Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WINTER GUIDE 2016 - January 20, 2016

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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 amissed street or report a damaged mailbox online or for other snow related issues visit 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 20, 2016


Who to Call

Call 311 (or 240-777-0311 if outside the County) 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
BG&E: 1-800-685-0123
PEPCO: 1-877-737-2662

Downed Wires and Trees “Hot” or sparking wires911
Downed trees: 311
Police Emergency: 911
Police Non-Emergency:
Montgomery County Public Schools: 301-309-6277 (MCPS); Spanish Hotline:

Call 311
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(are numbered road in the County): Statewide Operations Center call 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.


Good Neighbors Clear Their Sidewalks of Ice and Snow

County residents are required by law to clear sidewalks in front of and alongside their properties within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. But, don't just do it because it's the law:
  • Do it for schoolkids
  • Do it for adults
  • Do it for folks who depend on transit
  • Do it for yourself and your family
Be a good neighbor. Learn more.


Montgomery County offers Cold Weather Information for People and Animals

When it's cold, protect yourself, your family and your pets byfollowing these cold weather tips.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

MCDOT Installs “Bikefixtations” along Bethesda Trolley Trail

MCDOT’s Division of Transportation Engineering has installed two bicycle repair stations along the Bethesda Trolley Trail that they are calling “bikefixations.” The stations come complete with everything needed for basic bicycle maintenance and repairs, such as changing a flat tire or adjusting brakes, and include tools and an air pump. 

One station was installed at the intersection of the Trail with Edson Lane and Woodglen Drive and the other at Beech Avenue and Montgomery Drive.

MCDOT hopes to install more stations in the future.

Ride On, Transit-Related Service Schedule Changes on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 18

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 18:

  • Montgomery County Government is Closed.
  • Ride On will operate on a modified holiday schedule
  • Silver Spring and Friendship Heights TRiPS Commuter Stores will be closed.
  • Metrorail will operate from 5 a.m. to midnight on a Saturday schedule. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day with free parking at all Metro-operated facilities.
  • Metrobus will operate on its Saturday supplemental schedule.
  • MetroAccess will operate normal hours with subscription trips cancelled unless specifically requested.
Additional information about WMATA's services is available online.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Roshdieh Joins High School Artists in Unveiling “Knee Wall” Mosaics at County Bus Stops

As other student artists look on, Joanna Vigil-Coello talks about her knee wall mosaic "Furry Ball at an event with
MCDOT Acting Director, Al Roshdieh (far right)
On January 12, Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Acting Director Al Roshdieh joined Arts on the Block Director Jan Goldstein and student artists from Rockville, Wheaton, and Richard Montgomery high schools in unveiling one of 20 mosaic designs installed on the “knee walls” of County bus stops – located at Hungerford Drive and Jefferson Avenue in Rockville. Read more.

This Knee wall mosaic is called Furry Ball and provides seating for those waiting for the bus.

Each Knee wall features a plaque with the student's name and title of their artwork.

MCDOT Wins Five NACo Awards

On January 7, Montgomery County held its 2015 National Association of Counties (NACo) Awards Recognition Ceremony, with Montgomery County winning 30 of the 36 awards presented to the state of Maryland. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) won five of those awards for the following initiatives
  • Invitation for Bids (IFBs) Generator Application: The Division of Transportation Engineering developed an automated process for issuing IFBs that reduced development time by 75 percent and saved $43,000 a year. Award winners were Mark Aebig, Girum Awoke, Joe Brannum, Marcelo Cortez and Bruce Johnston.
  • Improving Pedestrian Safety in Parking Lots: An education campaign effectively reduced pedestrian/vehicle parking lot collisions, which had in increased from 2010 to 2012 and in 2012, comprised 30 percent of all pedestrian collisions.  The award winner was Esther Bowring. Learn more.
  • Ride On Real Time: The Division of Transit Services developed a system to provide real time bus arrival information that is available through smartphone applications, texts and email. Award winners were Howard Benn, Stacy Colettta, Jen Davis, Darlene Flynn, Jin Gu, Will Kenlaw, Bev Lemasters, Sirisha Sathyamurthy, Ken Sloate, Bobby Timberlake and John Van Eck. Learn more.
  • Social Solutions of Public Works: The Division of Highway Services is providing up-to-the-minute information on storm response, emergency operations and projects using social media. Winners were R. Keith Compton, Josh Faust, Geoff Howard and Tim Serrano. Follow Highway Services on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • Traffic Signal System Modernization: The Division of Traffic Engineering and Operations updated the County’s aging computerized traffic signal system with new capabilities and more centralized control. The system optimizes traffic flow for vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit. Winners were Bill Corder, Rob Duvall, Mike Enamorado, Julio Garcia, Sheila Ingram, Kerry Jones, Lee Kennedy, Michael Kinney, David Klein, Chris Leight, John Lottes, Rolbert Lozanider, Scott Myers, Carlos Paniagua, Elizabeth Parrish, Bob Ricketts, John Riehl, Joe St. Laurent, James Sevenson, Greg Stillman, Greg Whitener, Greg Windham, Bob Young and Steve Young.
  • YOLO (You Only Live Once) High School Pedestrian Safety Education Program: The Division of Traffic Engineering and Operations created an education and outreach program that targeted teens with an innovative program to raise their awareness of risky behaviors such as distracted walking. Teens ages 15 to 19 make up 51 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in the 10 to 29 age group. Awardees were Alex Cohen, Joana Conklin, Nadji Kirby, Charles Webre and Kenna Williams. Learn more.

