wood Drive, Naval Support Activity Bethesda. 
  • Increase space for more vehicles waiting to turn left going northbound at the National Institutes of Health commercial vehicle inspection facility. 
  • Replace two culverts beneath Rockville Pike/MD 355 at Cedar Lane. 
  • Restripe Cedar Lane (no lanes added) to facilitate turns and traffic flow. 
SHA is also making improvements to three other major intersections that serve the Medical Center that will enhance traffic flow and promote pedestrian safety. The projects are fully funded with monies from the Federal government and the Maryland Department of Transportation:
  • Rockville Pike at Jones Bridge Road 
  • Connecticut Avenue at Jones Bridge Road 
  • Old Georgetown Road at Cedar Lane 
Next year, MCDOT will begin a $68 million project to construct major upgrades to the Medical Center Metro Station, including a bank of deep elevators to the Metrorail platform on the Naval Support Activity Bethesda side of MD 355/Rockville Pike and a shallow pedestrian underpass to allow thousands of bus and carpool commuters and pedestrians to cross Rockville Pike safely.

More detailed information on the Bethesda area BRAC projects is available on the County’s website.

Update on Road Maintenance Projects

Several new road maintenance projects by the Division of Highway Services (DHS) are beginning in local subdivisions. With the warmer temperatures, DHS has begun patching and paving roads throughout the County.

Permanent patching is a cost-effective interim solution to maintaining roadway structural integrity. The following projects are underway and should be completed within three to four weeks, weather permitting. Work hours are between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Brookdale community, Chevy Chase, began week of May 26. 
  • Carderock community, Bethesda began week of May 19. 
Concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk repair projects involve replacing defective sections to ensure structural integrity, proper drainage and to remove tripping hazards. When DHS crews are in a neighborhood, residents can take advantage of discounts for concrete work under the driveway apron and lead walk repair program.

Repairs in the Kingswell neighborhood in Wheaton began in late May and will take about six to eight weeks to complete. Work hours are between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For projects to preserve pavement while maintaining the rustic nature of rural roads, DHS will use a Chipseal resurfacing process that involves full depth patching of pavement; crack sealing; application of an asphalt emulsion binder, stone aggregate and Chipseal; compaction with rubber rollers; sweeping of residual stone; and repainting lane markings. Work continues to occur in June between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday: 
  • Kings Valley Road in Damascus will take about three weeks to complete. 
  • Sugarland Road in Poolesville, from Whites Ferry Road to Sugarland Lane, will take about four weeks. 
  • Peach Tree Road, from Old Hundred Road/MD109 to Barnesville Road, in Dickerson will take about two weeks. 
For more information on resurfacing projects throughout the County, visit the Division of Highway Services’ website or call 311 (outside Montgomery County, call 240-777-0311; TTY 301-251-4850), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

State Resurfacing Roadways in the County

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has begun resurfacing several roadways in the County. Weather permitting, the $4.6 million project will be completed by late summer.

SHA will remove the top layer of asphalt, patch, resurface and install new pavement markings on the following roadways: 
  • MD 355 (Rockville Pike) from Southwood Drive to Wilson Drive; 
  • MD 192 (Forest Glen Road) from Plyers Mill Road to MD 97 (Georgia Avenue); 
  • MD 188 (Wilson Lane) from MacArthur Boulevard to MD 190 (River Road); 
  • MD 188 (Wilson Lane) from Moorland Lane to Arlington Road; 
  • MD 115 (Muncaster Mill Road) from MD 124 (Woodfield Road) to Avery Road; 
  • MD 124 (Woodfield Road) from Woodfield School Road to MD 108 (Damascus Road); 
  • MD 191 (Bradley Lane) from West Avenue to MD 185 (Connecticut Avenue) and; 
  • MD 117 (Clopper Road) from the entrance of Seneca State Park to Long Draft Road. 
To complete the work, crews will close a lane of traffic on roadways inside the work zones weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and up to two lanes, overnight, Sunday through Thursday between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

SHA will use variable message boards, temporary signs, construction cones, barrels and flaggers to guide motorists through the work zones. Residents and travelers are advised that construction equipment can be loud and disruptive.

Two Bridges to be Replaced in Poolesville

Starting June 14, the County Department of Transportation’s Division of Transportation Engineering will begin constructing two replacement bridges on Whites Ferry Road that span the Broad Branch tributaries between Route 109, Beallsville Road, and Route 107, Wasche Road. Local residents will have access to their properties throughout the construction period.

Construction will occur Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. and is expected to be completed at the end of August. Occasionally, work may be performed on a Saturday to make up for work delays due to weather. Detour signs will be posted to direct vehicles around the work zone.

Throughout the construction process, a full-time County representative will be present to oversee construction progress, monitor the work zone for pedestrian and traffic safety and answer residents’ questions about the project.

Bus Stop Improvement Program has Improved Safety and Accessibility at Nearly 3,000 Stops

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett (left) announced that an eight-year bus stop improvement program has enhanced pedestrian safety and accessibility at nearly 3,000 bus stops. Joining Leggett were Seth Morgan, member of the Commission on People with Disabilities and Carolyn Biggins, general manager Ride On. 
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced that an eight-year bus stop improvement program has enhanced the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility and pedestrian safety at 2,879 stops. A survey of the County’s 5,400 stops completed in 2006 identified 3,400 in need of some type of improvement. Work continues to upgrade the remaining bus stops.

Improvements to the bus stops have included construction of:
  • 1,246 ramps at 813 intersections;
  • 79,240 square feet of sidewalk leading to bus stops; 
  • 161,647 square feet of five-by-eight-foot concrete pads at 2,400 bus stops; and 
  • 408 “knee walls” at sloped sites to prevent wheelchairs from rolling onto dangerous terrain and to provide seating for waiting passengers.
The bus stop survey inventoried each of the County’s stops for 115 factors in five categories: precise location, accessibility, level of safety, information/signage and amenities. Upgrades were first made to stops with the highest ridership and those deemed of most urgent need of improvement, such as stops not located at intersections that required pedestrians to cross mid-block or were located alongside multi-lane roads with fast-moving traffic. Many bus stops were moved to safer locations. To save money, in one specific area, enhancements were also made to surrounding stops.

In addition to ensuring ADA compliance, the upgrades also reduce the distance to crosswalks, provide pedestrian refuge islands, establish connections to existing sidewalks, address slope issues and improve drainage. Ride On works closely with the County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Division of Traffic Engineering and MCDOT’s sidewalk program to ensure that construction in a neighborhood is coordinated and improvements can all be made at the same time.

The $11 million Bus Stop Improvement Project was approved in the 2006-2011 six-year Capital Improvements Program budget. As well as enhancing Ride On bus stops, MCDOT is also improving about 600 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) stops and 900 stops in the County shared between Metro and Ride On. The average cost to improve each bus stop is $3,000.

MCDOT continues efforts to improve the remaining bus stops. Upgrading these stops is more complex, because many are located on roads not originally built to accommodate pedestrians. Enhancing these bus stops requires purchasing right-of-way from private property owners or trying to work around obstructions -- such as walls and fences -- that prevent installing ADA compliant facilities.

Information about Ride On routes and schedules is available online.

Leggett Celebrates Bike to Work Day by Offering Employees Discounted Capital Bikeshare Memberships

In celebration of Bike to Work Day on May 16, County Executive Ike Leggett announced that the County will offer employees a steep discount for a limited time on a Capital Bikeshare membership. To encourage its employees to become members, Montgomery County has become a silver-level corporate partner of Capital Bikeshare, entitling employees to purchase memberships at the reduced rate of $25. The offer is available to eligible employees until June 30. Members will be responsible for usage fees for trips lasting longer than 30 minutes. Individual Capital Bikeshare memberships cost $75 a year. Leggett also encouraged other employers and organizations in the County to become a corporate, hotel or community partner of Capital Bikeshare.

Leggett also released data on the County’s Capital Bikeshare usage in April, showing that it nearly doubled compared to March. The number of trips originating in Montgomery County grew from 1,630 in March to 3,182 in April, an increase of 95 percent. The total number of trips since the program began in September 2013 through April 2014 is 11,533.

The County’s bikeshare program now has 49 stations. Two more stations will be added upon arrival of additional station equipment.

On May 14, the State Board of Public Works approved $250,000 for purchase and construction of five additional Capital Bikeshare DownCounty stations. The funds were allocated to the County through a General Assembly Bond Bill passed in 2012. Bill sponsors were Senators Brian Frosh, Richard Madaleno and Jamie Raskin and Delegates Al Carr, William Frick, Ana Sol Gutierrez, Sheila Hixson, Tom Hucker, Ariana Kelly, Susan Lee, Eric Luedtke, Heather Mizeur and Jeff Waldstreicher.

A map of the County’s stations and more information on the regional Capital Bikeshare system are available at For information on corporate Bikeshare memberships, eligibility for free memberships and program benefits available for low-income, reverse commuters and job trainees, contact Montgomery County Commuter Services at 240-777-8380 or email

Montgomery County Celebrated Bike to School Day May 7

Montgomery County joined communities across the nation to celebrate the third annual Bike to School Day. The event 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 a) the importance of increasing physical activity among children, b) pedestrian safety, c) reducing traffic congestion and d) concern for the environment. The events also develop stronger connections between families, schools and the broader community.

This year’s focus event was held at Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Rd., Silver Spring and included the following activities: 
  • Bike ambassadors and parent volunteers welcomed students and guided them to use “bike lanes” created on sidewalks leading to the school’s main entrance. 
  • Bikers received snacks and raffle tickets for bike helmets and accessories. 
  • Morning physical education classes engaged students in a “Bike-Academic” game show designed to highlight bicycling best practices. 
Partners in the event included Takoma Park Safe Routes to School, Takoma Park Middle School, Takoma Park Police, Bikes for the World, SafeKids Worldwide and SafeKids Montgomery County.

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

MCDOT Accepting Nominations for Landscaping and Photography Competitions; Applications Due June 20

The County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is accepting applications for its annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) Landscaping and Photography competitions.

The 28th Annual Landscape Contest is open to community groups, businesses, public institutions and other organizations undertaking landscaping projects that enhance the appearance of commonly owned sections of commercial or residential properties in the County.

For the 23rd Annual Amateur Photography Contest, photos of County locations or residents are judged on effective composition, originality, interest and relevance of the subject matter and technique. Subject categories include Montgomery County by day or by night, County landmarks, people and persons at work. An optional Youth category is also available for aspiring photographers ages 18 and younger who want to be judged only against their peers.

Applications for both contests are due June 20.

Visit MCDOT’s Community Outreach website for the landscaping and photography contest applications, contest guidelines and judging criteria, as well as photos of last year’s winning entries for both contests.

For more information, call MCDOT’s Community Outreach office at 240-777-7155 or email to request an application form either by mail or electronically.