Purple Line NOW News - October 3, 2018

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!

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

Construction Progresses at Silver Spring School

The first phase of Purple Line related construction at the Silver Spring International Middle School is showing signs of real progress as it enters its fourth month of construction.

Following the end of the most recent school year, Purple Line Transit Constructors began work on reconfiguring and reconstructing the parking lots at the school, which are immediately adjacent to the future Dale Drive station stop. So far, construction has been primarily confined to the planned “middle parking lot” which is one of three areas designated for construction at the school. Construction is also planned for the lower and upper parking lots, the latter of which was closed for a brief period this summer, but it reopened in time for the beginning of the school year. The middle parking lot remains closed while crews work to grade the site to prepare it for paving and build the retaining walls.  


Middle parking lot is denoted by area contained in purple. Upper parking lot is directly above it and lower parking lot is to the right.

At first blush, it may seem odd that a school parking lot is being reconstructed as part of the Purple Line project; however, the old entrance to the lot was located directly across the street from the planned Dale Drive station, so it would have undoubtedly created issues for Purple Line trains as well as pedestrian/vehicular traffic. As a result, the entrance on Wayne Avenue has been moved around the corner to Dale Drive to facilitate ingress and egress from the parking lot. In time, the lower parking lot’s entrance on Wayne Avenue will also be shifted several hundred feet east of its old location on Wayne Avenue to avoid any impacts to the station.


PLTC constructed a new entrance for the upper parking lot this summer

The first phase of construction also involved the removal of over a dozen trees on the grounds of the school, which understandably caused some consternation among community members over the loss of tree canopy. What many people may not realize, though, is that electricity can jump a considerable distance from the catenary lines that power the Purple Line trains to surrounding trees. The Purple Line utilizes a 1500 watt power system, so there is a heightened concern about electricity jumping from the catenary lines to trees. At PLN’s last Envisioning the Purple Line Forum in July, Fred Craig, CEO of PLTP, noted that electricity can jump up to 30 feet from the catenary to nearby trees. For that reason, and out of an abundance of caution, the concessionaire is removing trees that lie outside of the Purple Line’s direct path, but which may impact operations.


Soil compactors and excavators are pictured here in front of the school

Purple Line Transit Constructors is expected to continue work on the middle parking lot at the school on Saturdays during the month of October, while work on the upper and lower parking lots will wait until next summer.

Year-Long Road Closure Begins in New Carrollton

On Monday, a 1000-foot long section of Ellin Road, located just outside of New Carrollton, was officially closed to traffic, and will remain that way for the next twelve or so months to enable the relocation of utilities and to construct other facilities that will support the Purple Line's operations.

The closure spans from the intersection of Ellin Road and Veterans Parkway down to Henson Oaks Drive. During the closure, motorists are encouraged to use the official detour that has been developed.

Construction on Ellin Road will be phased over the course of the next few years to minimize disruption to the residents who live off of Henson Oaks and to ensure continuous access to their homes. The first phase will consist of utility relocation. Subsequent phases will include construction of the track foundation, road reconstruction and installation of electrical systems.

For those of you who may not be familiar with Ellin Road, it’s the final turn that Purple Line trains will take before they arrive at the final destination on the eastern end of the line in New Carrollton. Prior to its closure, Ellin Road was a four-lane road with two lanes in each direction, but it will be going on a diet and converted to one lane of traffic in each direction to make room for the Purple Line.


Ellin Road as it looks today

We often like to talk about the “multiplier effect” that the investment in the Purple Line has in communities beyond the travel time benefits in these construction updates, and New Carrollton is no exception to this effect. The Purple Line will have the added effect of improving pedestrian safety in an area that is decidedly autocentric. At present, there are no pedestrian crossings at the intersection of Ellin Road and Veterans Parkway, however, as part of the project, a new crosswalk will be installed across Veterans Parkway, thereby enabling residents on the western side of Veterans Parkway to walk to the New Carrollton Purple Line station, as well as all of the other transit lines at New Carrollton: Amtrak, Metro, MetroBuses, and the Prince George's County “TheBus” system.


