January 23, 2008 – 7:00 pm – Silver Spring Regional Services Center
Attending: Alan Bowser, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board; Ben Stutz, Office of Councilmember Valerie Ervin; Cdr. Don Johnson, MCPD; Charlotte Coffield, Lyttonsville Civic Association; Chris Richardson, Park Hills Civic Association; Don Slater, Park Hills Civic Association; Elmoria Stewart, Lyttonsville Civic Association; Erin Johansson, Seven Oaks Evanswood Civic Association; Gary Stith, Silver Spring Regional Services Center; George French; Jeff Trask, North Woodside – Montgomery Hills Civic Association; Jim Zepp, North Four Corners Civic Association; Jon Elkind; Seven Oaks Evanswood Civic Association; Juan A Casanas; Karen Roper, East Silver Spring Citizens Association; Lisa Bontempo; Woodside Civic Association; Lolly Vann, Woodside Forest; Lt. Eric Burnett, MCPD; Lucinda Lessley, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board; Mark Woodard, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board; Mary Reardon, Silver Spring Historical Society; Megan Moriarty, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board; Monica Buitrago; Impact Silver Spring; Rukiyat Gilbert; Southern Management Co.; Ted Power; Purple Line Functional Master Plan Advisory Committee; Tony Hausner; Indian Spring Civic Association; Vic Weissberg, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board; Wayne Phyillaier; Woodside Park Civic Association, Webb Smedley, Woodside Park Civic Association.
Report on January Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board Meeting and December Neighborhoods Committee Meeting. Alan Bowser reviewed the actions taken by the Committee at the December 2007 meeting, including receiving presentations on possible neighborhood impacts of the Purple Line by representatives of Silver Spring civic associations. He reported that, at its January meeting, the full Board was briefed on Purple Line issues by Tom Autrey of the Montgomery County Planning Board staff. The Board also approved a letter expressing its concern about the possible fees for ambulance service in Montgomery County.
January Public Safety Update. Cdr. Don Johnson and Lt. Eric Burnett, 3rd District, MCPD, briefed the Committee on recent public safety developments in Silver Spring. They commented on daytime residential burglaries, vehicle thefts, and larcenies from vehicles, noting that GPS devices were highly sought after by thieves. Committee members asked questions about jurisdiction issues near Montgomery/Prince Georges border, and recent hit and runs on Chicago Avenue.
Strategic Planning – Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board. Lucinda Lessley and Vic Weissberg of the Board’s Strategic Planning working group discussed the process to solicit the comments and suggestions from the Board’s committees about strategic planning objectives and Board outreach. Committee members made suggestions about possible Board objectives and outreach strategies. Suggestions for strategic planning objectives included: affordable housing, tracking public expenditures, regional CountyStats, tenant outreach, financial literacy programs, education, environment and health care issues. Suggestions for improved/increased outreach included: Board website, Board member contact information, community meeting with residents, and Committee meetings in different locations.
FY09 Operating Budget. In advance of submission of the County Executive’s FY09 Operating Budget, Committee members made several suggestions for inclusion, with a focus on Silver Spring. Members suggested:
• Funds earmarked specifically for the senior program at the Gwendolyn Coffield Community Center. There is currently only one program for seniors in the community which is the Senior Fit Exercise Program funded by Holy Cross and Kaiser two days a week. The Line Dance Class that was funded by AKA Sorority ended when the funds ran out. Other activities that the seniors could benefit from come with a cost and no funds available to cover them.
• Funds for maintenance and repairs to cover the deteriorating conditions of the Gwendolyn Coffield Community Center.
• Funds to improve and maintain the appearance of the Coffield Center grounds that are in shabby condition.
• Funds to cover tree maintenance and removal of dead trees that are safety threats.
• Funds to continue support of the after school program at the Rosemary Hills Community School.
• Funds to support the Northwest Park Oakview Weed and Seed Program in light of declining federal funds.
• Funds to support the County’s after school recreation program in the Northwest Park Oakview Weed and Seed area.
• Funds for the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.’s programming of the new Civic Building and Veterans Plaza.
• Funds to support childhood obesity programs in Montgomery County schools.
• Funds to support financial literacy and tenant outreach programs in Silver Spring.
The Purple Line and Neighborhoods. Erin Johansson, Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association/Silver Spring Advocates, Webb Smedley, Woodside Civic Association, Tony Hausner, Indian Spring Civic Association, Ted Power, Purple Line Functional Master Plan Advisory Committee, George French, Silver Spring Historical Society, Wayne Phyillaier, Woodside Civic Association, Jon Elkind, Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association/Silver Spring Advocates, and Megan Moriarty, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board presented information on Purple Line issues affecting their neighbors and neighborhoods.
Committee members asked questions about the presentations. The speakers were invited to provide written statements for inclusion with the Committee’s minutes. (Those statements are attached as an appendix to these minutes.)
N.B. In December 2008, the following Silver Spring civic associations presented information on their neighborhoods and the Purple Line: East Silver Spring (Karen Roper),Lyttonsville (Charlotte Coffield), Park Hills (Chris Richardson), Seven Oaks Evanswood (Kathleen Samiy), and Sligo Branview (Rose Polyakova). The comments have been attached as an appendix to these minutes.
A draft letter (attached) for the full Board on the Purple Line and neighborhood concerns that was circulated to Committee members in December was not discussed. Megan Moriarty expressed the view that the Board should send a letter about the Purple Line to the County Council and County Executive and she agreed to help draft/redraft the letter reflecting community concerns.
N.B. Four members of the Montgomery County Planning Board’s Purple Line Functional Master Plan Advisory Committee participated in the Neighborhoods Committee’s discussion: Tony Hauser, Chris Richardson, Ted Power, and Karen Roper. Webb Smedley is an alternate member.
From the January 2008 meeting
• Erin Johannson, Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association and Silver Spring Advocates
• Webb Smedley, Woodside Civic Association
• Tony Hausner, Indian Spring Civic Association
• Jonathan Elkind, Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association and Silver Spring Advocates.
• Wayne Phyillaier; Capital Crescent Trail/Woodside Park Civic Association
• Ted Powers, Purple Line Functional Master Plan Advisory Committee
• George French, Long Branch
• Megan Moriarty, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board
From the December 2007 Meeting
• East Silver Spring (Karen Roper)
• Lyttonsville (Charlotte Coffield)
• Park Hills (Chris Richardson)
• Seven Oaks Evanswood (Kathleen Samiy)
• Sligo Branview (Rose Polyakova)
Historic Preservation Update. Lolly Vann, Committee to Save the Watson House, briefed the Committee on neighborhood efforts to preserve the Watson House. See her notes following.
Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 pm.
Next Meeting. The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Thursday, February 21st, on account of the Presidents’ Day observance.
Appendix A: Lolly Van, Committee to Save the Watson House
UPDATE: FIGHT TO SAVE THE WATSON HOUSE
The Watson House, with accompanying photos, was mentioned in yesterday’s Gazette in a front-page story about preservation in Silver Spring. The article gives a fair recount of some of the issues involved. However, it does not demonstrate just how broken the system for determining the presence or absence of historic structures has become in Montgomery County. Nor does the article point to how the process has disenfranchised the community voice.
One quote, printed in the story however, from Commissioner David Rotenstein, provides some insight into this battle when he said, “while the community overwhelmingly wants the site designated as historic, the property was comparable to other homes in Silver Spring and Takoma Park and not considered historic. The county's criteria are fairly straightforward, he said. We can't designate a property based on community interest."
In contrast, the Committee to Save the Watson House is appalled that the material collected by the community to refute the undocumented and in many cases untrue statements made by county staff, and/ or the representatives of the heirs was disregarded; or, as was requested by an 11th hour letter submitted by legal representatives of the heirs, was not considered. This meant that letters from the community at large, along with those submitted by the Takoma Park Historic District, the Silver Spring Historic Society, local historians, historic planners from other communities, architectural historians, architects, and preservationists that continued to come in between Jan. 2-9 were not considered at the hearing.
Further, no notice was provided to the Committee to Save the Watson House that the documentation, reports, and letters would be excluded from consideration until the time when the commission was beginning its Jan. 9 meeting. This came in the form of a passing comment: “all testimony was concluded Jan. 2.” Watson House supporters were blocked from making further comments or statements at the time of the meeting. All documentation was submitted according to the directions of Historic Preservation Staff, and we were never told that the material we were gathering would not be considered at the hearing.
Watson family members did not become aware of the plans to tear down their grandparents’ home until the Washington Post article came out Jan. 9th. County staff refused to provide to the HPC at the hearing a letter e-mailed that afternoon from Mr. Watson, a grandson of the Watson who built the house, as well a statement from Mr. Watson’s representative, opposing the demolition.
