Opponents of building the Purple Line along the Capital Crescent Trail will be out in full force this Saturday morning for the annual "Save the Trail" 5-kilometer run along the shaded trail through the woods.
The event "will highlight the preservation of a 20-acre inside-the-beltway park and the opposition to building the Purple Line on the Capital Crescent Trail between Silver Spring and Bethesda," according to a statement from Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail, which is organizing the event.
The run will take place on the trail, beginning and ending at Elm Street Park (4601 Willow Ln., Chevy Chase). The race begins at 9 a.m., with a pre-race stretch from 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. led by Yoga Fusion Studios.
Non-running activities include music, face-painting, sign-making and remarks by Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail President Ajay Bhatt at the awards ceremony after the race. Top runners will receive prizes, and all runners wil be eligible for the many raffle prizes that will be drawn after the ceremony.
Pre-register for the race until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. Or, register on the day of the race—registration on May 25 starts at 7:30 a.m.
The trail follows an abandoned CSX Corp. railroad bed, and has been in use as a trail since the 1990s. Many locals enjoy using the trail for getting in some exercise and fresh air, while others use it to walk to school at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.
But, the Purple Line light railway, which is slated to connect Bethesda to New Carrollton by 2020, will change the look and feel of the trail, which is currently tree-lined and shady. With the Purple Line, the trail next to it will lose much of its tree canopy, opponents to having the Purple Line directly next to the trail say.
"The current plan for the Purple Line—a 16-mile light rail line proposed by Maryland through Prince George and Montgomery counties—while routed on streets for 13 miles, would veer off and destroy an invaluable three-mile stretch of the Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring, turning a serene, tree-canopied nature trail through quiet neighborhoods enjoyed by thousands of young and old bikers, walkers and runners ... into a shade-less ribbon of asphalt alongside twin sets of railroad tracks beneath high-power electrical lines with 250 daily trains passing at 45 mph," according to a statement from Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail.
The organization also points out that the sound created by the passing trains could be dangerous. When the sound of the train is emanating from only five feet away, "you won't be able to call to your children," or hear a bicyclist call out "on your left" (the standard signal a bicyclist calls out when passing a pedestrian) or a bicycle bell ringing. "Warnings will be drowned out 250 times a day," Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail say.
And, they add, loss of the trees would be detrimental to society. "With all the additional development in Silver Spring, Bethesda and the rest of Lower Montgomery County, it's time to think progressively about the need for greenspace. More people mean more need for parks. You couldn’t buy 20 acres inside the Beltway today to build a park; why would you tear one down?" Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail added.
Read about the 2011 "Save the Trail" 5K on Patch.