County Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At large) will speak about County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recently released budget at a community meeting tonight and Leggett will answer questions about his proposal in an online chat tomorrow.
Floreen will address the $4.8 billion budget from Leggett, which includes a 4.1 percent increase from last year’s budget with cost-of-living increases for county employees, expanded library hours and 40 additional police personnel, in the monthly meeting of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board.
The Board will also receive a presentation from the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection on recycling and sustainability goals. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at a special location, the Avenel Community Association in Potomac (9501 Beman Woods Way). It is open to the public.
Leggett will address any questions about the budget, which now heads to the County Council, in an online chat from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
Residents can start submitting questions now at the county’s website.
The budget includes a moderate property tax increase and the continuation of the county’s energy tax, which Councilman Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg) said should be cut by 10 percent on Friday. Andrews again argued that pay increases Leggett negotiated with the county’s firefighters, police and employees are too much at this time.
The Council’s public hearing on the budget will be April 9 to April 11.
Also tomorrow is a Walter Reed BRAC Integration Committee meeting, where State Highway Administration officials will update residents on the improvement project at Rockville Pike and Cedar Lane. County Planning Staff will give a presentation on Bus Rapid Transit, and what that could mean for repurposing two lanes of traffic on Rockville Pike.
The BRAC meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane).
Flickr photo by dan reed!
Officials will present updated designs next week for the Intelligence Community Campus-Bethesda (ICCB) on Sangamore Road, a once controversial project that neighbors now say should fit in better with the surrounding wooded area.
Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and construction company Whiting-Turner will provide “the updated Architectural Vision for the campus,” according to Montgomery County Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) coordinator Phil Alperson. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 at the Washington Waldorf School (4800 Sangamore Rd.).
In November, seven or eight of some of the most vocal community leaders said they were pleased with alternate designs presented in a small community meeting. The $300 million, 40-acre campus at 4600 Sangamore Rd. is surrounded by parkland.
Winnebago Road resident Harry Pfohl said the designs included new features that better integrated the campus into the forest around it and that they were very well received.
“They presented some real ways to integrate the project with the National Park forestland behind it and to landscape the garage to provide for a more wooded, natural setting,” Pfohl said. “The concepts were unanimously enthusiastically received by the community leaders. That really says something.”
The campus, which will be expanded to hold about 3,000 employees, use to house the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters. That agency was relocated to Virginia under BRAC and the Defense Intelligence Agency will take over Sangamore Road.
Pfohl said the neighbors were particularly impressed by the stormwater management plan and landscape features such as small ponds.
“Everyone was grinning,” Pfohl said in November.
An exclusive right turn lane on southbound Connecticut Avenue from the Beltway to Jones Bridge Road should be done later this year and an extra right lane on northbound Rockville Pike from Cedar Lane to the Beltway is the last BRAC-related road project awaiting federal funding.
State Highway Administration officials updated a meeting of the Walter Reed BRAC Integration Committee on Tuesday night at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center with status updates on federally funded projects at the four major intersections around Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Institues of Health.
The area has become a traffic chokehold as workers file in and out of both secure facilities. SHA has received millions in grant funding from the Defense Department to widen intersections, add lanes and make sidewalk improvements.
Barb Solberg gave updates on each intersection. Construction timelines in SHA terms indicate actual roadway construction, Solberg said. In many cases, disruptions occur earlier because of work on underground utilities:
Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road — Phase 1, the new southbound lane on Connecticut Avenue from the Beltway to Jones Bridge Road, is under construction now and should be complete this summer or fall. Phase 2, the addition of a northbound Connecticut Avenue lane in the existing median to the Beltway, is under construction and should also be complete this summer or fall.
SHA has a separate contract out for the widening of Jones Bridge Road to the south, which would allow for another left turn lane to northbound Connecticut Avenue for the evening rush. Construction on that is expected to begin in fall of 2014.
Rockville Pike and Cedar Lane — Phases 1 and 2 include adding a lane on West Cedar Lane and increasing the length of the left turn lane just south of the intersection that allows access to the Military Medical Center’s North Gate. Phase 3 is the widening of Cedar Lane on both sides of Rockville Pike and should start in fall 2013 and finish in fall of 2015. It will include periodic closures of Cedar Lane.
Phase 4, the last project awaiting federal funding, will extend the lane SHA is adding to northbound Rockville Pike all the way to the Beltway. Solberg said the funding application should go out in the next couple months and construction should start in summer 2014 and finish in winter of 2015 or 2016.
Old Georgetown Road and West Cedar Lane — The first project to receive federal funding will add a right turn lane for drivers turning north onto Old Georgetown Road. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2014 and finish a year later.
