Lyttonsville Community Supports Purple Line Review

Maryland Transit Administration will revisit the planned Purple Line yard design and location in historic Lyttonsville neighborhood.

After the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) official Mike Madden notified the Lyttonsville community that MTA will review the county's Purple Line rail yard, slated to be built in their community, the Lyttonsville Civic Association released the following statement:

The community expressed serious concerns during two recent meetings with MTA about new design options for the heavy industrial purple line support facility, which called for the rail yard and maintenance shop to be larger and built along the northern and eastern borders of the neighborhood. The new design also separated the community from the Capital Crescent Trail.

Earlier designs, supported by the community, had placed a smaller-scale facility on county-owned property to the west of the neighborhood, further from homes, and placed the trail closer to the community.

The community's main concern is the viability and future of Lyttonsville, a small, modest neighborhood between downtown Bethesda and downtown Silver Spring.

"We would like Lyttonsville and surrounding neighborhoods to share in any prosperity that the Purple Line might bring to the area," said Susan Buchanan of Lyttonsville. "The latest design proposal was a complete insult. It threatened to isolate all neighborhoods south of the Purple Line behind an industrial wasteland. Nobody would benefit from a 24-hour a day heavy industrial rail yard and maintenance shop in their back yard."

The community asked MTA to build the rail yard and maintenance shop to the west of the neighborhood on county-owned land to preserve the commercially zoned property on the neighborhood's northern and eastern borders for much needed jobs, tax revenues and possible future amenities.

Based on community concerns, MTA said it will evaluate shared use with nearby county facilities to the west of the neighborhood, other locations for the parking garage, options to enhance the trail and increase green space, options to increase bridge widths for wider sidewalks, minimizing the size of the yard and exploring landscaping and green roofing options.

"We're thankful that MTA has agreed to address our concerns and we look forward to seeing a new design proposal that moves the entire rail yard and support buildings back to the western side of the neighborhood where no one lives," Buchanan said.

MTA will contact the Lyttonsville Civic Association for further discussion upon completion of additional design studies.

Wayne Phyillaier October 13, 2011 at 06:53 PM
I welcome the MTA commitment to evaluate this plan to reduce the impact upon the Lyttonsville Community and to enhance the trail. But comments like "it threatened to isolate all neighborhoods south of the Purple Line behind an industrial wasteland" are over dramatic and unfair. The neighborhoods are already isolated behind an industrial wasteland. If you doubt that, take a walk down the Interim CCT to its end at Stewart Avenue, and look around at all of the storage yards and warehouses that are there now. Or take a "virtual tour" using Gmaps aerial views and street views. You can start a virtual tour at www.silverspringtrails.org We can work together to improve the Purple Line design, but we should be realistic about what is already there.
Jerry October 13, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Lyttonsville residents should be aware not only of the visual impact of the proposed rail yard, but also the audio impact. Painful lessons have been learned from the rail yard for the Silver Line in Fairfax County. It was sneaked into a residential neighborhood because the residents were not vigilant. Now the neighborhood suffers from severe "wheel squeal" night and day. It is so bad that many residents keep their windows permanently closed, and have replaced their single and double pane windows with triple pane windows to keep out the noise. Some have become ill from the noise. There is nothing they can do about it, except either suffer or sell out at distressed prices and move. WMATA is non responsive to their complaints.
mpd October 13, 2011 at 08:25 PM
I think you missed their point (and, in the process, may have alienated a group that is actually not opposed to the project). Their point was that in overtaking the industrial area via eminent domain, they will miss out on the economic development of that area that could result from the Purple Line. They weren't trying to glamorize the industrial area as it is now.
Susan Buchanan October 14, 2011 at 03:05 PM
The area now is LIGHT industrial and commercially zoned. It's prime commercial real estate well inside the Beltway and right on the Purple Line. We would much prefer to keep what's there with businesses that have been good, quiet neighbors than have the whole northern border of the neighborhood turned into a HEAVY industrial rail/maintenance yard. I'm not saying what's there now is beautiful, but it's preferable to what's being proposed. As mpd notes, placing the rail yard on that prime piece of land would prevent future possibilities.


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