Friday, May 29, 2015

MCDOT Acting Director Al Roshdieh Makes Organizational Changes to Place Greater Emphasis on Priorities


      Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Acting Director Al Roshdieh announced organizational changes designed to focus greater attention on alternative transportation choices and streamline the development approval process. The changes will also allow the Division of Transit Services to better focus on its core mission of providing Ride On bus service.
  “By making a few, small, organizational changes, MCDOT can have a big impact on streamlining the development review process and enhancing our focus on options to single passenger vehicles,” said Roshdieh. “Through the moves I am making, the Director’s Office will be more involved in these priority issues.”

            The changes, effective today, will move:
  • The Development Review Team from the Division of Traffic Engineering &Operations to the Office of Transportation Policy in the Director’s Office to streamline the development approval process and give it a higher departmental profile. This group will be relocated to the Executive Office Building in Rockville.
  • The Commuter Services Section from the Division of Transit Services to the Office of Transportation Policy in the Director’s Office to enhance its coordination with other divisions and our customers on transportation demand management; and
  • The Taxi Cab Unit from the Customer and Operations Support Section of the Division of Transit Services to the Director’s Office so this staff have direct access to the Director for policy development.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has made promoting economic development one of the highest priorities of his administration.  According to Roshdieh, moving the Development Review Team to the Office of Transportation Policy will bring a new emphasis and greater accountability to MCDOT’s role in thorough and expedited reviews that could help speed the creation of new jobs. Greater focus by the Director’s Office on Commuter Services will also enhance economic development as it promotes alternatives that reduce traffic congestion, decrease parking demand and improve air quality and mobility.

“I believe these changes are important ones that will greatly improve the efficiency of our operations and enhance MCDOT’s service to the public,” said Roshdieh.  

MCDOT Accepting Nominations for Landscaping and Photography Competitions

Due by June 22, 2015
Due by July 20, 2015
Landscape Contest Photography Contest

Nominations are being accepted for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) annual Keep MontgomeryCounty Beautiful (KMCB) Landscaping and Photography competitions.

The 29th Annual Landscape Contest 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 in Montgomery County. Landscaping along County roadsides, medians, or other public locations is also eligible for the award. Applications are available online and nominations are due by June 22.

For the 24th Annual Amateur PhotographyContest, photos of County locations or residents are judged on effective composition, originality, interest and relevance of the subject matter, and technique. Categories include Montgomery County by day or by night, County landmarks, people, and persons at work. There is also an optional youth category for aspiring photographers age 18 and younger who wish to be judged only against their peers. Applications due by June 30.

MCDOT’s Community Outreach website has photos of last year’s winning entries for both contests and the landscaping and photography contest applications, which explain the guidelines and judging criteria.

For more information, contact Community Outreach at 240-777-7155 or to request a nomination form either by mail or electronically. 

Roshdieh and Representatives from other Regional Jurisdictions Accept Award for Capital Bikeshare Program from National Building Museum

Capital Bikeshare was recognized by the National Building Museum as a game changer for its commitment to the ongoing vitality and adaptation of cities. Representatives from the regional jurisdictions with Bikeshare systems, including Montgomery County Department of Transportation Acting Director Al Roshdieh (third from left) received the award at a ceremony held on May 27, 2015. Read more.

Roshdieh and Biggins Attend Bike to Work Day Rockville Pit Stop

Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Acting Director Al Roshdieh and Transit Services Division Chief Carolyn Biggins visited the Rockville Town Center pit stop on Bike to Work Day, May 15, using Bikeshare bicycles. Roshdieh demonstrated how to load a bike onto a Ride On bus rack, which accommodates two bikes. To promote combining bus and bike travel. MCDOT offered bicyclists free rides on Ride On for Bike to Work Day.

Donnybrook Residents Invited to Celebrate Stream Restoration Resulting from Collaboration Between DEP and MCDOT

Residents of the Donnybrook neighborhood of Chevy Chase joined the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Saturday, May 30 to celebrate the restoration of the Donnybrook stream. Community members learned more about the project that involved the use of natural channel design principles, stream forest buffers, stormwater management facilities and the planting of more than 560 native trees and shrubs. The project required coordination with local residents and collaboration with MCDOT to replace a pedestrian bridge widely used by the community. 

