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Purple Line NOW News - March 9, 2021

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

  • What's Happening at PLN?
    • Mark Your Calendars for May 4!
    • All Good Things Must (Sometimes) End
  • Purple Line In the News
  • Photos From Around the Corridor
  • Update on the CCT Tunnel Under Wisconsin Avenue

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What' Happening


Mark Your Calendars!

We have been promising to announce the next Envisioning the Purple Line Series Forum -- and today's the day!

Your input in our recent survey confirmed our suspicion that it was time to do a full status update of all-things-Purple-Line! It will happen on Tuesday, May 4, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, so please mark your calendars now.

The event will be held virtually and you must sign up for the webinar in advance. Stay tuned for the official invitation coming soon which will have a sign-up link, but we couldn't resist letting the cat out of the bag for readers of the Purple Line NOW News!

We are tickled to announce that Maryland Secretary of Transportation, Gregory Slater, will be our keynote speaker, and will bring us up-to-date on what's happening along the line, the timeline going forward, and other bits of interest to all of us who are eager to get to that first ride. Secretary Slater's remarks will be followed by a panel discussion with key Purple Line leaders. We'll be announcing those panelists soon, but take a moment to mark your calendars so you can join us on May 4! 

All Good Things Must (Sometimes) End

We sent an email last week to announce our Matching Donation Campaign will be ending on the Ides of March. If you don't see your name on our list of donors and are able to make a gift to Purple Line NOW, your gift will be doubled by our generous anonymous donor until March 15. Of course, any level of gift at any time is always welcomed and appreciated (and needed!) We are extraordinarily grateful for all of our supporters -- we simply can't exist without you.

***We are thrilled to report, as of this morning, we are at $4,515, just a few hundred dollars shy of our $5,000 goal!***

These funds will help us continue this newsletter this spring and summer, host the above-mentioned forum in May, and continue our work of staying abreast of the news and connecting residents' issues to problem solvers. 

We know this is a tough time for everyone. You’ve heard us say before that we do all of our work -- the newsletters, the forums, and the outreach -- on a very skinny budget, less than $20,000 a year. You can donate by clicking the purple button below:

A reminder: Purple Line NOW does not receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). Remember, with your donation, your name (or your business name) will be listed on our website, as well as in event literature and signage for a year following your donation.

A great big thank you to our anonymous donor whose dedication to the project through this matching grant will make it easier for all our donors to have a significant positive impact on the work we do. Thank you!

PL in the News


Montgomery asks state whether Purple Line can be single-tracked in Bethesda station (K. Shaver, March 6, 2021, Washington Post)

County Council members challenge Elrich’s request to single-track Purple Line in Bethesda  (D. Schere, March 5, 2021, Bethesda Magazine)

Three design-build contractors short-listed to finish Purple Line (B. Adhikusuma, March 3, 2021, Bethesda Magazine)

Features and Highlights


Some photos from work happening around the Purple Line corridor from MDOT MTA:

Construction Updates


Update on the CCT Tunnel Under Wisconsin Avenue

In the February 24 edition of the Purple Line NOW News, we reported that Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has asked MTA whether it might be possible to “single track” the Purple Line through the proposed Capital Crescent Trail tunnel (which goes under Wisconsin Avenue) while allowing room within the tunnel for the Capital Crescent Trail.

County Executive Elrich argued that his proposal would involve a section of single-tracking that would be far shorter than a previously rejected proposal and that given the 7.5 minute headways, there'd be no chance of two trains needing the track at the same time. However, any regular commuter, especially any Metro rider, is quite familiar with the problems that can occur at a bottleneck. For example, what happens if a passenger becomes sick and needs to be offloaded? What if a vehicle malfunctions? Or, what if a segment of track, in the tunnel, needs repair?

Purple Line NOW Vice President Greg Sanders writes, "I’ve spent over a decade studying acquisition projects. This proposal would have big implications, both for construction design and for operations where the concessionaire is paid based on on-time performance. Even if it was technically feasible, any change of this magnitude could prompt a change order that adds tens of millions of dollars to the cost. Earlier this week, County Executive Elrich asked what the harm is in studying the proposal. The harm is that the timeline for selecting a new construction contractor is dependent on completing the final stages of the engineering design. All Montgomery County leaders have rightly lamented the extended disruption caused by the switch to a new concessionaire. Maryland needs all design hands on deck to finish this competition."

Ralph Bennett, Purple Line NOW Board President, added, "We call on the County Executive to uphold the promises the Council made when he was a member to ensure a safe and fast connection for what will be one of the highest demand hiker and biker trail segments in the County. Completing the trail is a County responsibility and the buck stops with the County Executive to offer a proposal within his power that addresses the legitimate concerns raised by Councilmember Friedson and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association."

We will keep you posted as the situation develops.

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