The State of Maryland claims that clearing cutting of the Capital Crescent Trail from Bethesda to Rock Creek Park must occur in the first weeks of the 4-5 year project to build the Purple Line, and further that they cannot provide the previously required 30 day notice to residents and local jurisdictions.  Therefore their contractors closed the entire Trail after a few days’ notice despite a legally binding commitment in the Record of Decision to “minimize closures of the Trail” (ROD p. 2).

Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail filed a new lawsuit along with a request for a Temporary Restraining Order followed by a request for a Preliminary Injunction to protect the trees along the trail and to reopen the Trail while the legal process works its way through the courts.  The MTA promised not to cut trees wider than 9.5 inches in diameter.

Citizens photographed trees cut much larger than that and a Park Policy officer confronting the crews reported that the crew chief told him he had permission to cut trees thirty (30) inches in diameter. FCCT informed the court of this and the court noted that reports of trees cut larger than 9.5 inches could lead to those responsible being held in contempt of court, a very serious violation.

Parents provided declarations regarding the harm and risks to their children and students from the abrupt closure of the Georgetown Branch section of the Capital Crescent Trail on the first day of school, September 5.  Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail included some of the declarations in the filing to the court requesting a preliminary injunction. Here are excerpts from some of the many declarations received:

“…my child found that the trail was being closed even as she went to school. […] Even worse than the additional distance, time and earlier wake-up times, is the need to walk along the racing traffic and around blind curves on East-West Highway with is oncoming traffic…  […] with no alternatives even close to the safe access available prior to the poorly handled announced closing.”

“My son’s daycare uses the trail to get to Lynwood [Lynbrook park near Leland Center] park twice a day.  The trail is their only safe access to the outdoors. […]

“I am the parent of a student who attends Bethesda Chevy Chase High School who for the past year has used the Capital Crescent Trail in order to get to and from school [from “near the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Chevy Chase Lake Drive”]. […]  The alternative route suggested by MDOT and PLTP on their website is to bike along Jones Bridge Road and through East Bethesda.  This route has sidewalks that are just as narrow as those on East-West Highway that students would need to ride on further. This is not a safe alternative route to school.”

“I commute to work on the trail. I’m the parent of an 11 year old boy who is starting middle school now.  […]  Middle school doesn’t have recess, the students do have PE every day.  However, we feel strongly that outdoors activity, including breathing fresh air and free-play, the better prepared children are to tackle school academic rigorousness all around. […] Because of the abrupt closing of the trail without providing safe alternatives, it would be irresponsible to let our son ride his bike to school and back.”

“I have lived in East Bethesda since returning from and Army deployment in Afghanistan. My husband and I selected this neighborhood due to its walkability, due to the proximity to the Georgetown Branch Trail (and Rock Creek Park and the Capital Crescent Trail and beyond), the Metro, my work at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and local businesses […] all accessible without the need of a car thanks to the Georgetown Branch Trail.

[…]

The signs along Jones Bridge Road indicating “Bikes and Peds in Roadway” are a joke.  As a seasoned adult cyclist, I’d prefer not to risk my life by riding in the busy traffic on Jones Bridge Road, let alone a young child. […] Routes into Downtown Bethesda are not safe either. […] I fear I may have to rely more on my one car, and purchase another car for my family to use on a regular basis.  This would increase use of public roadways, contribute to worse air quality, and detract from the overall health of the population.”

” My youngest child entered Bethesda/Chevy Chase High School in the Fall of 2017. No bus is available to him because of our proximity to the school.  […]  Closing the trail jeopardizes my child’s safety.”

“My son uses the path of the proposed Purple Line to commute from BCC High School to his job.  It keeps him off busy and dangerous roadways filled with cars most of the day. Not only doesn’t he have to be in danger of being hit by vehicles; he doesn’t have to breath their fumes as well. My son is 14 and this is the only route of transport to his work.”

” Additionally, there are also many younger children who ride their bicycles on the trail to commute to Westland Middle School. Middle-school children do not have the judgment to navigate vehicular traffic during rush hour. As such, they are put in serious risk with the closure of the trail.”

“The trail is key to our community. It is a neighborhood treasure that connects many local neighborhoods to one another and serves as a commuting trail for students and adults alike.”

 

For our Proposed Order for Preliminary Injunction see below:

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For our Memo in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction see below:

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