Rally to preserve trails along Purple Line
Opponents of running Purple Line light rail trains along a popular bike and walking trail between downtown Bethesda and Silver Spring are planning a 5K race and rally Saturday to show support for the trail.
"We support better public transportation, but we don't believe that we need to destroy the most popular nature trail in the area to accomplish this," said Pam Browning, president of Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail.
Her group said the rail line would require cutting 17 acres of trees and would "destroy" the trail's wooded feel.
Planners for the Maryland Transit Administration have proposed running light rail trains along the trail, which would be rebuilt and paved adjacent to the tracks but separated by a fence. Planners and supporters of a 16-mile Purple Line have said that the trail is the fastest and most direct route between Bethesda and Silver Spring.
Montgomery County bought the strip of land -- an abandoned railroad line -- in 1988 as right-of-way for a trolley line then being considered between Bethesda and Silver Spring. The county turned the land into the Georgetown Branch Trail until such a line could be built. Some trail advocates say a Purple Line would ruin that section, while others say a transit line would ensure that it is eventually paved as an extension of the Capital Crescent Trail.
The trail route is the most controversial part of the state's plans to build a $1.68 billion east-west Purple Line between Bethesda and New Carrollton.
Saturday's run begins at 9 a.m. in Elm Street Park, 4601 Willow Lane in Chevy Chase, followed by a 10 a.m. "free community walk and bike."
-- Katherine Shaver
Washington Post editors
| May 27, 2010; 11:12 AM ET
Categories: Maryland, Traffic and Transportation | Tags: bethesda, purple line, silver spring
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