Forgotten neighborhoods.

A new sign is marking the Talbot Avenue entrance to Lyttonsville, at Milepost 0.0 of the Future Capital Crescent Trail:

neighborhood sign

On the Georgetown Branch on-road trail at Talbot Avenue.

The new Lyttonsville neighborhood sign marks an entrance to a small but historically significant community. Lyttonsville was founded in 1853 when Samuel Lytton, a freed slave, received a parcel of land from a white landowner. It was a predominantly African-American community for most of its history, but in recent years the cost of homes in this neighborhood has risen and the community has become very racially diverse. See the Gazette article For new Lyttonsville residents, an enlightening look at the past.

Lyttonsville, and its adjacent neighborhoods, can provide welcome diversity along the Trail. The MTA analysis of neighborhood characteristics in the future Purple Line service area, using year 2000 census data, found that the Lyttonsville/Rosemary Hills/Rock Creek Forest neighborhoods were 42% white, 31% black, 7% asian and 19% “other”. By contrast, the Chevy Chase neighborhood was 92% white, 3% black, 3% asian and 2% “other”. See trailequity.pdf for more information on other neighborhoods along the future CCT, and the racial profile for all of Montgomery County.

It was very annoying to watch the Purple Line Master Plan public hearings at the Planning Board, and very recently at the County Council, and to see a small group of well orchestrated Purple Line opponents from Chevy Chase neighborhoods dominate the testimony with their message that they will refuse to make any accommodation to build the Purple Line and finish the trail. Lyttonsville and the other neighborhoods east of Rock Creek need the Purple Line for better transit. They also need the Trail to be completed to give them safe off-road trail access to each other, to Rock Creek Park and to downtown Silver Spring. If the trail is completed to downtown Silver Spring, the number of people with easy access to the trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring will be doubled, the trail will be directly connected to many more important destinations, and the trail users may start looking a little more like the rest of Montgomery County.

The plans for the Purple Line transit and trail incorporate all of the best design practices to protect the integrity and safety of the future Capital Crescent Trail, see MTA’s Fast Facts about the Purple Line and CCT. I hope our County Council will hold fast in their awareness that this is not just about Chevy Chase, and continue to strongly support the Purple Line transit and trail.

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3 Responses to “Forgotten neighborhoods.”

  1. Woodsider says:

    It should be very interesting to see what happens around the Lyttonsville Purple Line stop. There is incredible potential to redevelop a lot of that warehouse and industrial space into mixed use. Imagine that stretch of Lyttonsville Road (west of the tracks) filled with “main street” retail, small businesses, housing, etc….with a Purple Line stop at the center. I’m guessing it would look a lot like the hundreds of communities that sprouted up at railroad stops in mid-1800’s to early 1900’s before the advent of the automobile. Keep your fingers crossed.

  2. Dan says:

    A huge part of that warehouse/industrial land that north of the tracks at the Lyttonsville stop is slated to become the work yard and train storage lot for the Purple line. Some better shops might open there, but ti’s not going to be a new main street.

    While the Purple line is great, I’ll stress how even even a pedestrian/bike path from the neighborhood to downtown Silver Spring would greatly help that area. Right now, one needs to go south to East West Highway and then up a huge hill to get to down town. Simply having the path with multiple access points as proposed at (page 30) would make this neighborhood into easy waling distance from downtown.

  3. Woodsider says:

    There is probably 100 acres available for redevelopment in addition to the purple line service area. Great opportunity for all once it and the trail are completed.