Important County Council committee meeting on March 5 at 2PM, emails supporting the tunnel are urgently needed
Many of you know that in his most recent budget, the Montgomery County Executive failed to fund a long-promised tunnel for pedestrians and bikers in Bethesda as part of the Purple Line project which includes completing the Capital Crescent Trail from Bethesda to Silver Spring.
Purple Line NOW has just learned that there is a Montgomery County Transportation and Environment Committee (T&E) meeting tomorrow, Thursday, March 5, at 2 pm at the County Office Building in the 7th Floor Hearing Room.
We ask you to send an email TONIGHT or EARLY TOMORROW MORNING to the T&E committee members, individually, and let them know you want them to champion the completion of the tunnel as it was proposed and designed years ago. Their names and email addresses are at the end of this alert.
If we miss this window to construct the underpass alongside the Purple Line now, the obstacles to completing the tunnel in future years may prove insurmountable. Don’t be fooled by talk about being able to push the construction of the tunnel to a later date. Down the road, costs and disruption will be magnified, and delaying will risk compounding promises broken to the community. While we understand there will be tough trade-offs when searching for additional funding, if we miss this chance to encourage the Council to find the funding for the tunnel now, the trail will open incomplete and Montgomery County would take an unprecedented step back on its Vision Zero goals.
Here is the background you need to know before writing your email:
- The Wisconsin underpass is not a new idea, it replaces a previously existing tunnel on the interim trail that led to the heart of downtown Bethesda, one that the last county council promised to replace as part of constructing the Purple Line.
- Just as the Purple Line connects multiple Marc and Metro lines, the trail from Silver Spring to Bethesda will be a linchpin to a larger trail network, including the remainder of the Capital Crescent Trail, the Green Trail, and the Metropolitan Branch. This network is not just useful to recreation, but helps people access jobs, housing, and shopping, and its reach is magnified by the bike-friendly Purple Line.
- The Bethesda to Silver Spring portion of the Capital Crescent trail will also be separated from highway traffic when it crosses Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase and Colesville Road in Silver Spring. The trail must also be separated from highway traffic when it crosses Wisconsin Avenue (as it did in the past) and continue below-grade in the tunnel.
Finally, it is important for all of us to understand and emphasize to our Councilmembers that no matter where you work or live, the tunnel will benefit the region as a whole. The trail will continue to serve as a commuter route for pedestrians and bikers from one end of the Purple Line corridor to the other. Having a safe crossing, as promised, benefits all of us.
Please emphasize to the Council that you want them to make the tunnel’s completion a priority – many are leaning that way, but they need to know you understand there will be trade-offs with other projects. Tell them why the tunnel is important to you. And, if you remember, please copy us on your email.
Thank you for taking the time to send an email to the Councilmembers below. We want our elected representatives to hear from our constituency before they walk into that meeting tomorrow! We do not expect any decisions regarding the funding to come out of this first meeting, but it is important they proceed with the understanding that they have our community’s support.
T&E Committee Members (and Councilmember Friedson, in whose district the tunnel will reside):
- Andrew Friedson Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov
- Evan Glass Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov
- Tom Hucker Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov
- Hans Riemer Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov
As always, we will keep an eye on the proceedings and the progress as this issue makes its way through the process. Thank you for your time and your help!
Purple Line NOW
Funding for a CCT tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue now depends on action by the Montgomery County Council
Planning Board rejects Montgomery Parks recommendation on Capital Crescent Trail Crossing of Little Falls Parkway
At the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting on June 13, 2019, Montgomery Parks presented their recommendation reported in the 6/7/2019 post immediately below. Unusually, the Planning Board rejected the Parks staff recommendation. They voted to return Little Falls Parkway to its original configuration of 2 lanes each way, and to move the CCT crossing over to the traffic light at Arlington Rd. This was by a 4-1 vote, with Chair Casey Anderson the dissenting vote. This change will require significant construction work, even though it leaves the roadways unchanged, so the crossing will stay as it is for at least months, with Little Falls Parkway 1 lane each way.
Bethesda Magazine article with more details: https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/development/planning-board-axes-road-diet-for-capital-crescent-crossing/
Here is the video recording of this Planning Board meeting: http://mncppc.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2047
CCCT had recommended an approach much like what the Planning Board chose, but with the addition of re-configuring the Arlington Rd/Little Falls Parkway/Glenbrook Rd intersection so that Arlington - Little Falls is the thru street, with Glenbrook intersecting as a T, replacing how Arlington Rd currently intersects as a T. Here are the comments CCCT submitted to Montgomery Parks with this recommendation.
Montgomery Parks report on safety improvements project at the Capital Crescent Trail Crossing of Little Falls Parkway
The report recommends Alternative A, which "converts the existing at-grade crossing to a raised crosswalk and maintains the reduction in vehicle lanes to eliminate the multiple-lane threat and reduce vehicle speeds." The project will be presented to the Montgomery County Planning Board on June 13, 2019.
