In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:
- What's Happening at PLN?
- Can You Consider a Donation to Purple Line NOW?
- Purple Line in the News
- Happening Along the Purple Line Corridor
- Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Strategy
- Construction News & Project Features
- Purple Line NOW Forum Recap
Share This Newsletter
Please feel free to share this newsletter - no permission from us needed! You can always find a link to our newsletter on our Purple Line NOW website which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.
WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?
Would You Consider a Donation to Purple Line NOW?
Each month, we rotate onto our Donors List those who have made a financial contribution to Purple Line NOW in the previous month. If that includes you, your name will stay on that list for a full year following your contribution. Thank you, thank you! Our budget is skinny and we do a whole lot with a little!
**If you do not see your name on our Donors List, we hope you will consider helping us continue our work!**
We use every donation we receive to continue our newsletter, continue offering regular webinars, continue being a strong liaison to help connect you to people who can solve your issues, and continue our strong advocacy for the project in every way possible. If you would like to know more about who we are, why we are asking for donations, and what we do with your gift once it arrives on our doorstep, you can read all about it in our November newsletter.
Thank you so much for your consideration! Unless you tell us otherwise, your name will be listed on our website and in publications for a year following your donation.
THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS
Iannelli, N. "Study on Maryland’s Purple Line looks to limit gentrification." WTOP, 29 September 2022.
Shaver, K. "As Purple Line construction resumes, the fight against gentrification is on." Washington Post, 30 September 2022.
HAPPENING ALONG THE PURPLE LINE CORRIDOR
Report: The Purple Line Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Strategy
The Purple Line Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Strategy is the product of a two-year planning process funded by a transit-oriented development planning grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The report includes strategies for affordable housing, small business preservation, safe pedestrian/bicycle access to stations, and inclusive economic growth.
On September 28th, 2022 the final report was released at a public event at the Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Library in downtown Silver Spring. To view the report, click here.
CONSTRUCTION UPDATES & PROJECT FEATURES
Purple Line NOW Forum Recap: September 22, 2022
Thank you for attending the Purple Line NOW forum on October 5, 2022. Many apologies for the technical difficulties and audio noise many of you experienced during the presentation. While we appreciate the benefit of reaching a wider audience via these virtual events, technical problems are always a fear! Our luck ran a little slow that evening, so instead of posting the video as we have done in the aftermath of previous events, MDOT MTA has provided the deck they presented during the forum (below). We have transcribed answers that were given during the forum to many of the questions sent in advance of the forum.
Even with the technical difficulties, there were about 108 attendees present, and attendees represented every station along the alignment. Most of you (close to 70%) would like to continue the virtual format of these fora, though with technical difficulties fixed, to be sure!
We are grateful to our panelists for sharing their time and expertise in giving us a status report:
- Ray Biggs II, Project Director for Purple Line, MDOT MTA
- Gary Witherspoon, Deputy Project Director for Purple Line, MDOT MTA
- Doran Bosso, CEO, Purple Line Transit Partners LLC
- Terry Gohde, Project Manager, Maryland Transit Solutions
- Hugo Fontirroig, Deputy Project Manager, Maryland Transit Solutions
If you would like to view the slide show which was presented during the event, just click here.
How many miles of track have been laid so far and where? Also, when do they expect to finish laying track? Have they considered battery powered trains instead of catenary. Would cut costs down.
--Ray: Although not much track has currently been laid, that which has is located along Ellin Road in New Carrollton and Campus Drive in College Park. The tracks will be completed before testing begins in 2025, at the end of the process. Light Rail Vehicles are expected to be delivered in the fall of 2023 (they will not all be delivered at once), but when they begin to arrive, it will be a sight to see as they are 142 ft long. Vehicles will be powered by a catenary system, not designed for battery operated power.
When will tracks start being laid on Wayne Ave?
--Terry: We are working hard to maintain safety for pedestrians, especially with the schools located in the vicinity. Before we start installing track, we have to complete movement of overhead and underground utilities, including a major sewer system, as well as demolish and replace the existing Sligo Creek Bridge and install storm drains. Track will be installed beginning Spring 2023.
I'm a citizen in Silver Spring and also serve on the volunteer board supporting the Capital Crescent Trail. If possible, I would greatly appreciate having some additional information regarding the trail's construction presented at the September meeting. I recognize the Purple Line construction team has indicated it will likely not be ready for public use until trains are tested, likely even after the line fully opens. / What can we do to help speed up the process and return the trail for the public's use? / Do you want to break any news regarding the potential for an early opening of at least portions of the trail before the Purple Line opens for passenger service? And, if not, is the team looking at ways to potentially make that happen?
--Gary: We are working as fast as we can and ask the public to be patient and stand by. We will open the train as soon as possible and as safely as possible.
--Doran: We know how important the trail is to the community. It is something we talk about regularly. The project, as it was conceived, isn’t just about light rail, it was always about connecting communities, about multi-modal transportation, biking, and pedestrians and is very important to us as it is to the community. There are a number of factors that we have to consider, trail user safety being one of the main ones, and construction schedule being equally important. We will however, continue to evaluate every opportunity we have to open the train in advance of the system and as we get closer, we will continue to communicate how that evaluation is going. I want to emphasize that we have heard the community and it is important to everyone for us to see what we can do.
Will multiple Purple Line trains be staged in the morning on the tail tracks in Bethesda (near the Capital Crescent Civic Green) so eastbound service can be timed to start when Red Line trains arrive and depart in Bethesda? When will the contractors vacate the staging area in Bethesda where the Capital Crescent Civic Green will be located? Sometime way before fall of 2026, I hope. This would allow the future county park to start construction as soon as possible, hopefully being complete and open when the Purple Line is finished testing and open for service.
