The possible effects aren’t likely to surprise those who live or work directly in the projected path because the Maryland Transit Administration has met with most of them at private gatherings and public workshops over the past several years.
However, the study spells out in the most detail yet the broader impact on people within 500 feet of the planned route, both during construction and once trains began passing by 70 times a day.
Of the 116 displacements, 53 would be houses or apartment units, and 60 would be businesses that have an estimated total of 246 employees. Most of the affected businesses are in Silver Spring and Takoma Park, including several in the Mega Super Market on University Boulevard.
Three “institutional properties” would be condemned, including the Silver Spring post office on 16th Street.
The biggest effects would be felt in the Riverdale area of Prince George’s County, where 22 homes would be lost along Riverdale Road. State officials said most of the residents asked that the project take their entire properties rather than leave them living closer to the busy road and a train line.
Residents along Wayne Avenue east of downtown Silver Spring would lose strips of front yards to road widening and would hear significant construction noise, particularly during 30 months when a tunnel three-tenths of a mile long would be blasted and built between Wayne and Arliss Street, the MTA report says.
Two six-unit apartment buildings above the tunnel’s designated location would be torn down, the report says.
After a Purple Line began to operate, some residents also might hear the “hum” of 18 electrical substations that would be spaced about a mile apart along the route. The trains would be powered by overhead electrical wires.
MTA spokesman Terry Owens said the study outlines “potential” impacts, identified based on early engineering, and could be reduced during final design.
Although densely populated communities are necessary to make a rail line cost-effective, state transit planners have said threading a Purple Line through developed areas inside the Capital Beltway would be challenging.
The line would connect the Maryland ends of the Metrorail system with Amtrak and commuter rail (MARC) stations. State transit officials say it would provide faster, more reliable east-west transit than buses and spur redevelopment near stations.
A rush-hour ride between Bethesda and New Carrollton that now takes 92 minutes by bus would take 63 minutes on a Purple Line, the study found.