Thursday, January 29, 2015

Woodmont Avenue and New Capital Crescent Garage Now Open;



Woodmont Avenue, between Bethesda Avenue and Leland Street, and a new County parking garage in Bethesda, called the Capital Crescent Garage, are now open. The garage, located at the intersection of Woodmont and Bethesda avenues on two former surface parking lots, is part of a public-private, mixed use development that added 250 residential units, ground level retail, and more than tripled the number of public parking spaces available on the site. The underground Capital Crescent Garage has about 960 public spaces and 290 private parking spaces for tenants. Demand for parking at the former surface parking lots was very high.
To give parkers time to become acquainted with the new garage, the County will begin charging for parking on March 1. The conveniently located garage has entrances on Bethesda and Woodmont avenues. There are three pedestrian exits leading to the east and west sides of Woodmont Avenue and directly onto the Capital Crescent Trail.
MCDOT is using technology to deliver innovative parking solutions. The Capital Crescent Garage has a parking availability system that wirelessly tracks the number of available parking spaces on each garage level and displays the information outside every entrance and on each floor. Initially, the signs will say “open” until the car counting system is needed. Read more.

MCDOT Spearheads Public/Private Partnership in Bethesda to Construct Mixed Use Development on Parking Lot 43; 20 Percent of Housing Will be Affordable


MCDOT led the effort to redevelop a County parking lot (known as Lot 43) located at 8009 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda into a mixed use project that includes housing, retail/commercial space and underground parking. The proposal outlines a plan to develop the site --at no cost to the County and with all private financing.
MCDOT led the effort to redevelop a County parking lot (known as Lot 43) located at 8009 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda into a mixed use project that includes housing, retail/commercial space and underground parking. The proposal outlines a plan to develop the site --at no cost to the County and with all private financing.
The project will increase the area’s stock of affordable housing by guaranteeing that at least 20 percent of the units built will be set aside as moderately priced residences and provide sufficient private parking to eliminate any reliance on other public parking facilities in Bethesda. In exchange, the County will receive the fair market value of the parking lot property. Read more.

New Parking Availability System Installed in Two Silver Spring Garages: Provides Information on the Number of Spaces Available Before Entering Garages

Chief Administrative Officer Tim Firestine and MCDOT
Acting Director Al Roshdieh at the Town Square Garage
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Division of Parking Management has installed a parking space availability system in the Wayne Avenue and Town Square parking garages located in Silver Spring. MCDOT is using the latest technology to wirelessly track the number of available parking spaces on each garage level and display the information outside every entrance and on each floor.
The Wayne Avenue Garage (921 Wayne Avenue) has 1,740 spaces and the Town Square Garage (801 Ellsworth Drive) has 1,265 spaces. The recently opened Capital Crescent Garage, located at the intersection of Woodmont and Bethesda avenues in Bethesda, uses the same technology to track parking space availability. MCDOT is planning to install a similar vehicle counting system in the Cameron Street Garage in Silver Spring later this year.
The car counting system uses sensors that transmit real time parking space availability to garage signs. When the garage reaches capacity, the signs will show the word “Full.” Read more.

Leggett Announces Amended Six-Year Capital Construction Budget


On January 15, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Capital Budget and proposed amendments to the FY 15-20 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) that contains the following additions for transportation and infrastructure improvements:
  • Accelerate White Flint redevelopment expenditures for Main/Market streets and Executive Boulevard. Funding will aid coordination with the Conference Center parking garage construction, minimizing disruption to local businesses, saving money and accelerating pedestrian and bike improvements.
  • Proceed with the extension of the Metropolitan Branch Trail from the Silver Spring Transit Center to the north end of the existing trail near Montgomery College’s Takoma Park campus to coordinate with construction of a nearby development.
  • Construct a new bridge at Pennyfield Lock Road and provide design funding for a new Glen Road Bridge.
  • Accelerate $8.2 million in road resurfacing and maintenance for the coming year, expediting work on 62.7 lane miles of roads.
  • Continue support for the Bethesda Metro Station South Entrance, the Capital Crescent Trail, and the Silver Spring Green Trail projects reflecting modest Purple Line delays.
Under a 1996 County Charter amendment, a new CIP is developed in even-numbered calendar years. In alternate years, such as 2015, the Executive may recommend limited amendments to the existing six-year CIP. Read more.
Click here to see the full FY16 Capital Budget and six-year Capital Improvements Program.

