After years of complaining and letter writing the Post finally got it right when describing where the Purple Line would run (emphasis mine)
The project has government-owned right of way preserved between Bethesda and an area west of downtown Silver Spring, where trains would run along an extension of the Capital Crescent Trail. While the western section requires less private property, it has created controversy because of the number of mature trees that would be cut along the wooded trail.
Gary Erenrich, MCDOT’s Purple Line project coordinator, broke the news at the 20 March 2014 Planning Board Purple Line/CCT mandatory referral. Mr. Erenrich announced that CSXT was now refusing to grant right-of-way to MTA for the CCT, MCDOT was now responsible for any further negotiations with CSXT for trail right-of-way, and that as things stand now the CCT would end at Talbot Avenue as an off-road trail. I have since had an email exchange with Mr. Erenrich, and he has clarified that MTA received a letter from CSXT mid-January stating they would not grant any CSXT right-of-way for a trail alone, and that MCDOT was now evaluating the physical feasibility and the cost of alternative trail alignments. Mr. Erenrich expects their preliminary evaluation of the alternatives to be completed in a month or so.
Oh CSX, everytime I think you might not be so bad, you prove me wrong. You're worse than Arvin Sloane. I can tell you what, I know who I won't be using to ship my future coal tonnage.
There is hope though
Fortunately there is a good alternative trail alignment that can avoid CSXT property behind the Park Sutton building, shown above. This alternative would go around the front of Park Sutton by using Lyttonsville Road and 16th Street. Lyttonsville Road is overbuilt, and that extra wide road right-of-way can accomodate a full width trail with no need to ‘take’ private property. A trail along the west side of 16th Street will require either taking a strip of right-of-way from the Park Sutton Condominium Association, or putting 16th Street on a “road diet” and closing a southbound lane of the roadway for trail and sidewalk use.
If you're interested in this, you should read the whole post.
The county Planning Board on Thursday, March 20 will hold a public hearing about comments it will send to the Maryland Transit Administration, the agency in charge of the Purple Line.
The state and federal governments will have final say when it comes to the final design of the estimated $2.37 billion project. On Thursday, the Planning Department showed off a special web page dedicated to what it will tell the MTA in a series of mandatory referrals on the light rail, the Capital Crescent Trail, Silver Spring Green Trail and Bethesda Metro Station South Entrance.
Many comments are small in nature — planners ask the MTA to provide bicycle channels on stairway connections on the Capital Crescent Trail, to widen a planned sidewalks along East-West Highway and to build a Connecticut Avenue traction power substation into the tracks and trail to reduce visual impacts.
Staff also is asking the MTA to accommodate a stair on the north side of the trail at the planned Chevy Chase Lake Purple Line station. That stair would be provided by the developer of the area.
Staff also put together an interactive map that points to parts of the Purple Line design where county planners would like to see changes.
Other ideas from the website (the map really. It's very useful)
In addition to lighting the Capital Crescent Trail under the Lyttonsville Place bridge, provide wall-wash lighting along the bridge abutment walls to enhance pedestrian safety
Widen the proposed 5-foot wide sidewalk on both sides of Lyttonsville Place to at least 7 feet to meet AASHTO recommendations and provide bicycle lanes by removing the “activity lane”.
Provide a larger landing area at the base of the proposed ramp down to the Capital Crescent Trail from Lyttonsville Place. The landing and crossing could be designed to incorporate local historical and cultural enhancements.
Eliminate both rows of parking on the Spring Street bridge. Widen the proposed 5-foot-wide sidewalks to 13 feet wide. Separate the 16-foot-wide shared travel lane into 11-foot-wide thru lanes and 5-foot-wide bike lanes.
SSTC Trail Access - Evaluate whether it is possible to provide direct access to the Purple Line mezzanine from the Capital Crescent Trail to the east of the escalator.
Relocate the stormwater management facility proposed on the remnant of 1110 Bonifant Street to an offsite location. After completion of the Purple Line, the County should be given first right of refusal for use of the remnants of this parcel for the Silver Spring Bicycle Parking Facility.
Manchester Place Station Bicycle Access -Continue to explore ways for cyclists traveling on Wayne Avenue to cross the Purple Line tracks at a 60 to 90 degree angle.
Extend the Piney Branch Road culvert at Long Branch to permit future construction of a 10-foot wide sidewalk.
Construct cycle tracks (or buffered bike lanes) on University Boulevard where right-of-way is available, and transition from the cycle tracks (or buffered bike lanes) to bicycle lanes where the right-of-way is constrained. However, if there is not agreement to construct cycle tracks, provide 8-foot-shared use paths along both sides of University Boulevard where right-of-way is available or property acquisitions occur as recommended in the Long Branch Sector Plan and Takoma/ Langley Crossroads Sector Plan. Where sufficient space is not available, the shared use path should transition into a sidewalk.
