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ACT scores Montgomery County candidates on transit and smart growth

Where do candidates in Montgomery County and statewide in Maryland stand on the Purple Line, pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly road designs, Bus Rapid Transit, M-83 and adding housing? A new scorecard by the Action Committee for Transit helps shed light on these issues.

Scorecard for countywide offices.

Maryland voters will be choosing nominees in a primary on June 24th. ACT asked candidates for Montgomery County Council and County Executive, state delegate from Montgomery County, and governor about these issues. ACT then rated the candidates based on their voting records, questionnaire answers, records in office (especially important for candidates who have held executive offices), and public statements.

Scorecard for County Council district races.

Scorecard for candidates for governor.

Here is more detail about the questions ACT asked, and why.

1. Do you support funding and advancing the Purple Line to groundbreaking as described in the Locally Preferred Alternative and the Environmental Impact Statement without qualification?

In the quarter-century and more that activists have worked for the Purple Line, plenty of politicians and citizens have claimed to support the Purple Line. However, that support has sometimes come with qualifications that would make the Purple Line either prohibitively expensive to build or ineffective.

There are those who support the Purple Line only if it were built as a heavy rail line or only if it were bus rapid transit. Some public officials have claimed to be for the Purple Line but then pushed for alternative routes that were impractical or wildly expensive. Others have said they supported the project but then added qualifications that neatly dovetailed with the arguments opponents were making against it.

The Locally Preferred Alternative Governor Martin O'Malley and the County Council selected for the Purple Line includes an at-grade light rail line with a trail alongside it on the Georgetown Branch right of way between Bethesda and Silver Spring.

Although the Purple Line is widely considered a done deal, the fact remains that any public works project this large can falter. The Purple Line has uniquely well-funded and well-connected opponents. As activists, our job is to consistently advocate for the Purple Line until the trains are running and the trail is full of bikers and hikers. ACT only gave candidates pluses if they supported the Purple Line without any qualification.

2. Would you support more transit, pedestrian, and bicycle-friendly road design in our school zones and urban centers even if it slows drivers down?

Many officials claim they want safer and more convenient roads for pedestrians and cyclists, but advocates have consistently found that support vanishes if any design changes would lower speed limits or otherwise inconvenience car traffic. It's easy to support pedestrian and bicycle friendly road design; it is very hard to support it when it requires slowing drivers down. Sadly, this is true even of school zones.

For this question, ACT gave pluses only if candidates were willing to support complete streets policies even when a change might slow down some drivers.

3. Do you support changing existing traffic lanes to dedicated bus lanes for BRT?

The basic idea of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is that the most efficient use of road space is for those vehicles that carry many passengers. When lanes are reserved for exclusive use by buses, a road can carry more people faster. Stranding buses in the same congested traffic as cars takes the "rapid" out of Bus Rapid Transit; effective BRT requires dedicated lanes for buses.

Unfortunately, if implemented improperly, this gives highway builders an opportunity to further widen roads for extra bus lanes. In Montgomery County, the temptation exists for politicians to support dedicated bus lanes in the upcounty by widening roads, while opposing any bus lanes in the downcounty. That would mollify those who can't imagine taking lanes away from cars. It is easy for a candidate to support generic BRT; it is harder for a candidate to support changing some existing car lanes to bus-only lanes.

The BRT plan approved by the County Council last fall does not rule out widening roads to create dedicated bus lanes, and includes several chances for residents to delay or stop repurposing car lanes to bus only lanes. Advocates must continue to pressure the County Council to make sure Montgomery County gets the rapid Bus Rapid Transit system it needs.

ACT specifically asked candidates if they support changing existing traffic lanes to dedicated bus lanes, and only gave candidates a plus if they supported that.

4. Will you support stopping all spending on the M83 highway?

M83 is an environmentally destructive highway that would run from Montgomery Village to Clarksburg and cost the county at least $350 million to build. It was put in the master plans over 50 years ago, before major modern environmental laws existed.

To be sure candidates opposed it, we asked if they would support stopping all spending on M83. The question covered money from both the capital budget and operating budget, as well as any money to study it further.

The questionnaire answers are the first time all at-large county council Democratic candidates stated their opposition to any further spending on the M83 highway, marking an important turning point in the fight against the "zombie" highway.

5. How would you increase the housing supply in our urban centers?

For transit to work, it has to be where people can use it: near their homes. And if more people live near transit, then more people can use it. Therefore ACT has consistently supported development in urban areas like downtown Silver Spring and Bethesda.

In areas like these, politicians who support this sort of development frequently take a lot of criticism from people who don't want any new development whatsoever, and who feel it threatens the character of single-family neighborhoods.

Two recent projects, the Chelsea Heights townhouse development in Silver Spring and the Chevy Chase Lake plan, have typified this debate in the downcounty. ACT considered candidates' statements on those two development projects when rating them on this issue.

Many candidates chose to interpret this question as one about affordable housing programs, which misses the point. The intense market demand for transit-accessible housing means that less affluent residents will inevitably get squeezed out unless we greatly increase the supply. To ensure that housing near Metro does not become a luxury good, we must promote construction of transit-accessible residences at all price levels, including high-end and middle-income housing as well as subsidized housing.

6. Would you support a 2nd road crossing of the Potomac?

At the moment, there are no plans for a second highway crossing over the Potomac which would make an "Outer Beltway." However, some Virginia advocacy groups regularly bring the idea up at Council of Governments meetings, and there are Marylanders who are very interested. The highway lobby in both states is very supportive.

A second road bridge would invite more highway-building at the expense of funds for transit. Although the issue is currently dormant, it might become active in the future and so the ACT board wanted to know what politicians would say about it. It also seemed to be a good opportunity to find out candidates' general attitudes towards highway building and sprawl development.

7. Do you support including the 3rd track needed to allow all-day MARC service?

Right now MARC only runs a few times a day between Martinsburg, Frederick and DC. MARC runs on CSX tracks, and CSX uses those tracks for its own trains, limiting MARC service. For MARC to run more frequently, it needs a third track.

Scorecard for state senator and delegate.

"Why did my candidate get a minus when their questionnaire answers are perfectly correct?"

Some candidates answered "yes", and then followed that with an answer that made it clear they didn't get it. For example, an imaginary candidate who responded to the M83 question by saying "Yes, there should be no further spending on M83. The money should go to a highway that runs from my house to I-270," would receive a minus because they do support building more highways in our county. For the record, no candidate said any such thing.