During First Year, Montgomery County Bikeshare Exceeds Participation Estimates


Montgomery County’s Bikeshare program celebrated its first year of operation in fall 2014 and exceeded participation projections with about 35,000 Bikeshare trips taken. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) launched its Capital Bikeshare network in October 2013 with 14 stations. Over the following months, the program ramped up to install a total of 51 stations in three geographic areas: Bethesda/Friendship Heights along the east leg of the Metrorail Red Line; Silver Spring/Takoma Park along the west leg of the Metrorail Red Line; and Rockville/Shady Grove/Life Sciences Center. Read more.
The Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board is seeking applicants to fill one vacancy on the Bethesda Transportation Management District (TMD) Advisory Committee. The nominee must live in a neighborhood inside the Bethesda TMD. The TMD Advisory Committee advises the Bethesda Urban Partnership's (BUP) Board of Directors and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) on local transportation needs. Read more.

Senior Connection Needs Volunteers to Aid Older Adults: Learn More about Upcoming Trainings and Open House

The Senior Connection has immediate openings for volunteers who can help provide essential services to Montgomery County seniors. Available service opportunities include driving senior adults to medical appointments, assisting with grocery shopping and providing money management support. The Senior Connection links older adults to services and resources so they can live as independently as possible.
Senior Connection will host a Volunteer Open House on Wednesday, February 4, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Holiday Park Senior Center located at 3950 Ferrara Drive in Silver Spring.
Training sessions for volunteer drivers and grocery shoppers are scheduled for the following dates:
  • Wednesday, February 11 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Jewish Council on the Aging, 12320 Parklawn Drive, Rockville
  • Wednesday, February 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Drive, Silver Spring
For more information and to apply, contact Mary Murphy at or at 301-942-1049. More information about Senior Connection is available online.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Go Montgomery



Sign Up for Alert Montgomery
Automatically receive email, text and pager alerts about emergencies, weather conditions, program and school closures, traffic and more by signing up for Alert Montgomery. The service is free, but text charges may apply, so check with your cell phone carrier before selecting text alerts. The latest information is also available on the County’s website.
Snow Plow Map
Check the status of snow plows in your neighborhood, report a missed street or report a damaged mailbox online. Or, call 311.
Ride On S (Storm) Service Plan
When severe weather or emergencies are expected to disrupt Ride On bus service, Ride On may announce it will be operating under its “S” or Storm Service Plan during weekdays only. Ride On will operate some buses on nearly every route and try to provide trips that are evenly spaced. However, customers should expect delays and detours. The S Plan schedule and more information are available online in English and Spanish.
Who Clears the Snow?
County snow fighters begin their job as soon as snow is predicted. They pre-treat major roads with salt brine, a solution of salt and water, before the snow even begins to fall. Salt brine prevents ice and frost from forming on pavement and makes snow removal easier. The use of salt brine also reduces the amount of salt needed to treat pavement following a snowfall.
During the snowfall, about 1,000 lane miles of main roads are kept in “bare pavement” condition. This ensures that, in case of an emergency, every County resident is within one-half mile of a cleared road. As snow accumulations reach three inches, plowing operations begin and all attention remains focused on main roads.
Once the snow stops falling and major roads are clear, crews turn their attention to removing snow from more than 4,300 miles of neighborhood streets. Their goal is to make these streets passable – not clear them to bare pavement.
All State-maintained, numbered roads in the County are cleared by the Maryland State Highway Administration. Other departments, outside agencies and governmental jurisdictions also have responsibility for plowing. They include Transit Services, which clears the busiest bus shelters and stops; Montgomery County Public Schools; The Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission; the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro); municipalities and homeowner’s associations. Commercial parking lot owners plow their own properties and are prohibited from moving snow into the street. 

Be Prepared
During winter storm season, be prepared and take the following safety precautions.
Before a Storm
  • Ensure that you have enough food, water, medication (if needed) and batteries to last two to three days.
  • Check portable radio, smoke detectors and flashlights to ensure they are working and that the batteries are fresh. Fully charge your cell phone.
  • Check heating equipment. If you use propane or fuel oil, make sure that levels are near full.
  • Have a snow shovel ready.
  • Run necessary errands. Don't wait until the storm strikes.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is properly winterized and that snow tires and/or chains are ready. Also, keep a blanket, snow shovel, sand or kitty litter and flares in the vehicle. Fill the gas tank.
  • Park cars off-road, especially on narrow streets, to help snow plow operators safely clear streets from curb-to-curb. Where off-road parking is not available, work with neighbors to park cars on one side of the street.
  • Don't park on snow emergency routes during a declared snow emergency or your car may be towed. Major roads must be kept clear for emergency vehicles. Snow emergency routes are designated by red and white signs.
  • Check with neighbors who may require special assistance to see if they need help in stocking up on supplies or medications, and call them during the storm.

