Thursday, January 15, 2009

planning board votes 4-1 for light-rail purple line

The Planning Board endorsed using light rail for the Purple Line and routing it along Wayne Avenue (seen here in a MTA rendering) in Silver Spring.

From the Post:
"I have been a skeptic of light rail, but in dense areas, I think rail has a lot of advantages," said Royce Hanson, planning board chairman.

The board also backed a staff proposal that would keep light rail at street level in Silver Spring, despite community concerns that it could clog traffic and disrupt nearby residential neighborhoods . . .

The vote came after almost five hours of debate during which the planning board hashed out the competing benefits and disadvantages of light rail and rapid buses. Board members also worried that placing the system near the popular Georgetown Branch Trail, a segment of the Capital Crescent Trail, could harm the environment and interfere with well-established residential neighborhoods in Chevy Chase and Bethesda.
The only vote against light-rail came from Amy Presley, an activist from Clarksburg, who worried that the added cost would endanger federal funding and delay the Purple Line's construction. After this, the County Council will deliver their endorsement later this month, followed by the Governor's decision in the spring.

1 comment:

Webb said...

The Planning Board is the latest step on a long road toward a quiet, successful light rail line alongside a well used hiker-biker trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring, with the rail line continuing along a revitalized University Boulevard through the University of Maryland to College Park and New Carrollton. The lengthy discussion at today's meeting aired many important issues and the board's position was even stronger (5-0) against BRT options making use of Jones Bridge Road. The winning argument was clearly capacity with the successful Orange BRT Line having capacity issues despite the fact that the daily ridership is far lower than that projected for the BRT Purple Line option.