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Purple Line NOW News - July 15, 2020

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

  • Update on Ongoing Negotiations Between Maryland and PLTP
  • Send Us Your Purple Line Progress Photos!
  • News from the Purple Line Corridor Coalition
  • University Boulevard CAT Meeting Highlights
  • Long Branch CAT Meeting Highlights

Stay Safe!

All of us here at Purple Line NOW hope that you and your loved ones remain healthy during this pandemic and as we reopen our state. Please, stay safe!



Update on Ongoing Negotiations between Maryland and PLTP

This past Friday, Briana Adhikusuma for Bethesda Beat updated readers on the status of the contract dispute between Maryland and Purple Line Transit Partners (Bethesda Magazine, July 2020). As you know, construction is ongoing, but the concessionaire has threatened to cease work, laying off 700 employees, if a negotiated settlement is not reached by August 22, the end of a 60-day notification period. In parallel with the negotiations, Maryland is disputing the concessionaire's right to invoke an exit clause, saying “PLTP has not established that an extended delay occurred permitting PLTP to terminate for extended delay, and by providing such notice, PLTP is therefore in breach of the [contract].”

Critically, the state, the counties, and the concessionaire all continue to emphasize their confidence in the project, and it is possible to see continued progress even as these disputes go on. Yesterday, Ross Capon, an advocate from the project's earliest days, gave a project update at monthly meeting of Action Committee for Transit that included an inspiring photographic roundup of the progress that was made and the work that is still ongoing, albeit with pandemic safety measures in place. We will let you know when the presentation is available, but if you would like permission to view the presentation in the meantime, just send an email to [email protected].

We will keep you updated as we learn more about the negotiations.

The Next Purple Line NOW Forum: Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride

We are working on bringing an online forum to you in August and have been busy securing panelists, so please stay tuned for further details and a date!

Send Us Your Photos!

Especially now, when so many of us are at home, we long for photos of progress along the Purple Line corridor. If you are out on a socially-distanced walk or drive, snap a few shots of Purple Line progress you see and send them to us! Don't forget to include a name so we can give a photo credit. Send photographs to: [email protected]. Thanks!

News from the Purple Line Corridor Coalition

You may be familiar with the Purple Line Corridor Coalition (PLCC), a multi-sector collaborative led and administered by the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) in partnership with a coalition of community organizations, state and local governments, nonprofits, philanthropies, and businesses. PLCC works to ensure that the Purple Line, once built, leads to “equitable, sustainable, and vibrant development along the corridor.”

Last year, Maryland received a $2 million federal grant to help work on some of the goals of the PLCC Community Development Agreement, especially in the area of economic development, accessibility to the Purple Line stations, and keeping housing affordable along the Purple Line Corridor. NCSG will administer the grant.

(If you are confused by all the acronyms surrounding the Purple Line, have a look at the April 24, 2019 edition of Purple Line NOW NEWS where we shared a short glossary of some of the most frequently used acronyms and terms and how Purple Line NOW relates to each of them. Purple Line NOW is a separate entity - we receive no funding from PLCC, but we work closely with them, along with other organizations, including Action Committee for Transit, mentioned above.)

The PLCC has a four-part agenda to address significant impacts of the Purple Line’s arrival: 1. Support and Grow Local Businesses, especially minority businesses affected by construction; 2. Build a Thriving Labor Market; 3. Ensure Housing Choices for All, both through preservation and development, and 4. Vibrant and Sustainable Communities.

Purple Line NOW is participating in the “Last Mile” effort which involves assuring that access to the stations is built in a way which provides safe access to the stops from surrounding areas as well as the best site development beyond the contract limits set for the concessionaire by MTA.

The PLCC has just hired their first full-time Executive Director and Purple Line NOW extends a warm welcome to Sheila Somashekhar! We are looking forward to working with her as construction continues and beyond. More on the PLCC can be found at its website:

Can You Help Purple Line NOW Continue Its Work?

Our work here at Purple Line NOW continues and we exist because of your donations during the year. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so by clicking on the black donate button below. We are grateful for ALL of our donors - thank you, thank you, for stepping up to help Purple Line NOW continue its work!




University Boulevard Community Advisory Team Meeting

The University Boulevard Community Advisory Team (CAT) meeting was presented on May 19, 2020 by Gary Witherspoon, MDOT MTA Public Outreach & Communications Deputy Project Director; Barry  Bernstein, PLTC Area 3 Construction Manager; and Shaquanna Shields, PLTC Communications Supervisor.

We'll start with an artist's rendering of the Takoma Langley Station, which features a center platform on University Boulevard, adjacent to the Takoma Langley Transit Center. It will connect riders to the Takoma Langley Crossroads Transit Center, the "largest non-Metrorail station transfer point in the Washington region!"

Image courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

Along University Boulevard, all of the gas transmission line relocations have been completed, along with 95% of overhead electric line relocation, and 80% of waterline and sanitary sewer line relocation between Riggs Road and Adelphi Road. Crews have continued widening the roadway at University Boulevard between West Park Drive and Adelphi Road.

Phase I, currently underway at Northwest Branch Bridge, is expected to last through this summer, although pier installation is 95% complete, and abutment construction is halfway done. Temporary crosswalks were installed for access to the south pedestrian path.