The only two commissioners who reported visiting the site of the Watson House voted in favor of its designation as historic. Three commissioners abstained from the vote because they missed the hearing two weeks prior and, thus, said they were not as informed as they needed to be. Four commissioners voted against nomination after making lengthy statements. Many comments heard that night indicated a grossly inaccurate comprehension of the historic preservation guidelines.
We are waiting for the hearing transcripts to be released prior to posting quotes. In the meantime, we are compiling a list of factual and procedural errors, as well as a timeline. There is other background research that is being collected as well. Anyone interested in participating in this process should contact the Committee to Save the Watson House. Your time and skills are needed. We have a good team assembled, but this is a huge project. If you missed the article in the Gazette go to "Preserving the past, building for the future" http://www.gazette.net/stories/011608/silvnew210501_32360.shtml
Appendix II: Community Comments on Alternative Purple Line Alignments and Modes
January 21, 2007
• Erin Johannson, Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association and Silver Spring Advocates
• Webb Smedley, Woodside Civic Association
• Tony Hausner, Indian Spring Civic Association
• Jonathan Elkind, Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association and Silver Spring Advocates.
• Wayne Phyillaier; Capital Crescent Trail/Woodside Park Civic Association
• Ted Powers, Purple Line Functional Master Plan Advisory Committee
• George French, Silver Spring Historical Society
Erin Johansson - Member of SOECA and Silver Spring Advocates
I'm a resident of Wayne Avenue--I live across the street from the Springvale Nursing Home--and my family and I would be affected by the proposed Purple Line route in front of our home. I feel, as do some of my neighbors on Wayne, that the proposed light rail line would be a vast improvement for the street. Currently, the street is plagued with bad sidewalks, speeding cars, noisy and polluting buses, and it will only get worse as the population continues to grow downtown with the new condos. From my experience living on a light rail line in San Francisco, the trains were quiet, safe, and helped to slow traffic.
I'm active with the new Silver Spring Advocates group, and feel strongly that our community should demand that along with a purple line, we need improvements to Wayne Ave---trees, better sidewalks, bike routes, trafffic calming devices, etc.--to make street both a beautiful and functional "Boulevard" for residents, pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit riders and cars.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak up.
Webb Smedley – Woodside Civic Association
Summary of Presentation to the Neighborhood Committee of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board
1. Context of the Woodside Neighborhood’s Views
a. Origins of neighborhood as rail-served suburb starting in 1880s (B&O RR; Forest Glenn, Woodside and Silver Spring Trolley). Neighborhood is located alongside at-grade segment of the Red Line as well as CSX/MARC/Amtrak.
b. Isolation of neighborhood by major roads (16th St., Georgia Ave, Spring St.) and concern about negative impact of traffic.
c. Threat to the neighborhood of Central Leg Freeway in the 1970s; previously 16th Street split neighborhood (North Woodside and Woodside were one neighborhood).
d. Reinvestment in neighborhood increased when Metro Red line was extended through to Wheaton.
e. Concern about decline of downtown Silver Spring in 1990s and belief that transit could aid revitalization while protecting neighborhoods.
f. Unacceptability of interim Capital Crescent Trail and desire for completion of the permanent trail
g. More recent growing concern about global warming and issues related to dependency on foreign oil.
2. Past Positions
a. Circa 1990 support for Georgetown Branch trail and trolley project
b. 1999 resolution:
i. Support for transit and pedestrian-oriented development in downtown Silver Spring.
ii. Support for longstanding record in support of the Georgetown Branch Light Rail Trolley and Trail project
iii. Support for the concept of a longer light rail line connecting Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park and New Carrollton. Such support is contingent on the following:
1. Adequate buffering of neighborhoods along the line, such as ours.
2. Completion of the Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and downtown Silver Spring as planned in the master plan for the Georgetown Branch.
c. Feb. 2003 resolution:
i. Affirmed support for Bi-County project but opposed BRT option.
ii. Supported Woodside stop at 16th St.
iii. Affirmed support for completion of hiker-biker trail.
3) 2008 – In process of reviewing position. Current neighborhood specific issues are:
a. Design of bike path and impact on neighborhood roads and existing wooded right of way (3rd Avenue) – neighborhood wants assurances that bikeway will be completed.
b. Impact of proposed 16th Street Station on the Spring Center, and design of station.
c. Noise, visual and construction impacts.
d. Impact of project on adjacent properties.
4) WCA Supports Light Rail over Bus Rapid Transit
a. Silver Spring has too many buses passing through downtown already.
b. Light rail is the modern version of street cars:
i. no diesel fumes and quieter trains;
ii. can run in traffic or on own right-of-way – does not have to be underground.
iii. generally powered by overhead “catenary” wires – no 3rd rail creating a barrier; more flexible than heavy rail.
iv. “light” because it has lower capacity and lower impact on communities. than heavy rail (e.g. metrorail).
v. more conducive to transit oriented development and does not require high development densities to be cost effective.
vi. has good track record in U.S and elsewhere in the world.
vii. more compatible with hiker-biker trail.
viii. Good record of positive impact on property values.
ix. Good safety record.
The Indian Spring Citizens Association (ISCA) perspective on the Purple Line - Tony Hausner
Previously, ISCA voted to support transit over highway solutions. We are likely to vote on another resolution re the purple line in the near future. This presentation is my own as the ISCA rep to the planning board purple line master plan advisory committee and is partly based on the resolution already passed by ISCA .
The building of the Purple Line is critical to ISCA’s future for the following reasons. About two years ago the State Highway Administration started a study to widen the Capital Beltway and to add Express Toll Lanes.
This proposal would be a disaster for Indian Spring and other neighborhoods because
• The added lanes will increase pollution and noise in our neighborhoods beyond their already excessive levels.
• Dozens of homes will have to be taken.
• Widening the Beltway will add even more traffic to the already congested secondary roadways that cross the Beltway
• Widening the Beltway will have many negative impacts on Rock Creek Park
While the purple line is not a total alternate solution to beltway widening, it moves us in the right direction. Public transit solutions are a much better way to move people than to continue a greater emphasis on highway solutions. Transit is much more cost-effective, and much better for the environment. While we need to address the concerns of motorists, we need to place a relatively higher priority on transit solutions such as metro, light rail, and better bus systems.
Some argue that building the purple line will not solve any transportation problems. I will use an analogy. Even though metro has been built, traffic into downtown Washington is still very congested. However, almost a million persons ride metro daily and get to work quite effectively, and they wouldn’t be able to if metro hadn’t been built. So transit doesn’t solve our traffic problems, but it does solve transportation problems. And it does so much more cost-effectively without as much harm to the environment.
The proposals in East Silver Spring
I understand all the concerns with the current proposals for East Silver Spring, the proposed routes on Wayne Ave and Silver Spring/Thayer Ave. I certainly believe full consideration needs to be given to those concerns.
However, I feel that we first need the initial estimates of costs, travel time and ridership, before we decide to go further. Perhaps these initial estimates will be sufficient to make decisions. A full study could cause significant delays and be very costly in itself. Further, we will learn much from the analyses of the Silver Spring/Thayer Ave tunnel as to costs, travel time, and ridership analyses.
I do not know if tunneling or at grade for Wayne Ave would be better from a neighborhood view point. I have heard a number of people who have lived in cities with light rail that say that neighborhoods work fine with at grade light rail. I think we need to examine thoroughly other communities’ experiences with light rail and BRT through neighborhood streets. What decisions did these communities make as to tunnels or at grade. How did they solve some of the issues of concern. What has been the impact on these communities? I have asked the planning board staff to answer these questions for us.
I understand the objections to at grade proposals, but I also see problems with tunneled options. All aspects need to be evaluated adequately, but at this point I am not convinced that a full study as has been proposed is required.
The Purple Line and the Capital Crescent Trail in Woodside - Wayne Phyillaier
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak, as an individual, to the Neighborhood Committee of the SSCAB on January 23, 2008. I submit this summary of my comments.
I am a resident of Woodside, and I support the position of the Woodside Civic Association in support of the Purple Line, as described to the committee this evening by Web Smedley. In particular I support the view of the WCA that it is very unlikely the Capital Crescent Trail will be completed in Woodside without the Purple Line.
I was a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee to the M-NCPPC project planning team developing the “Facility Plan for the Capital Crescent/Metropolitan Branch Trail” in 1999-2000. I was representing the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail, and was Chair of the CCCT at the time. The Advisory Committee had members representing many of the neighborhoods in Silver Spring and Takoma Park.
The advisory committee and the M-NCPPC planning team explored the options for completing the CCT into Silver Spring very thoroughly in that period. It was the conclusion of this team that the only alignment possible for the CCT that would be appropriate for the permanent trail was along the CSX corridor. Completion of the trail on this alignment required obtaining right-of-way from the CSX Corporation and close coordination with future transit for construction. An “Interim CCT” alignment was identified for possible development which could bypass CSX right-of-way, but it was the conclusion of the Facility Plan, and of the CCCT, that this “Interim CCT” had too many dangerous at-grade crossings of busy roadways like 16th Street and Colesville Road to be acceptable as anything more than a temporary trail.
