Recap of Purple Line NOW College Park Forum

If you haven't already done so, 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! 

construction2.png

CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

Recap of Purple Line NOW College Park Forum

On January 10, Purple Line NOW held an informative forum for the College Park community. We were thrilled to welcome so many of you on a cold winter’s night. In case you were not able to join us, we will put the forum up on YouTube soon, thanks to our volunteer videographer, John Wetmore.

In the meantime, here is a short recap of the evening’s presentations.

A great big THANK YOU to our amazing panel of speakers: College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, Fred Craig from the Purple Line Transit Partners, Bradley Frome from the Prince George's County Executive's office, Anna McLaughlin, from the University of Maryland’s Department of Transportation, and George Trujillo, from the University of Maryland University College.

Below each recap, you can see a short bio of the speaker. They were all terrific!

Mayor Wojahn welcomed everyone to City Hall and spoke about some of the opportunities and challenges facing the College Park community as the Purple Line rolls into town. One of the most visible developments as a result of the light rail project coming to College Park is the completion of the new high-end hotel, with space for academic conferences and events. The new investment in the community brings more people and businesses to the area, which in turn has a positive impact on the tax base.

The Mayor also reminded the audience that there will be five FREE stations along the campus portion of the route for students and faculty, allowing for more efficient movement throughout campus and less automobile traffic. Patrick also spoke about some of the challenges construction is presenting with the closure of Campus Drive, although they are trying to focus construction during the summer months when fewer students are around. The Mayor also said that they are working hard to keep College Park affordable for residents and businesses as the line nears completion, "as the goal is not just development and new jobs, but to forge College Park as a community."

The Honorable Patrick Wojahn, Mayor of College Park
Patrick is an advocate for trails and safe bicycle and pedestrian networks as Director of Government Relations at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Previously, Patrick worked as a policy and legal advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and for people living with HIV/AIDS in the DC metro area. Patrick has served in various leadership roles in the past, including as Chair of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board and as chair of the National League of Cities Transportation and Infrastructure Service Policy Committee. He was a founding member of the Board of Director of the College Park Community Foundation and served on the Boards of Directors of the College Park Community Food Bank and Equality Maryland. Patrick is also a member of the Board of Directors for Purple Line NOW.

Next up was the Purple Line Transit Partners’ CEO, Fred Craig. Fred and his team are charged with building the Purple Line. Fred talked about the satisfaction of building the line - not just for the folks in the room that evening, but for the next generation of users. “You don’t plant a tree for your generation, but for the next generation,” he said. We are grateful that our generation will be riding the Purple Line in just a few years, too!

 

Fred said that one of the most important things he does each day is drive from one end of the Purple Line to the other to get an eye on the work being done on the ground (and below!) To illustrate the work being done, he brought an excellent slide show - as soon as we have the video up on the internet, we will give you the link so you can watch it yourself! One of the highlights of the video was watching the underground crew, working in hot, dark, and dangerous tunnels, break through to the other side – cheering and celebrating this milestone for the project. Fred also talked about the fact that the Purple Line will greatly expand job opportunities, giving a geographic reach to those who will be able to easily commute to their jobs.

You may remember news broke the morning of our forum that the project might be delayed and the original cost estimate exceeded. Not one to shy away from bad news, Fred addressed the media report head on, explaining that the year-long lawsuit resulted in the potential time delay and increase in costs, but that his goal is to make up as much of the lost year as possible.

Fred Craig, Chief Executive Officer, Purple Line Transit Partners
As CEO of PLTP, Mr. Craig is directing the development of this 16.2-mile light rail project for the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) and brings 35 years of experience in similar ventures, including the successful Cincinnati Street Car and Ohio High Speed Rail Programs, and the South Capitol Street reconstruction program including Nationals Park.

Brad Frome, an advisor to the Prince George’s County Executive, spoke eloquently about his belief that “accessibility to affordable transportation is a human right.” We couldn’t agree more! He said our communities and government owe its residents affordable transit to jobs and education and he believes that the Purple Line project reflects where the state of transportation is going in the future. “Having a light rail network in our backyard,” he said, “is something many jurisdictions would envy!”

Moreover, the climate action plan will benefit greatly once the project is built – enabling people to get out of their single occupancy vehicles and allow for new development on former parking lots. He gave credit to the University of Maryland’s President Loh who played a big part in getting the University on board with the project in the early days. Brad also talked about the need for blended housing, in addition to separate high income and low income housing.

