Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ride On Named Employer of the Year by CSAAC

Ride On was named Employer of the Year by Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC).

Ride On contracts with CSAAC to employ autistic individuals who distribute timetables at Metro and MARC stations.  Learn more about CSAAC online.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board Seeks Members

Applications Due at Noon on December 11

Community leaders and interested residents from across the Washington region are invited to apply for membership on the 2015 Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB). Applications are due by noon on Thursday, December 11.

The mission of the 15-member CAC is to promote public involvement in TPB’s regional transportation planning. The TPB coordinates transportation planning for the metropolitan Washington region, and includes elected local officials, representatives from transportation agencies, and other key officials.

To apply, complete the online application, the PDF application, or the print application.

For more information or to request a paper application, contact Lamont Cobb by email or phone at (202) 962-3200.

Members Sought for Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc. Board of Directors

Application Deadline is December 8

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett is seeking applicants to fill one vacancy on the 11-member Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc. Board of Directors, for a residential representative who lives within the Bethesda urban district. The incumbent member is eligible to apply for reappointment.

The Bethesda Urban Partnership is responsible for the maintenance of streetscape and streetscape amenities, the promotion and organization of promotional activities, the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District and management of the transportation management district.
Members serve three-year terms without compensation, but are eligible for reimbursement for travel and dependent care for meetings attended. The Board currently meets in Bethesda on the third Tuesday of every other month at 7:45 a.m., with the exception of August and December.

County Executive Isiah Leggett is committed to representation on all of the County’s boards, committees, and commissions that is reflective of, and responsive to, County residents. Public participation contributes to the work of County government and provides an important service to the community when a variety of issues, concerns, and viewpoints are presented.

Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability and ethnicity are encouraged to apply. An application, consisting of a brief cover letter and resume, should be sent by mail to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe Street, 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD  20850, or by email. Home and employment addresses, as well as contact phone numbers and email addresses should be included. Applicants should indicate the position for which they are applying.

Members of County boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time. Leggett’s appointments are generally subject to confirmation by the County Council. Applications of individuals selected for appointment to groups that are confirmed by the Council are made public as part of the confirmation process.

For more information, contact Beth Gochrach by email or by phone at 240-777-2528.
For Immediate Release: November 17, 2014

Ride On Honors Its “Best of the Best” Drivers at Ceremony

Three of the drivers with no accidents during 21 years of driving were honored: Robert James, Lucas Guzman and Stephen Richardson. They are pictured with Art Holmes, Carolyn Biggins and Mike Nesselt, Acting Depot Chief.

At a Transit Awards Ceremony held on November 19, Montgomery County Department of Transportation Director Arthur Holmes, Jr. and Transit Services Division Chief Carolyn Biggins honored Ride On bus drivers for their excellent customer service, willingness to go the extra mile, and commitment to safety and quality.

One award from each depot, Silver Spring, Nicholson Court and Gaithersburg, was presented in the following categories:

Customer Service Award was William Oliver, Raul Ortellado and Rex Thompson.
On Time Performance Award was James Boddie, Jose Contreras and Cheryl Nicholson.
Safe Work Award was Ricardo Cabrera, Robert James and Clovis Wheeler.
Supervisor of the Year was Eric Sims of the Silver Spring Depot.

In addition, drivers with no accidents for five, ten, 15 and 21 years were honored. 

Ride On Holds Bus Roadeo

Winner will Represent County at International Event

Ride On bus operator Alexander Folgar won Ride On’s Bus Roadeo and will represent Ride On at the American Public Transportation Association's International Bus Roadeo in Ft. Worth, Texas next spring. He'll be matching his skills against the best drivers from around the world. To win, Folgar maneuvered his 35-foot vehicle through a variety of obstacles.

Folger has been a bus operator with Ride On for 13 years. He worked out of the Silver Spring Depot for three years and has been at the Gaithersburg Depot for the past 10 years.

51st Montgomery County Bikeshare Station Installed in Silver Spring

Montgomery County's Bikeshare network has expanded to 51 stations with the installation of a new station this month in Silver Spring. The station is located at Spring Street and Second Avenue. Silver Spring now has 16 stations.

More information about Bikeshare is available online as are maps of all the station locations.

Ride On Wins Award
Ride On was named Employer of the Year by Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC). Ride On contracts with CSAAC to employ autistic individuals who distribute timetables at Metro and MARC stations.