We don't see alot of electric bikes (or mopeds) in our area, but they are quite common in Europe and China. With an aging population that prefers to avoid automobiles, they may become more common in our area as well.
Should the law treat them as a bicycle or a motorized pedalcycle (moped)? Or does it depend on speed and the power of the engine?
In Europe, the dividing line is 250 watts (1/3 horsepower) and 15 mph; that is, as long as the motor phases out with speed and cuts off at 15 mph, the driver has the rights of a bicyclist. You can ride on bikeways, don't need a license, and don't need insurance.
In the United States, the dividing line varies--and so does the legal significance of that line. Some states require a driver's license or a minimum age, others ban them on trails or sidewalks. Some do both. To some extent, that reflects greater caution about a type of vehicle that is not yet well understood in the United States. But it is also an indirect (and unnecessary) result of a federal definition designed for a different purpose. For purposes of manufacturing safety, the Consumer Products Safety Commission defines electric bicycle as any electrical moped with less than 1 horsepower and a top speed of 20 mph or less. States do not have to use that definition for trail access or drivers licenses. But drawing the line anywhere else would require a careful evaluation of what they are doing; and as Ralph Waldo Emerson (indirectly) pointed out, consistency is often simpler than a careful evaluation.
Recalling that kinetic energy equals MV2/2, electric bikes in the United States can bump into someone with about three times the force of the electric bikes in Europe. So putting one on a trail, or putting a child in the driver's seat, probably requires more caution here than in Europe.
The Maryland General Assembly, however, may soon throw caution to the wind, and redefine the term "bicycle" to include any cycle that meets the Consumer Products Safety Commission definition of electric bike. House Bill 205 has already passed the House, with minimal discussion. Because the bill redefines "bicycle" but adds no substantive requirements, any child or adult will be allowed to ride this type of moped on any highway or trail where bicycles are allowed. In Howard and most of Montgomery County, that would include sidewalks.
Interestingly, the proponents of the bill argued that the main reason to pass this bill is that the state and federal governments should have the same definition of "electric bicycle." I don't know if that is really true, since their purposes are very different. But even if it is true, this bill gives Maryland very different definitions of both "electric bicycle" and "bicycle". Here is the federal government definition that the CPSC uses:
For purposes of this section, the term "low-speed electric bicycle" means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph. 15 USC 2085.
And here is what Maryland's definition would be:
"Electric bicycle" means a bicycle that (1) is designed to be operated by human power with the assistance of an electric motor (2) is equipped with fully operable pedals; (3) has two or three wheels; (4) has a motor with a rating of 750 watts or less; and (5) is capable of a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour on a level surface when powered by the motor.
"Bicycle" means a vehicle that is designed to be operated by human power .... or an electric bicycle.
These two definitions agree on the power rating, but other than that there is a very big difference: The federal definition does not say that an electric bicycle is a bicycle; in the US code "bicycle" has its ordinary meaning. But House Bill 205 makes electric bicycles a type of bicycle.
We are responding to a recent personal attack on our President, Ajay Bhatt.
It's personal in that it is about Ajay Bhatt, but here's how the excellent Nizkor project defines a personal attack.
A personal attack is committed when a person substitutes abusive remarks for evidence when attacking another person's claim or claims. This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because the attack is directed at the person making the claim and not the claim itself. The truth value of a claim is independent of the person making the claim. After all, no matter how repugnant an individual might be, he or she can still make true claims.
There is nothing abusive about what Phyillaier did. And it is not a substitution for attacking Bhatt's claims. Bhatt's behavior by erecting this fence is being submitted as evidence of hypocrisy with respect to Bhatt's claims that he wants to "Save the Trail". It IS an attack on Bhatt's claims. Bhatt claims he wants to save the trail for everyone to use, and then he tries to take part of it. This is an attack on the claim and not Bhatt. It may not make Bhatt look good, but that is a byproduct rather than the goal.
And it is way more relevant than what they say about Phyillaier .
Mr. Phyillaier is not a neighbor and has no legitimate interest in this particular fence.
He is a trail user and a county resident. So that gives him two interests in this fence. Also, he supports the Purple Line which gives him an interest in showing the hypocrisy of the Save the Trail group.
Maryland’s proposed light-rail Purple Line project has been recommended for $100 million in federal construction money in the next fiscal year as part of President Obama’s budgetreleased Tuesday, marking a critical financial milestone that would keep the project on schedule.
Five Montgomery County Councilmembers have signed onto a letter by Roger Berliner requesting that the county's Department of Parks and Department of Transportation examine ways for these agencies to clear snow from the Capital Crescent Trail so that it can be kept open and usuable year round.
