Park Hills Civic Association 9 March 2016 Mtg. Minutes

 

22 people attended the meeting held at SIMS.

Alan Bowser (President) welcomed people to the meeting.

The association is currently solvent.

The Secretary (Paul Guinnessy) presented the minutes of the last meeting, which were approved. He pointed out that if anyone was interested in running for office, they should contact him.

County Tree Program (County representatives)

Stan Edwards talked about the tree program by the county.

The county planted 500 trees last year under their tree planting program called Tree Montgomery (https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DEP/Tree/Tree-request.html ).

For many years the county had a tree protection law that protected large forests, but it didn’t cover the individual tree loss in already developed urban areas. The Tree canopy law passed in 2013 said that if trees are removed by construction then the developer had to pay to replenish trees (about $750 for each tree removed). So far the program has raised $1 million in fees for the scheme. The county provides two staff members to work on analyzing the best place to plant the trees. The program provides canopy trees in places where they can survive. i.e. 400 sq ft for the tree to give there roots a chance to grow. It includes two years of aftercare on the tree (protection against deer, watering, pruning etc..).

Stump removal is handled by a different dept and this canopy law can only be funded to put trees on private property, not public property. Pepco is another issue, regulated by the public service commission. If you see a mark on a tree that is a blue dot, then pepco is trimming it, orange is county color. Pepco encourages the planting of specific type of tree underneath power lines that won’t grow above the power cables.

In the county, if you disturb more than 5000 sq ft of soil you have to get a control permit. It doesn’t stop you from taking trees down, it just means you might have to pay to plant replacement trees elsewhere.

The county has decided not to plant ash trees because of the bore beetle which is wiping them all out.

Bowser asked for volunteers to act as a Parkhills contact person for Tree Montgomery, and also another volunteer to manage the trees on public property.

Edwards pointed out that January 1, 2018 the new pesticide law goes into effect.

———-

Speeding on Dale (General discussion led by Alan Bowser)

Neighbor Renia said that she loved the construction time on Dale as no one could speed along the street, and the new crosswalk protection for the pedestrians at Dale and Mansfield, hasn’t seem to have any effect in slowing down traffic. Bowser said that PHCA raised the issue with Tom Hucker’s office. David X from his office said that they raised it with DOT and there will be new speed warnings 25 mph in the next 30 days. Commander Jones of the police said they will sending cops out to check over the last few days.

A discussion resulted on why people speed on that stretch of road.

David said he would check if you could put warning hazard signs.

Renia (215 Dale Drive) pointed out there is a bus stop at fleetwood ave and having a pedestrian refuge in the middle would help.

Purple Line Update (Chris Richardson)

A consortium has been picked by the state. Chris Richardson pointed out that the Wayne Advisory Group managed to get Montgomery County Department of Transportation to assess the speed along Wayne Ave. The speed limit will change from 30 mph to 25 mph effective a few weeks from now. Bowser suggested that maybe ParkHills and Seven Oaks should have a joint meeting to discuss the Purple Line. The Power Substation is to go onto the school property but no one knows where.

The meeting ended at 9pm.

Advertisements

Park Hills Civic Association Oct. 22, 2015 Mtg. Minutes

Park Hills Civic Association 

General Meeting 

October 22, 2015

Minutes 

The quarterly meeting of the Park Hills Civic Association was held on Wednesday, October 22, 2015 at the Silver Spring International Middle School. There were about 23 attendees.

Secretary’s report: Minutes of the 22 May meeting were read out.

Treasurer’s report: The association currently has a balance of $800.21 due to the cancelation of the annual picnic.

Sweep the Creek: Parkhills and the local cub scout group once again managed to clean a substantial part of the creek. Our thanks to all those involved, particularly our point person,  Chris Richardson.

Signs for walk back to school: Alan Bowser and Chris Richardson placed signs up at the start of school to try and persuade drivers to be more vigilant in looking for school children crossing the road.

Community yard sale: The last community yard sale was considered a big success by those who attended. Bowser agreed to see if anyone was interested in running a similar sale in the spring.

Tree walk around: Fran Sussman organized a local arborist walked around and visited a number of neighbors on September 19 to discuss the current care and standard of trees in the area. This is particularly important considering the stress trees have been under with the temperature extremes experienced this year, and the proposed loss of tree habitat in the near future.  The 15 or more neighbors who took advantage of his services were extremely pleased with both the advice and with the opportunity to talk with their neighbors on these issues.

Bowser represented Parkhills at a number of civic events during the summer. He also announced more details over our Thanksgiving parade walk for the November 21.

Main meeting event: Q&A with WSSC

WWSC’s Brandon Stewart (customer advocate) and their contractor manager Curtis Pinder kindly came to the meeting to answer questions had regarding the sewer line work done by the creek.

Branson says that they appreciate that the projects can be time consuming and thank residents for their patience. He said they would be more than happy to come out and visit residents if they have other questions at a later date. To help speed things up, most of the following questions were collected in advance:

  1. What does WSSC do? Water provider for the region’s 1.8 million households. Main focus at the moment is replacing water and waste pipes of the aging infrastructure.
  2. What is WSSC doing in Sligo Creek Park?  Why is this work necessary? WWSC received a federal mandate to update the sewer system and the lines that go through the park. They have 5 years to replace the sanitary system. WWSC has nothing to do with waste water produced in the park or run-off from roads. They are relining the old sewer lines (using robot cameras to check whether this type of repair is suitable. Pipe that requires more maintenance is dug up and repaired. The black pipes seen all over the creek replaces the main lines when they are doing the relining.
  3. What is the construction schedule for the WSSC work in Sligo Creek Park; when will it be completed? They are unsure how long it will take but they expect the work to potentially take another 3-4 years to complete the whole project.
  4. Does the WSSC work adversely affect the environment?  What is the occasional strong odor near the WSSC work? Its from the pipe relining and nothing to be concerned about. 
  5. What is the lasting impact on the Creek, water quality and safety after the improvements This work should improve and save the creek. Up until 1963 the storm system and the waste water could be merged into one. After that date they had to be separate. If they come across an old house with an issue as they are working they are also separating the lines as part of their repairs.
  6. Is Sligo Creek safe for families and pets? Yes it is, but if you’re walking along and you see machinery and equipment working, be cautious. If you do see something unsafe (i.e. equipment not roped off) look for the signs and call the contractor. Tel 301 206 4002 is the emergency number or call 311.
  7. How has the WSSC work in Sligo Creek been coordinated with Montgomery County agencies? Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Creek are going to be working with WWSC to restore the area once they are done.
  8. Has WSSC coordinated with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and Maryland Transit Administration about the future Purple Line? As of now we’ve had no knowledge or communication with dept of transportation over the purple line.
  9. Are there any new water/sewage line rehabilitation projects planned for our neighborhood? One of the things their web site can provide http://www.wwscwater.com are links connected to work being done in your neighborhood which will tell you what phase of any project in and who to contact for further information. 
  10. Is there a way to monitor the process online? No. But the web site can tell you who to contact for more information. Moreover, signs near the work tells you what stage the project is in.
  11. How do you make complaints about overflows, discharges and odors near the WSSC work? Visit the web site or use the contact number on the signs.
  12. Pinhole leaks. Are still an ongoing problem in the neighborhood.

WSSC ended their contribution at this part of the meeting, stating they are willing to come back to Parkhills at a later date.

Park Hills/Wayne Ave Purple Line Task Force

Chris Richardson brought up the history of the migration options that were proposed for the Purple Line on Wayne Ave, and how five years later on, most of them were abandoned. Richardson talked about how he started a change.org campaign to ask for consideration of making sure if the purple line was going ahead to make sure the project was done right. Over 600 people signed the petition and it was extremely helpful in getting our local officials to pay attention to these issues while we waited for the governor to make a decision. Unfortunately, Jamie Raskin and Sheila ran out of time to get it onto the governor’s purple line agenda.  However, there was a meeting in which the two representatives were able to submit our resident’s concerns to Joanna Conklin of MCDot.

Ike Leggett has been extremely helpful in creating a local advisory taskforce to look at some of the Purple Line concerns along Wayne Ave and seems engaged in listening to these concerns.

Richardson explained that the widening of the road expected at the corner of Wayne & Dale to seven lanes seems unnecessary and that alternative proposals were being put to MTA. There is confusion over who exactly wants to road widened.

MTA has taken ownership of this noise squeal based on this last meeting the wayne advisory group. However, most of the earlier proposals to limit wheel squeal have now been abandoned by MTA.

Richardson said that from Fenton to Silgo Creek Pwy it is very clear from the county engineers is that they expect the only crossings will be at the traffic lights. All the other crossings are highly likely to be banned. Richardson says we’ve been asking for clarity for years on what migration options would be available on Wayne Ave.

Richardson also reminded the room that Valerie Ervin said there was no current plan to upzone around Dale Station, but as we’ve seen by the Chelsea school zone change, residents shouldn’t put too much faith in Ervin’s statement as up zoning around Purple Line stations forms a significant part of the county master plan.

Bowser said he was more positive from the Oct 7 meeting but he pointed out that there may a special tax added to districts to help pay for the purple line.

The room was also reminded that significant cut through traffic is likely once construction starts on Wayne Ave, particularly on Mansfield Rd. Whether the cut through traffic continues will depend on how the Purple Line is constructed, and how efficient it is to use the Dale Ave junction by drivers.

Finally, it was pointed out that no one now knows what will happen with the Purple Line, as the contractors will be given wide latitude to alter the project in an attempt to cut costs.

At this point, the meeting ended.

Park Hills Civic Association May 20, 2015 Mtg. Minutes

Minutes taken by Elsie Heyrman Klumpner, Acting Secretary

The quarterly meeting of the Park Hills Civic Association was held on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at the Silver Spring International Middle School.

The speakers were Jill Ortman-Fouse, Montgomery County Board of Education, Kathleen Dearstine, Landscape Architect, Montgomery County Department of Parks, and Brian Lewandowski, Montgomery County Department of Parks

Also attending were Dave Asche, Legislative Aide to Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker, and Debbie Spielberg, Legislative Aide to Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich.

There was no regular business meeting.