The M-NCCPC staff attempted to engage CSX Corporation in this period to determine if it would be feasible to negotiate a right-of-way for the trail, and CSX responded that it was against their policy to allow trails in their right-of-way and they would not discuss the issue. CSX has since indicated (in a 2004 letter to DOT Secretary Flanagan) that it is willing to negotiate right-of-way issues with the State of MD. for the Purple Line transit/trail project.
The Woodside Civic Association is well grounded in its belief that the Capital Crescent Trail would be an enormous benefit for Woodside and the surrounding neighborhoods if it is completed, and it is very unlikely it will be completed without the Purple Line.
The Executive Summary of the approved “Facility Plan for the Capital Crescent/Metropolitan Branch Trail” is at http://www.cctrail.org/Plan_Summary.pdf
See www.silverspringtrails.org for a more complete discussion of how to finish the CCT.
Jonathan Elkind -- Silver Spring Advocates
This note responds to your call for materials to be included in the January meeting minutes.
In the course of the December and January meetings of the Neighborhoods Committee, we heard a variety of comments about the potential impacts that the Purple Line could have on Silver Spring and the surrounding area -- both positive and negative. As noted in my e-mail to you after the December meeting, I am among those residents who considers that, on net, the Purple would have a net positive influence if it is designed well, if it is tailored to meet local needs, and if it is built soon.
One particularly should not forget that the Purple Line would help us avoid traffic paralysis, which is growing rapidly. Traffic harms our local air and water quality -- and therefore the quality of life in our neighborhoods -- and it also threatens the health of the global environment by contributing to climate change.
There are, of course, a variety of concerns about potential, localized negative impacts from the Purple Line, especially if it were built at street level along Wayne Avenue. However, after careful analysis of these potential impacts over the last year as a member of the SOECA Purple Line Task Force, I have grown convinced that the negatives can be avoided or mitigated if the right package of measures is set in place.
Together with a number of other Silver Spring residents -- homeowners and renters alike -- I have formed a grassroots organization that is dedicated to ensuring the timely construction of the Purple Line in a form that protects and enhances local quality of life. Our group is called "Silver Spring Advocates: Supporting our Community and the Purple Line." I attach a copy of a two-page flyer that we have developed that provides more information about our approach and goals.
Thanks very much,
Jon Elkind, Silver Spring Advocates
Purple Line can enhance life in Silver Spring: Let’s make Wayne Avenue a beautiful boulevard!
What is the Purple Line?
• A proposed light rail transit line connecting to Metrorail at Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, and New Carrollton, with stops in-between.
• A system that will carry between 42,000 and 45,000 riders each weekday -- well above average for existing and proposed U.S. light rail projects.*
• A means to improve travel times for Silver Spring residents – especially as traffic steadily worsens all across our region:
o Travel from downtown Silver Spring to downtown Bethesda will take only 9 minutes.*
o Travel time will also be reduced significantly to the University of Maryland and New Carrollton.
• An opportunity to enhance life on Wayne Avenue and throughout our neighborhoods.
Travel times from stop at Wayne Avenue and Manchester Road*
* MTA “Medium Investment LRT” option, 12/07
Silver Spring Downtown
4 min. Bethesda
13 min. Takoma / Langley Crossroads
8 min. U.Maryland
Where will the Purple Line run through Silver Spring?
• To the Silver Spring Metrorail station from Bethesda and Chevy Chase…
• …and then (likely) along Bonifant Street to Fenton Street and along Wayne to Manchester Road.
The Purple Line is an opportunity to create a new, pedestrian-friendly Wayne Avenue
• Light rail trains are quiet and pollution-free.
• They will travel along Wayne at posted speed limits -- not racing like many cars do today.
• Light rail transit lines have operated across the US and around the world in attractive residential neighborhoods for a century or more.
Paris Showed How To Do It – The new T-3 line is revitalizing a corridor with new bike paths, trees, sidewalks, crosswalks and lighting
Light rail is successful around the U.S. – Media, PA, as shown here, has nearly 100 years’ experience; Boston, Portland, Denver, LA, others also have it
Who are we?
• We are Silver Spring residents who see the Purple Line as a way to protect our quality of life. We come from these neighborhoods: Seven Oaks-Evanswood, Park Hills, East Silver Spring, Indian Spring, South Silver Spring, Woodside, North Woodside, Woodside Park, and other neighborhoods of the downtown area.
We need your help to get the Purple Line right!
How Can We Make Wayne Avenue a 21st-Century Boulevard?
By ensuring that a well-designed Purple Line is built soon!
By getting the State and County to deliver a package deal for the right Purple Line – namely, one that will:
Leave Room for Parking
The Purple Line must allow parking for the homes, schools, and churches along Wayne Avenue. Cars should “share lanes” with light rail at least in non-rush hours to permit street parking along Wayne. The Purple Line project should include a plan that provides parking permits for residents while ensuring access to driveways and that redesigns the drop-off and parking areas for Silver Spring International MS and Sligo Creek ES. Protect Pedestrians
Today, cars speed dangerously along Wayne Avenue. The street can be safer with the Purple Line than it is today. The Purple Line project must include crosswalks to protect residents -- especially our children attending SSIMS, Sligo Creek Elementary, and St. Michael’s Schools. The project could also include new sidewalks through our neighborhoods, especially where they would help schoolchildren have a place to walk safely.
Improve Our Streetscape
Light rail is powered by overhead lines – not ground-level “third rails.” By selecting a good design, these power lines can meet the highest design standards and be integrated with high-quality street lighting, clear street signs, and beautiful landscaping. New trees and shrubs should be planted as part of construction, in consultation with affected homeowners.
Control Cut-through Traffic
With traffic steadily worsening in Silver Spring, we are already seeing more drivers cutting through and spilling over into our neighborhoods. The Purple Line needs to be designed to reduce future congestion. County authorities must also develop a comprehensive plan to calm traffic and reduce spill-over on roads like Sligo Creek Parkway, Cedar, and Dale and on neighboring side streets.
Enhance our Community
Other light rail projects have had a positive impact on neighborhoods. A well-designed Purple Line can improve facilities and enhance home values on Wayne Avenue. As only one example, the Purple Line project should include renovating the athletic fields and kids’ playground next to SSIMS to preserve parking and restore the aging facilities.
Portland, Oregon is an example of a US city with mixed lanes for cars and light rail
Protect Sligo Creek
The Purple Line will cross Sligo Creek, which must be protected and improved. Light rail is quieter than buses and does not result in tailpipe emissions, but the Purple Line should make special efforts to control storm water, limit noise, and protect natural habitats. Every tree that is removed should be replaced by two new trees. Reflect Community Priorities
Silver Spring must have an opportunity to participate more actively in decisions about specific features of the Purple Line in our community. Important issues to be discussed will be: whether to place a Purple Line stop at Dale and Wayne, and how to ensure that the hiker-biker Green Trail is completed in parallel with the Purple Line project.
The Time Has Come:
• Our community – including Wayne Avenue -- is under threat from traffic and congestion.
• Our community can be protected by building a high-quality Purple Line – soon!
For more information, please contact any of these neighborhood coordinators:
General info: Jon Elkind – firstname.lastname@example.org
Seven Oaks-Evanswood: Mark Posner – email@example.com
Park Hills: Tina Slater – firstname.lastname@example.org OR Liz Malone – email@example.com
Wayne Avenue: Erin Johansson – firstname.lastname@example.org
East Silver Spring: Jeff Meer – email@example.com
Other neighbors: Vicki Taitano – Vickieking@aol.com
Ted Power, Purple Line Functional Master Plan Advisory Committee
I wanted to thank you for letting me speak last night at the SSCAB meeting. The community is fortunate to have you as a person who appears so willing to work in behalf of everyone in SS. I also wanted to clarify that my comments regarding the "train has left the station" with respects to the Purple Line was in no way intended to slight your efforts to document last minutes concerns or mis perceptions many people have about the Purple Line. I realize it's important to put those on record with the County Executive and the Planning Board.
I did however feel it important, as a SS resident (Woodside Forest) and member of MPAG to comment on where the Planning Board is with the decision making process, i.e., the recent approval of Purpose and Outreach Report; the fact that many of the neighborhood issues have been documented within the report; and, the work still ahead to determine whether MTA has assessed all of the many issues within the upcoming DEIS. My comments were made in the spirit that if people know the process, timing and where/when they can impact final decision making, they will feel more involved. My sense is that you would agree with this approach.
