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Purple Line NOW News - December 9, 2020

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

  • Double Your Donation to Purple Line NOW - Matching Gift Campaign!
  • Art-in-Transit Update
  • Highlights from the College Park Community Advisory Team Meeting
  • Highlights from the Silver Spring Community Advisory Team Meeting
  • Highlights from the University Boulevard Community Advisory Team Meeting


Community Advisory Team Fall Meeting Schedule

These are the remaining Community Advisory Teams (CAT) meetings for the year:

  • December 15, Riverdale Park/Glenridge/New Carrollton, 6:30 pm
  • December 17, Long Branch, 6:30 pm

Please Help Us Continue Our Work!

Thank you to all who have given since we announced last month that we have a very generous donor who will match your donation, dollar for dollar -- from $25 up to $1,000 -- until the goal of $5,000 is reached!

For example, if you give a gift of $25, your donation will count as $50. If you give $1,000, your donation will count as $2,000. Any and all donations are welcome, small and large.

Purple Line NOW needs, on average, about $20,000 a year to accomplish the work mentioned above and continue its vigilance in helping to make this project a reality. Click the link to see a list of all our generous donors.

If you don’t see your name on the list, we hope you will consider Purple Line NOW as you make your holiday giving plans. And, if you do see your name on the list, but your annual donation is expiring, we hope you’ll take the opportunity to renew your donation during this period when your generosity will be doubled by the challenge grant!

It is because of this grant, and your participation in it, that we will be able to continue our services throughout the coming year, even as the pandemic has tightened everyone’s purse strings.

We are grateful that work is beginning anew throughout the Purple Line corridor and that a settlement has finally been reached between the State of Maryland and the Purple Line Transit Partners. Although there are still significant hurdles to scale, we are encouraged to see crews working hard to get things started again.

A reminder: Purple Line NOW does not receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We operate solely on donations from individuals and businesses like you who care about the Purple Line and whose generosity allow us to continue our work each year. 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.

You can easily donate by clicking on the button below.


We appreciate your kindness and generosity, both financially and otherwise. A great big thank you to our anonymous donor whose dedication to the project through this matching grant will make it easier for all our donors to have a significant positive impact on the work we do. Thank you!



Community Advisory Teams

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! We certainly did when we received word the day before that a settlement had been reached in the lawsuit between the Maryland Transit Administration and the project’s concessionaire. You can read more about the settlement in the Washington Post (K. Shaver, Maryland, Purple Line firms reach $250 million, 24 November 2020.)

In the November 11 edition of Purple Line NEWS, we brought you an update from the Lyttonsville/Woodside CAT meeting and today we bring you a short update of the three Community Advisory Team meetings that have occurred since then. We’ll finish the final three CATs meetings in our next newsletter.

CAT meetings, done virtually right now, can be viewed as a video presentation, or you can scroll through the accompanying slide show. All are available at the MTA/MDOT website.

Each presentation includes an overview on the project as a whole, along with specific updates for the respective CAT team community. You can read about the overview in previous newsletters on our website, so we have focused our highlights on the progress happening in each of the respective sectors along the alignment.

For all three of the following presentations, the presenters were:

Gary Witherspoon, MDOT MTA Public Outreach & Communications Deputy Project Director; Matthew Pollack, PE, PMP, Executive Director, Transit Development and Delivery; and Vernon G. Hartsock, PMP, Acting Project Director.

Gary Witherspoon provide a short update on the Art-in-Transit program for both Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Sixteen of the 22 Art-in-Transit contracts have been fully executed for the following stations in Montgomery County, which include Connecticut Avenue, Dale Drive, Long Branch, Silver Spring Metro, Piney Branch, Lyttonsville Station (two artists), and Silver Spring Library.

Sixteen of the 22 Art-in Transit contracts have also been fully executed for Prince George's County, including Takoma Langley, Riggs Road, Adelphi Road - UMGC - UMD, Campus Drive - UMD, Baltimore Avenue - Campus Drive - UMD, College Park Metro - UMD, Riverdale Park North - UMD, and New Carrollton.

College Park CAT Meeting

The College Park CAT meeting was posted on November 10, 2020. Stations in this segment include:

  • Adelphi Road - UMGC-UMD
  • Campus Drive - UMD
  • Baltimore Avenue – College Park - UMD
  • College Park Metro - UMD
  • Riverdale Park North - UMD

In the near-term, Vernon Hartsock said that construction will continue on the Campus Drive underpass barrier, sidewalk reconstruction, and pump station, as well as the steam and electrical utility work on Campus. On the College Park Metro bus loop, wall construction and storm drain system installation will occur.