He said that Prince George’s county has invested a lot in making sure the stations will be focal points of the community with appropriate landscaping and public arts, including redesigning the area around Adelphi station to be an artfully designed and welcoming entrance to the University of Maryland. He also said, "while the county bus service currently ends at 7:30 pm, we are working to change that, though it will be a costly endeavor." Lastly, Brad reminded everyone to support businesses in the community during construction!

Bradley Frome, Senior Policy Advisor for Prince George’s County Executive
Brad Frome was born outside of Philadelphia in 1975 (though he is a steadfast fan of America’s team, the Dallas cowboys). He graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland with a BS in Government and Politics and attended George Washington University Law School. Mr. Frome started in government working for a member of the House of Delegates as a Legislative Director for four years before serving as Chief of Staff to a member of the Prince George's County Council for six years. Mr. Frome joined the Baker Administration as a Deputy Chief of Staff transferring to become an Assistant Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for economic development and public infrastructure in early 2014.

George Trujillo, the Associate Vice President for Facilities Management gave us some background on UMUC – did you know they are present in 20 countries and they are the largest online college in the world with 86,000 students?!

George said since the Purple Line station will be located behind one of the UMUC buildings, he is planning "sidewalks, artwork, and pathways to highlight and create a sense of place for people coming and going from the station." We can’t wait to see plans for that! He also said that every single one of their infrastructure lines runs through campus.

We want to give a special thanks to UMUC which provided Purple Line NOW with a generous sponsorship last year. We are grateful for all they are doing, not just for the College Park community, but for students all over the world.

George Trujillo, Associate Vice President, Facilities Management, for University of Maryland University College (UMUC)
George manages an annual budget of $20 million and oversees construction, maintenance, security, housekeeping, landscaping, and parking for facilities totaling more than 980,000 square feet. He joined UMUC in 2001 after a 17-year career with Emcor Facility Services. He is a 2007 graduate of University of Maryland University College with a degree in Business Management and maintains professional certification/licenses/membership in District of Columbia Steam Engineer 3rd class, Maryland Steam Engineer 1st class and holds a Realtors license in the Maryland.

Anna McLaughlin, Assistant Director of Sustainability at the University of Maryland’s Department of Transportation, wrapped the evening up for us by highlighting the good work she and her team are doing on campus to encourage “smart commuting.” One of those activities is a “pool” party, where people can meet RideShare partners to plan their daily commute. (Bring your cue stick and not your bathing suit for this kind of “pool” party!)

In 2018, Anna said that her team met their goal of reducing parking spaces by 3,000 – well before the Purple Line is scheduled to come to town. They are strategizing ways to encourage students and faculty to get around without driving, including discounted permits for carpools, bike commuter incentives (like discounts on gear, covered/locked places to leave bikes, showers, etc.), and an online platform where commuters can see all the route options available to help with routes and schedules. They are also working on a Parking Cash-Out program which provides a $425 reward at the end of the year for giving up a parking permit. Anna explained, “$425 is so much cheaper than building a parking space!”

On a final note, Anna said they recently put up some transit screens in the Student Union so students can see the many transportation options – and also leave them time for another cup of coffee if they see their bus is not due to arrive for another 20 minutes!

Anna McLaughlin, Assistant Director of Sustainability at the University of Maryland’s Department of Transportation
Anna is responsible for the university’s transportation demand management program. Anna has supervised the launch of the mBike bikeshare program with the City of College Park and established the University’s Smart Commute Program. Prior to joining UMD, Anna was the TDM Coordinator at the District Department of Transportation where she launched a city-wide TDM program and was part of the team that launched Capital Bikeshare.

As you can see, it was an information-packed evening, full of the latest breaking news on the project and lots of highlights about current and future development in and around College Park. There’s even more information on the video, and we will let you know when it is available for viewing. We are already planning the next forum, to be held sometime later this spring. 

event.png

PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Stay tuned for an announcement of the next Purple Line NOW forum - coming soon!

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.


Purple Line NOW News - January 23, 2019

We will have a recap of the January 10 Forum in College Park soon! Thank you to our amazing panel of speakers: College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, Fred Craig from the Purple Line Transit Partners, Bradley Frome from the Prince George's County Executive's office, Anna McLaughlin, from the University of Maryland’s Department of Transportation, and George Trujillo, from the University of Maryland University College.

It was an information-packed evening full of the latest breaking news on the project and lots of highlights about current and future development in and around College Park. The audience even had a chance to view a site demolition video set against the music of Metallica - you never know what you are going to find at a Purple Line NOW forum, that's for sure! If you were not able to join us that evening, the forum was taped and will be available on You Tube soon. Thank you to our volunteer, John Wetmore, for making that happen so everyone can participate! 

