A Difficult Letter to Write

This is a difficult letter to write. We hope you will read to the end as we lay out a serious issue facing our organization.

As you know, Purple Line NOW has been around for over 16 years in its current form, and many years before that under a different name and structure. In that time, our large board and team have worked hard with so many of you to be the persistent voice promoting the project when times were tough and when the prospect of bringing the Purple Line to our region was on the back-burner for decision-makers in our counties and our state. Purple Line NOW was there, knocking on doors of elected officials, hosting press conferences, testifying at hearings, and holding monthly meetings of transit advocates, elected officials, developers, and residents alike.

You may remember, several years ago, when the chips were down - we partnered with other transit and transportation-oriented organizations to take Annapolis by storm to push the project forward. We reached out to the Governor, testified at the General Assembly and hosted a transit night to which all delegates and state senators were invited. Here we are, with our partners, on the steps of the State House showing, once again, what strong support there is for the Purple Line.

A year ago, when the lawsuit from residents in Chevy Chase stalled the project for months while we awaited judgment, Purple Line NOW hosted a press conference that attracted over 15 media outlets, Congressman Jamie Raskin, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, Montgomery County Council’s then President Roger Berliner, Prince George's County then Vice Chair Dannielle Glaros, and Dennis Desmond from LIUNA, who all spoke passionately to hundreds in the crowd to demand action to get the Purple Line moving again.

In 2018, we launched an information-packed bi-weekly newsletter to keep the community abreast of construction issues, to provide context and to explain why certain construction-oriented activities are occurring in the neighborhoods along the Purple Line corridor, and most importantly, to provide a way to connect concerned residents and businesses to the people who can help answer their questions. We have had a positive and energetic reaction to the newsletter - and we take seriously our commitment to help provide answers to questions that arise because of construction and other Purple Line-related issues.

Two years ago, we launched the popular Envisioning the Purple Line series which brings together transit professionals like the Secretary of Transportation, the CEO of the concessionaire who is building the project, and other folks in-the-know like business development professionals, county council members, and MTA leadership - to provide educational fora for the communities along the Purple Line route. These events are well-attended and covered by regional press.

All of this goes to say: Purple Line NOW has continued to evolve through the years as the project fought for funding, argued for a quick dispatch of a languishing lawsuit, and adopted a renewed focus as we broke ground and construction began.

Today, however, we are at a significant crossroads.

We must have a successful donation campaign this month to meet our budget through the fall when we hope to offer another forum in late October. We know you get a lot of requests for donations to causes you care about and we are grateful for your past generosity. We are careful custodians of your funding - our work gets done with the help of an all-volunteer board and team and a quarter-time executive director.

Please contribute today, all levels of donations are welcome. As a contributor, with your permission, we will publicize your name, or your business name, for one year following your donation. We are growing our email list every day - and we will list our sponsors on our newsletter - we want everyone to know about your generosity! Here are some facts and figures that may help as you consider our emergency request:

Without your support, we will not be able to continue offering the services in the way we have been to date. Keeping our website running, hosting fora for communities in both Prince George's and Montgomery counties, and connecting community issues to the people who can solve them takes financial resources we must raise with a quick and effective fundraising effort.

Thank you for reading and considering our request to donate today.

Gratefully,

Ralph Bennett, President
Greg Sanders, Vice President
Tina Slater, Treasurer
Nancy Soreng, Secretary

P.S. Purple Line NOW does not receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), or business - nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We operate solely on donations from individuals and businesses who care about the Purple Line and whose generosity allows us to continue our work.


Purple Line NOW News: Riverdale Park PLN Forum Recap

July 25, 2018, Issue 4

Please feel free to share this bi-weekly newsletter with others who may appreciate information about the project. Thank you for your feedback to our newsletter - we hope you continue to find the information useful and proactive!

Along with the construction issues noted below, we have an exciting recap of our most recent forum in the Envisioning the Purple Line series, held earlier this week in Riverdale Park (scroll down for more information).

As always, if you have any feedback on how we can improve the newsletter, drop us a line at cscott@purplelinenow.com. If you find the information contained in our newsletter useful, please consider a donation to us (we are a not-for-profit organization). 

