Monday, August 4, 2014

Update on Road Maintenance Projects

The Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) is resurfacing residential roads using hot mix asphalt that preserves pavement for many years. Repaving is underway on Good Hope Road, from New Hampshire Avenue to Spencerville Road in Colesville, is expected to take four to six weeks, weather permitting. Work hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For projects to preserve pavement, DHS will complete full-depth patching of pavement; seal cracks; apply a micro surfacing material; sweep residual stone; and repaint lane markings. Work began on the projects listed below in July (unless otherwise noted) and will take about four weeks to complete. Work hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday:
  • Richter Farm Road, from Great Seneca Highway to Germantown Road, Germantown.
  • Dairymaid Drive, from Great Seneca Highway to Mateny Road, Germantown.
  • Dawson Farm Road, from Great Seneca Highway to Germantown Road, Germantown.
  • Granby Woods subdivision, Derwood, will begin in late summer/early fall. Work hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Arctic Avenue, from Bel Pre Road to Aspen Hill Road, Rockville, will begin in late August. 
  • Newport Mill Road, from Veirs Mill Road to University Boulevard, Wheaton, will begin in August.
  • Middlebrook Road, from Frederick Road (Maryland Route 355) to Great Seneca Highway (Maryland Route 119), Germantown, will being in August. Work will be conducted at night from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

SmarTrip Card Provides Discounts on Ride On and Metrobus; Youth and Senior Cards Provide Even Greater Benefits

SmarTrip card owners not only receive a discounted fare on Metrorail (when compared to a paper fare card) but also receive discounts on Ride On and Metrobus. Using SmarTrip gives riders free bus-to-bus transfers and a 50-cent discount when transferring to and from Metrorail.

Purchase a SmarTrip card on Metro’s website, then register the card by creating an online account to receive a $3 rebate. Online registration lets a card holder recoup their SmarTrip balance if the card is lost or stolen and allows customers to add value to the card online.

The Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® Card for customers 18 years of age and younger makes it easier for youth to take advantage of the Kids Ride Free program, which offers free rides Monday through Friday from 2 to 8 p.m. on Ride On and some Metrobuses in Montgomery County. The card can be purchased for $2 at all 21 County libraries, many schools, the TRiPS Commuter stores at 8413 Ramsey Avenue, Silver Spring and 17 Wisconsin Circle, Friendship Heights, and the Montgomery County Treasury Division, 255 Rockville Pike, L-15, Rockville. 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.

Seniors 65 and older can purchase a Senior SmarTrip card that offers half price rates on Ride On , Metrobus and Metrorail, and free rides on weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Ride On buses and some Metrobuses in Montgomery County. Apply for the card at any County library, TRiPS stores or the Montgomery County Treasury Division. Proof of age must be presented when purchasing the card.

Register for the 2014 Walk and Ride Challenge

Montgomery County Commuter Services and the Silver Spring, Friendship Heights, Bethesda, North Bethesda and Greater Shady Grove Transportation Management districts are hosting a Walk and Ride Challenge. The event is designed to encourage commuters to combine transit with walking and to incorporate more walking into their daily routines. The challenge will take place from September 8 through September 26, except in Bethesda, which will run from September 7 through September 27.

Teams of up to five members receive free pedometers to track their progress in seeing who can take the most steps.

Each week, participants walking more than 50,000 steps will be entered into a drawing to win a new Kindle. Those walking 25,000-49,999 steps will be entered into a drawing for other prizes such as gift cards to local retailers and restaurants. Grand prize winners will receive a $125 gift card. Second place winners will receive a $75 gift card and third place winners, a $50 gift card.

Register a team or obtain more information about the challenge online.

Plan Now for Car Free Day

With the theme, “Put it Away. Uncar for the Day,” the Washington DC area will again celebrate Car Free Day on Monday, September 22 (during the Walk and Ride Challenge). Participants will be eligible to win prizes while joining a worldwide movement to celebrate more sustainable forms of transportation.