Candidates who served in executive offices, such as the County Executive, were evaluated on their records in office as well as their public statements, voting records and questionnaire answers.

There have been a considerable number of candidate forums and other opportunities to hear candidates speak. ACT board members have attended as many as possible, not just because we are political junkies in need of help, but because we wanted to see if candidates were consistent in their positions.

We found that some candidates were inconsistent in addition to just not being clear. If a candidate's statements at a public event conflicted with the answer he or she gave on the questionnaire, that factored into the rating. The questions were deliberately written using very specific language to see who would go beyond generalities and commit to a position that might be unpopular.

Candidates running unopposed in primaries were not rated. However, their answers to the questionnaires, along with those of all the other candidates, are posted in full on the ACT website.

Ronit Aviva Dancis lives in Bethesda. She serves on the board of the Action Committee for Transit. 


Add a comment »

You represent Bethesda. Bethesda is getting how many dedicated lanes through it?

by asffa on May 30, 2014 11:56 am • linkreport

Delegate Al Carr (District 18) also took the lead in persuading MARC to drop plans to reduce or eliminate service to stations without monster parking lots. The most important vote for the Purple Line was the gas tax, and he voted for it.

For all practical purposes, he was Greater Washington's Montgomery bicycle caucus in the House, so it would be a disaster for him to not be re-elected.

by JimT on May 30, 2014 11:59 am • linkreport

Opposing all the M83 alternatives other than repurposing lanes in Rockville is mindless stupidity that serves no transit best.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 12:00 pm • linkreport

I love that the "libertarian" gubernatorial candidate, Quinn, supports building a 2nd Potomac bridge. Typical.

by Alex on May 30, 2014 12:03 pm • linkreport

It's a real stretch to say that Doug Gansler supported the Purple Line without qualification. He opposed raising the gas tax! And suggested no other way to fund it.

by JimT on May 30, 2014 12:07 pm • linkreport

Isn't Phil Andrews positioning himself as the "fiscally conservative" candidate who will put an end to boondoggles like the Silver Spring Transit Center? The particulars of that tortured project are well worth keeping in mind, but I'm not sure that that general framing is a good thing...

by Dizzy on May 30, 2014 12:10 pm • linkreport

JimT, that would be the same Al Carr who attended and took part in "Save The Trail"'s 5k last weekend?

Please see BethesdaNow's piece, which says

"The focus Saturday was on the trail’s “natural beauty,” a space Purple Line opponents claim will be ruined forever if the light rail is built.
Town of Chevy Chase Vice Mayor Pat Burda and District 18 Del. Al Carr stood with Bhatt on Saturday to relay that message to race participants.

by Ronit A Dancis on May 30, 2014 12:15 pm • linkreport

I would ask everybody to review the other alternatives listed for M-83 before they decide 330+ million should be spent instead on repurposing 355 in Rockville.
Look at the other alternatives in terms of long term benefits, the beginning costs, help for pedestrians, bikes, buses, drivers, everyone. (Two examples - Muncaster Road and Alternative 5 for 355)

The 355 only Rockville repurposing plan is a major lose-lose on a 330+ million dollar and overall damages scale. If this goes through, people I know who now use the bus on 355 in Rockville (who fit the current average demographic) will no longer be able to rely on that. People with disabilities should be able to continue to go to MCC the same as they have, no question, no demurrment about how walking an extra mile per day is just fine. No.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 12:15 pm • linkreport

I also question why the Council has been so gung-ho at redistricting Clarksburg from a protected rural wooded property in interest of protecting drinking water (Ten Mile Creek area, proximity to Little Bennett State Park) to making it into McMansion + high density housing.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

@asffa, the 1994 Clarksburg Master Plan is what turned Clarksburg into a suburban housing development. Which current County Council members voted to approve the 1994 Clarksburg Master Plan?

In contrast, here are this year's County Council members who voted to approve the 6-15-15 limited Master Plan amendment proposed by Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Roger Berliner to protect Ten Mile Creek: all of them.

by Miriam on May 30, 2014 12:30 pm • linkreport

@Ronit A Dancis: I don't follow everything that goes on in Kensington, but if your point is that he sympathizes with constituents in Chevy Chase, that's probably correct. But realistically, Delegates don't affect alignments and if you talk to him, it's pretty clear that he is not an opponent of the Purple Line.

Meanwhile, he is a very serious advocate for cycling and safe streets. He is also an extremely available Delegate for constituents who want to meet with him, because it is a full-time job for him.'

So on the Purple Line, please contrast Doug Gansler who supports it but opposed the gas tax when the vote was looking fairly close, with Al Carr who voted to raise the gas tax.

by JimT on May 30, 2014 12:38 pm • linkreport

Miriam M-83 was approved even earlier, I support rather some of the alternatives, just not the costliest, unwisest one that looks to me like Gaithersburg area NIMBYs hoping to divert work from their area.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 1:01 pm • linkreport

@JimT, I strongly suggest you read the BethesdaNow piece, and also Miriam's piece here on GreaterGreater Washington about what the Town of Chevy Chase is doing, to fully appreciate the meaning of Del. Carr's position at the "Save The Trail" race.

by Ronit A Dancis on May 30, 2014 1:13 pm • linkreport

Accuracy Check: This score card does not match up with the candidate's answers in all cases.

Notably, the card reflects minuses in nearly every category for candidate Beth Daly (At-Large) yet reading her answers one sees that she supports for the projects listed. Moreover, there is hearing testimony that is publicly available that further validates her answers. The full answers to the questionnaire should be more readily available so that residents can best inform themselves and gauge accuracy. Currently they are not.

The use of scorecards is valuable as a tool but only if the process that is used in creating them is open and accurate. Otherwise, the cards serve as merely a tool of electioneering geared to favor one candidate over another without basis in fact and are a disservice to the public. Very disappointing.
Josh Goldman, UMD School of Engineering '17

by Joshua Goldman on May 30, 2014 1:22 pm • linkreport

Josh Goldman ACT is showing their bias by the category
"People before Cars"
as if anybody on this list would likely prefer to save a car over a person, and even if I disagree with their positions, I doubt any of these candidates deserve a minus. Unless ACT meant something else by that?

by asffa on May 30, 2014 1:28 pm • linkreport

I am betting they meant "more transit, pedestrian, and bicycle-friendly road design in our school zones and urban centers even if it slows drivers down? " seeing as that is the question asked.

