October 3, 2011
Purple Line Rail Yard Slated for Lyttonsville
Silver Spring Patch
By Laura Thornton

Community members of Lyttonsville, in Silver Spring, are concerned about the construction of a rail yard and maintenance facility in a residential neighborhood

Community criticism for the Purple Line continues this week, as Purple Line officials with the Maryland Transit Administration meet with residents of Lyttonsville, a historic community in Silver Spring, on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Coffield Community Center (2450 Lyttonsville Rd., second floor, Silver Spring) to discuss plans to construct a rail yard and maintenance facility in the neighborhood.

“MTA presented major rail yard design changes to the community at a meeting on Sept. 13, surprising many who thought they were there to provide Lyttonsville station design preferences,” wrote Susan Buchanan of the Lyttonsville Civic Association in a press release.

“Instead, residents learned that the rail yard and maintenance facility had been ‘super sized,’ causing it to sprawl along the entire northern border of the community,” Buchanan added.

More details about the plans for the rail yard and maintenance facility will be provided at Monday night’s meeting, which was requested by the Lyttonsville Civic Association “because many who would be impacted are still unaware of the new plans,” Buchanan wrote in the press release.

The rail yard is slated to be 200 yards by 1,000 yards in area, and about 200 workers are projected to work at the facility, which will operate 24 hours a day. There are also plans for an office building and a parking garage on-site, Buchanan wrote.

“Community buy-in for the rail and maintenance yard to be built in close proximity to our homes was achieved over the past several years because of MTA’s assurance that the unsightly yard with its associated noise, smells and pollution would be located to the far west of the neighborhood, tucked behind an existing county building,” Buchanan said.

“This new design will require the bulldozing of all local businesses along the south side of Brookeville Road between Lyttonsville Place and Stewart Avenue, and will put a 24/7 train maintenance yard right in our backyards. We need a better explanation from MTA about why this major change is now being proposed after the county council and the governor signed off on a different design that was much better for the community. It feels like a huge bait and switch to many of us who have supported the Purple Line,” she added.

“One of the benefits of new transit systems is the promise of redevelopment and the addition of more business, local jobs and community amenities, which help particularly depressed areas,” Buchanan said.

“But if Lyttonsville is saddled with a massive, sprawling maintenance yard with 12-14 layers of track running along our entire northern border, the Purple Line holds no such promise for us.”