Dale Drive Neighborhood Park. Kathy Dearstine and Brian Lewandowski of the Montgomery County Parks Department briefed Association members on the status of the Dale Drive Neighborhood Park Playground project.

They noted that while plans for the playground and its equipment had been finalized in light of neighbor’s comments and suggestions, completion of the playground project would be delayed because of storm water management issues on the park site. There was no date for the playground project completion.

Because tremendous amounts of storm water from Hartford Avenue and Dale Drive ran directly through parking lot and the playground site, the Parks Department needed to extensive modifications to the parking lot and the areas surrounding the playground to reduce the velocity of the storm water so it would not damage the playground , nearby fields and Sligo Creek.

There are plans to construct an asphalt berm near Dale Drive to shunt the water towards a to-be-constructed storm water capture pool and drainage ditch leading to Sligo Creek. The size of the parking lot would be reduced to limit the impervious surface. The Parks Department would protect and preserve as many trees on the site as possible, although two trees had been identified as been potentially dangerous to park users and would be removed. The parking lot and the new playground site would be ADA-compliant, and a new grill would be added to the park. A safe rubberized material—not ground up tires—would be used on the playground. It was suggested the members visit the Willard Avenue neighborhood park near River Road in Chevy Chase to see what the new Dale Drive park might look like.

In answers to member’s questions, Kathy Dearstine said that, because of the drainage issues, consideration had been given to moving the playground closer to Dale Drive, behind the Parks-owned property located there. She also indicated that the Parks Department might be able to install an exercise station for adults somewhere in the park area, but not on the playground site.

Montgomery County Public Schools.   Jill Ortman-Fouse,was elected to her first four-year term as an At-Large Member of the Montgomery County Board of Education on November 4, 2014. She is a member of the Board’s Strategic Planning and Special Populations committees.

Ortman-Fouse introduced herself and invited questions from the audience. In response to questions she discussed the following issues: the mandate of the Board of Education, including reviewing policies and voting on the selection of a Superintendent. Other issues currently facing the Board of Education are: zero tolerance policy for gun possession by students; new policies being considered relating to the “school to prison” issue; reducing suspensions for bad behavior vs. reengaging the students in productive activity; retraining of teachers to deal with conflict and disruptions constructively; the lack of adequate physical activity for students (all agree that physical activity aids learning in classroom); punishment should not involve withholding recess; the lack of funds for sports activities; and insufficient number of school busses.

Commenting on the search for a new Superintendent of Schools, she said that Larry Bowers will be Acting Superintendent for now. He’s been in the system for 37 years and understands well the fiscal matters of the Board of Education. The search for a permanent Superintendent was not successful for a variety of reasons. Anew search will begin Fall 2015

She discussed some of the challenges facing the Montgomery County Schools: huge ESOL population; twenty-thousand students live below the poverty line; the achievement gap is a big challenge; trying to reducing impact of time spent teaching to the standard tests; less funding; and lack of space – there are 400 portable classrooms in use right now.

PHCA Treasurer’s Report – May, 2015

Submitted by Elsie Heyrman Klumpner

Activity:

1) Current Monument Bank Balance: $791.11

2) Paypal Usage: total 17 dues payments

3) Personal check: total 7 dues payments

Meeting was adjourned at 9:15pm

PHCA Joint Meeting with SOECA — 19 February 2015

Park Hills Civic Association General Meeting

Joint meeting with Seven Oaks-Evanswood Citizens Association

Minutes

2/19/15 7:30 pm

Park Hills Civic Association General Meeting

Minutes

February 19, 2015

The Park Hills Civic Association and the Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association met jointly on February 19, 2015 at the Silver Spring International Middle School. More than 50 residents attended the joint meeting.

The featured speaker of the joint meeting was Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker (D5), a member of the County Council’s Public Safety and Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committees.

In his opening remarks, Councilmember Hucker highlighted three issues: the Purple Line, the County Executive’s proposal for an Independent Transit Authority, and issues related to the State stormwater management fee.

With regard to the Purple Line, he said that it was the No. 1 economic investment project for Montgomery County. He expressed strong support for the project and noted that the Governor has not yet made it clear what his plans are for the project. Tom believes modifications of the project’s scope might be considered to keep costs down. The two transportation priorities for Montgomery County right now are the Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT). He is aware of the many concerns about the effect of the infrastructure on the neighborhoods in our area​.​

With regard to the ITA proposal, he said its rollout was terrible and he was glad that it was withdrawn. Noting that the current climate in Annapolis regarding spending was not good, he said that the ITA represented a plan to get transportation funding for Montgomery County.

With regard to stormwater management fees, he said that there was confusion and misrepresentation about the fee, which Governor Hogan had called a “rain tax.” He noted that he had been the principal author of the state stormwater management fee which supported State efforts to reduce pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. Hopefully, the General Assembly will prevent the Governor from repealing the fee.

QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE.

Funding Bus Rapid Transit. CM Hucker discussed issues related to transportation funding. He expressed the view that BRT issues might be well managed in the existing Department of Transportation which should change its emphasis to new transit issues.

Bus Rapid Transit. CM Hucker said that light rail was the preferred mode for the Purple Line, and that a BRT alternative was not likely to be reconsidered. He said that light rail provided more capacity than BRT. He said that Ride-On and WMATA bus service needed to be improved.

Working with MTA. CM Hucker said that MTA’s community engagement needed improvement. He noted the engagement of the County Executive’s office and said that he would be an advocate for neighborhoods. He added that there seemed to be inequities in the treatment of communities east and west of Rock Creek. He discussed several impacts on Wayne Avenue.

Silver Spring Transit Center. CM Hucker said that transit center would be open after the repairs had been completed and WMATA had accepted the project. Responsibility for the project’s delay and defective construction would be decided in courts after the project was completed.

Private Ownership of Public Parks. CM Hucker said that there was a lot of confusion about the recent survey distributed by the Park Department and that there were no policy proposals to consider by the Council and the community.

Silver Spring Village. CM Hucker expressed support for converting the old Silver Spring into an intergenerational recreation center.

Longer Terms for Planning Board Chair.   CM Hucker discussed the proposal to permit longer terms for the Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board.

Permitting Services. CM Hucker said that, in response to a comment about difficulties working with the Department of Permitting Services, he would work with the neighbors.

Old Blair Auditorium. CM Hucker said that he had and would continue to support the renovation of the Elizabeth Stickley Auditorium in the International Middle School.

MCPS Superintendent. CM Hucker discussed the process for choosing a new superintendent. He said it might take some time to select a new superintendent since there were many vacancies throughout the country.

Puppy Mill Legislation. CM Hucker discussed legislation to prohibit the sale of animals from puppy mills.

New Silver Spring Library. CM Hucker responded to a concern that birds might collide with the large glass windows of the new library.

Property Taxes. CM Hucker noted that the County Executive had discussed increasing County property taxes to deal with budget shortfalls and increased demand for County services. He said that it was not likely that property taxes would be increased beyond the Charter limit.

White Oak Development. CM Hucker said that the next step in White Oak development was the drafting of a General Development Agreement by the County Executive’s office. He said that Councilmembers did not have much new information on the project.

Purple Line and Wayne Avenue. In response to a question about how residential properties on Wayne Avenue would be affected by the Purple Line and how best to negotiate with MTA, he said that his office would be willing to work with any affected residents.

PHCA and SOECA ASSOCIATION BUSINESS.

Jean Cavanaugh and Anne Edwards provided an update on the Purple Line.

Jean Cavanaugh provided an update on plans for the reuse of the old Silver Spring Library.

Jean Cavanaugh discussed developments related to the Ellsworth Communty Park.​ ​She noted that the County had agreed to install pathway lights and a new water fountain.

Don Slater discussed plans to increase pedestrian safety at the Dale Drive and Mansfield Road.

PHCA Treasurer’s Report. Elsie Heyrman Klumpner reported that there was $624.89 in Association’s bank account. She noted that the use of Paypal for dues payment had been very successful and asked residents to pay their 2015 dues.

Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm.

Minutes drafted by Elsie Heyrman Klumpner, Acting Secretary.

Park Hills Civic Association 10 December 2014 Mtg. Minutes

 

Minutes
Park Hills Civic Association General Meeting
December 10, 2014 7:30pm
Silver Spring International Middle School

 

1. Introductions – 22 members of the community attended.

 

2. Treasurer’s Report – Elsie Klumper reported that PHCA had a current balance of $288.  She also noted that PHCA now banks with Monument Bank in downtown Silver Spring and that arrangements have been made to accept dues via PayPal at the PHCA website www.https://parkhillscivic.com/

 

3 Secretary’s Report – Paul Guinnessy reported on the October 2014 General Meeting.  The minutes were approved.

 

4. New Silver Spring Library.  Staff from the Montgomery County Department of Libraries briefed the membership on the transition to the new library building at the corner of Fenton Street and Wayne Avenue.  The new library will be the largest one in Montgomery County with 60,000 square feet available.  The library entrance will be on the 3rd floor where the customer service desk and self service machines are based. On the same floor, there will a Media lab with a 3D printer, Apple computers, and more high tech stuff (fax machines, copiers, tablets for use inside the library) to encourage teens to visit.  The entire 5th floor will be dedicated to children & youth resources.  The meeting rooms at the library can seat at least 150 people (which can be split in half).  These rooms are not dependent on the opening hours of library for use. The library will standardize on RDF technology (a small chip in the book) to count books in and out.

 

Other community benefits include a small disability resource area and ADA compliant materials. There will be more open hours (66 hours in total) with the library open seven days a week and 9am-9pm Monday to Thursday. The building has better wifi that’s on a faster T1 high speed backbone. There may be a adult book club held during the day.