Lastly, I think one of the biggest challenges you have with the CAB (and I'm not telling you anything new) is that there is great division among the neighborhoods regarding the Purple Line and regrettably the issues come down to NIMBYism, as was evidenced last night. After 40 years in corporate and public service, I don't know how we overcome this basic human instinct. I should add that this challenge is not yours alone, I and others as residents share the challenge of thinking in terms of the greater good...I'm not sure how we get there.
Take care and thanks again.
George French and Marci Stickle, Long Branch
Our main concern about the Purple Line is that it will not alleviate congestion, but actually act as a catalyst or impetus for high-density growth at the proposed stations, and points along its entire alignment; that will lead to more congestion and destroy the character of our neighborhoods adjacent to its route. In the Long Branch area some people have welcomed the concept of redevelopment the Purple Line may bring, not really focusing on how it will drastically change this vibrant community. There are numerous small independent businesses in the human scale shopping centers at the two crossroads and along Piney Branch Road connecting these two centers. Also, attractive low-rise garden apartments line the corridor with plenty of green space and mature trees. There is room for some managed incremental development on some of the surface parking lots, but intensive urban renewal would cause other negative impacts to our way of life, especially if high rise residential and commercial structures were to replace our established buildings.
We are concerned about gentrification of the alignment corridor and erosion of our neighborhood diversity and quality of life. Our rent has continually risen above the County Executive's recommended yearly percentage increase, as far back as this landlord voluntary system began, and we are concerned the Purple Line could cause compounded rent hikes. We would hope that the county would concentrate more on helping stabilize rents and home prices for the many rather than inducing property value increases for the few.
We now have 8 bus lines that service the Piney/Flower crossroads (three rush hour routes) with the University of Maryland shuttle bus one block away. We are concerned about a curtailment of bus service that serves the blocks and neighborhoods between stations, and if the buses mainly feed into the trolley station, the double transfer that would be necessary to access the Metro system (bus to trolley to Metro).
The alignment through Silver Spring that seems to be shaking out, by all indications is the Bonifant/Wayne Route. We have concerns with all alignments, but will mention questions we have about this one. We are concerned about the small independent businesses that line Bonifant Street. Will this route disturb access to all these important Fenton Village businesses and what will congestion be like when the proposed trolley crosses into one of the busiest intersections, Fenton/Wayne in this CBD? If a station is constructed at this location we have additional concerns about how it would change the zoning and allowable density in this immediate, adjoining area.
We also support concerns expressed by other neighborhoods along the preferred alignments; ESCCA, Seven Oaks /Evanswood, Park Hills and others, and hope they are addressed satisfactorily.
George French and Marcie Stickle
Silver Spring Civic Associations
Comments on the Purple Line Alignments and Modes
• East Silver Spring (Karen Roper)
• Lyttonsville (Charlotte Coffield)
• Park Hills (Chris Richardson)
• Seven Oaks Evanswood (Kathleen Samiy)
• Sligo Branview (Rose Polyakova)
East Silver Spring Citizens Association (ESSCA)
The MTA has proposed three routes through ESSCA boundaries. Below are our objections and concerns about each of the routes. Two of these routes connect onto Wayne Avenue. We will confine our comments to the part of the route that is within the ESSCA boundaries.
We have concerns as to whether all efforts have been made, as stated in MTA‘s goals, “to minimize and mitigate impacts to the natural and human environment “ of East Silver Spring neighborhoods and small businesses.
SILVER SPRING/THAYER AVENUE SURFACE AND DEEP TUNNEL ROUTE:
1. We object to the taking of wooded parkland at Thayer and Dale.
Silver Spring is sorely lacking in trees and green space. We will need to preserve every bit of park land, especially as more housing is added to the area.
Silver Spring has a very low Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating for air quality (well below average for the country) and a dearth of trees and green space. Removal of this wooded area will exacerbate the problem of poor air quality
Replacing these woods with a concrete structure would create significant water run-off into Sligo Creek, which is already experiencing increased polluted water run-off from the renovated downtown.
This part of the park acts as a buffer from the vehicular exhaust, noise and heat for the houses across Dale Drive, as well as for the playground just north of the woods. Removal of these trees will have a substantial negative impact on this neighborhood.
2. We have serious doubts about the proposed 35 foot high open tunnel proposed for Thayer Avenue behind the East Silver Spring Elementary School. We have safety concerns about the potential for children, animals, homeless people and criminals to enter the tunnel.
3. We are opposed to any station on the east side of Fenton Street. There is also considerable concern about the possibility of a station on the west side of Fenton Street and the potential of overlay zoning within 800 feet of a station impacting the adjacent neighborhood on the east side of Fenton Street.
4. We have doubts about the mitigation of loss of parking on Thayer Avenue, which is currently lacking in sufficient parking.
5. We have concerns about the risk and mitigation of impacts from tunneling under older and potentially historic homes on Silver Spring Avenue and Grove Street.
SILVER SPRING AVENUE/GROVE STREET DEEP TUNNEL ROUTE:
We have concerns about the risk and mitigation of impacts from tunneling under older and potentially historic homes on Silver Spring Avenue and Grove Street.
BONIFANT STREET SURFACE ROUTE:
There are concerns about the impact on community traffic if Bonifant is one-way. The impact to businesses that have no rear access for deliveries and the loss of street parking is also of concern.
Lyttonsville Civic Association – Purple Line Impacts and Concerns
The Lyttonsville community;s objections and concerns re the Purple Line Proposal follow:
I. Our principal concerns relate to MTA’s likely recommendation to locate a rapid transit maintenance facility in the Lyttonsville community. We do not support the siting of a transit maintenance yard in Lyttonsville.
To date, MTA has not addressed these important community concerns:
• The size and location of a possible maintenance facility in Lyttonsville have not been disclosed to community residents.
• Residents are concerned about the likely noise levels associated with the operation of an transit maintenance facility in our community.
• Residents are concerned about the hours of operation of the facility and the impact on traffic and noise.
• Residents are concerned about the number of employees of the maintenance facility and their impact on parking, traffic, and litter.
• Residents want more information about the relationship, if any, between a possible maintenance yard and a possible Lyttonsville station.
• Why the residential Lyttonsville community was selected as a likely site for a maintenance facility.
• What will be the impacts on the community of the construction of the maintenance yard and a possible Lyttonsville station?
II Other concerns relate to the final transit mode, i.e. light rail transit (LRT) or bus rapid transit (BRT).
What is the plan, if any, for Brookville Road? What will be the impact on Brookville Road of a possible maintenance facility located in the area?
Why has MTA not organized a “walk through” of possible Purple Line alignments (and maintenance facility location) in the Lytttonsville community as it has done in some East Silver Spring neighborhoods..
Why has MTA not discussed possible locations of a Lyttonsville transit stop/station with residents?
III. Residents are generally concerned that questions raised by the community during the MTA focus meetings have not been answered to the satisfaction of the community.
Park Hills Civic Association
The Park Hills community is a residential community near downtown Silver Spring, in the area bounded by Sligo Creek Parkway, Dale Drive, Piney Branch Road and Greenbrier Drive. We believe that the unique characteristics of this residential neighborhood are threatened by the Maryland Transit Administration’s proposed Purple Line alternative alignments in East Silver Spring. We are deeply concerned about the many potential adverse impacts of proposed Purple Line alignments, especially a proposed above ground Wayne Avenue alignment, on our neighborhood.
We do not believe that the MTA has adequately taken our community’s concerns into account, and that MTA will recommend an alignment that will negatively affect our quality of life. It is our opinion that they have been dismissive of our concerns raised in the several meetings we have had with MTA and several email communications. We do not have confidence that MTA is seriously addressing our frequently raised community concerns.
We believe that an above ground alignment on Wayne Avenue, in particular, would impose very serious hardships that far outweigh any benefit to our community. Among our concerns are the following:
We believe that the Silver Spring International Middle School, Sligo Creek Elementary School, St. Michaels School and Church, the Springvale extended care facility, and a proposed Old Blair Auditorium renovation project will be very adversely affected by an above ground alignment. We also have concerns about the impact of both of the proposed alignments (Wayne Avenue and Silver Spring/Thayer) on Sligo Creek Park.
We are concerned that the MTA has not discussed impacts, especially pedestrian safety, with Montgomery County Public Schools with specific regard to Sligo Creek Elementary School and the Silver Spring International Middle School.
We are concerned about dramatically increased traffic and congestion related to the Purple Line’s impact on Wayne Avenue, Dale Drive, Sligo Creek Parkway and the neighborhood streets that lead to these roads. Specifically, an above ground alignment on Wayne Avenue which dedicated two lanes to light rail or rapid bus would result in a major bottleneck for area traffic. We are concerned about increased and dangerous cut-through traffic as congestion increases. We are also concerned about limited access to neighborhood streets.
