FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2013

CONTACT: AJAY BHATT (301) 500-0124

DEMONSTRATION PLANNED TO CONFRONT GOVERNOR O’MALLEY AT THE BETHESDA METRO TO HIGHLIGHT INVALUABLE 20 ACRE LOCAL PARK SLATED FOR DESTRUCTION BY PURPLE LINE PLANS
“SAVE THE TRAIL!” PROTECT THE CAPITAL CRESCENT TRAIL
“SAVE THE TRAIL, PRESERVE THE PARK”

On August 5, the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail plans a demonstration at the Bethesda Metro to coincide with Governor O’Malley’s planned Purple Line Announcement. The group will highlight the need to preserve an invaluable 20 acre inside-the-beltway park and their opposition to building the Purple Line on the Capital Crescent Trail between Silver Spring and Bethesda.

Organizers and supporters of the demonstration want to call attention to the resource that while not officially recognized by the county as a park, has been used as a park for over 20 years. The current plan for the Purple Line – a 16-mile light rail line proposed by Maryland through Prince George and Montgomery counties – while routed on streets for 13 miles would veer off and destroy an invaluable three-mile stretch of the Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring turning a serene tree-canopied nature trail through quiet neighborhoods enjoyed by thousands of young and old bikers, walkers and runners weekly into a shade-less ribbon of asphalt alongside twin sets of railroad tracks beneath high-power electrical lines with 250 daily trains passing at 45 mph.

“The cost estimate for the Purple Line has risen from $1.5 Billion to now $2.2 Billion. A 20 acre park with a mature forest ecosystem inside the Beltway is invaluable.”

MTA OPEN HOUSES and SOUND DANGERS
At recent Maryland Transit Authority open houses listening to a passing train at the expected sound levels, one can unfortunately envision how with all overhead trees gone, this train will transform this beautiful park setting into an urban corridor. The sound demonstrations by MTA clearly forecast how un-park-like, stressful and dangerous riding/walking alongside a light rail line will be. At these demonstrations MTA won’t play the sound of a train 5 feet away, only 50 feet away. You won’t be able to call to your children. “On your left” or a bicycle bell ringing, warnings will be drowned out 250 times a day.

PARKS AND STRESS
Aside from the danger, the Trail and its park-like setting needs to be preserved because people use parks for recreation and relaxation. Over the past several years numerous studies and articles espouse the need for parks for stress reduction. None of them call for trains in the parks.
From the March 27, 2013 New York Times Well Blog, Easing Brain Fatigue With a Walk in the Park, “…visiting green spaces like parks or tree-filled plazas lessens stress and improves concentration”
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/27/easing-brain-fatigue-with-a-walk-in-the-park/
http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/795/files/health_benefits_081505.pdf
http://recreation.eku.edu/importance-parks-and-recreation
http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/city-parks-blog/60616/cities-health-promoting-park-systems-reduce-stress-calming-traffic-and-emotion

PARK VISION
President of Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail Ajay Bhatt has a realistic vision for this stretch. “While it is not officially recognized by the County as a park, this 3 mile 20 acres setting has the potential of being a World Class Park. It could be the “High-Line” of DC.“ In reference to the preserved stretch of railroad in Downtown Manhattan that attracted 4.4 million visitors in 2012 according to the Friends of the Highline website.

“With all the additional development in Silver Spring, Bethesda and the rest of Lower Montgomery County, its time to think progressively about the need for greenspace. More people mean more need for parks. You couldn’t buy 20 acres inside the Beltway today to build a park, why would you tear one down?”

WHAT: Save the Trail Demonstration “Save The Trail, Preserve the Park”

WHERE: Bethesda Metro Station

WHEN: Monday August 5, 2013 12pm

WHO: Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail