November 29, 2023

Development Begins on Great Seneca Transit Network to Bring Fast, Equitable Access to Medical Centers and Educational Facilities in Rockville and Gaithersburg

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, County Council President Evan Glass and the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) this week announced the beginning of Phase 1 of the Great Seneca Transit Network (GSTN) at a ceremonial “groundpainting” of dedicated bus lanes at the Traville Parkway Transit Center in Rockville.

County Executive Elrich and Council President Glass were joined at the event by Council Vice President Andrew Friedson, Councilmembers Marylin Balcombe and Natali Fani-González, MCDOT Director Chris Conklin and Executive Director of the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville Anne Khademian.

Phase1 of the Great Seneca Transit Network will include two new Ride On extRa bus service lines. The project will continue through spring, with service to begin late summer 2024.

The two new bus lines, designated as “Lime” and “Pink,” will run east-west connections between the Shady Grove Metro and the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville. The Pink Line will link the busy Shady Grove corridor with the Life Sciences Center via Medical Center Drive. The Lime Line will use I-370 to provide an express route to RIO, Crown Farm and the heart of the Life Science Center at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center.

“The opening of the Great Seneca Transit Network will be a big boost to residents and those who work in the Rockville, Gaithersburg, and Shady Grove communities,” said County Executive Elrich. “The addition of these two express bus routes and dedicated bus lanes will connect Metrorail directly to the Life Science Center and Universities at Shady Grove. The workforce within this transit corridor has nearly doubled since 2010 and these new routes will help support the public transportation needs of employees and students. I have supported this project for years and expect it to help grow our biotech sector and spur economic development.”

These two bus routes are part of Phase 1 of a planned four-route transportation network along the Great Seneca Science Corridor. Phase 2 includes two additional routes and an extension of the Lime Line. The completed interconnected service will link the Kentlands, Crown Farm, King Farm, the Universities at Shady Grove, Adventist Shady Grove Hospital, Shady Grove Metro and Rockville. The infrastructure plan also includes upgraded bus stations, pedestrian and bicycle enhancements along the corridors.

“The Great Seneca Transit Network is a reflection of Montgomery County's commitment to multi-modal transit opportunities that will also help improve access to public health resources and jobs,” said Council President Glass, who also chairs the Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee. “The addition of the Pink and Lime lines will help transform the Life Science Center into a competitive employment district that is accessible to everyone in our region.”

Both bus routes will operate with sections of dedicated bus lanes and “signal priority,” which gives an early green light to the bus lane during peak hours so bus riders can reach their destination faster. The bus schedule is designed to minimize wait times for riders, with service every 10 to 15 minutes on weekdays, and every 30 minutes on weekends. The two lines are expected to transport between four and five thousand riders each weekday.

“The Great Seneca Transit Network will bolster needed east–west connections within our public transportation system that are faster, more convenient and less expensive than traveling by car,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “The express routes will significantly reduce commute times for travel destinations. Transportation from the Shady Grove Metro Station to Shady Grove Medical Center via the Pink line will take 21 minutes, less than half of the current 43-minute commute on the existing route. Additionally, we have designed the schedule and frequency of these bus routes to reflect how the members of this community live, work and travel.”

The Montgomery County Climate Action Plan has set a goal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. Eleven zero-emission buses have been purchased. Once they become available, the zero-emission buses will be placed in operation along the first two corridors sometime during calendar year 2025. The new buses also will have the upgraded amenities associated with Ride On extRa branded buses such as comfortable seating, level boarding, free wi-fi and charging ports.

The GSTN was planned with input from residents, businesses and educational institutions. The express routes will provide needed access to education and healthcare for residents, essential workers and students.

“Having convenient, reliable access to public transit is important for so many students who attend the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) campus and rely on these services to get to class or work on time,” said USG Executive Director Khademian. “We’re thrilled about the creation of the Great Seneca Transit Network and applaud Montgomery County’s efforts to build a transit system that will better serve the growing needs of our region.”

Animal Services and Adoption Center Will Waive All Fees Until Further Notice

The Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) in Derwood will be waiving adoption fees for all animals until further notice. The shelter is full and adopters are urgently needed. All types of animals are available for adoption including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and reptiles.

For those considering adding a new pet to their family, now is a good time. Adopting is easy—and even easier with fees being waived just in time for the holidays.

The Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center is located at 7315 Muncaster Mill Rd. in Derwood. The main phone number is 240-773-5900. The center is open six days a week (it is closed on Wednesdays).

The adoption process can be started online by filling out the adoption questionnaire and emailing in the required documents. Adopters may also choose to visit the Adoption Center during open hours to start the process in-person. The questionnaire, required documents and more information about the adoption process can be found at

New animals arrive at the shelter every day. Potential adopters are encouraged to view who is available for adoption online at before visiting the facility.

