ACT Slams Chevy Chase For Tactics Against Purple Line

The Action Committee for Transit (ACT), issued a statement claiming the Town of Chevy Chase aims to keep outsiders away as the town continues to fight against the Purple LIne.

“With their arguments against the Purple Line blown away by the state’s new environmental study, opponents in Chevy Chase are falling back on undisguised stalling tactics. Students at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School are now in the cross-hairs of the Town of Chevy Chase along with east-west commuters.”

The town’s choice to cut off a footpath across the future light rail right-of-way, where an interim gravel trail now exists, flies in the face of its “save the trail” slogan. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School students currently use the crossing to walk to school. “This path across the Capital Crescent Trail provides a much used shortcut for BCC students on their walk to and from school each day,” said BCC sophomore Lucy Brown. “To cut off this shortcut, but preserve the rest of the trail defeats the purpose of saving the trail.”

“We keep hearing about the beautiful greenery along the right of way, but the town would rather make students walk an extra half-mile to school than let light rail riders see that greenery,” added ACT vice-president Ben Ross. “For that matter, why won’t the town let people walk down from the interim trail after dark? Pedestrian connections that are entirely within the Town are open 24 hours a day. We see once again that the real object here is to exclude non-residents and turn a publicly owned transit right of way into a private preserve for a privileged enclave.”

pedestrian crossing purple line by MTA

Rendering | Maryland Transportation Authority

According to ACT, the Town of Chevy Chase, seeks to ensure that outsiders are not visible from its exclusive streets. The Town of Chevy Chase told the Maryland Transit Administration to close the foot crossing, where an interim gravel trail now runs. The town rejected MTA’s offer to build a pedestrian tunnel under the future light rail line because the tracks would have to be raised 10 to 12 feet, giving train passengers a better view of its manicured lawns. MTA has said an at-grade crossing would not be safe because trains will come around a blind curve at high speed.

The statement continued, “On September 11, councilman John Bickerman recommended to a Town Council meeting that the way to kill the light rail project is with delay tactics. “I think we go after the process of land acquisition and condemnation,” he said. “Stall that process so that the state can’t acquire land.” Last week the town, voted to pursue the fight against the project by hiring lawyers and consultants.

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