 

There is no date yet for when the library will open.  More information about the new library at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DGS-BDC/SS/710302.html

 

5. Vote on PHCA Dues Increase.  A Motion to increase PHCA Annual Dues from $10 to $15 was passed unanimously.

 

6.  Silver Spring Village.  Gary Klauber reported on the Silver Spring Village program and its recent activities. SSV provides services for elderly people so that they can age in their homes. They have 75 paying members (both full and associate). They have had 12,673 hours of personal volunteer service (moving bins, tax service, groceries etc..). There has been 120 events (meals, trips, talks etc…) over the last year. The big news is that the group is going to pay for a part time employee in the upcoming future. For more information, visit the website at http://silverspringvillage.org
7.  Purple Line Update.  Chris Richardson (Vice-President) reported on a recent MTA-hosted meeting with parents, teachers, MCPS administrators, and neighbors on Purple Line impacts on Sligo Creek Elementary School,the Silver Spring International Middle School, and the Dale Drive/Wayne Avenue Middle School.  He reported that Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer had expressed concern about the impacts on Wayne Avenue and would hold a County County committee hearing on the issues.

 

He also reported that residents on Wayne Avenue had received  notices from MTA regarding the impact of the Purple Line on their residential properties.  Many properties would be affected by the temporary construction easements and property takings required  by the Purple Line footprint.

 

Tina Slater, a PHCA member, who is also on the Board of  Action Committee for Transit, gave a brief update on the current status of the Purple Line. She noted that it will be sometime after Gov-elect Hogan is sworn when we will find out whether the Purple Line will go ahead. It may be frozen for four years, but the federal authorities might not provide the federal contribution if the project is delayed.

 

8.  General Announcements.  Alan Bowser (President) reported that:

 

Sweeping the Creek/Adopt A Road – Park Hills Civic Association had won an award for collecting the most rubbish in Sligo Creek Park.
The Thanksgiving Parade – For the second year, we were the only civic association in the parade. It was a great success.
Need for Volunteers.  PHCA needs volunteers to help deliver meeting notices and to support other association activities.

 

9. Report from the Office of Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker.  Dave Asche, a legislative aide for Tom Hucker, gave a brief update on Hucker’s committee assignments and the set up of the new office.

 

10. Adjournment.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:02pm.

Park Hills Civic Association 1 October 2014 Mtg. Minutes

Park Hills Civic Association General Meeting

October 1, 2014 7:30pm
Silver Spring International Middle School

Introductions – 32 members of the community attended.

Secretary’s Report – Paul Guinnessy

Treasurer’s Report – Leslie Downey reported a balance of $311 in the checking account.  She thanked community for its support over the past year.

Vice-President’s Report – Chris Richardson reported that:

•The Pedestrian Safety campaign in which signs were placed up on  the first day of the new school year to raise awareness of more kids on the street was a great success.

•Residential Wayne/PLIAG – Thanks to Montgomery County executive Ike Leggett, the new local purple line group that consists of associations and other interested parties along the Purple Line (Purple Line Implementation Advisory Group) has been meeting frequently to discuss local impacts.  Richardson thanked all the people who made it happen, particularly the representatives from the local, state, and county level who have turned up .

•The new library and outreach strategy – is coming soon! Richardson mentioned that he would talk to library manager Frank Ware to find ways to engage the community when the new library opens.

•Sweeping the Creek/Adopt the Road – This event held on 28 September was a big success.Thanks to Anne Kaiser for serving as coordinator of this Fall’s program.

•The Thanksgiving Parade – Our Park Hills Civic Association is marching again in this year’s Thanksgiving Parade.  Park Hills will be the only civic association in the parade for the second year in a row. The current plan is to follow the same practice as last time and encourage residents to walk along and join us for coffee and hot chocolate afterwards.

Election of PHCA Treasurer – Alan Bowser – Alan Bowser regretfully announced Leslie Downey’s retirement as PHCA treasurer. Elise Heyrman Klumpner was nominated as her replacement and voted unanimously into the the position.

President’s Report – Alan Bowser reported:

•Board proposal – The Park Hills Civic Association Executive Committee proposes to increase Association dues to $15 annually, beginning in January 2014. As prescribed on our bylaws, the vote will be held at the next meeting.

•Voter Registration Deadline & Election Day – Alan Bowser – Early voting begins on October 23 and runs through October 30.  Election Day is November 4, 2014.

Montgomery County Police Briefing – Shooting on Wayne Ave – Police report and discussion

Officer Joy Patil and one of her colleagues gave the community an update on the recent 31 August shooting close to the school. Patil said that her understanding from the detective is that the victim is refusing to cooperate with the police, leading them to believe that the victim isn’t being forthcoming with his statements regarding the incident. Patel claimed that this event is not reflective of the safety of the community as a whole as the victim was passing through the neighborhood and doesn’t live here. She asked the community to engage more in keeping their eyes open and know your neighbors.

Resident Carol Bengle Gilbert spoke about the shooting (which was near her house) and pointed out that despite the event happening days earlier, the police still haven’t gone door-to-door and ask the neighbors what they heard.

Patil said that they spent over an hour looking for evidence, and even bought out a metal detector to look for shell casings (which were never found). Because the victim ran zigzag across the Wayne Avenue after he was shot, it is impossible to identify the exact location of the shooting.

MPCD said that the number one crime issue in the county is car thefts and three to four vehicles were broken into on Wayne Ave during July and August. It pays to be diligent to lock your car doors.

In another incident, a school kid had their iPhone stolen at knifepoint on the 15th September. The event was after school, and Patil pointed out that if the kids hid their valuables then its less likely they will be stolen.

Patil said there was no information reported on a recent disturbance and a threat on Wayne and Dale (see Park Hills Listserv for more details). Subscribe to the listserv at parkhillscivic-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.  Join the Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ParkHills/.  Visit the PHCA website at www.parkhillscivic.com

In answer to a question, MCPD observed that the State and Montgomery County are seeing a lot more heroin overdoses, partly because the level of purity is so erratic and so many drug users are accidentally overdosing.

Crime in the Park Hills are is pretty low compared to Downtown Silver Spring, and nearby neighborhoods.  Many of the police officers who deal with this area are stations at the Georgia Avenue Fire Station 1 (not the restaurant) and are readily available to respond to calls for service. Currently, residents cannot visit the police substation, but that might change in the future.

Other business – Transit issue.

A PHCA members advocated for a new J4 bus stop near the Dale Drive/Wayne Avenue intersection.  A petition will be circulated.  The current stop as the Crescent House. The location is not controlled by the County, but if 45-50 signatures are gathered and submitted to WMATA, then they will consider putting in a stop.

Guest speaker – County Executive Ike Leggett discussed some of the challenges facing Montgomery County in recent years.

• Finances – The county came out better than a lot of places from the recession. Reserves are highest that they have ever been, but it also came at the cost of some cuts, such as opening times at the library. Leggett managed to increase the size of the police force by 143 officers during the recession.

• Currently the school system is growing between 2000-2800 additional students per year for the next five years. To combat this, the county is trying to improve the existing space and infrastructure at the schools rather than build new schools.

• Transportation – always looks good on paper. The developers always have great plans on paper. In reality transportation and development requires money and the answers to a number of questions, such as what’s the impact on the environment and the quality of life for existing residents, etc..

• There are 100,000 jobs in the pipeline that are dependent on transportation and need taxes to pay for improvements.

Questions from the audience.

Q: What happens to the purple line public private partnership at the end of the 35 year contract? Would this leave a burden on the state or the local residents? How much will it cost to ride?

A: Leggett answered that it was the only option to get the purple line funded.

Q: What is the status of the Silver Spring Transit Center?

A: The county is now looking at the overlay repairs. Leggett said he takes full responsibility for refusing to settle with doing a minor repair, and instead he hired experts to make sure the patch would be done correctly and properly. Leggett said he hired Norman Augustine to form a committee to evaluate the report and this committee recommended to do the full expensive repair. The county will sue the firms involved in doing the shoddy work later. The repairs will be finished at the end of the year.

Q: Is the Purple Line traction power substation going to be on Wayne Avenue above ground?

A: Leggett said that the current plans seem to address community concerns, but that the community needed to stay vigilant and on top of this until it is done

Q:  What is the status Old Blair Auditorium?

A: Leggett said it will get done, but costs have skyrocketed. “We need to rethink that.”  Leggett also mentioned that one structure he is concerned about, is the new library. He had recently seen some documents that suggested some work for the purple line might impact the opening date, and is looking into it.

Q: Now that Pepco has been bought, are the options for converting our existing grid into a smart grid that would be more reliable and less prone to massive outages?

A: Leggett said he had met the new owners and they are open to the upgrading the grid, the question is what will the cost be? And would residents pay for it?

Q: There seems to be lots of potholes around, why?

A: Leggett said we had had a harsh winter and he had increased the road repair budget by 20% to compensate for the damage.

Q: Trees – After the trees are cut down on public land, the stumps remain. Is there plans to do a more aggressive stump removal?

A: Leggett said the county is still working on a backlog of trees that had fallen in large storms over the last few years.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:35pm.

Paul Guinnessy, Secretary

Park Hills Civic Association 20 May 2014 Mtg. Minutes

Minutes

Park Hills Civic Association
Silver Spring International Middle School
May 20, 2014
The Park Hills Civic Association held its quarterly meeting at the Silver Spring International Middle School on May 20, 2014. The meeting was a joint meeting with the Seven Oaks-Evanswood Citizens Association in order to hold a “Candidates Forum” for Montgomery County Council District 5 and Maryland State Delegate District 20 candidates in the June 24, 2014 primary election.
The Montgomery County Council candidates attending were:  Del. Tom Hucker, Christopher Barclay, Jeffrey Thames, Terrill North and Evan Glass.
The Maryland State Delegate candidates attending were:  Del. Sheila Hixson, Justin Chappell, D’Juan Hopewell, David Moon, Will Smith, Jr., Will Jawando, Darian Unger, Jonathan Shurberg, George Zokle, and Dan Robinson.
Also in attendance was Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin.
There was no official PHCA business.

PHCA Special Community Meeting 2010 – Summary

In reference to the 22nd October 2015 quarterly meeting. Chris Richardson mentioned the 2010 report of the Purple Line meeting that had guest speakers. A copy of that report is below.

