The future CCT can give Silver Spring and its neighborhoods direct and safe off-road access to Rock Creek Park.
The Georgetown Branch Trail goes to Rock Creek from downtown Silver Spring. It takes you to the park at Ray’s Meadow where the Rock Creek Trail can be used to reach the nearby play lots, ball fields, horse stables, and picnic facilities in Ray’s Meadow and Candy Cane City. But the Georgetown Branch Trail is only an on-road bike route in Silver Spring, with several dangerous crossings of busy streets. At Rock Creek the trail passes high above the Park on the trestle, with only an indirect connection down into the Park on neighborhood streets.
The CCT, if completed, will give Silver Spring a direct off-road connection to Rock Creek Park. Cyclists of all ages and abilities could reach the Park with a short bike ride from Silver Spring neighborhoods. The at-grade crossings of Colesville Road, Spring Street, and 16th Street would be replaced by trail bridges or underpasses. The trip to the park on the CCT would become a major part of the attraction.
Purple Line opponents are quick to complain that construction of the Purple Line will result in the removal of the CCT trestle now over Rock Creek. And they have a point – the trestle is a very attractive feature, and gives good views from high above Rock Creek. But Silver Spring is very poorly served by the trestle since it is hard to reach from Silver Spring. We knew when the trestle was built that it was not meant to be permanent. The trestle deck was built from modular sections so it can be disassembled and used elsewhere when the time comes to build the Purple Line.
The trestle will be replaced by a new trail bridge over Rock Creek if the Purple Line is built. A new shared use path will be built to connect from the CCT down to the Rock Creek Trail. All trail users connecting between the rebuilt CCT and the Rock Creek Trail will find the connection much easier and more direct than it is now. Trail users staying on the CCT to cross Rock Creek will still have a direct crossing on a trail bridge, although the bridge will be lower than the trestle is now. The rebuilt CCT will stay low enough to pass under Jones Mill Road in an underpass. Trail users will no longer have to wait at the pedestrian signal west of Rock Creek to cross Jones Mill Road at grade.
Source: MTA at www.purplelinemd.com
I was out there advocating to build the trestle from the start, and I wish we could find a practical way to keep the trestle and also complete the CCT. I have posted a Show us what we are missing challenge for anyone to show how to complete the CCT into Silver Spring as a safe off-road trail without transit. I will take the grade separated CCT crossing of Jones Mill Road, the much better access from the CCT down into Rock Creek Park, and the completion of the CCT through my Silver Spring neighborhood as more than fair compensation for the loss of the view from the trestle.