Purple Line NOW News - January 9, 2019

Happy New Year, transit enthusiasts!

It goes without saying that 2018 was a historic year for the Purple Line. It marked the first full year of construction and it included some major milestones for the project. When the year began, you might not have seen any visible signs of construction, but by year’s end, construction activity could be found at just about every future station area and places in between.

As has become our tradition, we're ringing in the new year by taking a look back at the year that was 2018 and the stories that defined the Purple Line. However, unlike previous years, this year's biggest stories were all construction-related and the stories of 'will it or won't it be built' are a thing of the past. So sit back and revel in the progress that was made in 2018!

10. Road Closed Ahead 

Road closures are fact of life with large infrastructure projects such as the Purple Line. One such closure went into effect this past year in Prince George's County along Ellin Road which leads to the future New Carrollton station. The first phase of construction on Ellin Road will consist of utility relocation. Subsequent phases will include construction of the track foundation, road reconstruction, and installation of electrical systems. As of early January, the pavement had been milled (i.e. removed) in preparation for further construction work.

9. Beyond the Tracks

While not directly related to the construction of the Purple Line, our next story from 2018 is no less significant for future of the corridor. In the waning days of 2018, the Federal Transit Administration announced that the Maryland Transit Administration and the Purple Line Corridor Coalition (PLCC) were awarded a $2 million grant for planning work that will support the goals identified by the PLCC. In short, the grant will help to ensure the investment in the Purple Line leads to equitable, sustainable, and vibrant development along the corridor. Expect to hear more about the PLCC and their work in the coming months.

8. Groundbreaking Work in Bethesda

Almost one year after the Purple Line broke ground, another groundbreaking was celebrated in Bethesda for a private development that will sit atop the Bethesda Purple Line station stop and the Capital Crescent Trail. The developer of the residential and office buildings was responsible for constructing the shell of the station as well as the segment of the trail that lies below the buildings. Last month, the construction teams commemorated the completion of the station shell by handing out Christmas ornaments to all the workers who played a part in its construction.

7. Downtown Demolition 

Demolition was a prominent part of the construction activity in 2018. No where was this more apparent than the demolition of the popular Spring Center shopping center in Silver Spring. During the summer and fall, crews worked to knock down the two strip centers along 16th Street. As we noted in a previous newsletter, the demolition was necessary because the site will serve as a construction staging area and because the future Woodside station stop will occupy the back of the property. If you patronized the businesses that used to be located here, you’ll be interested to learn that many of them have found new locations in and around Silver Spring.

6. Glenridge Yard

Without a doubt, the largest construction site along the Purple Line corridor is the Glenridge operations and maintenance facility in Prince George’s County, so we couldn’t NOT recognize it on the top ten list! Construction is largely out of public view due to its location, but serious progress was made this year. Construction crews spent the better part of the year moving earth on the site and grading the land for the storage yard; however, by the end of the year, we began to notice structures rising from the ground. Don't be surprised if the Glenridge Yard makes it on next year’s list, too, given the sheer immensity and activity at the site.

5. Special Delivery in Baltimore 

In September, the shell of the Purple Line train cars arrived at the Port of Baltimore from Spain, where the frames are being manufactured. The train components were then transferred to Elmira, New York, where the trains will be assembled. There’s an outside chance that by the end of this year, you might just see trains being run on a test track near the Glenridge facility.

4. Freshmen Year on Campus

The commencement of major construction at the University of Maryland coincided with the start of the fall semester. In late August, Campus Drive, which runs through the heart of campus, permanently transitioned to a one-way road in order to accommodate the forthcoming construction of the Purple Line tracks that will line either side of the road. Crews are currently in the process of relocating utilities along Campus Drive. 

3. Bad Vibrations in Long Branch

The Construction of the Plymouth Street tunnel in Silver Spring made headlines this fall when residents complained that overnight work on the tunnel was keeping them up at night. Residents sought relief directly from the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, who obliged the request of the homeowners. Following the meeting with the Secretary, residents reported that the noise had subsided substantially and that they could sleep once again.

2. Bridging the Gap

The closure and replacement of the Lyttonsville Place bridge was a major story for the second half of 2018. As you may remember, in June, the bridge was closed to facilitate the construction of a new and longer bridge to enable Purple Line trains and the Capital Crescent Trail to run beneath it. The closure was expected to last six months, but Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP) announced in late December that due to an exceptionally wet fall and the use of a higher strength concrete for the deck which will necessitate an additional surfacing stage, the bridge would miss its targeted completion date. However, PLTP issued an update yesterday that the bridge will reopen to vehicular traffic and pedestrians on or around this Friday, January 11.