 

Park Hills Civic Association Special Community Meeting – Summary

 

On Wednesday, October 13, 2010 the Park Hills Civic Association (PHCA) held its second Special Community Meeting devoted exclusively to the proposed Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Purple Line station on Wayne Avenue & Dale Drive at the Silver Spring International Middle School Media Center beginning at 7:30 pm.  For this particular community meeting, the Civic Association assembled a panel of experts and experienced professionals, who very kindly agreed to answer questions from the community pertaining to six primary areas of concern related to the Purple Line light rail station proposed for Wayne Avenue at Dale Drive:

  1. Transit Planning & Traffic Engineering
  2. Zoning & Land Use
  3. Crime & Community Safety
  4. Noise & Vibration
  5. Environment & Watershed
  6. School Operations & Safety

These questions were solicited ahead of time by the Civic Association (via the PHCA listserv) and distributed to each of the respective panel members prior to the meeting.  The panelists then prepared formal responses to each of the questions submitted by Park Hills residents and delivered them in person at the community meeting while also taking questions from the floor.

 

Panel Members:

  • Mike Madden: Project Director – MTA Purple Line Project Team
  • Gary Erenrich: Special Assistant to the Director – Montgomery County Dept. of Transportation
  • Joe Romanowski: Transit Engineer – RK&K Engineering (MTA consultant)
  • Jeff Kuttesch: Traffic Engineer – RK&K Engineering (MTA consultant)
  • Harriet Levine: Transit Engineer – Jacobs Engineering Group (MTA consultant)
  • Melissa Williams: Senior Planner – Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission
  • Bob Carter: Deputy Commander –Montgomery County Police Department
  • Mike Staiano: Principal and Founder – Staiano Engineering
  • Doug Redmond: Natural Resources Manager – Montgomery County Department of Parks
  • Sean Gallagher: Director, Facilities Management – Montgomery County Public Schools

 

Guests:

  • Monica Ettinger: Legislative Aide – Maryland State Delegate, Sheila Hixson
  • Simone Myrie: Legislative Aide – Maryland State Delegate, Heather Mizeur
  • Patrick Metz: Associate – Maryland State Delegate, Heather Mizeur
  • Hans Riemer: (soon-to-be) Montgomery County Council At-Large Member-Elect
  • David Anspacher: Senior Planner – Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission
  • Carlos Abinader: Outreach Program Manager – Maryland Department of Transportation
  • Kacie Levy: Public Relations Coordinator – Rosborough Communications (MTA consultant)
  • Marsha Kaiser: Managing Principal – PB Placemaking Group (MTA consultant)
  • Katie Ryan: Co-President – Silver Spring International Middle School PTSA
  • Chris Victoria – Board Member, Friends of Sligo Creek
  • Kathleen Samiy: President – Seven Oaks-Evanswood Citizens’ Association
  • Bruce Altevegot: Representative – Seven Oaks-Evanswood Citizens’ Association
  • Karen Roper: Representative – East Silver Spring Civic Association
  • Elahe Izadi: Reporter – TBD Blog (tbd.com)

 

Attendees:

James Anderson; Deanna Anderson; Christine Arnold-Lourie; Alimayehu Awar; Deborah Belsky; Robert Bor; Alan Bowser; Wendy Caswell; Jim Chika; Janice Chika; Mary Clive; Leslie Downey; Phil Downey; Fred Ehrenreich; Robert Fair; Sandra Fair; Anne Gavin; Paul Guinnessy; Doug Hoff; Susan Hoff; Sandy Kemper; Susan McCauley; Chris Richardson; Brian Riley; James Riley; Jen Riskus; Carolyn Schick; Nancy Schwiesow; Tom Senko; Tina Slater; Stephanie Subramanian; Michael Ussury.

 

Greetings & Introductions

 

Locally-Preferred Alternative (LPA) on Wayne Avenue

Mike Madden, MTA’s Purple Line Project Director, provided an overview of the Purple Line’s route between the Silver Spring Transit Center and the Piney Branch/Arliss Street stations:

–  Here in Silver Spring the Locally-Preferred Alternative, when approaching from Bethesda, would stay on the south side of the CSX tracks until just past Spring Street, where it will cross over the tracks to enter the Silver Spring Transit Center on an aerial structure one level above the existing Metro tracks and provide connections to Metro’s Red Line, the MARC Brunswick line, and various bus routes.

–  From there it would exit the Silver Spring Transit Center and cross Georgia Avenue at street level to follow Bonifant Street, where it will go into a station that has been incorporated into the new Silver Spring Public Library, thus adding a new phase (i.e., stream) of traffic into the intersection at Fenton and Wayne.

–  From there the light rail would continue on Wayne Avenue at street level in shared lanes down the middle of the street with added left-turn lanes at Cedar Street, Dale Drive and Sligo Creek Parkway.  Additionally, MTA acknowledges that the area near Wayne and Fenton is a “bottleneck”; consequently, plans call for an additional inside left-turn lane on Wayne to allow eastbound traffic access to the Whole Foods parking lot.

–  Just past Manchester Road the Purple Line would enter a quarter-mile long tunnel under Plymouth Avenue and – due to the steep grades – return to the surface on Arliss Street just before turning left on Piney Branch Road.

–  Per the request of the Montgomery County Council, MTA is designing the project so that Wayne Avenue could accommodate a Purple Line station at Wayne and Dale in the future; this means separating the track so that a station platform could be installed at a later date.

–  Purple Line light rail station platforms will be 200 feet long (vs. Metro heavy rail stations at 800 feet),

10-15 feet wide, and approximately 14 inches high.

 

MTA Purple Line – Next Steps

–   According to the January 5, 2011 edition of the Gazette, “To date, the project has received $25 million in federal funding and $15 million from the state. The Maryland Transit Administration is waiting on state and federal budgets to determine how much money will be available this year.”

–   Presently, MTA is advancing the Purple Line through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts evaluation process, where the FTA evaluates the project with respect to such criteria as cost-effectiveness, validity of ridership estimates, and soundness of cost estimates, among a number of other measures.  At every step of the way, MTA will need to obtain permission from the federal government in order to proceed to the next phase.  FTA recently announced that they will not formally begin the New Starts evaluation process until they first approve MTA’s ridership estimates – this is expected to take place around the end of November 2010.

–  Both the State of Maryland and Montgomery County hope to begin Preliminary Engineering, a roughly two-year phase of the project, in March 2011.  To save time, MTA will simultaneously complete the Final Environmental Impact Statement, with both project phases expected to be complete by Fall 2012.

–   Once the process enters the Final Design phase, which again will require permission from the Federal government, a Full Funded Grant Agreement (FFGA) is negotiated:  this is where MTA will secure a commitment from the Federal government that they will fund the project, along with the State, and receive a determination as to how much funding the project will receive each year.  Only then will MTA and the State learn whether the Purple Line project will be built.  If the FTA determines the Purple Line to be eligible for funding, Congress nevertheless will still need to appropriate funds for this project.

–   2014 is the earliest point at which construction for the Purple Line could begin.

–   MTA recently announced the formation of small community “work groups” that will focus on specific station areas and, in some cases, specific issues, such as the Capital Crescent Trail.  There will be a community work group for the proposed Dale Drive station, and meetings are expected to begin in early 2011.

 

 

Answers to Purple Line Questions Submitted by the Park Hills Community

 

  1. TRANSIT PLANNING & TRAFFIC ENGINEERING

[Mike Madden, Gary Erenrich & the Purple Line Project Team]

 

Preface by Erenrich:

These questions, approximately two-thirds of which are devoted to transit planning and traffic engineering, are excellent, and they provide a good framework for the county to use with Park & Planning, MTA, and the State Highway Administration to be able to begin discussions which need to take place on some of these answers, such as maintenance responsibility, memoranda of understanding with State Highway and the County, and how to maintain snow removal, among other things.  As we go through Preliminary Engineering and Core Design, our traffic engineers, highway maintenance, and transit division will all be working closely with the community and MTA, meeting regularly and responding issue-by-issue to these and other concerns in a coordinated effort.

 

  1. What are the criteria that will be used to determine whether or not to build a station at Dale and Wayne?

Answer:  We intend to continue to work with the community and County about what they want.

 

  1. I understand that the Council voted not to build a station at Wayne Dale in the initial construction phase. If the Council voted to build a station there in the future, could you describe whether the construction of a station would be a “big deal,” or whether a station could be built fairly quickly.

Answer:  Addition of the Dale Drive Station at a later date will only require the construction of the station platform and amenities. No widening of the roadway will be required.  It is anticipated that these activities could occur with minimal disruption.

 

  1. How does the proximity to a stop affect property values?

Answer:  Proximity to a light rail stop has been shown to raise residential property values (e.g. San Diego, Boston, Portland, Philadelphia). Unlike commuter rail, there is not a penalty for living near a light rail line, but not near the station.  This is because commuter rail is (unlike LRT) loud and dangerous.

 

  1. What homes/commercial property from Dartmouth, Greenwich, Dale and Schuyler will you be taking through eminent domain to: (a) separate parent drop-offs from bus movements; (b) maintain and improve parking for staff and faculty; (c) keep staff and faculty parking separated from bus movements; (d) and prevent additional traffic from entering the Sligo Creek Elementary School area.  Also, if – in the initial construction phase – the Purple Line is built so that a Dale Station can be put in at a later date, will there still have to be significant alterations to the school entrance and the re-routing of the school buses from their existing drop-off points?
    Answer:  No homes will be taken. Where property is taken, it will not be for any of the reasons listed above, but to provide room for the left turn lanes and the Green Trail. The traffic pattern of the school buses and parent drop-offs will stay the same.

Additionally, the entrance will still be accessed off Wayne Avenue by parents, and school buses will still circulate through Schuyler.  Due to the widening for a left-turn lane in place of the station platform, the school’s entrance must be relocated either with or without the station. The MTA has worked with the schools and, at the request of the school, has redesigned the school staff and faculty parking lot.  The relocation of the driveway further east will help reduce congestion and conflicts at the intersection of Dale and Wayne, while maintaining full access to the driveway.

 

  1. How much property will be taken – exact footage amounts, i.e. how much widening and for what distance?  Please compare with and without the proposed Dale station.

