The Purple Line will make the CCT safer.
The CCT will be a far safer recreational trail alongside the Purple Line than is the existing Interim CCT and Georgetown Branch Trail. Any risk to future CCT users from transit vehicles is small compared to the risk trail users face today of being run over by motor vehicles while using the existing Interim CCT and Georgetown Branch Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring.
Every year nearly 700 cyclists and 5,000 pedestrians are struck and killed by motor vehicles. Contrast those numbers with the approximately 20 pedestrian or passenger fatalities caused by light-rail each year. (Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,Transportation Fatalities by Mode.) The Interim CCT has dangerous at-grade crossings of Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road. The Georgetown Branch Trail is on roadways for two miles in Silver Spring and has six street crossings at traffic lights including at-grade crossings of 16th Street and of Colesville Road. Trail users must cross three (3) six lane state highways at-grade between Bethesda and Silver Spring. Purple Line opponents want us to ignore this risk.
Plans for the Purple Line call for the CCT to be rebuilt as an uninterrupted off-road trail from downtown Bethesda to downtown Silver Spring, with grade-separated crossings on bridges or underpasses of major roadways. The Trail will be paved and will be 12 feet wide. Trail users will be separated from light-rail tracks by fences, retaining walls or plantings.
Purple Line opponents are asserting that the Purple Line tracks will be dangerous for their children because they will take shortcuts across the tracks to reach the trail. But fences and retaining walls along both sides of the tracks will discourage children from crossing at unapproved crossing points. The CCT itself will have no at-grade crossings of the transit tracks. There will only be no at-grade crossing of the Purple Line tracks from any of the secondary access paths along the entire corridor between Bethesda and Silver Spring, other than at the light-rail stations.
MTA project engineers have been working closely with the Town of Chevy Chase to design a safe crossing on the Lynn Drive path. MTA has recently concluded that the sight lines are not adequate to design a safe at-grade path crossing at Lynn Drive, and has presented concept drawings for a pedestrian tunnel. MTA and the Town of Chevy Chase continue to work to refine the tunnel design.
Purple Line opponents try to convince people that the trail not be safe with the Purple Line. But organizations with a proven commitment to expanding walking and bicycling opportunities, like the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and the Montgomery Bicycle Advocates, reject these uninformed fears. These organizations recognize the Purple Line will enable the completion of the trail into downtown Silver Spring, will provide safer grade separated crossings of busy roadways, and will give trail users easy access to quality transit at each of the Purple Line platforms along the trail.