The Penguin broke the news on the State's decision to drop the Sligo Avenue alignment (the orange line at the bottom of the picture) of the Purple Line last week, and East Silver Spring residents couldn't be happier. One resident who asked not to be named (neither the ESS Civic Association nor SSTOP have made any formal statements) said that "people are thrilled and feel that it is a big win to have Sligo off the table," noting that dozens of homes and businesses will be spared from the wrecking ball.
On Thayer Avenue (the street, not the blog), the resident added, there remain "serious concerns about taking an acre of park land in an area sorely lacking in green space," along with the danger of having a tunnel open onto the street, even if the State has agreed to continue it past East Silver Spring Elementary School. Nonetheless, there is "relief" that a cut-and-cover tunnel is no longer an option for the neighborhood, ensuring that construction impacts will be as minimal as possible.
MTA can afford "deep tunneling" under Silver Spring but not in Chevy Chase. The planning people who said it wouldn't make sense to save the Georgetown Branch Trail from being paved over now want to fork over tens of millions for extravagant tunneling options when we all know the trolley could run along Sligo Avenue without impacting traffic. This is a community fairness issue. I hope the Town of Chevy Chase's study will force MTA to place the entire line underground within Montgomery County.
And if there was one trolley route I liked it was the Sligo one becuase that area looks so 1950's trashy.
Well, Sanjay, Those Sligo Avenue houses may look 1950's trashy, but they have a lot more to lose than Chevy Chase would if the Purple Line were to be built along the Georgetown Branch. Let's not forget now that, not too long ago, there were trains running along that same line.
Dozens of people could have lost their homes and businesses along Sligo Avenue. The only loss in Chevy Chase would be a lemonade stand.
You don't happen to know Amy Kostant, do you? Because I'd love to hear her take on this as well.
Thanks for asking about opinions regarding the Thayer route and your concern about this.
There are still concerns that the Thayer Avenue route will still take about 50 trees from Sligo Creek Park and countless more from back yards. Each mature tree absorbs hundreds of gallons of runoff water per week, so there could be flood concerns. In addition, Sligo Creek Park is home to a diverse amount of wildlife, including owls, herons, deer and fish. These will be threatened. The downtown Silver Spring development neglected to keep any green space other than the astro turf near Whole Foods. The park is about all that is left.
The other Wayne Avenue route will take fewer houses and trees. The board meeting also mentioned a possible stop on Wayne south of Sligo Creek Pkwy. This could benefit the high-rise apartment dwellers along Sligo Creek, as well as Wayne and Manchester.
The other thing to note is that deep tunneling is still an MTA "recommendation", which doesn't guarantee that the state will pay for or approve it. For example, they could also recommend gold plated trains.
Thanks as always for the SSTOP.ORG link and keep up your great blog.
"1950's Trashy?" Gee, thanks, Sanjay. My teenage daughter will be thrilled. She always wanted to live in Camden, Bal'more. Now I can tell her we already do!
Amy on Sligo.
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