Takoma Park, MD Resolution on Possible Light Rail Routes

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Takoma Park, MD, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 7/10/00

Source File: http://www.takomapark.info/documents/council/res0038.html

Text:

Resolution No. 2000-38
Resolution on Possible Light Rail Routes Through or Near Takoma Park

WHEREAS, since the early 1990's the Maryland Department of Transportation has been studying ways to reduce traffic congestion on the Capital Beltway; AND

WHEREAS, as the investigation has proceeded, possible routes for light rail transit lines have been identified that roughly parallel the Beltway through Maryland; AND

WHEREAS, "Corridor P6" is a possible light rail route that passes through or near the City of Takoma Park in connecting the Woodrow Wilson Bridge with the American Legion Bridge, and on that route would connect College Park, Silver Spring and Bethesda; AND

WHEREAS, in investigating the feasibility of the P6 line, the consultant firm Parsons Brinckerhoff has twice prepared reports for the Maryland State Highway Administration and the Maryland Mass Transit Administration on options for the route in the Takoma Park area; AND

WHEREAS, those reports are the "Inner Loop" Transitway Assessment of April, 1997 and the Capital Beltway Corridor Transportation Study, Light Rail Transit Route Alignment Alternatives, Langley Park to Silver Spring of February 25, 2000; AND

WHEREAS, a field trip was sponsored by the Maryland Mass Transit Administration in April, 2000 to examine six of the alternative route options identified in the Parsons Brinckerhoff reports and was attended by transportation, community and park planners from a number of government agencies, including City staff; AND

WHEREAS, field trip participants agreed with the conclusion of Parsons Brinckerhoff in its second report that three of the routes do not warrant further analysis due to negative community impact and difficult topography; AND

WHEREAS, City staff briefed the City Council on May 30, 2000 on the six route options examined on the field trip; AND

WHEREAS, the City Council held a public forum on July 3, 2000 on the options to receive public comment; AND

WHEREAS, the Maryland Mass Transit Administration wishes to receive comments on the route options from the City of Takoma Park as it decides how to proceed in its investigation of the P6 option; AND

WHEREAS, the City Council strongly supports mass transit and other efforts to minimize use of the automobile in, through and near Takoma Park; AND

WHEREAS, comments received on the six options are as follows:

Piney Branch Road Route - from the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, along University to Piney Branch Road, down Piney Branch Road to Sligo Avenue and/or Thayer Avenue

Comments: The City Council believes that the Piney Branch Road Route is the most desirable of the possible routes in this area due to the potential ridership and economic development benefits. University Boulevard is an appropriate location for a light rail route given its use and right-of-way width. A portion of University Boulevard forms a boundary of the City of Takoma Park. Parts of Piney Branch Road also form the border of the City of Takoma Park, and, given that the width of its right-of-way is much narrower than that of University Boulevard, careful evaluation of design and impact alternatives of light rail on Piney Branch will need to be done jointly by Takoma Park and the adjacent Silver Spring neighborhoods. High residential density and the existence of several locations of commercial development on Piney Branch support increased transit development on this route. Stops at Piney Branch and University, and Piney Branch and Flower Avenue could take advantage of high residential density in those areas as well as spur economic revitalization at those intersection. While the City Council defers to the affected Silver Spring neighborhoods on the route between Piney Branch Road and the Silver Spring Metro Station, there are advantages to having a stop close to Sligo Avenue and Fenton Street for access to Montgomery College. There has been some suggestion of a below-ground line between Piney Branch and the west side of Georgia Avenue to minimize neighborhood impact and that option should be investigated. Alignment with the Georgetown Branch line is easiest by approaching the Silver Spring Metro Station from the south, as this route would.