Adoptions are done on first-come, first-served availability—by appointment. Walk-in appointments are subject to counselor availability. Adoptions are same-day and animals are not held for adopters so they should be prepared to take an animal home at the time of their appointment.

The Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center, which is operated by the Office of Animal Services, provides high standard sheltering and care to the homeless, abused and neglected animals. It is the County’s only open-admission, municipal shelter. Through adoptions, education, outreach and more, MCASAC serves as a critical community resource to promote and advocate for responsible pet care.

Animal Services Officers are available seven days a week to investigate complaints and respond to animal emergencies 24 hours a day. For more information, visit

‘Christmas on the Farm’ Will Show Off Holiday Festivities of Montgomery Agricultural History Farm Park on Dec. 2-3

The feeling of celebrating a holiday on a farm will be the theme on Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 2-3, at the annual “Christmas on the Farm” event at the Montgomery Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood. Among the highlights will be the opportunity to see farm animals up close, to visit the park’s tool museum and to enjoy free cookies and cider.

The Agricultural History Farm Park is located at 18400 Muncaster Road in Derwood. The event will be held from noon-5 p.m. each day. Admission and parking will be free.

The event is hosted by Friends of the Agricultural History Farm Park, Inc., with the support of Montgomery Parks.

The event will feature music, hay rides, barn decorations, a bake sale and holiday crafts.

For more information about the event, go to,

Plans for Proposed Carroll Avenue Separated Bike Lanes Project in Takoma/Langley Crossroads Area of Silver Spring to be Discussed at Meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 5

Plans for the proposed Carroll Avenue Separated Bike Lanes project in the Takoma/Langley Crossroads area of Silver Spring will be discussed at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, as the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) meets with residents at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School. The project is currently at 35 percent completion in the design stage.

New Hampshire Estates Elementary School is located at 8720 Carroll Ave. in Silver Spring. Meeting materials will be provided in both English and Spanish, and Spanish translation will be available at the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, residents can review the proposal files on the project website here. Materials will be posted no later than 5 p.m. the day of the meeting.

The proposed design will provide one-way separated bike lanes on each side of Carroll Avenue from Merrimac Drive to University Boulevard and a two-way cycletrack on the east side of the street from University Boulevard to Piney Branch Road (MD 320) in the Takoma/Langley Crossroads area.

Pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements will be included with the project. Traffic calming is also being considered.

Feedback and questions may be submitted to Project Manager Matt Johnson by email at Comments can be submitted in English or Spanish. All information provided, including questions and public feedback, will be entered into the public record.

Learn more about MCDOT’s engineering and construction projects by visiting the website here.

Alcohol Beverage Services to Open Registration on Sunday, Dec. 3, for Lotteries Providing Opportunities for County Residents and Licensees to Purchase Highly Sought Spirits

Montgomery County’s Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) will open registration on Sunday, Dec. 3, for limited availability whiskey lotteries that provide opportunities to purchase highly sought spirits. These lotteries will be open only to Montgomery County residents and licensees. ABS expects to release more than 400 bottles for purchase in the lotteries.

Among the spirits that County residents will have an opportunity to purchase are Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year, Old Forester 2022 Birthday Bourbon and several rare releases from the Willett Distillery.

The lotteries are in addition to the annual lotteries that ABS holds in March, which are open to Maryland residents in addition to Montgomery County residents and licensees. All ABS lotteries are free to enter, but have residency requirements. Entrants must be 21 or over.

Registration for the lotteries begins at 12:01 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9. After the lotteries close, a random drawing will be conducted. The winning numbers will be posted on the ABS website at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Winners will be able to purchase their bottle from a designated store from Monday, Jan. 8, through Sunday, Jan. 28.

Each resident entering the lotteries will be able to select their top preferences from the list of bottles available. Bottle counts are listed on the registration forms. Details on how to enter the lottery, including an entry form, are available on the ABS website at

A second lottery will be open to Montgomery County alcohol license holders who are authorized to sell spirits on their premises. The licensee lottery will run at the same time as the resident lottery and will boost the availability of allocated items available by the glass. Licensees can enter at

“This year has been outstanding for highly allocated products, and we are pleased to be able to offer a special, second lottery for Montgomery County residents and license holders only.” said ABS Director Kathie Durbin. “As always, the lotteries are designed to offer fair pricing and equitable access, including the chance to sip rare spirits at local restaurants.”

ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine and spirits for Montgomery County. It operates 27 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 million in net income annually, its profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars. Follow ABS on Facebook and X.

