In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:
- Big Announcement: The Next Purple Line NOW Forum!
- Update on Ongoing Negotiations Between Maryland and PLTP
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossing Improvements
- Photos from Around the Purple Line Corridor
As we begin this last month of summer, we hope each of you remain healthy during this continuing pandemic, especially as we reopen our state. For us, it is good to see crews hard at work on the project, a sure sign that better days are to come. Please, stay safe!
PURPLE LINE NEWS AND EVENTS
Mark Your Calendar for August 20!
The next Purple Line NOW forum, Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride, will be held virtually via a Zoom Webinar on Thursday, August 20, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. As promised, we have been busy lining up an awesome slate of speakers for you for this bi-county forum, which will focus on both Prince George’s and Montgomery counties – and what each is doing to prepare for the day when we hop on board for that first Purple Line ride!
Webinar invitations will be going out at the end of this week and will include a link to register for the webinar, so keep an eye on your email box! We encourage you to register quickly for this educational and informative event because, although our forums are always free and open to the public, because Purple Line NOW operates on a slim (very slim!) budget, we only have capacity to offer 100 spaces to those who register first.
Our terrific slate of speakers for this forum will be:
- Casey Anderson, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board
- Vicki Davis, President, Urban Atlantic Development
- The Honorable Andrew Friedson, Montgomery County Council Member (District 1)
- The Honorable Dannielle M. Glaros, Prince George’s County Council Member (District 3)
- John L. Ziegenhein, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Chevy Chase Land Company and Justin Kennell, Development Manager, Bozzuto Development Company
We have also invited a representative from the Prince George’s County Planning Board to join us. Lots more about these knowledgeable folks will be in your invitation coming on Friday. There will be time at the end of the webinar for audience questions and, if you cannot join us on August 20, we will have a video link for you in the days following the event.
Please take a moment to have a look at the generous donors who make our work possible and, if you can, take a moment to join them.
Purple Line NOW, as you know, has been around for decades and we work hard to stay on top of the news, answer your questions, publish a bi-weekly newsletter, and host these informative fora several times a year. We don’t hold special event fundraisers (and couldn’t now, even if we wanted to, of course!), but when our coffers get low, we ask those of you who can, to consider a donation to Purple Line NOW. We will publicize your name (or your organization’s name) on our website and at our events as a way of thanking you and letting the community know how much you care about seeing this project finally become a reality.
We appreciate all donations, small or large. The black DONATE button below will take you directly to our donation page. Thank you, thank you for your help in making this event a success!
CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW
We have been closely watching for news of the ongoing negotiations between Maryland and the Purple Line concessionaire. The concessionaire has threatened to leave the project over delay and time increases and Maryland is disputing their standing to withdrawal. Critically, a negotiated outcome is still possible and construction has been ongoing during this dispute. In an article in the Washington Post, reporter Katie Shaver gave a history of the present dispute, which originated in the delay caused when Judge Leon suspended construction for a year due to a frivolous lawsuit by project opponents. (July 18, 2020, Purple Line project delays, cost overruns reveal long-brewing problems.)
Because negotiations are taking place behind closed doors, there is little news about how close the parties are to a settlement. The latest update we have comes from Bryan Sears’ reporting for The Daily Record which highlights the July 22 Board of Public Works meeting where Maryland Secretary of Transportation Greg Slater reaffirmed the state's commitment:
“We’re going to continue to push forward,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater. “But I can assure you that we intend to have those conversations and intend to try and move the ball forward to bring this project to a successful completion but also vigorously protect the interest of the citizens of the state in this project and make sure that we get a good fair resolution that doesn’t have us back here in a few months from now at the same time.” (July 27, 2020, State hopes for resolution on dispute that could stall Purple Line.)
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot noted that “[o]bviously if we lost that project, if people walked off it, it would have a devastating impact on the region." He stated that he was prepared to support Secretary Slater's recommendation and spoke for all of us with his call that “functional adults need to work together on this one.”
Support for the project was echoed by the Maryland Congressional Delegation, with Congressman Anthony Brown (MD-04) stating in a July 29 press release, "The only acceptable path forward is to finish the Purple Line project."
The state has received some economic good news since our last newsletter, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer proudly announcing in a July 31 statement, “I am particularly pleased that our appropriations package includes strong support for Metro and for the Purple Line, which is critical for economic development and job growth in Maryland."
We also learned in late July that the state of Maryland has retained its triple-A overall bond rating, despite trying circumstances due to the pandemic. (July 23, 2020. The Garrett County Republican.)
As always, we will keep abreast of the news and bring you the latest when we learn of any developments.
Send Us Your Photos!
Especially now, when so many of us are at home, we long for photos of progress along the Purple Line corridor. If you are out on a socially-distanced walk or drive, snap a few shots of Purple Line progress you see and send them to us! Don't forget to include a name so we can give a photo credit. Send photographs to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! While we wait for yours, here are a few to tide you over.
Sidewalk Placement - Kenilworth Avenue
Talbot Avenue Bridge. Photo Courtesy of Ralph Bennett.
University Boulevard at Northwest Branch
Rock Creek Bridge. Photo Courtesy of Ralph Bennett.
Stem Wall at New Carrollton.