Purple Line NOW News - September 12, 2019

We hope everyone has had a safe and productive start to the fall season!

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

  • The First Tracks Are Installed!
  • Our Fall Appeal is Here - Please Consider Helping Purple Line NOW Continue Its Work

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

The First Tracks Are Installed!

On September 5, Governor Larry Hogan and the Purple Line team celebrated the laying of the very first tracks of the 16.2-mile Purple Line light rail near the project terminus in New Carrollton in Prince George’s County. State and transit officials celebrated the milestone with Purple Line construction workers.

 

During the ceremony, Maryland Secretary of Transportation, Pete Rahn also raised an intriguing possibility regarding when we would be able to ride the Purple Line. The opening day of the project is presently being negotiated, as Governor Hogan explained, “unfortunately, we had some delays by the anti-transit opponents, who tied it up in court for more than a year. So we’re trying to make up for lost time.”


(Left to Right): PLTP CEO Peter van der Waart, MD Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, Governor Larry Hogan, Chuck Lattuca, Executive Director, Transit Development and Delivery at MDOT MTA, and Kevin Quinn, Administrator MDOT MTA.

The concessionaire has estimated a spring 2023 opening, but negotiations with the state are ongoing, so we do not have an official date. However, there is a possibility that even if the full opening slips to 2023, we may have a chance to ride in 2022. As Secretary Rahn announced, “[w]e are aiming to get a section of the track done and operational in 2022, and the second section up and running by 2023."

 

No details were reported on which section, but in the past, we've heard that access to the rail yard is critical for early operations, one more reason to pay close attention to positive developments like the track laying at Glenridge!

 

Here's a good article from WAMU for further reading: 'Real Progress' On Purple Line As First Tracks Go Down

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PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

Can You Help Purple Line NOW Continue Its Work?

Last week, we sent out a formal appeal to our entire constituency. If you haven't already given this year, would you consider a donation to Purple Line NOW? We have reprinted the appeal here as it contains all the bits you might want to know about what we do with your donations - those dollars work hard!

As we reported earlier this year, we here at Purple Line NOW have shifted our energy from our prior focus of advocating for funding and approval of the project to the daunting task of keeping communities along the Purple Line corridor up-to-speed regarding breaking news, construction woes, and exciting new developments being built around the new line.

Purple Line NOW operates on a very small budget and, as you know, we don’t hold special event fundraisers. Instead, we rely on an email outreach to our most dedicated supporters to help us meet our bottom line each year during our fall appeal campaign.

To that end, we ask for your financial support so that we may continue our work. Donating is easy via our secure link or by sending a check through the mail – all the information to do so can be found on our website.

Below, you will read what it is we do each year with your generous donations. As always, we are happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Just shoot us an email or give us a ring.

A reminder: Purple Line NOW does not receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We operate solely on donations from individuals and businesses like you who care about the Purple Line and whose generosity allow us to continue our work each year.

How Will Purple Line NOW Use My Donation?

As we said, Purple Line NOW exists on a very slender budget. Our work is done by a dedicated and hardworking group of volunteers, as well as one quarter-time employee. We pay for our website maintenance and for the resources needed to reach the community through email blasts, literature, and supplies. We also cover any expenses associated with hosting our popular educational forums – as you know, these events are always free and open to the public (we don’t charge you to attend!)

Purple Line NOW News

With your support, Purple Line NOW has published a bi-weekly, information-packed newsletter with the latest in construction news, photos, and insider information to keep you on top of what is going on in the field. We have a large following and we are often surprised that readers come from all over the country, from Baltimore to California! Thanks to the many volunteer contributors who help us write and release the newsletter every other week. It’s a big undertaking and we appreciate your support in making it happen! Did you know you can view all of our previous newsletters on our website?!

Envisioning the Purple Line Series

We continue the very popular Envisioning the Purple Line series of forums hosted in a variety of communities along the corridor in both Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Just last month, we held an update in Chevy Chase, focused on Completing the Capital Crescent Trail where we brought in the CEO of the Purple Line Transit Partners (the builders), Montgomery County councilmembers, bicycle and trail advocates, and others to offer lots of information to the 70+ folks who attended. We try to do at least two events each year around the Purple Line Corridor. Previous events have been held in Silver Spring, Bethesda, Riverdale Park, University of Maryland, College Park, and more. We are currently working hard on organizing the next forum, so stay tuned!