During a Storm
  • Stay indoors. Only travel when absolutely necessary. Give snow plows a chance to clear the roads. If travel conditions become difficult, seek refuge and remain there until the storm has passed.
  • If you must go out, leave your car at home and take transit.
  • When going outside, ensure that you have proper clothing to protect you from the elements. A heavy coat, gloves, boots and a hat are a must.
  • If driving during the storm is unavoidable, put together a supply kit for the car that includes a flashlight with extra batteries, flares, blankets or sleeping bags, dry clothing, snacks and water, a small shovel, jumper cables, first aid kit and necessary medications.
  • Use extra caution on the road by leaving at least 10 feet between you and other vehicles.
  • Residents concerned about the safety and well-being of children, elderly individuals or adults with disabilities should call the County’s Crisis Center at 240-777-4000.
After a Storm
  • Remove snow and ice from doors, decks and gutters. If heavy snow accumulates on roofs do not attempt to use a ladder or climb onto the roof to remove it. Call a contractor instead.
  • Watch for downed power lines. If lines are down, do not touch wires or anything that the wires are touching. Contact your local utility. If wires are sparking, call 911.
  • Try to give snow plow operators a chance to remove snow or ice off highways and residential streets before venturing out.
  • If snow has covered fire hydrants, help to remove it so firefighters can easily locate them in the event of an emergency.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers
  • Walk safely by obeying all traffic signs and signals.
  • Be aware that cars may not be able to stop as quickly on snow and ice. Do NOT walk in the roadway and watch for icy and slick spots.
  • Do not assume vehicles can see you. Wear reflective clothing.
  • Wear shoes or boots with non-slip soles. 
  • Stay alert for pedestrians walking in the roadways, especially when visibility is low.
  • Drive slowly! Stopping distances increase in poor weather conditions.
  • Be especially alert for pedestrians at intersections where snow mounds may limit sight lines.

Who Clears Sidewalks of Snow?
Property owners are required by law to clear sidewalks in front of, and alongside, their properties within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. Help keep our communities and neighbors safe by doing your part. If your neighbor is elderly or disabled, you can assist them by clearing their sidewalks and checking on them during storms.
Residents who wish to report an unshoveled sidewalk can call 311 (240-777-0311 outside County). Reports must include an exact address.
Snow Shoveling Tips
  • Dress appropriately for winter weather. Ears, hands and feet need extra protection in frigid temperatures.
  • Shovel as the snow falls, if you can. That way, there is less to remove. It’s also easier to remove fresh snow that has not hardened or turned to ice.
  • Put less pressure on your back. Lift with legs bent to avoid injury and try pushing the snow instead of lifting it.
  • Pace yourself and take it slow. Shoveling can raise blood pressure and heart rate dramatically.
  • Don't work to the point of exhaustion. Take it easy and take breaks. If you run out of breath or feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.


January 23, 2015

Who to Call

Call 311 for information about the status of County programs and services, to report unshoveled sidewalks, snow plow questions or other assistance or get information online.

First Energy/Potomac Edison: 1-888-544-4877
PEPCO: 1-877-737-2662

Downed Wires and Trees
“Hot” or sparking wires: 911
Downed trees: 311
Police Emergency: 911
Police Non-Emergency:
Montgomery County Public Schools: 301-309-6277; Spanish Hotline:

County Services
Call 311
Library Branch Opening and Closing Status: 240-777-6500
Recycling and Trash Collections - For updated information about the collection schedule during snow storms, sign up for email and/or text updates, follow DSWS on Facebook and Twitter
State Roads
(any numbered road in the County):
Statewide Operations Center toll free at 1-800-543-2515 or 410-582-5650

When It Snows Brochure

When It Snows A handy guide that explains the County’s snow removal action plan and lists useful snowstorm contacts.
Cold Weather is Here – Are You Fire Safe? The County's Fire and Rescue Service offers tips to keep you safe during winter storms.
Winter Storm Preparedness: What to do before, during and after a winter storm.

