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I also agree with Marc Fisher's conclusion, but it bothers me that he presents Pam Browning as the principal spokesperson for "pro-trail advocates" and does not even mention the very different position of CCCT, WABA, or MoBike. The Washington Post continues to not look beyond a few NIMBY's in Chevy Chase when they try to cover this complex transit/trail compatibility issue.

"The trail is unique, precious and popular." So are a lot of other trails in the area, and the Anacostia trail system is sadly underused.

Do we need a trail for bicycle commuting between Silver Spring, Chevy Chase and Bethesda? Absolutely, but it doesn't need the trappings of precious and unique.

Do we need decent rail transit between PG county, Silver Spring and Bethesda? Again absolutely, and we need it more than we need another precious and unique recreational trail where people can walk down the middle, iPod in ear oblivious to the world.
BTW-When I lived in Chicago, one of my all time favorate places to bike and run was the Green Bay trail on the suburban North Shore. It, a former interurban line, was right along side an active commuter rail line, and it did just fine for everybody without benefit of any kind of buffering, save a fence.

I'm of the opinion that every effort made to alleviate suburban congestion is a tacit approval of sprawl, and as such, is ultimately self-defeating. The rail may be needed, but that doesn't mean its the right thing to do, nor does its construction promote the best overall development philosophy for the greater Washington area. We should stop destroying treasured and healthy public spaces while urban centers go underutilized. Until DC has been fully built-out and populated, tax dollars should not be spent nor domain exercised in an effort to make suburban life more tolerable. Don't take away from those who live a sustainable lifestyle to give to those who shun it.

Are Bethesda and Silver Spring "suburban" or are they more urban? I honestly don't have an opinion on that.
I would say that not EVERY effort to alleviate suburban congestion is an approval of sprawl. If a suburb is trying to be more urban and dense isn't that the rejection of sprawl? And isn't that what the purple facilitates? I do have an opinion on that.
If your final point is that DC should be top priority for transit then, as a new member of DC's landed gentry, I agree. The divided Blue line is a higher priority IMO. Still I don't think we should foster a spirit of warfare between suburbs and city.

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