Purple Line NOW News - June 16, 2021

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

  • What's Happening at PLN?
  • Purple Line in the News
  • Features & Highlights
    • Board of Public Works Approves Funding for Purple Line Consultants
    • Upcoming Community Advisory Team Meetings
  • Construction News
    • Riverdale & Glenridge/New Carrollton CAT Meeting Highlights
    • Bethesda CAT Meeting Highlights

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.

What' Happening

   WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?

Please Help Us Continue Our Work

We appreciate your consideration of a donation to Purple Line NOW which will help us continue to offer events like the webinar we hosted last month throughout the year, free of charge to all participants as well as this information-packed newsletter. We do not host special event fundraisers, nor do we receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We rely solely on support from donors like YOU!

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.

As always, a great big thank you to ALL OF OUR DONORS! We simply could not do our work without your support. If you don't see your name on our website link, you can donate by clicking the purple button below. 

Thank you, thank you! Especially after the year from which we are all slowly emerging, a great big THANK YOU!

 

PL in the News

   THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS

Maryland board approves $183.5 million for Purple Line construction consultants (K. Shaver, June 16, 2021, Washington Post)

A first look at the future Purple Line’s railcars (M. Small, June 16, 2021, WTOP News)

A Quick Stations Tour of the Purple Line (R. Bennett, May 13, 2021, PLCC Real Estate Round Table)

Features and Highlights

   FEATURES & HIGHLIGHTS

Board of Public Works Approves Funding for Purple Line Consultants

Earlier today, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved $183.5 million for consultants to continue managing many of the 150 contracts that the state took over when the former builder left the project. According to the Washington Post, state transportation officials say, “the $183.5 million is not a cost increase because it was already in the project’s $2 billion budget for work that would have been done by the Fluor team.”  

In fact, Secretary Slater went on to clarify that “every activity we do under this new contract authority is an activity that won’t be included in the costs when the new builder is hired. This funding will move the process along and reduce risk."

The Maryland Department of Transportation officials have said that the consultants “have taken on an even more significant role since the departure of the design-build contractor, which has allowed the state to continue critical work on the project during this interim period.”

Peter Franchot, Maryland’s Comptroller (and member of the Board of Public Works), praised the work that Secretary Slater has done to keep the project moving during the past year, and he underscored the necessity for this critically important project to reach completion.

We believe that by asking for this new contract authority, the state is taking the steps necessary to see the project through to construction. We look forward to learning the updated costs and schedule now that Maryland has the support it needs to finish the selection of a new builder in September and to then fully resume construction.

Community Advisory Team Meetings Scheduled for Summer 2021

MDOT MTA continues to conduct Round 8 of the CAT meetings which began in May and will run through this month with the final two groups:

College Park: June 22, 6:30 pm
Greater Lyttonsville/Woodside: June 29, 6:30 pm

Construction Updates

   CONSTRUCTION UPDATES

Community Advisory Team Meeting Highlights

As we did in the previous edition of Purple Line NOW News, we continue with an overview of the next two Community Advisory Team meetings. In the line-up for this issue is the Riverdale/Glenridge/New Carrollton and Bethesda stations.

As always, we offer you this brief overview of the highlights, but encourage you to view the full presentations on the MDOT MTA website.

Matthew Pollack Executive Director, Transit Development and Delivery, Vernon G. Hartsock, Project Director, Anita Rodgers, Acting Deputy Project Director, Contracting Officer, and Gary Witherspoon, Deputy Project Director Public Outreach & Communications hosted both of the following CAT meetings.

First, a bit of an update on the full project from the team:

The Settlement agreement was approved by the Board of Public Works and, as we brought to you in our May 4 forum, Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP) has started the procurement process to re-solicit the project for a new design-build contractor.

MDOT MTA (jointly with PLTP) will have final approval over selected replacement design-build contractor. As you know, MDOT MTA took over the large number of contracts when the former builder left the project, and since then, MDOT MTA has continued to manage those contracts and advance construction during this interim period.

The team gave us an estimated timeframe for the procurement process:

  • Issued Request for Qualifications - January 8, 2021
  • Received Statements of Qualifications - February 18, 2021
  • Short-List Teams - March 3, 2021
  • Issued Request for Proposals - March 8, 2021
  • Select Contractor - Summer 2021
  • Board of Public Works Review/Approval - Fall 2021

We know some of you have a keen interest in the progress of the vehicle production and we received an update on those, too. MDOT MTA has been working directly with CAF to progress production of vehicles. So far:

  • All 130 car shells have been fabricated
  • 94 car shells have been painted
  • 82 are in Elmira, NY for assembly
  • 5 are in transit from Spain to Elmira
  • 7 are awaiting shipment from Spain to Elmira

Check out the news item from WTOP News about the new rail cars, as well!

Lastly, MDOT MTA recently established a Business Engagement Team in the Purple Line project management office to foster relationships with those businesses along the alignment that may be impacted. The team consists of:

Lesli Leath, Business Relationship Manager

[email protected], 1-240-695-9269

Minh Diep, Business Engagement Officer for Montgomery County

[email protected], 1-551-206-5889

Marlene Veras, Business Engagement Officer for Prince George’s County

[email protected], 1-443-802-1608

Riverdale & Glenridge/New Carrollton

The Riverdale & Glenridge/New Carrollton CAT meeting was held virtually on June 3, 2021.