We also have concerns about the visual impact on the neighborhood of the use of overhead power line systems (catenary) for a light rail systems as well as the disruptive impact of 180 foot light rail vehicles impacting traffic and pedestrian mobility and safety.
We do not believe that MTA has provided a convincing rationale for the Purple Line, i.e., whether the Purple Line will provide rapid transit across counties, or will be a traditional trolley, street car or additional bus alternative to the county’s existing bus system.
We are concerned that an above ground alignment on Wayne Avenue would not only require property takings along its length, but also result in pressure for zoning changes that would increase density and negatively transform the unique and residential character of our neighborhood.
We have asked that MTA fully study below grade options (specifically tunneling and “cut and cover”) and have not been satisfied with their response to this request. We believe there should be a detailed technical and financial analysis of below grade options that would reduce the impact on the community. This should include, inter alia, a Wayne Avenue tunnel option, exiting at grade below Mansfield Road then crossing Sligo Creek Park, which would maintain the community’s character, improve pedestrian safety and preserve access to our neighborhoods. It appears that MTA has used “cost only” arguments to obfuscate dialogue and analysis about “cost effectiveness” and user benefits that would attend deep tunneling or cut and cover options through East Silver Spring.
We have also asked that MTA and the relevant Montgomery County agencies perform a full analysis of the Purple Line alignments on traffic volume and impact on Wayne Avenue, Dale Drive, Cedar Drive, and streets in the neighborhoods on both sides of Wayne Avenue. We asked that these traffic analyses be presented to interested neighborhood stakeholders no later than December 1, 2007, and we have had no response from MTA or other agencies.
Attachment: PHCA Purple Line Resolution – September 2007
RESOLUTION FOR MTA STUDY OF PURPLE LINE BELOW GRADE OPTIONS THROUGH .RESIDENTIAL SILVER SPRING, WAYNE AVENUE ROUTE, AND FOR ANALYSES OF FUTURE TRAFFIC IMPACT WITH AND WITHOUT PURPLE LINE
PARK HILLS CIVIC ASSOCIATION
SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND
SEPTEMBER 27, 2007
WHEREAS, the Park Hills Civic Association represents more than 300
households near downtown Silver Spring, in the area bounded by Sligo
Creek Parkway, Dale Drive, Piney Branch Road and Greenbrier Drive;
WHEREAS, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has been studying
the feasibility of a Purple Line mass transit system between Bethesda
and New Carrollton, with either of two proposed routes passing through
residential Silver Spring east of downtown Silver Spring to Long
Branch, and with one of those proposed routes passing along Wayne
Avenue from either Fenton Street or Cedar Street for one mile or
eight-tenths of a mile, respectively, to a point approximately 900
feet east of Sligo Creek Parkway;
WHEREAS, an at-grade Wayne Avenue alignment could result in the loss
of two traffic lanes, thereby causing a reduction from two lanes to
one lane in either direction for automobiles during rush hour; the
loss of all parking on Wayne Avenue; and an increase in cut through
and spillover traffic on neighborhood streets;
WHEREAS, the Park Hills Civic Association is deeply concerned about
the potential adverse impacts of a proposed Wayne Avenue alignment for
the proposed Purple Line on our neighborhood and quality of life;
WHEREAS, MTA is already studying underground routes from the Silver
Spring Transit Center through downtown Silver Spring to Wayne Avenue
and Cedar Street and from a point on Wayne Avenue approximately 900
feet east of Sligo Creek Parkway to a point near the Long Branch
Library, and MTA has continued to add and modify proposals for routes,
how they are built, and stations in recent months; and
WHEREAS, a true and complete analysis of all relevant factors, such as
cost effectiveness, ridership, travel time, resulting traffic
problems, and the impact on neighborhoods, homes, and the environment
can be made and presented to all impacted communities, the public at
large, and elected and appointed policy-makers if all options are studied;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT Park Hills Civic Association requests
that MTA fully study below grade alignment options (specifically
tunneling and "cut and cover"), including without any underground
stops, for the Purple Line running beneath Wayne Avenue, both from
Fenton Street (connecting with the at-grade option from the Silver
Spring Transit Center that is being studied) and from Cedar Street
(connecting with the deep-tunneled option from the Silver Spring
Transit Center that is being studied) to a point approximately 900
feet east of Sligo Creek Parkway, and that all factors being studied
for all other options be reviewed for this portion of Wayne Avenue; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Park Hills Civic Association requests
that MTA and the relevant Montgomery County agencies perform a full
analysis of the traffic volume and impact on Wayne Avenue, Dale Drive,
Cedar Drive, and streets in the neighborhoods on both sides of Wayne
Avenue, and at the intersection of Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street in
each of 2015 and 2030 for both a situation where no Purple Line is
built and a situation where the Purple Line is built at-grade on Wayne
Avenue with the loss of two lanes; that each of these traffic analyses
for both 2015 and 2030 be compared with the current traffic status;
and that these traffic analyses be presented to Park Hills Civic
Association and other interested stakeholders no later than December
The Twenty-Seventh Day of September 2007
The Park Hills Civic Association
Silver Spring, Maryland
Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association [SOECA]: Presentation to Neighborhoods Committee on December 17, 2007.
SOECA boundaries: Colesville Road on the West, Bonifant Street on the East, Franklin Avenue on the North, Cedar Street and Fenton on the South. 700 single family homes, dating from the 1930’s and 1940’s. SOECA has submitted 2 resolution requests to MTA on October 2, 2007, requesting Wayne be fully and completely studied for both an underground alignment, and for all spillover traffic impacts—to date we have no response. We abut (and overlap) the Park Hills Citizens Association near the Silver Spring International Middle School, we adjoin the Sligo Branview Citizens Associations along Sligo Creek Parkway and Wayne Avenue, we adjoin the East Silver Spring Neighborhood along Dale and Bonifant Streets to our immediate East.
These are the CONCERNS residents have about the Wayne Avenue Alignment, At-Grade through the Seven Oaks/Evanswood Neighborhood:
#1 Quality of Life, preservation of the quality of life in this single-family neighborhood tucked amidst “smart growth” hi-rise town centers, such as the downtown Silver Spring, and urbanization of inside the beltway cross-roads, such as the planned revitalization of Long Branch. Our quiet SOECA neighborhood is tucked into a tree-lined community that lies in the hills and valleys on both sides of Sligo Creek and abuts the Silver Spring CBD at Cedar and Fenton Streets.
#2 Lack of response by MTA to our two resolutions: SOECA has submitted 2 resolution requests to MTA on October 2, 2007, requesting Wayne be fully and completely studied for both an underground alignment, and for spillover traffic impacts on our streets—to date we have no response. (Please read our SOECA resolutions, attached.) These are vital concerns for the quality of life of our neighborhood, and by its delayed response MTA gives the impression that it is not taking our neighborhoods concerns seriously. While MTA is responsive to questions, we find the responses more often than not lead to many more questions of impacts to our community, many still unanswered.
[Jan. 14, 2007. FOOTNOTE: MTA/Mike Madden responded in writing on December 17, 2007 (the date of this presentation) addressing the SOECA’s two (2) resolution requests generated at their September 26, 2007 meeting, with hardcopies--a 5 page letter and 15 page technical RK&K report. The technical report was dated November 26, 2007, the letter dated December 17, both were received in the mail by SOECA on or about December 17-20. Therefore this SSCAB Neighborhoods report on our presentation from SOECA does not include SOECA’s response or comment on the December 17 MTA reply. The SOECA Purple Line Task Force and Executive Committee are reviewing these detailed reports, and will comment back to MTA/Mike Madden in writing. SOECA reserves the right to establish IF the MTA letter and RK&K technical report indeed answer the SOECA residents two resolution requests. Our formal response, still forthcoming, to MTA will indicate our thoughts.
