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Purple Line NOW News - January 8, 2020

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

  • All Donations Will Be Doubled!
  • Our Annual Top Ten Purple Line Stories Review!

ALL Donations Will Be DOUBLED!

We hope you saw our previous email announcing that a generous donor has come forward with a matching grant challenge and has offered a way to help us raise the funds necessary to get us over the finish line!! This matching grant will double any donation you make to Purple Line NOW (up to $5,000). Our donor has agreed to continue the matching grant into the new year - so, if you haven't yet had a chance to donate, we hope you will consider doing so. 

See a list of our generous donors at the link!

We are grateful to everyone who has taken a moment to remember Purple Line NOW in your holiday giving these past few weeks. (Please note: all donations that came in since November WILL count toward the matching grant challenge!)

As we mentioned in our previous newsletter ---- our mission is clear, but we must find more funding to bridge us up to ribbon-cutting day. Our benefactor wants to stress that donors are welcome to honor anyone who may have inspired them to activism, tributes to early volunteers, civil servants, and/or boosters who may have had to step back. They are all in our thoughts as we make this appeal to you.

And, there’s even more to this outreach of generosity!

This is not a one-time matching grant ---- our anonymous donor will match three-year pledges, as well as one-time donations. With your help, this will provide the financial support Purple Line NOW needs for advocacy work until the first ride when our group will disband, having achieved its goal!

Purple Line NOW needs, on average, about $20,000 a year to accomplish its work, producing a bi-weekly newsletter, hosting free educational events, team meetings, and helping the community get answers to its construction-related questions. We rarely hold special events to raise money as we have always been funded by the generosity of donors who step up when the need arises.

We have three years to go and hope you’ll join us on the final leg of our journey! All Aboard!

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A Look Back at 2019

Happy New Year! This new decade brings us another year closer to riding the Purple Line! As has become tradition here at Purple Line NOW News, we want to take a moment to look back at the previous year to see what the top Purple Line stories were and the progress the project has made.

10. The topping out of the Glenridge Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF)

Back in July, the Purple Line reached another milestone with the topping out of the OMF building with the ceremonial signing of the final beam before it was placed into position atop the facility. You may remember, we highlighted the building in the July 17 edition of Purple Line NOW News. While the building is not a perfect rectangle, its longest section is 358 feet and its widest, 277 feet. For (American) football fans, that’s roughly the same as two football fields laid side to side!

Photo courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

9. Announcement of Two-Phase 2022 Opening

In September, Maryland Transit officials announced that the Purple Line would open in two phases, the first in Prince George’s county in 2022, and the full line opening in early 2023. While location of the first segment has not been announced, it will likely include the section of the line that will contain the two-mile test track being built along Veterans Parkway.

8. Montgomery County Steps Up for Trees Along the Right-Of-Way

The Purple Line construction involves some loss of trees along the right-of-way. In addition to the environmental benefits of taking an estimated 17,000 cars off the road, the consortium will be planting new trees in the watershed for all those lost, including dozens of flowering and overstory trees along Wayne Avenue. Much of the land along the right-of-way is private property, and the consortium does not have authority to plant trees there, but fortunately Tree Montgomery and other programs are stepping up with funding to make sure neighbors who want new trees have the resources they need. Check out the December 5 edition Purple Line NOW News for a list of resources.

7. Art in Transit

Mid-year, the artwork for the Purple Line was announced for many of the stations. MDOT MTA Purple Line says that the mission of the Art-in-Transit program is, “to make public art an integral element of the transit project and to further enhance the Purple Line's high-quality stations, aesthetic treatments and landscape designs.” The designs debuted certainly meet that mission. If you haven’t had a chance to look at these, they can be found here.

6. Housing Action Plan Released

At the end of the year, the Purple Line Corridor Coalition released their housing action plan, which will help preserve affordability along the Purple Line route in both Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. According totheir press release, the Housing Action Plan outlines a “pathway toward preserving housing affordability along the planned Purple Line route, which currently contains at least 17,000 homes affordable to families earning less than $70,000 per year. The Plan contains 12 specific recommendations to work in concert with existing policies and programs and is designed to help ensure that existing and future individuals and families of all income levels benefit from the 16-mile Purple Line light rail upon its completion in 2023.”

5. A Bridge Opens, A Bridge Closes

In January, the new Lyttonsville Place Bridge was opened to traffic. The old bridge, which was constructed in 1966, had exceeded its useful life, so the need for a new bridge because of the project was fortuitous. In recent years, access was restricted to heavier vehicles due to its deteriorating condition. If the bridge was not being replaced as part of construction on the Purple Line, the county would have needed to spend several million dollars to replace the deck.

Photo Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

As you know, a year and a half ago, the historic Talbot Avenue Bridge was deconstructed to make way for a stronger and wider bridge with sidewalks. The Purple Line will pass under the new bridge, next to the CSX tracks. The new bridge, as well as the Lyttonsville station itself, will incorporate elements from the historic bridge.

4. Mike Madden Retires

In October, after 48 years of public service, 36 of which has been with MTA, Purple Line Deputy Project Director for the Maryland Transit Administration, Mike Madden retired. Purple Line NOW Vice President Greg Sanders praised Madden's tenacity, "He represented the project at thousands of meetings with the public, in good times and bad, bore the attacks of opponents and heard the concerns of those who would face disruption. All of that is hard work and often resists easy solutions. We are grateful for his years of labor as a public servant."

Mike Madden with Barbara Sanders and Greg Sanders

Mike leaves the project in good and steady hands with his successor, Gary Witherspoon, Purple Line Assistant Director of Public Outreach and Communications who has been the state transportation spokesman at MDOT MTA and a valuable part of the Community Advisory Team (CAT) meetings and our own Purple Line NOW forums.

3. First Look at Purple Line Light Rail Vehicle (LRV)

There were a lot of firsts in 2019, and getting a peek at one of the new LRV's inside the factory is an exciting way to remind us that we will be riding one of these cars in just a few short years! We think they’re beautiful and they are also huge! Each train will be 136-feet-long per five segment railcar – the longest transit LRV in America. Whoa!

Photo Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

2. Break-through of Tunnel Excavation

In February, the project hit another milestone when crews broke through a 1,000-foot tunnel between Arliss Street and Wayne Street to the future Silver Spring station. The excavation took 8 ½ months and was ahead of schedule. It is always an exciting day when these breakthroughs occur and this was no exception!

Watch the video of the breakthrough here: WTOP.

And, finally, drumroll please!

1. First Purple Line Tracks Are Placed

After much deliberation, our group deemed the laying of the first tracks in September as the most significant visual representation of the project to date. The tracks represent so much in terms of the hard work the crews, the community, and our volunteers have given month in and month out, some for decades, and some no longer with us, to see this project become a reality. It is the first visual sign that says, “The train is coming! All aboard!”

Photo Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

We hope you've enjoyed this recap of a busy year for the Purple Line. There were many more stories to write about (and we have! You can find all of our newsletters on our website at the link.) From smaller projects, the ever-present utility reconstruction, to demo, retaining walls, and landscaping plans - all progress matters. Here's to more in 2020!



  • Next Purple Line NOW forum will happen in late winter/early spring. The title will be: Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride! We have lots of beans to spill about what will surely be an educational and interesting evening for both Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Stay tuned for location, date, and how to reserve your seat. All the details coming soon!


Can You Help Purple Line NOW Continue Its Work?

If you haven't already given this year, would you consider a donation to Purple Line NOW? Right now, we will double your donation (thanks to a generous donor who has offered a matching grant for every single donation, up to $5,000!) See above for details on how to donate. Thank you!

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