Monday, July 14, 2014

Leggett, Transportation Secretary Smith, State and Local Elected Officials Break Ground for Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road Interchange

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett recently celebrated the start of construction for a $74.8 million interchange project at Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road in the Glenmont area that will reduce congestion and improve traffic safety. The project will lower Randolph Road nearly 25 feet to allow through traffic to go under Georgia Avenue. The County provided more than $14 million to advance this project, which is one of the Montgomery’s top transportation priorities.

The project includes new turn lanes and ramps, an additional through lane along Georgia Avenue for a total of three through lanes in each direction, an extension of the Glenmont Greenway Trail and additional sidewalks.

The $44.4 million should be completed in winter 2016, weather permitting.

Joining Leggett were Transportation Secretary James T. Smith Jr.; Senator Richard S. Madaleno Jr.; Senator Jennie M. Forehand; Delegate Sam Arora; County Council Vice President George Leventhal; County Councilmembers Nancy Floreen, Nancy Navarro and Phil Andrews; State Highway Administrator Melinda B. Peters; and other state and local officials.

Update on Road Maintenance Projects

Several road maintenance projects by the Division of Highway Services (DHS) are either underway or about to begin in local subdivisions. Residential resurfacing using hot mix asphalt preserves pavement for many years.

Projects listed below (unless otherwise noted) are expected to take four to six weeks, weather permitting. Work hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, unless noted otherwise.
  • Stratton Woods, North Bethesda, began in June. 
  • Wyngate, Bethesda, began in June and will take about 12 weeks to complete. 
  • Goshen Estates, Gaithersburg, will begin in July and is expected to take two weeks to complete. 
  • Avery Village, Derwood, will begin in July and is expected to take three weeks to complete. 
  • Dun Horse Lane, Derwood, will begin in July and is expected to take two weeks to complete. 
  • Scott Drive, Silver Spring, will begin in July and is expected to take two weeks to complete. 
  • Bready Road, Olney, will begin in July and is expected to take two weeks to complete. 
  • Midcounty Highway, between Washington Grove Lane and Shady Grove Road, Derwood, will begin in July and is expected to take five weeks to complete. Work hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 
  • Sandy Spring Meadows, Olney, will begin in July and is expected to take two weeks to complete. 
  • Shady Grove Road, between Muncaster Mill and Briardale roads, Derwood, will begin in July and is expected to take six weeks to complete. 
  • Fellowship Lane, North Potomac, will begin in July and is expected to take two weeks to complete. 
  • Connecticut Avenue Estates, Phase III, Wheaton, will begin in July and is expected to take three months to complete. 
Permanent patching is a cost-effective interim solution to maintaining roadway structural integrity. The following projects began in June 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.
  • Indian Spring Village community, Silver Spring. 
  • Rock Creek Manor, Rockville. 
  • Northwest Park, Silver Spring. 
  • Hillandale Heights, Silver Spring. 
  • Oakview, Silver Spring. 
For projects to preserve pavement, DHS will complete full-depth patching of pavement; perform crack sealing; apply a micro surfacing material; sweep residual stone; and repaint lane markings. Work began in June (unless otherwise noted) and the projects will take about four weeks to complete. Work hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday:
  • Wexford neighborhood, Gaithersburg. 
  • Goshen Estates, Gaithersburg. 
  • Wilderness Walk neighborhood, Gaithersburg, during this summer/fall. 
  • Kings Valley Manor, Damascus, during this summer/fall. 
  • Sycamore Acres, Olney. The first phase will begin in June, with resurfacing to be competed in summer/fall. 
  • Gum Springs Farm, Silver Spring. 

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. Work will occur from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The following projects will begin in July and take about three to four months to complete, weather permitting:
  • Stonebridge, North Potomac. 
  • Oakview, Silver Spring. 
  • College View, Silver Spring. 
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.

