Western Workaround Construction Update

Below is the MCDOT notification on construction activities anticipated to begin June 15, 2020. The most important news is that Executive Boulevard will be closing around June 29. Yes, this is the third (or fourth?) date given for the closure, but we’re told that this one is going to stick. The second most important news is that nighttime work has been suspended.

The utility infrastructure relocation and construction which began in August 2018 has resumed.  Corman Kokosing Construction Company started construction on Phase 1B infrastructure and utility improvements on June 8, 2020.  For the next three weeks, the Contractor will focus on storm drain improvements by installing new manhole and reinforced concrete pipe.  This initial activity is taking place just west of the Executive Boulevard and Marinelli Road intersection.

Over the next month, Verizon crews will continue with their cable/wire splicing and other telecom work along Towne Road.  Verizon linemen will continue to install overhead cable in that project area.  Verizon should complete the overhead work on Towne Road by early July, weather permitting.  In addition, look for Verizon crews working in other parts of the White Flint West project area including on Banneker Avenue, Executive Boulevard., and Old Georgetown Road.  Anchor Construction, a Corman-Kokosing subcontractor, returns to Towne Road on June 18, 2020 to install PEPCO electrical conduits.  Anchor crews will work on the road’s west side; they should complete this phase by the end of July, 2020.

Two of Corman Kokosing’s crews continue with Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) sewer and water line upgrades. Nighttime construction operations have been suspended.  The WSSC construction activities instead are proceeding during the daytime hours of 6:00 am to 2:00 pm in the northbound and southbound lanes of Old Georgetown Road north and south of Executive Boulevard.  This work will continue with daytime multiple lane closures to facilitate excavation, pipe and structure placement, and backfilling.  Periodically, one of Corman Kokosing’s general construction crews will complete hot mix asphalt (HMA) paving to replace the roadway steel plates that cover trench work.  This work for WSSC should wrap up by the middle of July 2020.

Corman-Kokosing’s general construction crew continues with the remaining center median demolition for future lane closures and Maintenance of Traffic (MOT).  Once the last Old Georgetown Road center median is removed, Corman-Kokosing will place an HMA surface course to return ride ability.  The Contractor should complete demolition and paving by the end of June, 2020.
 
Please take note that Executive Boulevard between the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center entrance and Old Georgetown Road will permanently close on or about June 29, 2020.  Before any closure, variable message sign (VMS) boards will be placed and detour plans will be posted—VMS boards will be in place at least 14 days before any closure.  Look for more information regarding the road closure and detour plans.

Parking is still not permitted on either side of Towne Road, or in the Cul‐de‐Sac; especially with the uptick in construction activities. Violators will be subject to citations; violators impeding the construction will be towed. 

In these active work zones, be sure to look for the orange warning signs, cones and arrow panels, and flaggers! Please pay attention to any temporary road closure(s), look for steel roadway plates, expect probable driving delays, and look for possible pedestrian detours as the multiple contractors conduct these ongoing field operations. White Flint West Project News will update all construction activities.  

A public draft of the Complete Streets Design Guide is now available for review.

Montgomery County is developing a new approach to designing county roads using a concept called Complete Streets, roadways that are designed and operated to provide safe, accessible, and healthy travel for all users of the roadway system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists. On a Complete Street, it is intuitive and safe to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to school. Click to read the newly released Complete Streets Design Guide.

  1. Safety – maximize safety for all (pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles),
  2. Sustainability – enhance ecological functions and economic appeal of a streetscape, and
  3. Vitality – create streets that are great, dynamic places.

Schedule

In July, a formal public hearing will be provided by the Montgomery County Planning Board with additional opportunity for public comment. Planning Board work sessions will follow in September, with transmission to the County Council for their review anticipated in January 2021.

Contacts

For more information, you are encouraged to contact either of the two co-Project Managers listed below:
Montgomery Planning – Steve Aldrich (301) 495-4528 Email
Montgomery County DOT – Andrew Bossi (240) 777-7200  Email

New bike lanes coming to Old Georgetown Road

While this area is not part of White Flint, it’s pretty close and it’s such a great idea to have separated bike lanes on Old Georgetown Road that we decided to include it in today’s blog. (We only wish the bike lane was extended to cover ALL of Old Georgetown Road.)

From WTOP

A section of Maryland Route 187 in Montgomery County will have a bicycle lane added this year.

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration is beginning construction this week on the dedicated bike lane and narrower travel lanes on a 1-mile stretch of Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda, between Cedar Lane and the Capital Beltway.

The 5-foot-wide lane will be built with an added 2-foot-wide safety buffer between it and the travel lanes.

The construction of the bike lane will take place as part of an existing resurfacing project already underway. Intermittent lane closures will continue to take place along Old Georgetown Road weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and overnight Sunday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Work is expected to be completed in the fall.

The dedicated bike lane was approved after two teen bicyclists were struck by cars along the stretch of Old Georgetown Road in two separate incidents in 2019.

Jacob Cassell, 17, of Bethesda, was hit by a car on July 31 and suffered life-threatening injuries after falling from the sidewalk onto the roadway while biking at Beech Avenue. Cassell died in a hospital the next morning.

Following Cassell’s death, At-Large Montgomery County Council Member Hans Riemer made a plea for improved safety options along the stretch of roadway.

On Nov. 8, a 13-year-old girl was struck by a car while riding through a crosswalk near the on-ramp to the Beltway from Old Georgetown Road.

Here’s a map of where the construction will take place.

Vision Zero Update — Improvements Coming to the Pike District

This morning, the County gave an update to the North Bethesda Transportation Management District on Vision Zero. We’re happy to share some of the best parts of the presentation here, and you can get the entire presentation here. Visit Montgomery County’s Vision Zero Website for more info.

