Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Glenmont Metro Garage Groundbreaking

My feet are still thawing out, but a little ice storm couldn’t keep me away from today’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new Glenmont Metro Station parking garage.

This second garage at Glenmont Station, which will be located on the west side of Georgia Avenue, replaces one of the station’s Kiss & Ride lots and will add 1,200 parking spaces. When the garage is completed, there will be 3,000 parking spaces at Glenmont. Currently there is more demand than space at the station, and commuters are turned away, so this garage is a very high priority for us.

Commuters displaced from the Kiss & Ride lot during construction will be able to use the other Kiss & Ride lot on the east side of Georgia Avenue. To further accommodate commuters during construction, Congressman Van Hollen (who also braved the elements to attend today’s groundbreaking) obtained a $500,000 federal earmark towards the purchase of two new buses that will enhance the frequency of Ride On bus service to the station. Ride On’s Route 51 bus increased service by 33 percent, or eight additional trips from the 235-space Norbeck Park and Ride Lot, located one-quarter mile east of Georgia Avenue. The upgraded service began in September.

Metro is managing the design/build project for the County and has contracted with Forrester Construction Company, a local Rockville firm. When completed, the garage will be operated and maintained by Metro. Community workshops were held to solicit input on the design of the parking garage. The garage will have six levels of parking, with one level below ground. The design will incorporate a number of environmentally sensitive features to earn the garage a LEED rating, including energy efficient light fixtures and measures to reduce energy use; maximizing recycling and reuse of construction, demolition and land clearing debris; and use of building materials that are locally produced or contain recycled content.

A canopy will connect the garage entrance to the Metrorail entrance. The garage will feature customer assistance phones, extra lighting, digital security cameras, and a police room with window access to the garage to enhance security.

Parking at the garage will cost $4.75. Commuters will use the ‘SmartTrip’ fare card for payment, as in other Metro lots and garages.

The cost of the garage is $24.7 million, and financing will be provided from County revenue and liquor bonds backed by Metro; a special parking surcharge at all Metro stations in the County; and a $1.6 million matching grant from the State of Maryland. The County is planning to purchase the remaining land on the Metro site to locate Fire Station #18 next to the garage. This fire station must be relocated as part of the new Georgia/Randolph interchange project.

The Glenmont Metro Station first opened in 1999. With an average of almost 6,000 weekday boardings, the station has the fourth highest ridership of transit stations in Montgomery County. (Silver Spring and Shady Grove stations have the most ridership with more than 13,000 daily boardings.)

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