Emergency Pipe Replacements Begun on Newbridge Drive in Potomac and Kings Valley Road in Damascus

Two projects to improve drainage and replace failing pipes have begun on Newbridge Drive, at the creek between Mayberry Court and Hunt Valley/Twin Creek Court in Potomac and on Kings Valley Drive at the creek just south of Kingstead Road in Damascus.

Traffic on both roads will be intermittently detoured, so drivers should look for variable message signs that will instruct them about alternate routes.

Work along Newbridge Drive began in mid-June and will take about six weeks to complete. Work on Kings Valley Road will begin the week of July 7 and should take about two weeks to complete. Work will occur from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The County right-of-way in front of some residences may be disturbed during the repair project, but it will be restored following completion of construction.

For more information, call 311 (outside Montgomery County, call 240-777-0311; TTY 301-251-4850), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

MCDOT Seeking Vendors to Install Solar Panels on County Parking Garages

To help meet its climate and energy goals, Montgomery County has issued a Request for Energy Proposals (RFEP) to install solar electric power generation systems on 12 County parking garages. Montgomery County will be among the first east coast urban areas to install solar panels on top of its parking facilities. The project will not reduce the number of parking spaces.

The project is expected to save money; reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity generation; and promote local economic activity and job growth.

Proposals are due by September 5, and construction is expected to begin in early 2015. More information is available on the Division of Parking Management’s website.

Public Information Office Wins Award for Parking Lot Safety Campaign

The Montgomery County Office of Public Information (PIO) has won one of three Best of 2014 awards from the International Parking Institute for its education campaign to improve pedestrian safety in parking lots. The inaugural Parking Matters Award recognized outstanding marketing and communications programs. PIO’s campaign was commended for using research and an edgy message to promote safety.

PIO developed the campaign after analyzing data that showed pedestrian collisions in parking lots and garages increased over a three-year period from 2010 to 2012 – to 30 percent of all collisions. Although parking lot collisions represent a significant portion of pedestrian collisions in the County, the assumption had always been that vehicles involved in these collisions were traveling at low speeds and the resulting impacts caused little or no injury. However, in 2012 data analysis found that surprisingly, 18 percent of parking lot collisions resulted in incapacitating injuries – about the same as occurred on County roads.

To reduce the number and severity of parking lot collisions, in July 2013 staff began working with property managers and owners of private parking lots to develop a public education campaign, as 83 percent of the collisions in 2012 occurred in private, retail lots.

The campaign consisted of:
  • Distribution of 20,000 reusable shopping bags and safety tip cards to shoppers at retail centers; 
  • Distribution of an additional 30,000 safety tip cards in parking lots, public facilities and urban centers; 
  • Exterior and interior bus ads; 
  • Bus shelter ads; 
  • Posters; 
  • Pavement decals for parking lots and store interiors; 
  • Two television public service announcements; 
  • A new website featuring downloadable education materials in English and Spanish; 
  • Use of social media, e-newsletters and blogs to reach about 120,000 subscribers; and 
  • Development of a social media toolkit for property managers and owners and their tenants. 
Although it is too early to definitively assess the impacts of the education campaign, preliminary results are very encouraging. Between August and December of 2013, parking lot pedestrian collisions decreased by 30 percent compared to the same period in 2012.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has made reducing pedestrian collisions a priority of his administration. In 2007, he released the County’s first strategic plan to improve pedestrian safety through a data-driven approach. The program has successfully reduced collisions overall and particularly in targeted areas with the highest concentrations of collisions. To try and achieve this same success in parking lots, the County Executive developed an addendum to his Pedestrian Safety Initiative in 2013 that identified strategies for reducing parking lot pedestrian collisions.

The campaign slogan developed reflects a simple, somewhat edgy message that tells pedestrians and drivers what to do: “Heads Up in Parking Lots: Don’t run over people. Don’t get run over.” The campaign featured photographs of people in parking lots being inattentive to what is going on around them, whether using cell phones, texting or being otherwise distracted.

