Plans unveiled for second Bethesda Metro station entrance
Construction likely won't begin until work on planned Purple Line under way
Concept designs for a second entrance to the Bethesda Metro station and connecting bicycle trails were unveiled today at a meeting of the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee of the Montgomery County Council.
County and Maryland Transit Administration plans call for six elevators that would connect Bethesda station's underground Red Line platform, the planned Purple Line light-rail station and street level, at the corner of Elm Street and Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda.
Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority officials presented a slideshow of maps, diagrams and simulated videos that illustrated access to the Metro through the new entrance.
In the most recent report to be made public, a 2005 access demand analysis for the Bethesda station, Metro estimated that 70 percent of the station's 19,000 weekday riders walk to the Metro.
That report projects 2030 ridership totals of 26,800 entries and exits to the Bethesda station with a south entrance and without connection to the Purple Line, and 30,400 with both a south entrance and the Purple Line. Average weekday entries and exits were about 19,000 in 2005, according to the study.
Two elevators on Elm Street at its southwest intersection with Wisconsin Avenue would take passengers to the Purple Line level, just below Wisconsin Avenue. Stairways would also connect the Purple Line level to Elm Street, according to the plan presented by Michael Madden, the administration's study manager for the Purple Line, and Joseph Romanowski Jr., of Rummel Klepper & Kahl, LLP.
At the Purple Line level, four additional high-speed elevators would take passengers to the Red Line, about 125 feet below the street. A mezzanine would be build to connect the south entrance to the Red Line platform.
The two elevators at street level would not connect directly to the Red Line. Developers would not be able to erect more than two elevators at street level because Elm Street is not flat enough, according to the design description.
Two bike paths, along Bethesda Avenue between Woodmont and Wisconsin avenues, and along Willow Lane, between Wisconsin Avenue and 47th Street would provide street level and tunnel access.
The $60 million south entrance project is being paid for by the county and managed by the MTA. The $5 million for the design came from the county's liquor fund; the construction will be paid for through general obligation bonds, or borrowing.
The next step will be to hold public meetings, which are expected later this fall.
Developers are scheduled to complete the final design by May 2012.
Construction could begin as early as 2013, but is more likely to be planned to coordinate with Purple Line construction, said Glenn Orlin, deputy council staff director.