It wasn't about "saving" someone, but about prioritizing in road design.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 30, 2014 1:32 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity The important sound-bite version of that obviously loaded question is a category suggesting somebody doesn't care for humanity.
And they gave some people a minus (no?)

by asffa on May 30, 2014 1:39 pm • linkreport

Here is the link to the full answers to the ACT questionnaire:

It is well worth the time if people really want to know where the candidates stand and the substance behind their stance.

by Joshua Goldman on May 30, 2014 1:57 pm • linkreport

Go Phil Andrews!

by Thayer-D on May 30, 2014 1:58 pm • linkreport

Jim T, as a person who lives in Al Carr's D-18 and has been following his strong opposition to the Purple Line for years, I must agree with ACT's assessment the Al is anti Purple Line. You are right that delegates don't have much say about specific alignments, but Al Carr is adamently opposed to the Purple Line on the Georgetown Branch Trail, and advocates for BRT on Jones Bridge Road instead. His support for the gas tax was to keep transportation funding in general from collapsing, and Carr supports the MARC expansion and other transit projects, but you are wrong to equate that with supporting the Purple Line.

by Wayne Phyillaier on May 30, 2014 2:04 pm • linkreport

People before cars means you prioritize moving people over moving vehicles. You don't dismiss pedestrian infrastructure just because "everyone knows" the purpose of streets is to move as many vehicles as fast as possible. It means getting out of the typical traffic engineer mindset.

by Steve on May 30, 2014 2:19 pm • linkreport

@Joshua Goldman:

For the Purple Line question, the "people before cars" question, and the "people before buses" question, ACT did not ask, "Do you support the Purple Line/Complete Streets/Bus Rapid Transit"?

Rather, ACT asked specific questions:

-Do you support funding and advancing the Purple Line to groundbreaking as described in the Locally Preferred Alternative and the Environmental Impact Statement without qualification?

-Would you support more transit, pedestrian, and bicycle-friendly road design in our school zones and urban centers even if it slows drivers down?

-Do you support changing existing traffic lanes to dedicated bus lanes for BRT?

Support for the Purple Line, with qualifications, did not get a plus. Support for Complete Streets, without support for slowing down cars, did not get a plus. Support for dedicated bus lanes, without support for converting general-traffic lanes to bus lanes, did not get a plus.

Here is a link to the responses of the at-large candidates to ACT's questions:

by Miriam on May 30, 2014 2:20 pm • linkreport

Steve you are excusing the language of the sound bite category.

"People before cars" suggests some are anti-humanity. ACT is showing their bias or poor reporting skills, since that's the language they chose.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 2:29 pm • linkreport

Why is it those who are for slowing down cars in favor of bikes and pedestrians not planning crosswalks on I-95?

by asffa on May 30, 2014 2:31 pm • linkreport


do you also object to People Before Profits. and People Before Banks. And to the many political groups referred to as the "People's Party"

Its a common rhetorical device. I doubt anyone really reads it as meaning that opponents of it are against humanity.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 30, 2014 2:33 pm • linkreport

I bet they do, actually.
Who wants to be called "Cars before People?"

by asffa on May 30, 2014 2:34 pm • linkreport

because I95 is a limited access highway, not a community street. Ergo, the benefit cost of a crosswalk across it would be very different from traffic calming on a local main street.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 30, 2014 2:34 pm • linkreport

Rt. 29 is another highway, not a local main street, but it's been discussed here as a target for traffic calming measures.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 2:38 pm • linkreport

I am not familiar with Rte 29 in Maryland, I was answering your question as worded. I do note that Rte 29 is not a limited access highway, and I believe it does currently have retail along it, and also pedestrians crossing it.

I know here in NoVa suburban arterials that are used by some as through routes, are also neighborhood main streets, at least for some parts of their route. Why Rte 29 in Fairfax is one, and it really does need traffic calming in places. It can't get it because VDOT.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 30, 2014 2:41 pm • linkreport

"Who wants to be called "Cars before People?" "

Im sure no one does, because that would make it clear that they want to improve auto LOS at the expense of pedestrians, and no one admits to wanting to do that. Thats why they usually claim "no one would ever walk here anyway" or that all safety problems are caused by pedestrian misbehavior, whether or not its true.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 30, 2014 2:43 pm • linkreport


Why is your support for cars so high? How come you don't want to live in a community with safer streets? More roads mean more cars and eventually even more gridlock with less green space. I don't know if you drive around Montgomery County during rush hour or on the weekends because it is hell. Also your counter arguments are unjust and just plain dumb.

by turtlepower on May 30, 2014 2:44 pm • linkreport

"Supports car-slowing BRT" would actually contains the point of the question

by asffa on May 30, 2014 2:47 pm • linkreport

no because there are many complete streets projects that have nothing to do with BRT.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 30, 2014 2:51 pm • linkreport

Many of the proposals worsen bus service or plan them ineffectually and/or inefficiently to where they won't serve customers best, plus make the roads less safe for everyone, and create worse traffic - at a cost when totaled, comes into the billions.
Preventing the next SSTC is even better than trying to ineffectually fix it later for millions more.

My support isn't ruthlessly, needlessly, absurdly *against* cars, that's the only difference I'm seeing. People still need to get around easily when the buses don't run or go where they need to go, and that's a whole lot of the time. There's no reason to punish people for living.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 2:55 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity I don't think Doug Duncan OR Ike Leggett, who've been put in the "Cars before People" category through virtue of getting a "minus" on the chart goes about saying "who would want to walk here anyway"
And I see what that "People before Cars" as suggesting they prefer cars to people.
As both of us see that it's misleading their position/viewpoint entirely, (which I think was ACT's intention and point.) I think this chart's a mess.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 3:04 pm • linkreport

complete streets often doesn't slow traffic much, and is NOT punishing people for living. And why is someone shooting down rte 29 from Nutley street to the beltway "living" but someone trying to walk from Dunn Loring metro to Mosaic district is not?

As for SSTC, it was built incorrectly. I do not see evidence it was not needed.

