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June 8, 2011

Rails to Trails VP on Purple Line

Cyclists ride on the Capital Crescent Trail. A Rails to Trails conservancy representative says light rail along the trail could work well.

In a post about this morning's e-mailed trail advocacy, I pondered the Rails to Trails Conservancy's position on Montgomery County's proposed Purple Line, which would run alongside the Capital Crescent Trail. Here is a reply I received from Jeffrey Ciabotti, the conservancy's vice president of trail development:

The portion of the Purple Line being converted to transit and trail use is on railbanked corridor. That is, unused rail corridor that has been preserved for future transportation purposes but in the interim can be used as a public trail. The popularity of the Capital Crescent Trail (and its future connection to the Metropolitan Branch Trail) and the necessity for increased public transportation has resulted in a plan to incorporate both uses on the corridor. There are many such successful examples of rails-with-trails across the country. With good design emphasizing safety and plenty of public input this project can be among the best in the nation.

I'd say that's a fairly detailed response. It sort of makes me wonder about the potential for some sort of simple walking path along Baltimore's light rail line, between BWI and the planned Gwynns Falls / Jones Falls trail link.

Edit: Trail photo added July 5.


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Posted by Patrick Maynard at 4:07 PM | | Comments (4)


I think such a trail is unnecessary. The Jones Falls Trail is very close and parallels the route. It would essentially be superflous at least throughout the City. Add to fact that certain parts would need to be graded and properly lit. Then the necessity for some form of security or police presence along that stretch while are resources are already stretched. Then the increased likelyhood of jaywalking the rails and collisions. The City can't even afford to maintain (or built) its parks facilities in the first place. So simply because something can be done, doesn't necessarily lend itself to a good idea. Each scenario is different. (Not to mention that the right-of-way doesn't really exist along enough parts to connect it properly.)

Let me backpedal a bit, now that realize you were referring to the southern section. So the first point doesn't apply, naturally, but the latter points are still mostly relevant.

Unfortunately, the part of the Purple Line that is proposed for the Georgetown Branch of the Capital Crescent Trail will be too wide to accommodate the trail (viz. tthe plan to run the trail above the trains in the tunnel that goes under Wisconsin Avenue--under the Air Rights building). The rail line also necessitates cutting down hundreds of trees to accommodate the overhead catenary lines, which would eliminate any shade along the trail abutting Town of Chevy Chase and several other towns. It would effectively destroy that part of the trail.

Trees must be removed for construction of the Purple Line, but that does not equate to permanent loss of all shade on all parts of the corridor. Small trees can quickly be established near the trail to provide shade without interfering with overhead catenery lines - there are numerous places around the world where this is done. See for examples.

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About Exercists
Andrea Siegel, a reporter at The Baltimore Sun, covers mostly crime and courts in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, as well as legal issues. She wishes she was more physically fit, and, as she's more fond of chocolate than exercise, fitness is a challenge. Her partner on a one-mile-plus daily walk is the family dog, a mixed breed named Moxie, and she exercises at the gym where the D.C. snipers once worked out.
Jerry Jackson has been a photo editor at The Baltimore Sun for 14 years and an avid cyclist for more than 30 years. Inspired by the movie "Breaking Away," he started racing as a teenager in Mississippi when leather "brain baskets" were still the norm. He regularly commutes to work by bike and still enters several mountain bike races a year for fun.
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Patrick Maynard, who will be writing about running and walking, has been a producer for since 2008. In 2009, he tweeted on-course for the Sun from the Baltimore Marathon, finishing in just under 4 hours and almost managing to run the whole time. He sometimes walks to the Sun offices on Calvert Street.
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Leeann Adams, a multimedia editor at The Baltimore Sun, also dabbles in content for the mobile website and iPhone app and covers the Ravens via video. She did a triathlon to celebrate her 40th birthday and continues to swim, bike and run -- none of them quickly, though. Her biggest fitness challenge is to balance working, working out, spending time with her husband and being a mom to a 6-year-old boy.
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Anica Butler, the Sun's crime editor, is a former high school runner and recovering vegetarian who spent more of her early-adult years on a bar stool than working out. She is currently training (though poorly) for a half marathon and is trying to live a generally healthier lifestyle. She also hates the gym.
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