The purple overlay shows the approximate location of the future crosswalk across Veterans Parkway
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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Some Purple Line-related events for you:

  • MTA is hosting an open houses in Prince George's County, tomorrow, Thursday, October 4, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, UMD Stamp Student Union Atrium. The Montgomery County open house was held this past Monday and was well attended by the community.
  • They have also set the fall's Community Advisory Team (CAT) meetings:
    • Long Branch - October 16, Oak View Elementary School (All Purpose Room, 400 East Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20901) from 6:30 pm to 8 pm.
    • Riverdale - October 18, Purple Line Project Office (6811 Kenilworth Avenue - 1st Floor Training Room, Riverdale, MD 20737) from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
    • College Park - October 23, Purple Line Project Office (6811 Kenilworth Avenue - 1st Floor Training Room, Riverdale, MD 20737) from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
    • Silver Spring - October 25, Sligo Creek Elementary School (Cafeteria located in basement of the school, 500 Schuyler Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910) from 7 - 8:30 pm.
    • Bethesda - November 27, Bethesda Chevy Chase High School (Cafeteria) 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814 from 6:30 – 8 pm.
    • Glenridge – November 29,  Purple Line Project Office (6811 Kenilworth Avenue - 1st Floor Training Room, Riverdale, MD 20737 from 6:30 – 8 pm.
    • Lyttonsville – December 4, Rosemary Hills Elementary School (All Purpose Room) 2111 Porter Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910 from 7 – 8:30 pm.
    • University Boulevard – December 6, Langley Park-McCormick Elementary School, (Multi-Purpose Room), 8201 15th Avenue, Langley Park, MD 20783 from 6:30 – 8 pm.

Take a peek at our terrific supporters to date and please consider joining these folks as you are able. 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 your support!

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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 - September 19, 2018

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! 

Just a reminder, we have added a new page to our website where we will keep a running list of businesses that have relocated (or will be soon), some that have closed, and others that will be able to remain open during construction. If you have any updates we missed, now or in the coming months, please email our Executive Director, Christine Scott (cscott@purplelinenow.com) and we will update our list accordingly.

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!

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

Bridge Reconstruction Reaches Halfway Point

The demolition and replacement of the Lyttonsville Place bridge, which closed in mid-June, is just about halfway to being completed.

When we last visited the construction site in June, the bridge was still in the process of being demolished. Now, as you can see in the photos further down, the new bridge is under construction and well on the way to meeting its target completion date. As of last month, Purple Line Transit Partners CEO, Fred Craig, reported that the project was on schedule to be completed by the end of December. 

Following the completion of demolition, construction has primarily been focused on building the abutment closest to Brookville Road. In mid-August, construction crews began driving steel piles into the ground, which will form the foundation of the new bridge. Installation of the soldier piles continued through early September, but by mid-September, the western abutment was beginning to take shape. The photos below, taken just ten days apart, demonstrate the pace at which the project is advancing. When members of the local media toured the construction site on September 5th, the construction piles were still visible. 


Photo credit: @AdamTuss of NBC Washington

This photo above, taken on September 15th, shows a filled-in abutment

Large infrastructure projects are notorious for taking years and years to complete, but the Lyttonsville Place bridge stands out for how quickly it is progressing. This is due in no small part to the P3 delivery approach for the project which holds the concessionaire accountable with staying on schedule. As part of the contract with PLTP, the state can impose financial penalties if the bridge is not completed within the specified six-month period, so PLTP has a financial incentive to deliver the project on time.

When the bridge is complete, it will represent one of the most significant construction milestones for the project, thus far. We’ll keep you up to date as the bridge marches toward completion.

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Some Purple Line-related events for you:

  • The Montgomery County Council's Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment committee will receive a briefing from the Purple Line Transit Partners and the Maryland Transit Administration on September 27 at 9:30 am. You can watch the briefing live on County Cable Montgomery at: https://montgomerycountymd.gov/CCM/ccmlive.html.
  • MTA is hosting two open houses, as we reported in our last newsletter: 
    • Purple Line Open House (Montgomery County), October 1, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Silver Spring Civic Building
    • Purple Line Open House (Prince George's County), October 4, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, UMD Stamp Student Union Atrium
  • They have also set the next four Community Advisory Team (CAT) meetings:
    • Long Branch - October 16, Oak View Elementary School (All Purpose Room, 400 East Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20901) from 6:30 pm to 8 pm.
    • Riverdale - October 18, Purple Line Project Office (6811 Kenilworth Avenue - 1st Floor Training Room, Riverdale, MD 20737) from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
    • College Park - October 23, Purple Line Project Office (6811 Kenilworth Avenue - 1st Floor Training Room, Riverdale, MD 20737) from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
    • Silver Spring - October 25, Sligo Creek Elementary School (Cafeteria located in basement of the school, 500 Schuyler Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910) from 7 - 8:30 pm.

Stay tuned for our next forum in the Envisioning the Purple Line series to be held in the coming months. We are busy working to find a date, so keep an eye out for that announcement soon.

