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One factual correction. It's incorrect to refer to the route along Bethesda Avenue as a detour. The Master Plan shows two routes for the trail through downtown Bethesda, one through the tunnel and the other along Bethesda Avenue and Willow Avenue. They both have pluses and minuses, which there's no need to get into here.

Perhaps we're just discussing semantics, but if someone is temporarily forced to go a different - more circuitous - route than the one they prefer, how is that not a detour?

I suppose that one would be correct to call this the "alternate surface route" according to the Master Plan, but the Master Plan also recommends that a row of parking be removed on Bethesda Avenue and Willow Street to make room for a 10' wide shared use trail on this route. So, until this is done this route will look and feel a lot more like a temporary (and not very good) detour than an alternate CCT route.

As far as I am concerned, acess and egress to and from the CCT at the Bethesda trail head are extremely dangerous. Although I would personally prefer that the tunnel remain open, from a safety point of view, I don't think closing the tunnel makes any difference. Perhaps a better focus might be for the CCCT to negotiate with the developer to provide a shared-cost solution to providing safe access and egress to the trail head.

Access to the trail heading south from Bethesda Avenue is indeed an issue. It's even more of an issue for the future, because the property now occupied by the parking lots on both sides of Woodmont Ave. will become a mixed-use development that will further increase pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks.

The developer of the parking lot property plans several significant trail improvements, including a bicycle dropoff on Woodmont Ave. and an access route from Woodmont along what is now the back of the parking lot.

However, at the last meeting on this topic that I attended, the designers of the building were assuming that all bicycles approaching the trail along Bethesda Avenue would be riding on the sidewalks and had not considered turning movements from the roadway onto and off of the trail. The difficulty of these movements will be exacerbated when the new development occurs because the traffic lanes of Woodmont Ave. will cross Bethesda Ave. somewhat closer to the trail.

This problem is fixable without too much trouble, I think, and may already have been taken care of in later versions of the design, but it was dispiriting to see people take so much trouble to accomodate and improve the trail and yet be oblivious to the needs of cyclers on the rest of the road network.

The spokeman from ACT, Ben Ross, probably only uses the trail to go to his meetings with the Chevy Chase Land Company who doesn't give a hoot in hell about any walking or bicycling trail. As long as they can put a station at Chevy Chase Lake and lift development ceilings on Connecticut Ave. and in Bethesda they will be happy.

Don't believe the hype. Purple Line is for developers and this tunnel closing is part of it.

Save the Trail

YES! -- Thank you Sin Verganza for saying something substantive!

The connection between closing the tunnel and building the Purple Line is very weak, at best. The Planning Board will impose restrictions so the Woodmont East development will not seriously interfere with building a possible future Purple Line and transit station in the tunnel. But the Woodmont East project will also not make it any easier to build the Purple Line in the Tunnel.
Opponents of the Purple Line would like to shift the blame for this threat to close the tunnel upon the Purple Line, but the Purple Line has nothing to do with this threatened closure.

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