Stations in this segment include:

  • Riverdale Park/Kenilworth
  • Beacon Heights-East Pines
  • Glenridge
  • New Carrollton Metro

As has been the case with a project of this size, utility relocations comprise a large portion of the work to be done along the corridor. This segment is no exception with the primary focus here on utility relocations both underground and overhead on Kenilworth Avenue, Riverdale Road, Veterans Parkway, Annapolis Road, and Ellin Road. Crews have been busy specifically working on WSSC waterline and sewer work, and Pepco and Verizon utilities. They expect that these relocation efforts will continue through the end of this calendar year. Along Kenilworth Avenue, underground utility relocations continue.

At the Glenridge Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF), wall construction continues, along with the installation of permanent utilities (water, sewer, power, and gas) to the building. The substructure for the access bridge from Veterans Parkway to the OMF which is over the future Purple Line tracks, has been completed.


Waterproofing application on a wall adjacent to Ellin Road

Looking ahead, along with the continued aforementioned utility relocations (both underground and overhead, which will occur through the onboarding of the new design-build contractor), crews will begin the 66-inch water line relocation along Veterans Parkway this month. We were alerted through a public notification at the beginning of the summer that a long-term lane closure would be needed to facilitate this specific relocation. If there are any impacts to service, WSSC will provide notices.

Additionally, workers are preparing the OMF building for occupancy.

Some questions were asked in advance of the meeting for which the team was able to provide answers:

  • Will future construction at the 450-410 intersection require multiple lanes of Annapolis Road (both east and west) to be closed for extended periods as was the case in May?

The "Maintenance of Traffic" plan (or MOT) for future track construction will maintain two through lanes in each direction through each phase. They do not anticipate needing to close multiple through lanes for any of the remaining work. However, with the new design build team yet to be installed, there could be a potential that they may seek approval for an alternative MOT plan.

  • If construction requires multiple lane closures on Annapolis Road, is it possible to open more than one lane when work is not being done and conduct work beyond the overnight hours?

It depends on the work being performed. Certain portions of water line construction that occurred there in May had to be protected while crews were working on it, and that protection could not be removed during non-work hours. In that case, lane closures and barrier walls were required 24/7 for protection. Matt Pollack said that they will do their best to open lanes when work is not being performed.

Bethesda/Chevy Chase

The Bethesda and Chevy Chase Community Advisory Team meeting was held virtually on June 8, 2021.

The stations in this segment include:

  • Bethesda Metro
  • Connecticut Avenue

Over the past six months, work crews have completed the Connecticut Avenue LRV bridge substructure as well as the Connecticut Avenue CCT bridge substructure. They have also finished the construction of parapets on the Chevy Chase Lakes Terrace CCT bridge, along with the substructure concrete placement for the new pedestrian bridge.


Rock Creek concrete placement for new pedestrian bridge


CAT members submitted some questions in advance and the presenters provided answers to them. To see or hear the full scale of those answers, please visit their website, but we wanted to bring you a few of those that were fielded during the presentation.

  • There are now two separate spans for the Connecticut Ave. Purple Line overpass. Will there be an additional span for the trail or is the span work complete?

The span is not complete, although there are two girders currently erected for the LRV bridge. The new design-builder will be responsible for setting the girders for the CCT bridge.

  • If there is need for additional spans to bridge Connecticut, approximately when is that work planned?

Not sure about the specific schedule because the new design-build team needs to be hired and then onboarded and then will produce an updated construction schedule.

  • When will work on the Station at Connecticut Ave. begin?

The new builder will give an early mobilization schedule once they are hired, and then a full construction schedule through opening day.

  • The intensive development around the Conn. Ave. Station has raised concern regarding the flow of traffic in that area. Presumably there will be both buses and private vehicles dropping passengers off for the Purple Line. With hundreds of residential units and a large number of commercial properties being built adjacent to the Station there will be additional volume throughout the day. What measures are being undertaken to avoid build-ups on Conn. Ave., Manor Road, Ch. Ch. Lake Drive and Ch. Ch. Lake Terrace?

Most of the Purple Line stations have been designed as neighborhood stations where users will be walking, biking, or taking alternative transit to access the stations. Connecticut Avenue is not intended for drop-off lane for private vehicles. Appropriate signage and community education will occur closer to service.

In our next edition, we'll finish up with the last few CAT meetings of Spring/Summer 2021.

Stay Connected

   STAY CONNECTED

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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Purple Line NOW News - June 2, 2021

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

  • What's Happening at PLN?
  • Purple Line in the News
  • Features & Highlights
    • Thank you to Kevin Quinn
    • Governor Hogan Vetoes Purple Line Marketing Funding
    • Community Advisory Team Meetings
  • Construction News
    • University Boulevard and Silver Spring CAT Meeting Highlights

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.

What' Happening

   WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?

Please Help Us Continue Our Work

We appreciate your consideration of a donation to Purple Line NOW which will help us continue to offer events like the webinar we hosted last month throughout the year, free of charge to all participants as well as this information-packed newsletter. We do not host special event fundraisers, nor do we receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We rely solely on support from donors like YOU!

