Purple Line NOW Action Alert - Please Support House Bill 540!

We wanted to alert you to HB 540, a bill that Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins (Montgomery County, District 20) has introduced regarding the State Income and Property Tax Credits – Purple Line Construction Zone.

The House Ways and Means Committee will hear the bill THIS Thursday, February 20, at 1 pm.

The bill allows “certain qualified businesses impacted by the construction of the Purple Line light rail project in Montgomery County and Prince George's County a credit against the State income tax and State property tax; requiring the Department of Transportation to determine the eligible amount of the income tax credit; making the income tax credit refundable; requiring the Department to administer the income tax credit; requiring the Department to make determinations and implement processes relevant to certifying qualified businesses.”

We need your help to make sure this bill gets passed this year! Please:

  • Forward this Action Alert to impacted businesses, community listserves, and email lists.
  • Take a moment to support this bill by contacting one of the following Delegates who are co-sponsors on the bill – hearing from you helps!

You can read the full bill here: HB 540 and follow its progress here.

We will continue to update you as the bill makes its way through the House. 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 - February 12, 2020

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

  • Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel
  • Temporary Bus Stop Location Changes
  • Photos from Around the Purple Line Corridor
  • Mark Your Calendar for the Next Purple Line Forum: April 15!

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

Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel

We have several updates for you today, first and foremost, Purple Line NOW’s response to the news that the pedestrian and bicycle tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue (at the west end of the line) has not been added to the Capital Improvement Plan. County Executive Elrich declined to add funding for the project to his budget, citing increasing cost estimates as engineering designs became more complete. You can read more about that decision here.

PLN supports adding the tunnel into the budget and fulfilling the commitment made to the community years ago. As most of you know, the project has the support of the hiking and biking community precisely because of the promise to complete the trail and to commit to building the tunnel so that bikers and pedestrians can have a safe and efficient crossing. 

The decision to add the tunnel to the budget now rests with the Montgomery County Council. If you share our belief that trail users should have a quality alternative to crossing busy Wisconsin at-grade, we encourage you to connect with the Council Member for your district, as well as all At-Large Council Members, and ask them to prioritize funding in the coming budget.

Purple Line NOW Board President Ralph Bennett testified to the County Council last Thursday on behalf of adding the tunnel to the county budget. Here is his testimony:

My name is Ralph Bennett; I am Board President of Purple Line NOW, longtime advocates for the project.

We understand that the pedestrian/bicycle tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue at the West end of the line has been completely deleted from the Capital Improvement Plan, both for next year and beyond. There are two problems for us with this proposal.

Commitments were made years ago to complete the Capital Crescent Trail with a parallel pedestrian/bicycle path parallel to the Purple Line Tracks under Wisconsin Ave.

We understand that construction complexities have caused the cost of the tunnel to rise as a result of construction of the replacement of the Apex Building over the Bethesda Purple Line Station – precisely the kind of capital investment the Purple Line was predicted and intended to stimulate.

We do not feel that this complexity justifies abandoning commitments made about the project, particularly given the added tax revenue the new building will provide.

Moreover, the at-grade alternative proposed compromises the efficient, safe nature of the new trail. The new trail that is being constructed along the Purple Line alignment has improved crossings at Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road. It would be a shame to lose the formerly safe and efficient underground crossing at heavily trafficked Wisconsin Avenue.

Secondly, time is critical – while the area is under construction, now is the time to do the work. Economies will result from the projects’ being built together as they are on other parts of the line – future construction will only be more expensive and extend the inconvenience of construction.

Please do not forfeit this opportunity to keep the promise and get the entire project completed on time.

Thank you.

Temporary Bus Stop Location Changes

In response to Purple Line and Capital Crescent Trail construction in and around the Silver Spring Transit Center, there have been some temporary changes that will impact some Ride On bus passengers. Several Ride On bus stops in the transit center have been temporarily relocated to the street to safely accommodate Purple Line work, which is expected to continue in this area through spring. Temporary bus stop locations have been placed along northbound Colesville Road (between Wayne Avenue and Georgia Avenue), on the second floor of the transit center, and on East-West Highway and Colesville Road. Click the link for the full statement and additional information


Photo Courtesy of Montgomery County

Photos from Around the Purple Line Corridor

Progress! Here are a few snaps from around the corridor of Purple Line construction.


Photo Courtesy of MTA MDOT and PLTP

Photo Courtesy of MTA MDOT and PLTP

Photo Courtesy of MTA MDOT and PLTP
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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. You will be able to reserve your seat soon, so stay tuned for more details on this educational and interesting evening for both Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Remember, our forums are always free and open to the public and press, but because of space limitations, we ask that you reserve your seat in advance. We'll be sending out an invitation soon, so keep your eye out for it.