#3 PL through residential Silver Spring, creates various “Wedge” Issues, that divide and polarize communities and residents:
a) Pl on Wayne polarizes SOECA homeowners: all are Pro-Mass Transit, all believe in the concept for an east-west mass transit system. Almost all prefer underground option on Wayne. The Pl creates a wedge amongst those OK with eventual at-grade (if push comes to shove), against a Con group-against the ‘At-grade alignment on Wayne.” Because it will forever begin to incrementally change the quality and vision of the neighborhood. MTA has not given us any satisfactory response to neighborhood questions, and traffic studies on spillover traffic on our neighborhood streets, and the congestion at Wayne/Fenton intersections. MTA credibility is at issue too. Wayne is our Main Residential street, and the neighborhood does not want to see it become a mass transit and car artery for the downtown traffic. Nor do we want our streets to be for spillover of local or through-traffic necessary for the future congested downtown car traffic and commuters, who will embark to use our quiet residential streets to cut through congestion. Many fear the Purple Line will further congest the Fenton/Wayne/Georgia/Bonifant streets and intersections beyond even today levels. The unknown of car congestion into the future, at intersections in and around our neighborhood polarizes our residents further. Some Wayne residents near these intersections feel their concerns about spillover traffic and car congestion, safety, and their ability to to get across town are being disregarded. Residents living on Sligo Creek Parkway, Dale, Ellsworth and Bonifant fear the increase in current traffic will not abate, but grow and spillover into the community if the PL is at grade on Wayne. Wayne recently has speed cameras installed, crosswalks are few and far between, and Dale, a hilly street is growing fast in congestion already—the hills naturally prevent the ability to install speed cameras to encourage speeding behavior changes that might slow car traffic.
b) PL creates a wedge between like-kind neighborhoods-SOECA vs. ESS alignments, SOECA vs. Bethesda/Chevy Chase Neighborhood, not through our neighborhoods, but it’s ok through theirs. Terribly dividing like-kind residential neighborhoods.
c) PL creates a land wedge –the SOECA neighborhood lands lie between urban renewal of Long Branch and downtown Silver Spring…. Between SOECA and Sligo-Branview, lies the Creek, and a large steep Wayne Avenue hill which informs a technical need to tunnel under the Sligo-Branview homes/neighbhorhood that abuts Long Branch at Arliss and Piney Branch. But as Wayne is in a Creek and Park valley, MTA won’t consider a deep tunnel, as Long Branch could thus not have an above ground stop at Arliss and Piney Branch. The alignments choice from Long Branch via either SOECA or ESS communities, pits our single family neighborhood against theirs, this is unfortunate. A sacrifice of one neighborhood with exceptionally similar concerns for quality of life on our streets over another. Thus residential Wayne and our SEOCA streets become connecting urban arteries of land necessary to connect these urban locations developers are ripe to expand and renew. This has the potential to turn Wayne Avenue into a State road, and a “Colesville Road/RT 29-like thoroughfare”.
d) There are not enough car arteries into and out of downtown Silver Spring for car commuters and through-traffic, SOECA lands lie like a wedge of pizza, into a corner of the CBD, surrounded by Colesville Road, Georgia Avenue and the Beltway. The PL alignment on Wayne will bi-sect another small slice of this place we call home, and lay vulnerable our few remaining cut –through streets, such as Dale and Sligo Creek Parkway, to ever more traffic trying to get around busy downtown. There is no guarantee against the County forcing the opening up of our other residential streets for through-traffic, changing the quality of our air, street safety, and our little slice of a neighborhood.
[Jan. 14, 2007 FOOTNOTE. We also learned at the SSCAB meeting on Dec. 17, that the County/State legally can allow zoning changes around mass transit stops. These potential ‘overlay zones’ at Purple Line stops are of great concern, as Wayne zoning around 3 current planned stops on/near Wayne: @New Library, @Dale, @Manchester near the apts. could mean 3 stops, 3 overlay zones of 800 feet in diameter, 3 overlay zones in one mile on residential Wayne. We would like more facts and law explanation on this, as this adds another new dimension to impacts the Purple Line at-grade has on Wayne, on and near the planned stops.]
#4 IF Wayne IS CHOSEN AS THE LOCALLY PREFERRED ALTHERNATIVE ROUTE, THEN Wayne Avenue at-grade, will be the only residential street in entire system. Now the County Planning Office calls it an ‘artery.’ Which implies it’s a spillover for the CBD, as another entrance into and out of the downtown—and not a single family home residential Main Street for local traffic. The County promised residents in 1950/60 it would never again widen Wayne Avenue. We now learn that if a PL stop is approved zoning around it can be upgraded…if this is indeed so, and Wayne/Dale and Wayne/Fenton, and Wayne Sligo Creek Parkway near Mansfield get stops, then Wayne will be urbanized and changed over time to a commercial zoning or higher density, from a single family zoning, forever changing the quality of the neighborhood. A stop at Wayne at Dale would be 200 feet long, if LRT.
#5 The Environment and Sligo Creek: The PL brings a mass transit system right through a long established residential neighborhoods into and through a forested historic Sligo Creek Park and the Sligo Creek watershed(in the Anacostia and Bay watersheds) , forever bi-secting the tranquility this Park and Creek, the nature paths, and connecting walking/biking trails. Spillover traffic on Sligo Creek Parkway is already a big issue, Sligo Creek Parkway at Colesville Road (along an SOECA border) is also at or near a failing rating, for car congestion and traffic. Noise, sound barriers as planned in other residential neighborhoods….visual clutter, of poles and electrical wiring, need to be addressed and costs comparisons provided. The DEIS is not complete, many environmental questions remain. We have many old mature trees at the creek, on Wayne, and in front of the SSIMS (Middle and Elementary Schools) near the Park. Cutting down this very mature tree canopy will take 50-200 years to replace. Placement of the large electrical utility box, at a yet undetermined location-is another huge visual impediment to our quality of life.
#6 “The PL is not intended to get cars of the streets” to quote Mike Madden. MTA has not shown any car traffic comparisons that satisfy resident requests. The Pl travel times do not include comparisons to car travel segment to segment. The growth of the SS CBD, and the growth of car traffic and car congestion, on the surrounding SOECA neighborhood streets, into and out of and through downtown Silver Spring, has already forced more cars onto our neighborhoods residential streets: Dale, Wayne, Bonifant, Sligo Creek Parkway. As recently as this month the police and County Mobile Speed Camera’s have been installed on Wayne Avenue, and been requested on Dale Drive. The CBD has few arteries to support the growth of the downtown traffic-our neighborhood street-Wayne many feel that Wayne should not be used as a PL artery at-grade into the downtown..
#7. Congestion at both ends of Wayne, and at 3 turning intersections Fenton, Dale, Sligo Creek Parkway :
1) The PL at grade on bring concern of not only added Wayne congestion at Thayer/Whole Foods/Wayne intersections but also onto side streets off Wayne and Fenton, and the roads in and around the SOECA community near these intersections. Loss of green public space in front of the new library, brings a transit system and car congestion together and creates a 5-point intersection .
2) At Sligo Creek Parkway, there is the convergence of the track-field, sports building, Park, consolidation of separate bike ‘green trail’ and sidewalk into one bike/pedestrian path.
3) 3-4 locations on Wayne(Fenton, Dale, Sligo Creek Parkway) will be widened from 40 feet to 71 feet, to the width of Colesville Road-a State-owned thoroughfare, from 4 to 6 lanes for turning lanes, a the lanes will extend and taper from 150 to 200 feet in length, and compete for space with the proposed Wayne/Dale transit stop of 200 feet in length. If the PL is built underground, under the CBD, it is planned to exit (400-600 long) on Wayne just at the Spring Vale Assisted Living Facility-creating untold access and impacts at this facility.
#8 Safety: CBD traffic speeding through, lack of speed limits, lack of crossing of road crossings. 3 schools on Wayne 2 churches. Parking is vital on Wayne for school, sports, and Old Blair Auditorium overflow and events, ability of home owners to ‘host family gatherings.’ The PL will not allow, under some circumstances on-street parking. The combination on Wayne of cars, light-rail, buses, bikes and sidewalks into narrow land areas-takes away the feeling of safety and the spirit of a pedestrian friendly street. There is concern that Wayne is already too unsafe to walk. There is concern that the PL on Wayne will further discouragement walking or biking on Wayne. Few walk there now, due to safety. The planned distances between rail, cars, bikers, walkers are of concern, they are too close for a sense of safety, and clearly do not offer any sense of Park or residential tranquility.
