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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Imagine the Purple Line

It's everyone's favorite light rail debate. Few people argue we don't need an east-west transit link through suburban Maryland. Most people just disagree on how and where it ought to be build. I personally think it ought to be a heavy rail. largely underground. I think that once the light rail is built, the immediate need for more capacity will be very apparent, $200 barrels of oil aside.

I'm not opposed to the light rail idea. I think it would be very successful, other than a few NIMBYs sponsored by Columbia Country Club (who is illegally using much of the county's right-of-way) and a couple of crybabies in Silver Spring who don't want the train to run down their street. I can live with the line being light rail. I can't live with the limitations of the current proposal, however.

So long as this train is MTA and not WMATA, it will, of course, stay in Maryland. but what if it went all the way around the Beltway, plenty of others think it should? What if, instead of just being a glorified bus, it was fully integrated with the Metro system? Sure that would require an enclosed station for every stop, but why not? This is fantasy. A fully integrated rail circumnavigating Washington DC!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you my Purple Line:

View Larger Map

A quick rundown of the stations, with the path to the next station in parentheses follows. Mind you that these are just what I would name the stations, and the routes I would use.

Bethesda Metro (follows Georgetown Branch Trail)
Chevy Chase Lake: Connecticut Av at Manor Rd (Georgetown Branch Trail)
Lyttonsville: Brookeville Rd at Lyttonsville Pl (Metropolitain Branch ROW)
Woodside: 16th St north of East-West Hwy (Red Line ROW)
Silver Spring Metro (Wayne Av)
: Wayne Av at Manchester Pl (tunnel)
Long Branch: Arliss St at Garland Av (Piney Branch Rd)
Piney Branch: Piney Branch Rd at University Blvd (Univ Blvd)
Takoma-Langley: Univ Blvd at New Hampshire Av (Univ Blvd)
Langley Park: Univ Blvd at Riggs Rd (Univ Blvd)
West Campus/UMUC: Univ Blvd at Adelphi Rd (Campus Dr)
Student Union: Campus Drive near Regents Drive (Campus Dr)
East Campus: Rossborough La at Route 1 (Paint Branch Parkway)
College Park Metro (River Rd)
Calvert Park: River Rd at Rivertech Ct (River Rd and Kenilworth Av)
East Riverdale: Riverdale Rd at Kenilworth Avenue (Riverdale Rd)
Veterans Parkway: Riverdale Rd at Veterans Pkwy (Veterans Pkwy)
Landover Hills: Veterans Pkwy at Annapolis Rd (Annapolis Rd to Harkins Rd)
New Carrollton Metro...'s where I start taking some creative liberties...

...(Ardwick-Ardmore Rd)
Glenarden: Ardwick-Ardmore Rd at MLK Highway (Brightseat Rd)
FedEx Field (Arena Drive)
Largo Metro (Harry S Truman Dr)
Kettering/PGCC: Truman Dr at Campus Dr (Truman Dr to at-grade-ROW to Ritchie Rd)
District Heights: Ritchie Rd at Walker Mill Rd (Ritchie Rd)
Forestville: Forestville Rd at Pennsylvania Av (Forestville Rd to Beltway)
Morningside/Andrews AFB: Suitland Rd at Allentown Rd (Beltway)
Temple Hills: Beltway near St Barnabas Rd (Oxon Hill Rd)
Oxon Hill: Livingston Rd at Oxon Hill Rd (Oxon Hill Rd to Harborview Av)
National Harbor: Nat'l Harbor Blvd at Waterfront St (Wilson Bridge)
Alexandria South: Washington St at South St (Washington St)
Old Town Alexandria: Washington St at King St (King St)
King Street Metro (Duke Street)
Landmark: Duke St at Van Dorn St (Duke St)
Lincolnia: Little River Tpk at Beauregard St (Little River Tpk)
Pinecrest: Little River Tpk at Braddock Rd (Little River Tpk)
Annandale: Little River Tpk at Columbia Pike (Beltway to Gallows Rd)
Merrifield: Gallows Rd at Arlington Blvd (Gallows Rd)
Lee Highway: Gallows Rd at Lee Hwy (Gallows Rd)
Dunn Loring Metro (Gallows Rd)
Tyson's South: Gallows Rd at Old Courthouse Rd (Tyson's Corner Center Parking)
Tyson's Central 123 Metro (Tyson's Blvd)
Tyson's North: Westbranch Dr at Jones Branch Dr (Beltway)
Great Falls: Beltway at Georgetown Pike (Beltway to Clara Barton Pkwy)
Cabin John: MacArthur Blvd at 7 Locks Rd (MacArthur Blvd)
Glen Echo: MarArthur Blvd at Goldsboro Rd (Goldsboro to River Rd)
Somerset/Kenwood: River Rd at Dorsey Lane (Little Falls Pkwy to Arlington Rd to Edgemoor Lane to Bethesda Metro

I'm sure there will be plenty of suggestions as to what you folks think the alignment should be. Please share. However, like plenty before me, I have a vision of a vastly expanded Metro system into which this alignment fits perfectly. As soon as I find a suitable manner to illustrate it, I'll share the whole thing with the world. But I'm just starting this blog. I don't want to overwhelm the world quite yet.


Anonymous said...

Imagine for a moment that Aerobus was a popular choice in transit circles, rather than being an interesting demo system of the past which has only recently started getting orders.

It's based on suspension bridges and suspended trains, and promises a light visual footprint, $10 million a mile construction expenses, the ability to leap tall buildings, long zoning codes, or wide rivers in a single bound, and 7500 passengers/hour/direction.

The track I just laid out in Google Earth, to try and connect the region's transit bottlenecks and unconnected urbanized areas (minus the purple line, which is already in cement), was 75 miles, and went from Poplar Point to National Harbor to Arlington, all over Northern Virginia, up into Maryland and around all the neglected downtown DC stops, connected East Potomac Park with the Mall with Southwest with a bunch of stops in Southeast. For roughly a billion dollars.

Adding another RoW-jumping transit to the palimpsest, particularly one where you can put a low profile station anywhere easily (even in the middle of a street or on the top of a building) is quite attractive.

Map to come once I set up my blog (a few more days).


Dave Murphy said...


Look forward to reading the blog. A couple problems with Aerobus: It's not great if you have to turn, and it's not viable anywhere with a scenic easement. I know they have a couple lightning concerns and a few problems with emergency evacuation.I think this would be most viable for the Techway, which would connect Manassas to Gaithersburg. I'm all about multi-modal.