Montgomery County Emergency Management advised motorists to avoid the area.
Photo via TrafficLand.com
Beginning Friday at 7 p.m., SHA’s contractor for the work will begin the final paving for the project at Bradley Boulevard and Strathmore Street in Chevy Chase. Weather permitting, the removal of the top layer of asphalt, resurfacing and painting of new pavement markings should be done by noon on Sunday.
Parking restrictions may be in effect during the work and the SHA wants neighbors to know the work can be loud and disruptive. The resurfacing will mean a single lane closure, possibly in both directions throughout the weekend.
More than 22,000 vehicles use the section of Bradley Boulevard a day, which is also a popular pedestrian crossing spot for those traveling from apartments and condos to downtown Bethesda.
The $425,000 project includes the installation of a flashing signal for pedestrians wishing to cross Bradley Boulevard and the installation of a median.
The SHA contractor for the project is D.C.-based Fort Meyer Construction.
A trip through downtown Bethesda’s core of one-way streets can throw drivers for a loop, especially if you miss your destination and have to go around again.
To a growing group of residents and business owners, the downtown’s system of one-way streets — which includes a rare couplet made up of eastbound-only Montgomery Avenue and westbound-only East-West Highway — is outdated and hurting the area’s retail scene.
With the rewrite of the area’s master plan ongoing, the local Citizens Advisory Board will likely send a letter to County Executive Isiah Leggett and the County Council asking that they study or consider the possibility of making those one-way streets go two-way.
The Board, organized by Montgomery County’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, is made up of residents and business representatives, many who have been active participants in the Bethesda Downtown Plan. They see the Plan, which must be approved by the Planning Board before it’s approved by the County Council, as an opportunity to take on the one-way street issue.
“It seems like we’re at an inflection point with Park and Planning looking at the future downtown Bethesda,” said Citizens Advisory Board Chair Jad Donohoe, who’s also a vice president at the Donohoe Development Company. “I thought it would be useful to get something in their hands that would speak to that one particular issue. They’d have backing from a community group.”
That community backing could come in handy in front of the County Council, but also in front of the State Highway Administration.
The state agency is in charge of some of the sections of one-way road identified in the letter, including Old Georgetown Road (from Commerce Lane to Woodmont Avenue). The SHA is known for its focus on moving cars, which means reluctance to change road patterns, road widths or add traffic signals if the moves risk slowing traffic down.
Ken Hartman, director of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, told the Advisory Board the one-way street network might be one of the reasons why the Bethesda Metro Plaza space has been a failure.
The space, just above the Bethesda Metro station and next to the Hyatt hotel space, was envisioned as the town center of downtown Bethesda in the last county master plan (completed in 1994).
There was an ice skating rink that never gained traction. Attempts at retail space didn’t quite work and now the plaza along one-way Old Georgetown Road serves primarily as a pass-thru for Metro commuters.
Meanwhile, the busiest retail and restaurant sections of Bethesda are a few blocks to either side of the Metro station at Bethesda Row and in Woodmont Triangle.
Hartman also said he often gets complaints from people who say the one-way streets of Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue lead them to miss the county parking garage used for the Regional Services Center — the county government’s hub in downtown Bethesda.
“The one-way streets are a source of increased speed and confusion. Many people who try to reach this facility, if you miss the left turn into this garage you have to go all the way around again,” Hartman said. “For us, and we’re a government office, that’s a problem.”
The letter from the Advisory Board — which will likely be approved by a majority of the group and sent this summer — also asks for consideration of two-way streets along Woodmont Avenue (from Old Georgetown Road to Hampden Lane), Montgomery Lane (from Woodmont Avenue to Wisconsin Avenue), North Lane (from Woodmont Avenue to East Lane) and East Lane (from North Lane to Montgomery Lane).
Photo via Google Maps
MCFRS responded to the scene, at the southbound Old Georgetown Road ramp to the outer loop of the Beltway, at about 4 p.m.