Participants learned the design and construction of the project, view educational displays, and take a tour of stream restoration techniques and green street stormwater management practices. Representatives from DEP, the County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and Rock Creek Conservancy participated in the event and explained what residents can do to help improve their local waterways.

The restoration project occurred along approximately 2,000 linear feet of the stream. It involved the use of natural channel design principles, stream forest buffers, stormwater management facilities and the planting of more than 560 native trees and shrubs. The project required coordination with local residents and collaboration with MCDOT to replace a pedestrian bridge widely used by the community.

DEP contact: Don Dorsey, or 240-777-7712. 

A map of the walking path for the Donnybrook Stream walk
A map of the stream walk, with key stopping points and times.

County Executive Announces Reconvening of Transit Task Force

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett announced today that he has reconvened the County’s Transit Task Force.

In a letter to Task Force Chair Mark Winston, Leggett asked the Task Force to make recommendations relating to how to “… establish a plan for the implementation of as much of the [high quality bus rapid transit] network as is financially and organizationally feasible.”

Leggett has asked that the Task Force use as the starting point for its deliberations the proposal he made last year for State enabling legislation authorizing the County to adopt certain financing measures and form a transit agency to allow development and operation of the transit network.

“Setting up the transportation system for Montgomery’s future is not easy, but is critically important,” said Leggett. “A Bus Rapid Transit system will give County residents more transportation options, help the environment and is absolutely necessary to foster the creation of 100,000 new jobs in the County over the next decade. That means more good jobs and a bigger tax base.”

The Task Force held the first session of this round of meeting on Wednesday, April 22nd.

The Task Force and Working Groups on organizational and financial matters will be meeting weekly between now and September 30th, the date on which Leggett has asked the Task Force to report its findings and recommendations to him and the County Council.

All Task Force meetings are open to the public. Information on the meetings and the Transit Task Force are available at

The Task Force will hold a County-wide public forum on the evening of June 17 with the location to be announced.

The Task Force held its initial round of meetings during 2011 and 2012, at which time the Task Force recommended the development of a network of high quality bus rapid transit corridors (now sometimes referred to as the “RTS network”), to serve the County and neighboring jurisdictions. The County Council adopted a Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan in December 2013.

Raising Public Awareness about Avoiding Pedestrian Collisions in Parking Lots

In a continuing effort to reduce pedestrian collisions in Montgomery County parking lots, teams of staff and volunteers will be at parking lots across the County this summer to educate people about ways to improve safety. This is part of a broader education campaign to educate drivers and pedestrians about reducing pedestrian collisions in parking lots. About one in four pedestrian collisions in Montgomery County occurs in parking lots and can result in debilitating injuries. 

The goal of this public education campaign is to change attitudes and behaviors in parking lots.

If you’d like to help spread the word about improving parking lot pedestrian safety via social media or through civic, school, religious or neighborhood organizations to which you belong, please to see our resources on reducing pedestrian collisions in parking lots. And, if you’re interested in volunteering to help distribute information in parking lots this summer, please contact Lorraine Driscoll in the Public Information Office.

SHA to Resume Resurfacing Work and Other Improvements on Maryland Routes 28 and 355 in Rockville

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is resuming work in Rockville on a $ 2.1 million safety and resurfacing project on MD 28 (East Jefferson Street/Veirs Mill Road) between Monroe Street and MD 911 (First Street) and on MD 355 (Rockville Pike) between MD 28 and MD 911. Weather permitting; the project should be completed by the end of the year.

In addition to resurfacing nearly a half mile of roadway, the project will:
  • Upgrade the traffic signal at the MD 355/Dodge Street intersection with more energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) signals;
  • Replace and repair sidewalks and driveways to comply with the Americans With Disabilies Act (ADA);
  • Install new concrete curbs; and
  • Clean and repair roadway drainage inlets.
To complete the work, crews may temporarily close traffic lanes in both directions on MD 28 and MD 355. Motorists should expect single-lane closures on both roads Sundays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. MD 28 may be closed overnight from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and two lanes may be closed on MD 355 during the same overnight hours.

