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Purple Line NOW News - March 11, 2020

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

  • Reserve Your Seat for the Next Purple Line NOW Forum!
  • Trail and Rail Bridges Over Colesville Road
  • Update on Bethesda Purple Line Tunnel

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The Next Purple Line NOW Forum - Reserve Your Seat Today!

Mark your calendar in ink for Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride! on April 15, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Montgomery College, Health Science Center, Room 122. We are busy lining up panelists with representatives from both Prince George’s and Montgomery County Councils, Planning Boards, and Development projects. Our forums are always free and open to the public and press, but because of space limitations, you mustreserve your seat in advance. Parking information and transit information will be available soon.

IMPORTANT: Purple Line NOW will be monitoring recommendations for public gatherings as our event grows closer as they relate to the COVID-19 virus. At this time, the April 15 forum will remain on the calendar as planned, but should anything change, we will send a timely update to all who have reserved their seats, as well as posting any changes on our website.



Trail and Rail Bridges Over Colesville Road

We can see the Purple Line under construction across both Prince George's and Montgomery counties, but much of the effort involves utility location or other preparatory work that is necessary, which is hard to track for the general public. The trail and rail bridges over Colesville Road are an exciting exception!

In recent weeks, we have seen the steel, which undergirds the future tracks, come into place over the Silver Spring Metro. Earlier this week, we saw the next step laid into place across Colesville Road to the new station which will be on the downtown side of the top floor of the Silver Spring Transit Center. In some of the pictures, you can also see the smaller silver structure adjacent to the Metro platform, that will be the bridge for the Capital Crescent Trail extension to Silver Spring -- which means that pedestrians and bikers using the trail do not need to cross Colesville Road at grade!



We have a date for the next Purple Line NOW forum! Mark your calendar in ink for Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride! on April 15, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Montgomery College. See above for details - and don't forget toreserve your seat - space is limited for this particular forum!



Letters of Support for the Tunnel to Montgomery County Council

In case you missed our Action Alert last week - it is not too late to help!

A formal scheduled hearing on the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel will take place in mid-to-late April and we will be sure to notify you of that meeting in advance. In the meantime, we ask you to write a letter to the members of the Montgomery Council Transportation & Environment Committee members, encouraging the completion of the tunnel. Your support is meaningful and important, so do keep those letters coming (and copy Purple Line NOW if you remember!) 

Many of you know that in his most recent budget, the Montgomery County Executive failed to fund a long-promised tunnel for pedestrians and bikers in Bethesda as part of the Purple Line project which includes completing the Capital Crescent Trail from Bethesda to Silver Spring.

Please take a moment to email T&E committee members (individual emails are best, we understand), and let them know you want them to champion the completion of the tunnel as it was proposed and designed years ago. Their names and email addresses are at the end of this alert.

If we miss this window to construct the underpass alongside the Purple Line now, the obstacles to completing the tunnel in future years may prove insurmountable. Don’t be fooled by talk about being able to push the construction of the tunnel to a later date. Down the road, costs and disruption will be magnified, and delaying will risk compounding promises broken to the community. While we understand there will be tough trade-offs when searching for additional funding, if we miss this chance to encourage the Council to find the funding for the tunnel now, the trail will open incomplete and Montgomery County would take an unprecedented step back on its Vision Zero goals.

Here is the background you need to know before writing your email:

  • The Wisconsin underpass is not a new idea, it replaces a previously existing tunnel on the interim trail that led to the heart of downtown Bethesda, one that the last county council promised to replace as part of constructing the Purple Line.
  • Just as the Purple Line connects multiple Marc and Metro lines, the trail from Silver Spring to Bethesda will be a linchpin to a larger trail network, including the remainder of the Capital Crescent Trail, the Green Trail, and the Metropolitan Branch. This network is not just useful to recreation, but helps people access jobs, housing, and shopping, and its reach is magnified by the bike-friendly Purple Line.
  • The Bethesda to Silver Spring portion of the Capital Crescent trail will also be separated from highway traffic when it crosses Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase and Colesville Road in Silver Spring. The trail must also be separated from highway traffic when it crosses Wisconsin Avenue (as it did in the past) and continue below-grade in the tunnel.

Finally, it is important for all of us to understand and emphasize to our Councilmembers that no matter where you work or live, the tunnel will benefit the region as a whole. The trail will continue to serve as a commuter route for pedestrians and bikers from one end of the Purple Line corridor to the other. Having a safe crossing, as promised, benefits all of us.  

Please emphasize to the Council that you want them to make the tunnel’s completion a priority – many are leaning that way, but they need to know you understand there will be trade-offs with other projects. Tell them why the tunnel is important to you. And, if you remember, please copy us on your email.

T&E Committee Members (and Councilmember Friedson, in whose district the tunnel will reside):

As always, we will keep an eye on the proceedings and the progress as this issue makes its way through the process. Thank you for your time and your help!

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We are grateful for ALL of our donors - thank you, thank you, for stepping up to help Purple Line NOW continue its work!

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