Franklin Avenue Route - from the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, along University to E. Wayne Avenue, then along Long Branch Parkway to Franklin Avenue, along Franklin and Colesville Road to the Silver Spring Metro Station

Comments: University Boulevard is an appropriate location for a light rail route given its use and right-of-way width. Discussions as to configuration of light rail on University in this area would need to involve Takoma Park and adjacent unincorporated areas in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties. While the City Council defers to the affected Silver Spring neighborhoods regarding the remainder of this route, the option to route the line through Long Branch Park rather than continue on University to Franklin seems unacceptably disruptive to parkland. In addition, transit ridership levels on the Franklin Avenue Route would be lower than other routes due to the low residential density of the area. The grade and angle of the line as it approaches the Silver Spring Metro Station would be a very difficult connection to the Georgetown Branch line to Bethesda.

Wayne Avenue Route - from the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, along University to E. Wayne Avenue, across Long Branch stream and continuing down Wayne Avenue to the Silver Spring Metro Station

Comments: University Boulevard is an appropriate location for a light rail route. While the City Council defers to the affected Silver Spring neighborhoods regarding this route, the option to route the line down Wayne Avenue may have some merit given the level of residential density along segments of this route, the planned Wayne Avenue "Green Trail" bikeway, and the new Silver Spring developments now under construction. However, the installation across Long Branch Park would be disruptive to parkland and the adjacent lower-density neighborhoods. The grade and angle of the line as it approaches the Silver Spring Metro Station would be a difficult connection to the Georgetown Branch line, but possibly not as difficult as the Colesville Road approach.

Houston Avenue/Sussex Road Route - from the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, along University to Merrimac, cutting across the Takoma Academy property and along Houston Avenue, Sussex Road and Sligo Avenue to west of Georgia, and on to the Silver Spring Metro Station

Comments: This route is not appropriate as an at-grade light rail transit route. Significant negative impacts to the community would occur, with loss of apartment buildings and single family homes in Takoma Park and Silver Spring alike. Parkland would also be negatively impacted. Neither the right of way widths nor the topography could accommodate light rail installation. The City Council agrees with Parsons Brinckerhoff that this route does not warrant further analysis.

Jackson/Ethan Allen/Philadelphia Route - from the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, down the three segments of Jackson Avenue, down Ethan Allen and Philadelphia Avenues to the rail lines and north to the Silver Spring Metro Station

Comments: This route is not appropriate as a light rail transit route. Significant negative impacts to the community would occur, with loss of single family homes and historic residential and commercial properties. Parkland would also be negatively impacted. Neither the right of way widths nor the topography could accommodate light rail installation. The City Council agrees with Parsons Brinckerhoff that this route does not warrant further analysis.

Sligo Creek Route - from the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, down New Hampshire Avenue to Sligo Creek, along Sligo Creek to Mississippi Avenue, along Mississippi to Sligo Avenue, to the rail lines and north to the Silver Spring Metro Station

Comments: This route is not appropriate as a light rail transit route. Significant negative impacts to the community would occur, with significant negative impacts to parkland, as well as loss of single family homes. Right of way widths could not accommodate light rail installation. The City Council agrees with Parsons Brinckerhoff that this route does not warrant further analysis; AND

WHEREAS, the City Council realizes that there is a great deal of additional information that must be gathered and studied regarding the need for, cost of and impacts of a light rail route through or near the City of Takoma Park; AND

WHEREAS, the City Council supports the efforts of the Maryland Department of Transportation to consider light rail routes as an alternative to further road expansion to address traffic congestion.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF TAKOMA PARK, MARYLAND THAT the City Council hereby:

1) supports the Piney Branch Route as the preferred route for a light rail alignment between the University Boulevard/New Hampshire Avenue intersection to the Silver Spring Metro Station, due to both the high residential density and the potential for economic development at sites in Takoma Park and Silver Spring;

2) strongly urges that the Houston Avenue/Sussex Road Route, the Jackson/Ethan Allen/Philadelphia Route, and the Sligo Creek Route be removed from further consideration as possible light rail routes; and

3) requests that the Maryland Mass Transit Administration and Maryland State Highway Administration work with the City of Takoma Park community and staff and adjacent Silver Spring neighborhood organizations to further investigate the advantages and disadvantages of the other light rail routes proposed for the area, and to investigate the various types of light rail systems or other transit systems that may be most suitable for our community.

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