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by Aaron Kraut — November 21, 2014 at 9:25 am 249 1 Comment

State Highway Administration (file photo)As part of a broader improvement project for Connecticut Avenue, the State Highway Administration is set to temporarily close one ramp connecting to the Beltway on Monday, Dec. 1.

Weather permitting, crews will close the ramp from the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway to northbound Connecticut Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 1. Crews are resurfacing the roadway and putting in new traffic signals on the busy northbound and southbound ramps from the Beltway to Connecticut Avenue.

It’s part of an overall $3.7 million safety and resurfacing project for Connecticut Avenue from Dupont Avenue in Kensington to the Beltway in Chevy Chase. Almost 65,000 drivers use the section of Connecticut Avenue each day.

Work began on the project this summer and the SHA says all phases should be complete by fall 2015.


by Aaron Kraut — November 13, 2014 at 9:00 am 466 5 Comments

Pearl Street will reopen next week, weather permitting

The road that was mostly shut down for more than a year is set to reopen as construction comes to a close on a downtown Bethesda office building.

Pearl Street, which connects the one-way couplet of Montgomery Avenue and East-West Highway, was open only to one southbound lane of traffic since March 2013.

Clark Construction got permission to close much of the road and its sidewalks as it built 4500 East West, the 220,000-square-foot Class A office building on the former site of a McDonald’s.

Pearl Street, which connects westbound East-West Highway with eastbound Montgomery Avenue, will be down to just one southbound lane while construction on the 4500 East-West office building continues (file photo)According to Regional Services Center Director Ken Hartman, Clark will reopen both lanes of Pearl Street on Friday, Nov. 21, weather permitting.

Clark Construction superintendent Steven Leary has also told the county that the portion of Pearl Street sidewalk starting at East-West Highway should be completed on Monday. The portion of sidewalk starting at Montgomery Avenue should be completed and reopened on Wednesday.

Pearl Street will get two applications of asphalt and lane-striping before reopening to vehicle traffic a few days later.

by Aaron Kraut — November 10, 2014 at 10:33 am 0

Rosemary Street and Connecticut Avenue, via TrafficLand.com Rosemary Street and Connecticut Avenue, via TrafficLand.com

Drivers on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase faced some temporary delays Monday morning because of downed wires in the middle of the roadway.

MCFRS crews are on the scene at Connecticut Avenue and Rosemary Street (a block north of Bradley Lane) where the wires were blocking the northbound lanes and meant the traffic signal at the intersection is out.

All lanes are now open.

Most northbound traffic was being diverted onto Rosemary Street toward Brookville Road.

Photos via TrafficLand.com

by Aaron Kraut — November 7, 2014 at 11:37 am 738 15 Comments

Bicyclists and driver talk to a police officer over who's at fault in Woodmont Avenue collision

Updated at 12:00 p.m. A collision between a bicyclist and driver on Woodmont Avenue resulted in no injuries, but a dispute about who was at fault.

The collision happened just after 11:30 a.m. along Woodmont Avenue just south of Old Georgetown Road and the Freshbikes Cycling store at the intersection.

Two bicyclists who witnessed the collision said the driver was backing into a parallel parking spot on the road when she clipped the wheel of the bicyclist involved.

The police officer responding to the incident apparently didn’t see it quite the same way. The bicyclist involved in the collision said the officer told her she was at fault. Part of the driver’s side front bumper of the car was detached as a result of the incident.

by Aaron Kraut — November 7, 2014 at 11:05 am 547 4 Comments

The much talked about stretch of Old Georgetown Road as it heads toward Rockville Pike near the Pike & Rose development

Updated 12:10 p.m. Community and developer efforts for a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly Old Georgetown Road in White Flint appear close to getting some results.

Dee Metz, Montgomery County’s White Flint coordinator, said in a Planning Department update email that the county’s Department of Transportation and the State Highway Administration “have begun discussions of a possible road transfer” that would make the section of Old Georgetown Road between Hoya Street and Rockville Pike a county road.

That county control would conceivably give it “greater flexibility in narrowing that segment of the roadway,” Metz wrote in the Planning Department update.

The Friends of White Flint group, Pike & Rose developer Federal Realty, neighborhood representatives and smart growth advocates have been pushing for a more narrow Old Georgetown Road in that section that would include bicycle lanes.

After Friends of White Flint Executive Director Lindsay Hoffman criticized the county’s ongoing design process for the section of Old Georgetown Road between Hoya Street/Executive Bouelvard and Grand Park Avenue, county officials said the criticism was unfair — in part because the State Highway Administration has final say on any road design.


by Aaron Kraut — November 4, 2014 at 8:40 am 448 1 Comment

WSSC crews are on the scene of a small water main break that could block off part of Bethesda Avenue on Tuesday.