Take a peek at our terrific supporters to date and please consider joining these folks as you are able. 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 your support!

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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.


Purple Line NOW News - September 5, 2018

Before you dig into this edition of our chock-full-of-information newsletter, a few dates for Purple Line related events we wanted to call your attention to hosted by MTA:

  • Purple Line Open House (Montgomery County), October 1, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Silver Spring Civic Building
  • Purple Line Open House (Prince George's County), October 4, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, UMD Stamp Student Union Atrium

And, as you'll read below, we have added a new page to our website where we will keep a running list of businesses that have relocated (or will be soon), some that have closed, and others that will be able to remain open during construction. (Hat tip to the Source of the Spring for rounding up the state of Spring Center businesses last year.) If you have any updates we missed, now or in the coming months, please email our Executive Director, Christine Scott (cscott@purplelinenow.com) and we will update our list accordingly.

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). 

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

Strip Mall Demolished to Construct Future Purple Line Station

Another demolition that is essential to the construction of the Purple Line got underway late last month.

The Spring Center strip mall on 16th Street in Silver Spring was demolished to clear way for the construction of the Purple Line tracks, as well as the future Woodside/16th St. station, which will sit towards the rear of where the shopping center once stood, adjacent to the CSX train tracks. The property will also serve as the primary construction staging area in Montgomery County, meaning that materials and heavy equipment used for construction will be stored there. 


The above map shows path the Purple Line will take through property and location of Woodside/16th St. station

The majority of the property had been fenced off since the beginning of the year, but demolition was put on hold until all of the businesses had relocated. The last tenant to move out was the United States Post Office, which closed at the end of July. Coincidentally, the post office has temporarily relocated to a location just steps away from another Purple Line station: the Silver Spring Library! 


Half of Spring Center has been demolished. The other half is still in process of being torn down

Though construction of the Purple Line requires the complete demolition of the shopping center, not all of the property will be utilized by the Purple Line. Approximately four acres of land will be available for redevelopment once construction of the Purple Line is finished, making it a prime location for a new mixed-use retail/residential development.


The southern portion of the strip mall has been completely demolished

The demolition displaced more than twenty businesses, but, on the bright side, many of them have found new homes in and around downtown Silver Spring. When people think of supporting businesses during the construction period, they tend to think of the businesses that will remain open during heavy construction; but it’s important for us, as community members, to also patronize businesses that were forced to relocate through no fault of their own. To that end, we’ve created a handy dandy webpage with a listing of the businesses that were impacted by the demolition of the Spring Center, as well as information about their other locations or their relocation addresses.

We encourage you and your neighbors to continue to frequent these businesses during the construction period and beyond. 


Lane Closure Goes Into Effect at The University of Maryland

A new traffic pattern has gone into effect on a major artery through the heart of the University of Maryland's College Park campus.

On the eve of the first day of classes, Campus Drive 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 street. From this point forward, the road will only be open to westbound traffic with the exception of buses and emergency vehicles, which will be permitted to travel in both directions when the tracks are clear of trains. 


Traffic headed west on Campus Drive with Stamp Student Union pictured in background

This isn't the first time Campus Drive has been restricted to one-way travel. The eastbound lane was previously closed to traffic while the beautiful Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center was being constructed on Campus Drive. Unlike that closure though, this one will remain in place even after construction is complete.

To help drivers adjust to the new traffic pattern, Purple Line Transit Partners has disseminated a map highlighting alternate routes around the closure. 

But wait, there's more!

As part of the construction project, a nearly 1-mile long bike path will also be constructed parallel to the Purple Line as it crosses the campus. The separated bi-directional bike path will run from Presidential Drive on the west side of campus to Baltimore Avenue (aka Route 1) on the east side.


The bike path is indicated by the green line, and stations by train icons

For the latest information on construction affecting UMD, visit the University's Purple Line webpage or the official project website.

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Stay tuned - our next forum in the Envisioning the Purple Line series will be held later this fall. We are busy working to find a date right now and will send an invite in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that announcement. 

Take a peek at our terrific supporters to date and please consider joining these folks as you are able. 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 your support. Your feedback is always welcome - let us know where we can help!

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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.


Purple Line NOW News -Purple Line Updates Along the Route

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! 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

Glenridge One Year Later

Next week – August 28th to be exact - marks the one-year anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Purple Line! So for this edition of our “Construction News to Know,” we’re returning to the site of last year’s ceremony to see what has changed since the purple shovels first went into the ground.