Answer:  The plans right now are conceptual.  MTA can meet with individual property owners to go through on a more detailed level what the impacts to their property will be.  Some of what the MTA will be taking is the roadway right-of-way. (The road widening with, and without, the proposed station will be the same).  Because the amounts are different for every parcel this is not the right forum to address exact footage amounts.  We can answer these questions for each street address individually.  However, I would note that we are not yet in Preliminary Engineering, and so any quantities may be subject to change.

 

  1. What sort of compensation can residents along Wayne Ave expect with their property values decreasing due to the increased traffic density brought on Wayne Ave by the train and car traffic, and the loss of a sizable portion of their front yard?

Answer:  Increases in traffic will come with time and population and job growth, not from the Purple Line.

 

  1. If there is a stop at Dale and Wayne, which residential streets will need to be used for arrival and departure of Sligo Creek Elementary’s and Silver Spring International Middle School’s combined population of approximately 1,400 students and staff?
    Answer:  Traffic patterns for the schools will not need to change.  The only change will be the relocation of the entrance to the faculty and staff parking lot farther to the east.  This will make access into and out of the lot easier since there will not be a conflict with the cars queuing at the Dale Drive signal.

 

  1. Seems like there is a lot of room for a right-of-way between Dale and Sligo to go along the north side of Wayne, not down the middle.  Seems like there would be less traffic interference if it was to be done this way.  So, why not?

Answer:  Light-rail running on the side of a roadway presents a different set of challenges for traffic operations than running in the street.  For example, this option would require an additional signal at the SSIMS parking lot driveway which could add delay for traffic.  In order for the light rail to operate on the north side of Wayne Avenue, a traffic signal would be required for the light rail to cross to the north side, then another signal for the light rail to re-enter the media further east, both delaying operations.

Shifting the Purple Line alignment east of SSIMS to a dedicated alignment on the north side of Wayne Avenue would require the acquisition of additional property to accommodate a minimum of six lanes (two for the Purple Line and four for Wayne Ave) instead of the current four lanes plus a left turn lane at Sligo Creek Parkway. This shift in alignment would also require adding additional traffic signals to allow the light rail vehicle to cross the westbound lanes of Wayne Avenue.

 

  1. It appears that the widening of Wayne next to Whole Foods is too close to the building to allow for the 13′ wide buffer (5′) and trail (8′).  How wide will the buffer and trail be at the point next to Whole Foods?

Answer:  MTA plans to maintain the current width of the buffer and trail next to Whole Foods.

 

10:       Given that the light rail tracks – unlike those for Metro – will be unheated, what measures will needed to keep the rail lines clear during severe winter weather?  For example, is it possible that during particularly bad snow and/or ice storms that the Purple Line will need to be run 24 hours to keep the tracks clear?

Answer:  As Gary Erenrich indicated at the meeting in October 2010, Wayne Avenue is a county-maintained street, so Montgomery County will work with the MTA on what is proper for snow removal procedures.  We will look along the whole line as we go along in design.  It would be similar to regular snow removal.  Regular street plowing (the same as is done for cars) will be sufficient for the street-running sections of light rail. It is possible that extended snow events may require the light rail to run 24 hours a day to keep off-street trackage clear. MTA will work to minimize these occurrences, including the study of keeping 24-hour operations to off-street segments only.

 

  1. In MTA’s architectural history technical report dated 9/08 (page. 2-40), you discuss the impact of light rail on Montgomery Blair High School at 313 Wayne Ave. (fyi, Montgomery Blair HS moved from this site in 1998). It states that “A small portion of the parcel will be regarded to accommodate the Purple Line.”  What portion? What additional portion will be taken if a stop is built at Dale and Wayne?

Answer:  The amount of property taken is approximately 0.13 acre along Wayne Avenue.  This is the same with or without the station.  However, I would note that we are not yet in Preliminary Engineering, and so the number could change.

 

  1. In your socio-economic technical report (page 6-20), you considered adverse impacts to the environmental justice communities on 3 schools. You do not consider the impact on Silver Spring Elementary, which is 45% black or Hispanic; or the SS Int’l MS, which is 68% black or Hispanic.  Why?

Answer:  We do not believe we have adverse impacts to the school.

 

  1. On your travel demand forecasting tech report, you state that route Ride On bus15 will be removed. What impact will the increased walking distance to PL stops have on disadvantaged communities?  Would original heavy rail line offer greater benefits and have a higher benefit-cost ratio than this line?

Answer:  Exclusion of the Dale Drive station will require a longer walk for local transit users.  The original heavy rail line did not have a specifically identified alignment so detailed analysis was not developed.  Whether it would have provided greater benefits depends on what benefits you are considering.

 

  1. How did you arrive at the projection that this line will carry in 2030 more than twice as many daily riders than the Baltimore light rail now carries? 64,800 is the estimated daily ridership for the Purple Line, which is 16 miles and has 21 stations; 34,700 is the actual ridership for the Baltimore light rail, which is 30 miles long and has 33 stations.

Answer:  Ridership in Baltimore is not relevant to the Purple Line.  Ridership projections are not a function of how long the light rail line is, but of the markets.  Ridership projections are developed based on where people are trying to go, the levels of congestion on existing roads, the cost of parking, and how convenient the transit service is (in location, frequency of service, and connecting services).

Note: the new refined ridership numbers are approximately 60,000.

 

  1. Given that the Sligo Creek watershed is located along a flood plain, how will the Purple Line’s operations be affected in the (inevitable) event that Sligo Creek flooding makes the Wayne Avenue alignment impassible?

Answer:   If the roadway is impassable – there will be no traffic on it:  no light rail, no cars, no buses.

 

  1. In light of recent metro accidents and a new regime at FTA to increase oversight and safety standards for mass transit, what impact will this have on the layout of the Purple Line (if any) or on the type of trains or safety procedures MTA will follow?

Answer:  The Purple Line would meet any required safety standards. Since we don’t know what these standards would be (if they are developed) we cannot say what the impact would be.

 

  1. Where will MTA locate the power traction substation along the Wayne Avenue alignment?

Answer:  The locations of the TPSSs have not been finalized, but currently the MTA is looking at one on Bonifant Street, near the SSTC, and the next one near the station at Manchester. However, I would note that we are not yet in Preliminary Engineering, and so this may be subject to change.

 

  1. What emergency procedures will be employed to remove non-functioning or broken-down light rail cars from the Wayne Avenue corridor? Given the negative impact on traffic in the event that the Purple Line would break down in the middle of Wayne Avenue, what would be the typical length of time needed to remove a non-functioning light rail car?

Answer:  Though specific operations have yet to be determined, it is typical for a light rail line to push or pull a disabled train with either the preceding or following train to the nearest maintenance yard, or to a siding.  It is important to remember that on Wayne Avenue there are other lanes for traffic. It would be worse for the Purple Line if a car breaks down on the tracks, because that would block the Purple Line.

 

  1. What natural and other hazards (e.g., debris on the rails) can interfere with the proper functioning of the light rail system? What preventive measures will be employed to keep the Purple Line from succumbing to these hazards?

Answer:  Trees falling on and knocking down the overhead wire system will stop the system.  During Fall, wet leaves on the tracks can negatively affect traction. This is a known issue with any rail transit system, and there are numerous approaches to combat it.  These would include brushes to wipe the leaves off the tracks, washing the railhead, and applying sand to increase traction.

 

  1. Now that the Purple Line Functional Master Plan has been completed – and revised – what additional studies will MTA produce in order to supplement the Master Plan?

Answer:  As you note, the Functional Master Plan has been completed, no additional studies have been requested by the County Council.

 

  1. Purple Line costs, when matched against anemic county and state revenues, strongly suggests that cost-cutting measures will almost certainly need to be employed. If so, which ones?

Answer:  The MTA has not identified any cost-cutting measures.

 

  1. Various Wayne Avenue improvements (lighting, sidewalks, streetscape beautification), as discussed in prior Park Hills Civic Association meetings with the MTA Purple Line project team, will come from county – not state – budgets.. Given the recent severe budget cuts enacted by the County, how likely is it that the County will not be to pay for these improvements?

Answer:  This is a question for the county.  Sidewalks and station amenities are part of the Purple Line project and will not be cut.

 

  1. Widening Wayne Avenue from 48’ to 72’ will likely require burying utilities (electric, phone, cable TV) given the limited right-of-way remaining in residents’ front yard space for erecting utility poles. If, however, utility cables will not be buried, will the county or state then be purchasing right-of-way easements for the placement of utility poles?

Answer:  Any utility work required for the Purple Line will be the MTA’s responsibility, but the County will be working with them.  Whether or not the overhead utilities will be relocated underground has not been decided at this time.  Easements will be acquired by the MTA, Montgomery County, and/or the utility companies for utilities as needed.

 

  1. To what extent is the MTA in discussion with the Federal Transit Administration over the Purple Line? Given the degree of federal funding, what will the extent of FTA’s oversight of the Purple Line?  What type of input will the FTA have over the Purple Line Functional Master Plan in order for the state to receive federal funding?

Answer:  The FTA has extensive oversight of all New Starts projects.  We coordinate with them closely. A Project Management Oversight Consultant has already been hired and started working on the project.

The Functional Master Plan is complete.  FTA will not have any input on the County Master Plan. Federal funding has no bearing on this, or vice versa.

 

  1. The economic and ridership numbers for the proposed Dale Drive station are very different from any other station on the Purple Line: partly because a different ridership model, which more than doubled the catchment area, was used.  Will this put the entire project at risk from federal funding? Has  the FTA asked any questions about the models you’ve used to project ridership numbers?

Answer:  This question reflects a complete misunderstanding of the travel demand modeling. It is unclear to what the question is referring. One model was used – it has been extensively reviewed and vetted by the FTA. All catchment areas are the same size. The model uses employment and housing projections from the approved county zoning.

 

  1. What will the hours of operation of the Purple Line be on weekdays vs. weekends?   How often would the trains run peak vs. off-peak hours?