Learn more about CSAAC online.

Washington Region Launches Fall Street Smart Pedestrian Safety Campaign

With the shorter hours of daylight at this time of year, it’s more important than ever for people to take care as they drive, walk and bike. Street Smart launched a fall safety campaign to remind area drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists to pay attention and obey traffic safety laws. To make sure they do, area police have stepped up enforcement during November and will ticket and fine violators – whether on foot, a bike or behind the wheel. Street Smart reminds everyone to share the road and look out for each other.

Fall and winter can be the most dangerous times of the year for pedestrians. When out in the dark, bicyclists and pedestrians are urged to wear reflective items or flashing lights to ensure they are visible to drivers. Never assume drivers see you when you are in the road.

The Street Smart campaign offers the following safety tips:

• If you’re driving, look twice for people in crosswalks and stop for walkers and bicyclists.
• If you’re biking, ride in the direction of traffic and stop at red lights.
• And if you’re walking, cross in the crosswalk and wait for the "walk" signal.

Learn more about the campaign.

Montgomery Parks to Clear Capital Crescent Trail This Winter

Montgomery Parks has announced that beginning this season, it will clear snow from the 3.5 miles of the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) within its jurisdiction -- Bethesda Avenue to the Montgomery County/District of Columbia line -- and 12 CCT feeder trails. However, the snow removal program will not include salting the trail or ice removal. The County Council approved $75,000 for effort.

Montgomery County’s Division of Highway Services removes snow from major, on-street and off-street, paved, County-maintained, multi-use trails, such as the Bethesda Trolley Trail.

During Winter Storms and Other Emergencies, Ride On May Institute its ‘S’ Plan

When snow, storms or other special circumstances occur that affect Ride On’s ability to follow normal weekday schedules, Ride On may operate under the 'S' Service Plan. Under this plan, Ride On attempts to maintain some bus service on all its routes even when conditions prevent staying on a regular schedule. 

The announcement to operate an S Service Plan will be made by 4 a.m. on the day the plan goes into effect. Find out by checking online, Facebook or Twitter or listen to local radio or television stations for an announcement.

Information about the ‘S’ Service Plan is also available en espaƱol.

County Prepared for Snowy Winter – Are You?

A few weeks ago, the Division of Highway Services (DHS) held its annual Snow Summit and Winter Storm Exercise to ensure that the County is prepared for what weather forecasters are predicting will be a colder, snowier winter season.  As part of its preparations, DHS has fully stocked salt barns to capacity with 85,000 tons of salt.

At the Snow Summit, officials from all County agencies with snow removal responsibilities assess their readiness for winter storms and discuss new initiatives. DHS Chief Keith Compton discussed the Road Weather Information System that consists of four pavement monitoring stations strategically placed in areas of the County that experience different microclimates. The stations monitor pavement temperature, humidity, dew point, ambient temperature and “grip factor.” When environmental conditions are conducive to producing black ice, ice or slippery conditions, the stations send DHS automatic text messages so it can take proactive measures to treat pavement.

During the all-day Winter Storm Exercise, DHS simulated its response to a six-inch snow storm, testing the preparedness of the County’s snow plans and fleet. Snow plow operators ran their routes on the nearly 5,000 lane miles of County-maintained roads.

Sign up for Alert Montgomery now to get real time emergency information about weather conditions and the status of County services during winter storms. 

Follow MCDOT on Twitter

Two more ways to get the latest news for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) are now available. 

Follow us on Twitter @MCDOTNow or sign up to be notified of the latest news releases posted on MCDOT’s website through our RSS feed. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ceremony Honors Award Winners of the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Annual Beautification and Amateur Photography Competitions

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) celebrated 71 winners of its 28th annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) community beautification awards. Fifty-five amateur photographers were also honored and two Clean Sweep Awards for the Adopt A Road were presented.

The beautification competition 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. Landscaping can also take place along County roadsides, medians or other public locations.

More than 20 years ago, concerned volunteers formed the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Task Force to work with the County to develop beautification projects and anti-litter and recycling programs. The group also conducts public education to change resident attitudes about littering and graffiti. Business and organization sponsors that assist MCDOT in staging this annual ceremony included the Bethesda Urban Partnership and Bethesda Florist. Read More.