Articulated dump trucks being loaded with dirt to be redistributed on the site

As you may recall, the groundbreaking was held just outside of New Carrollton in the Glenridge community of Prince George’s County, at the site of the future maintenance and train storage facility for the Purple Line. The roughly twelve-acre site was formerly used by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission as a maintenance facility, but it was transferred to the state to facilitate the construction of the facilities that are needed to support the Purple Line’s operations.

After twelve months of construction, the site is virtually unrecognizable from a year ago. The maintenance sheds have been demolished, trees cleared, and some serious earth moving has been taking place. If you’ve driven by the property, it might just look like a big pile of dirt, but that will slowly begin to change. Construction crews are actively regrading the land to establish the building pad for the rail yard and the operations center. And construction on the operations building, which will serve as the primary control center for the Purple Line, will follow in the not too distant future. 

The aerial photos below show the scale of the construction site. The photo on the left, taken in April of 2016, shows the site prior to the groundbreaking, and the photo on the right, taken in April of this year, captures the area being disturbed.


Images courtesy of Google Earth

We can’t wait to see what changes will be present one year from now on the second anniversary of the groundbreaking.

Another Groundbreaking in Bethesda

August must be a popular month for groundbreakings because another important project with implications for the Purple Line broke ground this month. However, this one concerns a transformational private development at the Purple Line’s western terminus in Bethesda.

Even though construction began many, many months ago, the Carr Properties’ held a belated groundbreaking to celebrate the start of construction on their forthcoming office/residential development that will sit atop the future Bethesda Purple Line station. 

 
A rendering of the building that will be constructed at 7272 Wisconsin Avenue

The office building will go by the moniker of “The Wilson,” and the project’s two residential towers will look no further than the street they’re located on for their name: “The Elm." Combined, the project will deliver almost 1 million square feet of new development right above the Purple Line.

Governor Larry Hogan was among those present to commemorate the occasion. During his remarks, he noted the Purple Line’s role in the project coming to fruition. “I think that everyone knows that this would not have happened without the Purple Line and the investment in Metro,” said Governor Hogan from the podium. “This project will create jobs and drive our state’s economy.”

In addition to The Wilson and The Elm, Carr Properties is constructing the framework of two pieces of Purple Line infrastructure. The first is the Bethesda Purple Line station, which will be located below ground, parallel to Elm Street. Carr Properties is expected to deliver the “shell” of the Purple Line station to the state and Purple Line Transit Constructors by March of 2019, at which point work can begin on building out the station.

 
Construction crews are still working their way towards street level. The Purple Line station platform will be underground against the far wall in the picture

Carr Properties is also constructing the portion of the Capital Crescent Trail that will run beneath their building before daylighting into Woodmont Plaza and the planned public park that will be located there. The trail will run slightly south of the Purple Line tracks when it crosses underneath of Wisconsin Avenue and rejoin it as it travels through the Carr property. That's not all that cyclists have to look forward to with the new realigned trail. Carr is concurrently constructing space for a bicycle storage facility that will have parking for hundreds of bikes. The facility may even feature showers or changing rooms, but those details will be worked out down the line. 


Looking north towards the intersection of Wisconsin Ave. and Elm St.

Last but not least, the excavation of the Bethesda South Metro Entrance, which will have elevators that stop at the Purple Line platform, is also proceeding at the corner of Elm St. and Wisconsin Ave. Montgomery County expects the excavation to take about two years, and another two years will be spent pouring the concrete and installing the high-speed elevators that will carry passengers 120 feet below Wisconsin Avenue to the Metro platform.


Conceptual rendering of the plaza at corner of Wisconsin Ave and Elm St. The red box shows location of high-speed elevators that will take riders to Metro platform, and purple box is where riders will find an elevator, escalator and stairs down the Purple Line station

This Carr Properties' project is, perhaps, the clearest example yet of a private development that was only made possible by the Purple Line. But it’s also true that without The Wilson and The Elm, the Purple Line and the Capital Crescent Trail would not be nearly as functional or well-designed as would have otherwise been the case. Can you say win-win?!

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Stay tuned - our next forum in the Envisioning the Purple Line series will be held in...College Park in October! The date and time will be announced soon, as will the terrific slate of speakers, so keep an eye out for that announcement. 

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to respond to our heartfelt appeal this month! We very much appreciate your quick and generous action on our behalf. Take a peek at our terrific supporters to date! Please consider joining these folks - the benefits of sponsorship are listed on our website - donating is easy - just follow this link: I'd like to become a sponsor

As always, if you have any questions, contact us at cscott@purplelinenow.com. Again, thank you for your support. Your feedback is always welcome - let us know where we can help!

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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.



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