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PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

Call Your Councilmember

The decision to add the tunnel to the budget now rests with the Montgomery County Council. If you share our belief that trail users should have a quality alternative to crossing busy Wisconsin at-grade, we encourage you to connect with the Councilmember for your district, as well as all At-Large Council Members, and ask them to prioritize funding in the coming budget.

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 - January 29, 2020

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

  • A Purple Line Trail Walk in the Woodside Community
  • Mark Your Calendar for the Next Purple Line Forum: April 15!
  • Purple Line NOW Matching Campaign Has Reached Its Goal!

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

Before we get to the Purple Line walk in the Woodside community, we wanted to share two terrific pictures of the newly installed Capital Crescent Trail Bridge, viewed from the east side of the Silver Spring metro (crossing Colesville Road.)


Photo Courtesy of Webb Smedley

Photo Courtesy of Webb Smedley

We hope these two photos help you envision a time, in just a few short years, when trains and trail are a reality!

A Purple Line Trail Walk in the Woodside Community

On Thursday, December 19, twenty residents of the Woodside community set out on a trail walk led by Purple Line Transit Constructors Sr. Manager for Public Affairs/Community Outreach, Carla Julian, and Structural Engineer, Mark Edsall.

The walk was set up because residents in this particular community wanted more information about how the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) would fit into the edge of the community, where access points would be, and how the community would be shielded/landscaped from the trail, CSX trains and the Purple Line, since the train-bordering trees and shrubs have now been removed.

Barbara Sanders, a member of both the Woodside/Lyttonsville Community Advisory Team (CAT) and Purple Line NOW Executive Committee, set up the trail walk with the outreach coordinator for the project after the community was told the existing natural barriers were to be removed in the fall.

The walk began with a short meeting at the home of Barbara Sanders on Noyes Lane to review general information about the project and get everyone up to speed:

  • The Purple Line is expected to open from New Carrollton to College Park in late 2022, with the complete line to Bethesda opening by mid-2023.
  • The Capital Crescent Trail is being built by PLTP, but is funded by Montgomery County. It is on the same mid-2023 completion timetable. However, you may remember at Purple Line NOW’s July 2019 forum, Peter van der Waart, (CEO of the Purple Line Transit Partners) announced that they were working on a way to open the trail sooner. Mr. van der Waart emphasized that there were no promises, but, if an early opening does happen, the trail may need to close temporarily while final trial and testing is completed.
  • Details for the trail alignment in Woodside are shown below in Figure 1 (north section), Figure 2 (center section), and Figure 3 (south section). More details can be provided to interested residents.

Fig 1 (North Section)

Fig 2 (Center Section)

Fig 3 (South Section)
  • The Spring Street bridge needs to be demolished and rebuilt with more space below it on the west end near 15th Street for the two tracks of the Purple Line. This work must be completed while maintaining CSX, Metro, and MARC train operations. Tree removal and soil removal has been underway for months. The bridge closure is tentatively scheduled for March 2020 and will last about 7 months. There will be a 30-day construction advisory before closure. Detours of traffic and rerouting of buses are all scheduled to be around the Woodside neighborhood, without changes to First and Second Avenue rush hour restrictions.
  • The Capital Crescent Trail tree cutting work is underway. All trees will be removed in the path of the trail between Noyes Lane and Spring Street. Work on the new trail is expected to begin in Woodside in late spring 2020, but completion is not required by contract until 2023.
  • The trail work will start with utility work from Spring Street to South Springwood Drive and will include storm drain work, the relocation of water and sewer lines, and a possible new fire hydrant near the end of Ballard Street extended.
  • The trail will generally be asphalt and 12-feet-wide, except in some constricted areas where the width will be reduced to 10 feet. There will be a divider separating the trail from the CSX right of way with precast concrete at the bottom and open fencing at the top.
  • The trail varies in its relation to the existing grade of Third Avenue in order to meet ADA requirements. A similar treatment of concrete with fencing will be used on the Third Avenue section when necessary for safe passage of trail users. 
  • There will be access from the 16th Street bridge by stairs to the trail and to a point on 3rd Avenue between the west end of Noyes Lane and the west end of Noyes Drive. An ADA compliant ramp will also connect the sidewalk at the north end of the bridge to the trail. This will cross the stairway at a landing platform. There should be places for access when the trail is adjacent to Third Avenue, beyond the Noyes Lane connection. These connections are shown on Figure 4, below.


Fig 4

The group raised a few issues that will likely require negotiation with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) over the Purple Line contract provisions, and coordination for assistance with the Montgomery County Executive, Council, and Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT). Some of those issues included ways to speed the completion of the trail in this area where the path is not adjacent to the light rail construction and significant screening has been removed. Another major issue was inclusion of neighborhood sidewalk and bike path connections to both the CCT and the Purple Line station.

