Yesterday was Car-Free Day. For many residents of Montgomery County, it will be a lot easier to make important trips without a car when the Purple Line is built.
University of Maryland student Sareana Kimia live-tweeted her two-bus commute from Rockville to the College Park campus and compared it to what her commute would be like with the planned light rail line from Bethesda to New Carrollton.
That night, she and Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal co-hosted a Twitter chat about the Purple Line with the Action Committee for Transit and Montgomery County Young Democrats. Her commute exemplified many of the challenges that transit riders face.
Like so many commuters, she began her trip desperately hoping to catch her bus — and in need of accurate, live time transit information.
PLEASEEEEEE PLEASE PLEASE BE TRUE. I ran to my stop as soon as I could. pic.twitter.com/MIsfL1rERz— Sareana Kimia (@SareanaKimia) September 22, 2014
For those frequent bus users, get the Ride On app. It tells you the REAL time your bus shows up #GoPurpleGoCarfree— Sareana Kimia (@SareanaKimia) September 22, 2014
Her bus was 10 minutes late. In contrast, the Purple Line will run every 6 minutes in rush hour.
Sareana takes the RideOn 5 to Silver Spring to pick up the UMD Shuttle. Delegate Al Carr suggested what might be a faster route, and Sareana explained the economics behind her transit choices:
When Sareana arrived in downtown Silver Spring, she related a standard bus riding nightmare:
Sigh, looking at the transit center here in DTSS and wishing it was working. Flashback to moments I couldn't find my bus #GoPurpleGoCarfree— Sareana Kimia (@SareanaKimia) September 22, 2014
Although she made her UMD Shuttle, Sareana was still 12 minutes late for her 9 am class, despite having begun her commute 1.5 hours earlier. She would have arrived 39 minutes earlier via the Purple Line — with a smoother ride.
Her afternoon commute once again illustrated the importance of frequency in making transit convenient.
Forgot to mention that class ended at 12:50, bus left at 12:55…if I had the purple line I wouldn't need to wait till 2:15 #GoPurpleGoCarfree— Sareana Kimia (@SareanaKimia) September 22, 2014
Her afternoon commute also demonstrated how horrible traffic can be in this area, even when the weather is perfect:
Sooo I just got home after leaving campus at 2:15. Horrible commute just from College Park. #GoPurpleGoCarfree— Sareana Kimia (@SareanaKimia) September 22, 2014
At 6 pm, she joined Councilmember George Leventhal on Twitter to discuss the Purple Line. Leventhal shared how the Purple Line would improve his commute from Takoma Park to Rockville.
@SareanaKimia Right now if I want to take rail to my job, I have to go thru Union Station, Farragut North and Tenleytown among others!— George Leventhal (@georgeleventhal) September 22, 2014
Marc Korman quizzed Leventhal on the Public Private Partnership process that will build the Purple Line.
.@mkorman The RFP also requires extensive public input throughout the P3 process, including specific advisory groups for each neighborhood.— George Leventhal (@georgeleventhal) September 22, 2014
Korman also asked about state and county cooperation.
@mkorman cooperation is excellent! Full funding agreement expected with Feds very soon.— George Leventhal (@georgeleventhal) September 22, 2014
Leventhal discussed a “Purple Line Compact” being developed by the Purple Line Corrider Coalition, that would “ensure residents know what to expect from” the Purple Line. It is based on compacts drawn up in Denver, Minneapolis and Baltimore, among others, before light rail lines are built.
The Purple Line Compact being developed by @PurpleLineCC will outline environmental, apprenticeship and small business commitments.— George Leventhal (@georgeleventhal) September 22, 2014
Meetings will be held in Montgomery & Prince George's Counties to solicit public feedback #GoPurpleGoCarfree— George Leventhal (@georgeleventhal) September 22, 2014
The goal is to release the Purple Line Compact by the end of the year.
The Silver Spring Transit Center Twitter account made a poignant contribution during the chat:
Leventhal noted that the Montgomery County Council would get an update on the Purple Line next Tuesday, September 30. He ended the chat on an upbeat note: