A Poor Compromise for the Purple Crescent Trail

IMG_1830Time to celebrate a little victory! The message below was sent out the Washington Area Bicyclist Association who has played a vital role in keeping our trail alongside the future Purple Line. We understand that “grade-separated” means that there was going to be some kind of little bridge across Jones Mill Road for the trail. That actually would be a huge improvement even without the light rail. (The way things are right now, many walkers or cyclists don’t have the patience to wait for the super short push-controlled pedestrian light and instead risk their safety by dodging cars that are shooting around from Jones Bridge.)
It appears that within a pretty short time, lots of people sent their message to the County Executive. (Check out the former “take action” button for their update.) Click here for a full downloadable version of the official Washington, DC bike map.
Dear trail user,
After years of public input and agreement on the design for the future Capital Crescent trail, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) just moved unilaterally to eliminate the long-promised grade-separated crossing of busy Jones Mill Rd.Take ActionThe grade separation makes the trail safer, and safety is vital to ensuring this heavily travelled trail remains a viable transportation option. Through thousands of hours of meetings on the future of the Capital Crescent Trail, County officials have promised safe crossings of major roadways that don’t leave bicyclists competing with cars or pressing “Walk” buttons and waiting for minutes.But the County’s own transportation officials just sent a letter to the Maryland Transit Agency (MTA), requesting that the separation be removed from the request for proposals (RFP).Despite years of working together on this project, MCDOT did not notify the public.They did not hold a meeting. They did not mention this at a Council hearing. They did not send a note to representatives of the bicycling community. It is unclear whether they even communicated their intentions to the County Executive.Frankly, they tried to sneak this past without any of us noticing.We noticed. We noticed that at the first opportunity to save money by sacrificing trail safety, they attempted to do so in a manner that evades public scrutiny and reneges on years of promises.I need you to take action today to tell the County Executive that we will not stand for such a downgrade to our prized trail, or for such misleading actions from our local transportation officials.

Our hope is that the County Executive’s office was as misled as we were, and that they will immediately, clearly, and unambiguously tell MTA that the County is NOT seeking an amendment to the Purple Line RFP to eliminate the grade-separated crossing at Jones Mill Road.

With years of work still ahead to complete the trail as promised, we cannot stand for a precedent of closed-door decisions that remove, or compromise, long-promised trail improvements.

Please CLICK HERE to send a message to the County Executive and the Council’s Transportation Committee.

– via Shane Farthing, Executive Director, Washington Area Bicyclist Association