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Posted at 11:12 AM ET, 05/27/2010

Rally to preserve trails along Purple Line

By Washington Post editors

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

By 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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I'll wear Purple on Saturday as a counter protest.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | May 27, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The Purple Line is the right thing to do. We need a better transit link between the two down-county centers.

Posted by: krickey7 | May 27, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The purple line is a scam. It's a way for contractors to make money. Metro SUCKS. Metro is a failure.

Posted by: FiatBooks | May 27, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Fiat - You realize MTA is building the Purple Line and that you look like a complete idiot right now, right?

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | May 27, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I live on the wrong (east) side of Rock Creek. Are those savethetrail folks ever going to clean up those purple ribbons they littered on our end of the trail?

Posted by: priv05242010 | May 27, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

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