And, with that, we reach the #1 Purple Line story of 2018!

1. Light at the End of the Tunnel

The Plymouth Street tunnel holds the distinction of being the only segment of the project to make it on the top ten list twice this year! Construction workers received an early Christmas present on December 20 when they broke through the western end of the 1,000 foot tunnel in Silver Spring and saw daylight for the first time. The “hole through” as it’s referred to by tunnelers, is a HUGE milestone in the project's construction, but excavation work isn’t over just yet. The first pass created the top two thirds of the tunnel, but workers will now begin to work their way back towards the eastern portal and excavate another several feet from the floor of the tunnel.

 

event.png

PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Last Chance to Reserve Your Seat!

We have a few seats left for tomorrow evening's Purple Line Update Forum in College Park. If you haven't already done so, please RSVP TODAY - the event is free, but space is limited and we need your name on the attendance list as seating will be limited to the first 100 folks with reservations.

The event is tomorrow night (Thursday) January 10 at City Hall! Parking at the building is free, but you must come into the lobby to get your parking pass.

We have an AWESOME program planned - jam-packed with terrific speakers who will highlight the economic development occurring in College Park and update us on plans as the project becomes a reality.

A few things to know about the evening:

• The event is on Thursday, January 10, 2019, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at City Hall in College Park (4500 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740). If you are driving, please get your free parking pass from the front lobby window.


• We will have a Meet and Greet from 6:30 pm - 7:00 pm. Because of the number of speakers on our panel, we will start the program portion of the evening promptly at 7 pm.


Speakers for the forum include:


• Fred Craig, Chief Executive Officer of the Purple Line Transit Partners
• Bradley Frome, Senior Policy Advisor to the Prince George's County Executive
• Anna McLaughlin, Assistant Director of Sustainability at the University of Maryland’s Department of Transportation
• George Trujillo, Associate Vice President, Facilities Management, for University of Maryland University College
• The Honorable Patrick Wojahn, Mayor of College Park

As you can see, this is going to be a very informative evening for the community and we hope you will join us!
Media is invited and inquiries can be made to Christine Scott,cscott@purplelinenow.com.

Consider Becoming a Donor to Purple Line NOW!

Purple Line NOW exists only on donations from individuals and businesses who care about the Purple Line - we don't have corporate underwriters and we are not funded by any government entity. Because of your generosity, we are able to bring you information-packed newsletters, educational and informative programs like the one above, and provide a conduit for community issues regarding the project to the folks who can help solve them. We do a lot on a very skinny budget and volunteer elbow grease! If you've benefited by our services or enjoy the information we bring to you, we hope you will consider becoming a sponsor of our programs.


Every penny is important to us and we appreciate all levels of sponsorship! Please consider joining your neighbors and friends who proudly support Purple Line NOW. Your name will appear at all events and on all promotional materials for a year following your donation. The benefits of sponsorship are listed on our website and donating is easy - just follow this link: I'd like to become a sponsor!


We are grateful for you and all you do for the communities in which we live and work.

 

action.png

PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

Please feel free to share this bi-weekly newsletter with others who may appreciate information about the project. As always, if you have any feedback on how we can improve the newsletter, drop us a line! 

If you find the information contained in our newsletter useful, please consider a donation to us - we are a not-for-profit organization with an active group of volunteers and one quarter-time employee. We operate on a bare-bones budget and appreciate every donation we receive.

Get Connected!

Make sure you are signed up for timely alerts from Purple Line NOW via our Twitter and Facebook pages, and at our website Purple Line NOW.


Last Chance - College Park Purple Line Forum THIS Thursday!

We hope to see you at the College Park Purple Line forum THIS Thursday, January 10 at City Hall! Please forward this email to any folks who live, work, study, or play in College Park. We have an AWESOME program planned - jam-packed with terrific speakers who will highlight the economic development occurring in College Park and update us on plans as the project becomes a reality.

A few things to know about the evening:

  • The event is on Thursday, January 10, 2019, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at City Hall in College Park (4500 Knox Road, College Park, MD  20740). If you are driving, please get your free parking pass from the front lobby window.
  • We will have a Meet and Greet from 6:30 pm - 7:00 pm. Because of the number of speakers on our panel, we will start the program portion of the evening promptly at 7 pm.