‘Montgomery County, Then and Now: A Conversation on Recreating the Historical Photographs of Lewis Reed and Barry Gartner’ Will Be Presented on Tuesday, Dec. 5

Jeanne Gartner, Barry Gartner and Sarah Hedlund, the creators of Montgomery History’s exhibit “Montgomery County, Then and Now: Photography of Lewis Reed and Barry Gartner,” will lead a free, live online presentation at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, discussing the fascinating process of recreating historical photographs from the early 1900s. The presentation will be sponsored by Montgomery History.

Photographer Lewis Reed captured hundreds of images throughout Montgomery County, featuring iconic structures, streetscapes, homes and towns. More than 100 years later, two of Reed’s grandchildren have partnered with archivist Sarah Hedlund to exhibit Reed’s images in a unique way.

Photographer Barry Gartner worked with his sister, Jeanne Gartner, who is the custodian of their grandfather’s treasure trove of photographic images. They have been recreating their grandfather’s pictures in modern-day Montgomery County. The exhibit will present the pairs of photos side by side, illustrating in some cases timeless constancy, and in many cases, radical change.

In this presentation, Sarah will talk with Jeanne and Barry about how the project was conceived and executed, providing historical context and behind-the-scenes stories about creating a new online exhibit—which will soon be available to explore.

To register for the presentation, go to Webinar Registration - Zoom.

Committee Against Hate Violence ‘Federal Hate Crimes Training Seminar’ to be Held on Wednesday Night, Dec. 6, in Rockville

The Montgomery County Committee Against Hate Violence (CAHV) of the County Office of Human Rights, will sponsor a ‘Federal Hate Crimes’ Training Seminar  at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, Dec. 6. The program will focus on how a member of the public can file a Federal civil rights Hate/Bias/Violence case and receive educational information aimed at preventing, handling and mediating incidents of Hate/Bias/Violence. The program will be held at the Rockville Memorial Library.

The Rockville Memorial Library is located at 21 Maryland Ave. in Downtown Rockville. The training will be held on the 2nd Floor in the Human Rights Commission Conference Room.

The program is free of charge and open to the public.

Scheduled to provide this training are Denise W. Nazaire and Thomas M. Coyle. Ms. Nazaire is the lead conciliation specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice-Community Relations Service (CRS), which is in Washington, D.C. Mr. Coyle is the supervisor of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Unit-Squad C-10 for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office in Baltimore.

Utilizing facilitated dialogues, mediation, training, consultation and various conflict resolution skills, Ms. Nazaire has worked with CRS to improve communities’ abilities to problem solve and build capacity to prevent and respond to conflict, tension and hate crimes. She previously was a management analyst within the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and served as a deputy project director within the DOJ, administering criminal juvenile justice research, violence prevention, police community relations, project management and training and technical assistance.

Mr. Coyle has 26 years of experience in Federal and local law enforcement. During his 13 years with the FBI Public Corruption and Civil Rights Unit-Squad C-10, the operation had several successful prosecutions of civil rights violations of Federal “Hate Crimes” laws. Thomas served as the supervisor of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Unit during the past five years.

For more information on the event, contact Richard W. Allen, the CAHV moderator/coordinator, at or 301-366-9361. More information also is available from James Stowe, executive director of the County Office of Human Rights, at or 240-888-5502.

Department of Permitting Services to Host Stakeholders Forum on Wednesday, Dec. 6, in Wheaton

A Stakeholders Forum, hosted by the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS), will be held from 8:30 a.m.-noon on Wednesday, Dec. 6, in the second-floor auditorium of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) building in Wheaton. The forum is designed for architects, builders, contractors, designers, developers, engineers, land use attorneys, permit expediters and other professionals.

The M-NCPPC office building is located at 2425 Reedie Drive in Wheaton.

Those planning to attend are encouraged to reserve their spot for the forum online. Space is limited to 200 seats.

The first 30 minutes of the event will feature a meet and greet session with DPS staff.

Topics to be discussed at the Stakeholders Forum include:
  • Public dashboards with turnaround times.
  • Updates on proposed changes to fire, building, energy and green building codes.
  • Reports and recommendations from the Montgomery County Development Review Process Workgroup.
  • New DPS vision, core values and initiatives.
  • Commitment to exceptional customer service, including introduction of new Customer Bill of Rights.
  • Impact taxes.
  • Comprehensive fee study.
  • Fast Track Program.
  • Technology updates.
  • Land Development’s Peer Review Program.
  • Community outreach activities, including the new DPS Podcast series.
  • Questions and answers session.
“We are excited to demonstrate our partnership with our many stakeholders and provide updates about what’s happening at DPS, and we very much look forward to listening and meeting with our stakeholders about their experiences with the permitting process in Montgomery County to enable the department to continue on the path of continuous improvement,” said DPS Director Rabbiah Sabbakhan. “Our vision is to create a world-class permitting services department.”

