State transit officials will likely be able to fit a five-foot-wide sidewalk in a tunnel beneath Wisconsin Avenue alongside the planned Purple Line, the Washington Examiner reports. However, pedestrians using the Capital Crescent Trail would need to access the planned Purple Line platform in order to cross beneath the busy thoroughfare using the sidewalk, according to the report.
County and state transportation officials have said that it would be when the planned 16-mile light rail line is built, pointing to a less expensive option that would route trail users across Wisconsin at street level. Some trail advocates, however, have argued that it would be unsafe for trail users to cross at grade.
Local officials including County Council President Roger Berliner (D—Dist. 1) have supported a street-level crossing and asked for further study of building the five-foot sidewalk in the tunnel alongside the rail, affording trail users another option to cross the street.
MTA Purple Line Project Manager Mike Madden told The Examiner the sidewalk, which is still being studied by the Maryland Transit Administration, may be possible. However, because of insufficient room beneath the Apex building, the sidewalk could only run along the north side of the tunnel and pedestrians would need to leave through the planned Purple Line and Metrorail platforms, the Examiner reported.
"It would provide access for people into the station," Madden told The Examiner. "It would not be a trail for people to ride their bikes on."