Rockville Pike and Jones Bridge Road — SHA is going to convert one of the thru lanes on southbound Rockville Pike to a left turn lane onto Jones Bridge Road. Solberg said construction started in January 2012 and should be complete by this summer. The rest of that intersection’s improvements involve sidewalk work that will be a part of the upcoming Rockville Pike pedestrian tunnel project.
Montgomery County BRAC coordinator Phil Alperson noted none of the federal funding for these projects is threatened by sequestration fears or budget talks on Capitol Hill.
Photo via TrafficLand.com.
SHA representatives are scheduled to speak during the next meeting of the Walter Reed BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) Integration Committee starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane).
Many of the projects, including utility and pavement work at Rockville Pike and Cedar Lane and an intersection widening and lane construction at Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road, are being paid for with help from grants from the Department of Defense.
A schedule of all projects is available on the Montgomery County website.
The SHA will also give a presentation on post-construction landscape designs for the Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road project.
The meeting will also include briefings from the county’s BRAC coordinator and neighborhood representatives.
For more information, visit Montgomery County’s BRAC website.
Bethesda Library Hosts Meet the Author Event — Mark Shriver will speak about his book, “A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver,” at 7:30 p.m. at the Bethesda branch of the Montgomery County Public Library (7400 Arlington Rd.). Sargent Shriver was the architect of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, and is known as the creator of the Peace Corps. [Montgomery County Public Libraries]
Sangamore Road Intelligence Campus Gets Approval — The National Capital Planning Commission has signed off on the final portion of plans for development to house various Intelligence agencies at the former home of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. [Washington Business Journal]
Timmerman Not Getting Much Attention in Downcounty Areas — Ken Timmerman, the Kensington investigative reporter and Republican challenger to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), has made many trips to traditionally conservative areas in Frederick and Carroll Counties. But in heavily liberal areas of the new 8th district, some say his message doesn’t get through. [MarylandReporter.com]
Flickr pool photo by AmyMarieMoore
Rock Creek Park Runners Report Owl Attacks — A number of runners in Rock Creek Park have recently reported owl “attacks” during their jogs. A Bethesda man said his running group was attacked along Glen Cove Parkway. [WTOP]
$499 Million Contract Awarded to Renovate National Intelligence University — A Baltimore company was awarded the contract to renovate Bethesda’s Intelligence Community Campus along Sangamore Road. The campus, which was vacated by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency as part of BRAC, will include the National Intelligence University and employees from a number of other agencies, totaling 3,000 employees by 2017. [The Gazette]
Flickr photo by gastwa
The U.S. Department of the Navy last week released a lengthy Draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) that examines how a planned new medical facility and research facility would affect traffic around Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
On Tuesday, the man who runs the campus as commander of Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB), said the bottom line on traffic woes is much easier to understand than the hundreds of pages contained in the report.
“Ultimately, it’s on our people and our processes,” Capt. Fritz Kass told a meeting of the Walter Reed BRAC Integration Committee. “And we’re always looking at those.”
Kass was referring to security personnel who do checks at the campus gates, where queued cars back up onto Bethesda’s major roads and create most of the traffic woes that have become routine with a morning rush hour trip on Wisconsin Avenue or Jones Bridge Road.
Kass also emphasized the congestion problems with WRNMMC area intersections before campus expansion and the estimated growth of visitors from 500,000 per year to 1,000,000 per year.
But the EIS also concluded “total run times,” or the amount of time it would take to commute from downtown Bethesda through the major intersections past the campus, could increase by as much as 15 seconds.
Kass played down that figure as a minor inconvenience in a trip that has already become 10-15 minutes long.
The EIS also addresses parking capacity issues on the campus. The plan is for a 500-spot underground garage to go along with the new medical facility.
There are currently about 7,500 spaces on the campus, Kass said, enough to “meet demand, but kind of just barely.”
The campus Master Plan allows for 8,900 total spaces. The Navy’s goal is one parking space for every three staff members. Kass said the EIS shows that ratio would be 1 to 3.25 in 2018.
He’s hoping the new Gate 3, on Jones Bridge Road near the Navy Exchange, will be open by the end of the year.
The U.S. Department of Defense on Monday announced it awarded $7.3 million to the Maryland State Highway Administration to upgrade the intersection at Old Georgetown Road and West Cedar Lane.
It’s one of four grants the state is expecting to help with BRAC-related projects near Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which has brought an estimated additional 2,500 personnel to the 8,000 already stationed at the base.
The intersections around Walter Reed were already at a Level of Service grade of F, the lowest possible rating, according to the grant proposal the SHA provided last October.
The project will include widening westbound West Cedar Lane and northbound Old Georgetown Road to add exclusive right-hand turn lanes at the intersection.
Statements from Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Sen. Ben Cardin after the jump.