RESOLUTION FOR MTA STUDY OF PURPLE LINE TUNNELED OPTION THROUGH RESIDENTIAL SILVER SPRING, WAYNE AVENUE ROUTE, AND FOR ANALYSES OF FUTURE TRAFFIC IMPACT WITH AND WITHOUT PURPLE LINE SEVEN OAKS-EVANSWOOD CITIZENS ASSOCIATION (SOECA) September 26, 2007
WHEREAS, the Seven Oaks-Evanswood Citizens Association (SOECA) represents 700 households near downtown Silver Spring and in neighborhoods on both the north and south sides of Wayne Avenue between Fenton Street and Dale Drive and most of the neighborhood on the north side of Wayne Avenue between Dale Drive and Sligo Creek Park; WHEREAS, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has been studying the feasibility of a Purple Line mass transit system between Bethesda and New Carrollton, with either of two proposed routes passing through residential Silver Spring east of downtown Silver Spring to Long Branch, and with one of those proposed routes passing along Wayne Avenue from either Fenton Street or Cedar Street for one mile or eight-tenths of a mile, respectively, to a point approximately 900 feet east of Sligo Creek Parkway; WHEREAS, the Wayne Avenue alignment, or part of the alternative Silver Spring/Thayer Avenues option, currently being studied by MTA would be the only portion of the 16-mile Purple Line that would be at street level on a residential street; the Wayne Avenue alignment could result in the loss of two lanes, thereby causing a reduction from two lanes to one lane in either direction for automobiles during rush hour and the loss of all parking on Wayne Avenue; and many residents in SOECA neighborhoods continue to express concerns that the at-grade Wayne Avenue alignment could have significant direct and indirect (such as from spillover traffic) impacts on SOECA neighborhoods; WHEREAS, MTA is already studying underground routes from the Silver Spring Transit Center through downtown Silver Spring to Wayne Avenue and Cedar Street and from a point on Wayne Avenue approximately 900 feet east of Sligo Creek Parkway to a point near the Long Branch Library, and MTA has continued to add and modify proposals for routes, how they are built, and stations in recent months; and WHEREAS, a true and complete analysis of all relevant factors, such as cost effectiveness, ridership, travel time, resulting traffic problems, and the impact on neighborhoods, homes, and the environment can be made and presented to all impacted communities, the public at large, and elected and appointed policy-makers if all options are studied; THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT SOECA requests that MTA fully study tunneled routes, including without any underground stops, for the Purple Line running beneath Wayne Avenue, both from Fenton Street (connecting with the at-grade option from the Silver Spring Transit Center that is being studied) and from Cedar Street (connecting with the deep-tunneled option from the Silver Spring Transit Center that is being studied) to a point approximately 900 feet east of Sligo Creek Parkway, and that all factors being studied for all other options be reviewed for this portion of Wayne Avenue; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT SOECA requests that MTA and the relevant Montgomery County agencies perform a full analysis of the traffic volume and impact on Wayne Avenue, Dale Drive, Cedar Drive, and streets in the neighborhoods on both sides of Wayne Avenue, and at the intersection of Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street in each of 2015 and 2030 for both a situation where no Purple Line is built and a situation where the Purple Line is built at-grade on Wayne Avenue with the loss of two lanes; that each of these traffic analyses for both 2015 and 2030 be compared with the current traffic status; and that these traffic analyses be presented to SOECA and other interested stakeholders no later than December 1, 2007.
Sligo Branview Community Association
Our community is bounded roughly by Franklin Avenue, Sligo Creek Parkway, Long Branch Creek and Piney Branch. We boast a diverse blend of single family, town homes and apartment living. Many of us and those bordering our neighborhood use mass transit we have a high percentage of current users and would likely benefit from additional transit options.
We share the concerns of other presenters, about the impact on the character of the neighborhood, potential loss of mature trees, worsened congestion, longer travel times and threats to pedestrian safety. Our SBCA President, Becky Lavash, could not be here tonight and asked me to represent our community. I am not officially on any committees or boards about the Purple Line; for me, this issue is personal. If the MTA decides on bus rapid transit, they will need to widen the intersection of Wayne & Flower, which will include moving telephone poles, the thing that controls the traffic lights, a fire hydrant, and parts of my yard, possibly my front porch, and perhaps my entire home.
Since I learned of the proposed route—not directly from MTA, but from our community President—I have been very interested in what the alternatives are, how decisions are being made, and how much input I as a potentially impacted homeowner have. I began a letter writing campaign during the last election voicing my concerns to all candidates at the state and county level. I canvassed my neighbors and conferred with the Association. And I attend meetings like this to stay informed.
The current buses that serve that intersection have difficulty negotiating the 45 degree corner. The proposed BRT would employ even larger, accordion style vehicles that are incompatible with the current layout. Taking any homes along that corridor would be very expensive for the project, both financially and politically. With the savings from not compensating me and my neighbors, they could perhaps fund a below ground light rail system.
My neighbors and I bought in this neighborhood because we like mature trees, pre-war architecture, life inside the Beltway, and the ability to walk to stores, libraries, and parks. We want to be close to transit, but not victimized by it. Anecdotally, my neighbors express support for tunneling underground and oppose an at grade bus rapid transit.
Comments on Draft Neighborhood Committee Minutes
Neighborhood Impacts of the Purple Line – December 2007 – January 2008
1. Tony Hauser
you shared the draft minutes. thanks. It was useful to hear the presentations. Will you be sharing the draft letter with us as well. I do not see a problem with the letter from my perspective except that it would be good to have input from other civics and also include issues besides neighborhood impact. I think it would be useful to hear from other civics in silver spring at the next meeting as well. I will be glad to speak on behalf of indian spring.
2. Jonathan Elkind
Thanks for the draft notes.
What strikes me as I read them is that they are full of detail in regard to criticisms of the Purple Line project -- some of which appear to be misinformation rather than fact. But the notes completely fail to cover the things that were said in support of Purple Line during the meeting.
In my comments below, I review some of the key points that I and others made in the course of the meeting. My core concern is that the notes reflect in a balanced manner the content of the discussion on December 17.
Regarding January and February meetings of the Neighborhoods Committee, are the tentative dates that are shown in your draft notes now confirmed as the actual meetings dates?
Should you have any questions about my comments, I can be reached at 301-587-8675.
1/ Attendance list -- I am identified as being from Seven Oaks-Evanswood Citizens Association (SOECA), and that is correct, but I will reiterate now the comment that I made at the meeting -- that although I have served as a member of SOECA's Purple Line task force, my comments are my own and are not on behalf of SOECA per se. (Our association has not yet decided whether we will have an official position of the association.)
2/ PL discussion and draft letter -- The draft letter conveys to the reader a sense that community reaction to the Purple Line is predominantly negative. I do not believe that there is the basis for such an assertion about community opinion. Clearly, some members of each of the civic associations are very concerned about Purple Line, as is their right. However, I and others expressed serious concern that our neighborhoods are already being overwhelmed by rapidly worsening traffic. If a high-quality Purple Line is not built -- namely a Purple Line that is attractive to users and that can be built without protracted delays -- our quality of life will suffer irreparably. In the meeting on December 17, we also heard from several apartment dwellers who said that, while they respect the concerns of homeowners, they strongly support the creation of transit options that systems such as Purple Line would offer.
None of these views is reflected in either the meeting notes or in the current draft letter to the County Executive.
Nor is there any reflection in the draft letter of the findings that MTA has subsequently provided to you and Mark Gabriele in your respective roles as presidents of Park Hills Civic Association and SOECA about future traffic both along Wayne Avenue and in surrounding neighborhoods. As I read Mike Madden's letter (dated December 17 -- the same day that the Neighborhood Cmte met), and the attachment to that letter, it appears that under several of the "build options" both overall traffic and intersection flow will actually improve if Purple Line is constructed.
I would therefore propose that significant additional text be added to any letter to the County Executive. That text should state that many in the community are alarmed by the growth in traffic and feel that delays in the construction of the Purple Line pose a threat to our neighborhoods that is potentially as great or greater than the threat that is posed by the building of a Purple Line -- even at grade on Wayne Avenue. In addition, the letter should be thoroughly revised to account for the material that was subsequently received from MTA -- particularly on the issues of localized traffic impacts, cut-through traffic, and the cost-prohibitive nature of a underground routing beneath Wayne Avenue.
In addition, the assertion that MTA should consult with affected stakeholders along Wayne Avenue ignores the fact that MTA has already conducted numerous public consultations to which representatives of all the stakeholder institutions have been invited. Finally, the statements about Purple Line causing potential adverse impacts on the natural environment should be thoroughly revised. It may be true that construction of a Purple could have localized environmental impacts, but it cannot be asserted that these impacts would outweigh the environmental benefits of the line. An effective Purple Line will provide a major benefit for environmental quality by offering commuters and other travelers a strong public transit alternative that can make it easier for them not to travel by car.
3. Kathleen Samiy to Jonathan Elkin
You bring a balancing perspective, and point of view. And yes, as the SOECa report indicates...there has been no vote in SOECA, the PL is divisive amongst our residents....I'd prefer to say the community reactions-is "one of many concerns" not "negative."
I'm revising my SSCAB report, to fix a few concerns...so if you have any issue with my comments please email me, I will consider your perspective.
Here are some thoughts of mine based on reading your comments:
The worsening traffic is a reality. However, The perspective and premise that the recent MTA report of Dec 17, confirms with confidence or guarantees that the PL on Wayne will mitigate, alleviate, or even stem the traffic on our residential streets, is not convincing enough to sway those on the 'con' side of the issue. In principle...this is still an area of great concern: that quality of life (and traffic) may not be improved by the PL on Wayne.
to me, there are still many contradictory traffic growth indicators, that MTA hasn't addressed at all:
1. Smarth Growth (concentrations of hi-rise apt buildings and office towers, and the largest state-wide mass transit hub, in downtown Silver Spring) and the linking of SS to newly planned urban growth areas in Long Branch/Piney Branch and ConnAve/Chevy Chase Lake, and Seminary/Dale. the PL is the connector.