The campaign emphasized no-cost and low-cost outreach techniques that focused on getting the message out to both drivers and pedestrians in parking lots. Artwork and public service announcements were developed in-house.

Learn more about the parking lot safety campaign on the County’s website.

Ride On Route 34 Detour

Through the end of August, Ride On Bus Route 34 will be detoured as the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) makes improvements to the Cedar Lane and Maryland Route 355 (Rockville Pike) intersection.

To avoid the construction, the bus route bypasses Cedar Lane between Parkhill and Beach drives, skipping six bus stops (three in each direction) in that stretch of the road. These stops are temporarily discontinued. See a map of the detour route online.

Route 34 between the Wheaton and Medical Center Metro stations takes the following detour stopping only at Route 34 bus stops: Cedar Lane, Beach Drive, Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road.

Passengers who board the Route 34 bus at the intersection of Parkwood Drive and Cedar Lane, heading in the direction of the Medical Center Metro Station, are advised to board at the westbound bus stop #20868 on Parkwood Drive. If heading towards Wheaton, board the eastbound bus on Parkwood Drive at bus stop #20840.

For more information, visit Ride On’s 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.

SHA Website Provides Information about Rockville Pike/Cedar Lane Project

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has a comprehensive website that provides information about the ongoing construction project at the intersection of Rockville Pike and Cedar Lane.

Check the site for updates about the closure of a portion of Cedar Lane just east of Rockville Pike and detour routes around the area. It also includes a feedback form which is the best way to get answers to questions or express concerns.

County Council Approves Change to Ride On Fares that began July 1

To keep Ride On bus fares consistent with rates approved by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the Montgomery County Council approved the following transit rate changes:
  • Ride On cash fare or token - $1.75 
  • Ride On fare paid with SmarTrip Card - $1.75 
  • Metrorail-to-Ride On bus transfer with SmarTrip Card - $1.25 
  • Route 70 bus fare paid with SmarTrip Card - -$4.00 
  • Kids Ride Free Program 2 to 8 p.m. weekdays – Expanded from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free 
  • Metrorail-to-Route 70 bus transfer with SmarTrip Card - $3.50 
  • Local bus-to-Route 70 bus transfer with SmarTrip Card - $2.25 
  • Boarding Route 70 with weekly or monthly pass - $2.25 
  • 'U' Pass (for Montgomery College students who pay the transportation fee) except for express bus Route 70 - $2.25 
  • Senior* with identification card (except from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, when free) with cash fare or token or with SmarTrip Card - $0.85 
  • Metrorail-to-Ride On bus transfer (SmarTrip only) - $0.35 
  • Local bus transfer (SmarTrip Card only) - Free (no change) 
  • Senior* with identification card for express Route 70 (except from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, when free) with SmarTrip Card - $2.00 
  • Metrorail-to-Route 70 bus with SmarTrip Card -$1.50 
  • Local bus-to-Route 70 bus with SmarTrip Card - $1.15 
  • Boarding with weekly or monthly pass with SmarTrip Card -$1.15 or with cash fare or token - $2.00 (no change) 
The following rates will remain the same:
  • Route 70 bus cash fare or token - $4.00 
  • Ride On Monthly Pass - $45 
  • VanGo Route 28 and Route 94 MARC shuttles - Free 
  • MetroAccess Certified and/or Conditional Customer with identification card - Free 
  • MetroAccess companion of Certified and/or Conditional customer with identification card - Free 
  • Children under age 5 (Limit two per paying passenger) - Free 
  • Local bus to bus transfer (SmarTrip Card only) - Free 
  • Metrobus weekly pass accepted on board - Free (Cost of the pass is - $17.50) 
  • MARC weekly, monthly, TLC passes transfer to Ride On - -Free 
  • MTA Commuter Bus Pass transfer to Ride On - Free 
  • Youth Cruiser Pass - $11 per month 
  • Youth SmarTrip Card (one-time fee) - $2.00 
  • Summer Youth Cruiser pass (for June, July, and August) - $18 
  • ‘C' Pass (for current County employees) - Free 
  • Senior* with identification card from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays - Free 
* With identification card. Also includes persons with disabilities who have identification cards.