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or email address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. This service is provided to you at no charge by Department of Transportation of Montgomery County MD.  Visit Go Montgomery to view more news.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Ride On Service Improvements Begin on January 11

Enhancements to Affect 25 Routes – One of the Largest Upgrades in the Last 10 Years

Beginning Sunday, January 11, the Montgomery County Ride On bus system will introduce improvements to 25 routes that will upgrade service for thousands of riders a day. This is one of the largest enhancements in Ride On service in the last 10 years. The Montgomery County Council, in their deliberations last May, approved funding for the improvements to further expand Ride On service.
“Providing enhanced transit service is one my key strategies for fostering economic development in Montgomery County,” said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. “That is why this improved service for our Ride On customers is so important. I want to thank the Department of Transportation for their efforts in moving this vision forward and making transit use even more easy and convenient.”

Depending on the route, the service change will add trips on 19 routes; increase span of service (the hours the bus operates) on 18 routes; and improve accuracy of schedule times (travel time) on 14 routes. Fifteen routes will have more than one of these improvements. Read more.

MCDOT Succeeds in Request to SHA to Reduce Number of Lanes at Old Georgetown Road and Hoya Street

Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) reached an agreement last month to reduce the number of lanes on Old Georgetown Road. There will be two through-lanes in each direction, with one shared left turn lane, at the new intersection at Hoya Street being constructed in the White Flint redevelopment area.

In the most recent Capital Budget, the County included additional funding to connect Hoya Street all the way to Montrose Parkway in order to divert more traffic off of Old Georgetown Road, with the goal of reducing the number of lanes being required by the state on Old Georgetown Road.  Since Old Georgetown is a state road, only the state can make decisions on lane configurations and issue permits for construction.  Original plans called for up to eight lanes at this intersection.

After the additional funding was approved, MCDOT provided a supplemental traffic analysis to SHA that justified its request to reduce the number of lanes to help achieve the vision of the Sector Plan.  After thorough analysis, SHA agreed that the Hoya Street connection will provide enough traffic relief to move ahead with narrowing that segment of Old Georgetown Road sooner than originally planned, and has approved MCDOT’s request. 

The decrease in lanes will significantly improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety by reducing crosswalk distances. In addition, MCDOT will construct on-road bike lanes and an off-road shared use path between Hoya Street and Grand Park Avenue. 

MCDOT Issues Request for Proposals to Two Finalists for MD 355/Rockville Pike Crossing Project at Medical Center Metro Station;

Project Expected to Improve Traffic Flow and Promote Pedestrian Safety along Congested Corridor

Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Acting Director Al Roshdieh announced the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to design and build the Maryland (MD) Route 355/Rockville Pike Crossing Project, which will relieve traffic congestion and promote pedestrian safety at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centerin Bethesda.  The Crossing Project was conceived by MCDOT to address BRAC-mandated growth at Walter Reed, which brought a 45 percent increase in personnel and a doubling of visits to the Bethesda campus.

The project will construct a shallow underpass serving pedestrians, cyclists and bus commuters to enable safe and efficient passage under Rockville Pike between the east side at the Navy entrance and the west side Transit Center near the entrance to the National Institutes of Health. To facilitate Metrorail access on both sides of Rockville Pike, the project includes high-speed elevators on the east side of the road that will descend 135 feet to the Metrorail mezzanine. 
In May of 2013, MCDOT held a public meeting for contracting firms and issued a Request for Expressions of Interest for the Crossing Project. Nine firms responded and in September 2013, MCDOT selected two prime contractor finalists who will receive the RFP:  Clark Construction and a joint venture of Corman-Bradshaw Construction.  Formal proposals from the two firms are due later this spring and a contractor will be selected by the summer.  The entire project is expected to be completed in fall 2018. 

Funding for the project became available in June 2013 when, after lengthy negotiations, stakeholder agencies signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that enabled the Department of Defense to release the funds designated for the BRAC-related project.  The signed MOA set in motion the process of selecting a design-build contractor and moving forward to construction.  Stakeholders that signed the MOA and contributed to the RFP included: MCDOT, Department of Defense (DoD)/United States Navy, Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Federal Highway Administration and the National Institutes of Health. 

In addition to the Crossing Project, the contracted work will include SHA-designed improvements for traffic and pedestrians at the nearby intersection of Rockville Pike, Jones Bridge Road, Center Drive and Woodmont Avenue. This intersection project has been funded by a separate DoD grant of $4.3 million, and will be built in conjunction with the Crossing Project to avoid duplication of effort and reduce disruption to the community. MCDOT will oversee the construction of both projects under a single contract.  