2. Travel times...Compared to What? The MTA has not provided clear comparisons: many ask about the mta numbers" compared to what" the comparisons are not based on "PL vs driving" to get from point a to point b on the PL, they only compare improvements to riding a bus, or riding the current Metro system. so its not clear that cars will get off the streets- just that current metro/bus system riders may chose the PL because they save some time on a different transit system...and ofcourse, the growth centers
3. The widening of Dale at Colesville, and the increase in traffic through Silgo Creek Parkway, and on Bonifant streets, and now even on Ellsworth up to the library...there is no evidence or fact that these cars/persons transiting through will be or become Purple LIne users.
4. What we learned at the SSCAB meeting: That when a PL stop is located, the zoning can change...this means Wayne, with 3 stops within 3/4 mile of each other--as now is planned, the zoning along the length of Wayne could eventually be changed to commercial, or semi-commercial. This could ultimately urbanze Wayne's length through SOECA.
5. I don't agree with incorporating the MTA Dec 17 letter. Our issue is residents Neighborhood concerns. For SOECA residents, the PL is less a transit issue than a a quality of neighborhood life issue. Regarding MTA's Dec 17 letter, it is dense and full of information that needs to be digested and discussed, I've too read it and disagree that it alleviates even the spirit of overall homeowner / resident concerns. For SOECA our emphasis should be on concerns and quality of life, not reiterating MTA's efforts.
6. Regarding the environment: Ofcourse many want the major benefit of mass transit systems to be for the betterment of the overall environment-air and noise quality, getting cars off the streets-moving as many people onto mass transit as possible by smarth alignments where need is greatest. However, there is great evidence that the PL is primarily an Economic Development project and a developers tool. It doesn't do enough to get enough cars off the streets. Why sacrifice residential neighborhoods, if there is not substantive evidence of an extremely high number of cars getting off the streets--onto a primarily mass transit system, something MTA has not proven with any convincing arguments...they are only trying to prove that they can get enough people to ride the PL, to justify federal funds...
4. Lianna Levine Reisner, Impact Silver Spring
Happy New Year! Thanks for these notes, and thanks also for inviting IMPACT to attend the meeting last month. I'd like to suggest some additions, based on what I saw and remember from the meeting. These notes currently cover the fact that there were five formal presentations and then the circulation of your letter. I think it is important to also briefly note the following:
1. There were a few comments from people who attended who were not affiliated with any of the presenting civic associations. While I can't recall what everyone said, my IMPACT colleagues and I raised the issue that the discussion needs to better include renters (or those not included in civic associations), and that many renters have opinions different than the civic associations', which must be solicited and heard.
2. I remember hearing a general view that it is worthwhile for the committee to go deeper on the subject of the Purple Line and collect more citizen input. I think it would be useful to mention this for those who might read the notes and think that you're on to a new topic in January.
3. You had mentioned that it would be one of the committee's goals to get more renters to attend in January. Your notes reference that additional participation of tenants is encouraged. I suggest using the phrase "targeting tenant participation"; based on our experience, securing tenant participation requires a very proactive approach. (Please note: We will do our best to encourage those within our IMPACT leadership network to attend, but we believe it will take a great effort on the part of the committee to do outreach effectively!)
4. I'd also like to request that the meeting notes include mention that, since your letter was written prior to the meeting, it does not integrate any new thoughts from the meeting and will most likely demand revisions. You encouraged meeting attendees to send you comments about it. I remember Jon Elkind voicing a concern that, after a cursory look-through, it did not reflect the multiple viewpoints of Silver Spring residents, including his own.
5. Finally, our colleague Monica Buitrago came in later in the meeting and should also be included in the attendance list. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for the opportunity to weigh in! I hope these comments are helpful.
Additional Comments on the Purple Line following the January Neighborhoods Committee Mtg.
I have been hearing about the meetings of the Silver Spring Advisory Board’s Neighborhoods Committee on the Purple Line and want to add my comments to the discussion. The tone of the Committee’s draft letter implies that light rail is very different from what I have seen in twenty-plus cities around the US and world, from Melbourne, Australia to Vienna, Austria to Portland Oregon.
When a busway (bus rapid transit) or light rail was proposed along the edge of my community (Woodside Civic) 20 years ago, I recommended that we take a position in favor of the LRT and opposed to the busway. I felt that a well designed light rail line, as I had seen in Europe (Amsterdam, Vienna, Zurich) was the community-friendly way to go.
Woodside Civic did support an LRT option with several specific recommendations on how to design the line on the edge of our community.
That support has continued over the years, with several updates.
I continued to watch light rail systems as they were developed in the US, starting with San Diego and Sacramento and a few years later in cities like St. Louis, Portland, Dallas, Salt Lake City, and many others. I find the flexibility of the technology remarkably adaptable as it is applied in a broad range of settings. Some systems parallel or replace railroad lines, others are along arterial roads, but others are largely within residential communities.
The Purple Line alternative choice decision is a balancing act, with many people viewing trolley or light rail cars as community-friendly vehicles, while others see them as just another vehicle to contend with on the street. When the vehicles run with traffic, the LRT vehicles will follow speed limits, a positive comment that can not be said about many car drivers. Working on design features of the selected alignment option are important to the process of making the Purple Line as community friendly as possible. These design features should help to mitigate impacts but also add community-friendly, benefits such as the choice of stop locations and the design of the stops so they integrate into the community in terms of both the look and access.
Finally, I moved to Woodside nearly 30 years ago to an overwhelming extent because of the neighborhood’s walkable access to Metro and all it offered. I see a new generation of young people who will receive similar benefits from having good east-west transit choices along the various stops of the Purple Line. This project needs to move forward as a viable alternative to our region’s twin challenges– automobile congestion and global warming.
.Good luck with your proceedings,
1710 Noyes Lane
Draft Letter Circulated for Discussion
The Purple Line and Neighborhoods – Neighborhoods Committee – December 2007
Mr. Isiah Leggett
Montgomery County Executive
Dear Mr. Leggett:
Our Board has been a strong advocate for environmentally-friendly public transit solutions for our community. To this end, we have endorsed the Maryland Transit Administration’s (MTA) proposed Purple Line connecting Montgomery and Prince Georges counties as we believe that an efficient public transit system can bring significant benefits to our community and to the environment.
Over the past year, we have solicited information and comments from key community stakeholders with regard to the possible alignments about the Purple Line in the Silver Spring region. We have encouraged presentations from a broad range of Silver Spring residents, civic organizations, government officials and transit experts to learn more about the alternate modes of transit and possible alignments in Silver Spring.
At the same time that we note our continuing and strong support for transit and the Purple Line, in particular, we have the following general, but important, concerns that we bring to your attention and that of others who have an interest in and responsibility for the Purple Line project.
• We are concerned about the traffic impact of the Purple Line as it crosses Silver Spring, and particularly its impact on traffic in downtown Silver Spring on Georgia Avenue, Fenton Street and Wayne Avenue. Some residents have expressed concern that some of the proposed alignments will result in increased traffic and congestion in neighborhoods, along with an increase in cut-through traffic. We hope that the MTA will thoroughly explore the possibility of below-grade options for downtown Silver Spring and the affected residential neighborhoods so that all alignment alternatives can be fairly evaluated.
• We are concerned about the impact of the alternative Purple Line alignments on pedestrian safety in downtown Silver Spring as well in the residential neighborhoods where the Purple Line may be sited. In some neighborhoods, the possible alignments are located adjacent to elementary and middle schools where the safety of children is of great concern. In other areas, the Purple Line will be adjacent to houses of worship, rehabilitation centers and already busy shopping areas and parking lots. We believe that the MTA and the Montgomery County Government should contact directly affected stakeholders to inform them about the possible Purple Line alignments and possible impacts, and to work with them to develop appropriate mitigation options.
• We are concerned about possible adverse impacts of the various proposed Purple Line alignments on the natural environment, particularly our critical stream systems—Rock Creek, Sligo Creek, and Long Branch—and urge that any negative environmental effects be properly evaluated and mitigated to the maximum extent possible to protect wildlife and habitat.
• We are also concerned about the siting of any transit-related maintenance and power facilities required by the Purple Line that would impact the quality of life in adjacent Silver Spring neighborhoods. We believe our neighbors need to be consulted early and thoroughly about possible maintenance facility and system power locations, and that adverse impacts are mitigated.
We hope that you and your staff will work closely with this Board and our neighbors in Silver Spring to maximize the benefits that this transit project can bring to our communities, while at the same time, minimizing the adverse impacts on neighborhoods and the Silver Spring community as a whole.
Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board
Montgomery County Council
Montgomery County Maryland State Delegation
Maryland Secretary of Transportation
Administrator, Maryland Transit Administration
Montgomery County Planning Board