Montgomery Parks report letter: https://www.montgomeryparks.org/uploads/2018/04/May-2019-CCT-LFP-Outreach-Letter-r1.pdf
Montgomery Parks project page: https://www.montgomeryparks.org/projects/directory/capital-crescent-trail-crossing-at-little-falls-parkway/
Look down this page for links to download the full facility plan report and appendices.
Completed - Removal of Vegetation at Potomac Aqueduct starting on 11/27 affects the trail
The National Park Service alerted us at 7 am on 11/27/2018, saying:
I apologize for the short notice. NPS will be removing vegetation from the Potomac Aqueduct today starting at 9:00 AM. It looks like the job of removing all vegetation from the faces of the Aqueduct will continue on throughout the week. Maintenance will be using a boom truck in order to remove the Ivy from the western face of the structure and any other hard to reach areas. NPS will have volunteer flaggers directing pedestrians and bicyclists through the work area. Barricades will be placed around the boom truck and signage will be placed at the trail head. Bicyclers are asked to dismount there bikes when in the work zone.
The Potomac Aqueduct is at the Georgetown end of the trail, over the gate between the trail and Water St.
Completed - Neal Potter Plaza dedicated and open for use
The Neal Potter Plaza (formerly River Road Park) was dedicated on Saturday morning, November 3, 2018, and is open for use. Click this link for more information, on our Neal Potter Plaza page.
Completed - Trail closure/detour for repaving at River Road Plaza, Friday October 12, 9am - 3pm
As construction of River Road Plaza nears completion, the Trail will be repaved in the Plaza area. This will take about 6 hours, during which the Trail will be blocked off from the south end of the bridge over River Road to the north (uphill) end of the construction zone for the Plaza. On 10/11, the Montgomery Parks website says that repaving will be done from 9 am to 3 pm on Friday October 12.
See the Montgomery Parks CCT page for their notifications on this paving:
During the closure, Trail users going south (downhill) will need to leave the Trail where the Plaza starts, by turning west towards Security Storage. Trail users going north (uphill) will need to leave the Trail just before the bridge. A detour will be marked, using a side path south of River Road, using the Security Storage driveway north of River Road, and crossing River Road at grade. Watch for flagmen and police directing traffic during this trail closure.
Public Meeting: Capital Crescent Trail Crossing of Little Falls Parkway, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School cafeteria, on Oct 9 2018, 6:30 PM
Montgomery Parks will present concept alternatives for the Capital Crescent Trail Crossing at Little Falls Parkway. on Tuesday October 9, 2018, in the B-CC HS Cafeteria, 4301 East West Highway, in Bethesda, MD from 6:30pm-8:30pm.
The Capital Crescent Trail Crossing at Little Falls Parkway project focuses on developing a permanent, safer crossing for all trail users, and minimizing vehicular traffic delay. Montgomery Parks hosted the first Community Meeting on June 13, 2018. After receiving public feedback, staff have developed concept alternatives which will be presented. The public can review each plan, ask questions and comment before or after the brief presentation.
This will be a joint meeting with Montgomery County Department of Transportation covering the Bethesda Bikeway loop projects (DOT) and the Capital Crescent Trail Crossing at Little Falls Parkway project. Park staff along with MCDOT will give a joint presentation on various pedestrian and bicyclist projects to impact the Bethesda area.
Additional information about the program, schedules and how to contribute is available at MontgomeryParks.org:
Trail is no longer detoured at Foundry Branch
The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) had been working since August 2017 on repairs to a junction box adjacent to the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) at Foundry Branch, as part of their Upper Potomac Interceptor (UPI) project. This required a detour in the CCT, almost 1/2 mile above the Georgetown end. That repair work was completed in July 2018, and the detour is now gone.
Community Meeting: Capital Crescent Trail Crossing of Little Falls Parkway, Somerset Elementary School, 5811 Warwick Place, Chevy Chase, MD, on June 13, 7:00 PM
Montgomery Parks is working on improving safety for Capital Crescent Trail users at the intersection with Little Falls Parkway.
Please join parks staff at a community meeting at 7 PM on June 13 2018, to learn about proposed safety improvements and review conceptual trail crossing alternatives. For additional information, visit the park project webpage at MontgomeryParks.org.
CCCT board members will be in attendance.
Meeting response - Here are the CCCT comments submitted to Montgomery Parks after this meeting.
Design of Proposed Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel in Downtown Bethesda Moves Ahead
The trail won't fit into the existing tunnel with the Purple Line, so a separate new tunnel under Wisconsin Ave is needed. This article describes 3 design options that the county Department of Transportation is considering for the eastern end of the tunnel.