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

Demolition began earlier this month at the strip mall at East-West Highway and Rt. 29. The Purple Line will use part of the parcel previously occupied by the Fedex Kinkos and Rite Aid. As the line proceeds into the Silver Spring station, it will then cross over the MARC and Metro tracks and rise to a station on the far side of the Silver Spring Transit center. That cost saving adjustment meant that the acquisition and demolition of 1110 Bonifant St. would not be necessary. More information can be found in Bethesda Beat's article: Demolition of Former FedEx, Kinkos Buildings for Purple Line Construction in Downtown Silver Spring. The Starbucks and Einstein Bros Bagels will not be impacted by the project and will remain open.

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

On Monday, the fifth in Purple Line NOW’s Envisioning the Purple Line series was held in Riverdale Park, where audience members heard from, among others, the CEO of the construction consortium building the Purple Line. More than 70 people braved the stormy weather to learn about the latest goings-on with the project, but lucky for you, we've got a full recap of the event if you weren't able to make it.

Purple Line Transit Partners CEO, Fred Craig, kicked off the forum by describing his background and how he came to lead the project. Mr. Craig commented that he’s only been on the job for five months, but in that short time, several significant construction activities have gotten underway. Most notably, PLTP is actively working on digging the elevator shaft at the Bethesda station, the Lyttonsville Place bridge has been demolished, and the construction team has excavated 120 feet into the Plymouth Street tunnel in Silver Spring.

During his remarks, Mr. Craig related one anecdote to the audience to illustrate how seriously PLTP takes their responsibility to the community. A resident recently called the Purple Line construction hotline (240-424-5325) to report a pair of shovels and a pile of gravel that were inadvertently left in a roadway. Within twenty minutes of receiving the complaint, the shovels were removed from the roadway, and within 90 minutes, the gravel was cleaned up. On a project of this size, mistakes are bound to occur, but Mr. Craig said that he was proud of how quickly his crews responded to the complaint.

Mr. Craig discussed some of the other transit projects that he’s worked on, including the Cincinnati Streetcar, but he said the Purple Line was unique in that it was one of the first circumferential, or suburb-to-suburb, rail lines in the country. He also marveled at the amount of construction that the Purple Line has stimulated throughout the corridor before it has even begun service. He noted that there is more development around the Purple Line route and future station areas than there are square feet in the Pentagon. We’ll pause so you can Google that!

Dannielle Glaros, Chair of the Prince George's County Council was up next with an uplifting update from the perspective of her constituents and how the county is mitigating impacts to residents and businesses.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Purple Line is that it will "provide direct connections to WMATA's Green, Orange, and Red lines at Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, and New Carrollton, along with connections to MARC, Amtrak, and local bus services." She was particularly excited about the doors that the Purple Line will open to county residents, especially young adults who are attending the University of Maryland, and who may not own a car.

Councilmember Glaros said that she has focused her attention on three issues: lifting up people economically along the corridor, support to small businesses and the preservation and expansion of affordable housing. 

Ms. Glaros provided a few updates on some exciting new developments soon to be a reality. Kaiser Permanente is scheduled to open a "new 176,000-square-foot administrative building in the New Carrollton Transit Center in Prince George’s County" later this year. Education technology firm 2U opened its new headquarters near the New Carrollton Metro last year and expects to employ more than 1,500 over the next few years.

Councilmember Glaros also touched on how Prince George’s County is staying on top of the project. She reported that there is a deep internal team working on the Purple Line at the county level, from planning staff to personnel in the Department of Public Works and Transportation, which are coordinating elements of the project with PLTP and the State. In addition, the County Council is helping to shape positive outcomes. She was gratified by recent actions taken by the Prince George’s County Council, as well as Montgomery County Council, to protect those who are most impacted along the corridor. She noted that both Montgomery and Prince George’s County provided funding in their fiscal year 2019 budgets for National Center for Smart Growth’s work to ensure equitable distribution of benefits, and that both counties provided varying levels of financial and technical support for small businesses. Councilmember Glaros hopes that both counties can build off of these efforts in future years and continue to provide on-going support to the impacted businesses.

Ms. Glaros emphasized the need for the community to stay involved and "actively pushing to make sure we are lifting up all community members." She encouraged those not yet involved to find ways to join in, saying "the successful completion of the project will require the continued involvement of residents." She urged those in attendance to sign up for the text updates offered by PLTP and to attend the meetings of the Community Advisory Teams.

