Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, August 2016

Masthead that says Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus

Council's Letter on Veirs Mill Road

bicycle tire and its shadow

Following the second fatal accident in less than a year at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Turkey Branch Parkway, the Council has asked Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, State Secretary of the Department of Transportation Peter Rahn and Administrator of the Maryland Highway Administration Gregory Johnson to take “more aggressive action to resolve the serious safety deficiencies at this intersection.”

Recently a bicyclist was fatally injured on the road, which is near the crossing of the Matthew Henson Trail. After another bicyclist was killed near the same area in December, the State Highway Administration installed flashing yellow lights to make drivers aware that pedestrians and bicyclists may be in the area.

In the letter that went to the State officials, the Council wrote: “While we appreciate the effort, we believe the flashers are insufficient to address the problem since they require motorists to slow down and exercise caution but not to stop. Drivers continue to exceed the 40-mph speed limit even when the light signal is activated. At these speeds, a collision with a pedestrian or bicyclist is almost certainly fatal.

“In the wake of this latest tragedy, we urge you to take more aggressive action to resolve the serious safety deficiencies at this intersection.” See the complete text of the letter.

Plan for Metro Safety Surges

maintenance equipment with the words "Safe Track"

To help you deal with the disruption to Metro during its safety improvements, here's some excellent information from Montgomery County Commuter Services:

It's Time: Make alternative commuting plans. Metrorail service on the Red Line will be extremely limited and slow during Metro's upcoming "Safety Surges" on these dates:

  • August 1-7 (Continuous single tracking between Takoma and Silver Spring)
  • August 9-18 (Continuous single tracking between Shady Grove and Twinbrook)
  • October 10 - November 1 (Line segment shutdown between Ft. Totten and NoMa)

Plan for the Worst: Although each surge targets a limited section of the Red Line, you should expect major disruptions and very long delays throughout the entire loop between Shady Grove and Glenmont.

Choose Alternatives: Visit to explore your options.

  • Montgomery County Ride On will provide additional bus service on certain routes and free shuttles between affected Metrorail stations. Ride On will also provide on-street ambassadors at affected Metrorail stations to help direct travelers to transit options. (WMATA plans to enhance Metrobus service in surge areas, too.)
  • Consider MARC train, if your route aligns with their services.
  • Bike sharing and car sharing can help you reach your destination when your nearest transit stop is a bit too far for walking. (Capital Bikeshare offers a special $2 single-trip fare during SafeTrack.)
  • Join or form a carpool or vanpool. Call 240-773-TRIPS (8747), fill out the Commuter Connections ridematching form, or email us at for ridesharing assistance.
  • Download the Commuter Connections mobile app (available for iPhoneAndroidBlackberry).

Employers, You Can Help

  • Telework is a great option for coping with Metro's SafeTrack surges. (See below for info from our recent telework webinar.)
  • Email to arrange on-site commuter information fairs for your employees.

Council Building Gets Solar Panels

Solar panels on Council Office Building's roof. Executive Office Building is in the background.

The next time you are in the Council Office Building, take a look at our new rooftop solar panels. We expect the solar energy system to generate more than 53,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year.

The solar panel project at the Council Office Building is part of a larger Montgomery County initiative to generate clean solar energy on-site at County-owned facilities. With 75 percent of the projects completed, the Solar and Advanced Energy Initiative is on track to bring six megawatts of solar power on line this year. That is enough electricity to power more than 600 single-family homes.

The County’s solar projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 870 cars off the road or planting 100,000 trees. In addition, the projects will save the County $11 million in energy costs over the next 20 years.

The Department of General Services deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the fantastic job they have been doing with renewable energy all over the County. Of course, this project seems extra special because it is so close to home for us, but it is really a part of a much larger program of sustainability.

Montgomery County has fully operating solar energy systems at 11 facilities, including the Gaithersburg Library, the Rockville Library, Potomac Community Center, Jane Lawton Recreation Center in Chevy Chase, the Up-County Regional Services Center in Germantown, the Silver Spring Civic Building, Fire Station No. 31 in North Potomac, the Montgomery County Circuit Court South Tower in Rockville, the Shady Grove Transfer Station, the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control in Darnestown and the Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operations Center.

Fast Fact

Tune in to County Cable Montgomery on Tuesday, August 2, at 10:45 for the Council's briefing on the recent 911 system interruption. For a two-hour period in the overnight hours of July 10 and 11, community members were unable to get through to 911. The Council will get an update on the investigation into the incident and the status of any corrective measures. If you aren't able to watch the worksession live, you can get the video on demand about 24 hours later.

Green Tip of the Month

Our Department of Transportation is encouraging artists, planners, businesses, organizations, groups and individuals to participate in International PARK(ing) Day on September 16 by temporarily transforming a metered parking space into a fun, parklike spot. MCDOT has identified parking spaces in Silver Spring, Bethesda, Wheaton and Montgomery Hills for use by participants who are encouraged to creatively reimagine the urban landscape. Choose from 80 different locations (each one comprised of two adjacent parking spaces) in the County’s parking districts. You can use the parking spaces from 9 a.m. to 3:30 no charge, including set up and tear down. Get more information and apply online or by mail. Get inspiration and see what others have done on past PARK(ing) Days online. Learn more about International PARK(ing) Day.

Let's Talk

Is your community organization hosting a public meeting? Please let me know how I can help. I am happy to assist residents in understanding pending bills or in finding ways to get involved in the political process. Even more important, I want to hear about what matters to you. Send your meeting notices to or call 240-777-7959 if you would like me to address a particular topic with your group.

August 2016

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