Purple Line NOW News - April 22, 2020

In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:

  • Third and Final Lawsuit Against Purple Line Dismissed
  • New Crash Wall to Raise Costs and Increase Timeline?
  • Overview of Bethesda/Chevy Chase Community Advisory Team Meeting

Stay Safe!

All of us here at Purple Line NOW hope that you remain healthy during this difficult time. Stay safe!

Share This Newsletter

Please feel free to share this newsletter - no permission from us needed! You can always find a link to our newsletter on our Purple Line NOW website which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

Third and Final Lawsuit Against Purple Line Dismissed

The final lawsuit, filed by opponents of the Purple Line, which argued that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had “improperly allowed construction crews to discharge dredge and fill into streams” was rejected by a federal judge in Maryland. You can read more about the lawsuit and the dismissal in an article by Katherine Shaver in the Washington Post.

Purple Line NOW’s Vice President Greg Sanders says, "We are gratified that the courts have dealt yet another defeat to scorched earth attempts by opponents to turn regulations meant to protect the environment against a project estimated to take 17,000 cars off the road a day. Judge Bredar's summary judgment incisively notes that project opponents 'have not provided any coherent justification for their position that bus-rapid transit should have been built instead.' The concessionaire has reported that an earlier lawsuit by some of these plaintiffs delayed the project 266 days and cost the state about $200 million. We are relieved that this latest suit was unsuccessful in its attempt to do further harm."

New Crash Wall to Raise Costs and Increase Timeline?

You may have seen the headline in the news lately that the Purple Line contractor is requesting additional time and money to build a crash wall – a wall that is built alongside the tracks to absorb the force of a train derailment and protect nearby buildings, pillars, etc. The crash wall was in the original contract; however, the type of crash wall now being requested by CSX Transportation is different than what was previously stipulated, and the cost and time overrun comes as a result of this new request. As you may know, the Purple Line tracks will run next to the CSX tracks at certain points along the route.

You can read more about the details of how the concessionaire has been trying to work with CSX in the Washington Post, which reports that proposed solutions in line with the original cost have been rejected. MTA says it has been "actively engaged in discussions" to minimize costs and delay. We are hopeful that efforts to mediate the problem will be successful and that, as they have done in the past, crews will be able to accelerate other areas of construction to accommodate such delays. However, a lot is still unknown, including whether any work delays because of COVID-19 pandemic-related safety measures will affect the project’s timeline.

Bethesda/Chevy Chase Community Advisory Team

As we reported in our previous newsletter, to be in compliance with Governor Larry Hogan’s COVID-19 guidelines to limit public gatherings to less than 10 people, MDOT MTA and the PLTP informed the community that CAT (Community Advisory Team) meetings "will not be held in our typical in-person meeting format but prerecorded and posted to purplelinemd.com.”

First up was Bethesda/Chevy Chase and the presentation was posted on April 14. You may view the entire presentation at purplelinemd.com, but here is a brief overview of the information that was shared.

Gary Witherspoon, MDOT MTA Public Outreach & Communications Deputy Project Director, Carla Julian, PLTC Sr. Manager Public Affairs/Community Outreach, and Mark Edsall, PLTC Area 1 Project Engineer provided the information that included an overview of the project status and construction progress.

The project construction is nearly 30% complete and MDOT MTA says the plan is to open in two phases:

  • Phase 1 by December 2022 with 6 operational stations from New Carrollton Metro to College Park Metro
  • Phase 2 by mid-2023 when the remaining 15 stations will open

Regarding ongoing work on the Purple Line during the COVID-19 crisis, officials at MDOT MTA responded that, “The State considers commercial and residential construction companies as essential to still operate during Maryland’s State of Emergency. As the Purple Line falls into this category, work will continue to move forward with additional safety measures in place to keep our staff and the public safe.

Last year, we reported that the first LRV (Light Rail Vehicle) had just begun testing, but we are happy to learn that it is now “60% through testing in Elmira, New York and will head to the Glenridge Operations and Maintenance Facility in Prince George’s County for local testing in late 2020.”

Here’s an exciting visual from the presentation – a rendering of how the Bethesda Station might look when it opens. Although the Art-in-Transit selection is not yet featured and this only a rendering, it does give us a glimpse of things to come!


Image Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

Purple Line riders can walk into the station directly from Woodmont Avenue or take an elevator or escalator from Wisconsin Avenue down to the Purple Line platform. Riders who are continuing onto the Metro will be able to go down to the future mezzanine to access the Bethesda Station. The presentation noted that "during construction of the future mezzanine, riders can access the metro by walking along Wisconsin or Woodmont Avenues.”

Another rendering, below, of the Connecticut Avenue Station shows that this station has what is called a “side loaded platform” with crosswalks to access both “inbound and outbound tracks.” Very exciting to see these renderings -- we are looking forward to more of them as the Community Advisory Team meetings cycle through the different stations over the next few weeks!