See Ride On’s website for more information, call 311 (outside Montgomery County, call 240-777-0311; TTY 301-251-4850), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or visit the MC311 website.

Ride On Partners with Libraries, Schools to Sell SmarTrip Cards; Kids Ride Free Expanded

Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system has made it easier for residents to purchase the Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® card for customers 18 years of age and younger. The card can now be obtained at all 21 County Public Libraries, as well as 21 schools. Ride On is continuing to work with both public and private schools in the County to add additional purchase locations. Home-schooled students will also be eligible to purchase the card. The cost of the Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® card is $2.

In addition, the Kids Ride Free program has been extended an additional hour. Previously, the program ended at 7 p.m, but now runs until 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Kids Ride Free provides free rides on Ride On buses to youth ages 5 to 18. Ride On will be transitioning by the end of the year to using Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® cards for identification instead of school identification cards.

Proof of age and County residence is required to obtain a Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® card. Riders or their parents must purchase the card in person. The Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® Card is also available at the TRiPS Commuter stores at 8413 Ramsey Avenue, Silver Spring and 17 Wisconsin Circle, Friendship Heights, and the Montgomery County Division of Treasury: 255 Rockville Pike, L-15, Rockville. In addition, passes and stored value can be added to the card at some CVS and Giant stores in or near Montgomery County and the Gaithersburg and Wheaton Zodiac Stores, as well as online.

The Youth Summer pass is an option that provides unlimited rides from June 1 through August 31 for $18. All Ride On Youth Cruiser passes are loaded onto the Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® card. The Youth Monthly pass provides kids unlimited rides on Ride On for only $11 a calendar month. Both passes provide a significant savings over regular fares. Money can also be loaded onto the cards for regular use, not just pass use, on Metrorail, Metrobus and other transit that accept SmarTrip® cards.

Ride On schedules, fares and information about RideOnRealTime are available on the County’s website.

Parking Meter CashKey to be Discontinued in mid-August; Starting July 21, No New Keys Will be Sold and no Money Will be Added to Keys

Beginning July 21, the Montgomery County Division of Parking Management (DPM) will no longer sell new CashKeys or load additional value onto CashKeys. The CashKey system will be permanently discontinued beginning in mid-August because its manufacturer (Duncan Technologies) is no longer producing the key, and both the computer software and hardware that support it are obsolete.

Holders of CashKeys may turn in their key to receive their $15 refundable deposit and any remaining value stored on the key. The CashKey looks like a key that is inserted into a special slot on County parking meters to add time to the meter. CashKey owners may continue to use their keys until the loaded balance is zero.

Parking customers may obtain refunds for their CashKey at the Bethesda Parking Sales Store, 4720 Cheltenham Drive (inside the Cheltenham Garage 42), 240-777-8770, or the Silver Spring Parking Sales Store (inside Town Square Garage 61), 809 Ellsworth Drive, 240-777-8744. Both stores are open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., except County holidays. Proof of identification and address must be presented.

Another option for CashKey owners who use on-street meters in Bethesda is to apply their CashKey refund towards a smart meter debit card. These cards can only be used at the new on-street meters in Bethesda. The smart meters will be installed on-street in Silver Spring later this year and eventually in all the County parking districts.

As an alternative to using the CashKey, parking patrons are encouraged to use the Pay-by-Phone system that is currently available for every County parking meter. Sign up by visiting or call 301-830-7074 for assistance.

More information about the County’s parking locations, rates and programs is available on DPM’s website.

