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Proposal For Purple Line Station In Bethesda Will Require Compromises

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The Bethesda station will be a centerpiece of the proposed Purple Line in Maryland. But what the station will consist of — and look like — still seems like anyone's guess to county leaders.

The Bethesda station will be the western terminus of the Purple Line, and will connect to the station for Metrorail's Red Line in the heart of a large business district full of restaurants and theaters.

The Montgomery County council has started hearings on all the necessary zoning changes needed to build the station, and council members are finding it might be impossible to please everybody. The so-called "Optimal" design does not directly connect the Red Line and Purple Line platforms for riders, which would add time to an already estimated 6 minute transfer time between the two.

The Maryland Transit Administration's design is contingent on an office building being razed and the owners for the building are hesitant about that. Another design would mean no tunnel for the popular Capital Crescent Trail, which would anger bikers and runners.

Council president Craig Rice says that whatever the outcome, someone is going to lose out.

"That doesn't mean the council isn't revisiting the Purple Line or whether we have support for it," Rice says. "We all support the Purple Line. It's one of our number-one transportation priorities. But at the same time we owe everyone the duty to make sure this is done right."

If federal funding is secured for the project, the Purple Line could open as early as 2020.

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