And your arguments against MoCo BRT do not seem to be aimed at particular routings so much as against any transfer of lanes to dedicated bus lanes. ANY.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 30, 2014 3:04 pm • linkreport

Also, after hearing endless touting of BRT by the street car opponents in Arlington, and some in DC, to hear folks fighting so hard against BRT in MoCo leads one to discount all these arguments - these folks aren't really fighting about mode specifics, they just don't want any transit that gets in the way of their drive.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 30, 2014 3:06 pm • linkreport

Hrm. Prove to me the good outweighs the harm people and streets (including by the cost/loss to other potential bus improvements) and the loss of other improvement projects on most of the MoCo BRT plans.
One BRT 150 million to improve a bus service's speed at optimistically 10% or > 2 minutes when it'd make a total disaster of traffic on Georgia Avenue (of people going to the hospital and things), far worse than that 2 minutes.
For that expense, (which involves a route they've cared so little about most of the stops are "flag pole" style ) it wouldn't actually improve bus service for most. Its new route wasn't going where people pick up and go. And of course said bus would cost more, (how much more they aren't saying) and stop fewer places, just to gain that less than 2 minutes of speed - to go where the Metro leaves most infrequently.
And add they want said local residents with the "privilege" of living near such poor planning to pay extra in taxes for this bus's existence and to help pay for the darn thing. It's lose-lose-lose and lose some more.
But it's hot stuff to ACT.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 3:18 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity you're wrong about me, though, I'll give specifics as best I can why some BRT plans are wrong.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 3:19 pm • linkreport

as if anybody on this list would likely prefer to save a car over a person,

They wouldn't say that (well, politicians have before) but when you support policies/projects that are aimed at improving traffic speeds or keeping them level then it becomes evident what one prefers.

I'll accept an argument that says there is nothing wrong with that but people should be aware whether a politician which mode of transportation he/she prefers to accomodate.

Or you can go on about semantics of a phrase and ignore anything the people who are actually trying to get elected are saying.

by drumz on May 30, 2014 3:32 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity -
1000 "flag pole" stops could be changed to have a basic shelter and bike rack (30K) for less than the price of one mile in MontCo of BRT.

I think you could get 5% more ridership on buses if at each bus stop, the riders would be treated as persons enough they all got a decent place to wait. If I'm wrong, I still think that would be worth a try.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 3:36 pm • linkreport

The post that Miriam S. wrote here provides the push poll wording of the questions as justification for a + or a -. But those questions are not provided on the card that will be offered to voters as a tool for making informed decisions. They will get a card that offers headings with + or -
- leading most to conclude that a candidate is either for or against a project or issue.

ACT states that their score card is based on the following:

ACT then rated the candidates based on their voting records, questionnaire answers, records in office (especially important for candidates who have held executive offices), and public statements.


Yet, various responses to inquires about the score card's accuracy are answered this way: it is graded as to whether a candidate offered a "yes" or a "no" on the questionnaire. Which is it - a comprehensive evaluation or game of Yes or No?

Without reference to the wording of the question or the full answer and without an even handed evaluation of each candidate- this score card is meaningless. Truthfully, it is worse than that- it is slanted campaign literature masquerading as voter education.

by Joshua Goldman on May 30, 2014 3:36 pm • linkreport

Here's how I would rank the issues concerning growth in order of importance:

1. Purple Line
2. Housing Near Metro (and other transit)
3. NO 2nd Crossing
4. (tie) 3rd Brunswick Line track (MARC)
4. (tie) BRT
6. NO M-83
7. "People before cars" (While I'm all for walkability and ped/cyclist safety, some of the opinions and proposals I've seen on this site are a little radical/extreme).

A lot of sprawl-lovers running in District 5. It would be unfortunate if any of them won. With the current traffic situation on Rte 29 I believe a decent compromise would be to grade separate the highway between Four Corners and Howard County and add dedicated lanes for BRT.

Glass would be a no-brainer for the district, but his proposal to use the land adjacent to the SSTC for a park is unpopular, impractical, and wasteful.

by King Terrapin on May 30, 2014 3:38 pm • linkreport

"Hrm. Prove to me the good outweighs the harm people and streets (including by the cost/loss to other potential bus improvements) and the loss of other improvement projects on most of the MoCo BRT plans."

I am not going over the details of each BRT line in MoCo. Beacause A. I do not live there and am not familiar with the details and B. Because its been gone over in more appropriate threads.

I was merely disputing your quibbles about wording. And expressing my broad sense from over the river of the nature of the opposition to BRT, which is so highly called for by street car opponents.

I will leave to folks more familiar to take issue with your statements about time, which I beleive they have previously.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 30, 2014 3:39 pm • linkreport

@Joshua Goldman, there is a key on the scorecard hand-out. Here is a pdf of the scorecard handout:

The key is at the bottom left of the first page.

Here is what the key says:

KEY (what a "+" means)

Purple Line: supports light rail as planned with no qualification.
People Before Cars: supports pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets in school zones and downtowns, even if it slows down car traffic.
Buses Before Cars: supports bus-only lanes, even if they replace car lanes.
Opposes M-83 Highway: opposes a new highway from Montgomery Village to Clarksburg.
Housing Near Metro: supports development near transit.
Opposes Second Bridge: opposes a new road crossing the Potomac River in Montgomery County.
All-Day MARC Service: supports all-day commuter train service.

by Miriam on May 30, 2014 3:46 pm • linkreport

@Joshua Goldman -- also, about "push poll wording of the questions". This was not a poll. This was a questionnaire from a transit advocacy group for candidates to fill out about their positions on transit issues.

by Miriam on May 30, 2014 3:50 pm • linkreport

I'm not debating street cars. :)

by asffa on May 30, 2014 3:56 pm • linkreport

It's fascinating that only Glass received a 100% rating in the District 5 race. District 5 is the battleground for the Purple Line and BRT.

by Silver Spring on May 30, 2014 4:11 pm • linkreport

If any of these candidates is dumb enough to tell ACT that they don't "support" any of these projects, they have no business running.

That's why ACT's scorecard doesn't rely on someone saying the words "yes I support it!" as an indication that they do.

by MLD on May 30, 2014 4:13 pm • linkreport

Do this for Prince Geo's county please?

by Greenbelt on May 30, 2014 4:21 pm • linkreport

@Ronit A Dancis: Thanks for the reading suggestions.

I'm not sure I follow your point, however. Are you disputing that Al Carr is a strong supporter of transit, MARC, and bicycling (and energy conservation)? I don't see anything in Miriam's piece that would lead me to think otherwise.

