On Thursday November 17th there will be a public hearing on possible changes to the design of the Capital Crescent Trail next to the Purple Line rail line. The Montgomery County Planning Board is taking public testimony. You can sign up to testify in person or you can submit written comments. For a full description of the issues and proposed changes, see the Planning Department staff report prepared for the hearing. For information on how to testify, see the Board’s agenda page (the trail is agenda item 3).
The most critical issues are:
- Will the trail still pass through the existing tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue, and if not, what route will it follow? To keep the trail in the tunnel with the new rail line would cost roughly $40 million. All for one trail crossing of one road. Even die-hard tunnel advocates are wondering whether that’s worth it. But putting a trail along urban streets would create conflicts with typical sidewalk users and turning cars. See the excellent November 2011 postings on Silver Spring Trails , including “Learning to like the Bethesda surface route ”.
- How will the Capital Crescent Trail intersect with the existing Rock Creek Trail? The Planning Department is recommending a direct trail-to-trail link with switchbacks to get users from the CCT trail to Rock Creek Trail (40 feet below!). A second option is a pair of connections (depending on which way you’re going) along surface streets as sidepaths. The direct link would cost something like $1M. The sidepath option is longer and crosses too many residential driveways. My own idea is a connecting path skirting around behind the apartment complex off Terrace Drive, linking a point on the CCT to the ball fields below .
Let your thoughts and opinions be heard on this! Trail decisions made here and now will be affecting cyclists for a decades.