Specifically, I would like to request that you prepare an estimate for snow removal and winter maintenance on the trail in time for the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee to review that figure during the Council’s budget deliberations this April.
In my opinion, not maintaining the Capital Crescent Trail does not only a great disservice to residents who rely on the trail for commuting purposes, but also to the County’s goal of being a more walkable and bikeable community. Montgomery County prides itself on the network of trails and bike paths built within its borders. It is only appropriate that we maintain those networks to the maximum extent possible.
As you may know, this award recognizes the many ways that our campus is supporting bicycle use, from planning and enforcing safe streets, to hosting free bicycling classes, to helmet giveaways, and more.
This designation underscores GU's leadership on sustainable transportation, making Georgetown the first campus in the District of Columbia to receive this award and one of only 75 BFU campuses in the country to date.
It also has a practical component; through GU's participation, we will receive free consulting from the League of American Bicyclists on additional bicycle-friendly opportunities for the campus.
Georgetown could not have achieved this accomplishment without each of you, from your contributions to the application process, to your ongoing efforts to support bicycling.
We would also like to recognize and thank Greg Miller (SFS '14) and Oltan Akin (MSB '15), the two undergraduate Sustainability Fellows who worked under the guidance of the Office of Sustainability to perform and submit Georgetown's BFU assessment, and without whom this accomplishment would not be possible.
You can learn more about Georgetown's BFU process here, and find more information about Bicycling at Georgetown at http://sustainability.georgetown.edu/bicycling/. A sign displaying the designation is also now proudly displayed behind the Bike-share station outside GU's Main Gates (See attached).
That's great for them, but on to silver I say. They could pay to add more bikeshare stations to the main campus and the law school campus - there's only 1 now. They could help turn the Glen Echo Trolley ROW that passes through campus into a bike trail. They could make sure that the Georgetown boathouse doesn't negatively impact the Capital Crescent Trail. There's a lot of room for improvement.
Yesterday, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to let a taller building replace an existing office building on Wisconsin Avenue as a way to have a roomier Purple Line station in downtown Bethesda.
The zoning change is intended to encourage the office building’s owner to tear it down and redevelop the site to allow for a more spacious light-rail station. A new building at the site could be up to 250 feet high — or 15 to 20 stories — about 10 stories more than the existing building.
Whether the change in zoning will be enough to persuade the building owners to tear it down remains to be seen.
David Silver, a Holland & Knight attorney for the pharmacist group, said the group is awaiting detailed proposals from several developers in the next 30 days. He said the group would need a plan that provides a financial reason to “tear down a perfectly good building.”
Time for a decision is short, as the state is seeking bids for a public-private partnership to design, build, operate, maintain and help finance the $2.2 billion rail project. Maryland transit officials have said the state does not plan to buy the building by exercising its power of eminent domain because it’s not necessary for the project and would be too expensive.
There's more here.
The ASHP says more density alone won’t be enough to offset the financial losses it could take by abandoning the profitable building for the length of time it takes to build the station.
An outside study commissioned by the Planning Department backed up that stance, saying it would likely take between $5 and $10 million of public money to bridge the ASHP’s financial gap.
“We may very well support county engagement, but this does not go to that in any way,” said Councilmember Nancy Floreen when introducing the zoning amendment to the Council. “So that’s a separate conversation happening in separate places with separate issues.”
The county, through its Department of Economic Development, is talking to ASHP about a potential deal. Complicating matters is the short timeline in which the decision must be made. The first inklings of an optimal design for the Bethesda Purple Line station came last May. The MTA, in the midst of securing federal funding for the 16-mile light rail project, says it needs to have an indication soon of which Bethesda Purple Line station to build.
With all council members in agreement as to the benefits of the optimal station design, Councilmember Marc Elrich asked about taking the building by eminent domain.
Though the Planning Board briefly discussed it, it was not an option presented in the Minor Master Plan. Council staff said the process would likely take too long to fit the MTA’s timeline.
So the county may need to kick in some money to make it happen and eminent domain is off the table. I wonder if the county could make money contingent on the outcome. Up to $10 million if the site is empty for x years or something? Anyway, there is also this
Also in the approved plan is new language concerning the fate of Woodmont Plaza, the small grassy area near the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel that serves as a de facto town square space for some in Bethesda Row.
A joint development project that would have brought a hotel to the space is off, according to county planners.
That left room in the Minor master plan for requirements that Woodmont Plaza be “the central open space for the area around the junction of Bethesda Avenue, Woodmont Avenue and the Capital Crescent Trail,” and that it “feature shaded lawn areas and a variety of seating options within the overall design.”