Those who pledge to Go Car Free or Car-Lite by bicycling, walking, teleworking, carpooling or taking transit will reduce traffic congestion and fuel consumption and promote a greener environment. Car Free Day is celebrated in 1,500 cities in 40 countries.

Transportation Options for Seniors

The County has a variety of transportation options to help older adults get to where they want to go. One of the newest is being provided by the Department of Recreation through a contract with the Jewish Council for the Aging – which has provided quality transportation services to seniors for more than 40 years.

The service provides rides to senior centers, Monday through Friday, for County residents 55 and older who live within the center service areas of Damascus, Holiday Park, Long Branch, Schweinhaut, or White Oak. The drivers have specialized training in working with the senior population.

Other options for seniors include: Free Ride On service midday on weekdays; Senior SmarTrip cards; Metro Access for medical appointments or other types of trips; Call ‘N’ Ride taxi discounts; and Senior Connection, a service that uses volunteer drivers.

More information is available on the County’s website.

Bike Repair Station Installed in Bethesda

The Bethesda Urban Partnership installed a bike pump and repair station along the Capital Crescent Trail last month. It is located near the stairway leading to Arlington Road. More stations will be installed soon, including one near the Bethesda Metro Station.

Police Traffic Division Director Receives Highway Safety Hero

Montgomery County Police Traffic Division Director Captain Thomas Didone was honored by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) organization at their 25th Anniversary reception held on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress, federal and state leaders were recognized for their support of highway-safety legislation. Captain Didone received one of 14 Highway Safety Hero Awards presented to citizen activists who have demonstrated their dedication to advancing highway-safety initiatives.

A 28-year veteran of the force, Captain Didone has been a leading proponent of driver and pedestrian safety through a variety of established and innovative education and enforcement initiatives. As a result of his expertise, he has testified on behalf of several proposals of new legislation to improve traffic safety or increase fines for related traffic offenses. He rededicated his efforts toward better driving habits for teens after his 15-year-old son Ryan was killed in a traffic collision in 2008. The car was driven by an inexperienced teen driver, and Ryan had uncharacteristically not used a backseat seat belt.

Read more about Capt. Didone’s recognition.

Most Cars Will Have Rearview Cameras by May 2018

According to a status report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a new rule issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration means that nearly all new passenger vehicles will have rearview cameras by May 2018. See the full report on the IIHS website.

Those Who Live Near Biking and Walking Trails Get More Exercise

Streets Blog USA recently reported on a study published in the American Journal for Public Health that found those who live near safe, high-quality biking and walking infrastructure tend to get more exercise than people who don’t. The study looked at three communities in the United Kingdom.

County Conducts Sign Sweep to Remove Visual Blight

Under the direction of the Department of Permitting Services (DPS), about 50 County employees from the departments of Permitting Services, Housing and Community Affairs, Environmental Protection and Transportation worked together to remove more than 2,500 signs around the County that were illegally placed in right-of-ways.

The signs collected during the July 9 “sweep” were taken to the Transfer Station for disposal or recycling. In the future, DPS plans on conducting sign sweeps twice a year.

State Releases Purple Line Request for Proposals

The Maryland Department of Transportation / Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT/MTA) has announced it is seeking a private-sector team to design, build, construct, finance, operate and maintain the Purple Line during a 35-year contract term. In the two-step procurement process, firms that previously submitted qualifications have been narrowed down to four teams who are now eligible to submit proposals that are due on January 9, 2015.

The Purple Line is a 16-mile light rail line that will run east-west inside the Capital Beltway between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George’s County. Twenty-one stations are planned to provide direct connections to Metrorail’s Orange Line, Green Line and two branches of the Red Line, and the MARC Brunswick, Camden and Penn Lines. Estimated ridership by 2040 is expected to be more than 74,000 persons a day.

More information about the project is available in MDOT’s press release.