Units are extricating one patient from a vehicle and have transported three additional patients to area hospitals.
Expect heavy delays.
Photo via TrafficLand.com
SHA crews and contractors have completed median work and utility relocations for new traffic signals along the stretch of road from Bradley Lane to Old Georgetown Road. Now the agency and its resurfacing contractor are ready to put down a new layer of smooth pavement.
SHA will take off the top layer of pavement, patch, resurface all traffic lanes and add new pavement markings to the roadway, which could mean the closure of up to two lanes of the three-lane road overnight, between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The project is expected to be complete by late fall, weather permitting.
Additional work to pour and set concrete foundations for new traffic signal poles, sidewalks and ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps could mean the closure of one lane of traffic in both directions on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
SHA began the $2.5 million project last summer. The state says more than 45,000 vehicles use the section of Wisconsin Avenue each day, which has led to deteriorated pavement.
This will happen as gas prices reach an Independence Day price point not seen since the summer of 2008. Today’s national average gas price is about $3.68 per gallon, 20 cents more than the average on July 4, 2013.
Still, AAA Mid-Atlantic projects 1,002,200 people in the Washington metro area will travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend, a 2 percent increase from the roughly 983,000 people who got out of town last year.
Most of those travelers will travel by car (86.7 percent, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.)
Why the uptick?
“Last year, political gridlock in Washington, D.C. had area residents second guessing themselves on whether to take a summer trip for the Independence Day holiday, but this year is a different story,” AAA Mid-Atlantic’s John Townsend said.
That national July 4 holiday travel projection is also about 2 percent more than last year.
For those sticking around Bethesda and Chevy Chase, check out various celebrations and fireworks displays scheduled for nearby.
Flickr photo by thisisbossi
(Update at 6:07 a.m.) A crash involving an overturned vehicle had two lanes of the Beltway outer loop blocked on Thursday morning.
The incident has been moved to the right shoulder and all lanes are now open, according to WTOP Traffic.
The collision happened on the outer loop just before the River Road exit. Two left lanes were blocked.
The incident caused back-ups for about two-and-a-half miles.
Photos via TrafficLand.com
Montgomery County and groups such as Bethesda Transportation Solutions are striving to get commuters out of their cars by promoting other transportation options.
What does that effort look like within a specific company in downtown Bethesda?
The Cadmus Group, a national consulting and management firm with an office at Bethesda’s Garden Plaza building, offers a glimpse. Commuter Connections, a program of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, honored Cadmus with an award on Wednesday for its commuter benefits program.
Cadmus offers employees who use Metro a $160 transit subsidy each month and a $100 yearly bicycle subsidy to those who bike to and from work. The Bethesda office is at 7700 Old Georgetown Rd., just a few blocks away from the Bethesda Metro station.
According to MWCOG, Cadmus offers a shuttle service from the Metro station and offers on-site lockers, shower facilities and bike racks. All employees can telework and take part in a compressed work schedule.
Of the company’s 83 employees split between Bethesda and Arlington, roughly 65 have found alternatives to drive-alone commutes. In the video above, produced by MWCOG, Cadmus CEO Ian Kline says getting employees out of their cars does more than benefit area traffic patterns during rush hour.
“We don’t want stressed out, frustrated employees who have just spent 45 minutes on the Beltway,” Kline said. “We want happy employees who are deeply engaged in our work, who are making choices they feel great about and coming into work ready to do the important work we do every day.”
Kline estimated the company’s alternative commuting subsidies have saved its employees anywhere from 375,000 to 400,000 vehicle miles traveled and almost 20,000 gallons of gas.
Others recognized at the MWCOG event on Wednesday were the USDA Forest Service for its teleworking program and FDA in White Oak for its marketing of alternative commutes.
Almost 9,000 employees are expected to move to FDA’s White Oak campus as part of a recently approved Montgomery County master plan for the area. The federal agency will have two parking spots for every three employees on campus.