There are more detailed plans available on the Purple Line MD website and residents are encouraged to sign up for weekly construction notices to any area of the Purple Line Right-of-Way (ROW) to be made aware of significant projects.

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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. You will be able to reserve your seat soon, so stay tuned for more details on this educational and interesting evening for both Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Remember, our forums are always free and open to the public and press, but because of space limitations, we ask that you reserve your seat in advance. We'll be sending out an invitation soon, so keep your eye out for it.

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PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

Can You Help Purple Line NOW Continue Its Work?

We are thrilled to announce that we reached the $5,000 threshold for matching donations last week! We are so thankful to each and every one of you who gave for the first time, continued your long history of giving, or answered our call when a generous matching benefactor reached out to us.

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!

FEATURED DONORS: 
The Chevy Chase Land Company, The Malloy and Sanders Family, Tina, Don, and Jessie Slater

SUPPORTING DONORS:
John Carroll, Nancy and Rob Soreng, Eric Talbot

ENGINEERS:
Anne Ambler and John Fay, ATU Local 689, Ralph Bennett, Steven Hurtt, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, John Robinson

CONDUCTORS:
Nick Brand, Bee and Brian Ditzler, Landmark Realty, Inc., Mary Lanigan, Ben Ross, Christine Scott and JohnR Llewellyn

COMMUTERS:
Elizabeth Barbehenn, Tyler Christensen, Sean Dobson, Jonathan Elkind, Elaine Emling, Joseph Fainberg, John Fay, Andrew Fellows, Neil Greene, William Holleran, Melanie Isis, Rhonda Long, Greg Madden, Anita Morrison, Mark Posner, Gareth Rosenau, Frederick Schultz, Shirley Storms, Jerry Withers, College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn

PASSENGERS:
Charles Bell, Merrie Blocker, Steve Brigham, Kris Colby, Miti Figueredo, Nick Finio, Alexandra Knox, Daniel Marcin, Mark Mesiti-Miller, Judith Morenoff, Tom Pogue, Martin Posthumus, John Undeland, Julie Zavala

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 - January 8, 2020

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

  • All Donations Will Be Doubled!
  • Our Annual Top Ten Purple Line Stories Review!

ALL Donations Will Be DOUBLED!

We hope you saw our previous email announcing that a generous donor has come forward with a matching grant challenge and has offered a way to help us raise the funds necessary to get us over the finish line!! This matching grant will double any donation you make to Purple Line NOW (up to $5,000). Our donor has agreed to continue the matching grant into the new year - so, if you haven't yet had a chance to donate, we hope you will consider doing so. 

See a list of our generous donors at the link!

We are grateful to everyone who has taken a moment to remember Purple Line NOW in your holiday giving these past few weeks. (Please note: all donations that came in since November WILL count toward the matching grant challenge!)

As we mentioned in our previous newsletter ---- our mission is clear, but we must find more funding to bridge us up to ribbon-cutting day. Our benefactor wants to stress that donors are welcome to honor anyone who may have inspired them to activism, tributes to early volunteers, civil servants, and/or boosters who may have had to step back. They are all in our thoughts as we make this appeal to you.

And, there’s even more to this outreach of generosity!

This is not a one-time matching grant ---- our anonymous donor will match three-year pledges, as well as one-time donations. With your help, this will provide the financial support Purple Line NOW needs for advocacy work until the first ride when our group will disband, having achieved its goal!

Purple Line NOW needs, on average, about $20,000 a year to accomplish its work, producing a bi-weekly newsletter, hosting free educational events, team meetings, and helping the community get answers to its construction-related questions. We rarely hold special events to raise money as we have always been funded by the generosity of donors who step up when the need arises.

We have three years to go and hope you’ll join us on the final leg of our journey! All Aboard!

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

A Look Back at 2019

Happy New Year! This new decade brings us another year closer to riding the Purple Line! As has become tradition here at Purple Line NOW News, we want to take a moment to look back at the previous year to see what the top Purple Line stories were and the progress the project has made.

10. The topping out of the Glenridge Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF)

Back in July, the Purple Line reached another milestone with the topping out of the OMF building with the ceremonial signing of the final beam before it was placed into position atop the facility. You may remember, we highlighted the building in the July 17 edition of Purple Line NOW News. While the building is not a perfect rectangle, its longest section is 358 feet and its widest, 277 feet. For (American) football fans, that’s roughly the same as two football fields laid side to side!


Photo courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

9. Announcement of Two-Phase 2022 Opening

In September, Maryland Transit officials announced that the Purple Line would open in two phases, the first in Prince George’s county in 2022, and the full line opening in early 2023. While location of the first segment has not been announced, it will likely include the section of the line that will contain the two-mile test track being built along Veterans Parkway.