Connecting People

Behind the scenes, Purple Line NOW serves as an unofficial clearing house of sorts for calls from residents and businesses who are looking for answers to issues they are experiencing while the project is under construction. We don’t always have all the answers, but we do try to connect folks with the proper resources.

Sharing Information

Purple Line NOW board members have a long tradition of attending hearings, testifying on behalf of the project, being a part of Purple Line-oriented neighborhood groups, and connecting to elected officials on behalf of the Line. Our volunteer board leadership continues to meet every single month in person, as they have done for over a decade, to share information gathered and exchange ideas to keep the project on track. We attend meetings, provide updates, and take notes! Many of our members stay on top of transit news through their membership and support of other local and regional transit organizations and many are also very active on the neighborhood Community Advisory Teams.

Maintaining a Presence

Finally, Purple Line NOW maintains a strong social media presence, staying connected to thousands via Facebook and Twitter and through our website, Purple Line NOW. If you haven’t signed up for those, do so today. You’ll get the latest news and be able to participate in discussions happening on those platforms.

Remember, with your donation, your name (or your business name) will be listed on our website, as well as in event literature and signage for a year following your donation.

We are grateful for your consideration of our request and for your support, financial and otherwise. We wish you a happy and healthy fall season.

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.


Will You Help Us Continue Our Work?

As we reported earlier this year, we here at Purple Line NOW have shifted our energy from our prior focus of advocating for funding and approval of the project to the daunting task of keeping communities along the Purple Line corridor up-to-speed regarding breaking news, construction woes, and exciting new developments being built around the new line.

Purple Line NOW operates on a very small budget and, as you know, we don’t hold special event fundraisers. Instead, we rely on an email outreach to our most dedicated supporters to help us meet our bottom line each year during our fall appeal campaign.

To that end, we ask for your financial support so that we may continue our work. Donating is easy via our secure link or by sending a check through the mail – all the information to do so can be found on our website.

Below, you will read what it is we do each year with your generous donations. As always, we are happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Just shoot us an email or give us a ring.

A reminder: Purple Line NOW does not receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We operate solely on donations from individuals and businesses like you who care about the Purple Line and whose generosity allow us to continue our work each year.

How Will Purple Line NOW Use My Donation?

As we said, Purple Line NOW exists on a very slender budget. Our work is done by a dedicated and hardworking group of volunteers, as well as one quarter-time employee. We pay for our website maintenance and for the resources needed to reach the community through email blasts, literature, and supplies. We also cover any expenses associated with hosting our popular educational forums – as you know, these events are always free and open to the public (we don’t charge you to attend!)

Purple Line NOW News

With your support, Purple Line NOW has published a bi-weekly, information-packed newsletter with the latest in construction news, photos, and insider information to keep you on top of what is going on in the field. We have a large following and we are often surprised that readers come from all over the country, from Baltimore to California! Thanks to the many volunteer contributors who help us write and release the newsletter every other week. It’s a big undertaking and we appreciate your support in making it happen! Did you know you can view all of our previous newsletters on our website?!

Envisioning the Purple Line Series

We continue the very popular Envisioning the Purple Line series of forums hosted in a variety of communities along the corridor in both Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Just last month, we held an update in Chevy Chase, focused on Completing the Capital Crescent Trail where we brought in the CEO of the Purple Line Transit Partners (the builders), Montgomery County council members, bicycle and trail advocates, and others to offer lots of information to the 70+ folks who attended. We try to do at least two events each year around the Purple Line Corridor. Previous events have been held in Silver Spring, Bethesda, Riverdale Park, University of Maryland, College Park, and more. We are currently working hard on organizing the next forum, so stay tuned!

Connecting People

Behind the scenes, Purple Line NOW serves as an unofficial clearing house of sorts for calls from residents and businesses who are looking for answers to issues they are experiencing while the project is under construction. We don’t always have all the answers, but we do try to connect folks with the proper resources!

