Newsletter of Purple Line NOW!
MAY 13, 2008In this issue:
- MTA OPEN HOUSE IS PL PROGRESS
- WE NEED YOUR HELP
- SHORT RIDES
- UPCOMING EVENTS
- THIS NEWSLETTER
1) MTA Open House is Progress Towards Purple Line
MTA provided more in-depth information at their first open house in College Park last Thursday (see below for schedule of other open houses over the next two weeks).
The transit agency continues to refine numbers, but overall ridership projections are approximately 68,000 for the high scenario light rail option.
College Park MTA provided more evidence of the value of the project for the College Park area. Daily weekday boardings for the five local stations together (Adelphi, Campus Center, East Campus, CP/UM Metro, River Rd) are estimated to be 16,000 (include patrons transferring from metrorail, bus or MARC). Each day, the Purple Line is projected to eliminate 7,092 automobile trips in College Park. The consultants presented new video and graphics of the Campus Drive alignment, along with an estimated cost for the Campus Drive alignment of $3 million less than the alternative Chapel Lawn alignment. An article in the student newspaper reported that the Chapel Lawn alignment received negative comments from the Maryland Historical trust, and that the more expensive route would have a detrimental impact on Morrill Hall, Washington Quad and Memorial Chapel. MTA confirmed that upgraded sidewalks, crosswalks and landscaping will accompany the Campus Drive Purple Line, as well as a cross-campus bike lane extending more than a mile from Adelphi Road through east campus.
Silver Spring With projected daily boardings of 13,600, the downtown Silver Spring station has the honor of having the highest number of boardings at a single station. Silver Spring will be served by 5 or 6 additional stops throughout the area.
Costs for two tunnel options in eastern Silver Spring are now estimated to be between $270 million and $335 million, compared to $120 million for the equivalent at-grade alignment of Wayne Avenue. Each day, 5,864 automobile trips are anticipated to be removed from Silver Spring roads because of the Purple Line. This estimate only includes trips that currently originate in Silver Spring, and does not account for trips into Silver Spring from other areas that would likely be eliminated because of the light rail line.
Bethesda Daily Purple Line boardings at the proposed new Bethesda south entrance are estimated to be 13,300. The light rail project is projected to take 4,314 auto trips off Bethesda Roads each day during the week. Travel time between Bethesda and Silver Spring remains excellent at 8.71 minutes – significantly faster than travel time using bus rapid transit which would run on Jones Bridge Rd to north Bethesda. While Purple Line opponents have been vigorously pushing this BRT option, MTA points out that destinations and employment in north Bethesda (even with the BRAC realignment which only shifts 2,200 jobs north) are very limited compared to the countless destinations and more than 55,000 jobs in downtown Bethesda – the light rail line into downtown will serve significantly more people, will take more automobile trips off the road, and will ensure continued economic vitality of downtown Bethesda.
Park Impacts MTA has produced an inventory of impacts on the many parks along the right-of-way. While the total acreage of parkland along the right-of-way is 1,374, the acreage actually impacted is only between .58 and 2.06 acres. The parks that will see the most impact are Northwest Branch and Sligo Creek.
2) We Need Your Help!
In response to the Town of Chevy Chase’s commitment of $250,000 to fight the Purple Line, and an unknown but undoubtedly higher sum committed by the Columbia Country Club, Purple Line NOW! is asking supporters for contributions of both funds and time to promote this environmentally-sound effort to address our worsening east-west transportation crisis. Click here to help
MTA Open Houses
Purple Line supporters are urged to attend one of the remaining four Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) open houses scheduled over the next two weeks. These meetings will include updated information from the winter open houses, and will be the last round of public meetings before the Alternatives Analysis/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (AA/DEIS) is released this fall.
Feedback will be solicited on:
All these meetings are from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. except May 21st.
- Updated Travel Times, Costs, and Ridership
- Ridership by Station
- Results of the Environmental Impact Statement
- Purple Line Options Serving Your Community
- May 12th (Monday): MTA Open House - West Lanham Hills, Recreation Center, 7700 Decatur Road, Landover Hills, MD 20784
- May 14th (Wednesday): MTA Open House - East Silver Spring, Elementary School, 631 Silver Spring Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
- May 15th (Thursday): MTA Open House - Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Cafeteria, 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814
- May 21st (Wednesday): 4 to 6:30pm: MTA Open House - Langley Park Community Center, 1500 Merrimac Drive, Langley Park, MD 20783
- May 20th (Tuesday): 7 PM: Montgomery County PL Planning Advisory Group Meeting -- MNCPPC Auditorium - 8787 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring.
- June 7th (Saturday), 10 AM Walk the forgotten section of the Capital Crescent Trail and PL in Silver Spring meet at North entrance to the Silver Spring metrorail station (RSVP and info: Wayne - email@example.com)
4) Short Rides
- Concerns by University of Minnesota Officials Slow Progress of St. Paul - Mineapolis LRT Connector http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/04/24/central/
- Houston Residents Support Rail Transit Expansion
In a recent survey, 62% of the respondents reported that an improved mass transit system is “very important” to the city’s future, and 50% reported that the rail component is “very important”. Ridership on the city’s fledgling lrt system is up 7.3% in 2008. Bus ridership is up 5.5% compared to the same period in FY 07.
see: HoustonTransit Expansion
- Rising Gas Prices Likely to Push Purple Line Ridership Above Projections
All bets are off as far as MTA’s conservative ridership projections if the price of oil continues to rise. Even a relatively minor increase in the price of gas has already had a dramatic effect on people’s choice of mode so far this year – cities across the nation are seeing record increases in transit ridership to the point of exceeding some systems’ capacities. As gas prices are expected to continue climbing, future ridership should far exceed expectations.
see: NY Times on Transit
5) This Newsletter
This newsletter is produced by volunteer supporters of Purple Line NOW! which was founded in January, 2003. Purple Line Now! was formed by representatives of business, labor, environmental and community organizations to promote a light rail transit line connecting Bethesda, Silver Spring, Long Branch, Takoma/ Langley Crossroads, College Park and the University of Maryland, Riverdale Park and New Carrollton. We support completion of the hiker-biker trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring, as well as pedestrian enhancements as part of the transit project elsewhere along the alignment.
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Counting down to completion of Purple Line EIS; all the latest news: Latest News; How you can help
[Calendar of Events].
We need you to help keep the Purple Line a state and county priority. Write a letter, make a call or send an e-mail in support of the Purple Line today. See: Contact List