There Are Better Alternatives to the Purple Line

The safer, less expensive, and more beneficial alternative to the Purple Line Rail is to devote some of the money earmarked for it to higher priority projects to support a much wiser version of smart growth that provides the high quality of life sought and expected of Maryland and the National Capital Area, and not spend the rest.

In addition to fixing Metro first, which requires cooperation among more jurisdictions, and to addressing top congestion priorities first (in Montgomery County, the top ten most congested roadways run north-south, according to the County’s Mobility Assessment Report, while the proposed Purple Line would run east-west), there is a wiser approach that Maryland and the affected counties can take as an alternative to the expensive, and high-risk Purple Line.

That wiser approach could include:

a) An expanded fleet of nimble, quiet, clean, internet-connected buses that use existing roads and can connect with waiting passengers and coordinate traffic lights. Buses can provide the same transit service as a much lower cost. What’s more, one of Federal Transit Administration’s own studies shows that a positive marketing campaign costing only thousands of dollars would efficiently move passengers from cars to modern bus lines. Such a bus system could be easily updated and rerouted as demands and technologies change;

b) Fee-for-use Bus Rapid Transit lanes that can serve buses and expedite commercial deliveries, emergency vehicles, and other high value traffic;

c) A modern regulatory system for Uber, Lyft, Lyft-Line, and other current and future app-driven, flexible taxi and jitney services to augment transit systems; and

d) Full and permanent Park status with both bikeway and biological integrity for the Capital Crescent Trail/Georgetown Branch Trail and its neighborhood green spaces.