Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007

Open Forum: Impact of Purple Line goes beyond golf course

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Four letters

I am concerned about Sen. Brian Frosh’s comment that a light rail through our neighborhood would only affect golfers who could easily afford to let the trains ‘‘play through” (‘‘Purple Line supporters push light rail,” Jan. 31 article).

I have never played golf and am not a member of any county club. I know, however, that a light rail through my neighborhood would degrade the quality of life for many more than country club members, and would threaten the safety of our children and others who use the trail.

While I don’t live directly on the trail, our children play there and I am concerned about accidents should a train run through what is our No. 1 play space. My husband and I commute to the Metro via the trail; we hike, bike and set up lemonade stands on the trail. In short, it is an important part of our lives and is one of the reasons we choose to live here.

I believe there are transportation alternatives better than light rail that won’t degrade the trail or our quality of life.

Amy Kostant, Chevy Chase

If the Purple Line is built along the Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring, then the next logical step is to continue the light rail along the Capital Crescent Trail to River Road⁄Massachusetts Avenue⁄Westbard. After all, the goal of light rail proponents is to continue the light rail to Tyson’s Corner, and where else can it go but down the trail?

Will state Sen. Brian Frosh support a light rail to Westbard? Or are the trees and trail more precious in his neighborhood than in ours?

Cynthia Brumfield, Bethesda

Sen. Brian Frosh’s remarks in Annapolis about the Columbia Country Club’s opposition to the Purple Line ignores the tens of thousands of residents who oppose this ill-conceived, not-cost-effective, non-traffic relieving light rail — 8,000 of whom signed petitions opposing a surface transitway on the Capital Crescent Trail.

Frosh’s attempt to perpetuate the myth that opposition is just about the country club and not about the Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring Crescent Trail user communities that will be degraded, the thousands of trees that will be destroyed, and the Capital Crescent Trail that will be ruined, is outrageous. He should know better.

Isaac Hantman, Bethesda

The Jan. 31 article on the rally for support of the Purple Line neglected to include that the proposed routes will also negatively impact East Silver Spring and Chevy Chase neighborhoods.

The proposed routes will take an acre of Sligo Creek Park, cross in back of East Silver Spring Elementary School, take more than 200 mature trees, and destroy houses along Thayer Avenue, and bring noise into the surrounding neighborhoods as well as the Capital Crescent Trail.

Light rail routes in other cities go through busy urban areas, not near parks, schools and neighborhoods. It also does not make sense that a route through Colesville Road and University Boulevard was not studied or considered.

On the other hand, the planned Corridor Cities Transitway light rail from Shady Grove Road to Germantown has none of these problems, is cost-effective, will relieve more traffic congestion, reduce more air pollution, reduce more effects of global warming, provide more ridership over longer distances, run at high speeds along Interstate 270, not take land from current homes, is not controversial, has no organized opposition and should have a much higher priority.

Elliot Levine, Silver Spring

The writer is with Silver Spring⁄Thayer Opposed to the Plan, which opposes a Purple Line route that would run along Silver Spring and Thayer avenues.