Sharing Information

Purple Line NOW board members have a long tradition of attending hearings, testifying on behalf of the project, being a part of Purple Line-oriented neighborhood groups, and connecting to elected officials on behalf of the Line. Our volunteer board leadership continues to meet every single month in person, as they have done for over a decade, to share information gathered and exchange ideas to keep the project on track. We attend meetings, provide updates, and take notes! Many of our members stay on top of transit news through their membership and support of other local and regional transit organizations and many are also very active on the neighborhood Community Advisory Teams

Maintaining a Presence

Finally, Purple Line NOW maintains a strong social media presence, staying connected to thousands via Facebook and Twitter and through our website, Purple Line NOW.  If you haven’t signed up for those, do so today. You’ll get the latest news and be able to participate in discussions happening on those platforms.

Remember, with your donation, your name (or your business name) will be listed on our website, as well as in event literature and signage for a year following your donation.

We are grateful for your consideration of our request and for your support, financial and otherwise. We wish you a happy and healthy fall season.

Gratefully,

Purple Line NOW


Purple Line NOW News - August 28, 2019

We want to wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day holiday this weekend! We have a shortened newsletter for you this week, but will be back to full speed ahead in September. In the meantime, enjoy this last dribble of summer!

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

  • What We Know About Landscaping Plans Around the Purple Line
  • Our Fall Appeal is Coming

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 NOWwebsite which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

What We Know About Landscaping for the Purple Line

Are you interested in what the landscaping might look like in and around some of the Purple Line stations? Did you know that you can find links to landscaping plans for eight of the station sites on the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) website? For example, here is a sample of the Silver Spring station:



We found this slide show from the Bethesda/Chevy Chase Community Advisory Team (CATs) held in January 2018, which gives additional landscaping graphics and photos for that particular station:


If you scroll through the presentation slides (which, along with notes from all the other CATs, can be found on MTA’s website under Public Involvement), you will even find a few slides which list many of the shrubs, trees, grasses, and perennials that may be used for landscaping.

On a related topic, just as we were going to press, we saw this Maryland Today article that has a colorful slide show of the Art-in-Transit plans at several of the stations located near the University of Maryland.

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Where Would You Like Us to Hold the Next Forum?

These events are an invaluable source of information and we hope you’ll join us at one in the future! We are always open to ideas about where we should host our next event. Send your suggestions to us atcscott@purplelinenow.com.

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PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

Each fall, we send out a heartfelt appeal for donations (we call them sponsorships) to individuals and businesses who support the project and our organization's work. Look for that appeal in the coming weeks. As always, if you need more information before you push the donate button, click here to read all about what we do with your donations! All levels of sponsorships are welcomed and appreciated! As always, we are happy to share financial information about our operating expenses and our income. Just shoot us an email or give us a call. When we say we do a lot on a skinny budget, we mean it. 

Remember, with your donation, your name (or your business name) will be listed on our website and in event literature and signage for a year following your donation. Thank you!

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 - July 31, 2019

We hope everyone is staying cool during these very hot and sunny days of summer!

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

  • A Recap of our latest forum on Completing the Capital Crescent Trail
  • Show Your Support by Becoming a Sponsor of Purple Line NOW - All Levels Welcome!

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 NOWwebsite which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

Completing the Capital Crescent Trail

Thank you to all who came out to the Jane E. Lawton Community Center last Thursday evening for Purple Line NOW’s forum on Completing the Capital Crescent Trail, our seventh forum in the Envisioning the Purple Line series that we host along the project’s corridor.

We had a packed house to hear an energetic, informative, and expert panel who helped walk us through where the trail is right now, in terms of construction, but also gave us a sneak preview of what we can expect when it is all finished. At the end of their individual presentations, the panelists spent over an hour answering audience questions and explaining how the process works and how the different entities are working together. A big thank you all of our panelists for the insightful answers they provided to our audience's thoughtful questions.

One of the panelists had an awesome announcement to make. You’ll have to keep reading to find out what brought smiles to the faces in our audience last Thursday and we are sure you will give a silent cheer, as well!

(Never fear, if you were not able to make the forum, we are only providing an overview of the highlights here, but thanks to our dedicated volunteer, John Wetmore, we will have the entire forum up on a YouTube channel soon.)


Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW

Purple Line NOW Board President, Ralph Bennett, welcomed everyone to the event and thanked all of our generous and awesome donors who continue to make this series possible. You can see all of our sponsors at the end of this newsletter. We could not continue our services without their financial support!

First up to speak was Peter van der Waart, the new CEO of the Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP). They are sometimes known as the concessionaire – the folks who are building the line.