We are already planning the next forum, to be held sometime later this Spring. Stay tuned for location and topic.

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! 

 

construction2.png

CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

 

Update on Ellin Road Construction

If you are a regular reader of our newsletter, you may have spotted some new images from the reconstruction of Ellin Road, near the future New Carrollton station stop, in our Top Ten Stories from 2018. Well, we've got even more construction pictures from Ellin Road for your viewing pleasure this week!

It's been almost four months since the western half of Ellin Road was closed to traffic and the long-term detour went into effect. The photos, taken just after the new year, show the state of construction along the closed and open sections of Ellin Road.

The section of Ellin Road that is currently closed to traffic is being rebuilt from the ground up. As you can see in the photo below, the pavement has been milled - or removed - in preparation for additional construction work that will follow in the months to come, including utility relocation, installation of erosion/sediment control, and putting sub-structure elements for power and communication feeds for train operations into place.


The view looking west from intersection of Henson Oaks Drive and Ellin Road. Note the steep grade of Ellin Road leading to Veterans Parkway.

Construction progress was also visible along the stretch of Ellin Road that remains open to vehicular traffic. Crews are excavating a swath of land along the curb of the westbound lanes. The area being dug out is where the westbound Purple Line tracks will eventually be laid. Trains will run on opposite sides of Ellin Road beginning at Veterans Parkway until they reunite at the New Carrollton station.


Excavation work is underway along westbound lanes of Ellin Road. If you squint, you can make out the pedestrian bridge that connects the Metro station to New Carrollton office park.

At present, one lane from Henson Oaks to Emerson Place remains open while the excavation work is taking place; however, approximately one month from now, this stretch of road will also be closed and westbound traffic will be moved to the eastbound side, with one lane operating in each direction. Under normal conditions, Ellin Road does not carry a great deal of traffic, so the planned closure should not significantly impact commuters or residents. Last week, Purple Line Transit Partners provided a graphic of the section of road that will be closed beginning on or around February 21, 2019.

event.png

PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Stay tuned for the recap of the January 10 College Park Forum, coming soon!

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.


Purple Line NOW Dismayed at Further Delay Risk, but Heartened by Signs of Progress

Purple Line NOW is dismayed that the opening of the line may be delayed past the updated fall of 2022 estimate. President Ralph Bennett elaborates, “Negotiations are still ongoing between the state and the concessionaire, so we should take all numbers from one side’s reports with a grain of salt. However, as we warned at the time, the root cause is a frivolous lawsuit that put a hold on much of the construction activities for a year and has both schedule and cost implications.” While the already confirmed delay from spring to fall of 2022 is a real loss to citizens eagerly awaiting improved east-west mobility, Bennett noted that we are already seeing some of the benefits of the line. “From Bethesda to New Carrollton, the  private sector is pursuing new development that will bring jobs, housing, and amenities to present and future residents of our state. At our forum this evening, we’ll be hearing about the how the Purple Line is already positively transforming the future of College Park and the University of Maryland.”

Vice President Greg Sanders notes that MTA long warned against the costs of the injunction, which as advocates predicted was eventually unanimously overturned on appeal. “The state had warned in legal filing of the compounding costs of a year of lawsuit-induced delays that could exceed $150 million. Even so, the state is correct to demand justification from the concessionaire for any cost increases as the complications introduced by the lawsuit are undeniable, but are not a blanket excuse for any future problems. Our primary concern is not how long it takes to work out responsible and final numbers, but instead that good work continues in the meantime and that both public and private partners work to bring us swiftly and efficiently to opening day.

Purple Line NOW Treasurer Tina Slater noted reasons for optimism on that front. “Construction always involves complications, from noise concerns for the tunnel to the few weeks of delays for the Lyttonsville bridge. Thankfully, we’ve seen concrete signs of project: the December breakthrough of the upper layer of the Plymouth Street tunneling project and just yesterday Lyttonsville Bridge reopened to traffic.” The Purple Line is happening and the private sector is taking notice. Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn recently announced “$1.5 [billion] in confirmed residential and commercial projects along the 16.2 mile Purple Line corridor.” Slater pointed to the College Park area in particular, “Great things are in store for our region and we can see that in what’s happening with College Park and the University of Maryland, as our expert panel will be discussing tonight at our forum at City Hall.”


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.



Follow Us

 Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twiter

Donate Now Contact Us e-News