Advisory Group Backs New Bethesda Metro Station Entrance
Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board says new entrance will help Metro commuters avoid headaches.
The Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board is lending its support to funding for a new south entrance to the Bethesda Metro station.
The advisory group voiced support for the project -- which would bring a total of six high-speed elevators between the street level at Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Street, the Red Line Metro station, and a planned Bethesda station on the Purple Line -- in a letter late last month to the Montgomery County Council weighing in on County Executive Isiah Leggett’s proposed capital budget.
Leggett (D) recommended delaying construction funds for the project in his proposed spending plan, a move he said would allow for the project to coincide with Purple Line construction. With funding for the 16-mile light rail project still unsecured, it’s not clear when it will move forward, and construction of the new entrance is “inseparable” from construction of the Purple Line station, officials have said.
But the move to delay the funding was blasted by transportation advocates, who say the new entrance will provide a needed alternative to the bemoaned Bethesda station entrance escalators, scheduled for rehabilitation by Metro in 2014.
A Montgomery County Council transportation committee voted last month against deferring the majority of construction funds for the Bethesda Metro entrance.
“The WMCCAB fully supports funding the Bethesda Metro Station South Entrance. With the upcoming reconstruction of the station’s escalators and the already crowded rush hour conditions, the additional capacity provided by a bank of high speed elevators could prove critical to avoiding frustration and delays for the many county residents who use the station on a regular basis,” wrote the group. “Funding this project also sends a positive message to Annapolis about the county’s commitment to Bethesda and the Purple Line.”
What are your thoughts on the new Bethesda Metro station entrance? Is it needed? Should construction funds for the project be freed up while plans for the Purple Line gel, or should the project move forward independently? Tell us in the comments.