To be sure, there are some anti-light rail zealots in Chevy Chase, most of whom seem to be affiliated with "Save the Trail". I simply see no evidence that Delegate Carr is one of those zealots, and I see lots of evidence that he is not. (Killing the gas tax, as Doug Gansler wanted to do, for example, would have killed the Purple Line.) But he represents these people, wants their votes, etc.

If your point is that Al Carr is not a Purple Line zealot, then of course I would agree with that as well. When it matters he is with us.

by JimT on May 30, 2014 4:24 pm • linkreport

Not that I like this "People vs. Cars" card anyway, but why does District 4 get no mention?

by asffa on May 30, 2014 4:29 pm • linkreport

@MLD: That's why ACT's scorecard doesn't rely on someone saying the words "yes I support it!" as an indication that they do.

Sorry for beating a dead horse here, but I don't think that applies to their assessment of Doug Gansler. He opposed the gas tax, and offered not alternative for funding the Purple Line other than going back in time and not spending money on projects with which he disagreed.

And frankly, anyone who tells his driver to run stop signs because they are "optional" does not appear to be putting "people above cars".

by JimT on May 30, 2014 4:31 pm • linkreport

@asffa -- because Nancy Navarro and John O'Malley are running unopposed in District 4. See above: "Candidates running unopposed in primaries were not rated. However, their answers to the questionnaires, along with those of all the other candidates, are posted in full on the ACT website."

by Miriam on May 30, 2014 4:39 pm • linkreport

What's the details on this second bridge across the Potomac that ACT's poll was talking about?

Not only is the headings misleading, some of the extended questions are vague, too. And I wonder if the M83 question was requiring a "no" on all the M83 alternatives but ACT's 330+ million pet M83 alternative

by asffa on May 30, 2014 4:43 pm • linkreport

JimT: "When it matters he is with us" on everything maybe EXCEPT the Purple Line. Al Carr is the biggest ally of "Save the Trail"! He was only one of two elected officials to stand beside Ajay Bhatt at the "Save the Trail" race last weekend to support him. The other elected was Pat Burda, the mayor of the Town of Chevy Chase. Last winter Al Carr joined a delegation of "Save the Trail" affiliated neighborhood advocates to go to the Federal Transportation Administration to lobby against federal funding for the Purple Line.

JimT, I don't know what Al Carr has told you, but here in D-18 we know Al Carr to be the strongest opponent of the Purple Line on the Montgomery delegation to the state legislature.

by Wayne Phyillaier on May 30, 2014 4:44 pm • linkreport

Thanks Miriam, I'll look to see if you gave them "People before Cars" and other */- ratings
Why didn't you put it "Supports BRT slowing Cars" or something like that instead?

by asffa on May 30, 2014 4:47 pm • linkreport

Sorry, I'm not finding the link giving District 4 scores

by asffa on May 30, 2014 4:49 pm • linkreport

Just change the file name

by MLD on May 30, 2014 4:56 pm • linkreport

MLD Thank you.

by asffa on May 30, 2014 4:58 pm • linkreport

@Wayne: I think I could agree with your assessment ""When it matters he is with us" on everything maybe EXCEPT the Purple Line. I simply don't think his views on the preferred Purple Line alignment matter.

Compare the Attorney General running for Governor, who opposed the gas tax, tells the police that stop signs are optional, and also opposes what he calls "taxing the rain".

Or compare Delegate Barbara Frush who represent College Park and voted against the gas tax, which would have lost had 6 people switched their votes.

by JimT on May 30, 2014 5:15 pm • linkreport

Some other MontCo transit priorities
1. Get WMATA to fix the Red Line
Add Late night Metro and/or Bus service
Build interchanges where needed
Replace "flag pole" stops with shelters and add bike racks

-- BUILD M83 Alternative 5.--
It has ZERO park impacts, is rated by the County's study as in the positive impacts for
Safety, Network Connectivity,Accommodate Future Growth,
Pedestrian Bicycle, MD 355 Traffic, Travel Time
with low negative impact to intersection congestion (since it conglomerates traffic to fewer entrances/exits)

by asffa on May 30, 2014 7:17 pm • linkreport

"Why didn't you put it "Supports BRT slowing Cars" or something like that instead?"

If we're offering suggestions, how about 'Supports moving the most people'?

by Thayer-D on May 30, 2014 8:12 pm • linkreport


I think we are arguing about two distinct things. You appear to like Al Carr overall, because of his stand on the gas tax and other bike issues regardless of his stand on the Purple Line. OK, I get that.

But I am defending the ACT assessment of Al Carr on their Purple Line question - whether the candidate supports the Purple Line as light rail on the chosen alignment. On that specific question, Al Carr very clearly fails. He is actively working to change both the mode and alignment. ACT is correct in their assessment of Al Carr on this issue.

Jim, you can make a case that Al Carr is our friend when all of his transportation positions are considered overall, and that his support of the gas tax overides other issues. But please, don't argue that Al Carr is a Purple Line supporter - he is not.

by Wayne Phyillaier on May 30, 2014 8:23 pm • linkreport

Thayer-D and who would get the minus/plus marks based on that designation?

by asffa on May 30, 2014 9:28 pm • linkreport

Wayne: Thanks for clarifying what you are trying to do. I think you have reasonably characterized my perspective, except I don't mean to suggest tat Delegate Carr is a "Purple Line supporter". His public actions seem to reflect ambivalence.

My (implicit) argument against ACT's scorecard concerns Mr. Gansler, not Del. Carr. I can see how supporting the gas tax does not make someone a Purple Line supporter. But can anyone who opposed the gas tax be viewed as a Purple Line supporter in 2013? And telling cops to run stop signs?

I'm not sure whether ACT cares about the need to discourage runoff from parking lots, since that is not transit, but when I heard him talk about "taxing the rain" on Kojo, it did not sound like someone who wants smart growth. Giving him the same rating as his two opponents does not seem right.

by JimT on May 30, 2014 9:39 pm • linkreport

JiimT: We are mostly on the same page, except no way has Al Carr's public actions shown ambivalence. See today's Post endorsements for the Md Assembly - at

The Post is going against Carr because of his staunch anti-Purple Line position.

by Wayne Phyillaier on May 31, 2014 9:26 am • linkreport

Thanks Wayne. I see you aren't going to defend Gansler or ACT's 4-star rating of him. Will anyone?

by JimT on May 31, 2014 11:17 am • linkreport

The Purple Line in its current configuration is an economic boondoggle and taxpayer nightmare, not to mention an environmental disaster in the make. For a FRACTION of the burgeoning, still unquantified Purple Line cost. A light rail or street car line could have been run down Route 193 (University Boulevard), to Route 586 (Viers Mill Road) to connect two ends of the red line, and College Park to Rockville. The current configuration of the Purple Line is to the benefit of the Saul Company, not the citizens. However, as PT Barnum predicted, there are suckers born every minute and they have obligated the rest of us with an absurd mess to come, which will not be affordable to ride, except for those privileged few who feed at the top of the food chain (politicians and their remoras)

by SP Manion on May 31, 2014 12:12 pm • linkreport

I am a Purple Line supporter who lives in D18. It is true that Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez was at one time the only one of the incumbents who fully backed the Purple Line. But they ALL supported the gas tax. And I think it is fair to say that all now recognize that the Purple Line is a reality.