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.

As always, a great big thank you to ALL OF OUR DONORS! We simply could not do our work without your support. If you don't see your name on our website link, you can donate by clicking the purple button below. 

Thank you, thank you!

 

PL in the News

   THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS

Maryland administrator who oversaw Purple Line construction is chosen to lead Vancouver transit agency (K. Shaver, May 19, 2021 Washington Post)

Maryland Transit Chief Looking Forward to New Gig in Vancouver (B. DePuyt, May 22, 2021 Maryland Matters)

Features and Highlights

   FEATURES & HIGHLIGHTS

Maryland Transit Administrator Kevin Quinn Leaves Post

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Maryland Transit Administrator Kevin Quinn for his work on the Purple Line during his tenure here, especially through the last few rocky years. We wish him well in his new role as Chief Executive Officer of Vancouver's transit agency, TransLink, in British Columbia. MTA's deputy administrator Holly Arnold will serve as acting administrator until Quinn’s replacement is named.

Governor Hogan Vetoes Purple Line Marketing Funding

Last week, Governor Hogan vetoed SB 97, from Maryland State Senator Rosapepe that would have funded $500,000 for Purple Line marketing. The bill would have required the state to begin marketing the Purple Line light rail project in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties to highlight and promote the coming line. Governor Hogan said that he felt the funding was premature and that “MDOT has in-depth experience with developing marketing plans for major transit projects,” adding that he was “confident that their team is developing a superior plan for the Purple Line."

Governor Hogan also vetoed other bills that set aside specific funding for other transit systems including the Transit Investment and Safety Act on Friday and earlier in May, a proposed expansion of MARC rail service.

We are disappointed in the veto of Senator Rosapepe's bill, but we are encouraged by the outreach and accessibility of the MDOT MTA Purple Line team and look forward to hearing more about their marketing plans as the new builder is brought on board and the project continues to move forward.

Community Advisory Team Meetings Scheduled for Spring/Summer 2021

MDOT MTA is conducting Round 8 of the CAT meetings which began in May and will run through this month. As always, we will bring you highlights, but you should definitely check out the published notes or video from those meetings if you live or work in one of these communities:

Riverdale/New Carrollton: June 3, 6:30 pm
Bethesda/Chevy Chase: June 8, 6:30 pm
Long Branch: June 15, 6:30 pm
College Park: June 22, 6:30 pm
Greater Lyttonsville/Woodside: June 29, 6:30 pm

Construction Updates

   CONSTRUCTION UPDATES

Community Advisory Team Meeting Highlights

We are excited to see the Community Advisory Teams (CATs) begin the spring meetings! We offer you this brief overview of some of the highlights from the two meetings that have been held to date. To view the full presentations, we encourage you to visit their webpage.

Matthew Pollack Executive Director, Transit Development and Delivery, Vernon G. Hartsock, Project Director, Anita Rodgers, Acting Deputy Project Director, Contracting Officer, and Gary Witherspoon, Deputy Project Director Public Outreach & Communications hosted both of the following CAT meetings.

First, a bit of an update on the full project from the team:

The Settlement agreement was approved by the Board of Public Works and, as we brought to you in our May 4 forum, Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP) has started the procurement process to re-solicit the project for a new design-build contractor.

MDOT MTA (jointly with PLTP) will have final approval over selected replacement design-build contractor. As you know, MDOT MTA took over the large number of contracts when the former builder left the project, and since then, MDOT MTA has continued to manage those contracts and advance construction during this interim period.

The team gave us an estimated timeframe for the procurement process:

  • Issued Request for Qualifications - January 8, 2021
  • Received Statements of Qualifications - February 18, 2021
  • Short-List Teams - March 3, 2021
  • Issued Request for Proposals - March 8, 2021
  • Select Contractor - Summer 2021
  • Board of Public Works Review/Approval - Fall 2021

We know some of you have a keen interest in the progress of the vehicle production and we received an update on those, too. MDOT MTA has been working directly with CAF to progress production of vehicles. So far:

  • All 130 car shells have been fabricated
  • 94 car shells have been painted
  • 82 are in Elmira, NY for assembly
  • 5 are in transit from Spain to Elmira
  • 7 are awaiting shipment from Spain to Elmira

Lastly, MDOT MTA recently established a Business Engagement Team in the Purple Line project management office to foster relationships with those businesses along the alignment that may be impacted. The team consists of:

Shaquanna Shields, Business Relationship Manager
[email protected]
1-443-388-3311

Minh Diep, Business Engagement Officer for Montgomery County
[email protected]
1-551-206-5889

Marlene Veras, Business Engagement Officer for Prince George’s County
[email protected]
1-443-802-1608

University Boulevard

Stations in this segment include:
• Takoma-Langley
• Riggs Road
• Adelphi Road - UMGC - UMD


The University Boulevard CAT meeting was held on May 19, 2021 at 6:30 pm.

For this segment of the line, the primary focus has been on utility relocations both underground and overhead. You’ll remember, this project is a massive utility relocation undertaking, so the ongoing utility work is expected to continue through the end of 2021, including WSSC waterline and sewer work, Pepco, and Washington Gas.

