Tuesday, September 23, 2014

County Launches Pedestrian Safety Campaign Aimed at High School Students

The YOLO (You Only Live Once) education program to reduce teen pedestrian crashes was launched at Seneca Valley High School in Germantown where, in October 2012, 15-year-old Christina Morris-Ward was struck and killed as she distractedly crossed the street on her way to school. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, about half of students ages 15 to 19 say they use a cell phone when walking to school.

The YOLO campaign is a joint project of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and Montgomery County Public Schools.

Attending the kick off was Christina’s mother Gwendolyn Ward and Seneca Valley High School students. Ward is working to prevent another tragedy from befalling any other teen by helping to educate students about the dangers of crossing the street while texting, listening to music or being otherwise distracted.

The event also highlighted the projects conducted this past school year under the “Walk Your Way” program that encouraged teens to apply for $2,000 grants to create and implement their own pedestrian safety campaigns at their school. More about the YOLO campaign is available online.

Adopt a Road Volunteer Program Posts Gains in Litter Pickups

Adopt a Road and Adopt a Spot volunteers who clean roads and locations throughout Montgomery County increased the amount of trash collected by 17 percent and the number of cleanings by 26 percent since last fiscal year. Less than half the volunteer groups reported on their activities, but those that did conducted 654 cleanings, collecting the equivalent of 2,654, 50-gallon bags of trash.

Adopt a Road Volunteers at Work

The program is administered by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) in cooperation with the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Task Force and has more than 2,500 volunteers who routinely clean about 380 County road segments.

Activity peaked this spring in connection with Earth Month. During April, 43 groups reported conducting 62 cleanings, collecting 19,575 gallons of trash (the equivalent of 435, 50-gallon trash bags).

Visit the MCDOT’s website for more information about adopting a road segment or a spot, and obtain an application. Or, call MCDOT's Office of Community Outreach at 240-777-7155.

Three Bridge Repair Projects Completed

                                        Completed East Deer Park Bridge
Two Whites Ferry Road bridges and the Gaithersburg East Deer Park "Humpback" Bridge have now reopened to traffic. East Deer Park Road, between Central Avenue and Railroad Street, is also open. 

CSX train contractor Clark Civil completed structural modifications to bring the East Deer Park Bridge up to current standards.

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 in the Goshen Estates neighborhood, Gaithersburg and Avery Village, Derwood in September. Both projects will take two to three weeks to complete, weather permitting. Work hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Resurfacing with hot mix asphalt is also underway in Kensington Heights. The project is expected to take eight to 10 weeks to complete Work hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For projects to preserve pavement, DHS will complete full-depth pavement patching; seal cracks; apply a micro surfacing material; sweep residual stone; and repaint lane markings. The first phase of work in the Rivers Edge neighborhood, Potomac, began in August and will take about four weeks to complete. Resurfacing will occur in summer/fall. Work hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Old Georgetown Village, North Bethesda, is underway and expected to take four weeks to complete. Work hours are 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday through Friday.

Full-depth, permanent patching projects using hot mix asphalt are underway this month in Old Georgetown Estates, Rockville, Greenhills Farm, Gaithersburg and Northwest Park, Silver Spring. The repairs should take five to 10 days. Work hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Preservation is also underway on Middlebrook Road, from Frederick Road to Great Seneca Highway, Germantown. The project will take about five weeks to complete and will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Other pavement repair projects begun in August are resurfacing Black Rock Road, from Darnestown Road to Burdette Lane, in Germantown, and Notley Road, from New Hampshire Avenue to Bonifant Road, in Colesville.. DHS will complete full-depth pavement patching; seal cracks; apply a chipseal surfacing material; sweep residual stone; and repaint lane markings. Work will take about four to five weeks to complete and will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday on Black Rock Road and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday on Notley Road.

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, call 301-251-4850), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Montgomery County Launches One-Week Social Media Campaign to Improve School Bus Safety

A weeklong Twitter campaign using #PassItOn is educating drivers about the importance of stopping for school buses to improve the safety of the County’s school children. Montgomery County, Police and public schools are reminding drivers that Maryland law requires them to stop for stopped school buses with activated flashing lights and stop arms. More information about the campaign is available online.

Ride On Schedule Changes Made September 7

The Montgomery County Ride On bus system has adjusted schedule times on the following routes:

Routes, 16, 25, 26, 43, 56, 58, 61, 70, 83 and 90.

Changes were made so schedules more accurately reflect the actual travel times of buses along the routes. Adjustments affect the amount of time trips take as well as the arrival and departure times of the buses.

For more information, including timetables, visit Ride On’s website, call 311, or from outside the County, call 240-777-0311.

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 people a day.

