Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Purple Line - In the News - Gazette

Purple Line’s positive impact

We live off Wayne Avenue, a potential route for the Purple Line. While several neighbors have posted ‘‘No Train on Wayne” signs, we favor an at-grade alignment (‘‘Wayne Ave. residents sign-on to Purple Line opposition,” July 16 article).

A tunnel under Wayne adds significant costs and would render Wayne a construction zone for many months. For all this annoyance, we’d relinquish a station at Wayne and Dale (no underground stations are planned). Overall, light-rail noise is negligible, with the main source of noise coming from cars and buses. As for pedestrian safety, light-rail would observe speed limits; many cars do not (the county recently installed speed cameras on Wayne).

If we forgo the train on Wayne, we slight ourselves. Efficient public transit is an amenity, more so as gas prices increase. If we forgo the train on Wayne, we invite more car traffic, noise and pollution along our residential corridor.
If we require the Purple Line design on Wayne and elsewhere to be of the highest standards — quality street lighting, street furniture, completion of the Green Trail, new sidewalks and crosswalks — the Purple Line will have a positive, not negative, impact on our inner suburban neighborhoods.

Tina and Don Slater, Silver Spring

Take Purple Line underground

A street level Purple Line by bus or light rail completely misses the point. There already are Metro and county buses to take you from College Park to Silver Spring and Bethesda. For almost no cost, you could create an express bus route and call it the ‘‘Purple Line.”

Buying a dedicated, super fancy bus or light rail will not be any improvement. It would still compete with rush hour traffic and get stuck at red lights.

The point of a Purple Line must be to reduce traffic on our roads and the Beltway. It must be faster, more convenient, and cheaper than driving. The only choices are for an underground or an elevated train or express bus route. An elevated route would be like those in Chicago, traveling high above the cars. The disadvantage is they are unsightly. An underground route is the best, but the most expensive.

However, much cheaper and faster than tunneling with a boring machine would be to excavate under the roads or breakdown lanes of the Beltway and then covering back up. Doing a small section at a time would reduce the time each road would be temporarily closed.

Larry Rosen, Silver Spring

Open forum: Purple Line on Wayne spurs reaction

Re: Opposition to the Purple Line in Silver Spring: Wayne Avenue today has too much traffic, is unsafe to cross in many places and lacks ‘‘curb appeal.”

A well-designed Purple Line — with aesthetic and traffic-management improvements to go along with the light rail infrastructure — will make this a more livable area. Doing nothing, which is really what the Seven Oaks-Evanswood Civic Association wants, if tunneling is not affordable, only paves the way for more cars, day and night.

Brent Gilroy, Silver Spring

Regarding the nicely written article by Agnes Jasinski (‘‘Wayne Ave. residents sign-on to Purple Line opposition,” July 16), I refer to the stated desire by some for a well-designed train system running at street-level on Wayne, if underground isn’t an option. It’s an oxymoron to think that a system of two-directional, 180-foot long trains trundling along a sharply curved, fairly steep residential street with several traffic lights can ever be well-designed. The street’s design is already in place, with people’s houses and parking spots, three schools, two churches, a senior center and a busy Whole Foods parking lot entrance already part of the existing design.

The proposed design for the Purple Line on Wayne favored by at-grade proponents takes away front yards, adds left-turn lanes and 200-foot-long train stations, widens much of Wayne to Colesville Road proportions feeding even heavier traffic into the already-clogged bottle-neck at the Wayne-Fenton Street crossroads and downtown and does not, to me, seem well-designed.

Cathy Kristiansen, Silver Spring

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