When the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) moved to change the proposed trail crossing at Connecticut Ave. from grade separated to at-grade, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) went ballistic and sent out an action alert demanding the restoration of the grade separated crossing.
Understandably. Having to wait for a long light slows down a bike trip and grade separated crossings are safer. WABA’s fast action worked and MCDOT backed down fast.
However, the County Council with the backing of the County Executive has now moved to eliminate the grade separated crossing under Wisconsin Ave. While they’ve expressed interest in this issue in the past, WABA has said not a peep about this major change.
Very strange since the current tunnel provides an excellent grade separated crossing under Wisconsin (and there isn’t currently one now at Connecticut). MTA had repeatedly promised that a narrow tunnel would continue to exist before pulling that promise once key decision points has passed.
More recently, Montgomery County officials got strongly behind a proposal to revive the tunnel in conjunction with redevelopment of the Apex Building. But they have now pulled their support–after the crucial Democratic primary.
The failure to redevelop means a much less promising Purple Line station, as well as less development above the station. For bicyclists, it will mean a very tricky crossing at-grade crossing at Wisconsin Ave. with bikers needing to watch out for cars and many pedestrians–more than now as 24,000 trips are projected to begin or to end at the new station.
Equally crucial for bicyclists, there will now be no bike storage facility adjacent to the Capital Crescent Trail without the redevelopment of the Apex Building. Of course, the change should also result in a more difficult transfer from bike to light rail or Metro–something you would think should interest WABA and its constituency. Neither should be positive for Purple Line ridership.
But WABA has said nothing, abandoning the bicyclist interests they aver to represent. WABA did not return repeated calls for their thoughts on the change of plans.