Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, October edition

Report Shows Improved Congestion

Nancy Floreen and poster of interchange

They say you never really learn to swear until you learn to drive, but now you may be able to save a few nickels from going in the curse jar, according to the most recent Mobility Assessment Report. The study conducted by the Montgomery County Planning Department shows stabilization and even improvement in congestion in several key areas. That’s right, improvement in congestion. In fact, intersections categorized as severely congested have dropped from 17 percent in 2011 to 11 percent now. This marks the lowest rate since 2005.

Several factors likely contribute to the change, including land use planning that focuses development around transit, intersection improvements throughtout the county and efforts to make walking and biking safer and more accessible.

A key factor, though, is the Intercounty Connector, where use continues to grow steadily at a rate of 3 percent per month. Those who take the ICC cut their travel time in half compared to travel on local commuter routes like MD 28 and MD 108. What’s more, local roadways that parallel the ICC have shown improved travel time and reduced congestion since the opening of the toll road in November 2011.

While this is good news, there is still plenty of room for improvement, as commuters who travel on MD 355 near Shady Grove or pass through the intersection of MD 355 and West Cedar Lane will attest. These spots top the lists of the 50 most congested roadways and intersections. Check the report to see how your commute compares.

We will get a full briefing on the report at the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee meeting scheduled for 2:00 on October 9. You can watch the meeting live or on demand on County Cable Montgomery.

Bill to Help HOA and Condo Associations

I'm pleased to co-sponsor George Leventhal's bill designed to protect the financial and operational viability of the County’s homeowners’ and condominium associations. Under the bill, those who don't pay their dues would not be able to get a rental license. This would help the growing number of associations that are already financially distressed due in part to negligent property owners who rent their units but fail to pay their dues. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for October 14 at 1:30. To register to speak, call 240-777-7803.

Town Hall Meeting for Students

Nancy Floreen talking to student

This year we will hold the always-popular Town Hall Meeting for Students on Wednesday, October 15, at the Council Office Building in Rockville. The meeting will be held in the Council’s Third Floor Hearing Room beginning at 7 p.m. A pre-meeting reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the building’s second-floor cafeteria.

The October meeting is open to high school, middle school and local college students. The meeting will allow the participants to let Councilmembers know how they feel about specific issues and also will provide the opportunity to ask questions of us in an organized, but informal, setting. The event will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery.

Green Tip of the Month

Non-profit organizations, community associations, service and civic groups, and faith-based organizations--apply now for watershed restoration grant funding.

Montgomery County and the Chesapeake Bay Trust are offering a new grant program to support watershed restoration and outreach throughout the County. The goal of the Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach program is to reduce stormwater runoff and pollutants through community-based restoration, including RainScapes practices, as well as to implement projects focused on public involvement through education, outreach and stewardship.

Grants up to $50,000 are available (with larger awards possible with prior approval), and all projects must take place in Montgomery County, outside the municipalities of Rockville, Gaithersburg and Takoma Park. Funding is available for three types of efforts: public outreach and stewardship projects, community-based stormwater runoff and water quality improvement practices, and RainScapes Neighborhood projects. Learn more.

Fast Fact

Nancy Floreen and Craig Rice reading to children.

Good news. Beginning Monday, October 5, Montgomery County Public Libraries will be open longer, with added service hours totaling 106 hours, 9.4 percent more than in fiscal year 2014. Sixteen branches will have expanded hours, joining the five branches whose hours were increased in FY13. The expanded hours at the Silver Spring branch will go into effect when the new library opens later in this fiscal year. In addition, four more branches (Aspen Hill, Damascus, Quince Orchard, and White Oak) will be open on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. bringing the total number with Sunday hours to 13.Find branches and new hours on the interactive map.

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.

October 2014

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