Director Sabbakhan said a second forum, with a focus for homeowners, would be held in 2024.

Questions about the Dec. 6 forum can be sent via email to More information also is available by calling 240-777-6364.

DPS customers can apply and pay for permits, submit construction plans, request records, file property complaints, and schedule inspections online at any time. Customers who have permitting questions or need more information about the application process should contact MC 311 (240-777-0311) or stop by DPS offices. An appointment is not necessary to get in-person assistance. The customer service lobby, located at 2425 Reedie Drive (7th floor) in Wheaton, is open from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For more information about the permitting process, visit the DPS website at

November 22, 2023

Message from the County Executive


Dear Friends,

I want to wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

We kicked off the holiday season last weekend with the County’s annual Thanksgiving Parade in Silver Spring. It was great to be out and see people and people walking with me carried signs saying what they are thankful for.

I did not carry a sign, but I am thankful for the positive changes we are seeing in Montgomery County and grateful to you for the opportunity to be your County Executive.

I have been on three economic development missions to Asia this year, and consistently heard that Montgomery County is recognized as a diverse, inclusionary, safe and welcoming place. We have a reputation not only as a great place to do business, but also to raise a family and receive a world class education.

While we are thankful for so much about this County, we are also aware that there are still many among us who are struggling.

One such challenge is food insecurity. According to the Capital Area Food Bank, about 23 percent of people in our County experienced food insecurity at some point during the previous year. This is a shockingly high number and one of the reasons we have invested significant resources for food security.

Even with the additional support, we are hearing from our food resource partners that demand for food resources continues to grow. Many families have lost the Federal aid they were receiving during the height of the pandemic.

We also continue to see an increase in the demand for services to help those experiencing homelessness. I cannot imagine where we would be right now had we not built a new shelter that opened last year. It is consistently full, and there is a waiting list for people looking for transitional housing.

I know that we will work as a County to continue to help as many people as possible find a way out of homelessness permanently, find ways to end hunger and make greater use of our many resources here.

President Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

We partner with hundreds of community organizations throughout the year to provide vital help to our community. I am grateful to all our community groups, nonprofits, houses of worship and volunteers. I encourage you during this holiday season and throughout the year to volunteer your time or donate your resources to help neighbors in need. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is a great place to find the best ways to use your talents to help out.

As we travel and gather for this holiday, I want to encourage everyone to continue to remember that we are still living with COVID-19, Please consider those amongst us who may be vulnerable to this virus.

I also want to remind everyone to not drive while impaired. Montgomery County and Maryland State Police will be on the lookout for impaired driving. Driving while under the influence is illegal, unsafe and potentially deadly. We want everyone to have a festive holiday and to celebrate safely.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Launch of MCPD Drone Responders

The Montgomery County Police Department launched a first responder drone pilot program this week. A team of pilots, video technicians and emergency responders will be able to assist on some 911 calls using the drones.

The drones will enable us to quickly get eyes on the scene even before police officers arrive. As the program begins, police will focus on using the drone in Downtown Silver Spring and Wheaton before potentially using it elsewhere in the County.

Police have said that using a drone could help determine whether or not police officers are needed on scene. A microphone and speakers will help remote first responders communicate with people at the scene. Drones can help provide responding officers with real time information about what is happening, improving safety. And a drone can follow a suspect if they leave a scene before police get there.

At the same time, there are clear guidelines for what the drones will not do. These guidelines will help protect people’s privacy. Cameras will be pointed up, until the drone arrives on the scene. Drones will not be used unless they are called to respond to an incident. They will not be flying constantly and taking pictures of people.

The Police Department will be tracking each flight and sharing details of those interactions through this website.

Update on Institute for Health Computing

I traveled to the University of Maryland last week to join leadership for the Institute for Health Computing (IHC). Project leaders listened to nationally noted AI expert Bratin Saha. His presentation on what is possible with AI in health care aligns with the work that IHC will do.

I also addressed the gathering about the importance of the Institute of Health Computing to Montgomery County.

We are the heart of the third-largest life science cluster in the U.S. However, we are the only cluster in the nation without an academic research institution. This will be our first.

We have brought this research institution to a location in the Washington Metropolitan Region, in between the large private sector cluster in Shady Grove and the wealth of intellectual capital at NIH and other institutions in Bethesda. This is an exciting collaboration with the University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore and the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). This is an ideal partnership that will attract more talent, more capital and new, leading-edge companies to Montgomery County, the State of Maryland and this region.

When I was recently in India and Vietnam, I shared our vision and this video about the institute and found companies interested in locating in Montgomery, partnering with our university and health system partners and our growing life sciences base.

I want to thank the University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore and UMMS for inviting me to this important gathering.

