Study reveals impact of Purple Line -- Gazette.Net


Read more stories about the Purple Line and view an interactive map.

The Purple Line will bring with it the hum of power substations, the squealing of wheels and the ringing of warning bells according to the final environmental impact study released Thursday.

The study, conducted by the Maryland Transit Administration, is available online at and goes into great detail about the effects of construction of the $2.2 billion light-rail line. The train will travel 16.2 miles east-west across Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and is slated to begin in 2015.

Those who live alongside the tracks can expect increased noise and vibrations, according to the study. Trains will ring five-second warning bells as they approach a station, and crossing areas may also have warning bells and lights.

The light-rail is expected to run about 70 times a day up to speeds of 50 mph. Nearby residents will also hear the hum of traction power substations and the “wheel squeal” of trains that are going around corners. Another source of noise at stations will be the public address systems, which will announce arrivals and departures and provide other information to passengers.

Between Bethesda and Rock Creek Stream Valley Park, a 4-foot high noise wall is planned to be built on the south side of the tracks. On the north side, either the trail will be elevated more than four feet above the tracks or a four-foot high noise wall will separate the Capital Crescent Trail from the adjacent community, according to the report.

The study describes in detail the 116 homes and businesses that will be condemned to make way for the Purple Line, most of which are in Silver Spring and Prince George’s County. The largest group of single-family homes impacted will be along Riverdale Road, where roadway widening will take the place of 22 homes. Riverdale will also lose eight commercial buildings.

Bethesda will also lose three businesses, which are all in converted single family homes along Montgomery Avenue. They are Newtown Auto Body Shop, Design in a Day studio and Maloney Design Build.

Elm Street Park will temporarily lose .02 acres as a construction easement for a trail connection from the park to the Capital Crescent Trail.

The Purple Line will run right through the Columbia Country Club and there are two underground cart tunnels planned.

Public feedback is essential, said Robert L. Smith, an administrator with the Maryland Transit Administration. Comments will be collected and provided to the Federal Transit Administration.