Following RFP proposal submissions, MDOT/MTA will select a preferred partner in Spring 2015 and recommend the final agreement to the Board of Public Works for its review and approval. Construction of the new Purple Line could then start in 2015.

(Source: MDOT)

Montgomery County Participates in Annual Walk and Ride Event

The second annual Walk and Ride event was held this month for employees who work at businesses in one of the County’s five Transportation Management Districts (TMD). Employees were challenged to replace part of their daily commute and lost hours stuck in traffic with a healthy walk connecting them to transit and/or work. The TMDs are in Bethesda, Friendship Heights, North Bethesda, Greater Shady Grove and Silver Spring.

Three to five member teams receive pedometers to track the number of steps taken and results are logged online. Prizes are awarded weekly, with grand prizes presented to winning teams at the end of the challenge.

Montgomery County’s Car Free Day Encourages Commuters to Try Transit, Walking or Biking

Montgomery County joined the D.C. region and Commuter Connections in celebrating World Car Free Day on Monday, September 22. Encouraged to “Put It Away – Uncar for a Day,” commuters signed pledges to go Car Free – or Car Lite.

Montgomery County Commuter Services (MCCS) staff held prize drawings and provided information on transportation options from 6:30 to 9 a.m. at the Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Shady Grove and White Flint metro stations and the Germantown and Silver Spring Ride On transit centers.

International Car Free Day is an annual, worldwide event that encourages the public to find alternatives to using cars or to reduce the amount of driving they do. Using transit, biking and walking – instead of driving – reduces noise, pollution and stress.

MCCS offers assistance to finding “Better Ways to Work,” year-round by walking, taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, biking or teleworking.

Even Easier Ways to Use Ride On Available for Young People

Purchase Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® at Libraries and Schools
Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system has made it easier for residents to purchase the Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® card for customers ages 18 years and younger. The card can now be obtained at all 21 County libraries and 20 of the County’s schools. Ride On is continuing to work with both public and private schools in the County to add additional school purchase locations. Check the County’s website for the current list of schools. Home-schooled students will also be eligible to purchase the card. The cost of the Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® card is $2.00.

Expanded Hours for Kids Ride Free
The County Council approved extending the hours for Kids Ride Free an additional hour, from 2 to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. The extended hours began July 1. Previously, the program ended at 7 p.m. Kids Ride Free provides free rides on Ride On buses (and most Metro buses within Montgomery County) to youth ages 5 through 18. Ride On will be transitioning by the end of this year to using Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® cards for identification instead of school identification cards.

Buying a Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® Card
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, at 255 Rockville Pike, Suite L-15. Monthly passes and stored value can also 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.

Youth Cruiser Passes Can be Loaded onto SmarTrip® Card
All Ride On Youth Cruiser passes (monthly and summer) can be loaded onto the Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® card. The Youth Monthly pass provides kids unlimited rides on Ride On for only $11 a calendar month. This is a significant savings over regular fares. Stored value (cash) can also be loaded onto the cards for regular use- not pass use- on Metrorail, non-Montgomery Metrobuses, and other carriers.

Go online for Ride On schedules fares, and information about RideOnRealTime or like Ride On on Facebook.

State Highway Administration Reopens Eastern Leg of Cedar Lane in Bethesda

The State Highway Administration (SHA) has reopened the eastern leg of Cedar Lane from Elmhirst Parkway to MD 355 (Rockville Pike) in Bethesda. The closure began in early June as part of the $13.8 million Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) intersection improvement project.

Crews constructed culverts, repaved all traffic lanes and applied new pavement markings within the work zone. While the road is now open to traffic, the 1,000-foot section of Cedar Lane near MD 355 is still an active work zone. Continuing construction activity may require sidewalk closures in this section of Cedar Lane through late 2014. Pedestrians may be directed to safe crossings within the work zone via orange construction signs, cones, barrels and fencing.

Drivers are asked to stay alert, slow down and avoid tailgating. Look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.

(Source: Maryland State Highway Administration)

Metro Selects Developer for Grosvenor-Strathmore Joint Development Site

Metro has selected a development team led by Streetscape Partners, LLC for its site at the Grosvenor Metrorail Station. The team is proposing to build about 550 residential units and 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. In support of Metro’s sustainability program, the proposed development will be required to achieve, at a minimum, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification.

(Source: Metro News Release)

WSSC Work on Veirs Mill Road May Require Lane Closures

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) is replacing a one-mile stretch of a 24-inch aging water main and valves along Veirs Mill Road in Rockville.

The work will require some lane closures during the day and at night between September and December. When lanes are closed at night, they will reopen by 5 a.m. Two electronic signs on Veirs Mill Road notify drivers of upcoming work.

The original water main is 58 years old. The project began in April 2013 and is expected to be finished in December 2014, weather permitting.

(Source: WSSC)