If transit advocates are to have any credibility then they must judge candidates fairly and objectively, without political influence or favoritism. Unfortunately, ACT has to often failed this test. The minus scores assigned to Beth Daly are an outrage.

by Woody brosnan on May 31, 2014 5:01 pm • linkreport

@Woody brosnan: "...I think it is fair to say that all now recognize that the Purple Line is a reality."

I don't wish to address the ACT assessment of Beth Daly, I just haven't followed her campaign enough to contribute much here.

But your claim that all the delegates recognize the Purple Line is a reality is wrong for Al Carr. Just last Saturday he stood beside Ajay Bhatt at his "Save the Trail" 5K "it's now or never" race event to encourage them to keep up their efforts to stop the Purple Line.

by Wayne Phyillaier on May 31, 2014 6:27 pm • linkreport

Leaving aside what Al Carr does in his spare time, which has already been noted, what has he done in the Legislature since the last election that affects the Purple Line?

by JimT on May 31, 2014 8:03 pm • linkreport


When Al Carr speaks to a "Save the Trail" rally or goes with a delegation to the US DOT to lobby against the Purple Line, he is using the respect for his office to gain status and respect. He is not just another private person on his "spare time". We, as voters, can and should consider whether our delegate is using the status we give to him to represent our interests - whether in Annapolis or not.

by Wayne Phyillaier on May 31, 2014 8:17 pm • linkreport

SP Manion you are correct the Purple Line has burst way out of its original purposes and cost.

The real benefit the investors are wanting is they hope that they can make being near the Purple Line raise the value rates of homes much like the Metro does to make and sell new apartments.

Good, bad, or ugly, there's probably many hoping to cash in.

by asffa on May 31, 2014 9:36 pm • linkreport

@wayne: My question was about what he did in the Legislature, and your response seems to be reiterating the importance of things he says outside of the legislature.
So can I infer that he actually has done nothing to oppose the Purple Line in the Legislature in the last four years? I don't want to incorrectly describe his actual role. I can't tell from your response whether he has also done something in the legislature to hurt the Purple Line post-2010 but it was relatively minor or if voting for the gas tax and MDOT's budget is the only thing he did.
A die-hard opponent would introduce budget riders every year to stop additional work. Did he do something like that which went nowhere but showed symbolically his opposition?

by JimT on May 31, 2014 10:28 pm • linkreport

To Wayne,
Thanks for the information about the Save the Trail rally. I was unaware of that. I plan to follow up.

by Woody brosnan on May 31, 2014 11:49 pm • linkreport


My point is that an elected representative can use his status to hurt the project outside of the Legislature. I believe Al Carr and other Purple Line opponents know they have lost the battle using normal democractic processes at Annapolis, so now they are looking for legal technicalities to use lawsuits to stop the project or lobbying activities to US DOT officials to undercut the request for federal funding. Al Carr is using his status as an elected representative to give these efforts credibility, so yes, it matters.


by Wayne Phyillaier on Jun 1, 2014 6:36 am • linkreport

Wayne, I respect your viewpoint. If I had put in as much time and effort to support the Purple Line I would feel the same way.
I talked to Carr about this. He was at the event. His son ran the 5k. He was asked to speak afterwards. He asked folks to vote on June 24.

I don't think we can ask the d18 incumbents to completely ignore a strong bloc of constituents. But Carr said he is focusing his efforts on mitigating the discrumptions and impacts of the Purple Line. For instance, he supported the efforts of the Lyttonsville Community to move the rail maintenance yard that would have so disruptive to their community and the trail.
And he voted for the gas tax and a of lot of other things i support, like marriage equality and the minimum wage increase.
In a past life I covered a legislature. Seniority and relationships count. I don't think Montgomery County can just keep churning faces in Annapolis and expect to get our fair share of state funds for transportation or schools.

Carr is an environmentalist. He is trying to get a statewide bag bill. He has looked at things like low-cost, low-energy street lights that provide security without lighting up the entire night sky. So I support Al.

But as I said, I respect your viewpoint too.

by Woody brosnan on Jun 1, 2014 11:53 am • linkreport

If I had put in as much time and effort to support the Purple Line I would feel the same way.

Fair perspective. I've put in a similar effort to protect cyclists, which might explain why I am trying to make sure that bicycling's best friend in the Legislature is not unfairly smeared through innuendo based, not on what he does, but on what his supporters have done.

So far, all we have established is that Delegate Carr voted for the gas tax--which was they key vote concerning the Purple Line. But evidently, during the last four years, Mr. Carr neither cast a single vote against the Purple Line, nor did he introduce any legislation to directly or indirectly thwart the Purple Line.

But he went to a weekend fundraiser by known opponents whose votes he needs to solicit.

by JimT on Jun 1, 2014 2:14 pm • linkreport

@Wayne: ...Al Carr and other Purple Line opponents know they have lost the battle using normal democractic processes at Annapolis, so now they are looking for [1] legal technicalities to use lawsuits to stop the project or [2] lobbying activities to US DOT officials to undercut the request for federal funding. Al Carr is using his status as an elected representative to give these efforts credibility, so yes, it matters...Last winter Al Carr joined a delegation of "Save the Trail" affiliated neighborhood advocates to go to the Federal Transportation Administration to lobby against federal funding for the Purple Line.

I am very certain that Al Carr's status could not add any credibility to a lawsuit even if he was a party--and he is not even a party anyway. If you think it does, please explain why.