Seats are filling and we are looking forward to a great crowd for our panel that evening. Attendance, as always, is free and open to the public and media, but your seat must be reserved in advance. Seating is limited to the first 100 folks with reservations.

Speakers for the forum include:

  • Fred Craig, Chief Executive Officer of the Purple Line Transit Partners
  • Bradley Frome, Senior Policy Advisor to the Prince George's County Executive
  • Anna McLaughlin, Assistant Director of Sustainability at the University of Maryland’s Department of Transportation
  • George Trujillo, Associate Vice President, Facilities Management, for University of Maryland University College
  • The Honorable Patrick Wojahn, Mayor of College Park

As you can see, this is going to be a very informative evening for the community and we hope you will join us!

Media is invited and inquiries can be made to Christine Scott,cscott@purplelinenow.com.

Purple Line NOW exists only on donations from individuals and businesses who care about the Purple Line - we don't have corporate underwriters and we are not funded by any government entity. Because of your generosity, we are able to bring you information-packed newsletters, educational and informative programs like the one above, and provide a conduit for community issues regarding the project to the folks who can help solve them. We do a lot on a very skinny budget and volunteer elbow grease! If you've benefited by our services or enjoy the information we bring to you, we hope you will consider becoming a sponsor of our programs.

Every penny is important to us and we appreciate all levels of sponsorship! Please consider joining your neighbors and friends who proudly support Purple Line NOW. Your name will appear at all events and on all promotional materials for a year following your donation. The benefits of sponsorship are listed on our website and donating is easy - just follow this link: I'd like to become a sponsor!

We are grateful for you and all you do for the communities in which we live and work.

Christine Scott, Executive Director


Happy Holidays from Purple Line NOW!

From all of us here at Purple Line NOW to all our supporters - we wish you a very Happy Holiday and a bright and happy New Year! The turn of the calendar brings us closer to the day when we will all take our first ride on the Purple Line!

Before heading off for your holiday break, please take a moment to read our reminders below. 

1) If you haven't already done so, make sure you have signed up to attend our next Envisioning the Purple Line Forum on January 10, 2019, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at City Hall in College Park. We are pleased to report that seats are filling and we are looking forward to a great crowd for our terrific panel that evening. Attendance, as always, is free and open to the public and media, but your seat must be reserved in advance. Seating is limited to the first 100 folks with reservations.

Speakers for this forum will include College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, Purple Line Transit Partners CEO Fred Craig, Assistant Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Prince George's County Economic Development & Public Infrastructure Bradley Frome, Associate Vice President, Facilities Management, for University of Maryland University College George Trujillo, and Anna McLaughlin, Assistant Director of Sustainability at the University of Maryland’s Department of Transportation. As you can see, this is going to be a very informative evening for the community and we hope you will join us!

Media is invited and inquiries can be made to Christine Scott,cscott@purplelinenow.com.

2) As the year comes to a close, we hope you will include us in your annual giving. We exist only on donations from individuals and businesses who care about the Purple Line - we don't have corporate underwriters and we are not funded by any government entity. Because of your generosity, we are able to bring you information-packed newsletters, educational and informative programs, and provide a conduit for community issues regarding the project to the folks who can help solve them. We do a lot on a very skinny budget and volunteer elbow grease! If you've benefited by our services or enjoy the information we bring to you, we hope you will consider becoming a sponsor of our programs. We appreciate all levels of sponsorship - so do consider joining your neighbors and friends who proudly support Purple Line NOW. Your name will appear at all events and on all promotional materials for a year following your donation. The benefits of sponsorship are listed on our website and donating is easy - just follow this link: I'd like to become a sponsor!

Thank you for helping to make this year one of progress for this outstanding project. We are grateful for you and all you do for the communities in which we live and work.

Season's Greetings!

Christine Scott, Executive Director


Remembering Former Purple Line NOW Board Member Keith Haller

We were shocked and saddened to learn this morning that longtime Purple Line supporter, former Purple Line NOW board member, Rockville resident, pollster, and dreamer of big dreams, Keith Haller passed away yesterday, far too soon, at age 70. We are still processing the news, but wanted to immediately express our gratitude for his support after the 2014 election, when he helped explain the value of the Purple Line to the incoming Governor and convey his grand vision for the bright economic future of the project. We also appreciate his role in supporting local media as a co-founder of Maryland Matters, which is already playing a vital role in covering local news in a time when such journalism is under threat or already lost in much of the nation. We regret that we won’t be able to take the first ride on the Purple Line with you, Keith, but your legacy will live on in your work to make our county more prosperous and better informed.

