In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:
- What's Happening at PLN?
- Purple Line in the News
- Features & Highlights
- Ever Wonder What Engineers Do on the Purple Line?
- Construction News
- Access to Transit Increases Equitability Along the Purple Line
- Photos from Around the Corridor
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WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?
We are working hard to bring you the latest in news from both the project and from Maryland's General Assembly as it pertains to the Purple Line, as well as planning the next forum, so stay tuned!
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THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS
McGowan, J., Pepe, L., Castro, J. Cerdes, “How Montgomery County, Maryland can increase equitable access to transit by improving walkability.” Brookings, 16 February, 2022.
FEATURES & HIGHLIGHTS
Ever Wonder What Engineers Do on the Purple Line?
To celebrate National Engineers Week, MDOT MTA put together a video featuring Kevin Oberhein, PE, Purple Line Construction Manager, who gives us a peek into all the different kinds of engineers working on this complex project.
Access to Transit Increases Equitability Along the Purple Line
While the item below doesn't deal directly with construction happening along the line, it is a Purple-Line adjacent topic that we think is very important to making sure the Purple Line is available to all citizens in our community.
The article below provides a very good overview about the importance of making it easier for riders to get to and from transit:
“Lower-income, majority-minority neighborhoods often lack the basic infrastructure for walking (such as sidewalks and crosswalks) and are more likely to have had their neighborhoods cut off by highways—resulting in disproportionate numbers of pedestrian crashes, injuries, and fatalities in these areas compared to other communities. Given that residents from these same neighborhoods are also most likely to rely on public transportation to get to work, it’s clear that deep spatial inequities exist in both transit access and safety.” McGowan, J., Pepe, L., Castro, J. Cerdes, “How Montgomery County, Maryland can increase equitable access to transit by improving walkability.” Brookings, 16 February, 2022.
The article makes two cogent points. First, it makes it clear that the status quo is not acceptable, with a 46% increase in pedestrian and bicyclist deaths since 2012. And, two, that equitable access to transit is a civil rights issue. As the article stated, disadvantaged communities, where many residents do not own vehicles and thus must walk and ride bicycles to get to the stations, are more than twice as likely to be injured or killed than more affluent neighborhoods.
This is an important issue we’ve been covering for a while and even included the topic in one of our forums in Prince Georges county. If you missed the forum, you can watch it here: A College Park Update.
The Maryland State Senate Bill #800 Safe Access for All (SAFE) Roads Act of 2022 will provide resources to make sure the Purple Line meets -- and hopefully exceeds -- ridership predictions by ensuring equal access to its stations along the corridor.
If you think this is important, too, we encourage you to send a short note to your State Senator or Delegate (you can find contact information for your legislator here.) The committee is taking testimony early next week (March 9), so contacting elected officials sooner than later is helpful. We will submit the following testimony on behalf of Purple Line NOW:
Testimony to the Senate Finance Committee
Re: SB 880 Safe Access for All (SAFE) Roads Act of 2022
By: Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW
Date: March 9, 2022
Purple Line NOW was officially formed in 2002 with the mission of ensuring the completion of the light rail Purple Line from Bethesda to New Carrollton, integrated with a hiker/biker trail between Bethesda & Silver Spring. Maryland has made a huge investment in the Purple Line and we remain steadfast in our support for the project to its fullest extent for all our citizens.
We support convenient, safe, and handicapped accessible routes for riders to use to access the Purple Line stations. Enacting the SAFE Roads Act will provide resources to make sure the Purple Line meets and potentially exceeds ridership predictions.
The SAFE Roads Act Program increases will fund a small fraction of the anticipated increases to State Highway Administration capital budget and not require redirection from current projects. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the funding for MDOT SHA, MDOT MTA, and MDOT MAA will increase about 20 percent (an additional $3.5 billion).
For the safety of Maryland residents, and to maximize the investment that Maryland has already made in the Purple Line, we urge a favorable report on SB 880.
Photos from Around the Corridor
The following photos are courtesy of MDOT MTA. Thank you to the hard working Purple Line crews!