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Purple Line NOW News - June 20, 2024

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

  • What's Happening at PLN?
    • Next Purple Line Forum
    • Thank You for Continuing to Support PLN
  • Happening Along the Purple Line Corridor
    • Montgomery County Detour and Closure Map
  • Construction Updates and Project Features
    • Montgomery County Council Purple Line Briefing

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What' Happening


Next Purple Line NOW Forum

Purple Line NOW will continue our popular Envisioning the Purple Line Forum series this year! We are busy pulling together a Purple Line Status Update forum for later this summer -- with updates from project leaders and maybe a surprise guest or two! We will announce dates and a link to reserve your seat soon. As always, our events are free and open to the public and media, so keep an eagle eye out for the big announcement!

If you or your business would like to sponsor this event, please let us know as soon as possible!

Thank You for Your Continuing Support!

Our need is ongoing - we operate on a budget between $20,000 and $25,000 each year, so please know that your donation in any amount is welcome and necessary for us to continue our work. You can easily donate by clicking the Purple "Donate" button below. Not sure if you've given in the past twelve months? Check our website to see if your name is listed. Thank you from all of us here at Purple Line NOW!

Features and Highlights


Montgomery County Detour and Closure Map

To view all Montgomery County detours and closures associated with the Purple Line, please click this link.

Construction Updates


Montgomery County Council Briefing on Purple Line

This past Monday, June 17, Montgomery County Council received a semi-annual briefing from the Purple Line team regarding construction and project progress.

We encourage you to watch the briefing, which can be found on the Montgomery County Council website. Below, we bring you some highlights and construction information as we all muscle through the summer closures and resulting detours.

Members of the Council who sit on the Transportation and Environment (TE) Committee are: Evan Glass, Chair, Marilyn Balcombe (District 2), and Kate Stewart (District 4).

Ray Biggs II, Purple Line Senior Project Director, Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), Doran Bosso, CEO, Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), and Hugo Fontirroig, Project Executive, Maryland Transit Solutions (MTS) presented the update to the committee.

Watching all of the track being laid throughout the corridor and the hubbub of construction happening from nearly every vantage point is certainly exciting, but we also know that this summer is proving to be a difficult one for commuters and residents in Silver Spring, as well as surrounding areas. With the closure of the Spring Street bridge, as well as the Silver Spring Transit Center and surrounding stations, the pain is real, even if the promise of a world class transit system awaits just a few short years down the road.

It is exciting to hear that the entire project is 60% complete – nearly two-thirds of the way to opening day!

Fourteen stations are currently under construction and canopies are being installed. Milestones such as the re-opening of the Talbot Avenue bridge give us the clearest glimpse of the project’s completion that we have had thus far.

And, it is promising to note that the date for revenue service to begin has not changed and is still slated for winter of 2027.

The briefing focused on most of the areas along the corridor in Montgomery County, but concentrated mainly on those areas that are seeing the massive disruptions, closures, and detours.

By now you know that the Spring Street bridge was closed on June 7 as demolition of the old bridge begins. It is slated to reopen at the end of this year.

Lots of information was shared about the implementation of traffic shifts at Wayne Avenue and Dale Drive, which happened late last week where crews are installing the first embedded tracks and continuing the reconstruction of the bridge over Sligo Creek. Mr. Bosso said that he or others leading the project are onsite daily and crews are scrambling to make as much progress as possible during this closure before school reopens at the end of August.

This area is a critical juncture along the alignment and planning for the congestion, detours, and traffic shifts has been in the works for some time now. The closure allows crews to embed 3,000 feet of track per month! This will also allow them to work in areas where there will not be as much impact during the remainder of 2024 and 2025.

Councilmember Stewart confirmed that the pace and intensity of the construction at this intersection will result in the work being done six months earlier than originally scheduled, so that certainly provides motivation to get through the summer headaches. She asked that she be kept involved and apprised of any delay in the anticipated end date, especially as it coincides with the opening of school in late summer.

Other construction area updates included Manchester Place, Long Branch, and University Boulevard where another traffic shift occurred over the weekend between Piney Branch Road and University Boulevard.

Mr. Bosso highlighted the concessionaire’s Beyond the Rails grant program, which awards grants up to $3,000 for Purple Line related projects and service (one of which was awarded to Purple Line NOW during the initial round of grants.) He said that they are in the second round of grant-making right now as they award grants twice a year.

He also reminded us that there is a $4M funded business grant program to support businesses impacted along the alignment with more details coming later this year. Mr. Bosso said that the entity is making sure to “balance being a good member of the community and supporting those businesses who are living through the construction patiently as we advance Purple Line work.”

Residents are encouraged to keep abreast of construction news at the project website.

Chair Evan Glass conveyed appreciation to the team on the progress being made, saying he believes “this is the most amount of progress information being provided at one of these biannual updates and it is a good thing!”

He asked if there were any expected changes to the timeline or to the budget and Senior Project Director Ray Biggs responded that there were no changes to either at this time and service is still on schedule to begin winter of 2027.

Councilmember Stewart asked if some of the way-making signage in her district could also be printed in Spanish. They will look into the possibility of adding Spanish to those signs in the near future.

Regarding the Capital Crescent Trail, it is still on tap to open earlier than rail service, sometime in the spring of 2026.

Maricela Cordova, Special Assistant to the Director, Strategic Projects, Montgomery County Department of Transportation reported that they are aware that some residents are experiencing cut-throughs in their neighborhoods as a result of the detours and/or closures, and the county is helping to mitigate some of the traffic flow to and around those areas.

Michael Paylor, Chief of Traffic Engineering and Operations for Montgomery County MDOT gave a brief description of what went into the planning for classifying certain alternative routes for residents, and noted that the team has to take into consideration the imbalance in the ability of some of those types of roadways (through neighborhoods, for example) to handle a significant traffic load.

He likened cut-through traffic to water saying, “it’s going to go where it needs to go” and they are listening to residents and working on problem areas as they arise. He said that authorized regulatory signage that would restrict or deny access to traffic from certain roads has to go through a process that can take upwards of a year to come to fruition. Councilmember Stewart offered to help in any way possible to speed up that process. He cautioned that with that signage would need to come enforcement and that will need to be considered as the project moves along.

Councilmember Balcombe also thanked the team for their updates and the council for furthering the discussion of some of the headaches happening along the way.

With so much happening throughout the Purple Line corridor, updates to specific areas can be found via the written notes from the team. Want to see the progress in action? Have a look at this terrific video!

As always, if you have a question or concern, you can contact the Purple Line team directly at [email protected] or contact us at [email protected] and we’ll help point you in the right direction to get some answers.

A shout out to all of the crews working through these hot temps and to all of us who are trying to figure out alternative routes to and from work, patience will be key as we get through this together.

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