County Offers Multi-Language Information and Referral Services for Seniors and Caregivers that Includes Transportation Options

The Aging & Disability Resource Unit (ADRU), part of the Department of Health and Human Services, provides personalized assistance, referrals to services and specific information to seniors, individuals with disabilities and caregivers by telephone and in-person.  Staff can help callers identify both County and community-based resources.  The Connect-A-Ride program provides information and referral for older adults and adults with disabilities about transportation options; including public, private and volunteer transportation services.  In addition, the program assists callers with applications for programs such as the Escorted Transportation Program, Call-n-Ride and Metro Access.  Language interpretation is available for both services. Read more. 

Ride On Service Change Began Sunday, January 10

Ride On has made schedule changes to 15 bus routes. Most of the changes modify the bus schedule to more accurately reflect the time it takes for a bus to run its route based on traffic and other conditions. See the new schedules online: 3891423323438424547538397 and 98Read more.

More information about Ride On is available online, by signing up for email alerts or following Ride On on Facebook and Twitter.

New Bikeshare Station Installed in the Chevy Chase Lake Neighborhood

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) added the 52nd Bikeshare station to its network at Connecticut Avenue and Chevy Chase Lake Drive. The station is located along the well-used Capital Crescent Trail and provides a link between Capital Bikeshare to the east in Silver Spring and to the west in Bethesda. This area is undergoing redevelopment and will eventually feature a Purple Line stop.

The 15-dock, eight-bike station, bikes, installation and site preparation costs were funded by the Chevy Chase Land Company (CCLC). CCLC previously funded two Bikeshare stations, one at 2 Bethesda Metro, and one at the Friendship Heights Metro Station.  Their contributions provided the match required by the State grant to fund the launch of Bikeshare in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County’s Capital Bikeshare program was launched in September 2013 in Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Rockville, Shady Grove and the Life Sciences Center area. Bikeshare ridership helps reduce the number of people driving alone, improves air quality and maximizes the County’s investment in transit infrastructure like Metrorail and RideOn.

More information about Bikeshare is available online.

New Ride On Bus System Maps Now Available


Ride On has published an updated system map that is available online or as a paper map. The map is another tool to help residents and visitors plan their travel using transit. In addition to Ride On’s 78 routes, the map shows other transportation options including Metrobus, Metrorail, MARC Commuter Rail, MTA Commuter Bus, local shuttles, Amtrak and Greyhound. Read more.

More information about Ride On is available online, sign up for email alerts or follow Ride On on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

MCDOT Bikeways Program Has New Website

 MCDOT’s Division of Transportation Engineering Bikeways Program has a new online look. Check out the updated website to learn more about the program, check out bikeways using the interactive map, find out more about ongoing projects or note the next Bicycle Action Group meeting.  Read more.

Transit Benefit Raised to $255 a Month in 2016

 Better Ways to Work!

An end of 2015 tax deal passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the president includes a provision that raises the maximum tax-exempt transit and vanpool benefit employers can provide to equal the maximum allowed for parking benefits. The monthly maximum on transit, vanpool, and parking benefits increased to $255 a month on January 1, 2016. Read more.

 SmartBenefits Program

Public Hearing on Abandonment of Small Portion of Brink Road Right-of-Way Scheduled for January 27

MCDOT is proposing to abandon for public use a small portion of the right-of-way, comprised of 1,831 square feet, at the intersection of Brink Road and Frederick Road (MD 355) in Clarksburg as part of an intersection improvement project that will realign Brink Road to improve sight lines and traffic safety.

Residents can provide comments on this change at a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, January 27, at 7 p.m., Executive Office Building, Lobby Auditorium, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville.

Comments will also be accepted by letter, fax, or email:

Michael Cassedy
Department of Transportation
100 Edison Park Drive, 4th floor
Gaithersburg MD 20878
Phone: 240-777-7254
Fax: 240-777-7259

Three More Opportunities Remain to Provide Feedback on FY17 Operating Budget Priorities

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will hold three more budget forums in January to seek input from residents about Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) operating budget priorities. Two have already been held at the Eastern Montgomery and Bethesda-Chevy Case regional services centers.

The forums all begin at 7 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, January 20, Silver Spring Regional Services Center, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring.
  • Thursday, January 21, Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Road, Silver Spring
  • Monday, January 25, Black Rock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown.

Senior Connection Holds Monthly New Volunteer Training in 2016

Senior Connection volunteers provide a variety of services so that Montgomery County seniors can remain independent and stay in their own homes. Volunteers drive senior clients to medical and other appointments, help with grocery shopping and assist with monthly bill paying. Volunteers can schedule their service to suit their own schedules. Volunteers receive liability coverage.  New volunteer training is offered every month. 

In January, trainings are scheduled for Wednesday, January 13 at 10 a.m. and Wednesday, January 20 at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Park Senior Center located at 3950 Ferrara Drive in Silver Spring. 

Get more information and RSVP online or by calling 301-942-1049.

For more information about services or to volunteer, go to or call 301-962-0820.