Last week, WABA and others testified before the Montgomery County T&E Committee on the need for a safe Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) crossing of Wisconsin Avenue. For a trail of the ridership and importance of the CCT, connectivity and safety are key components. Thus, we continue to support the completion of the paved connection between Bethesda and Silver Spring alongside the Purple Line.
Wisconsin Avenue and the CCT Tunnel
Yet on the issue of the crossing of Wisconsin Avenue, the County has not committed to an at-grade crossing of sufficient design to justify the removal of the trail from the tunnel. We recognize that the revised cost estimates of keeping both the trail and the rail in the tunnel have led county officials to consider removing the trail from the tunnel. This is what the County Council’s Deputy Staff Director, Glenn Orlin, has recommended.
But to date, the County has made no commitment to a design that truly accommodates the ridership of the trail functionally and safely through downtown Bethesda, as the tunnel does. WABA is not unyielding in its position on many details of the tunnel’s design, we cannot support the taking of the tunnel from cyclists without a well-designed, functional, and safe alternative.
The County has not yet committed to such an alternative design. So in the absence of an appropriate alternative, WABA opposes the removal of the trail from the tunnel.
The Montgomery County T&E Committee will hold a critical vote this week on the future of the trail. That vote will be followed by a vote of the full Council. Please CLICK HERE to send an email the Council supporting a safe and functional crossing at Wisconsin Avenue and the completion of this important connection from Bethesda to downtown Silver Spring.
Connecticut Avenue Crossing
Also at last week’s T&E Committee hearing, it was revealed that MTA is considering the removal of the long-promised grade-separated crossing at Connecticut Avenue. Unlike the Wisconsin Avenue issue, this is not a matter of addressing higher costs due to the discovery of unanticipated construction conditions. This is simply MTA looking to save money by reneging on its promise to provide a grade-separated crossing of Connecticut Avenue for the Purple Line and the Capital Crescent Trail. WABA sent a letter last week telling Purple Line Project Manager Michael Madden, MTA Director Wells, and MDOT Secretary Swaim-Staley that this alternative undermines the project, betrays commitments to the public in general and trail supporters in particular, and should be pursued no further.
Please join us in expressing our opposition to this backsliding plan to have the Purple Line and the CCT cross Connecticut Avenue at-grade rather than via a long-promised bridge by emailing Mr. Madden at email@example.com.