Opposition to Current Planned Alignment for the Purple Line


I am adamantly opposed to the current planned alignment for the Purple Line. It can be said that, very simply, that the Purple Line is going down the wrong track.  I favor a strategy of opposing this project with three components:  lobbying, litigation, and public relations.  We need to make it clear to the wider community that while we make no apologies for the fact that we aim to protect our own residents, especially those living close to the proposed two-track rail line, our concerns are broader than that, and relate to environmental concerns with respect to the entire region. 


There is simply no room for both a two-track commuter train, and the existing linear park with its canopy of trees.  That tree canopy is a haven for birds and other wildlife, and it is also a refuge for both Town residents and residents in the larger community from the hustle and bustle of the development in downtown Bethesda. 


It should also be noted that the proposed route for the Purple Line is adjacent to Coquelin Run.  The water shed, and thus water quality is endangered by the construction and development which would accompany the Purple Line, if this plan should go forward.  The Hay’s Spring Amphipod, and the Kenk’s Amphipod are tiny shrimplike creatures whose presence indicates water purity; the Hay’s Spring Amphipod is on the federally endangered list, the Kenk’s on the State list.  Both are believed to be present in the area impacted by the proposed Purple Line alignment.


The Trail and linear park is a local jewel, both in terms of recreation, and environmental protection.  While I favor putting resources into improving public transportation generally, this is the wrong project in the wrong location.  It would have made more sense to have an east-west connection end at the Walter Reed medical center, than having it end in downtown Bethesda.  It would also have made more sense to consider putting the rail line underground, rather than on the surface, in order to protect the trees, and the park. 


Furthermore, there are many questions on the issue of ridership.  Any company undertaking this project will need a business model which would make it profitable.  Will that mean fares so high that people who now travel east to west by bus, will not be able to afford to ride on the train? 

          There are many problems to be addressed, which are being ignored, because of the overwhelming political influence on the process of the developers seeking to make a profit, and certain holders of public office who are beholden to those same development interests.

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