Leggett, Stonebridge Carras and Bozzuto Announce Agreement for Redevelopment of Downtown Wheaton

More than One Million Square Feet of Mixed Use Projects Will Reshape Wheaton Triangle and M-NCPPC Site in Silver Spring 

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced the signing of a public-private partnership agreement that will remake the downtown Wheaton Triangle. The agreement will also create a new Georgia Avenue gateway to Silver Spring with mixed-use development on the site of the current headquarters of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), which also houses the County’s Planning Board and Planning Department staff.

Together, the two sites represent 1.1 million square feet of development that is expected to advance Montgomery County’s smart growth, continue the revitalization of downtown Wheaton, and move County departments and agencies from leased space to a more cost-effective, environmentally sensitive, publically owned building.
The County’s partners in this joint venture are affiliates of StonebridgeCarras, LLC, a Bethesda-based real estate firm, and The Bozzuto Group, a Greenbelt-based residential real estate company.

Wheaton’s new downtown will be a transit-oriented development that includes a town square, a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified office building, retail, residences, including affordable housing, and public parking.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation spearheaded the agreement. Under the terms of the public-private partnership, StonebridgeCarras and Bozzuto will construct the following in Wheaton on the existing County Regional Services Center and the large surface parking lot on Reedie Drive:
      • A 265,000 square-foot office building that will house the headquarters of the M-NCPPC,
        Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services and Department of Environmental
        Protection, the Mid-County Regional Services Center and Wheaton Urban District;
      • New retail space on Triangle Lane;
      • A new Town Square civic space adjacent to the Wheaton Metro Station;
      • A 395-space underground parking garage; and
      • About 200 units of mixed-income apartment community, of which 20 to 30 percent will be
        designated affordable housing.

In exchange, StonebridgeCarras and Bozzuto will acquire the current M-NCPPC site located at 8787 Georgia Avenue to redevelop into a 430,000 square-foot, mixed-use project, including 26,000 square feet of retail and 360 residential units.

The current M-NCPPC headquarters was built in 1953 and requires significant renovation and expansion. Constructing a new building in Wheaton for M-NCPPC provides a more cost-effective opportunity to also put in one place key County agencies that are related to the development process. Design of the new 12-story building has begun. Construction is expected to begin in 2016, with completion in early 2019.

County Leaf Collection Underway; Continues Through Mid-December

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) is conducting its annual vacuum collection of leaves in the southern part of the County through mid-December. DHS makes two collections on every street in the vacuum leaf collection district during the fall. A third collection may also be provided on an as-needed basis.  

The leaf vacuum collection district is bounded by I-495, I-270, the Rockville City limits, Norbeck, Bel Pre and Bonifant roads, Northwest Branch Park, and the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County lines. 
Residents should look for signs posted along the streets for information. DHS crews are posting new, larger, more informative signs this season that will direct residents to DHS’s website for more information about collection dates.

Leaves should be placed in piles or containers on the grass or behind the curb, off the road pavement, but near the street. Placing leaves in streets or alleys can disrupt traffic, negatively impact drainage infrastructure, hamper snow removal operations, pose a risk of fire hazard for automobiles parked over them, limit the availability of residential parking and pose a safety risk to children and adults, alike. This is why residents are asked to keep leaves off road shoulders, and out of rain gardens and bikeshare lanes. Leaves, especially when wet, can pose a hazard for cyclists and pedestrians.

The leaf collection program is restricted to leaves only. Tree debris, sticks, branches or coarse garden debris should be placed in containers or tied in bundles no more than four feet long and placed where yard trim is regularly picked up.

Residents who miss the two scheduled vacuum collections can still have their leaves collected by placing them in paper yard trim bags or reusable containers for pick up on their regular yard trim collection day. Leaves placed in plastic bags will not be accepted.
DHS will make every effort to maintain the schedules posted online, but weather and equipment issues can affect the timing.

To determine if a residence is within the boundaries of the leaf vacuum collection district or view the leaf collection schedule, visit DHS’s website or call 311. 

New Cycle Track on Woodglen Drive from Edson Lane to Nicholson Lane Nears Completion

The first cycle track in Montgomery County is nearing completion in North Bethesda. Construction of the eight-foot-wide, 1,500-foot long path will provide a protected bikeway, called a cycle track, on the west side of Woodglen Drive. This project is an important element in recreating the White Flint area into a walkable, bikeable community.

