Wayne Avenue and the Purple Line

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with neighborhood activists in the community surrounding Wayne Avenue. We discussed the anticipated construction of the Purple Line route, which, as you know, I strongly support.

As our council has reviewed various parts of the Purple Line route, we have requested changes from MTA and MC DOT. For example, many of us agreed that the plans for Lyttonsville needed to be improved, and we got a great result there.

I am concerned about plans for Wayne Avenue. Particularly, I am concerned that MTA and MC DOT are seeking to overbuild the new Wayne Avenue with more lanes than are necessary. For example, today, there are two lanes inbound to Silver Spring on Wayne Avenue, and they seem sufficient to handle the auto traffic. The new design would widen the existing four-lane road to effectively a six-lane road (by adding turn lanes and an additional transit-only lane) at the Dale Drive Station. The addition of left turn lanes at this intersection would result in negative consequences for pedestrian safety. This intersection is directly adjacent to both a middle school and an elementary school. While the signals would be timed to allow a 3.5-foot-per-second crossing speed for pedestrians only when other traffic along Wayne Avenue is stopped, we should forgo the turn lanes at this intersection in favor of building a pedestrian refuge on the west leg of the intersection, as well as providing for a better operation of the Purple Line.

A similar overbuilding of lanes at the Wayne Avenue/Fenton Street intersection, adjacent to the Silver Spring Library Station, would also have potential negative impacts on existing mature trees along Wayne Avenue.

Residents in the area are hopeful about the possibility of creating a “green street” or “boulevard” on Wayne Avenue. They want to optimally design and rebuild the infrastructure there with the planned Green Trail. This important opportunity to upgrade this street should be considered carefully by the County Council.

Accordingly, I am requesting that the T&E convene a worksession to review plans for the Purple Line alignment from the new Silver Spring Library to the Manchester Road Station. It would be helpful to consider the comments made by MNCPPC in their mandatory review about this segment, and to hear about neighborhood visions as well.