Loss of a Civic Leader

Montgomery County is mourning the loss of Karen Cordry, a dedicated advocate for our community who died earlier this week. Karen was a champion on neighborhood issues and on behalf of the Kensington Heights Civic Association and the Montgomery County Civic Federation. She was pivotal in empowering local communities.

One of her most noteworthy successes was in winning a long battle against an attempt to put a mega-gas station at Wheaton Mall, too close to adjacent neighborhoods, schools and a swimming pool. Her hard work, leadership and success was also a success for the environment and the community. Recently she was serving as vice chair of the County’s Charter Review Commission.

Karen’s list of accomplishments are too long to list here, but suffice it to say, she was a remarkable, intelligent, kind, generous person and a dear friend. As we remember her tireless advocacy and leadership, her legacy will continue to inspire our path forward. My deepest condolences to all who knew her and had the pleasure of working with her over her many decades of work for our community. We will miss her dearly.

FBI Headquarters Congratulations

I was in Asia when it was announced that the new FBI headquarters is headed to Greenbelt in Prince George’s County. Having Congressman Glenn Ivey as my guest for this week’s media briefing allowed me the opportunity to congratulate him. This was a big win for the State and Montgomery County will benefit as well. Credit deservedly goes to all the officials and residents of Prince George’s County, which competed for this headquarters for more than a decade. Former County Executive Ike Leggett and I supported their efforts.

There has always been a clear disparity on where Federal office space was in this region with more Federal opportunities going to the west side of the District than the East. This decision helps correct this historical inequity. Regional balance of Federal office space also assists traffic flow by reducing choke points of commuting Federal workers.

Montgomery County has benefitted from being home to the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other Federal partners. Seeing this opportunity for Prince George’s County finally fulfilled is a benefit to our region. I look forward to seeing the impact it makes in the years to come.

Small Business Saturday

“Small Business Saturday” will be recognized on Saturday, Nov. 25. On this important day, I will continue my tradition of touring small businesses to do my holiday shopping, meet with owners and employees and learn how the County Government can better assist them.

I tour small businesses and meet with owners regularly throughout the year, but now is the time of the year when many of our small retail businesses make the bulk of their sales and revenue. A 2022 Quickbooks study showed that up to 65 percent of yearly small business revenue can come during the holiday season.

Shopping locally is important to our local businesses and is critical to our County’s economy. According to the National Federation Independent Business, of every dollar spent at a County business, about 70 cents stays local. Of every dollar spent at a national corporation, a little over 30 cents stays local. That is a significant difference.

Small Business Saturday was officially recognized by Congress in 2011. Projected spending across the nation at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday has historically been close to $18 billion, according to the 2022 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey. It helps these businesses get recognized between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and supports the local business owners in our community.

I encourage you to go to Visit Montgomery’s website and look through its Small Business Saturday suggestions to find out where you can shop local throughout the holidays.

Shopping small and local is good for our environment, our efforts toward equity and our economy.

Health Report

We do not have any changes in the COVID situation to report. It is still with us and people are still getting sick, but the number of cases—and the number of fatalities—remain low. We continue to encourage people to get vaccinated if you are not current on your vaccines. COVID can still be deadly. It remains more deadly than flu, for example, so the threat to a person’s health remains very real.

This week the Federal Government renewed its program to provide free COVID tests by mail. Families that have not taken advantage of this program can now get up to eight tests per address by visiting

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive

November 21, 2023

Holiday Schedule for Thanksgiving Weekend on Thursday-Friday, Nov. 23-24

Holiday Schedule for Thanksgiving Weekend on Thursday-Friday, Nov. 23-24

The Montgomery County Government, and programs that impact County residents, will have schedule and program changes for Thanksgiving Weekend, Thursday-Friday, Nov. 23-24.