Crews are also continuing construction of the Northwest Branch Bridge for the Light Rail Vehicle and vehicular traffic, including deck work and retaining walls. Adelphi Plaza entrance reconstruction has been completed.

Over the next six months, crews will continue utility relocations both underground and overhead with WSSC waterline and sewer work, Pepco, Washington Gas, and Verizon. Please note, the Northwest Branch Bridge traffic will be switched to the westbound bridge and the eastbound bridge will be closed at that time. The team will also continue sidewalk, gutter, storm drain installation, driveway connections and roadwork widening from Temple Street to West Park Drive on University Boulevard.

Silver Spring

Stations in this segment include:
• Silver Spring Metro
• Silver Spring Library
• Dale Drive


The Silver Spring CAT meeting was held on May 25, 2021 at 6:30 pm.

The main focus has been on underground utility relocations, including water lines, sewer, Pepco, Verizon, and Washington Gas. There are approximately 12 different crews supporting the utility relocation efforts in this segment and that work is expected to continue through the end of this year.

Over the next six months, crews expect to continue utility relocations both underground and overhead, including WSSC waterline and sewer work, Pepco, Verizon, Washington Gas, and Comcast.



They are also planning to remove worker fall protection from the Purple Line bridge over Colesville Road adjacent to the Silver Spring Transit Center this summer. Work will occur during nighttime hours in coordination with CSX and WMATA. They will also begin the removal of graffiti and surface treatment in identified areas during this summer. CAT members submitted questions and when the answers to those questions are published, we’ll let you know.

Stay Connected

   STAY CONNECTED

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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Purple Line NOW News - May 19, 2021

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

  • What's Happening at PLN?
    • Please Help Us Continue Our Work
  • Purple Line in the News
  • Features & Highlights
    • Purple Line Employment Opportunities
    • Community Advisory Team Meetings Scheduled for Spring/Summer 2021
  • Construction News
    • A Purple Line Status Update - Forum Recap with Q&A

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.

What' Happening

   WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?

Help Us Continue Our Work

We appreciate your consideration of a donation to Purple Line NOW which will help us continue to offer events like the one highlighted below throughout the year free of charge to all participants. We do not host special event fundraisers, nor do we receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We rely solely on support from donors like YOU!

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.

As always, a great big thank you to ALL OF OUR DONORS! We simply could not do our work without your support. If you don't see your name on our website link, you can donate by clicking the purple button below. 

Thank you, thank you!

 

PL in the News

   THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS

Appeals court says Purple Line construction doesn’t violate water protections, in likely end to legal saga (K. Shaver, May 13, 2021, Washington Post)

Meet the Maryland transit official responsible for getting the Purple Line built (K. Shaver, May 7, 2021 Washington Post)

Court says Purple Line construction doesn’t violate water protections (Staff, May 17, 2021, Bethesda Beat

Features and Highlights

   FEATURES & HIGHLIGHTS

Purple Line Employment Opportunities

From time to time, and especially in the wake of the Purple Line's previous builder leaving the project, we are asked about whether the concessionaire or MDOT MTA is hiring for Purple Line construction jobs. We have more information for you from Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) Office of Transit Development and Delivery. If you are interested in knowing more, click on this handy reference about Purple Line job inquiries.

Community Advisory Team Meetings Are Scheduled for Spring/Summer 2021

MDOT MTA will be conducting Round 8 of the CAT meetings beginning this month and running through June. As always, we will bring you highlights, but you should definitely check out the published notes or video from those meetings if you live or work in one of these communities:

University Boulevard: May 19, 6:30 pm
Silver Spring: May 25, 6:30 pm
Riverdale/New Carrollton: June 3, 6:30 pm
Bethesda/Chevy Chase: June 8, 6:30 pm
Long Branch: June 15, 6:30 pm
College Park: June 22, 6:30 pm
Greater Lyttonsville/Woodside: June 29, 6:30 pm

Construction Updates

   CONSTRUCTION UPDATES

A Purple Line Status Update - May 4, 2021

We know many of you were able to join us a few weeks ago for our virtual forum which brought us an update on the Purple Line from Maryland Secretary of Transportation, Gregory Slater, and lots of answers to your most burning Purple Line questions from a uniquely qualified and knowledgeable panel which included:

  • The Honorable Gregory Slater, Maryland Secretary of Transportation
  • Doran Bosso, CEO, Purple Line Transit Partners
  • Maricela Cordova Garcia, Assoc. AIA, DBIA, LEED GA, ENV SP, Purple Line Implementation Manager, Montgomery County Department of Transportation
  • Matthew W. Pollack, PE, PMP, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for the Maryland Transit Administration
  • Vic Weissberg, Major Projects Manager, Office of the Director, Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation

We appreciate their time and dedication to the project, their enthusiasm for seeing the project through to opening day, and their thoughtful answers to all the questions you submitted.

Below is an overview of the wide-ranging and insightful information they shared with our audience about where the Purple Line stands today and what we can expect in the near- and long-term. Please note, this was an information-packed event, so we encourage you to watch the forum for yourself for the full breadth of information and answers to the questions submitted.