On your second point, which seems to be based on a meeting Al Carr had last winter with FTA, that meeting didn't show up when I googled Carr and FTA. Can you provide a link to an account of the meeting? Frankly, I am baffled about how a meeting last winter with FTA and an elected official on the Purple Line wouldn't show up in a google search. What's your source?

by JimT on Jun 1, 2014 2:19 pm • linkreport

You should not be so surprised that a meeting with US-DOT agency staff members to lobby against funding for the Purple Line might not be recorded. Lobbying is often done in a very low profile way. I will get more specific information for you about the who and when of that meeting.
If you have doubt that Al Carr is supporting Ajay Bhatt's "Save the Trail" efforts to challenge the Purple Line by finding legal flaws in the EIS environmental assessment, check out the photo album of Ajay's 5K fundraising race at
You can see Al Carr in photos near the end of the album, receiving a recognition from "Save the Trail" and addressing the attendees. Note he is the only elected official there other than the Mayor of the Town of Chevy Chase.

I understand Woody Brosnan and your point that Al's position on all the issues should be considered. But I don't understand why you persist in denying Al's efforts to stop the Purple Line. He did not vote, or try to introduce legislation, against the Purple Line in the General Assembly because he knew he could not succeed to introduce or pass such legislation given the support for the Purple Line in that body. But he is helping to carry the fight against the Purple Line elsewhere.

by Wayne Phyillaier on Jun 1, 2014 2:44 pm • linkreport

Woody Brosnan That's nice to know about Al Carr - the large lantern-shaped designs for street lighting on some of the new interchanges are useless to helping pedestrians see, are more expensive, are energy wasteful, and contribute to light pollution.

by asffa on Jun 1, 2014 3:46 pm • linkreport

(The kind of lighting rimming the side of the bike trail on Montrose Pkwy ),-77.1212,3a,90y,306.38h,97.69t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sk42HuNEf0rouHz4n6-WYTA!2e0!6m1!1e1

by asffa on Jun 1, 2014 3:50 pm • linkreport

Thanks Wayne. At this point, I am not denying Al's efforts to stop the Purple Line but rather attempting to learn whether he is being unfairly tarred or not. The reason I want to make sure he is not unfairly tarred is that [1] he is cycling's best friend in the Legislature and [2] this thread has raised my suspicions that perhaps he is indeed being unfairly tarred.

There is no doubt that through 2010, he was a supporter of the other alignment. He lost a lot of endorsements because of it. But the direct alignment through Chevy Chase won, and he was re-elected. I have assumed that since then, he has worked with the reality we have. You have asserted that I am mistaken, for four reasons.

Of the four reasons you have provided, all but one fall apart when one asks for additional clarification.
1. Lawsuit: Al Carr is irrelevant to a lawsuit
2. His legislative actions all supported the Purple Line
3. He parties with constituents who are still trying to stop the Purple Line (as well as people who are strong supporters of the Purple Line).

So really, about the only evidence you have offered that Al Carr is working to stop the Purple Line is last winter's meeting with FTA. You've mentioned it twice and it does sound suspicious. But from what you have written here, it sounds like perhaps you have only heard about that meeting third hand.

Are you sure Al Carr really met with FTA last winter about the Purple Line, and if so, why are you so sure?

by JimT on Jun 1, 2014 3:52 pm • linkreport


I've asked about the FTA meeting, and Purple Line advocates remember it did occur much as I described, but as being several years ago.

But there is little need for us to debate endlessly about where Al stands - he tells us himself on his own campaign website at
At that webpage Al Carr claims he is seeking "fresh" transportation solutions, and he points to his 2008 testimony on the Purple Line at

From that testimony: "Bus Rapid Transit on Jones Bridge Road is an option that will preserve the Capital Crescent Trail. This is a heavily used, wonderful urban park that brings people together."
"I don't know how many of the people in this room have actually lived next to a light rail line. Well I have. And I can tell you that there is no better way to forever divide a neighborhood and keep people separated. And that is what will happen if we put light rail on the Capital Crescent Trail."

Yes, the testimony was given in 2008. But Al Carr is pointing to it today as representing his Purple Line position.

I get it that Al Carr may deserve support because of the good work he has done for biking and for environmental issues. Go for it if that is more important for you. But please stop trying to tell us Al Carr supports the Purple Line while Al is telling us on his own campaign website that he will only support BRT on Jones Bridge Road.

by Wayne Phyillaier on Jun 1, 2014 7:13 pm • linkreport

So in other words, Al Carr had a meeting about the Purple Line before the last election, and said some nice things about BRT in 2008, and has not disowned his past, so he must be a Purple Line opponent now and forever.

by JimT on Jun 2, 2014 7:12 am • linkreport


I can not speak for whether Al Carr will be a Purple Line opponent forever. But Al makes it clear on his own 2014 campaign website what his position is now - by the testimony he cites on his 2014 website as still being his current position.

If you refuse to even believe Al Carr's own 2014 campaign website, then you are not open to reason on this issue.

by Wayne Phyillaier on Jun 2, 2014 7:31 am • linkreport

This has been an interesting back and forth on Al Carr and the way the whole Purple Line debate has been played out. The thing that gets me about the save the trail folks is that the Purple line was always supposed to go down the Chevy Chase right of way.

My understanding was that the county had planned a light rail down this right of way back when the coal trains to Georgetown stopped running back in the 1980's. The reason was always environmental becasue anyone knows that having may people on light rail is a lot more envoronmentally friendly than hunderds of cars. I think it was also an economic rational becasue of the costs of widening roads and reliability of commuting without traffic jambs. The trail was always meant to be a temporary measure until the Purple Line got off the ground.

Of course, people get used to what they have, especially if it's under their noses, and conveniently forget the larger picture. I don't know Al Carr's record, and he sounds like a good guy from what I've read. But I think it's disengenious to posture being pro-envornoment while being against re-using this old rail right of wayas a smart and efficient way of moving people. One can always point to the felling of one tree as wrong, but you can't forget the larger picture.

How many trees would be lost if we didn't plan for more development to rely on transit rather than cars? To say you oppose the Purple Line on environmental grounds when it was always planned to help reduce cars is disengenuous. Especially when the county approved the concept of a trolley way before there was a Trail to save.

by Thayer-D on Jun 2, 2014 8:33 am • linkreport

Perhaps if Mr. Carr doesn't want people to think he is anti Purple Line, he should come up with a new talking point other than "read my 2008 testimony" that calls for endless study of the Purple Line, and he should probably stop showing up front and center at events hosted by the anti-Purple-Line folks.

