Double track decision was the right decision
Opponents of the Purple Line project in Montgomery County have tried just about everything to derail the planned light-rail line. When the route through Chevy Chase was finally approved by the Montgomery County Council in January, opponents asked if the line could be built with a single track rather than the normal two tracks. Doing so would save trees from being cut down and reduce the effects of the line on nearby properties.
After months of discussion, the County Council rejected that idea earlier this week when it unanimously approved a double-track plan.
A single track would have meant that trains could only travel in one direction at a time. They would have to wait at stations for trains coming in the opposite direction to pass before continuing. If built with one track, the Purple Line would be painfully slow and have extremely limited capacity.
Baltimore's light rail line was originally built with a single track, and it was such a disaster that a few years later the entire line had to be shut down and rebuilt to add a second track. It cost hundreds of millions of dollars and resulted in years of service disruptions.
That isn't what anybody wants for the Purple Line. Clearly, single tracking doesn't work. It takes the "rapid" out of rapid transit.
Kudos to the Montgomery County Council for making the correct decision.
Dan Malouff is an Arlington County transportation planner who blogs independently at BeyondDC.com. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
| July 30, 2010; 11:53 AM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Local blog network, Maryland, Metro, Montgomery County, Purple Line, transportation
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