Purple Line NOW President Ralph Bennett welcomed our audience and the media and introduced Secretary Slater who gave a thorough recap of the hurdles the project has endured, where the project stands now, and plans moving forward.

First, Secretary Slater spoke about the importance of advocacy groups like ours who are allies for transit projects. “Working together to make such projects a success is critical, not just here in the national capital region, but in Maryland as a whole,” he said.

Secretary Slater
The Honorable Gregory Slater, Maryland Secretary of Transportation

The Secretary described his 20-year history with the State Highway Administration in a variety of capacities, but most importantly, the 10 years he spent as planning director which serves him well in his current position, allowing him to see how our transit system works through a “planner’s eye.”

In January, the concessionaire (Purple Line Transit Partners -- PLTP) issued a request for qualifications from a host of design build firms to replace the builder who left the project last year. In March, they received qualifications from several impressive firms, and from there, whittled the list down to three. Those three firms are now putting together their proposals, taking tours of the alignment, gathering information, and digging into the details. Secretary Slater said, “After reviewing the proposals, PLTP will work closely with us to decide which of these short-listed firms we are going to select in the fall to finish this project, because, rest assured, we are going to finish the project and ride the Purple Line – there’s nothing in doubt about that!”

He also noted that “after receiving feedback from these teams, we realized we needed to grant them a little more time to really understand the project.” After the final proposals are submitted and one is chosen, they will go to the Board of Public Works for approval. Secretary Slater also mentioned that despite the previous builder leaving, the State has been undertaking plenty of work during the past year, after taking over hundreds of contracts.

Along with doing as much work in advance as possible to provide a more seamless transition to a new design build firm, the State has engaged in extensive community outreach such as the forum they are participating in tonight. Additionally, they have been advancing the permitting process to allow the new firm to come in with permits already in place and utilities moved which will allow for a much smoother transition.

The Community Advisory Teams (CATs) will be resuming this month, as mentioned above. Secretary Slater emphasized that they wanted to be as comprehensive and thoughtful about the work they were doing so that once a design build firm is brought in, they will be able to assure speed and quality of delivery going forward.

Slater also mentioned that every five years, they review Maryland’s 20-year vision plan to lay out goals and vision for the future and, not surprisingly, the Purple Line has been a big part of that plan for some time. This year, for the first time in history, they are going to be creating a 50-year state-wide transit plan by pulling together a variety of plans already in place, including the Bus Rapid Transit Network, the Purple Line, and other transit-oriented development around metro stations. This is an effort, he said, to improve the long-term vision for transit in the state, and increase coordinated, equitable, and innovative mobility for our communities.

In closing, Secretary Slater highlighted the work that transit operators in all the transit industries have been doing throughout the past fourteen months of the pandemic, all of whom remain at the core of providing service to carry and deliver front line workers who do not have other options for transportation to and from their homes and jobs.

Our warmest thanks to the Secretary for giving a thorough and thoughtful briefing and for sticking around to answers some of your questions. We had a ton of questions submitted for the event and we are grateful that the team was able to answer each of them during the forum!

Please note, these are just brief paraphrased answers to the questions that were submitted. If you would like to hear the full answers to each, please have a listen to the forum. It is chock-full of information that will be of interest to you, your family, and your community.

When are the Light Rail cars coming to Maryland for testing and does the state have to pay storage fees at CAF since the cars were supposed to be here in Maryland end of last year?

Matt Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for MTA:

Thank you for this insightful question – glad it was asked! First, we need to get the design build firm on board, then we will work with them to establish the schedule which will include the sequencing of all construction and operations and to establish a projected opening date. The expectation is that one of the first priorities of the design build firm will be the Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) which will serve as a storage yard and operational test track. Delivery of the Light Rail Vehicles (LRV) will have to be matched up with when the new builder finishes the OMF facility and tracks. The State is currently paying storage costs to store the cars in Elmira, NY. It was noted that the cars must be “exercised” frequently – they cannot just be turned off and stored. Who knew?!

Matt Pollack
Matthew W. Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for the Maryland Transit Administration

Why has construction stopped on the new south entrance to the Bethesda Metro? I understand that this project was fully funded by MTA as a separate project from the Purple Line.

Maricela Cordova Garcia, Assoc. AIA, DBIA, LEED GA, ENV SP, Purple Line Implementation Manager, Montgomery County Department of Transportation:

Montgomery County is funding three projects that are being constructed along the Purple Line – the new Bethesda South Metro Entrance, the Capital Crescent Trail, and the Green Trail in Silver Spring. Because Montgomery County has an agreement with the State to allow MTA and the concessionaire to construct these three projects, when construction stopped last year due to the then builder terminating its contract, they were forced to stop construction on the Bethesda South Metro Entrance. Once the design build firm is chosen, construction will restart.

The state recently rejected the idea of single tracking the end of the line through Bethesda to allow for pedestrian in the tunnel. What made that idea impractical?