Video via MWCOG
The State Highway Administration has established a website to provide updates and a feedback form about its project that will have Cedar Lane closed at Rockville Pike until August.
SHA says the closure of about 1,000 feet of Cedar Lane is necessary primarily because it must rebuild a culvert that allows a small stream to flow under the road. The project will bring two new lanes — a left-turn only and thru lane — to help ease traffic back-ups heading to Naval Support Activity Bethesda and NIH each morning.
The road was closed at midnight on June 6. SHA hopes to finish before or by Friday, Aug. 22, before the MCPS school year begins on Monday, Aug. 25.
Photo via State Highway Administration
(Update at 10:40 p.m.) One lane of northbound Old Georgetown Road is closed at Cordell Avenue Tuesday morning after a two-car collision left one vehicle pinned against a utility pole.
MCFRS units and police are on the scene, where a truck and vehicle collided at the pedestrian crosswalk across Old Georgetown Road. Access to Old Georgetown Road from Cordell Avenue is blocked.
Police are directing traffic. The collision happened at about 10:10 a.m. There don’t appear to be any significant injuries.
The three right lanes on the highway between Montrose Road and Old Georgetown Road are blocked off by the vehicle and a firetruck.
Emergency responders are on the scene.
Photo via TrafficLand.com
The apparent water main break is on River Road, between Willard Avenue and Little Falls Parkway.
According to traffic reports, all lanes of westbound River Road were blocked at about 3:15 p.m.
The State Highway Administration has started circulating these flyers on the Green Mile sidewalk project on Wisconsin Avenue.
Construction is set to start this month and finish in November, weather permitting. More details on the project here.
It’s the first time the renderings have been made publicly available. The crosswalk displayed in the rendering will go in at Chevy Chase Boulevard and Wisconsin Avenue and include a pedestrian push button. When a pedestrian pushes the button, flashing yellow lights will be activated to alert northbound and southbound drivers of a crossing pedestrian.
Renderings via State Highway Administration
Just past midnight Thursday, the State Highway Administration will shut down a 1,000 foot section of Cedar Lane at Rockville Pike.
Besides the detour route for Bethesda commuters, the summer closure will also mean changes for Ride On Route 34, which travels between the Wheaton and Medical Center Metro stations:
Route 34 between the Wheaton Metro and Medical Center Metro stations will take the following detour route: Cedar Lane, Beach Drive, Connecticut Avenue, and Jones Bridge Road. The bus will only stop at Route 34 bus stops along this detour route.
Passengers boarding the Route 34 bus at the intersection of Parkwood Drive and Cedar Lane and headed in the direction of the Medical Center Metro Station are advised to board at the westbound bus stop #20868 on Parkwood Drive. If heading towards Wheaton, board the eastbound bus on Parkwood Drive at bus stop #20840.
For more information, visit the Ride On website. The SHA hopes to have the project done and Cedar Lane reopened by Aug. 22.
Map via Ride On
Southbound Connecticut Avenue, between Bradley Lane and E. Melrose Street: State Highway Administration crews will be patching up this section of Connecticut Avenue after a pothole-heavy winter and spring. The two right lanes here will be blocked from 7 p.m. on Friday until about noon on Sunday.
Beltway outer loop, over the I-270 Spur: A routine SHA bridge inspection means there will be a double lane closure on this section of the outer loop from 4:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturday. One lane will be closed from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. There will also be some 15-minute closures on the I-270 spur to move equipment around.
Wisconsin Avenue, between Bradley Lane/Boulevard and Old Georgetown Road: Conduit work on Wisconsin Avenue traffic signals will mean single and double lane closures in downtown bethesda starting 10 p.m. on Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday.
Bradley Lane, between West Avenue and Connecticut Avenue: Not a weekend job, but the SHA will need to shut down lanes for resurfacing work on the two-lane stretch of Bradley Lane between Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenues. The work is set for Sundays-Thursdays from 9 p.m. until 5 p.m.