Montgomery County Employers Sweep Regional Commuting Choices Awards
We're indulging in a little gloating and a lot of pride for what three Montgomery County employers have accomplished through their dedication to employee transportation alternatives. And we're grateful to Commuter Connections for offering its annual awards program to recognize such employers.
Winners: The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), B.F. Saul Company, and Clean Currents-all based in Montgomery County-drew regional accolades at Commuter Connections' 2011 Employer Recognition Awards ceremony on June 28. AOTA won the Incentives Award, B.F. Saul Company got the Marketing Award, and Clean Currents received the Telework Award.
Impact: These three employers-with assistance and guidance from Montgomery County Commuter Services and its local program operators, Bethesda Transportation Solutions and the North Bethesda Transportation Center-collectively reduced 734,550 vehicle miles traveled in the region and cut gasoline usage by 36,928 gallons last year.
Kudos for Employers: "This regional recognition is a real plus for employers," notes Sandra Brecher, Montgomery County Commuter Services Section Chief. "These awards spotlight the winning employers' commitment to sustainability. Montgomery County Commuter Services and its local partners are always ready and willing to help employers establish and enhance programs that make use of alternative transportation options easier for employees."
|On September 22...Imagine Going Car-Free|
Imagine there's no traffic... it's easy if you try. No metal shell around us... above us clean blue sky. Imagine all the people... car-free for a day. You don't need to be a dreamer... just walk or bike or ride. Join a brotherhood of freedom... leave your wheels along the roadside. -With apologies to John Lennon
John Lennon's Imagine album was released in September 1971, nearly three decades to-the-month before the first worldwide Car Free Day took place in September 2000. The singer-songwriter probably didn't know that his lyrics would continue to resonate for so long-or that we would adapt them just a tiny bit in 2011 for this Car Free Day reminder. Car Free Day Metro DC takes place on September 22.
Ripple Effects: Participating in Car Free Day might seem like a very small step. But even small acts-like working from home, carpooling, vanpooling, riding a bus, taking a train, pedaling a bicycle, or walking to your destination-can ripple far into the future when enough people come together.
Act Today: Imagine what our region would look like if a whole lot of cars stayed off the road-even for a day. In fact, you can do more than imagine. You can pledge today to go car-free on September 22-and enjoy a chance to win some great prizes, including an iPad and a bicycle.
Easy to Pledge:
Simply visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/commute
and click on the Car Free Day banner.
Employer Assistance: Commuter Services is happy to assist employers in organizing Car Free Day events, as well as help individual commuters imagine new ways to get to work. Email us at mcdot.CommuterServices@montgomerycountymd.gov.
| |County Receives Funding for Bike Share Program
Thanks to a $1.3 million grant, Montgomery County and the City of Rockville will establish a bikesharing pilot program to bring 200 bicycles and 20 stations to the Rockville and Shady Grove areas.
Source: The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board approved the grant on June 15. The program is one of eight regional projects receiving funds under the Federal Transit Administration's Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) initiative.
Objectives: The project will test whether bikesharing is feasible in suburban centers outside a central city setting, as well as whether bikesharing can provide another transportation option to residents and employees.
Help for Low-Income Commuters: Eligible low-income workers will receive a free, one-year bikeshare membership; coverage for a certain level of user fees; a bike helmet; training classes in bicycle use and safety; and assistance with identifying safe bicycle routes.
Expansion Possible: While this grant is for the bikesharing program in the Rockville and Shady Grove areas, Montgomery County is continuing to explore opportunities to expand the program to other parts of the county.
Partners Sought: Expanding the program would require partnerships with developers, businesses, and other organizations in the County. Any of these organizations interested in partnering with the County by helping to provide funding or sponsorship should email Commuter Services at: mcdot.CommuterServices@montgomerycountymd.gov.
More Info: The program is expected to begin next year. See montgomerycountymd.gov for details on likely locations and additional partners.
Get Your Commute On with MARC
Rocking: It's almost a guilty pleasure. Your eyelids slide closed as you ease back into your roomy seat. You smile as the wail of a train whistle tricks you into a dream about adventurous escapes.
Rolling: Alas, you're not on an exotic vacation. But you are escaping-from the stress of fighting traffic on a long drive to work-with a relaxing ride on MARC, Maryland's commuter rail system. Enjoy full-size, comfortable rail coaches with walk-around convenience.
Convenient: Three lines serve communities along key north-south commuter corridors, all connecting on the southern end at Washington, D.C.'s Union Station. The Brunswick line runs from Martinsburg, West Virginia and Frederick County, making scheduled stops at eleven Montgomery County MARC stations; including Dickerson, Barnesville, Boyds, Germantown, Metropolitan Grove, Gaithersburg, Washington Grove, Rockville, Garrett Park, Kensington and Silver Spring; the Camden line starts at Baltimore's Camden Station; and the Penn line comes out of Perryville, Maryland.
Take a Break: In these days of mega-dollar gas prices and a stop-and-go grind that tempts your vehicle to flash its "check engine" warning light in protest almost daily, MARC lets you glide your way to and from work in style and comfort.
Discover: The Maryland Transit Administration offers a handy two-page Riders Resource Guide (PDF). Check out routes and schedules at mta.maryland.gov/marc-train.
Ride On/Metro Sales Office Moving: Effective Tuesday, July 19, the sales office for Ride On and Metro SmarTrip cards and other fare media will re-open in its new location at the Treasury Department, 255 Rockville Pike (Suite L-15), Rockville. Sales office hours: M-F, 8am-4pm. The actual move from 101 Monroe Street occurs on Monday, July 18, so equipment relocation that day will limit some transactions there, and credit card payments will not be possible. Visit Montgomery County's TRiPS commuter store page for a list of fare media sales locations in the region.
Employer Tax Credit: Maryland employers, including 501 (c)(3) or (4) organizations, may claim a tax credit for 50% of the eligible costs of providing commuter benefits to employees, up to a maximum credit of $50.00 per participating employee per month. This commuter tax credit can be taken against the personal income tax, the corporate income tax, or the insurance premium tax. Visit commuterchoicemaryland.com/taxcredit.htm for details.
Commuter Information Fairs: For a fun, festive, information-packed way to creatively promote employee use of transportation alternatives...try a commuter information fair. Commuter Services' consultants can help you combine commuter outreach with employee benefits fairs, new employee orientations, or green events. Email us today to schedule a commuter information fair.
Rideshare Tuesdays: Sometimes you want to stick a toe in the water before diving in. We get it. Introducing: Rideshare Tuesdays, a convenient, low-risk way to try out carpooling just once a week-every Tuesday! To connect with like-minded souls seeking to share a ride weekly, simply register with the Commuter Connections regional ridematching database.
Individuals interested in helping these areas improve transit and other alternative commute modes of travel are needed.