We’re delighted that there are some plans to make the area around the White Flint metro station and the intersection of Old Georgetown and Rockville Pike safer for pedestrians.

Western Workaround Construction Continues Despite the Pandemic

The folks at MCDOT gave Friends of White Flint an update to the Western Workaround project, and we want to pass along the info to you.

The big news as that Executive Boulevard will be closing around mid-May. The closed part will extend from Old Georgetown Road to the Conference Center/M & T Bank. (See the green circle below.)

Project Milestones and Schedule Update
 Substantial Completion – November 2022
 Permanent Closure of Executive Blvd – Mid May 2020
 Grand Park Ave – May 2020 to April 2021
 Towne Rd – April 2021 to November 2022
 Old Georgetown – May 2020 to November 2022
 Storm Drain on Old Georgetown – May 2020 to October 2021
 Pepco conduit construction – May 2020 to July 2021
 Pepco underground and overhead relocation – Summer/Fall 2021
 Verizon underground and overhead relocation – Ongoing through December 2021

MCDOT will keep updating the website as work proceeds. During Grand Park Avenue construction, the Gables parking lot will remain open with vehicular and pedestrian access. Power outages will be coordinated by Pepco with customers – both residents and businesses.

The County is focused on minimizing impacts to the Conference Center. Phase 1B work in front of the conference Center is scheduled to start in Fall 2020; the county is working with the contractor to advance the work as much as possible, hopefully in summer 2020. The goal is to complete the construction of Grand Park Ave from Old Georgetown Rd to Marinelli Rd by Spring 2021. Before the closure of Executive Blvd, detour signs will be installed directing vehicular traffic to the Conference Center from Montrose Pkwy and Rockville Pike.

You can see a complete map by clicking here: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/whiteflint/Resources/Files/pAERIAL_WFWest%20(reduced).pdf

Public Hearing: Proposed Grosvenor Station Parking Modifications — Tonight

Metro is seeking feedback on proposed modifications to the parking garage addition previously approved at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metrorail Station. Learn more about this proposal, review the Environmental Evaluation, and ask the project team a question at https://www.wmata.com/initiatives/plans/grosvenor-garage-modifications.cfm

You are invited to attend a public hearing by telephone on Monday, April 20 between 6:30-8:30 p.m. by calling 202-962-1901 or TTY 202-962-2033. Individuals will be provided up to five minutes to provide recorded testimony by voicemail. All testimony will be transcribed and submitted into the public record.

You can also provide your comments online at https://grosvenorpublicinput.questionpro.com by 5 p.m. Friday, May 1

Great News! Beach Drive Will Be Closed to Cars and Open for Peds and Bikes Friday – Sunday

Excited to announce that Montgomery Parks will be closing Little Falls Parkway (from Mass Ave to Arlington Road) and Beach Drive (from Knowles Ave to Connecticut) from Friday at 9 a.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m. to automobile traffic and opening them to walkers, runners, bikers and scooters! (Friends of White Flint advocated for the opening of Beach Drive to pedestrian and bikes, and we’re delighted that Beach Drive will open.)

County Council T & E Committee votes to fund half a second metro entrance and pedestrian improvements on Route 355!

Here are some of our tweets from Thursday’s T &E meeting:

“T&E committee on @MoCoCouncilMD voted yes for funding for Rockville Pike pedestrian safety improvements in the @Pike_District. THANK YOU!”

“T&E Committee @MoCoCouncilMD votes for funding for half the cost of 2nd entrance with design being forward funded. Hopefully @wmata will pay its half. Thank you @EvanMGlass@hansriemer@CmHucker! “

“At T&E @MoCoCouncilMD suggests @wmata pay for station so MoCo can pay for pedestrian improvements to get to the station and invest more in the White Flint area.”

“At T&E @MoCoCouncilMD: @Andrew_Friedson appreciates council funding 2nd White Flint metro entrance last year and hopes we can do that again. Says we haven’t built the urban infrastructure that makes development attractive in @Pike_District. “County has to step up to the plate.”

“At T&E @MoCoCouncilMD meeting @EvanMGlass says great potential with this site and second White Flint entrance.”

“We have to forward fund infrastructure then private sector investments will be more likely. ” @hansriemer at T&E committee. Recommends funding 2nd metro entrance.”

Please Tell WMATA You Want Them to Fund, Design, and Build a Northern White Flint Metro Station Entrance

A second entrance for the White Flint Metro station is critical so the Pike District can continue its transformation into a walkable, transit-oriented, vibrant community. Montgomery County has officially asked WMATA to pay for this station, which has a price tag of $36 million.

MCDOT has asked all of us to tell WMATA that this station is important to our community. Not only will this new station entrance increase the walkshed and spur economic development, it will also dramatically increase passenger safety, enabling riders to evacuate the station almost twice as quickly in case of emergency.

Will you please take five minutes and help us advocate for the northern Metro entrance at White Flint station? The deadline is 9:00 am, Monday, March 9.

Here’s how:

  1. Visit wmata.com
  2. Click “read more” on the black box at the top of the page titled “Balancing the Metro Budget”
  3. Click “Provide your feedback online
  4. Choose your preferred language option then select “provide written comments” (unless you want to take their whole survey.)
  5. Cut and paste the text below or write your own text.

I ask WMATA to include design and construction funds in its capital budget for the northern White Flint Metro entrance. The northern Metro entrance will increase the station walkshed, making Metro more accessible for thousands of people, multiple office buildings, and retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues. A northern entrance will also dramatically increase passenger safety, enabling riders to evacuate the station almost twice as quickly in case of emergency. Finally, the northern entrance will improve the value of WMATA’s land holdings at the White Flint station. Thank you.

Excerpt from the County’s letter to WMATA