Also agree that Doug Gansler probably doesn't warrant a glowing recommendation since he opposed the gas tax increase.

by MLD on Jun 2, 2014 8:52 am • linkreport

Does anybody know the predicted speeds the Purple Line rail will have on its route?

by asffa on Jun 2, 2014 9:25 am • linkreport

See Table 11 (on page 30):

Average speeds will vary between ~8mph for the on-street segments (which is bus-like), up to ~35mph for grade-separated rights of way (which is Metro-like).

by Alex B. on Jun 2, 2014 9:38 am • linkreport

Is there any reason why it's planned to run 5 until 1 am? As far as start time 5 am, since people are going to be using it to get to the first trains on the Metro (genuinely kind of the point of the build), that should run even earlier by at least an hour or so.

Where is the push by transit-related groups for all night (or at least a lot later) train/rail/bus service?

by asffa on Jun 2, 2014 9:51 am • linkreport

Alex B Thank you for the link and information. Is most of the way on-street?
(I looked at the map proposals, I find them confusing to read details - the overlay purple drawn very wide, blocking off the street map etc.)

by asffa on Jun 2, 2014 9:57 am • linkreport

Re: Hours of operation

I don't think the county or Metro can afford all night service and I don't think it would be safe for passengers. It is not just the hours for operators, but you would have to increase the police presence in those hours.

There hasn't been a lot of discussion about how we protect the walkways for people to reach the Purple Line station -- lighting, panic stations, cameras, etc. This has to be funded by the county. So far the Council has only included funds in the Capital Improvements Plan to run the electric conduit along the trail. I hope Purple Line and trail advocates will turn some of their attention to this issue.

by Woody brosnan on Jun 2, 2014 10:06 am • linkreport

Wayne. I don't think you are correctly interpreting the campaign website, since it is not put forth as his position in the Purple Line but rather as his position on new ideas, i.e., BRT. All he said was that the BRT needed to be considered as an option. I guess you disagree, but having wanted it to be an option in 2008 is not the same thing as killing the project today.

Be that as it may, I think we have explored this matter in sufficient detail. You have no evidence that he has done anything against the Purple Line, and you have evidence that he voted to fund it.

But he continues to be empathetic towards those who don't want the light rail through their neighborhoods, and that empathy annoys those who are apalled by the bitter-enders in Chevy Chase. That's probably because he always saw their side of the story, and while he has moved on, many of the losers in that matter haven't.

Perhaps some of the winners haven't either.

by JimT on Jun 2, 2014 10:07 am • linkreport

From Bethesda to Silver Spring, the Purple Line is entirely in its own right-of-way. This segment of the trip will take just 8.5 minutes, which is much faster than any other mode today.

From Silver Spring TC, the line runs in its own lane (not shared with cars) as far as Fenton Street.

From Fenton Street, the line runs on Wayne Avenue in lanes shared with cars as far east as Sligo Creek Parkway.

From Sligo Creek Parkway to Arliss Street, the line runs underground in its own right-of-way.

From Arliss Street, the line runs on Piney Branch and University Boulevard in it's own lane. This continues on Campus Drive all the way to the M Circle at UMD.

From the M Circle to Paint Branch Parkway, it runs mostly in its own right-of-way (paralleling Campus Drive to the south).

On Paint Branch Parkway from Rossborough Lane to College Park Metro, the line shares lanes with cars.

From College Park Metro to Kenilworth Avenuem the line runs in its own right-of-way.

On Kenilworth Avenue, the line runs in its own lanes.

From Riverdale Park to Ellin Road, the line runs in its own right-of-way.

Along Ellin Road between Route 410 and New Carrollton station, the line shares lanes with cars.

by Matt' Johnson on Jun 2, 2014 10:08 am • linkreport

"There hasn't been a lot of discussion about how we protect the walkways for people to reach the Purple Line station -- lighting, panic stations, cameras, etc."

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

There aren't any of those things on the sidewalk along Gallows from the Dunn Loring metro station to the Mosaic District. If and when it will happen, the county will provide it because its the County's job to provide safe places to walk, period. Sheesh.

by AWalkerIntheCity on Jun 2, 2014 10:12 am • linkreport


I suspect one reason the winners haven't move on is because legal and political challenges continue to be mounted. The thing is not a done deal yet.

by AWalkerIntheCity on Jun 2, 2014 10:14 am • linkreport

Thank you Matt!! That's very nice.
Is there going to be parking & dropoffs & bike racks at the stations?

Even if Metro doesn't run entirely all night, to get last trains having connections to the Red Line (which the Purple line serves) in the city you often have to be at the stations around 11 - a big deterrence for using weekdays. I want to see concerts in town and get home, and am hardly alone in this.

And the Purple line really does need to open earlier to get people to the first am Metro trains. That is important! Things like this should be built for people to ride, not just about real estate, and for many riders it is to get people to the Metro - so then it got to start moving people before/after the Metro runs.

by asffa on Jun 2, 2014 10:31 am • linkreport

There will be bike racks at all the stations, I believe.

As for parking, I don't think any of the stations are going to have purpose-built parking for the Purple Line.

However, there is already public parking at:
>Silver Spring
>Fenton Street/Silver Spring Library
>College Park
>New Carrollton

MTA expects that most people riding the Purple Line will either come on foot or be transferring from a different mode (bus, Metrorail).

by Matt' Johnson on Jun 2, 2014 10:48 am • linkreport

After suffering through years of little support (or ineffective support) for pro-bicycling bills in the Maryland General Assembly, Al Carr was a godsend. If you ever ride your bike in the travel lane on roads with shoulders (which is often important for safety or operational reasons) you can thank Al Carr that it's no longer illegal to do so. That's just one of the things he's done for bicycling. He's a proactive champion and he was a bike/ped advocate before becoming a state legislator. So that's why I support him, and why Jim T. does as well. I certainly understand the sentiment against him because transit advocates have had to suffer through years of NIMBY opposition to the Purple Line, opposition that comes up with all sorts of false rationalizations against the line. I can't stand the opponents and it's an emotional issue. But Purple Line opponents seem to be in a state of denial, believing that they can still stop the project. If it really can't be stopped, then how much harm is Carr doing relative to the good he's doing for bicycling? On bike issues, NOT having Carr in the General Assembly will certainly do harm.

by Jack Cochrane on Jun 2, 2014 12:24 pm • linkreport

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