SHA urges motorists to drive carefully through the work zones. In 2014, nine people lost their lives in Maryland work zone crashes, including four highway workers.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ride On Food Drive Collects Nearly 8,800 Pounds of Food During Give and Ride Week

Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system collected 8,767 pounds of food this year during its annual “Give and Ride” food drive that took place the week of April 19. Bus passengers received free rides by donating canned or nonperishable food for Montgomery County school students.
Read more.



MCDOT Community Meeting Planned on Nebel Street Bike Lane Options

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) invites the public to attend a community meeting where staff will present proposed design options for bike facilities along Nebel Street, between Randolph and Marinelli roads, that include on-road buffered bike lanes and separated bike lanes. Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed options.

The meeting will be held on Monday, May 18, from 7 to 8:30 pm. at the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center,5900 Executive Blvd, Rockville.

MCDOT Requests White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee Support for Bikeshare Grant; Group Will Consider Request at Next Meeting

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is preparing a grant request to expand its Bikeshare program to the Pike District and has asked the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee for a letter of support. The Committee will consider the request at its next meeting on Tuesday, May 12, 8-9:15 a.m., at the Bethesda North Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd, North Bethesda, in the Cabin John Room.

Friendship Heights Asks MCDOT to Install New Parking Meters

In response to a request from the Village of Friendship Heights, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) started installation of parking meters this week along Wisconsin Avenue, northbound from Willard Avenue to Somerset Terrace, and Friendship Boulevard, southbound (GEICO side) from Willard to Western Avenue . The Village asked for the meters to discourage long-term parking, encourage more turnover in parking spaces and improve parking availability for shoppers.  Read more.

SHA Begins Construction of New Traffic Signal in Bethesda

In May, the State Highway Administration’s (SHA) begins construction of a traffic signal in Bethesda at the intersection of MD 355 (Wisconsin Avenue) and Stanford Avenue. Weather permitting, SHA expects to complete the project in late summer.  Read more.

SHA Temporarily Closes Sidewalk at Cedar Lane and Rte. 355

 The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has closed the sidewalk on the north side of Cedar Lane between Rockville Pike and Elmhirst Parkway for two weeks while it installs new storm drains along Cedar Lane just east of Rockville Pike. The sidewalk on the south side of Cedar Lane will remain open to pedestrians.  Read more.

Leggett Seeks Applicants for Rustic Roads Advisory Committee: Apply by May 20

County Executive Isiah Leggett is seeking applicants to fill one vacancy on the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee. The representative must be a resident of Montgomery County and an owner/operator of commercial farmland in the County who earns 50 percent or more of their income from farming.  Read more.

"Ride Smart" Travel Training Program for Seniors Provides Instruction on Using Public Transportation and Taking Advantage of Free and Discounted Travel Options

The Jewish Council for the Aging (JCA), 12320 Parklawn Drive, is offering a free training program for seniors on May 20 and 21 to help them use public transportation more effectively. Seniors will learn about free and discounted travel options, how to navigate Ride On, Metrorail and Metrobus and using JCA's Connect a Ride program.  Read more.

Road Patching and Resurfacing Projects Underway

During May, MCDOT will resurface roads in the Carroll Knolls neighborhood in Silver Spring; permanently patch Woodfield School Road in Gaithersburg; and resurface four roads in Germantown and Clarksburg. Read more.

Celebrate Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 15

To celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 15, the Montgomery  County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will provide free rides on Ride On to those with bikes. Bike riders are encouraged to combine biking and Ride On to ease their commutes, not only on Friday, but every day. Each Ride On bus has a bike rack that holds two bicycles.  

MCDOT Acting Director Al Roshdieh and Transit Services Division Chief Carolyn Biggins will attend the Rockville Town Center Bike to Work Day pit stop, 225 North Washington Street, at 7 a.m. They will show how easy it is to load a bike onto a bus bike rack. In addition, the Ride On bus will demonstrate the vehicle's new turn warning system that is enhancing safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Read more.   


Ride On Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Weeklong Special Events; Offers Free Rides to Bicyclists on Bike to Work Day, May 15

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett today kicked off a week of special events in celebration of the Ride On bus system’s 40th anniversary by proclaiming May 11 as Ride On day.

