Filling a big hole.

There is a big hole in Silver Spring that needs to be filled.

The huge hole that was blasted out of bedrock for the Silver Spring Transit Center is now being filled with reinforced concrete decks for the bus bays and kiss-and-ride lot.

transit center construction on 09/07/2010

The Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center under construction (09/07/2010).

There is another hole that needs to be filled – the void in information about how the Purple Line, Capital Crescent Trail, and Metropolitan Branch Trail will all fit together in the transit center. I’ve posted previously on the Purple Line concept plans available from the MTA giving clues on how the trails can meet here, at
Bringing the MetBranch into the Transit Center. But to this date neither the MTA nor the County has shown any conceptual plans in enough detail to show how the trails will connect, how access will be provided from the trails to the transit center, and how conflicts between trail users and transit users will be managed. MTA renderings of the transit center and the Montgomery County transit center project description give little useful information about the trails at the transit center, or for that matter any of the trail along the one mile CSX corridor section. Contrast that with the many renderings and videos MTA presents on its website and that MTA has shown at briefings to the Planning Board and County Council about plans for the future CCT west of Rock Creek.

The MTA will have opportunity to fill in this information gap when it briefs the CCCT Board at its Sept. 13 meeting, see the meeting announcement at It is a strategic goal of the CCCT to complete the trail into downtown Silver Spring and connect it seamlessly to the MetBranch Trail. The future CCT section from Rock Creek east to downtown Silver Spring is equal in length to the section from Rock Creek west to Bethesda, and is even more technically challenging along the CSX corridor and at the Silver Spring Transit Center. Hopefully the CCCT Board will give the MTA the opportunity, and the requirement, to show how the CCT will connect through the Sarbanes Transit center.

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3 Responses to “Filling a big hole.”

  1. Woodsider says:

    Should be very interesting. Connecting the Purple Line and the trails is certainly doable, but probably will be very expensive because of the limited space and the significant grade change in the corridor. From what I understand, the Purple line, while horizontally next to the existing tracks, it will vertically be 15′+ above them becuase of the existing grades and the need for the train to turn onto Bonifant after leaving the Transit Center. If the CCT & Met Branch Trails end up on raised platforms, there would be a spectacular view of DTSS…not quite the same as from the raised platforms on the GW trail by Reagan National Airport, but still pretty cool transit experience if you ask me.

  2. admin says:

    As I understand the most likely configuration, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the trail will have almost no change in grade as it passes through the station. The bad news is the trail will be too low to give a good view of much more than the transit center.
    The MTA website has engineering drawings that show the elevation of the future trail and Purple Line tracks from Bethesda to Colesville Road, at The delevation drawing LPA46 (pdf) shows the trail coming into the station at Colesville Road at about 330′ elevation, the same elevation as the existing CSX tracks. Unfortunately the next drawing does not show the trail elevation through the station, but the most straightforward alignment would be to hold the trail at this same elevation all the way through, about 20′ below the elevation of the Purple Line tracks. So from the trail one would be looking east into the transit center second level bus deck, with the Purple line tracks and platforms overhead.

  3. Woodsider says:

    Makes sense…for some reason I was thinking the trail would be parallel to the tracks and on a raised platform.