Matt Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for MTA:

When the State evaluated the feasibility of the single-track alignment through the Bethesda tunnel, we looked at five elements: the physical integration, operational integration, safety/security, costs, and federal approval, with the physical integration being the main priority. While it appears that the CCT could easily fit within the tunnel along with the trains, in fact, you must remember that for large portions of the trainway, there is overhead equipment which includes a catenary system for delivering power, including jet fans, for emergency ventilation. Equipment will not be attached directly to the trainway ceiling – the Purple Line will be installed using a gantry system, a steel structure that equipment will hang off of which means vertical clearance prevents proper integration of the trail. That was enough to affect feasibility.

Are there plans to have signs at the different stations ahead of their scheduled openings so that people know where each stop is going to be?

Maricela Cordova Garcia, Assoc. AIA, DBIA, LEED GA, ENV SP, Purple Line Implementation Manager, Montgomery County Department of Transportation:

In Montgomery County, there are currently signs in each of the stations which will remain until project completion. As part of the signage package, there will be permanent way-finding signage within each station, as well. Montgomery County is also doing a Bicycle and Pedestrian assessment study which will provide for additional signage and other important elements include sidewalks, ramps, and ADA improvements and will be focused on connectivity and safety strategies for communities adjacent to the Purple Line.

Maricela Cordova
Maricela Cordova Garcia, Purple Line Implementation Manager, Montgomery County Department of Transportation

Vic Weissberg, Major Projects Manager, Office of the Director, Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation:

Similarly, in Prince George’s County, we are working closely with the State to create signage packages for all stations along the state roadways and within the state right-of-way, but also looking at wayfinding elements that improve signage and connectivity.

What is the status of the artwork for the Bethesda Purple Line Station? Is it under contract yet?

Doran Bosso, CEO, Purple Line Transit Partners:

MTA is currently doing all the contracting for artists. We have selected an artist for Bethesda, but the artist is not yet under contract. (Doran reminded everyone that they can see all the planned artwork at www.purplelinemd.com)

Doran Bosso
Doran Bosso, CEO, Purple Line Transit Partners

Are there any other active plans for light rail in other parts of Maryland?

The Honorable Gregory Slater, Maryland Secretary of Transportation:

With the 50-year transit plan, we will be looking at what is already in local plans, but not a part of the larger blueprint for a vision over the next several decades. While we recover from the pandemic and the impact it has had on the state’s current fiscal status, we will be focusing on planning for the future once funding returns.

I am an 8-year resident of the community behind what will soon be the Beacon Heights Purple Line stop. A question I hear a lot from my neighbors is what we should expect regarding foot and car traffic at the last two entrances into the community from Riverdale Road. One entrance is at the corner of 66th Ave and Riverdale Road and the other at 67th Ave and Riverdale Road. The current entrance at 67th Place will eventually go away with this station. The rail will be ground level. How should pedestrians and drivers at the local East Pines shop prepare for the coming rail?

Vic Weissberg, Major Projects Manager, Office of the Director, Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation:

Connectivity is important to us, not only for the alignment, but how it connects residents to stations. From 67th Place, there will be pedestrian access from the cul-de-sac. Along the corridor at 66th/67th, there will be access from the shopping center, as well as potential development which will change things in a positive way. We are working with developers and the Purple Line for specific access points.

Matt Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for MTA:

In particular, as it relates to the East Pines shops, 66th Avenue, although not planned to be signalized (there will be a right turn lane into and a right turn lane out of the center), parking will remain in place on that side. Parking that runs parallel to Riverdale Road will go away to make way for the light rail tracks, but the former Exxon station next to the east side of the shopping center (67th) will become parking for that side. Also, we will be redoing sidewalks, etc. to make sure there is access across and between roads.

Some members of the public believe that due to the pandemic, people will no longer be willing to use public transportation despite that fact that people in Europe and Asia have continued using transit through the pandemic. Do you see this as a problem for ridership for the Purple Line, once open?

The Honorable Gregory Slater, Maryland Secretary of Transportation:

Looking across the board as we recover from the pandemic, each mode of our transportation system will recover at a different rate. It will also come down to whether we are looking in the short-term or long-term. By the time the Purple Line is operational, we will be closer to where we were pre-pandemic. Through a number of efforts, we are working to build confidence right now, not just for future Purple Line users, but across ridership. An example of this would be rather than clean the cars in the evening when fewer riders are onboard, we learned from our passengers that they appreciate seeing the cars being cleaning, so we have incorporated that into our practices. For a lot of riders during the pandemic, transit was the only choice for zero-car households. Through a recently passed bill, we will be receiving funding for Purple Line marketing, as well.

Doran Bosso, CEO, Purple Line Transit Partners:

The original purpose and reason the Purple Line is being built still exists. Connections still need to be made.

Will the builder be responsible for some work that was conducted before they arrived? How is PLTP building a united accountable team and what steps are being taken to ensure they work can resume swiftly?

Doran Bosso, CEO, Purple Line Transit Partners:

Fantastic question – we are focused on partnership and team building, as well as resuming work quickly. While I do not recommend what happened to the project over the past year, and hope to never go through that again, it did force us to build a strong partnership and look at ourselves and what we could do better in supporting a new design build firm. We have a shared vision and will be assisting them in any way we can to get this project moving forward.

Matt Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for MTA:

By doing the utility relocations ahead of time, along with the permitting, we are hoping to reduce the new builder’s risk and accelerate the timeline as much as possible.