Click this link to see an article in Bethesda Magazine with details.
Trail was temporarily CLOSED south of River Road, due to ice falling from TV tower
On 3/22/2018, the Parks department temporarily closed the Capital Crescent Trail just south of River Road, due to ice failing from a TV tower near the trail.
Update on Capital Crescent Trail Detour due to sewer repairs at Foundry Branch - detour stays until July 2018
The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) has been working for some time on the Upper Potomac Interceptor (UPI), part of which involves repairs to a junction box adjacent to the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) at Foundry Branch, to prepare it for re-activation. This required a detour in the CCT, described in the 8/1/2017 news item on this page. This repair work was originally projected to be completed in September 2017, but it has been delayed several times due to unforeseen circumstances, so the detour remains, probably through July 2018.
The current schedule has the repair work on the junction box adjacent to the trail starting in mid-April and taking approximately 3 weeks. Before, after, and especially during this repair work, there may be increased impact on the trail, such as for equipment access and bypass sewage pumping.
When the repairs are completed, the sewage will be directed into the new/relined Upper Potomac Interceptor and hopefully this will eliminate the type of sewage spills that occurred along the Capital Crescent Trail in 2014. DC Water will then begin to demobilize and once all the equipment is removed, they will remove the CCT detour. This should occur in July and they should be completely done in the area by August 2018 if all goes as planned.
Montgomery County Council Approves Trail Improvement Deal with Ourisman Honda
A 1300 square ft Plaza will be created where the trail intersects Bethesda Avenue.
Click this link to see an article in Bethesda Magazine with details.
River Road Plaza construction has started!
The Purple Line Transit Partners announced on 8/29/2017 that to construct the Purple Line Project, the trail east of Bethesda will close on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 for four to five years. This is the mainly unpaved trail between Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda and Talbot Avenue in Silver Spring, also called the GeorgeTown Branch Trail. It will re-open, predicted in 2022, as a grade-separated paved trail next to the Purple Line, extended into downtown Silver Spring. For more information on the project and to see the signed official alternate route:
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) offers other alternate routes:
Capital Crescent Trail Detour due to Repairs to Upper Potomac Interceptor at Foundry Branch
Washington, DC - The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) is working on the Upper Potomac Interceptor (UPI) adjacent to the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) to prepare it for re-activation. Work so far has included the installation of a liner and repairs to manholes. In August 2017, DC Water will start to work on the junction box located at the Foundry Branch Tunnel. In order to perform this work, users of the CCT will be detoured onto a parallel trail around the construction area. This detour involves wooden ramps and sharp turns. The ramps will be coated to increase traction but may be slippery when wet. All cyclists are asked to slow down and use caution when traveling in this area. The detour will be in effect the week of July 31 and is expected to last 6-8 weeks.
Additionally, construction involves the use of heavy equipment and vehicles that travel on the CCT. Closures of the CCT will be minimized but will occur from time to time to allow movement of equipment. CCT users are also encouraged to use the C&O Canal Towpath to avoid this area.
The work is necessary to bring the UPI back into service and help prevent sewage spills during heavy rain events. Construction should be completed in September 2017.
New Traffic Pattern at Trail crossing with Little Falls Parkway
Look for a new traffic pattern to improve safety at the intersection of Little Falls Parkway and the Capital Crescent Trail. Work will start late December 2016 to improve safety at the trail crossing. Little Falls Parkway will narrow from two lanes to one each way in the vicinity of the Capital Crescent Trail intersection. The speed limit will be reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph. Additional signs alerting motorists of pedestrians and bicyclists will also be installed. (Read the article)
CCT: TRAIL DETOUR in Downtown Bethesda! MONDAY May 26, 2015 for about 2 weeks
Please note that beginning Tuesday, May 26, 2015 the Capital Crescent Trail will begin to be detoured at Lot 31, between Bethesda Avenue and The Bethesda Rest plaza, to allow for the improvements to the (trail) CCT adjacent to the Lot 31 construction site to be constructed. The detour will last approximately 2 weeks, according to the developer.
The CCT trail will be detoured to the southern path of Lot 31 to Woodmont Avenue. Pedestrians will then utilize the sidewalks on Woodmont to continue on the trail or to reach Bethesda Avenue. Bikes will utilize the bike lanes on the roadway. To travel north bikers should utilize the mid-block crossing to reach the bike lane, traveling south bikes should cross at Bethesda/Woodmont to reach the southbound bike lane. (Variable message) VMS signs and directional signs will be placed directing the CCT detour. Please note: all access to the public parking garages will remain open.
In addition, the NW corner of Woodmont / Bethesda intersection will also undergo modifications at this time. Pedestrians will still be able to cross at this intersection, but should with caution. Signs will be set up for this improvement area also.
Thank you for your patience,