The project includes roadway resurfacing, installation of new directional route signs, crosswalks, green pavement at driveway access points and a bike box with bicycle detectors at Nicholson Lane and Woodglen Drive.

Update on Road Maintenance Projects

The Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) pavement management system biennually evaluates more than 5,000 lane miles of County roads to assess their condition and prioritize repair and rehabilitation efforts. 

DHS has resurfaced residential roads using hot mix asphalt in the Goshen Estates neighborhood, Gaithersburg; Avery Village, Derwood; and Wisteria Drive from Germantown Road to Waring Station Road, Germantown. This pavement preservation technique keeps pavement serviceable for many years.  

Other resurfacing projects completed include Black Rock Road, from Darnestown Road to Burdette Lane, in Germantown. DHS conducted full-depth pavement patching; sealed cracks; applied a chipseal surfacing material; swept residual stone; and repainted lane markings.  

For projects to preserve pavement, DHS will complete full-depth patching of pavement, which removes failed areas of pavement with hot mix asphalt. Preservation was completed in the Hillandale neighborhood, Silver Spring in October and began in November in the Olney Mill neighborhood. Patching will take about five weeks to complete, weather permitting. Work hours are between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

DHS identifies curbs and sidewalks in need of replacement or repair and ensure that curb ramps comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. When DHS is doing concrete work in a neighborhood, residents can take advantage of the driveway apron and lead walk repair program.

Projects were recently completed in the Flower Hill neighborhood in Gaithersburg and Stoneybrook Estates, 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, call 301-251-4850), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan Available

The Montgomery County Planning Department’s approved and adopted Countywide Transit Corridors  Functional Master Plan is now available online. The plan recommends a bus rapid
transit (BRT) network throughout Montgomery County that will improve accessibility and mobility on County roads. The plan was adopted on December 18, 2013 by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, as modified by the County Council on November 25, 2013

Learn About Existing and Proposed Bikeways in Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Planning Department has created a new webpage about bikeways in Montgomery County featuring all of the existing and proposed bikeways and an interactive map. Also posted online is the Silver Spring Bicycle Parking Station Study that evaluates future demand and possible locations for a bicycle parking station near the Silver Spring Transit Center and the planned connection of the Capital Crescent Trail and Metropolitan Branch Trail.

Online visitors can also review “An Assessmentof Purple Line Corridor Bicycle and Pedestrian Issues” for the proposed Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring and pedestrian issues around the Purple Line.

Ride On Bus Route 83 Now Provides Service to Holy Cross Hospital in Germantown

The Route 83 Ride On bus that provides service between the Germantown Transit Center and the Milestone Park and Ride Lot has been extended to provide daily service to the new Holy Cross Hospital in Germantown.

The route will operate about every 30 minutes from:

• 4:29 a.m. to 11:29 p.m., Monday through Friday;

• 6:29 a.m. to 9:29 p.m. on Saturdays; and

• 6:59 a.m. to 8:59 p.m. on Sundays.

The new timetable is available online.

Extension of Century Boulevard in Germantown Now Open to Traffic

The Montgomery Department of Transportation Division of Transportation Engineering announced that a new, 2,600-foot portion of Century Boulevard in Germantown, extending from underneath Father Hurley Boulevard to Kinster Drive, is now open. The road will provide a connection to the future Dorsey Mill Road. Together with a new interchange planned for I-270, these connections will help link the east and west sides of Germantown.
Motorists should anticipate some lane closures as work continues to complete landscaping, sealing of concrete joints and other items. In addition, Potomac Edison will be finishing installation of a power feed for underpass lighting.

The project included construction of a steel arch culvert, storm water management features, landscaping, pedestrian pathways, street lights and lighting for the Father Hurley Boulevard underpass. Construction began in June 2013.

The road was a joint participation project with Symmetry Developers. Symmetry will contribute $4 million towards design and construction, dedication of their portion of the right-of-way to the County and payment for water and sewer service to allow development adjacent to the road. The total cost of the project was $7.5 million. The contractor was Francis O. Day Co., Rockville.

Project Begun to Install New Entrance Escalators at Bethesda Station

Metro began a major capital project to install three new escalators at the Bethesda Station in October.

The project will replace the current escalators, which are more than 30 years old and have exceeded their useful life, with brand new escalators that are more durable and reliable. Metro's contractor will install the new escalators one at a time, keeping the other two escalators in service.

