State designing tube for platform to reduce riders' wind exposure

Maryland transportation officials are designing a unique station for the Silver Spring stop of the proposed Purple Line, which would place the station platform about 80 feet in the air.

Instead of a traditional, platform-style stop, the station would be surrounded by a tube-like casing that would reduce wind exposure, said Mike Madden, manager of the Purple Line planning with the Maryland Transit Administration.

The stop -- part of the $2.1 billion proposed 16-mile light rail between New Carrollton and Bethesda -- would have to be placed 80 feet above the MARC train tracks running over Colesville Road. The tube design would reduce wind exposure at the increased height.

Madden unveiled the sketches of a platform encased in a clear tube at the Action Committee for Transit's monthly meeting Tuesday night.

The design would be the first of its kind in the Washington area.

Madden said MTA is still working on the logistics of the design as well as how riders would transfer between the Purple Line and Metro's Red Line. In the preliminary designs, riders would have to exit the Purple Line, go down to the Metro entrance and go back up to the Red Line platform, though Madden said engineers are searching for a simpler


Members of ACT and residents at the meeting expressed concerned with the platform height, though several commented on the sleek design of the tube.

County Councilman George Leventhal, D-at large, who attended the meeting, said though the designs for several stations, including the Silver Spring tube concept, were "striking," they won't come to fruition unless lawmakers get serious about providing money for the project.

"[The Maryland Transit Administration is] spending their design and engineering money and coming up with what are really beautiful design concepts, but there's no construction money," he said. "We need the legislature to act in this session to replenish the transportation trust fund otherwise this whole conversation is meaningless."

Madden declined to provide renderings of the station, as Montgomery County staff has yet to see them.