Monday, August 28, 2017

as the purple line breaks ground, let's take a look back

I started this blog 11 years ago to, among other things, talk about the Purple Line. And after a long fight that will one day make a great book, the 16-mile light rail line between Bethesda and New Carrollton finally breaks ground this morning.

purple line in bethesda
A 2010 rendering of the Purple Line in downtown Bethesda from the Maryland Transit Administration.
I'm on my way to cover the groundbreaking (check back this afternoon for a recap). But in the meantime, let's look back at how JUTP has written about this project. Of the 1735 posts published here, about 281 have included the words "Purple Line." Here's an (incomplete) list of the highlights.
  1. This project has been in the works since 1986! Here's how the Purple Line got its start.
  2. These maps show how the Purple Line will dramatically improve mobility around the DC area, particularly for folks in eastern Montgomery County and Prince George's County.
  3. I took a walk with some East Silver Spring neighbors along a potential route in 2006. The following year, I walked the Capital Crescent Trail, part of which will be the Purple Line's route, with both supporters and opponents.
  4. More than a few politicians have taken the bus as a campaign stunt to promote the Purple Line. We rode the J2 with Steve Silverman in 2006, and again with Al Wynn in 2007.
  5. Did you know there's a musical about the Purple Line? In 2008, we interviewed Paul Stregevsky, writer of "Tracks."
  6. In 2008, I convinced my then-roommate Chris to take transit from College Park to Rockville to illustrate how much we need the Purple Line. It was quite a day.
  7. The new Silver Spring Library actually has its own Purple Line stop! Here's a look at the design process from 2010.
  8. The Purple Line will pass through several Montgomery County neighborhoods, and could bring some major changes. Here's what community members in Long Branch, Lyttonsville, and Chevy Chase Lake had to say about it.
  9. The town of Chevy Chase has been a vocal opponent of the Purple Line for decades, but many town residents weren't having it anymore
  10. Supporters and opponents squared off at a 2013 event where Governor O'Malley first announced state funding for the project.
  11. President Obama announced federal funding for the Purple Line in 2014, and it looked like full speed ahead.
  12. After his election in 2014, Governor Larry Hogan put the Purple Line on hold, but decided to move forward with a few cost-saving changes, like fewer trains and redesigned stations.
Today, many many people who helped make the Purple Line a reality will be celebrating. But one person won't be here: Harry Sanders, who passed away in 2010. We wouldn't be here today without the decades of hard work and quiet persistence Harry poured into this project, along with his wife Barbara and son Greg, who's currently the president of Purple Line NOW!

Harry was a model for citizen activism, and I continue to learn from his example. I can't say it enough: thank you, Harry, for everything.

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