Image courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

There are a lot of active closures on this section of the Purple Line corridor, so we encourage you to view the presentation if your work commute or daily errands take you in or around the area. We have reprinted the detours from the presentation here, as well:

West Park Drive Detour
• On April 17, 2020, the Purple Line implemented a closure of West Park Drive at the intersection of University Boulevard for utility relocations. The closure will be in effect for approximately three months. 

Edwards Place Detour
• On April 13, 2020, the Purple Line implemented a closure of Edwards Place at the intersection of University Boulevard for utility relocations. The closure will be in effect for approximately three months.
• Service Road Closure along University Boulevard
• On February 10, 2020, crews implemented a closure of the service road adjacent to University Boulevard between Navahoe Drive and Lebanon Street to facilitate construction. Parking along the service road is restricted.

Merrimac Drive Detour
• In January, Merrimac Drive closed at University Boulevard for construction. A signed detour will be in place to direct traffic. Work may occur from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays and weekends.

Bayfield Street Detour
• Beginning in February, the project may intermittently close Bayfield Street between University Boulevard and Glenville Road to allow for utility construction. A signed detour for both vehicles and pedestrians will be in place to direct traffic. Work can take place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and weekends.

Looking ahead to the next six months, some of the highlights include:

University Boulevard
• Install temporary traffic signals along University Boulevard at the intersections with Carroll Avenue, 15th Street, New Hampshire Avenue, Piney Branch Road, 23rd Avenue, and Seek Lane.

Piney Branch Road and Arliss Street
• Retaining wall work along Piney Branch Road
• Closure of Arliss Street from Flower Avenue to Piney Branch Road to local traffic only
• Install temporary traffic signals along Piney Branch Road at intersections with Barron Street, University Boulevard, and Arliss Street.

Northwest Branch Bridge
• Approximate timeline for the traffic shifts on the Northwest Branch Bridge construction:
• Phase I: Began June 1, 2019 – expected through August 2020
• Phase II: Expected to begin the Summer of 2020
• Phase III: Expected to begin the Summer of 2021
• During construction:
• Public will be notified of changes in phases and traffic patterns
• 2 lanes in each direction will be maintained
• Pile driving for the bridge construction will be required
• Pile driving may occur Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
• Temporary crosswalks have been installed for access to south pedestrian path

Phase II of the traffic shift on the Northwest Branch Bridge was expected to begin this summer. Crews will shift traffic on the Northwest Branch Bridge to the northern side of University Boulevard East and install temporary crosswalk for access to the south pedestrian path. Phase II will last for approximately one year.

Image courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

Long Branch Community Advisory Team Meeting

The Long Branch Community Advisory Team meeting (CAT) occurred on May 21, 2020 with Gary Witherspoon, MDOT MTA Public Outreach & Communications Deputy Project Director; Carla Julian,
PLTC Sr. Manager Public Affairs/Community Outreach; and Jean-Marc Wehrli, PLTC Area 2 Construction Manager presenting.

The following renderings make it easy to imagine what future stations might look like!

Image provided by MDOT MTA and PLTP

The Manchester Place Station will be located underground at the west portal of the Plymouth Street tunnel. It can be accessed from Plymouth Street by taking an elevator or stairs down to the platform or accessed from Wayne Avenue at track level. 

Image provided by MDOT MTA and PLTP

The Long Branch Station, above, has side platforms, meaning the tracks run down the middle with a platform and shelter on each side.

Image provided by MDOT MTA and PLTP

Different than the Long Branch Station, the Piney Branch Road Station will be a center platform station, with racks running on either side of the center platform and shelter.

Over the past six months, crews have been continuing their work to install storm drains and relocate utilities, along with the installation of cast-in-place retaining walls along Wayne Avenue (in front of the Wayne Manchester Tower Apartments, if you are familiar with that area.)

Along the western portal of Manchester Place Station, Phase I (which has been ongoing) required a temporary relocation of the Kenwood House parking lot for 24 months, and is slated to be completed late this summer.

The waterproofing and final lining of Plymouth Tunnel has been completed.

At Piney Branch Road, overhead and underground utility relocations are continuing (along Piney Branch Road between University Boulevard and Arliss Street) and crews began sewer and storm drain relocations, fish passage, and stream diversion to prepare for the culvert construction for Long Branch stream.

Looking ahead six months, this fall, crews will be implementing traffic Phase II. Traffic is shifted to the north side of Wayne Avenue and limited to one lane in each direction, while a portion of Sligo Creek Parkway (south of Wayne) is closed.


Image courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

Sligo Creek Parkway is closed between Wayne Avenue and Piney Branch Road, with local traffic access only to Sligo Creek Parkway from Piney Branch Road.

• From the south
• Turn right onto Piney Branch Rd.
• Turn left on Flower Ave.
• Turn left on Wayne Ave.
• From the north
• Turn left on Wayne Ave.
• Turn right on Manchester Rd.
• Turn right on Piney Branch Rd.

Image courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

At the Western Portal/Manchester Place Station, as we mentioned above, the permanent parking for Kenwood House residents will be restored to complete Phase I, and the beginning of Phase II will see the demolition of the temporary parking lot. Phase II is scheduled for completion in January 2021.

The ramp bringing the track from Plymouth Tunnel back to street level should be completed within the next few months, as well.

Please note that Arliss Street from Flower Avenue to Piney Branch Road (except for local traffic) will be closed for installation of track and construction of Piney Branch station late this summer and the duration is approximately 15 months.

As always, we encourage you to view the entire presentation for all the details of this section of the Purple Line.

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