A new metrorail line isn’t music to everyone’s ears

Sophomore Lila Bromberg – The Field School, Washington, DC

Purple Line

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Purple line proposal mapThe Purple Line is a 16-mile east-west light rail line linking Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley Park, the University of Maryland at College Park, and New Carrollton.

Expansion of Washington, DC’s metro rail system is in question.  A proposal for the Purple Line, which will run between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties is being considered.  One of the areas impacted will be the Capital Crescent trail.  It is a shared use, off road trail spanning Georgetown in Washington, DC to  Silver Spring, Maryland.  Straight Up: Urban Voice sophomore Lila Bromberg of The Field School in Washington, DC reports some Capital Crescent trail-users and nearby residents are concerned about disruption to the public path…

“Hogan Kill the Purple Line!”

SUNP0212                                                                             Capital Crescent Trail map

Chevy Chase resident Marsha Francis, who lives along Capital Crescent trail, is clearly one of the opponents  of the Purple Line proposal.  Talks to construct the new line have been underway since the early 2000s.  It would be 16-miles of track and run from Bethesda to New Carrollton, Maryland, connecting the Red, Green, and Orange lines.   While some residents are concerned about the hefty price tag, others are worried about the disturbance and environmental damage the addition will cause to the Capital Crescent Trail.

“You’re going to have a train and a pathway next to it with- (long pause, can edit out) the renderings that MTA have come out with show a little green strip in between, maybe some plantings, but the way that it’s been described as you couldn’t have any overhanging trees, so all the trees have to go”

SUNP0223Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail President Ajay Bhatt

Ajay Bhatt is the president of the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail organization.  It is one of the groups opposing the purple line proposal.  He says the group’s main concern is keeping the trail, commonly used for biking, walking and running, intact for generations to come.

SUNP0218                                                                                   Capital Crescent Trail

“So certainly we are advocating for preserving this as a park. It’s frustrating to think about the possibility of it all being sacrificed for a project that I don’t think is well thought out and I don’t think is worth the money, especially when there are other things that we can do with that money for transit.”

Among some of Bhatt’s suggestions are an improved bus system and expansion of Capital Bike Share.  On the flip side, proponents for the Purple Line argue that it will create a more efficient transit system and encourage economic development. Purple Line Now representatives were not available for an interview, but the group’s website claims that the light rail will decrease travel time significantly for tens of thousands of transit riders and create thousands of jobs.  Friends of The Capital Crescent trail’s Ajay Bhatt says that’s not enough, and so the group is taking legal action.

“We’ve sent a letter of intent to sue the state of Maryland, and at the same time just recently the state, MTA has notified the court that they plan to join the Fish and Wildlife Service and the FDA as a defendant in our legal case against FDA and Fish and Wildlife Service.”

The legal case could play into Governor Hogan’s decision.  He has postponed an announcement that originally was expected in May, keeping proponents and opponents of the Purple Line in suspense.


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