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Sounds familiar, like what happened with the bike trail that never came about along the intercounty connector. I'm all for transit, but not to the detriment of trails and the environment. Thanks for publicizing this; getting the word out could make the difference.

@ DE

We don't have to choose between transit and the CCT to fix this. The MTA has been looking to Montgomery County for setting the design requirements of the CCT, since Montgomery County will be funding the trail.

Montgomery County DOT needs to "wake up" to the danger that CSXT may block our preferred trail alignment, and show MTA an alternative off-road route to be used in that case. MTA will follow the county's lead on this, but the county has not shown any "Plan B" to MTA.

Sorry to say, but this is SOP. At the end of the day, the cyclists get the short straw

This is a strange move. Completing the CCT is part of a not-so-impliict bargain for supporting the Purple Line. Plan B is not as good but viable.

@Crickey7 "This is a strange move."

I think MTA is in a box here. They can't control CSXT and may not be able to get the r.o.w. they want. But MoCo, who is responsible for laying down the trail design requirements and funding the trail, has not laid out a fallback position for MTA yet.

I think our advocacy focus should be on getting MoCo to wake up and get a good fallback position to MTA.

So, would there be a physical separation on 16th? I used to bike that stretch and while it rarely bothered me, I know casual bikers hate riding on shoulders of busy roads.

@ Crickey7: "...physical separation on 16th?"

The trail would have to be behind the curb - which is why some r.o.w. would be needed from the Park Sutton condo property.

so eminent domain CSX

"so eminent domain CSX"

Railroads are protected from eminent domain under federal law. That is not an option here.

I hope Wayne is right that it's possible to do both. This morning I was wearing a rails-to-trails t-shirt and someone asked me whether I opposed the purple line. My answer was that I hope it doesn't come down to either or. Cyclists should not be put in the position of opposing against public transit.

@ freewheel:
"Cyclists should not be put in the position of opposing against public transit."

We are not in that position here. The Purple Line FEIS is clear that the CCT will be rebuilt to a good quality from Bethesda to Talbot Ave., which is slightly longer than the Interim off-road trail is today.

For the new extension of the CCT from Talbot Ave. to downtown Silver Spring, stopping the Purple Line does nothing to make the CSXT problem go away. It would more likely only make the problem even worse.

1. I still maintain that under federal railbanking law, they can't remove the trail. What we're talking about is the part of the trail that is not on the abandoned ROW.

2. Trail advocates who oppose converting railbanked trails to rail-with-trails hurt the rails-to-trails movement. If the trail is going to become an impediment to future conversion, then it becomes a reason to not build a trail on a ROW. More than once I've read about DOT's opposing trail conversion because they feared opposition later when they tried to add in transit. If you love the CCT, you owe it to the program and people who made it possible to not oppose transit (since that's the reason the trail exists). But you should insist on a trail with transit, especially since it's possible.

@Wayne Phyillaier: it isn't blanket immunity, they have to demonstrate that it interferes with their operations. Maybe they'd be more willing to negotiate if they thought the state was willing to play hardball.

@Mike: "Maybe they'd be more willing to negotiate if they thought the state was willing to play hardball."

That's a good point. CSXT has other issues important to them in front of state regulators. They are interested in getting a third rail approved for parts of the Brunswick Line and more. The state could play hardball if it is important to them.

I think the core of the problem may be that our own MCDOT is not acting like this matters much, and MTA is just following our MCDOT's lead on trail issues. If we can make MCDOT do its job and not just accept dumping it onto the roads so easily, MTA will start making this a higher state priority.

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