Save the Trail petition Part Three – at Woodmont Avenue

The previous two blogs of this series discussed the history of the “Save the Trail” petition, and claims the petition organizers make about the impact of the Purple Line on the trail in the Bethesda Tunnel. This post will discuss the impact of the Purple Line at Woodmont Avenue.

“Save the Trail” petitioners regularly present this vision of what they say the north east corner of Woodmont Avenue and Bethesda Avenue will look like if the Purple Line is built:

This concept sketch has presented at the trail during petition signature gathering efforts as recently as the March 7, 2009 “No Rail on the Trail” event.

But most of the parcel shown in the “Save the Trail” sketch is privately owned. The Planning Board has approved a development plan for this area that includes an office building, and the approved development plan looks like this:

The vision presented by the “Save the Trail” petitioners in their sketch has several gross misrepresentations:

1) The large open space and park portrayed in their drawing, that they claim will be destroyed by transit vehicle parking, will NOT be built. As petition organizers well know, plans to have the county purchase this parcel and create a park were rejected by the Planning Board in October 2007, see the Gazette report. The Planning Board has instead approved an office building and small public plaza in this space as shown in the development plan above. See the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail discussion of the recently approved development plan. There will never be a large open space park as shown in the “Save the Trail” drawing, regardless of the Purple Line.
2) Transit vehicles will NOT be parked far forward, to obstruct the public sidewalk and open space near Woodmont Avenue, as depicted in the “Save the Trail” drawing. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) briefed the County Council on Oct. 21, 2008 that they would only need to extend the transit tracks about 100 feet west from the tunnel portal to provide the tail track space they need for occasional emergency vehicle parking. That is only about 1/3 of the distance forward from the tunnel portal to Woodmont Avenue. Transit vehicles would remain far back, near the tunnel portal, and the tracks will end so that vehicles can never extend as far forward into the common area as the theater entrance or Gifford’s Ice Cream. The planned broad pedestrian sidewalk and public plaza along Woodmont Avenue will never have transit vehicles near them.
3) The unsightly fence shown in the sketch is an invention of Sam Schwartz, much like the solid walls he invented for the trail in the tunnel discussed in the previous post. MTA has always insisted fences would NOT be needed at its tail tracks.

The “Save the Trail” concept sketch of the Purple Line at Woodmont Avenue is presented as “The State’s plans…”. But this sketch has never fairly represented MTA plans. As discussed in the prior post for the tunnel, if “Save the Trail” wishes to present their own interpretation of a Purple Line concept they are free to do so. But they should not then present it as though it is from MTA.

The next post of this series will look at claims “Save the Trail” petitioners make about the trail width and green space in the Georgetown Branch Corridor.


One Response to “Save the Trail petition Part Three – at Woodmont Avenue”

  1. Anonymous says:

    You go man…I love that you call them ("save the trail" proponents)out every time the try to pass off their exaggerations and misrepresentations as fact. Their cause is like being on a sinking ship…with each additional endorsement in favor of the Purple Line, their tactics become more deperate and laughable.