More on the Purple Line
Let me add a little more information to clear up a few questions. The rapid bus service would run on dedicated lanes. I asked specifically if this would mean getting rid of any existing traffic lanes and the answer was no, with one exception. Project manager Mike Madden said a portion of Sligo Avenue, which is one of three route options for both the bus and light rail options, may have to be converted to a one-way street.
While existing traffic lanes may not be in danger, some homes and businesses might be. Depending on which alignment is chosen, a number of properties may be taken, Madden and Transportation Secretary Bob Flanagan said.
Laura fretted about how these buses would travel down East-West Highway, but none of the alternatives would run on that road. There are a couple different paths that the service would take that you can check out here.
builditnow had this take on the situation:
"It is interesting that this tour apparently focused on the difficult engineering challenges while the effort to build the ICC has focussed so much on how engineering can resolve environmental and community conflicts. Yes, threading light rail through communities will be difficult but this is quiet rail transit, not a highway choked full of diesel spewing traffic - traffic which, by the way, is growing on all roads big and small in the Purple Line corridor.
"This tour, now? Can it be that the Ehrlich administration finally gets it that if 80% of Montgomery County voters want transit and transit oriented development rather than mega roads and sprawl, maybe they should at least be pretending like they're working hard on this study.
"Unfortunately, the pace of planning of this project could not have slowed down any further than it has in the last three years. The planning consultants have been on life support as the new contract mysteriously remains in procurement for months. It will take more than a tour to convince the public that this train is on track."
I was also intrigued by the difference in tone that the state folks took with this project versus the intercounty connector. With the ICC it was all about how the administration would do whatever it took, with any means possible to build the highway. Yesterday's get together was all about how difficult it will be to build a transit line and all the reasons why it's hard to do. So I asked Flanagan about that.
This is what he said: "There were fewer options for the ICC. We were able to sit around the table with federal elites and we could figure out options pretty quickly. That wasn't true of the Bi-County Transitway."
Flanagan said there are many more options with the transit line. "It's much more complex," he said. "We're developing options working with the communities."
"We made some changes to the ICC to accommodate public input, but it did not require the wholesale public input that this project requires," he said.
Flanagan also said that the transit line must compete for a limited pool of federal transit dollars, while funding for the ICC was easier to arrange.
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