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

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

Roadwork on Kenilworth Avenue

Construction activity is heating up in multiple parts of Prince George’s County, but especially so in Riverdale Park!

Construction crews are currently in the process of removing the raised medians on Kenilworth Avenue between River Road and Riverdale Road to make way for the Purple Line tracks that will ultimately run down the center of the road. Once the medians have been removed, they will be paved over until the tracks are laid at a later date. New traffic medians will also be constructed at a later date.


Construction barrels sit atop former median at intersection of River Rd. & Kenilworth Ave.

If you live near or travel through the vicinity of Kenilworth Avenue, you know that the current conditions on Kenilworth Avenue are less than ideal for pedestrians. At present, there is no sidewalk on the east side of Kenilworth Avenue. But once construction is complete, there will be a continuous sidewalk on Kenilworth from River Road to Riverdale Road. The Purple Line will also close major gaps in the sidewalk network on the west side of the road to create a continuous walking path. And if that wasn’t enough, bike lanes will be constructed on both sides of the roadway. Needless to say, Kenilworth Avenue will look and function dramatically different several years from now. For detailed Kenilworth Avenue and Riverdale Road maps and more, see the Riverdale Park CAT materials.


Kenilworth Avenue looking south, with Rinaldi's Riverdale Bowl on the right

Long-term Lane Closure on Riverdale Road

The road work on Kenilworth Avenue isn’t the only construction activity occurring in Riverdale Park.

In the comings days, Purple Line Transit Constructors will close the right-hand lane of eastbound Riverdale Road for long-term construction between Kenilworth Avenue and Mustang Drive. The closure is necessitated by the construction of the Purple Line tracks on the south side of the road. When the Purple Line trains make the turn from Kenilworth Avenue to Riverdale Road, the tracks will transition to the south side of the road, separate from the vehicular travel lanes.


The Purple Line route is shown in purple, while the road closure is shown in orange

In a separate, but related project, the Maryland State Highway Administration will be installing almost 1,500 feet of new sidewalk on the south side of Riverdale Road from 58th Avenue, where the sidewalk currently ends, to Mustang Road. A sidewalk extension may seem trivial in a project the size of the Purple Line, but it will enable residents of East Riverdale to walk to the nearest Purple Line station at the intersection of Kenilworth and Riverdale, as well as the shops and other points-of-interests surrounding it.

Station Renderings of UMD Stations

Last week, the University of Maryland posted several conceptual renderings of what two of the campus’s Purple Line station stops could look like on their Purple Line FAQ page. While the images are from 2016*, we thought they were worth resharing since they may be new to some of you.

*Correction: our e-newsletter stated the renderings were new. However, the renderings were from 2016.


Campus Drive looking south east towards the Stamp Student Union

The university shared two images of the future Campus Center station, to be located near Cole Field House, and another of the planned East Campus station, which will be sited next to Ritchie Coliseum on Rossborough Lane.


Another angle of Campus Drive station with Cole Field House pictured in background


Rendering of  East Campus Station at intersection of Baltimore Ave. and Rossborough Lane; Ritchie Coliseum pictured on the right

There have been many artist renderings of the UMD stops over the years, but now that design is nearing completion, we are getting a new glimpse of how the stations will integrate with the existing built environment on campus. While these images offer the most detailed look yet at the station stops, the university has stressed that the designs are not final, and that many details are yet to be decided. In any case, it won't be long before the designs become reality!

For the route and placement of the four College Park stations and more, see the College Park and M Square CAT materials.

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

We want to take a moment to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our heartfelt appeal last week. Your contributions have a made a significant and positive impact on our budget already and we appreciate your quick and generous action on our behalf. We are updating our sponsor page daily - take a peek at our terrific supporters to date!

Here's the link in case you missed last week's letter from the officers of our Board of Directors. It's never too late to become a sponsor! 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. We are appreciative of all donations, large and small. You may find more information about all of the benefits of sponsorship on our website. As always, if you have any questions, contact us at cscott@purplelinenow.com.

Once ground was broken on the Purple Line last year, our organization set an enhanced strategy going forward. Along with maintaining an informative and timely website, having an interactive social media presence, and making sure we are at as many Purple Line related community events, meetings, and hearings as possible, we are committed to the following endeavors to make sure the community remains informed and the project is the best it can be. We will continue to:

  • Provide educational fora to communities along the route. These are free to all who attend and include presentations and panel discussions from transit experts, concessionaire, county elected officials - and a question and answer period. Press is invited and regularly attend. We are hard at work planning the next forum for later this fall. Stay tuned for location and dates!
  • Connect people to solutions - through a host of platforms including our website, our bi-weekly newsletter, educational fora, email, and phone conversations. 
  • Add context to construction woes through our bi-weekly newsletter by staying on top of construction issues and upcoming headaches to alert our community to ways to work around those issues when possible. We work with MTA and the concessionaire to stay abreast of construction issues and project demands.
  • Meet with residents, Chambers of Commerce, federal, state, and local elected officials, business owners, developers, and the concessionaire to stay on top of issues that bubble up. Members of our Board and our team are fixtures at CAT meetings, community hearings, and all sorts of events that involve the project to gather information that we can then push out to you.

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.


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!



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