Peter van der Waart, CEO of PLTP

Peter began by showing a series of slides and gave a status update of the project all along the corridor. He then turned his attention to the completion of the trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring with a series of slides that brought into relief how much improved the trail will be for the community once it is finished. To illustrate those changes, we want to highlight one slide, in particular, because we think you may be as tickled as we were to read how the new trail will differ from the old trail.


Photo Courtesy of Purple Line Transit Partners

As you can see in the graph above, during the period when the interim trail is closed during construction, the old gravel surface of the trail will be replaced with a paved surface (the bikers in the audience may have cheered a little at this news!) The new trail will also be nearly 12-feet wide for most of its length. There will be two-foot shoulders on both sides of the trail, with 23 well-marked access points. For those wanting just a smidge more trail to bike, ride, and hike, the new version will be about a mile longer and extend into downtown Silver Spring, creating new connections with other trails.


Photo Courtesy of MTA

Even better news? The trail will be ADA accessible and, for those using the new Purple Line to access the trail or vice versa, Purple Line trains will provide bike storage.

Fun fact: Did you know that the Netherlands, Peter’s home country, is the only country with more bikes than people? Twenty-two million bikes versus 17 million people!

And now for the big news...

Peter said his group is working very hard to find a way to open the trail earlier than expected! As you may recall, the trail was due to open concurrent with the opening of the Purple Line, but, he said, they understand the desire to seek ways to allow public access during the rail car testing phase as the right-of-way would no longer be an active construction site. This could move forward the complete trail’s opening day by as early as a year before the light rail project opens in late 2022 or early 2023. Peter cautions the decision is not yet final and the public will need to be aware the trail may open and close during this phase to allow for the safety of both trail users and construction staff, and the opening may only involve a portion of the trail at any given time. But, this is the kind of progress we love to hear!


Councilmember Hans Riemer

Next up to speak was Montgomery County Councilmember At-Large, Hans Riemer. Councilmember Riemer brought the group through the history of the project, noting that he first became involved with county politics when he participated in meetings on the project in his neighborhood and saw the project as a great idea, but one that needed defenders. He then acknowledged some audience members in the room who played key roles in his early involvement. The Councilmember touched on related bigger picture issues, including the question of how to ensure there is sufficient nearby affordable housing for people who would be using the trail and the Purple Line.

He cited progress that the county is making with 900 units already constructed and 1,700 additional units in the pipeline. Bethesda is part of that pipeline with affordable unit set-asides for even some of the tall, privately owned, and not mission-driven new residential buildings. Councilmember Riemer ended his remarks by saying he believes the pipeline of new construction, nonprofit developers, and county purchase is the way to address housing affordability.


Peter Gray, WABA Board Member

Peter Gray, Board Member of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), spoke about the potential of building out the trail underneath Wisconsin Avenue, with the caveat that this will cost millions of dollars which are not presently in the county budget. He remarked that the design for this portion of the trail looks great, but it will need the county’s funding to be realized.

Peter noted that the interim trail route currently in place is problematic, and emphasized that Montgomery County Department of Transportation, as well as the town and villages of Chevy Chase, should have a “direct and signed route between Bethesda and Rock Creek." He asked for regular updates about any proposed changes and for follow-up from all the entities involved when those changes occur.


Matt Johnson, MCDOT

Matt Johnson, Project Manager, Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), spoke next and reminded us that although the trail is being built by the Purple Line Transit Partners, it is being funded by Montgomery County. Many of you may not realize the Capital Crescent Trail is owned by Montgomery County and they will be responsible for maintaining it into the foreseeable future.

Matt agreed with the previous presenters about the necessity to open the trail as soon as it is safely possible. He also discussed the surface trails and bike routes through Bethesda and the larger network to which the trail will connect. He gave more detail on the tunnel, noting that the new Carr property building is being constructed with a shell that will allow easy connection once the tunnel under Wisconsin is in place. The tunnel itself is funded for design, but not construction as Peter mentioned above. At the other end, the transportation department is working with the Parks Department about the entrance to the tunnel portal. 

Matt also highlighted the redesign of Woodmont and Bethesda Avenue which will tighten up the turn radii to protect pedestrians, as well as the creation of bicycle tracks in both Silver Spring and Bethesda which will connect with the trail. The Woodmont Avenue cycle track is in the first phase of construction, as well as the Montgomery Lane track near East-West Highway. You may remember that Silver Spring has already built separated bike and pedestrian lanes. And, the project design includes a secure bike parking area near the Silver Spring Metro station.