Gerrit Knaap, Director of the National Center for Smart Growth at the University of Maryland, rounded out the panel by providing a status update on the Purple Line Corridor Coalition’s work to ensure that the social and economic opportunities created by the Purple Line are realized. 

As Dr. Knaap described it, the PLCC focuses on everything beyond the Purple Line tracks, like economic development, affordable housing, and minimizing impacts to small businesses. He explained that currently, the City of Baltimore and the I-270 corridor are widely considered to be two of leading economic engines of the state, but he predicted that the Purple Line corridor will also come to be thought of as an economic powerhouse of the state in the not too distant future. He noted that the Purple Line route crosses thriving areas such as Bethesda and College Park, but that it also has pockets of poverty. Through his slide presentation, Dr. Knaap showed how the Purple Line will stitch together some of the most economically advantaged and disadvantaged communities, which will consequently create enormous potential to provide equity across the corridor.

Up to this point, the PLCC has been working to establish baseline data that will aid them in assessing whether Montgomery and Prince George's counties are making progress towards the stated goals such as building a balanced labor market across the corridor, or if we are falling short of the ideals set forth in the Community Agreement. The organization intends to collect data throughout the construction period and revisit the data each year to determine if we are meeting our goals or if we need to renew our commitment to specific objectives.

Dr. Knaap told the audience that there is more riding on the success of Purple Line than just improved mobility between two counties. As the first light rail project in the capital region, the Purple Line will be scrutinized closely. He cautioned that if we don’t do it right, we might not see the Purple Line extended to Largo one day, as some attendees called for. But if it achieves its full potential, it could usher in additional light rail infrastructure in the Washington D.C. area.

Dr. Knaap concluded his remarks by announcing that last week the organization submitted a $2 million grant proposal to the Federal Transit Administration to expand and strengthen their efforts. If funded, the organization intends to use the grant money to bolster the preservation of small businesses, create a mobility action plan which will examine how the Purple Line can and should interface with other modes of transportation like ride sharing services and bus routes, and developing a plan to capture increased land values around the stations to fund other priorities of the community.

There was so much more that was discussed at the forum, and we’ll be sharing this information over the coming weeks in future editions of our bi-weekly newsletter. In the meantime, visit our website for the latest news on the project, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook while you’re at it!

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PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

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.

Become a Sponsor

Please take a moment, especially if you haven't given this year, to become a sponsor of our Envisioning the Purple Line series. Your name or your business name will be highlighted at all of the fora in the Envisioning the Purple Line series, as well on our website, for one year following your donation. Sponsoring is easy - and we are appreciative of all donations, large and small. Here's the link to get you started: Yes, I'll help Purple Line NOW!

Purple Line NOW
http://www.purplelinenow.com/


One Week Until Riverdale Park Forum - Reserve Your Seat NOW!

The next forum is at the Park and Planning Building in Riverdale Park (6600 Kenilworth Avenue, Riverdale Park, MD 20737) on Monday, July 23, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm.

We have a terrific slate of speakers for this educational event including the new CEO of the Purple Line Transit Partners, Fred Craig, Prince George's County Council Chair, Dannielle Glaros, and the Director of the Purple Line Corridor Coalition, Dr. Gerrit-Jan Knaap.

Please forward this email to anyone who may be interested in attending - 
it promises to be a very informative evening!

The event is free and open to the public and media, but you'll need to reserve your seat as space is limited to the first 100 folks. You can reserve your seat by clicking on this link: Save Me a Seat!

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Please take a moment to become a sponsor.

In order for us to continue this informative series, we rely on your donations. Your sponsorship of this signature series is an ideal opportunity to connect with project stakeholders, as well as key leaders and community organizers.

If you support the Purple Line - this is a terrific way to let the community know it!

As you know, Purple Line NOW operates on a bare bones budget - and we spend every dime we raise to make sure the project is the best it can be by providing educational opportunities along with many other efforts for those communities along the Purple Line route. These efforts include testifying before local, state, and federal entities as well as providing regular information regarding the progress and any major developments through our website,Twitter, and Facebook.