“Ride On has been and continues to be an unqualified success for Montgomery County. Today, it is part of a transit system that links to Metrobus and Metrorail,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “We look forward to the day when Ride On will be part of a comprehensive system that also includes the Purple Line and Rapid Transit System (RTS) lines.”
Also at today’s celebration in Rockville were U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, County Council President George Leventhal, County Councilmembers Sidney Katz and Hans Riemer, Maryland State Delegate Charles Barkley, Acting MCDOT Director Al Roshdieh and Transit Services Chief Carolyn Biggins. Additional attendees included Bill Oliver, an operator with Ride On since the 1970’s; Susanne Brunhart-Wiggins, a Ride On passenger since 1975 and Ed Daniel, the first division chief of Ride On.

“Over the last four decades, Montgomery County’s Ride On bus service has grown to be an integral part of the region’s public transit system, efficiently and safely connecting communities. The longevity of the Ride On system also is proof that environmentally-friendly policies and economic stability are not mutually exclusive,” said Cardin. “While it may be easiest to measure growth in terms of the number of buses, routes or riders, Ride On also brings Montgomery County residents immeasurable benefits whenever drivers give directions, hands-on assistance or even share a smile. It’s that type of service that has carved out a valued place in the community for Ride On.”
Ride On began operations in 1975 with 20 buses in Gaithersburg and Silver Spring. Today, Ride On operates 343 buses and provides award-winning transit service countywide, 365-days-per-year. On a typical weekday, people take 86,000 trips on 78 weekday Ride On routes. More than 75 percent of Ride On buses are hybrid-electric diesel, clean diesel, or run on compressed natural gas, all of which reduce harmful air emissions. This proportion will rise as older buses are replaced with new, more energy-efficient vehicles.
“From its humble beginnings 40 years ago, Ride On has become an integral part of the region’s balanced transportation network, providing 26.5 million trips a year," said Roshdieh. “Further expanding transit and other travel options is critical to relieving traffic congestion. If Ride On was not available to our residents, each year there would be 96.5 million additional vehicle miles of car traffic on our already clogged Montgomery County roads. Ride On is a green and sustainable alternative to single passenger vehicles and our use of alternative fuels significantly reduces air pollution.”
Ride On’s theme for its 40th anniversary is: “We love our riders. Our operators are the best.” At Monday’s event, Biggins displayed the award Ride On received from the Transportation Association of Maryland recognizing Ride On as the Large Transit System of the Year.
“To commemorate this occasion and encourage more people to combine bike trips with Ride On, we are offering a special promotion for Bike to Work Day, which allows those with bikes to ride free on Ride On,” said Biggins. “I could not be prouder of the dedicated men and women of Ride On who serve the public across 495 square miles, driving 15 million miles a year. We are appreciative of the strong community support Ride On has enjoyed these past 40 years and we look forward to operating for many more.”
Bike riders are regularly encouraged to combine biking and Ride On to ease their commutes, not only on Friday. Each Ride On bus has a bike rack that holds two bicycles.
On Friday at 7:00 a.m., Roshdieh and Biggins will show how to load a bike onto a bus bike rack at the Rockville Bike to Work pit stop, located at 225 N. Washington Street, Rockville. In addition, a Ride On bus will be on-site for a demonstration of the new turn warning system that is enhancing safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.
During the week, Ride On staff will hold three Customer Appreciation Days to greet and thank riders by distributing water bottles, tee shirts, reflectors, fans, and transit bags provided by the Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. The events will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on May 12 at the Bethesda Metro Station; May 13 at the Shady Grove Metro Station; and May 14 at the White Oak Transit Center.
Ride On’s most recent service upgrade in January added trips on 19 routes, increased hours of operation on 18 routes, and improved the accuracy of schedule times on 14 routes . Ride On provides customer service training for each bus operator. Ride On buses are 100 percent ADA compliant and a program to upgrade Ride On’s 5,300 bus stops for accessibility and pedestrian safety is regarded as a national model.
Ride On serves those up to age 18 with free rides on weekdays between 2 and 8 p.m. A Ride On monthly pass providing unlimited rides is available for youth for $11 and a special youth summer pass provides unlimited rides from June 1 through August 31 for $18. Seniors 65 and older ride free on weekdays between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
More information about Ride On is available online.