Image Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

The presentation highlighted much of the work that has been done over the past six months – much of it visible when we were out and about. Some of that work included continued construction of utility relocations, storm drainage installations, construction of retaining walls, and foundations for noise walls.

To see an expanded list of construction that has been done along this part of the corridor over the past half year, do not forget to view the full presentation.

In terms of what is coming in the next six months, blasting for the Bethesda Shaft is scheduled to resume in May or June and will facilitate the excavation of the cavern that will connect the Purple Line to the Red Line. (Notice will be provided in advance of blasting activities.)

Along Pearl Street, the pedestrian bridge construction will begin. Retaining walls, storm drainage installation, and utility work will continue. Bridge girders for Chevy Chase Lake Drive Bridge will be set sometime in the next few months. On Jones Mill Road, Phase 1 construction will be completed and traffic patterns will change as they begin Phase 2 construction mid to late summer.

Again, more details and specific area information can be found on the purplelinemd.com website.

Next issue, we will be bringing you a recap of the College Park presentation. In the meantime, while you're out on your daily walks, snap a few pics of Purple Line progress and send them our way (with photo credit information) and we'll print as many as we can in upcoming issues!

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

The Next Purple Line NOW Forum: Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride

As you know, our April 15 forum was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but rest assured we are working on bringing all the good information to you in the form of an online webinar or presentation. We are working on the details, so please stay tuned for further details and a date!

Can You Help Purple Line NOW Continue Its Work?

Purple Line NOW still needs your donations during the year and we appreciate every penny donated. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so by clicking on the black donate button below. Thank you!

We are grateful for ALL of our donors - thank you, thank you, for stepping up to help Purple Line NOW continue its work!

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 - April 8, 2020

In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:

  • Important: April 15 Forum POSTPONED
  • Update on Purple Line Community Advisory Team Meetings
  • Progress in Photos Along the Purple Line Corridor

April 15 Forum -- POSTPONED

IMPORTANT: In case you missed our announcement two weeks ago, please be aware that we have postponed our April 15 Forum, Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please stay tuned for details as we look for different ways to get the information to you -- perhaps through an online webinar or call-in event -- we will keep you posted. In the meantime, all of us here at Purple Line NOW hope that you remain healthy during this difficult time. Stay safe and wash those hands!

Share This Newsletter

Please feel free to share this newsletter - no permission from us needed! You can always find a link to our newsletter on our Purple Line NOW website which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

An Update on Spring Community Advisory Team Meetings

Members on the Community Advisory Teams (CATs) were notified this week by MDOT MTA and Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP) that in order to be in compliance with Governor Larry Hogan’s COVID-19 guidelines to limit public gatherings to less than 10 people, "the upcoming Purple Line CAT meetings will not be held in our typical in-person meeting format but prerecorded and posted to our website purplelinemd.com. The material presented will follow our typical format to provide an update on the current progress of the Purple Line project."

The meetings are scheduled to begin the week of April 13 and expected to conclude by May 22. CAT meeting presentations will be posted weekly and each CAT area will be "notified one week in advance, as well as when the video is available for viewing." They are asking team members to submit questions within one week after the presentation is posted to outreach@purplelinemd.com. The Purple Line team will then compile the questions and responses which will be also posted online.

Purple Line NOW will continue reporting on the presentations as we have done when they were held in person. As noted, there will be an opportunity for the mix of community organizations represented on the CATs to ask questions, but if you have a question about construction or the Purple Line that you would like us to amplify, please let us know. Make sure to include the station or area about which you are inquiring and we'll make sure your question is raised following the CAT meetings.

Progress Along the Purple Line Corridor - Send Your Photos In!

We had a great response to our request in the previous newsletter for you to snap a few photos to send to us of the Purple Line progress you see happening as you are out on your daily walks (and practicing social distancing!) As we mentioned, because commercial and residential construction has been deemed essential, Purple Line construction continues. Your photos have been a nice way to see the progress along the corridor from our homes during this quarantine.

We'll try to publish as many photos as we can - don't forget to caption your photo and let us know to whom we should give credit! Send photos to: cscott@purplelinenow.com.

This edition's montage comes from two of our readers, Scott Bonney and Scott Sheck, and PLN's Board President, Ralph Bennett. Thank you to each of them for these fantastic images!

Mr. Bonney says, "here are two recent photos of the massive amount of construction around the Bethesda Purple Line Station, with the 24-story high Wilson mixed-use retail/office building topped out and nearly fully glazed. The 29-story high Elm apartment building is on the right side, about six stories from being topped out. Both will overlook the Purple Line Station and the new south entrance for the Red Line in a large new plaza. The foundations of the 24-story Avocet Tower, an office building and AC Hotel are in the foreground of the second photo."


