The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

News Release

Contact: Marion Joyce September 21, 2004

301-495-4600 For Immediate Release

Planning Board Invites Public Comment on

Purple Line Alignment

Sign Up in Advance to Speak

On Thursday, September 30, The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's

(M-NCPPC) Montgomery County Planning Board will hear public testimony on proposed rail alignments for the Purple Line. The Purple Line is referred to as the Bi-County Transitway by the State of Maryland.

The Montgomery County Council directed the Planning Board to identify preferred light rail alignment(s) for further detailed study by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). The MTA is evaluating bus rapid transit and light rail transit alternatives along various alignments. As the MTA continues to refine and evaluate the alternatives still under consideration, it is reaching the point at which they are narrowed down to a reasonable set of alternatives for further detailed study. These will be reflected in a document called "Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study" (ARDS) which will be released by the State in draft form this fall. The State will be conducting community outreach at that time to gather feedback.

Before the draft ARDS report is released, the Montgomery County Council is interested in providing recommendations to the MTA concerning which alternatives should be carried forward to detailed study. The County Council would like to ensure that a competitive light rail alignment is retained for detailed study and has asked the Planning Board to obtain input from the community and to make recommendations. Since the County's master plans already recommend light rail transit between Bethesda and Silver Spring on the Georgetown Branch right-of-way, the Planning Board will be focusing on some options along the CSX railroad tracks in Silver Spring and on the segment between Silver Spring and the Takoma-Langley area.

"We want to hear from our staff and the public concerning rail alignments for the Purple Line," commented Planning Board Chairman Derick P. Berlage. "In particular, we currently have no master plan alignments for the portion of the Purple Line east of the Silver Spring Central Business District. We wish to provide MTA with the benefit of our County's recommendations before they complete the next stage of their study. "

To sign up in advance to speak, those interested may call M-NCPPC's Community Relations Office, 301-495-4600. In addition, written comments may be sent to: Derick P. Berlage, Chairman, Montgomery County Planning Board, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910, e-mailed to or faxed to 301-495-1320. Information on the approximate time of the session will be available online after September 27. Information, including a map, is also available on the M-NCPPC website at and at the M-NCPPC's first floor Transportation Planning Office, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Comments, questions and testimony can be sent to or to Chairman Berlage. In addition, a staff memorandum to the Planning Board will be available after September 27 at the same locations.

The Planning Board will make a recommendation to the Montgomery County Council for its discussions at the Transportation and Environment Committee meeting on Monday, October 4, and then at the full County Council session on Tuesday, October 5.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission encourages the participation of all individuals in its programs and facilities. For assistance with special needs, such as large print materials, sign language interpretation, listening devices, etc., please contact Marion Joyce, 301-495-4600, TTY 301-495-1331 or the Maryland Relay Service.