Answer:    Since the Purple Line would be providing connections to Metrorail, MTA anticipates operating the Purple Line during those same hours.  The Purple Line is expected to run every 6 minutes during peak travel hours, every 10-12 minutes during off-peak hours, and every 15 minutes during “off-off” peak  hours (with the high likelihood of fewer vehicles during non-peak hours).  Erenrich chimed in that Metrorail operates until 3:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays and reminded residents that the County’s Ride On buses operate 21 hours each day – a rather high level of transit service.  More specifically, Ride On bus begins service each weekday at 4:20 a.m. and ends at 1:05 in the morning (3:05 a.m. on the weekends).

 

  1. How will the fare structure work – will there be free transfer to other buses and/or Metro?  Will this light rail have an honor fare system like the light rail in Baltimore? Will it be part of the Smart Card system?

Answer:  It will be part of the Smart Card system.  Fares for the Purple Line will initially replicate existing Metrobus fare structure and policies.  Purple Line transfers to Metrobus will be free while transfer to Metrorail would be full distanced-based fares, although if using a SmarTrip or other electronic fare medium, the fare would be calculated as distance-based fare using the trip’s origin station on the Purple Line.  Transfers to other local services will be equal to existing bus-to-bus transfer policies.  To speed up boarding and alighting, a proof-of-purchase payment method is assumed with tickets purchased from ticket vending machines at stations. Passengers would board through multiple doors to speed loading. Roving, on-board fare inspectors would be required to reduce the incidence of fare evasion, as is typical of most light rail systems in the United States.

 

  1. The impression is given that the Purple Line will be integrated with Metro. Does this mean that fares will be tailored to Metro as well – including rate increases? Or will fares be controlled by the state? How much is it predicted to cost to buy a ticket from the Fenton station or the proposed Dale station and travel to either Bethesda or College Park? Would it be cheaper to simply to walk to the Silver Spring Metro and board Metro red/green line trains to get to College Park?

Answer:  See question 27.

 

  1. Ride On bus 15 appears to be largely used by minorities who transfer to other buses downtown Silver Spring. What will the Purple Line fare structure be, and will those who use RO15 – which will go away if the Purple Line goes down Wayne – be disadvantaged by not being able to transfer for free to other ride on buses and/or metro?

Answer:   Erenrich responded that the way the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) did its travel analysis and forecasting, it has to make certain assumptions about what level of local bus service remains and how much gets replaced by the Purple Line.  I think that, in reality, because the distances between stations, whether the proposed Dale station is in or not, is still at least a half mile or so, we will continue to have and operate local bus service on Wayne Avenue.  We are going to see bus service for people, for whom the Purple Line may not serve their needs or have access to.  The question is, what is the level of bus service that is needed in support of the Purple Line to get people to and from stations and for transit trips for which the Purple Line does not provide direct routing for.  We currently have four bus routes that serve the area, and believe it or not, we currently have 300 riders each day getting on at the Dale and Wayne intersection on those four routes.  Bus service at this intersection is reasonably heavily used by the community.  The number 15 bus – second busiest Ride On route in the county system – picks up 221 riders daily at the Dale station.  This is pretty significant and shows you the impact that having a Purple Line station there would be able to serve a lot of those riders, who might find, in fact, the Purple Line to be quicker and more efficient.  Some may not.  In any event, I think we need to work very closely, not only in this section of East Silver Spring at this intersection but in the whole corridor, now that we are getting into design and operational questions.

 

  1. Why is there not continuous bus service that follows this route already from Silver Spring to U of MD?

Answer:  There is – the J4 provides this service, but it is slow and unreliable.

 

  1. The presence of trains at a proposed Dale station and a need for left turns, especially at peak times, would create new traffic issues at the school crossing.  How will this be managed?

Answer:  Pedestrians, including students, will continue to cross Wayne Avenue at the signalized marked pedestrian crossing at the Dale Drive intersection.  The station area will actually provide a refuge in the median for pedestrians who are unable to cross the entire street at one time.  MTA needs to continue to work with the County traffic and schools on these types of issues during Preliminary Engineering.  The MTA is going to work with everyone so that it is safe and that there is access to the Purple Line.

 

  1. I am very concerned about access to the Park Hills neighborhood from westbound Wayne Ave.  Specifically heading west on Wayne and attempting to turn left (south) onto Dale Drive.  In the past, it was assured to us that left turn only lanes would be added making this turn easier.  However, I recently read that they plan to omit the left-turn only lane on Wayne to Dale.  Is this true?

Answer:  N/A.

 

  1. Coming from 495 (inner loop), if I exit onto Georgia Ave, I can’t turn left onto Dale during rush hour, so that route won’t work.  If I exit 495 (inner loop) onto Colesville Rd heading south, it is mayhem to try to turn left at Dale, so I avoid that route.  So, I turn left onto Sligo Creek from Colesville, take a right onto Wayne and then a left onto Dale.  Now add the Purple Line and more congestion and no dedicated left-turn only lane and I will sit in a bottleneck trying to get home. What does the MTA say about access to the neighborhood from westbound Wayne Ave with a stop at Wayne/Dale and no dedicated left-turn lane?  How will the MTA handle traffic in such a way to not create a traffic jam during rush hour for those wanting to turn left onto Dale from southbound Wayne?

Answer:  N/A.

 

  1. When you did your traffic counts on 4/19/06 (the most recent one posted on the website) of the Dale/Wayne intersection, was there any adjustment made for the large number of vehicles that turn into the parking lot before the intersection and depart going the other way, but interfere with traffic using the intersection?

Answer:  N/A.

 

  1. [From the floor] What side of Wayne Avenue will be widened?   There will be three lanes (in each direction), including a dedicated lane?   Will there be catenary wires overhead, as opposed to a catenary-free system [like those that have recently been developed in Europe]?

Answer:   The north side of Wayne Avenue – that is, the “school” side – will be widened.  Yes, three lanes in each direction, but the Purple Line would be utilizing shared lanes, as MTA determined that dedicated transit lanes would be too great an impact on the community.  Yes, overhead wires would be used to power the system.

 

  1. [From the floor]   Given the Wayne Avenue corridor and absence of any dedicated transit lanes, how is light rail any different or better than buses?  Given the considerable investment planned for the Purple Line, why not simply save money by increasing and improving bus service?

Answer:   The Purple Line segment from Bethesda to downtown Silver Spring would transport riders between the two locations in 9-10 minutes versus 25-60 minutes (depending on time of day) by automobile.  Not only would light rail be much faster but it would also, just as important, be more reliable than traveling by car.  Aside from the Wayne Avenue corridor and a half-mile segment in Prince George’s County that utilizes shared lanes, the rest of the Purple Line light rail system would travel on dedicated lanes.  Thus, the Purple Line would be much faster than buses and, again, more reliable in getting people to and from work – though admittedly not as fast as a Metro-type heavy rail system, since we cannot afford such a project.  MTA and the County recognize that the Wayne Avenue segment of the Purple Line would only be able to travel as fast as car traffic, and area residents seeking to travel only a mile or so would still want to take local buses.  But for those traveling more than several miles or longer would find the Purple Line to be a quicker and more reliable mode of transport.  Additionally, the plan to add dedicated left-turn lanes along Wayne Avenue will prevent light rail from sitting in traffic waiting for cars to turn left.

 

 

  1. ZONING & LAND USE [Melissa Williams]

 

  1. The first page of Montgomery County Planning Dept’s Zoning Montgomery web link state, “The zoning code sets the framework for how Montgomery County develops. However, the current code was last rewritten in 1977 and has grown outdated. Rewriting the code can set the stage for achieving the County’s vision by promoting infill of appropriate scale and creating neighborhoods of mobility, where sustainable design makes great public spaces. This approach can position the county to grow smart with minimal red tape.” What does “promoting infill of appropriate scale” mean, and what is meant by “creating neighborhoods of mobility”?

Answer:   A perfect example of “promoting infill of appropriate scale” and “creating neighborhoods of mobility” is the Takoma-Langley Crossroads community, an area in which the sector plan includes a Purple Line station (Ms. Williams is the Project Manager for this section of work).  In that area what we are really looking at is a suburban community that had urbanized over the years.  Thus, many of the suburban uses had been retrofitted (for urban uses), and while people had been making them work, they weren’t efficient.  So when planning and government officials began looking at the heart of the problem – the epicenter being the intersection of University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue, where 100,000 cars move through daily – this started out as a bi-county plan, a partnership between Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, along with the City of Takoma Park.  The goal of the project was to find solutions that deal effectively with the coming Purple Line, traffic, density, pedestrian safety, and the new transit center, as well as mechanisms for generating economic activity in that area. What we found was a very densely populated community that was largely being served by one-story “strip malls” with attendant urban concerns about impervious surfaces, watershed health, pedestrian safety, and crime, et al.  Using the sector plan process, the challenge was to find the most effective corrections, particularly for a community that was profoundly different than what it had been 20-30 years previously.  What we did was make suggestions.  Our goal was to retain as many of the suburban components that made that community attractive while adapting a number of urban aspects to match the current character of the area. To many people “neighborhoods of mobility” means “transit-oriented development” and mass transit.  But that’s not the way we looked at this community.  Instead we looked at how people move through the community and implemented a multi-modal approach that incorporated a hierarchy, with pedestrians on top of the “food chain” (walkers, bikers, trail hikers), mass transit in the middle, and automobile drivers at the bottom.  The existing zoning codes written over 30 years ago do not necessarily work for some of the communities that exist today.  As a Planning Board staffer when a development plan comes into my office, I can only analyze the plan with the language in the zoning codes currently in place.  The current zoning code rewrite is an ongoing process, and the adoption of the new code is still a long ways off.

 

  1. [Background: Melissa Williams gave a presentation to the Planning Board’s Purple Line Functional Master Plan Advisory Group (MPAG) on the Takoma/Langley station and sector plan.  One MPAG participant recalled that Ms. Williams said at the time that the Planning Board was working on the Takoma/Langley sector plan, because the Board knew where the station was going to be.  Ms. Williams went on to say that as soon as the Planning Board knew where the other stations will be, they would be opening sector plans for those areas as well].

Given the County Council’s resolution that they have no desire or intent to rezone the residential area around a possible Dale station, will the Planning Board staff still be doing a sector plan?  If so, why – what will they be changing?  Zoning? Density?