The break in a 12-inch pipe has water trickling out of the roadway in the eastbound lane of Bethesda Avenue near its intersection with Woodmont Avenue.

A WSSC supervisor arrived at the scene around 8:15 a.m. As of 8:30 a.m., the roadway wasn’t closed, but expect that to change as crews dig to find the pipe break.

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm 645 0

Collision at Rockville Pike and Grosvenor Lane, Photo via @lisaluckysevens


Updated at 3:15 p.m. All lanes of Rockville Pike at Grosvenor Lane have been reopened after a car overturned in a Friday afternoon collision.

MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer said first responders extricated two victims trapped in the overturned vehicle. The accident happened around 1:45 p.m.

According to a witness, the accident happened when a truck ran a red light and hit a work van that had a piece of glass attached to it.

Photo via @lisaluckysevens

by Aaron Kraut — October 29, 2014 at 11:10 am 220 0

Small fire on roof at Pike & Rose construction site, via Pete Piringer

Firefighters are responding to a fire on the roof of one of the buildings under construction at the Pike & Rose project in North Bethesda/White Flint.

Smoke was visible from the top of the building, near the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Executive Boulevard at about 11:05 a.m.

Workers told MCFRS personnel on the scene they were working with asphalt on the roof and the fire was put out.

Two lanes of southbound Old Georgetown Road near its intersection with Executive Boulevard have been closed to allow for fire department staging.

Photo via Pete Piringer

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm 470 9 Comments

Closed northbound lane of Hillandale Road in Bethesda

(Updated Friday at 1:20 p.m.) Repairs of the partially collapsed storm drain that led to the closure of a Bethesda road last week will keep one lane of the road closed for up to six months.

According to the Montgomery County Transportation Department’s Division of Highway Services, a storm drain culvert under Hillandale Road roadway was found to be degraded last Thursday. That led to the county closing the northbound lane of Hillandale Road between Little Falls Parkway and Willet Parkway.

On Friday, MCDOT said crews will be replacing the pipe that carries part of the Willett Branch creek under the road.

The closure cuts off access to the Bethesda Swimming Pool (6300 Little Falls Parkway) and Willet Parkway from the south. Detour signage has been set up to direct drivers to northbound Arlington Road, eastbound Bradley Boulevard and then southbound Hillandale Road.

For more information contact MCDOT’s Jeff Knutsen (jeff[dot]knutsen[at]montgomerycountymd[dot]gov) or Josh Faust at 240-777-7642.

by Aaron Kraut — October 17, 2014 at 11:20 am 164 0

Closed northbound lane of Hillandale Road in Bethesda

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has shut down one lane of Hillandale Road after part of the roadway buckled.

According to the Department’s Division of Highway Services, a storm drain culvert under the roadway was found to be degraded.

That led to an emergency pavement repair on Thursday. On Friday morning, the northbound lane of Hillandale Road starting at Little Falls Parkway was still closed.

A Montgomery County official was on site inspecting the damage.

The closure cuts off access to the Bethesda Swimming Pool (6300 Little Falls Parkway) and Willet Parkway from the south. Detour signage has been set up to direct drivers to northbound Arlington Road, eastbound Bradley Boulevard and then southbound Hillandale Road.

by Aaron Kraut — October 15, 2014 at 6:20 am 242 0

A jack-knifed tractor trailer and fuel spill closed all lanes of the Beltway inner loop before the Old Georgetown Road exit.

The accident happened near the Bradley Boulevard overpass before 5 a.m.

The emergency response include a hazmat team to deal with fuel leaking from the truck.

All lanes of the inner loop remained closed at 6:20 a.m. The tractor trailer was being hauled away shortly before 6:30 a.m.

by Aaron Kraut — October 14, 2014 at 2:35 pm 1,247 12 Comments

New traffic signals at Arlington Road and the Bradley Shopping Center entrance

It won’t be long before those who frequent Arlington Road will have a new set of traffic signals to look out for.

As part of the apartment project at the former site of the Arlington Road post office, Montgomery County has installed a set of new traffic lights and crosswalk signals at Arlington Road and the north entrance to the Bradley Shopping Center.

The five-floor, 140-unit apartment from Philadelphia-based developer Keating appears close to completion. Operational traffic signals are required before occupancy permits can be issued.

New crosswalk signals at Arlington Road and the Bradley Shopping Center entranceThe new traffic lights are set up at the south side of the apartment project, where there will be a drop-off area and where drivers will be leaving an underground parking garage.