Photo Courtesy of Scott Bonney

Photo Courtesy of Scott Bonney

The following photos of the bridge in the Discovery District in Riverdale Park come to us from Scott Sheck .


Photo Courtesy of Scott Sheck

Photo Courtesy of Scott Sheck

This following photos are of the BW Bridge, the Kenilworth Avenue Bridge, and the Silver Spring Metro Bridge, respectively.


Photo Courtesy of Ralph Bennett

Photo Courtesy of Ralph Bennett

Photo Courtesy of Ralph Bennett

 

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

IMPORTANT: We are postponing our April 15 Forum, Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please stay tuned for details as we look at different ways to get the information to you -- perhaps through an online webinar or call-in event -- we will keep you posted.

Can You Help Purple Line NOW Continue Its Work?

Purple Line NOW still needs your donations during the year and we appreciate every penny donated. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so by clicking on the black donate button below. Thank you!

DONATE

We are grateful for ALL of our donors - thank you, thank you, for stepping up to help Purple Line NOW continue its work!

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 - March 25, 2020

In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:

  • Important: April 15 Forum POSTPONED
  • Update on House Bill 540
  • Update on House Bill 1236
  • Progress Along the Purple Line Corridor

Share This Newsletter

Please feel free to share this newsletter - no permission from us needed! You can always find a link to our newsletter on our Purple Line NOW website which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

April 15 Forum -- POSTPONED

IMPORTANT: We are postponing our April 15 Forum, Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please stay tuned for details as we look at different ways to get the information to you -- perhaps through an online webinar or call-in event -- we will keep you posted. In the meantime, all of us here at Purple Line NOW hope that you remain healthy during this difficult time. Stay safe and wash those hands!

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

House Bill 540

A month or so ago, we sent an action alert out about House Bill 540, sponsored by Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins (D-Silver Spring) to aid businesses affected by Purple Line construction. We have an update on that bill. Although the bill initially passed through the House, because of some amendments made in the Senate, the bill had to make its way back through the House. Unfortunately, because Maryland's General Assembly adjourned three weeks early due to the Corona Virus pandemic, the bill simply ran out of time. You can read more about the bill and about other measures the state is taking to aid business along the Purple Line corridor in Bethesda Magazine.

House Bill 1236

We were pleased that a bill, sponsored by Delegate Jared Solomon (D-Montgomery), which explores connecting Maryland's commuter train service (MARC) with Virginia was one of the final bills passed during this year's General Assembly. The link could greatly strengthen Purple Line connectivity because all three MARC lines connect to the Purple Line. Read more about what's in the bill here: Maryland Approves Plan to Expand MARC Commuter Trains into D.C., Virginia.

Progress Along the Purple Line Corridor

We know that those who can are staying home these days for their health and the health of our community, but because commercial and residential construction has been deemed essential, Purple Line construction will continue. As you are out on your daily walks, while practicing social distancing, snap a few photos of progress you see happening on the Purple Line. We'll try to publish as many photos as we can - don't forget to caption your photo and let us know to whom we should give credit! Send photos to: cscott@purplelinenow.com. Here are a few from some of our board members to get us started:

The two photos below are on Manchester Road, which intersects with Wayne Avenue. Manchester Road (as opposed to Manchester Place) is one long block from the Plymouth Tunnel.


Photo Courtesy of Tina Slater

Photo Courtesy of Tina Slater

The next photo is taken on Wayne Avenue, between Dale and Sligo Creek.


Photo Courtesy of Tina Slater

The next two photographs come from PLN President Ralph Bennett of the Silver Spring bridge. The second is taken from the top of the Sarbanes building, looking north across Colesville Road as the bridge snakes west over the MARC and Metro tracks. 


Photo Courtesy of Ralph Bennett

Photo Courtesy of Ralph Bennett
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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

IMPORTANT: We are postponing our April 15 Forum, Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please stay tuned for details as we look at different ways to get the information to you -- perhaps through an online webinar or call-in event -- we will keep you posted.

Can You Help Purple Line NOW Continue Its Work?

Purple Line NOW still needs your donations during the year and we appreciate every penny donated. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so by clicking on the black donate button below. Thank you!

DONATE

We are grateful for ALL of our donors - thank you, thank you, for stepping up to help Purple Line NOW continue its work!

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 - March 11, 2020

In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:

  • Reserve Your Seat for the Next Purple Line NOW Forum!
  • Trail and Rail Bridges Over Colesville Road
  • Update on Bethesda Purple Line Tunnel

Share This Newsletter

Please feel free to share this newsletter - no permission from us needed! You can always find a link to our newsletter on our Purple Line NOW website which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

The Next Purple Line NOW Forum - Reserve Your Seat Today!