Answer:   The Planning Board is not planning to do a sector plan for the proposed Dale station.  The density of this community does not warrant such action and probably will not in the future.  When the Planning Board reviewed all of the planned Purple Line stops, some of the more prominent stations “jumped out” as transit hubs.  The proposed station at Dale and Wayne, by no means, is considered one of these hubs.   However, I cannot guarantee that at some point in the future a councilmember might want to re-examine the community surrounding Dale and Wayne.

 

  1. Is the Planning Board still planning to do a sector plan at the Fenton Library station?  If so, how wide an area will it cover?  Will the planning department reconfirm the residential zoning for the neighborhoods east and southeast of the station in the new sector plan for the Fenton Station?

Answer:   The Board is not planning to do a sector plan for the Fenton Library station.  There are already – and this is my opinion – appropriate levels of density in this area, so there is no plan by the Board to look at the Fenton area, particularly given the development plans that are already in the pipeline.  The Planning Board does not need to do anything to spur development.

 

  1. What mechanisms could be used to protect the neighborhood from the inevitable pressure to increase development, especially if ridership fails to meet projections?

Answer:   Participation and community engagement in the planning process is really the only mechanism for county residents to protect themselves.  Residents need to be at the table when the planning process is happening, since the development plan itself – which lays out the zones and desired community characteristics – is what provides the neighborhood protections.  Citizen input is the only way resident comments and concerns can be integrated into the planning process.

 

  1. How can residents obtain a copy of the final Purple Line Functional Master Plan?  Does the final Master Plan include a map?   Does the April 2010 draft on the Planning Board’s website incorporate all the Master Plan revisions from the July 2010 Council work sessions?

Answer:   Residents can find a link to the final Purple Line Functional Master Plan on the following web page:   http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/transportation/projects/purple_line.shtm.  The current version of the Master Plan posted on the Planning Board website does include the revisions from the July 2010 Council work sessions.  The final plan includes 17 maps – but only for the Montgomery County portion of the Purple Line.

 

 

  1. CRIME & COMMUNITY SAFETY [Lt. Bob Carter]

 

  1. Since the Wheaton Metro was built, crime has increased significantly in the residential areas to the south and east of the station.  Some areas have become so dangerous (e.g., Plyers Mill, Amherst, Dayton and Bucknell) that people don’t even walk their dogs during the day. Similarly, since downtown Silver Spring was built as a regional draw, crime has significantly increased in the neighborhoods to the south and east of downtown.  With a Purple Line station at Fenton drawing even more people to the downtown and closer to the surrounding neighborhoods, it is probable that our current crime level will continue or increase.  Addition of a stop at Dale and Wayne will increase access to our neighborhood, and likely the current crime level will increase. How will our neighborhoods be protected, especially with a shortage of police officers?

Answer:   See answer to question #2 below.

 

  1. I live on Schuyler Road, opposite Sligo Creek Elementary, which is a through street to Sligo Creek Parkway. One of the challenges our block faces is the ever increasing litter from the foot traffic, and the upkeep of the park land that belongs to the school, which has limited resources for these purposes.  We also have to deal with loiterers, people who scream obscenities, walk unleashed dogs, and generally disrupt the neighborhood.  If a stop is added to the corner of Dale and Wayne, my concern is that the increase in foot traffic is going to compound this problem for the school and the neighborhood.  If a stop is put there, will there be additional resources available to the school, which owns most of the surrounding land, to maintain that land, and to patrol the neighborhood for disturbances and crime?

Answer:   In preparation for this community meeting, Lt. Bob Carter of the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), 3rd District, analyzed crime statistics for the neighborhood around the Forest Glen Metro station – an area that mostly closely resembles, with respect to the other Metrorail stations, the residential community around Wayne and Dale.  While acknowledging the differences between heavy and light rail, Carter nevertheless considers the comparison apt and a reasonable context for beginning a community discussion about crime and safety issues associated with mass transit.  Carter consequently went back in time and looked at the crime rates in the area around Forest Glen Metro after it was opened in 1990.  Carter pulled crime statistics for two time periods:  1989-1993 and 1997-2003.  To Carter’s surprise, crime rates for the Forest Glen area around the Metro station barely changed at all.  The rate for auto theft, for example, curiously has gone down.  Extrapolating from the Forest Glen crime statistics, Carter thus concludes that the impact for crime based on a stop built at Wayne and Dale would be much the same as if a new bus stop were opened somewhere along Wayne Avenue’s residential area.  At the same time, however, Carter acknowledges that Silver Spring, as a result of redevelopment, has become rather cosmopolitan, and at certain times – particularly the weekend – the Downtown Silver Spring (DTSS) district is the most populous area in Montgomery County, second only to the county fair.  Statistics clearly show that with mass transit comes a certain amount of blight and crime.  By way of illustration, Carter pointed out that on Labor Day weekend 2010 when Metro closed the Red Line (for track maintenance) from Takoma Park north to the end of the line, crime rates in DTSS plummeted.  In conclusion, Carter predicts that a light rail station at Wayne and Dale would not bring an appreciable increase in crime.  On the other hand, based on Carter’s 20+ years experience serving Silver Spring, a light rail station at the new public library on Fenton, will almost certainly bring an increase in crime to the downtown area.

 

  1. How would MCPD address loitering and panhandling at a station?

Answer:   MCPD would handle loitering and panhandling at a Purple Line station the same way they handle these behaviors at a bus stop – although Lt. Carter hastened to add that county police very seldom have to deal with loitering and panhandling at bus stops.   Based on his experience with the Wayne Avenue corridor, Carter does not foresee a problem with loitering and panhandling at the proposed Wayne and Dale light rail station – but should a problem arise, MCPD would not hesitate to direct resources accordingly.

 

  1. Would MCPD be responsible for responding to crimes or disorderliness on the PL trains and at the stations? Or would there be a separate entity like the Metro Police?

Answer:   A light rail in Montgomery County would present a new and unique situation for the county.  Consequently, two police entities, MCPD and MTA Police Force, would need to work in consort (i.e., “concurrent jurisdiction”) to address crime issues related to the Purple Line.  As with the Intercounty Connector, Carter supposes that MTA will need to enter a Memorandum of Understanding with the county’s police department over the Purple Line.

 

  1. [From the floor]  Lt. Carter, have you looked at statistics pertaining to pedestrian accidents around the Forest Glen Metro area?

Answer:   Lt. Carter did not have a chance to examine these statistics prior to tonight’s meeting, but on a related note, Gary Erenrich informed the audience that Montgomery County is working with Washington Metro (WMATA) and the State Highway Administration – in response to advocacy efforts by  Forest Glen area residents – to help improve pedestrian safety by constructing an underpass at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Forest Glen Road.  WMATA has finished a study of this particular issue and concluded that an underpass at this location is, indeed, feasible.

 

 

  1. NOISE & VIBRATION [Mike Staiano]

 

  1. How would you compare the noise of a light rail vehicle stopping and starting at the Wayne Dale intersection compared to the Ride-On buses which stop and start at the intersection today.  Better?  The same? Worse?

Written answer:    Bus noise is primarily from the diesel engine, especially at low speeds, with the tires contributing with increasing speed.  Light rail vehicle noise is primarily from the wheels on the rails and is low at low speeds and increases with speed. Therefore, the light rail would be quieter.

More info from the meeting:  Diesel buses have been found to be particularly noisy when coming to a stop, as well as when having to accelerate from standstill, whereas light rail is considerably quieter when accelerating from a stop.

 

  1. Will there be announcements of the incoming train to the stop? How often and how far away can those announcements be heard?

Written answer:   If audible announcements are made, they are likely to be heard by nearby residents, possibly at times in their homes. However, the magnitudes of the sounds probably would be unlikely to be annoying to people of normal sensitivity—especially after a period of adjustment.

More info from the meeting:  There is a likelihood of audible announcements – depending on what type of “live visual data” is provided by MTA – due to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements.  However, the loudspeakers would be directed at the train platforms and not the surrounding neighborhood. Gary Erenrich, from the County’s Department of Transportation, added that if he were a member of the Park Hills community he would ask for the type of announcements you normally here on Metrorail platforms – reports of service outages, information about transit security, and other reports that are only on an as-needed basis – and not general systemwide announcements (e.g, about MARC trains or escalators that are out of order).

 

  1. The presence of a station would mean that every train would have to decelerate, stop, and accelerate leading to a significant increase in vibration and noise.  If a station were not present, what percentage of trains would simply move through the intersection on a green light, thus limiting any projected sound increase to that associated with proximity to a moving train?

Written answer:   Because of decreased train speeds, the presence of a station would reduce sound levels.

More info from the meeting:  Again, the faster the light rail, the greater the noise – noise being a function of speed.  Slowing the train down would necessarily reduce noise.

 

  1. Is a train moving through an intersection on a green light required to announce its crossing, e.g. with a bell, horn, etc?

Written answer:   Probably not in a neighborhood such as yours with frequent intersections.

More info from the meeting:  Sounding the horn in these more “urbanized” environments generally would not happen unless the light rail encounters unusual circumstances, such as a person or animal in the tracks.

 

  1. How loud – in terms of decibels – will wheel squeal likely be in the curvy parts of Wayne Avenue between Dale Drive and Sligo Creek? To what extent will wheel squeal increase in volume over time due to aging vehicles?

Written answer:   Magnitude is less an issue than the presence and persistence of squeal, which depends upon the geometry of the tracks and the vehicle.  A location east of Mansfield Road was identified by MTA; a possible other location is at Cloverfield Road.  The squeal would probably not be severe—perhaps occasional chirping – but at the same time MTA’s follow-up was not clear.  Continued community attention is reasonable.