That 211-space garage will accommodate 44 fewer peak-hour trips during weekday mornings and 19 fewer peak-hour trips during the evening rush hour than the Post Office generated, according to County Planning staff.

The apartment’s ground floor retail space will be leased by Ourisman Volkswagen of Bethesda — which is moving its showroom from Tenleytown to the 7,000-square foot space.

by Aaron Kraut — October 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm 239 0

A MCPS bus outfitted with one of five new school bus cameras to catch drivers who pass stopped buses (file photo)There are 35 MCPS school buses outfitted with cameras to catch drivers who illegally pass when the bus is stopped, enough to net Montgomery County $78,250 in fines since the program started in January.

The Montgomery County Police Department, which reviews all camera citations, will give the Council’s Public Safety Committee an update on the program on Monday.

There have been 733 citations issued for vehicles caught on camera illegally passing buses with stop arms extended at bus stops. Of those, 607 of the $125 fines have been paid. Sixteen cases have been scheduled for court.

The county began the program in January with 25 buses outfitted with the cameras. The original plan was to outfit an additional 75 buses with cameras to allow the cameras to be moved along high-priority routes as needed. Police have outfitted an additional 10 buses with cameras and apparently have no immediate plans to wire up more.

Councilmembers will likely ask police officials whether they intend to install the remainder of the planned cameras. They may also ask for data that shows where the most violations are happening and if there are any other trends in terms of routes or road types.

In just the program’s first three months, the cameras resulted in 272 citations. In April, police projected that about 100 citations would be issued per month during the 2014-2015 school year. That would mean 1,000 total citations over a 10-month school calendar. Assuming a 90 percent collection rate, that would net the county about $112,500 in revenue.

The county is paying $250,000 annually for its three-year contract with the vendor for the program.

by Aaron Kraut — October 7, 2014 at 10:15 am 215 1 Comment

The four BRT corridors under study, via MCDOT

Montgomery County is looking for about 40 residents and business owners to help it plan a rapid transit system along Rockville Pike and Wisconsin Avenue.

The county on Monday announced the creation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor Advisory Committees (CACs) for four major corridors projected to be among the first where the countywide BRT system is implemented.

The 355 South Corridor would run along 9.3 miles of Rockville Pike/Wisconsin Avenue with 14 stations from Rockville to the Bethesda Metro station. Thanks to $10 million in funding from the state, Montgomery County is conducting planning studies with the State Highway Administration to get some idea of what BRT along the corridor would look like.

The County Council approved a master plan last year that set up the framework for a 10-corridor, 80-mile BRT network.

Sensing the controversy that permeated the master plan process, the Council required the county’s Department of Transportation to set up the CACs on a route-by-route basis.

The 355 South Corridor was originally proposed to extend all the way to the Friendship Heights Metro station and D.C./Maryland line in Chevy Chase. But the Council agreed to cut off the planned corridor at the Bethesda Metro station, unless the District of Columbia begins studying its own BRT system that could be connected along Wisconsin Avenue.

The CACs will have about 40 members, MCDOT’s Joana Conklin said on Monday. About 30 of those members will be residents who live within 500 feet of Rockville Pike/Wisconsin Avenue, representatives of civic associations adjacent to the corridor or business representatives nominated by the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce.

Another 10 members will be at-large and selected by MCDOT. Conklin said preference will be given to those who use transit and who live close to the road.

Nomination forms are here.


by Aaron Kraut — October 3, 2014 at 10:00 am 658 23 Comments

Woodmont Avenue at Montgomery Lane could be home to a cycle track

County officials are considering a two-way buffered cycle track along Woodmont Avenue in downtown Bethesda, what would be the county’s second use of the concept meant to provide more protection than traditional bicycle lanes.

MCDOT Chief of Traffic Engineering Emil Wolanin on Thursday told two Council committees the department has developed a concept plan for the cycle track and could install it next year.

The cycle track would stretch from the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue south toward Bethesda Row. Wolanin said engineers have determined they can take out the existing lane of curbside meter parking and put in the cycle track without much effect on vehicle congestion levels.

MCDOT first looked at providing marked bicycle lanes on each side of Arlington Road, a piece of infrastructure long sought by advocates to effectively connect the north and south sections of downtown Bethesda.

But Wolanin said the Arlington Road concept — which would’ve meant making the four-lane road into one lane each way with a center turn lane — would’ve made intersections along the section even more congested for vehicles.

“The delays and the queues that would have resulted there just didn’t make this a feasible alternative,” Wolanin said.



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