Mr. Hartsock also highlighted longer term goals, including continuing with the many storm drain installations and utility relocations (on Baltimore Avenue and Rossborough Lane), and the reconstruction of the roadway east of Baltimore Avenue. Crews are working to complete the embedded track at the Campus Drive underpass and eventually reopen all traffic lanes through the underpass.

The team gives residents a chance to send in questions for a period of time following each CAT meeting. The answers to those pertaining to the College Park CAT have been posted and we are reprinting a few of them here. Check out their website for a full listing of all the questions asked and answered.

Question: Do you expect any portions of the project design to change now that the P3 agreement has ended?*

Response: The status of the P3 agreement is in dispute and a part of pending litigation. Regardless of the outcome of litigation, the Purple Line does not expect any design changes.

Question: What is the prospect for seeking additional federal assistance, should there be a change in executive leadership at the federal level?

Response: Federal participation in the Purple Line project includes a $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) and access to Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans. The state is not anticipating additional federal assistance for the Purple Line project.

Question: Will the short-term construction of the bus loop allow for full drop-off and pick-up of passengers on the east side of the Metro station? When is that expected to be finished?

Response: Following construction of the underground work such as storm drain installation and the construction of walls at the College Park-UMD Metro bus loop, “flat work” -- that is, the curb, gutter, sidewalks, railings, and fencing -- remains to be completed before the loop can be reopened. If we can undertake that work in the near future, we will do so. We are very interested in being able to open the bus loop as soon as possible if conditions permit us to achieve that level of progress.

Question: When will Campus Drive be finished?

Response: Campus Drive is a long stretch of road, essentially the entire alignment through the University of Maryland. We are committed in the short-term to work on the underground utilities -- steam and electrical utilities -- on the campus portion of the roadway. Closer to the bus loop, we are working on the underpass in order to remove lane constrictions; however, we do not know, at this time, when we will be able to bring all of Campus Drive to full embedded track and complete its status. We will most likely need our new design-build contractor onboard to take that work to its completion.

Question: How is the project protecting workers in terms of COVID 19?

Response: We are following CDC guidelines and mandating proper protective gear for all our workers and encouraging social distancing as much as possible. We are working diligently to keep them all safe. The contractors are taking additional protective measures such as reducing occupancy in vehicles as they move around the facilities or construction sites, and they are just as concerned about their workers as the workers are concerned about themselves.

*Reminder, this CAT meeting occurred before the announcement of the settlement.

Silver Spring CAT Meeting

The Silver Spring Community Advisory Team meeting was held on November 17, 2020. You can view the entire Power Point presentation and video on their website.

The stations in this segment include:

  • Silver Spring Metro
  • Silver Spring Library
  • Dale Drive

Mr. Hartsock shared that in the near term, roughly three to six months out, crews will be continuing the relocation of underground utilities (those include water, sewer, gas, and tele-communications utilities) and storm drain relocation. Hundreds of walls are being constructed along the line and construction will continue. Crews expect to complete the parking at Kenwood House.

In the longer term, six to 12 months out, Mr. Hartsock said that crews will continue working on those utility relocations along Wayne Avenue, Fenton Street, and Bonifant Street.

Water Relocation -- Wayne Avenue

The full list of questions and answers has not been posted yet, but we will bring those to you when they are up on the website.

University Boulevard CAT Meeting

The University Boulevard Community Advisory Team meeting was held on December 1, 2020. Stations in this segment include:

  • Takoma-Langley
  • Riggs Road
  • Adelphi Road - UMGC - UMD

This is the first CAT meeting held after the announcement of the settlement, which still must be approved by the Board of Public Works in the coming weeks. Once that occurs:

  • Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP) will remain as the Concessionaire.
  • PLTP will initiate a solicitation for a new design-build contractor. You’ll remember that the Purple Line Transit Constructors (PLTC) left the project earlier this year.
  • MDOT and MTA will continue to manage construction during the interim period.
  • PLTP will manage construction completion, start-up and operations.
  • Community collaboration will remain critical to project success.

In the short term, crews will be working on the Northwest Branch Bridge, completing the westbound bridge deck, retaining walls, and roadway paving. They will also continue their work relocating water line and overhead utility relocations.

University Boulevard at Northwest Branch

Over the next six to 12 months, traffic will switch at Northwest Branch bridge to the westbound bridge so that crews can complete the eastbound bridge deck, the retaining walls, and roadway paving.

They will also continue installing sidewalks, gutters, storm drain installation, driveway connections and roadwork widening, along with traffic signal installation.

Water Relocation -- University Boulevard

We'll finish up the CAT team highlights with the final three meetings in the next newsletter.

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