Can you tell us about some of the development that is taking place in Prince George’s County because of the construction of the Purple Line?

Vic Weissberg
Vic Weissberg, Major Projects Manager, Office of the Director, Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation

Vic Weissberg, Major Projects Manager, Office of the Director, Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation:

It is exciting to see what is shaping up in our community, plus lots of moving pieces to come in the future. In College Park, the Gilbane Development project is moving forward, along with projects in the Discovery District and areas adjacent that are in varying states in the pipeline. Riverdale Park has prospective projects, along with a number of projects in Beacon Heights. In New Carrollton, WMATA and Kaiser have opened headquarters, along with a number of other developments also in the works.

The Honorable Gregory Slater, Maryland Secretary of Transportation:

The Secretary added that the University of Maryland is working closely with MTA and SHA on connections at College Park and turning Route 1 into more of a boulevard with bikeable/walkable style street that is going to be transformational for the area.

Please comment on the status of opening the Sleaford tunnel in East Bethesda. An estimate from the December 8, 2020 virtual CAT meeting stated that the tunnel would be open summer 2021. That is only 3 - 4 months from now and I’ve seen very little activity at the site all spring.

Matt Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for MTA:

Regarding the pedestrian tunnel under Sleaford (underpass) – in December, we had made some commitments to open the tunnel by summer, but that was before we knew the full impact of the budget and the shortfalls that resulted from the pandemic. We will have to defer as we turnover it over to the new builder, along with the Talbot Bridge, and the east side of the parking lot at New Carrollton – all will be under the control of the new builder.

What is the status of the bike path along the entire route, and particularly in Bethesda?

Maricela Cordova Garcia, Assoc. AIA, DBIA, LEED GA, ENV SP, Purple Line Implementation Manager, Montgomery County Department of Transportation:

The CCT bike trail along the alignment is a county-funded project being built as part of the Purple Line project. There was earlier discussion that parts of the trail could possibly open early as safety issues allowed, but we will need to wait for the new builder to onboard and see what the new schedule looks like.

Vic Weissberg, Major Projects Manager, Office of the Director, Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation:

There will be a bike path at the east end of campus and foresee connectivity along most of the alignment.

How soon will the construction fencing be removed around the staging area at the corner of Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues? Is this area still needed for staging? Will the contractor be required to return the construction staging area to its original condition as a grass lawn? I understand that a civic green will eventually be built on the site, but it seems a shame to leave the site in its currently unsightly state.

Matt Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for MTA:

The staging area is still needed, however, it is slated to be converted to civic space. We do not have a completion date while waiting on the new firm to be chosen.

The general assembly recently passed a bill for replacing trees along mass transit corridors. Does that bring any funding or tools to reinforce existing county efforts?

Vic Weissberg, Major Projects Manager, Office of the Director, Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation:

We are excited by the legislation that passed this year that calls for urban tree replacement.

Maricela Cordova Garcia, Assoc. AIA, DBIA, LEED GA, ENV SP, Purple Line Implementation Manager, Montgomery County Department of Transportation:

Montgomery County will take advantage of any opportunity to improve landscape along the corridor. Replacing trees is not really a funding issue, but rather more technically about where trees can be replanted, allowing for sight lines which must be maintained and provide enough room for the catenary wires to work around.

Matt Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for MTA:

Federal and all other requirements for green replacement require matching green space to green space.

The Capital Crescent Trail was closed the day before school started on August 28, 2016. At the downtown Bethesda construction staging area for the Purple Line, the black screening materiel has blown off most of the perimeter fencing exposing the construction site to pedestrians in the heavily used area. Who is responsible to repair this unsightly condition and maintain the safety and appearance of the lot that was leased from the county to build the Purple Line? If the new contractor has not yet been hired, shouldn’t the county fix this issue?

Matt Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for MTA:

The State is responsible for any and all staging items. Team had discussion on this issue just this morning and it will be repaired. A reminder to anyone who comes across an issue, contact them at [email protected] or 443-451-3706 (English) or 443-451-3705 (Spanish).

My question is when will the barrier between our properties and the purple line be complete? (Questioner lives near Kentbury Drive/East West Highway)

Matt Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for MTA:

This is close to Sleaford. Noise walls that separate the CCT from the alignment and private property will have to stay until we see the schedule of the new design build firm.

The original Purple Line competition included alternate technical concepts that allowed competitors to bring forward their best ideas, which results in some changes such as the alignment at Silver Spring. I believe the design is now almost entirely set, is there anything the competitors might be suggesting about how to swiftly get to opening day?

Doran Bosso, CEO, Purple Line Transit Partners:

Conceptually, we did leave in the ability for the proposers to come up with alternative technical concepts. The new proposer might have some great ideas where a small change in design constructability or workplan could save some time or significant money. Most of the design has been set, however, and we do not expect this to happen, but the option is open should they come up with something that would be of value to the state, community, and Purple Line and then we will evaluate them on a case-by-case basis.

When is opening day?!

Doran Bosso, CEO, Purple Line Transit Partners:

As the Secretary mentioned, the schedule will not be known until the design build firm is chosen and hired. We are not basing that decision on who can get us to the finish line the fastest. We want to make sure that the new timeline is well-thought out, reasonable, believable, and achievable so that the community can plan with some degree of certainty of when the Purple Line can be expected to open.

