Tierra Terrapin is one the characters that promotes
the Purple Line on the Purple Line Kids’ Page.
Mike Madden, the Project Manager for the Purple Line, was kind enough to answer questions I put to him regarding the revised Bethesda Station in light of the County’s decision not to purchase the APEX Building. Here are the questions and answers:
Seventh State: First, it is is my understanding that the elevators to the PL and Red Line will now need to be on Elm Street. Can you tell me how much width do you currently think will be left on the sidewalk after the placement of the elevators? Are there any other measures that MTA or the County plan to take to facilitate the ease of movement pedestrians and cyclists through this area?
Mike Madden: First let me explain that there will only be two elevators on Elm Street itself. The other four elevators will be in the area of the Purple Line station and elevator lobby area (which is one level below the street). The other four elevators will take people down to the Metro Red Line mezzanine. People will also be able to reach the Purple Line station by stairs down to the station from Elm Street, by walking in from Woodmont Ave., and by walking in from the east along the narrow walkway that extends to the Purple Line station and elevator lobby from under the Air Rights building.
The existing sidewalk along Elm Street near Wisconsin is about 12 feet in width, and once the two elevators are built, the sidewalk width will remain the same. Not using up any of the existing sidewalk width is accomplished by extending into what today is a curb lane in which the two elevators would be located. For this portion of Elm Street, there will be two 11 foot lanes for traffic.
7S, I read in the paper today that there will be pillars in the station. How many will there be? And how much less area will be available on the platform? Can you also explain to me why riders will now need to cross the tracks?
MM: There are 7 columns within the 200 foot long Purple Line platform. The columns are approximately 2.5′ by 4.5′ oval shaped columns (including the architectural wrapping). Typical center platforms are about 15 feet wide but this Purple Line platform will be 18 feet wide so that there is sufficient area on the platforms for passengers.
In terms of crossing the tracks, this is standard practice for light rail systems throughout the world, including at Purple Line stations. If a rider is headed to the Purple Line station from Woodmont Ave., they would just walk onto the center platform and not have to cross the tracks. The only place where patrons would be crossing the tracks is at the east of the platform; if they are transferring from the Purple Line to the Red Line, getting off the Red Line and transferring to the Purple Line, walking into the station from the east along the narrow walkway, or if they are getting off the elevator or stairs from Elm Street to access the Purple Line. The crossing of course would be well marked for safe crossings.
7S: Finally, does the change in plans mean that the tail track on Woodmont Ave. will now need to come back.
MM: The design for the station with the Apex Building remaining in place has always required a tail track that would extend outside of the existing tunnel no more than 100 feet. However, the trail track would be used only in emergency conditions. Trains would not be stored on the tail track under normal operations.