Please take a moment to join these amazing and generous sponsors, especially if you haven't given this year. Your name or your business name will be highlighted at all of the fora in the Envisioning the Purple Line series, as well as on our website, for one year following your donation.

Sponsorship is easy - and we are appreciative of all donations, large and small!  Here's the link to get you started: Yes, I'll help Purple Line NOW!

With sincere thanks for all you do for us!


Third Issue of the Purple Line NOW Bi-weekly Newsletter!

Thank you for your feedback to our newsletter - we hope you continue to find the information useful and proactive! Along with the construction issues noted below, we have an exciting event coming up on Monday, July 23 in Riverdale Park (scroll down for more information).

If you find the information contained in our newsletter useful, please consider a donation to us (we are a not-for-profit organization). 

As always, if you have any feedback on how we can improve the newsletter, drop us a line at cscott@purplelinenow.com. 

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

First Glimpse of the Plymouth Street Tunnel

This week, we are excited to bring you the first look at the Plymouth Street tunnel in Silver Spring! The construction team is excavating from the eastern portal on Arliss Street, next to the Giant Food parking lot, and moving west towards Wayne Avenue.

The Purple Line Transit Constructors (PLTC) team is using the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) to excavate the 40-foot-deep tunnel for the Purple Line. PLTC crews are working 24-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week to excavate and build the tunnel using specialized equipment that would make a toddler giddy including the Liebherr 950 knuckle-boom excavator, Epiroc E2-C 2-boom hydraulic drill jumbo, Normet twin-boom man-lift and Epiroc Scooptram ST-14 for hauling material out of the tunnel.

As of last week, the excavation was approximately 30 feet into the tunnel. To give you some perspective on how much work remains to be done, the tunnel will be roughly 1,400 feet once complete!

Demolition of Mega Super Market

On July 6, crews began demolishing the former Mega Super Market at the intersection of University Boulevard and Piney Branch Road. If you’re old enough, you may also remember this building as the home of Fontana’s Bowlarama, a duckpin bowling alley, which closed its doors in 1994.

The property is being demolished in order to accommodate the future Piney Branch Road station stop. The station will be located in the median of University Boulevard, directly across from where the Mega Super Market stood.

Work Begins on Wayne Avenue

A few days before Independence Day, PLTC began clearing trees at the site of the Silver Spring International Middle School on Wayne Avenue in order to reconfigure and reconstruct the parking lots at the school.

In addition to the parking lot reconstruction, PLTC will be locating a traction power substation (TPSS) on the property which will provide power to the Purple Line trains. TPSSs are used to convert electrical power supplied by Pepco to a form suitable for the trains. The TPSSs will be located approximately every two miles along the Purple Line route. Interestingly enough, PLTC’s design allowed for fewer TPSSs than were originally planned by the state.

Once the trees are removed, crews will begin excavating and grading the middle parking lot area at the school. The parking lots are expected to reopen before students return to school in the fall, and construction will resume in the summer of 2019.

Want More Construction News?

As you know, Purple Line NOW is a nonprofit advocacy organization - we are not the entity constructing the project (that would be the Purple Line Transit Partners), though we do work closely with them to keep abreast of the latest news. Our mission is to help get answers for you as questions bubble up. Send us an email at cscott@purplelinenow.com and we'll connect you with the folks who can give you the information you need. In the meantime, if you haven't already done so, you should sign up for Purple Line construction updates from MTA - you'll receive timely and location specific information for your residence or place of work.

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Have You Reserved Your Seat for the Next Purple Line NOW Forum?

The next forum is at the Park and Planning Building in Riverdale Park on Monday, July 23, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public and media, but you'll need to reserve your seat as space is limited to the first 100 folks. We are thrilled that the new CEO of the Purple Line Transit Partners, Fred Craig, will join us as a speaker, along with Prince George's County Council Chair, Dannielle Glaros, and Director of the Purple Line Corridor Coalition, Gerrit Knaap. 

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PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

Become a Sponsor

Please take a moment, especially if you haven't given this year, to become a sponsor of our Envisioning the Purple Line series. Your name or your business name will be highlighted at all of the fora in the Envisioning the Purple Line series, as well on our website, for one year following your donation. Sponsoring is easy - and we are appreciative of all donations, large and small. Here's the link to get you started: Yes, I'll help Purple Line NOW!

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.



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