Mark your calendar in ink for Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride! on April 15, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Montgomery College, Health Science Center, Room 122. We are busy lining up panelists with representatives from both Prince George’s and Montgomery County Councils, Planning Boards, and Development projects. Our forums are always free and open to the public and press, but because of space limitations, you mustreserve your seat in advance. Parking information and transit information will be available soon.

IMPORTANT: Purple Line NOW will be monitoring recommendations for public gatherings as our event grows closer as they relate to the COVID-19 virus. At this time, the April 15 forum will remain on the calendar as planned, but should anything change, we will send a timely update to all who have reserved their seats, as well as posting any changes on our website.

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

Trail and Rail Bridges Over Colesville Road

We can see the Purple Line under construction across both Prince George's and Montgomery counties, but much of the effort involves utility location or other preparatory work that is necessary, which is hard to track for the general public. The trail and rail bridges over Colesville Road are an exciting exception!

In recent weeks, we have seen the steel, which undergirds the future tracks, come into place over the Silver Spring Metro. Earlier this week, we saw the next step laid into place across Colesville Road to the new station which will be on the downtown side of the top floor of the Silver Spring Transit Center. In some of the pictures, you can also see the smaller silver structure adjacent to the Metro platform, that will be the bridge for the Capital Crescent Trail extension to Silver Spring -- which means that pedestrians and bikers using the trail do not need to cross Colesville Road at grade!

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

We have a date for the next Purple Line NOW forum! Mark your calendar in ink for Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride! on April 15, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Montgomery College. See above for details - and don't forget toreserve your seat - space is limited for this particular forum!

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PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

Letters of Support for the Tunnel to Montgomery County Council

In case you missed our Action Alert last week - it is not too late to help!

A formal scheduled hearing on the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel will take place in mid-to-late April and we will be sure to notify you of that meeting in advance. In the meantime, we ask you to write a letter to the members of the Montgomery Council Transportation & Environment Committee members, encouraging the completion of the tunnel. Your support is meaningful and important, so do keep those letters coming (and copy Purple Line NOW if you remember!) 

Many of you know that in his most recent budget, the Montgomery County Executive failed to fund a long-promised tunnel for pedestrians and bikers in Bethesda as part of the Purple Line project which includes completing the Capital Crescent Trail from Bethesda to Silver Spring.

Please take a moment to email T&E committee members (individual emails are best, we understand), and let them know you want them to champion the completion of the tunnel as it was proposed and designed years ago. Their names and email addresses are at the end of this alert.

If we miss this window to construct the underpass alongside the Purple Line now, the obstacles to completing the tunnel in future years may prove insurmountable. Don’t be fooled by talk about being able to push the construction of the tunnel to a later date. Down the road, costs and disruption will be magnified, and delaying will risk compounding promises broken to the community. While we understand there will be tough trade-offs when searching for additional funding, if we miss this chance to encourage the Council to find the funding for the tunnel now, the trail will open incomplete and Montgomery County would take an unprecedented step back on its Vision Zero goals.

Here is the background you need to know before writing your email:

  • The Wisconsin underpass is not a new idea, it replaces a previously existing tunnel on the interim trail that led to the heart of downtown Bethesda, one that the last county council promised to replace as part of constructing the Purple Line.
  • Just as the Purple Line connects multiple Marc and Metro lines, the trail from Silver Spring to Bethesda will be a linchpin to a larger trail network, including the remainder of the Capital Crescent Trail, the Green Trail, and the Metropolitan Branch. This network is not just useful to recreation, but helps people access jobs, housing, and shopping, and its reach is magnified by the bike-friendly Purple Line.
  • The Bethesda to Silver Spring portion of the Capital Crescent trail will also be separated from highway traffic when it crosses Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase and Colesville Road in Silver Spring. The trail must also be separated from highway traffic when it crosses Wisconsin Avenue (as it did in the past) and continue below-grade in the tunnel.

Finally, it is important for all of us to understand and emphasize to our Councilmembers that no matter where you work or live, the tunnel will benefit the region as a whole. The trail will continue to serve as a commuter route for pedestrians and bikers from one end of the Purple Line corridor to the other. Having a safe crossing, as promised, benefits all of us.  

Please emphasize to the Council that you want them to make the tunnel’s completion a priority – many are leaning that way, but they need to know you understand there will be trade-offs with other projects. Tell them why the tunnel is important to you. And, if you remember, please copy us on your email.

T&E Committee Members (and Councilmember Friedson, in whose district the tunnel will reside):

As always, we will keep an eye on the proceedings and the progress as this issue makes its way through the process. Thank you for your time and your help!

Can You Help Purple Line NOW Continue Its Work?

Purple Line NOW still needs your donations during the year and we appreciate every penny donated. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so by clicking on the black donate button below. Thank you!

DONATE HERE

We are grateful for ALL of our donors - thank you, thank you, for stepping up to help Purple Line NOW continue its work!

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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