--Ray: The Woodmont Plaza will be returned to the same condition before construction began, though this will be one of the last items completed as it is a key construction access point. But, when construction is finished, it will be cleared and cleaned so that Montgomery County can build the planned park.
What condition will the Bethesda construction staging area be left in once it is vacated by the contractor? Will the space be regraded and sodded with grass to match the condition before the Purple Line contractors took over?
--Ray: The area will be restored to its pre-construction condition. Any improvements following that will be made by MNCPPC.
Has the contract for the artist at the Bethesda Station Art in Transit been awarded?
--Gary: Most of the contracts for the artists have been finalized and completed. There will 22 pieces of art in the 21 stations (Lyttonsville will have two). Artwork will be a reflection of the surrounding neighborhoods where the stations are located. You can find those areas and renderings on the www.purplelinemd.com website. The team is working on executing final contracts with the remaining artists. Art will be placed very late in the construction of the project, so a couple more years down the road.
Will Purple Line pylon signage be located near the corner of Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues, to aid in way-finding, as this will be a primary point of access to the station, for folks heading to and from the very popular Bethesda Row area? Will a WMATA Red Line signage pylon also be added near this intersection, in addition to new signage near Wisconsin Avenue for the same reason?
--Ray: We are partial to the color purple! We will be working with partners, including Ride On and the metro system for signage outside the ROW, system maps, and other materials.
Will the Purple Line route and station names be shown on the revised WMATA system map?
--Ray: We will coordinate with Metro on how best to address Purple Line connections given that we have a number of connection points. Wayfinding is certainly important to us.
No proposed renderings of the new WMATA Red Line south entrance station have been presented to the public. What will the above ground elevator core, stair and ventilation shaft architecture look like? Who is designing this station entrance? Will the design be similar to the new glass enclosed WMATA entrance on the east side of Wisconsin, near Walter Reed Military Medical Center?
--Terry: The short answer is that the design will look quite similar to the entrance to Walter Reed. Renderings and drawings of the south entrance is in the final design phase and once that is completed, we will post those renderings for viewing.
How is the relationship with representatives of the two counties when it comes to issues of this kind?
--Ray: We have lots of meetings with both counties and we try to stay interactive and in communications with them regularly.
I bought my house in 2017 in part due to expectations that the purple line can conveniently take me from my home in Long Branch neighborhood of Silver Spring to my office in Bethesda. I can certainly picture myself walking to the Long Branch station by walking through Long Branch Arliss Neighborhood Park, but it’s an unpaved foot path that isn’t lighted, and at our Long Branch neighborhood meeting neighbors told me they wouldn’t personally walk to the station unless the route was paved and lighted. A different challenge exists from the southern approach, where Long Branch Trail is already paved, but there is no pedestrian crossing right where the trail ends at Piney Branch. Who should the neighbors be working with to get the “last mile” pedestrian approaches safe and ready for the Purple Line?
--Ray: I appreciate the concerns of the questioner here. Definitely understand the desire of the community’s connectivity to our system – it is after all the primary purpose -- to be able to connect to the other systems throughout our region whether by foot, bike, bus, or train. Unfortunately, this part is outside the scope of the Purple Line and would instead be within the purview of the county and the planning commission. Montgomery County has a program that supports pedestrian approaches to the Purple Line stations in the final condition. [ed. note: we will forward the link for the program as soon as we receive it.]
With the removal of the second elevator at some stations will there be any sort of "alternate" route for people who use wheelchairs such as a ramp out of the station to the street level.
--Ray: All Purple Line Stations will be ADA compliant with stairs, ramps, and/or elevators.
Timeline for when test track to be completed and when those 19 cars can be shipped?
--Ray: We have 28 cars on order and 19 are ready to be shipped. The tracks will need to be completed before testing begins in 2025. The LRVs are scheduled to be delivered to OMF Fall of 2023.
Why don't you make a window in the black plastic shroud around construction sites so that we can see what is progressing? That seems a very simple way of encouraging community engagement with the project. In London, where my husband comes from, the builders make an artistic issue of such a window and encourage onlookers to see what is happening. That way there is no need for some curious taxpayer to rip a hole in the shroud!!
--Gary: The black mesh covers are intended to cover construction areas – and are in place to protect against wind damage as well as to serve as a visible barrier between the public and the construction zones. They also provide dust control. We do get complaints regarding what they consider unsightly construction areas, too.
Has the plan for construction of the Purple Line along Piney Branch Rd included a pedestrian and bike crossing from the Long Branch Trail to the Long Branch Rec Center? Currently the crossing requires bikers and pedestrians to cross at Barron St. Barron St is a poor choice for a crossing. Bikers often ignore the Barron Street crossing and instead cross directly through traffic. Bikers have to use the narrow sidewalk to do so and often balk at going uphill to then travel back downhill to get to the Rec Center. There are many families with children who live on the south side of Piney Branch whose children use the pool next to the rec center. It is important to have a safe crossing where the path intersects with Piney Branch. Furthermore, there is increased danger due to the downhill approach. Pedestrians (especially shorter children) are harder to see and the downhill often makes cars speed or even speed up to beat the light at Barron St.
--Ray: I’m a biker, too! We will be adding a signal to Garland Avenue which will have crosswalks across all lanes of the intersection, as well as Barron Street. There will be no mid-block crossing on Piney Branch Road, so pedestrians will have to use Barron Street, Arliss Street, or in the future, Garland.
Are there any organized plans to mark each station?
--Doran: Although we have no plans to pre-mark the stations, it won’t be long until we see stations popping up along the corridor. Folks can see an interactive map and graphics of those station locations at www.purplelinemd.com
If you do not see your question(s) above, let us know. Some came in after the deadline, so they are still in the process of being answered.