More info from the meeting:  Wheel squeal is caused by circumstances that inhibit the rail wheels from spinning freely.  The likelihood of wheel squeal increases with the size of the vehicle, the shape of the “truck,” and the amount of curvature on the rail line.  Madden added that MTA did identify 2-3 areas during the Preliminary Engineering phase where there is a potential for wheel squeal.  These areas will be re-checked, and if it is determined that wheel squeal will occur, MTA will look at measures to reduce, if not eliminate, the problem (e.g., straightening out the curve, lubrication of the tracks).  At the meeting, Staiano added one caveat that lubrication for problem areas only works if applied rigorously and regularly.  Staiano elaborated further, stating that there are a couple different systems – lubricating mechanisms that are actuated when the train rolls by, as well lubricating devices built into the rail cars themselves.  Erenrich, however, qualified these statements by adding that, from the County’s perspective, it is unlikely that lubricating systems will be utilized on road surfaces that involve mixed traffic on a grade.  Therefore, it is doubtful that any of these lubricating methods would be used on Wayne Avenue.  Finally, Staiano concluded that if wheel squeal is properly addressed in the design process and maintained when the system is in operation, wheel squeal is a solvable problem.

 

  1. In MTA’s technical report on Noise & Vibration, the “Project-Generated Noise Impact Assessment” for the area of Wayne Avenue between Mansfield Road and Sligo Creek Parkway was deemed “moderate impact” – what does this mean in terms of decibels? Also, does the noise/vibration increase with the proposed Dale station, and if so, to what extent?

Written answer:   FTA “Severe” criterion at the local ambient sound levels is more restrictive than the commonly accepted 65-dBA[Ldn] goal.  “Moderate” indicates some change noticeable, but not sufficient for a severe adverse reaction.  At local existing ambient sound levels, the FTA “Severe” criterion corresponds to 62 dBA[Ldn] and “Moderate” to 56 dBA[Ldn].  The predicted project sound levels are 49–51 dBA[Ldn] — therefore, No Impact.  Sound levels in the immediate vicinity of the Dale station may be quieter with the station.   However, the MTA analysis contains a highly questionable assumed benefit from vehicle skirts—such that predictions may be up to 8-dBA too low—resulting in exposures in the “Moderate” range. Furthermore, their predictions also contain a common assumption of like-new railcars.  Keep in mind that over time, wheels can get “flat” and tracks can become rough due to “rolling contact fatigue.”  Thus, without rigorous maintenance (e.g., wheel “truing” and rail “grinding”), light rail noise can increase 5–10 dBA.  Continued community attention is reasonable.

More info from the meeting:  The Federal Transit Administration has more elaborate noise assessment criteria – elaborate with respect to the use of the land being influenced, as well as the existing sound levels in the influenced area – than most other federal agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Highway Administration.

 

 

  1. ENVIRONMENTAL & WATERSHED [Doug Redmond]

 

  1. How many trees will be taken down on Wayne for current Purple Line plans? How many additional trees will be lost if there is a stop at Dale and Wayne? What is the environmental impact of the loss of those trees?

Answer:   According to Mike Madden, MTA has not yet counted the number of trees along the Wayne Avenue corridor – this is something that will happen during the Preliminary Engineering phase.  MTA follows State of Maryland conservation requirements that determine how many trees need to be planted and where.  According to Doug Redmond, the environmental impact of mature tree loss can be significant.  Fortunately, the Purple Line will be going down an existing road and not through a forest, and this helps mitigate the tree loss.  Nevertheless, the road will be widened, and trees will be taken down along the edges.  The county does expect a lot of trees to be planted; unfortunately, in these situations trees of comparable size to the ones removed cannot be planted for reasons of expense and practicality.  Mature trees will have to be replaced by thinner trees.  The county expects, however, that additional trees – collectively equal in diameter to those taken down – will be planted as replacements (e.g., four 5-inch trees to replace one 20-inch tree).  Loss of shade from the mature trees – shade that helps keep temperatures cooler – will be one important environmental impact.  From a watershed standpoint, mature tree canopy helps slow down rainfall, as well as runoff onto the ground and impervious surfaces.   As the Purple Line detail design progresses, we will have to examine this issue – “avoidance, minimization & mitigation measures” – to keep as many trees as possible, and if any trees have to be removed, there will need to be an “inch-per-inch replacement” as indicated in the county’s Department of Parks guidelines.  A number of stormwater management systems that are used incorporate trees, so there should be a number of opportunities during the design process to factor in trees.

 

  1. If a stop is added, what effect will the increase in people using the stop, development around the stop, and the resulting pollution have on Sligo Creek, wildlife, and the surrounding environment? Answer:   Fortunately, the proposed station is far enough from the creek, the stream valley park and its already-developed area, so that the impact of this additional human activity will be relatively minimal.  Keep in mind this is, by no means, a “pristine” area where, for instance, a hole has suddenly appeared in an intact forest.  Wildlife in the Sligo Creek area are very used to people, and the additional movements and activity caused by the Purple Line along the Wayne Avenue corridor should have minimal impacts on the watershed’s fauna.  Since development is not being planned for the Dale and Wayne area, again, Redmond does not expect a significant environmental impact.

 

  1. Given (a) the increase in impervious road surface as a result of widening Wayne Avenue from 48’ to 72’ and (b) Wayne’s steep angle of descent leading toward the Sligo Creek watershed, what measures can be taken to mitigate the additional stormwater runoff so as not to worsen the scouring effect that has only increased in recent years?

Answer:   See answer to question #4 below.

 

  1. How will the loss of green space and the addition of impermeable pavement caused by the inclusion of a station impact water quality in the already threatened Sligo Creek?

Answer:   Sligo Creek has had a lot of work done over the last 20 years – Redmond has been involved with much of this work over the last 18 years.  Conditions in the creek have certainly improved during that time with respect to the number and variety of species of wildlife.  In that time the number of fish species have increased from 3 to approximately 12-15 that are fairly pollution-tolerant.  Despite the improvements to the conditions within the Sligo Creek system, there are still limitations with respect to health.  Sligo Creek, for instance, is not a trout system and never will be.  Within the watershed there is approximately 35% imperviousness.  Because there is so much imperviousness, the additional impermeable surface as a result of the Purple Line project will be minimal compared to what’s already there.  The bad news is that imperviousness is probably the biggest single negative impact on an urban watershed:  rainfall tends to run off into the stream with the water being warm and dirty.  The good news is that, under Maryland’s Stormwater Management Act of 2007, the requirement for stormwater management for projects has changed its focus.  The environmental site design is now the approach, and this includes a lot of smaller facilities rather than big ponds.  Infiltration of water is now very strongly encouraged.  The mantra at the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is now “ESD to the MEP”:  environmental site design to the maximum extent practical.  There is a chance in this case that this road project could result in a small but measurable improvement.  Currently, stormwater on Wayne Avenue is not being dealt with well.  As a result of the Purple Line project, there will be an opportunity to implement stormwater management practices that are presently absent.  Rather than seeing degradation, there is at least a chance to see some improvement in the Wayne Avenue portion of the Sligo Creek watershed.

 

  1. [From the floor]  Will the track bed of the rail line be permeable or will it be impervious asphalt?

Answer:   Mike Madden responded that MTA will be building the tracks so that they can accommodate shared lanes with traffic.  Thus, the surface required for this type of activity will need to be asphalt.

 

 

  1. SCHOOL OPERATIONS & PEDESTRIAN SAFETY [Sean Gallagher]

 

  1. How will the Purple Line light rail traveling along Wayne Avenue affect operations at Sligo Creek Elementary School and Silver Spring International Middle School?

Answer:   The Wayne Avenue entrance to the Silver Spring International Middle School will need to be relocated roughly 400 feet east (toward Sligo Creek).  This option was considered preferable to either an entrance off Dale Drive or Schuyler Road, as it was important to keep the school bus movements separate from the Wayne Avenue traffic.  As a result of this change, MTA will work with the schools to reconfigure parking, hopefully adding more spaces per the schools’ request.  Madden added that the current parking lot entrance, which is very close to Dale Drive, contributes to congestion at the Dale & Wayne intersection.  Thus, moving the school entrance away from the intersection should help improve traffic flow along Wayne Avenue.

 

  1. How much property will be taken from the school to accommodate the Purple Line?

Answer:   .13 acres (i.e., a little more than a tenth of an acre) will need to be taken in the course of constructing the Purple Line.  MTA points out that these proposed changes would take place with or without a station at Dale Drive.

 

  1. What measures will be implemented to help ensure pedestrian safety, particularly for school children?

Answer:   There is a particular strip of land along Wayne Avenue where there will need to be a retaining wall built in order to construct the Silver Spring Green Trail, as well as the right-of-way for the Purple Line.  Additionally, serious consideration will be given to constructing barriers that prevent mid-street pedestrian crossings away from crosswalks and signaled intersections.  Also, given the challenge of having to cross the Purple Line, the Green Trail, local buses, and Dale Drive traffic, Montgomery County Public Schools [MCPS] recommends consideration of a controlled signal intersection.  With respect to foot traffic and pedestrian safety issues, additional resources for mitigating this challenging intersection will have to come from MCPS and should not be expected from other sources.  Madden added that MTA, in conjunction with Park & Planning and the County Department of Transportation, has developed a very good working relationship with MCPS and has already convened a number of meetings with representatives from both schools to work out various planning challenges related to the Purple Line – such as bus movements before and after school, automobile traffic at drop-off/pick-up times, and parking space for school staff.

 

  1. [From the floor] Will there be any change to the Sligo Creek Elementary School (SCES) facilities, parking, or otherwise if the Purple Line is built as proposed?  Also, is the pedestrian barrier or “fence” (as mentioned in question 3 above) formally in the Purple Line plan?

Answer:  No, there will be no changes to the Sligo Creek Elementary School facilities or parking.  Yes, MTA will need to build a retaining wall along Wayne Avenue to facilitate the construction of the Silver Spring Green Trail.  MTA is currently in discussion with MCPS to determine if an additional fence will need to be built on top of the retaining wall.  MTA will need to ensure that such a fence would be safe and that, for example, schoolchildren would not be able to climb on or jump off such a structure.  These discussions MCPS will continue.

 

  1. [From the floor] How can SCES’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) participate in further Purple Line planning discussions? Can the PTA join the MTA community work group for the proposed Dale Drive station?

Answer:   Yes, the SCES PTA can join the MTA community work group.  Additionally, MTA met with the elementary school PTA in March of 2010 and would be happy to meet with them again in the future.

 

 

Adjournment

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm.

 

 

Respectively submitted.

Chris Richardson, PHCA Secretary