David Anspacher, MC Planning Board

The next panelist, David Anspacher, who is the Transportation Supervisor for the Montgomery County Planning Board, emphasized the importance of bike trails of sufficient width, so both walkers and bikers can be accommodated side-by-side. David also said that Montgomery County is looking at lighting for the Capital Crescent Trail for nighttime use. The Planning Board has created a Bike Stress Map and is now kicking it off for pedestrians, as well. He invited everyone to check out the Bike Master Plan and Walking Plan on the Planning Board’s website. This will help prioritize investment for Purple Line stations. Access right now to some of the stations, he said, is not great, so this tool will help them understand where investments need to be made.


Councilmember Andrew Friedson

Our final speaker for the evening was District 1 Councilmember Andrew Friedson. Councilmember Friedson began by stating that he is a life-long member of District 1 in Montgomery County and that the project “is as old as he is,” having begun in his birth year. Many of our long time volunteers can appreciate that sentiment! He remembers, as student body president while completing his studies at the University of Maryland, the route through campus being heavily debated. Interestingly, Andrew was also on staff of the Board of Public Works when the project came before their body in Annapolis.

The councilmember emphasized the trail is not just for recreation, that residents and workers use the trail for commuting to and from work and school, as well. With over a million people using the trail per year, the trail is “one of the most important trails in our region and one of the most heavily used trails in the country,” he said. He agreed the trail will not be considered complete until the pedestrian tunnel on the Bethesda portion of the trail is complete. Councilmember Friedson also highlighted the need for the restoration of the tree canopy once the project is finished.

Again, a big thanks to all of the panelists, for their time and dedication to this project and most certainly to making the trail better for all of us who live, work, and play in the community. Thank you, as well, to our audience, who came to learn about what's happening along the trail. We hope this overview was helpful for those who use the trail and are eager for its grand reopening!

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Next Forum: TBD

These fora are an invaluable source of information and we hope you’ll join us at one in the future. We are always open to ideas about where we should host our next event. Send your suggestions to us at cscott@purplelinenow.com.

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PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

Thank You to our Many Sponsors!

We hope you will join us in thanking the following folks for their dedication to making sure Purple Line NOW continues its work and take a moment to join them!  If you need more information before you push the donate button, click here to read all about what we do with your donations! All levels of sponsorships are welcomed and appreciated!

As always, we are happy to share financial information about our operating expenses and our income. Just shoot us an email or give us a call. When we say we do a lot on a skinny budget, we mean it. 

Remember, with your donation, your name (or your business name) will be listed on our website and in event literature and signage for a year following your donation.

WE APPRECIATE THE GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM OUR SPONSORS!

FEATURED SPONSORS

CHEVY CHASE LAND COMPANY

THE MALLOY AND SANDERS FAMILY

TINA, DON, AND JESSIE SLATER

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE (UMUC)

SUPPORTING SPONSORS

ATU Local 689

ENGINEERS

Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce

Bee and Brian Ditzler

Nancy and Rob Soreng

CONDUCTORS

Action Committee for Transit

Anne Ambler

John Carroll

Dr. Troy Jacobs and Dr. Kawsar Talaat

Landmark Realty, Inc.

Ben Ross

Christine Scott and JohnR Llewellyn

Sam Statland

COMMUTERS

Dave and Linda Anderson, Elizabeth Barbehenn, Ralph Bennett, Glen Bottoms, Jonathan Elkind, 
Andrew Fellows, Neil Greene, Virginia Haufler, Melanie Isis, Kevin Kirby, Mary Lanigan, Rhonda Long, 
William Mallari, Anita Morrison, Gareth Rosenau, Bill Strein, Eric Talbot

PASSENGERS

Tim Anderegg, Charles Bell, Douglas Bowen, Casey Brennan, Jeff Cronin, Ronit Dancis, Joseph Fainberg, 
Miti Figueredo, 
Patrick Flaherty, Cody Goebel, David Hondowicz, Greg Madde, Mark Mesiti-Miller, 
Judith Morenoff, Rodolfo Perez, Mark Posner, 
Jason Poteat, Dan Reed, Frederick Schultz, 
Elizabeth Shannon, Jerry Withers, William Young

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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