Thanks again to each of our speakers. As you can see, they did a lot of homework to make sure they had answers for our participants. If you missed the event or if you would like to revisit the extended comments, you can watch the event recording at the link.

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Purple Line NOW News - May 5, 2021

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

  • What's Happening at PLN?
    • Short Recap on PLN Forum with Maryland Secretary of Transportation Gregory Slater
  • Purple Line in the News
  • Features & Highlights
    • Purple Line Employment Opportunities
    • Community Advisory Team Meetings Scheduled for Spring/Summer 2021
  • Construction News
    • Photos from Around the Corridor

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What' Happening

   WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?

Quick Overview of Last Night's Purple Line Update Forum

In the next edition of Purple Line NOW News, we will provide a longer overview of last night's information-packed forum with Maryland's Secretary of Transportation Greg Slater and we will include answers to many of the questions you submitted in advance for our terrific panel.

For now, we want to take a moment to thank the Secretary of Transportation and the terrific panelists who tackled all of your questions. We appreciate their time, dedication to and enthusiasm for the project, and their candid conversation about where the project stands and where it is headed. A big thank you to:

• The Honorable Gregory Slater, Maryland Secretary of Transportation
• Doran Bosso, CEO, Purple Line Transit Partners
• Maricela Cordova Garcia, Assoc. AIA, DBIA, LEED GA, ENV SP, Purple Line Implementation Manager, Montgomery County Department of Transportation
• Matthew W. Pollack, PE, PMP, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for the Maryland Transit Administration
• Vic Weissberg, Major Projects Manager, Office of the Director, Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation

We had over 170 attendees signed up for the event to hear Secretary Slater bring us up-to-date on the status of the Purple Line, when we can expect to hear an announcement on the new builder, and what the State and the concessionaire are doing to move things ahead as the project gets back on track.

As we mentioned, a full overview is forthcoming, but for now, we give you a few tidbits to tide you over:

  • Can you guess what the number #1 question was that we received from our audience? Bet you can! When is the Purple Line going to open? The new CEO of the Purple Line Transit Partners (the concessionaire), Doran Bosso said, "We want a reasonable, believable, well thought out, achievable schedule, so that the community … can plan with some degree of certainty when the Purple Line will be open.”
  • Matthew W. Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development & Delivery for the Maryland Transit Administration, asked folks to make sure to report any issues or problems they see along the construction route to [email protected] or call the alert numbers at 443-451-3706 / 443-451-3705 (Espanol).
  • Did you know that Maryland is working to conduct a 50 year transit plan that pulls together the range of plans from across the state, including bus rapid transit plans and transit-oriented development? We didn't, either!
  • The three building firms that were shortlisted back in March have been granted a few more weeks so that they can adequately complete their research before the final decision is made.

We'll leave you with this for today, Secretary Slater said, "Transportation can help redevelop communities, increase mobility, help put people back to work, and build that transportation network people will use for generations to come."

If you weren't able to join us last night and want to watch the event, you can do so at this link for the next few days: Purple Line NOW May 4, 2021 Webinar

Help Us Continue Our Work

Please consider a donation to Purple Line NOW so that we can continue to offer these events throughout the year free of charge. We do not host special event fundraisers, nor do we receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We rely solely on support from donors like YOU!

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.

As always, a great big thank you to ALL OF OUR DONORS! We simply could not do our work without your support. If you don't see your name on our website link, you can donate by clicking the purple button below. 

Thank you, thank you!

 

PL in the News

   THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS

State says no to single-tracking Purple Line through downtown Bethesda (D. Schere, April 27, 2021, Bethesda Magazine)

Purple Line NOW hosts virtual forum to discuss project status (A. Truss-Williams, May 5, 2021, The Diamondback)

Purple Line design-build contractor selection moved to fall (B. Adhikusuma, May 5, 2021, Bethesda Magazine

Features and Highlights

   FEATURES & HIGHLIGHTS

Purple Line Employment Opportunities

From time to time, and especially in the wake of the Purple Line's previous builder leaving the project, we are asked about whether the concessionaire or MDOT MTA is hiring for Purple Line construction jobs. We have more information for you from Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) Office of Transit Development and Delivery. If you are interested in knowing more, click on this handy reference about Purple Line job inquiries.

Community Advisory Team Meetings Are Scheduled for Spring/Summer 2021

MDOT MTA will be conducting Round 8 of the CAT meetings beginning this month and running through June. As always, we will bring you highlights, but you should definitely check out the published notes or video from those meetings if you live or work in one of these communities:

University Boulevard: May 19, 6:30 pm
Silver Spring: May 25, 6:30 pm
Riverdale/New Carrollton: June 3, 6:30 pm
Bethesda/Chevy Chase: June 8, 6:30 pm
Long Branch: June 15, 6:30 pm
College Park: June 22, 6:30 pm
Greater Lyttonsville/Woodside: June 29, 6:30 pm

Construction Updates

   CONSTRUCTION UPDATES

Some photos from work happening around the Purple Line corridor from MDOT MTA:

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