Bikesharing Program Receives National Award

The Public Technology Institute (PTI) has honored Montgomery County with a 2013-2014 Technology Solutions Award for its “Bikeshare Station Site Identification and Property Verification” program, recognized as a winner in the Energy/Environment Technology award category. Department of Transportation (MCDOT) staff have used the system to collaborate with organizations outside of County government to research and identify potential bikeshare station locations.

For the second consecutive year, Montgomery was the only county in Maryland - and the only jurisdiction in the Washington DC metropolitan area - to be recognized with an award by PTI in its annual technology solutions awards competition.

For more information on bikesharing in Montgomery County, visit MCDOT's bikesharing website or call 240-777-8380 for information on bikesharing for low-income populations.

Gaithersburg East Deer Park (Humpback) Bridge Closed until Late August

The East Deer Park Bridge, also known as the Humpback Bridge, which spans the CSX railroad tracks between the City of Gaithersburg and the Town of Washington Grove, is closed to traffic until late August. The bridge is being upgraded to meet current structural standards. Train service will not be disrupted.

East Deer Park Drive will be closed between Central Avenue and Railroad Street. Signs along the detour route instruct motorists to take Central Avenue, Oakmont Avenue and Railroad Street around the construction.

New, Green Certified Businesses to be Featured on Ride On Buses; Businesses Must Apply by August 1

Montgomery County businesses that submit an application to the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Green Business Certification Program (GBCP) between now and August 1, and are certified, will be featured on a Ride On bus public service ad (PSA). The “Get On the Bus” initiative promotes the GBCP that provides businesses with a “greenprint” for introducing sustainability into their day-to-day operations and supply chain decisions. Organizations that embrace green practices enhance environmental quality while promoting economic development.

The GBCP is a partnership between DEP, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) and Montgomery College.

Businesses eligible to participate are commercial office/retail tenants or owners and landscapers, including home-based landscape businesses. Businesses must apply for certification by August 1 and be certified shortly thereafter. Information about the program is available online. Download the GBCP application from DEP’s website.

Each Certified Green Business will be featured on its own exterior PSA that is 30 inches high and 80 inches wide and includes the GBCP logo and information about the program. The PSAs will appear on the buses this fall, featuring each business for about a month.

DEP provides free, onsite technical assistance to guide businesses through the application and certification processes. To learn more, contact DEP Program Manager Doug Weisburger.

County Reaches Settlement with Clarksburg Developer Newland to Assure Finishing of Uncompleted Clarksburg Infrastructure and Related Amenities

Montgomery County has reached a settlement with Newland Company (NNP II) to finish uncompleted infrastructure in their portion of the Clarksburg Town Center (CTC), brick pavers and amenities at Murphy’s Grove Pond.

Under the agreement:
  1. Newland must restart work immediately to finish road, sidewalk and stormwater management facilities in the Town Center under its outstanding permits with the County. The work will include the amended site plan enhancements associated with the permitted work. These enhancements are infrastructure improvements that Newland agreed to make to the CTC as part of a Compliance Plan that Newland proposed to the Planning Board to resolve certain site plan violations. These site plan enhancements include items like brick sidewalks and a fishing pier, landscaping, and benches for Murphy’s Grove Pond. The estimated value of this work (including enhancements) is about $7.5 million. Newland will fully bond all work. The work must be completed by December 31, 2015. 
  2. Newland constructed and the County has accepted arterial roads that cost $5.5 million to construct. Newland expected to be reimbursed by the County for these roads through the Development District. When the Council terminated the Development District in 2010, Newland received nothing from the County, and Newland has asserted a claim against the County for $6.5 million. As part of the settlement, Newland will release the County from all claims associated with the termination of the Development District. 
  3. In exchange, the County will enter into a participation agreement with Newland and will pay a net of $671,500 after all work is done and accepted. That amount includes a payment by Newland to the County of $231,000 for future improvements to Snowden Farm Parkway. 
  4. Consistent with recently adopted County law, the County will undertake responsibility for post-construction stormwater management monitoring.