MTA: Rail-Trail Options For Wisconsin Ave. Tunnel Not Feasible
MTA rejected two proposals that would shift the Bethesda Purple Line station east of Wisconsin Avenue to better accommodate both rail and trail in a tunnel there.
Two options to squeeze both the planned Purple Line and Capital Crescent Trail into a tunnel beneath Wisconsin Avenue are not feasible, the Maryland Transit Administration has ruled in a new analysis, the Washington Post reported.
Both of the options MTA reviewed involve building the Bethesda station on the proposed 16-mile light rail east of Wisconsin Avenue to better accommodate both the metro and local residents who use the trail to walk and bike, the Post reports.
But an option to build the station east of the tunnel would lead to extra trip time for riders transferring between Bethesda’s Red Line station and the Purple Line, and another option to expand the tunnel by tearing down and redeveloping an office building would be too costly, MTA reported, according to the Post.
Residents have blasted a cheaper option to route the trail above ground across busy Wisconsin, citing safety issues and saying they have long been promised that the trail would remain in the tunnel when the Purple Line is constructed.
County Council President Roger Berliner (D) told the Post he would seek community input. Berliner chairs the council’s transportation committee, which is set to discuss the issue Thursday.
“Whether it warrants spending $47 million more to run the trail through the tunnel rather than at street level is a significant question,” Berliner told the Post.