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Montgomery County Transportation Planners Identify Issues for Planning Board Review of Proposed Purple Line

by Valerie Berton on November 24th, 2008

SILVER SPRING – In response to a Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) report specifying alternative approaches for the Purple Line, Montgomery County transportation planners will brief the Planning Board in early December on key issues to consider as Board members form a local recommendation for the project.

On January 8, the Board will hold a public hearing on the Purple Line to inform its decision on a recommendation for the route and type of transit – light rail or bus rapid transit – for the Montgomery County section of the Purple Line. The Board’s recommendation will go to the County Council and then to MTA, which will make the final decision.

The Purple Line, a proposed 16-mile light rail or bus rapid transit line, would run from Bethesda to New Carrollton and provide direct connections to Metrorail, local and inter-city bus and the MARC train.

In preparation for the January decision, the Board has invited MTA on December 8 to review key issues in a work session format. No public testimony will be accepted.

Also in advance of the January hearing, the Board’s transportation planning staff will present some of the main issues to its advisory group, among them:

  • Ridership data for each Purple Line segment contrasted for bus rapid transit and light rail
  • Funding opportunities and constraints
  • Whether the route should run along Jones Bridge Road between Bethesda and Jones Mill Road
  • How the Purple Line route might impact the Georgetown Branch trail, a popular bikeway along which the county and state have acquired right-of-way for an eventual transit route
  • How to accommodate the route through downtown Silver Spring and East Silver Spring

The public is welcome to speak at the Board’s January 8 public hearing, although Chairman Royce Hanson is encouraging people to send written testimony, which can be of any length, given the large number of people who may wish to be heard. Written testimony should be received by noon on January 2. Testimony will be limited to two hours, with each speaker receiving no more than three minutes.

People wishing to sign up to speak on January 8 will need to specify which segment of the Montgomery County Purple Line they wish to address – Bethesda/Chevy Chase; Silver Spring; Long Branch/Takoma/Langley; or the entire length – using the online sign-up system available in late December on the Planning Board website or by calling 301/495-4600.

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