Nov 152011

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:

  1. 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 “.
  2. 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.

Jack Cochrane
Chair, MoBike

  4 Responses to “Capital Crescent Trail hearing Thursday – be sure to weigh in!”

  1. Jack, My thoughts, can’t the existing connection from the CCT to the Rock Creek Trail via Suzanna and the sidewalk on Jones Mill Road be enhanced? Also, w/r to the tunnel below Wisconsin, it may be difficult (and very expensive) to stack one tunnel above the other and still afford enough vertical clearance for tall riders on hybrid bicycles.

    John Telesco

    • @John, The Susanna connection could be enhanced via wider sidewalk, yes. If there’s no switchback route down from the trestle I think that would be done regardless of what is done along Terrace Ave, because it provides the west-north connection.

  2. You say that locating the trail would cost an additional $40 million. That’s not accurate. It’s more accurate to say that locating the trail in the tunnel may add as much as $40 million. As other blogs such as Silver Springs Trails have pointed out, some of that figure represents the cost of shoring up supports that may need shoring up even if the trail is placed on the surface.

    While that may sound like a distinction without a difference, it frames the question you then ask, as to whether spendign x dollars on a trail in the tunnel is worth it.

  3. It sounds like $40M is just an upper limit then. Good to know.

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