  • County offices—Closed Thanksgiving Day.
  • MC 311—Closed Thanksgiving Day.
  • State offices and courts—Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Friday, Nov. 24.
  • State Motor Vehicle Administration offices and Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program stations—Closed Thanksgiving Day.
  • Libraries— Closed Thanksgiving Day.
  • Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS)—All stores closed on Thanksgiving Day. Open regular hours (10 a.m.-9 p.m.) on Friday, Nov. 24.
  • Department of Permitting Services—All offices, including the customer service lobby, will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Offices will be open 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24.
  • Ride On—Will operate on a Sunday service schedule on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Ride On Flex and Ride On extRa—Will not be in service on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Flash—On Thanksgiving Day, will operate a Weekends and Holidays service for the Orange Route. The Blue Route will not be in service.
  • MARC Train—No MARC Train service on Thanksgiving Day. On Friday, Nov. 24, will operate on Saturday schedule on the Penn Line only. There will be no Camden or Brunswick Line service on Nov. 24.
  • TRiPS Silver Spring commuter store—Will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. It will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Nov. 24.
  • TRiPS mobile commuter store—Will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Open on Nov. 24.
  • Metrobus—Will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving Day. Will operate on regular Friday schedule on Nov. 24. More details at
  • Metrorail—On Thanksgiving Day, will operate on a Sunday Holiday schedule, with trains running from 7 a.m.-midnight. On Friday, Nov. 24, trains will run from 5 a.m.-1 a.m. For more details, go to
  • Public Parking Garages, Lots, Curbside Meters—Free on Thanksgiving Day. Charges in effect on Friday, Nov. 24.
  • County-provided trash and recycling collections—No collections on Thanksgiving Day. Collections for the remainder of the week will slide one day, with the final collections on Saturday, Nov. 25.
  • Shady Grove Transfer Station and Recycling Center—Entire facility closed Thanksgiving Day.
  • Aquatic Centers— Will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Closed on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Community Recreation Centers—Closed Thanksgiving Day and Friday, Nov. 24.  
  • Senior Centers—Closed Thanksgiving Day and Friday, Nov. 24.  
  • For Montgomery Parks information, visit  

Additional information for Montgomery Parks facilities:

  • Open Parkways schedule. The Open Parkways program will be extended during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. During this time, parkways will be open to pedestrians and bicyclists and closed to motor vehicles. The special hours include Beach Drive between Connecticut and Knowles Avenue (2.9 miles) from 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, through 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26; Sligo Creek Parkway between Old Carroll Avenue and Piney Branch Road and between Forest Glen Road and University Boulevard West from 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, through 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26; Little Falls Parkway between Arlington Road and Dorset Avenue (0.4 miles) will be open 24/7 for recreation and exercise.

Open during the holiday weekend:

The following facilities will be closed on Thanksgiving Day:   

  • Montgomery Parks headquarters and permits offices.  
  • Montgomery Parks customer service office.  
  • All Montgomery Parks facilities and buildings (parks and trails are always open daily, sunrise to sunset).

The following facilities will also be closed on Friday, Nov. 24:

  • Montgomery Parks headquarters and permits offices.  
  • Montgomery Parks customer service office.  
  • Black Hill Visitor Center and Nature Programs.
  • Brookside Gardens’ Visitor Center and Conservatory (Closed during the day. Garden of Lights opens at 5:30 p.m. for ticket holders).
  • Brookside Nature Center.
  • Locust Grove Nature Center.

‘Holiday Task Force’ Activated to Detect Impaired Drivers with Sobriety Checkpoints and Saturation Patrols Through Jan. 13

‘Holiday Task Force’ Activated to Detect Impaired Drivers with Sobriety Checkpoints and Saturation Patrols Through Jan. 13

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) have activated a “Holiday Task Force” to detect impaired drivers. Considering the start of the holiday season typically sees an increase in the number of fatal alcohol-related crashes, MCPD will establish sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout Thanksgiving Weekend to New Year’s holiday period.

As part of Montgomery County's Vision Zero effort to prevent death and injury on its roadways, the County annually implements a Holiday Task Force in which police officers from multiple agencies devote time and attention to detecting impaired drivers. The Holiday Task Force began on Nov. 8 and will operate through Jan. 13.

The extended Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most heavily traveled times of the year and the evening before Thanksgiving historically is one of the busiest nights for bars and restaurants, with high drinking rates. MCDOT and MCPD remind residents that high-risk activities, combined with the sheer number of drivers on the road, make it an especially dangerous time for alcohol-related collisions.

“Unfortunately, impaired driving is a real threat to our community, and that threat increases during holidays like Thanksgiving,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “The Wednesday before Thanksgiving—Thanksgiving Eve—is an especially high-risk night for impaired driving. If you choose to drink, plan out a safe ride home beforehand. Every day, about 37 people die nationally from impaired driving crashes. That is one person killed every 39 minutes. In Montgomery County alone, there were 291 impaired drivers arrested during the 2022 Holiday Task Force. Hurting yourself, and potentially others, driving while intoxicated will not only ruin the holidays, but your entire life. Enjoy the holidays, but please, drive sober.”

The night before Thanksgiving is especially dangerous as it has been dubbed “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving.” These nicknames have come to describe a cultural phenomenon in which friends gather the night before the holiday for drinks, and as a result, drunk driving-related crashes increase.

“This year, AAA estimates that over 49 million Americans will travel by car over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “A larger number of people on the road, coupled with higher drinking rates, makes for a more dangerous travel period. The fact that 31 percent of all our roadway fatalities involve drunk drivers is staggering. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous for everyone on our roads.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 190 people were killed during the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday period (6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, through 5:59 a.m. Monday, Nov. 29). Additionally, more than four times as many drivers involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired during nighttime than during the day.

Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Every year, more than 10,000 people are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) offenses in Maryland. Penalties for a first-time DUI conviction in Maryland could include jail time, significant fines and license points, mandatory ignition interlock and license suspension.

“As we enter the holiday season, the Montgomery County Police Holiday Task Force is taking measures to enhance road safety. Our officers will be conducting sobriety checkpoints across Montgomery County,” said Police Chief Marcus Jones. “I urge everyone to prioritize the safety of themselves and others by refraining from drinking and driving. Plan ahead, whether it's designating a driver, utilizing public transportation or opting for a ride-share service. Let's work together to ensure a safe and joyful holiday season for everyone on our roads.”

Drivers can find a listing of local safe rides on the County’s Vision Zero website here.

The County is asking parents to emphasize to youth under age 21 that underage drinking can lead to serious consequences. Information about how to help prevent underage drinking, through communication and creating an action plan, is available from the Federal Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking website.

Chevy Chase Branch of Montgomery County Libraries Will Close for Plumbing Repairs on Monday, Nov. 27; Expected to Resume Operations on Monday, Dec. 4

Chevy Chase Branch of Montgomery County Libraries Will Close for Plumbing Repairs on Monday, Nov. 27; Expected to Resume Operations on Sunday, Dec. 4

The Chevy Chase Library, located at 8005 Connecticut Ave. in Chevy Chase, will close for essential plumbing repairs on Monday, Nov. 27. The building is expected to reopen at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 4.

“We recognize the impact of our services on your daily lives, and we regret any disruption caused by this temporary closure,” said Anita Vassallo, director of Montgomery County Public Libraries. “We encourage you to access services at nearby branches and explore our digital resources during this time. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to resuming operations at the Chevy Chase branch soon.”

For additional information regarding the closing, visit

Free Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids and Personal Sound Amplifiers Available to Eligible Residents 60-and-Over

Free Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids and Personal Sound Amplifiers Available to Eligible Residents 60-and-Over

The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services’ Aging and Disability Services Division continues to provide free hearing aids and personal sound amplifiers to eligible residents age 60-and-over. The County is partnering with Access HEARS, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect individuals with hearing loss to the solutions they need to age well.

Devices will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Funds for the program come from the American Rescue Act. Information about how to obtain a free hearing device is available at

To be eligible to receive a free hearing device, those interested must:
  • Be a County resident aged 60 or older.
  • Have perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
  • Have an annual income below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines ($36,450 for a single individual).
Participants must provide proof of age, residence and income.

Over-the-counter hearing aids became available in 2022. While hearing aids are now more accessible than ever, significant barriers exist to navigating the market and the devices themselves. The average cost to purchase one of these devices over the counter is $220, which can be prohibitive for seniors on fixed or low incomes.

Founded by physicians and leading hearing experts and entrepreneurs at the Johns Hopkins University, Access HEARS delivers services directly to the community, offering its clients a low-cost, in-person or virtual service delivery.

Access HEARS staff also teaches individuals how to use over-the-counter hearing aids with the goal of supporting healthy aging and continued engagement with their family and communities. Clients receive ongoing support throughout the first 12 months to ensure their success.

To learn more about Access HEARS and to inquire about receiving a free device, visit its website or call 410-929-0394.

Charter Review Commission Seeks Input of Residents on Possible Revisions to County Charter

Charter Review Commission Seeks Input of Residents on Possible Revisions to County Charter

The Montgomery County Charter Review Commission is soliciting public comments on what matters the commission should consider for possible revisions to the County’s Charter.

The County Charter is the constitutional framework for the County Government. The County Council, in coordination with the County Executive, appoints the 11-member, bi-partisan, Charter Review Commission to study the County Charter and recommend changes. The Council appointed new commission members in July 2023.

The commission is required to submit a report to the County Council on its activities in every even-numbered year, on or before May 1. The report must include the commission’s recommendations for possible Charter revisions, if any. Those recommendations can lead to proposed Charter amendments being adopted by the Council and submitted for voter approval at the next election.

The commission is seeking suggestions from the public on the topics it should study, with particular focus on matters that could be the subject of recommendations included in its report due by May 1.

The commission requests that those comments be submitted before its meeting scheduled for Jan. 10. Suggestions for other matters that might be appropriate for longer-term study and inclusion in its May 2026 report also are welcomed. Comments received after the Jan. 10 meeting will be considered in a subsequent report.

Public comments can be submitted by email to charterreview.commission@ Comments sent by postal mail should be addressed to Charter Review Commission / Council Office Building / 100 Maryland Ave., 6th Floor / Rockville, MD 20850

The commission also expects to hold public listening sessions early in 2024 to receive input on the possible charter revisions being considered by the commission.