Reserve Your Seat NOW - Space is Limited!

If you haven't already done so, please mark your calendar for the next Purple Line NOW forum on January 10, 2019, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at City Hall in College Park.

Attendance, as always, is free and open to the public and media, but your seat must be reserved in advance. Seating is limited to the first 100 folks with reservations, so make sure to save your seat.

Plan to come and hear what is happening right now in College Park and what is on the horizon once the project is completed. The speakers for this forum will include College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, Purple Line Transit Partners CEO Fred Craig, Assistant Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Prince George's County Economic Development & Public Infrastructure Bradley Frome, Associate Vice President, Facilities Management, for University of Maryland University College George Trujillo, and Anna McLaughlin, Assistant Director – Sustainability, UMD Department of Transportation Services. As you can see, this is going to be a very informative evening for the community and we hope you will join us!

Media is invited and inquiries can be made to Christine Scott,cscott@purplelinenow.com.

Please Consider Becoming a Purple Line NOW Sponsor

Purple Line NOW exists because generous individuals, businesses, and organizations support us by becoming a sponsor of the Envisioning the Purple Line series. The financial support we receive from your sponsorship allows us to put on these events, provide educational newsletters and information about ongoing construction issues, and keep abreast of any hurdles along the way.

Please take a moment to become a sponsor - your name will appear at all events and on all promotional materials for a year following your donation. The benefits of sponsorship are listed on our website and donating is easy - just follow this link: I'd like to become a sponsor! There are several levels of sponsorship - and we appreciate them all! Thank you for considering us in your holiday giving this year - we appreciate you more than you know.

 

construction2.png

CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

 

Have You Heard About the Purple Line’s Railcars?

We have been updating you for several months about the construction of tunnels and right-of-ways for the Purple Line. However, one of the most exciting things for us are the railcars themselves, as the rails alone don’t transport you anywhere! The biggest news about the railcars themselves is the innovative design that came out of the contract competition. As you might remember, Maryland paid each of the companies a fee so that they could keep the best ideas from each proposal. One of the more inventive ideas was to use only a single modular railcar rather than two railcars, back-to-back, which is the default for light rail systems around the country. This style is increasingly common in railcars, including heavy rail, around the world but new to the United States.

These open gangways mean about 10% more capacity for the cars, which holds 80 people seated and up to 431 people shoulder-to-shoulder. There’s also planned wall racks for bikes to allow them to fit in even when the trains are crowded. The railcars' maximum speed is 50 miles per hour, with an average speed of 20 miles per hour across the 90% dedicated right of way. At 136 feet across five modules, the Purple Line will have the longest railcars in America as reported by Greater Greater Washington. The manufacturer is the Spanish firm CAF which also made the Cincinnati streetcar. The steel frames are fabricated in Spain and then shipped to Elmira, New York for assembly. There’s a drive test track in New York to test them on, but final testing after assembly will be at the Glendridge yard in Prince George’s County.

We had an early peek at the arriving railcar frames on Twitter. At the last Envisioning the Purple Line forum in July, Fred Craig, CEO of Purple Line Transit Partners, gave a positive update on the manufacturing process and commented on how quiet the light rail vehicles are. He compared the noise they produce to that of an electric car, though of course they will have bells and other options to make noise when needed. Fred Craig also compared the cars to rolling computers and we look forward to sharing more with you about their features as we learn more. Towards the end of 2019, we’ll have a chance to see them in action, running back and forth on a test track at the Glenridge facility.

 

event.png

PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Just a note - the next edition of the Purple Line Now NEWS will be delivered on January 9, 2019. In the meantime, we wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season. Once again, a great big thank you for your interest and your time in making this project come to life!

action.png

PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

Please feel free to share this bi-weekly newsletter with others who may appreciate information about the project. As always, if you have any feedback on how we can improve the newsletter, drop us a line! 

If you find the information contained in our newsletter useful, please consider a donation to us - we are a not-for-profit organization with an active group of volunteers and one quarter-time employee. We operate on a bare-bones budget and appreciate every donation we receive.

Get Connected!

Make sure you are signed up for timely alerts from Purple Line NOW via our Twitter and Facebook pages, and at our website Purple Line NOW.



Follow Us

 Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twiter

Donate Now Contact Us e-News