The Glass Gazette: February 2020


February 2020

Free Bus Rides For Kids Is A Success

I was proud to lead the Council’s efforts to expand the Kids Ride Free program, which allows youth under the age of 18 to ride the bus for free at all times. Whether it’s going to an internship, working on the weekends, or simply traveling home from school, transit is critical for connecting people with opportunities -- which is exactly what this program has done! 

Six months after implementing the program, I requested an oversight hearing and was delighted to learn that student usage of our buses increased: 

  • 57% increase for Ride On ‬buses
  • 51% increase for Metro buses‬
  • 372,192 new rides overall ‬

I am now even more convinced that when we increase access and opportunity to transit services, people will use them. You can read this NPR article to learn more.


Eliminating Homelessness

Every year, volunteers and service providers conduct a “point in time” count surveying the needs of Montgomery County residents experiencing homelessness. Hundreds of volunteers gather from 10:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. engaging unsheltered individuals who are sleeping at bus shelters, behind restaurants, and in parking garages all over Montgomery County. 

As the Council’s point person on homelessness and vulnerable communities, it has been a humbling experience for me to participate in this count every year since being elected. This year was particularly humbling. At 2:45 a.m., we found an 81-year old man shivering on the steps of the Rockville Metro station; he had all his belongings in just two small paper bags. Through speaking Portuguese, we physically carried him to the car and were able to get him a warm bed and connected to a caseworker. 

Continuing on this important work, I will soon be introducing legislation to expand our homelessness efforts to include families and seniors. There’s so much more we need to do to ensure that becoming homeless is rare, brief, and non-recurring.


D.C. Statehood Resolution

I was proud to introduce a resolution supporting statehood for the District of Columbia, marking the first time that Montgomery County has made such a statement. My resolution coincides with the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s vote on the D.C. Admission Act, which would grant District residents full representation in Congress and the ability to self-govern.

Montgomery County residents are proud to stand with our neighbors across Eastern and Western Avenues in the fight for fairness, representation and democracy. Taxation without representation is the tyranny that our founders fought against and it remains unacceptable today. As a locally elected official, I know the importance of having budgetary authority on policies directly benefiting my constituents. Residents of the District of Columbia deserve the same respect as any other tax-paying jurisdiction.

You can watch my introductory remarks here.


Sunflower Bakery

As the county strengthens its pipelines to workforce development, non-profit organizations like Sunflower Bakery are taking the lead by providing on-the-job training to adults over 18-years-old that struggle with learning differences. I recently visited the Sunflower Bakery’s new facility in Rockville and was amazed by the technical and transferable skills that trainees are acquiring. Participants can learn about pastry arts, production baking, barista service and front of house operations. 

I saw students learning how to make cookies, cakes, pastries, tarts and many other baked goods. Depending on the program they are enrolled in, students are offered an in-house paid internship and receive help applying for jobs outside of the organization. Additionally, students learn interview skills, attend resume workshops and have the chance to obtain critical certifications needed to enter the workforce. 

I am proud to know that we have organizations like Sunflower Bakery providing workforce development opportunities to valued members of our community. 


16th Street Circle Project Announcement

For decades we’ve known that the 16th Street traffic circle was unsafe for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists traveling between Montgomery County and the District of Columbia. 

I was proud to join D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Councilmember Brandon Todd and fellow Maryland leaders to announce engineering changes that will make the circle safer for everyone.

The changes at the circle include:

  • Realigning all existing crosswalks;
  • Installing an expanded refuge/sidewalk;  
  • Upgrading all facilities for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, including Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS); and
  • Upgrading signage and pavement markings to align with  the new traffic signal operation and signal timing/phasing changes and minimize delays for all users.

This is what cross-jurisdictional cooperation looks like!

You can read more in this WTOP article. 



It’s Library Lovers Month! Did you know that the county’s library system offers free language learning services? County residents with a library card are able to access Mango Languages, Muzzy Online, Rosetta Stone and Tumble Books. Each of these tools is designed to guide users on their quest to learn a new language. 

To learn more about this service follow this link.