Previous reports of the Charter Review Commission, the minutes and recordings of prior meetings and a link that can be used to access a copy of the County Charter can be viewed at

‘Suburban Wasteland: Punk Culture in Montgomery County from 1977 to 2002’ Will Be Theme of Montgomery History Presentation

‘Suburban Wasteland: Punk Culture in Montgomery County from 1977 to 2002’ Will Be Theme of Montgomery History Presentation

Since the late 1970s, the punk rock subculture has thrived in Montgomery County. The time between the opening (1977) and closing (2002) dates of Yesterday & Today Records—a punk scene hub that both inspired and employed countless punks—was a profoundly active time for punk music and culture in Montgomery County. Starting Monday, Nov. 27, Montgomery History will present a free, online look at “Suburban Wasteland: Punk Culture in Montgomery County from 1977 to 2002.” The event will be viewable for a one-week period.

John Davis is the host of the talk, which was originally presented at the 2022 Montgomery County History Conference. The discussion explores the bands, record labels, fanzines, record stores and other pieces of the local punk ecosystem that made Montgomery County an integral part of the highly influential Washington, D.C.-area punk subculture.

To view the presentation, which will be available through Dec. 3, go to Events from November 27 - September 19 (

High School Students Can Apply to Vision Zero Youth Ambassadors’ Program to Improve Traffic Safety

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation is seeking County high school students to serve as "Vision Zero Youth Ambassadors." The project-based learning program teaches teens leadership skills, the importance of roadway design, law enforcement, outreach and engagement techniques to address traffic safety needs in their community. Applications are being accepted through Friday, Dec. 15.

Interested public, private and home-schooled high school students can learn about the program and apply here.

The program supports the County’s Vision Zero Initiative, whose goal is to eliminate traffic-related severe injuries and deaths.

Students selected to be a youth ambassador are required to commit to the program that teaches them different aspects of Vision Zero and participate in hands-on projects that bring awareness to safety needs in communities around the County. Youth Ambassadors are tasked to complete a group project that encompasses engineering or education topics. Resources and project guidance are provided from the County to execute projects that will ultimately improve safety in their communities.

Montgomery County Public School students who participate in the program can earn up to 35 Student Service Learning credits.

The program will help students develop leadership skills, learn outreach and engagement techniques, gain social media engagement skills and other techniques to address traffic safety needs in their community. Ambassadors will also have an opportunity to meet County safety leaders and staff from the Department of Transportation.

Applicants to the program will be notified by Jan. 5 if they are accepted. The in-person orientation is scheduled for Jan. 20. On in-person session is scheduled each month through the graduation on May 18. The in-person sessions will take place at 100 Edison Park Dr. in Gaithersburg.

Montgomery Parks November Nature Center Programs Will Include Project FeederWatch and Full Moon Friday

Montgomery Parks November Nature Center Programs Will Include Project FeederWatch and Full Moon Friday

Montgomery Parks is offering a full slate of fun and educational programs in November. The special events will include Project FeederWatch on Thursday and Friday nights at the Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda and Full Moon Friday on Nov. 24 at Locust Grove.

The November Nature Center special events schedule:
  • Project FeederWatch. Thursdays and Fridays through Dec. 1. 11 a.m.-noon. Locust Grove Nature Center, 7777 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda Project FeederWatch is a seasonal community science project where participants count the different species of birds that flock to a bird feeder. All levels of birders are welcome. Registration required. Ages 5 and older. Free.
  • Full Moon Friday. Friday, Nov. 24. 5:30-7 p.m. Locust Grove Nature Center, 7777 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda. Take a full moon hike and enjoy a campfire. Bring hot dogs or food to warm over the fire. Marshmallows will be provided. Ages 5 and older. Registration required. $8.
  • Post-Thanksgiving Family Movie Night featuring “Sign Up” ASL Interpretation. Friday, Nov. 24. 6-8 p.m. Meadowside Nature Center, 5100 Meadowside Lane, Rockville. Bring your Thanksgiving leftovers to this indoor picnic and enjoy a family-friendly film. The movie will have sound and will feature “Sign Up,” which provides ASL interpretation during the film. Popcorn will be provided. Registration required. $5.
  • Night Hike. Monday, Nov. 27. 5-6 p.m. Black Hill Nature Programs, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds. Join the post-sunset one-mile hike and listen for creatures that are most active at night. Registration required. $6 ($5 Friends of Black Hill).
Go to Montgomery Parks event calendar for a complete list of special events and programming and to learn how to sign up using ActiveMontgomery. Visit the Fall 2023 Montgomery Parks Program Guide