The sketch plan for the Apex Building/Purple Line Station site has been completed and county staff are recommending that it be approved on Thursday, which will allow for development of the preliminary plan. This plan includes some details and ideas about what the section of the Capital Crescent Trail through the site will be like.
The Apex building currently sits above the Air Rights Tunnel in Bethesda, through which the CCT currently passes. The original plan for the Purple Line had been for it to share that tunnel with the CCT, but when engineers looked at it, they realized that there wouldn't be room for both, so it looked like the trail would be forced out of the tunnel. The county approached the owners of the Apex Building about possibly redeveloping the site - allowing for construction of a better/cheaper Purple Line station with a full CCT - in exchange for some development rights, and long story short the owners are making plans to do that now.
The Montgomery County staff had comments on the sketch plan, some of which relate to the CCT. One of the main criticisms is about the alignment of the trail which isn't straight enough for them. I believe you can see what they're talking about in the image below where it makes a small s-curve under the gray area between the Residential Lobby/Amenity and the Office Lobby.
If that is the trail, then it looks like it will be a separate tunnel (which the language supports too) and that it will diverge significantly south on the east side.
They add that the preliminary plan should include a trail that is at a minimum of 16 feet wide and
- Coordinate a smooth transition to the trail at the western property line
- Show the future eastern limits of the tunnel under Wisconsin (to the eastern ROW line on MD 355)
- Consider an art component in tunnel
- Work to minimize vertical change for the Capital Crescent Trail.
Elsewhere they state that "Bicycle access to the site will be via the CCT running through a lower level of the building, with access to Georgetown and Silver Spring. The Sector Plan recommends the construction of a 10,000 square foot bicycle storage facility in the building next to the trail." I take that to mean that cyclists could pull off the trail, park in the facility and access the building from beneath, which would be awesome.
I'd like to see the design include the use of some kind of sun tunnel-like devices that could bring natural light into the tunnel, but that is admittedly a pipe dream (see what I did there). And the more I think about it, the more I'd like to see the tunnel continue under Woodmont and Bethesda Avenues to connect to the current CCT. I realize how hard that would be, and it would need an access to Woodmont for people wanting to go to destinations there, but at the very minimum they could set up a break-out wall or something that would avoid precluding it in the future.