Purple Line NOW News - October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

For this newsletter, we’re back to focusing on construction news. The second half of October has included meetings for half of the Purple Line’s Community Advisory Teams (CATs), which are offered to both share information with the public and to provide feedback. In our next newsletter, we will focus on big picture news, but in the meantime, we wanted to let you know the Purple Line will again be making an appearance in the Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade (on the Saturday before Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 12 noon), thanks to coalition member Action Committee for Transit. If you think that sounds like fun (and it is!), please bundle up, put on your purple, and join us for the march!

Long Branch CAT

The largest construction challenges in this round of meetings were related to the tunnel construction. To help make up for the year lost to a frivolous lawsuit after financing had already been secured, the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) authorized 24/7 work on the tunnel, which is part of the critical path for the entire project. Progress did come quickly, with the excavation of the top 20 feet of the tunnel already at the 60% mark and completion planned in spring of 2019.

However, in recent weeks, the underground excavation work has prompted complaints from a group of residents living above the excavation area with loud and sustained overnight noise. The Long Branch CAT was focused around this issue, and provided additional information and proposed next steps, but did not resolve the situation. The neighborhood group subsequently sought out a meeting with Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, first by letter, then by request in person. Secretary Rahn spoke with the group and after elaborating on the circumstances, was receptive to their concerns.

Purple Line NOW has been tracking this issue and appreciates the way the neighbors worked through the CAT and expressed both their support for the project along with their strong concerns over specific side-effects of present tunneling efforts. We commend Secretary Rahn for his choice to take the meeting and intervene. We will keep tracking this issue as MTA works to implement his assurances.

Riverdale Park CAT and Ellin Road

The Riverdale Park CAT included discussion of community parking permits, access to the neighborhood from Route 450, and the exposure of bus stops. There was also a strong community interest in seeing more details on the stops, including images. MTA reported that while the artists for the station work had been selected, they had several projects each and the final selection of projects from each artist was not yet complete.

Further east along the line in the New Carrollton area, Ellin Road (between Highway 410 and Hanson  Oaks Drive) closed at the start of October. The closure is due to utility relocation and construction of facilities for the Purple Line and is expected to last approximately one year.

College Park CAT

The news from the College Park CAT was lower profile in visible scope. For example, utility work proceeds, University of Maryland building 212 was demolished, tree clearing and protection progressed, and a new pump station is being built. The Campus Drive east bound lane between Library Lane and Regents Drive is closed and a detour has been established.


Campus Drive Lane Closure

Pump Station Work on Campus Drive


Silver Spring CAT

The update for the Silver Spring segment focused primarily on ongoing work, including the 16th Street Plaza demolition, the Rite Aid/FedEx demolition, and the new and updated parking lot for Silver Spring International School, which is estimated to be completed in summer of 2020. The briefing also included a look ahead at future work, with a variety of roadwork expected to start in the early winter months of 2019. This will include the Bonifant Street two-year closure and eventual conversion to a one-way street.

There will also be a temporary reduction of lanes for Wayne Avenue. The CAT included a presentation by a resident who argued that the Wayne Avenue changes should be permanent. In a future newsletter, we will take a closer look at efforts to publicize affected businesses. While this work will involve disruption, the end result will greatly improve transit accessibility for residents, workers, and customers in the affected areas

The work we are most excited about is the revisions to the Silver Spring Transit Center, which will include a direct connection from the upper level of the transit center to the metro platform, saving time not just for Purple Line riders, but also also for those approaching the station from the northeast or those using the kiss and ride area.


Future Silver Spring Transit Center rendering, overhead

 

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

Next Purple Line NOW Forum - Mark Your Calendars!

Although we will do a formal invitation blast soon, we wanted to bring you the news first - MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW! The next forum in the Envisioning the Purple Line series is going to be in...drumroll, please...COLLEGE PARK on January 10 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in the CP City Hall! Stay tuned for all the details about how to reserve your seat, who the speakers are, and other details. Plan to come and hear the latest about all the development plans for College Park as the new Purple Line takes shape!

Upcoming Community Advisory Team (CAT) Meetings

  • Bethesda - November 27, Bethesda Chevy Chase High School (Cafeteria) 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814 from 6:30 – 8 pm.
  • Glenridge – November 29,  Purple Line Project Office (6811 Kenilworth Avenue - 1st Floor Training Room, Riverdale, MD 20737 from 6:30 – 8 pm.
  • Lyttonsville – December 4, Rosemary Hills Elementary School (All Purpose Room) 2111 Porter Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910 from 7 – 8:30 pm.
  • University Boulevard – December 6, Langley Park-McCormick Elementary School, (Multi-Purpose Room), 8201 15th Avenue, Langley Park, MD 20783 from 6:30 – 8 pm.

 

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