8. Montgomery County Steps Up for Trees Along the Right-Of-Way

The Purple Line construction involves some loss of trees along the right-of-way. In addition to the environmental benefits of taking an estimated 17,000 cars off the road, the consortium will be planting new trees in the watershed for all those lost, including dozens of flowering and overstory trees along Wayne Avenue. Much of the land along the right-of-way is private property, and the consortium does not have authority to plant trees there, but fortunately Tree Montgomery and other programs are stepping up with funding to make sure neighbors who want new trees have the resources they need. Check out the December 5 edition Purple Line NOW News for a list of resources.

7. Art in Transit

Mid-year, the artwork for the Purple Line was announced for many of the stations. MDOT MTA Purple Line says that the mission of the Art-in-Transit program is, “to make public art an integral element of the transit project and to further enhance the Purple Line's high-quality stations, aesthetic treatments and landscape designs.” The designs debuted certainly meet that mission. If you haven’t had a chance to look at these, they can be found here.

6. Housing Action Plan Released

At the end of the year, the Purple Line Corridor Coalition released their housing action plan, which will help preserve affordability along the Purple Line route in both Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. According totheir press release, the Housing Action Plan outlines a “pathway toward preserving housing affordability along the planned Purple Line route, which currently contains at least 17,000 homes affordable to families earning less than $70,000 per year. The Plan contains 12 specific recommendations to work in concert with existing policies and programs and is designed to help ensure that existing and future individuals and families of all income levels benefit from the 16-mile Purple Line light rail upon its completion in 2023.”

5. A Bridge Opens, A Bridge Closes

In January, the new Lyttonsville Place Bridge was opened to traffic. The old bridge, which was constructed in 1966, had exceeded its useful life, so the need for a new bridge because of the project was fortuitous. In recent years, access was restricted to heavier vehicles due to its deteriorating condition. If the bridge was not being replaced as part of construction on the Purple Line, the county would have needed to spend several million dollars to replace the deck.


Photo Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

As you know, a year and a half ago, the historic Talbot Avenue Bridge was deconstructed to make way for a stronger and wider bridge with sidewalks. The Purple Line will pass under the new bridge, next to the CSX tracks. The new bridge, as well as the Lyttonsville station itself, will incorporate elements from the historic bridge.

4. Mike Madden Retires

In October, after 48 years of public service, 36 of which has been with MTA, Purple Line Deputy Project Director for the Maryland Transit Administration, Mike Madden retired. Purple Line NOW Vice President Greg Sanders praised Madden's tenacity, "He represented the project at thousands of meetings with the public, in good times and bad, bore the attacks of opponents and heard the concerns of those who would face disruption. All of that is hard work and often resists easy solutions. We are grateful for his years of labor as a public servant."


Mike Madden with Barbara Sanders and Greg Sanders

Mike leaves the project in good and steady hands with his successor, Gary Witherspoon, Purple Line Assistant Director of Public Outreach and Communications who has been the state transportation spokesman at MDOT MTA and a valuable part of the Community Advisory Team (CAT) meetings and our own Purple Line NOW forums.

3. First Look at Purple Line Light Rail Vehicle (LRV)

There were a lot of firsts in 2019, and getting a peek at one of the new LRV's inside the factory is an exciting way to remind us that we will be riding one of these cars in just a few short years! We think they’re beautiful and they are also huge! Each train will be 136-feet-long per five segment railcar – the longest transit LRV in America. Whoa!


Photo Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

2. Break-through of Tunnel Excavation

In February, the project hit another milestone when crews broke through a 1,000-foot tunnel between Arliss Street and Wayne Street to the future Silver Spring station. The excavation took 8 ½ months and was ahead of schedule. It is always an exciting day when these breakthroughs occur and this was no exception!

Watch the video of the breakthrough here: WTOP.

And, finally, drumroll please!

1. First Purple Line Tracks Are Placed

After much deliberation, our group deemed the laying of the first tracks in September as the most significant visual representation of the project to date. The tracks represent so much in terms of the hard work the crews, the community, and our volunteers have given month in and month out, some for decades, and some no longer with us, to see this project become a reality. It is the first visual sign that says, “The train is coming! All aboard!”


Photo Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

We hope you've enjoyed this recap of a busy year for the Purple Line. There were many more stories to write about (and we have! You can find all of our newsletters on our website at the link.) From smaller projects, the ever-present utility reconstruction, to demo, retaining walls, and landscaping plans - all progress matters. Here's to more in 2020!

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

  • Next Purple Line NOW forum will happen in late winter/early spring. The title will be: Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride! We have lots of beans to spill about what will surely be an educational and interesting evening for both Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Stay tuned for location, date, and how to reserve your seat. All the details coming soon!
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PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

Can You Help Purple Line NOW Continue Its Work?

If you haven't already given this year, would you consider a donation to Purple Line NOW? Right now, we will double your donation (thanks to a generous donor who has offered a matching grant for every single donation, up to $5,000!) See above for details on how to donate. 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.



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