Leggett Announces Campaign to Urge Residents and Businesses to Clear Their Sidewalks of Ice and Snow After Storms

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett announced an initiative designed to remind all property owners in the County that they are required by law to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. Residents and businesses are urged to clear walks, not just because it’s the law but to do it for schoolkids, older adults, people who depend on transit and for themselves and their families.
The campaign also asks residents to check up on older adults and vulnerable neighbors, especially those who live alone.

Everyone is encouraged to sign up for Alert Montgomery to receive updates on County services and facilities during storms or emergencies. Messages are sent directly to subscribers’ computers and/or mobile devices. Read more.

Highway Services Uses Road Salt Judiciously to Reduce Environmental Impacts

Snowy and icy roads can wreak havoc with the ability to safely get around – whether as pedestrians, bicyclists or motorists. That’s why Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) uses salt, or sodium chloride, to melt snow and ice on roads.

Salt is a highly effective treatment that is essential to ensuring safety and reducing collisions. However, MCDOT is very aware that too much salt can be bad for the environment. That’s why the Division of Highway Services (DHS) makes every effort to do the following:

  • Only uses salt when and where it is needed;
  • Uses as little salt as possible to get the job done;
  • Dilutes salt with water for pretreatment of roads and other uses, reducing salt concentrations; and
  • Never uses salt that is mixed with other chemicals – only pure sodium chloride.

DHS will respond to reports of icy roads that may require salting. Call 311 or report the road online.  If there is a true emergency and the 311 Call Center is not open, contact 911.

State roads in the County are those that are numbered, such as Routes 355 or 117. Numbered roads are maintained by the Maryland State Highway Administration. Contact them online or, in an emergency situation, call the Statewide Operations Center toll free at 1-800-543-2515 or 410-582-5650.

MCDOT Giving Pedestrians More Time to Cross the Road

About 65 percent of the County’s traffic signals have been adjusted to give pedestrians more time to cross the road. Federal guidelines now advise that signals provide enough time for pedestrians to cross at 3.5 feet per second rather than the older standard of 4 feet per second, which required walkers to move more quickly.

Retiming traffic signals is a complex process, requiring study of the impacts, and recalculating and resetting all signal timing and cycle lengths. This careful process ensures that unintended impacts on other roadway portions are minimized.

Report traffic signal issues or outages - Click Here.

Overnight Parking is Allowed in County Garages, But Payment is Still Required

If you leave town and intend to park in one of the County’s parking garages overnight, here are some tips:
  •  Montgomery County allows overnight parking, but is not liable for theft or vandalism that may occur.
  • Make sure you know the hours that require payment. Parking is free on Saturdays, Sundays and official County holidays.
  • Double-check to make sure you park in a long-term parking space. If you park in a short-term space (allowing parking for four hours or less), you may get ticketed.

Two New Flyers Available about Transportation Issues for Seniors

The County’s senior website is a one-stop resource for information on the County’s senior services. A new flyer outlines Transportation Options for Older Adults and is available in multiple languages, including: English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Another new flyer advises older drivers on how to Stay Safe on the Roads.

For additional assistance and information, call the Senior Resource Line at 240-777-3000, Monday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

New Real Time Bus Stop Sign Being Tested at Veirs Mill and Randolph Road

In December, Metro began testing real-time customer information displays at four bus stops, including two in Montgomery County at Veirs Mill and Randolph roads.  Metro expects to install more signs in the coming year.

The signs use GPS technology to show bus riders remaining how many minutes remain until their bus arrives. The signs also have the capability to show emergency messages, detour information and travel tips. Read more.

Designated Driver Company Offers $20 Towards a Ride in Montgomery County

According to Bethesda Beat, the country’s largest designated driver service has teamed up with Montgomery County’s Department of Liquor Control to place cards at County liquor stores that are worth $20 towards a ride from a designated driver. Read more.

Three Trip Planning Tools Make it Easier to Find Alternative Transportation Options Throughout the Region

According to Arlington Transportation Partners, three trip planning tools, CarFreeAtoZ, CityMapper and the WMATA Trip Planner, make it easier to find to travel alternatives. Learn more. 

Bethesda Hailed as Ahead of the Curve on Smart Growth

In a recent article in Grist, Bethesda was hailed as ahead of the curve on smart growth strategies and Montgomery County was lauded for creating walkable urbanism at many of its transit hubs.
Read more.

NIH Entrance Temporarily Closed

NIH Campus Map

On January 4, the North Drive entrance from Rockville Pike onto the National Institutes of Health campus closed to allow replacement of a bridge with badly damaged support beams. The work is expected to be completed by October.