Metro warns riders that in the event of a service disruption, the station could be temporarily closed to prevent safety hazards related to overcrowding. This may happen with little advance notice. When the station is temporarily closed, Red Line trains will bypass the station in both directions and passengers on the platform will have to exit the station.

More information is available on Metro's website.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Alert Montgomery Emergency Warning System Upgraded in Time for Winter Weather

Subscribers Encouraged to Update Accounts to Take Advantage of New Features 

Major improvements to the Alert Montgomery emergency warning system, that has served the County since 2004, provide users with customizable features, more choices and greater flexibility. To use the new features, current subscribers must re-register. All residents are urged to sign up for Alert Montgomery to receive up-to-the-minute messages during weather and other emergencies.

Everbridge is the new system provider for Alert Montgomery. User options allow subscribers to select as many or few alerts as desired for emergencies, weather, traffic, school closings, etc.; choose how to be alerted, whether by cell phone, email, text, land line phone, work phone, or a Mobile Member app; and block incoming notifications during certain times of the day or night.

Montgomery County is one of 18 jurisdictions with alert systems in the National Capital area. Within Montgomery County, the cities of Gaithersburg, Rockville and Takoma Park have separate but compatible alert systems to Alert Montgomery. All the regional systems were developed in partnership with the Council of Governments’ (COG) National Capital Region (NCR) emergency response system and all jurisdictions are being upgraded this year.

More information is available on the County’s website.

Residents and Business Representatives Sought for Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Advisory Committees

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) are looking for volunteers -- residents, businesses and community organizations -- to serve on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor Advisory Committees (CACs). The two agencies are seeking public input as they develop concepts for a Rapid Transit System (RTS), a network of BRT routes that is being studied along various County and State roadways.

Over the next two years, four major corridors that have been divided into seven segments will be evaluated for RTS. The four main corridors include Georgia Avenue, US Route 29 (Colesville Road and Columbia Pike), Maryland Route 355 (Frederick Road, Rockville Pike and Wisconsin Avenue) and Veirs Mill Road. Seven CACs will be established for each corridor segment under consideration.

Bus Rapid Transit is a cost-effective and versatile way for communities to meet their transit needs. BRT uses well-planned bus routes and facilities that provide for high speed travel at a lower cost than other forms of transit – high frequency all-day service, off-board fare collection, attractive stations, dedicated roadways, and real-time passenger information. BRT buses have features similar to light rail, including level floors, multiple wide doors for easy boarding and departures, and comfortable interiors that include space for wheelchairs and bicycle storage.

The CACs are essential to ensuring that community stakeholders have ample opportunity to participate in the RTS planning process. The committees will advise MCDOT and SHA on BRT design concepts, study assumptions, transit access and operations, coordination with other studies, planning for public involvement, and community needs and concerns. MCDOT is recruiting committee members who live or work within or adjacent to the communities in the proposed transit corridors as well as those with a general interest in the system.

A CAC nomination form, due on November 21, is available online and details the structure, selection procedures, specific tasks, formation process, and operating guidelines for the CACs. Residents along the corridors under study are asked to send their nomination forms to the president of the civic/homeowner association that represents them. Each civic group along the corridor will select one representative to serve on the CAC for that corridor.

Businesses along the proposed routes are asked to send their nomination forms to their respective Chamber of Commerce, which will make recommendations on proposed business representatives. The chambers are the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Montgomery County, Olney Chamber of Commerce, Rockville Chamber of Commerce, Wheaton and Kensington Chamber of Commerce, Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, and Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce. Links to all the chambers are available online.

Each committee also allows for a number of “at large” representatives who may not live or work directly along the corridor but have an interest in the project. Those forms, also due November 21, should be submitted by email to CAC Nomination Form or mailed to MCDOT Director’s Office, 101 Monroe Street, 10th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850. Residents may nominate themselves or be nominated by others.

To be eligible to serve on a CAC, representatives must be willing to regularly attend meetings, which are expected to be held at least four to six times a year.

For more information, call 240-777-7155, email or visit the RTS website.

Leggett Reaffirms County's Commitment to Smart Growth in White Flint

Misinformation about the proposed designs for Old Georgetown Road in White Flint has caused confusion about the County's commitment to Smart Growth in this area. Read County Executive Ike Leggett's reply that lays out the facts.
CE Leggett Response to White Flint