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Bethesda Purple Line Station

Bethesda Purple Line Station Minor Master Plan Amendment

This Minor Master Plan Amendment looks at ways to realize the many public benefits of an alternative design for the Bethesda Purple Line Station that the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is developing.

County Council Approves Planning Board Draft Plan

On February 11, 2014, the County Council approved the Plan Amendment. For more information, see the County Council website under “Agendas & Packets.” The Planning Board is scheduled to adopt the approved Plan Amendment on Thursday, February 20, 2014. The full Planning Commission is scheduled to adopt the Plan Amendment on March 19, 2014.

The final Approved and Adopted Plan Amendment document will be available after adoption by the full Planning Commission. Also after adoption, the Planning Board will file a Sectional Map Amendment with the County Council to change the zoning maps to reflect the new zones.

Bethesda Purple Line Station Plan

The Minor Master Plan Amendment focuses on the immediate area around the planned Purple Line station, and includes nearby Elm Street Park. Download the map [PDF] (pdf, 200KB).

The new designs

The new designs are still being refined, but see the latest below!

Public benefits from new design

  • Provides new Capital Crescent Trail access under Wisconsin Avenue with a dedicated tunnel
  • Moves the new Red Line Station south entrance from Elm Street sidewalk into the new building
  • Enhances circulation on a wider, open Purple Line platform
  • Straightening the platform eliminates gaps between trains and the platform
  • Minimizes the distance the maintenance “tail track” extends into Woodmont Plaza
  • Provides an opportunity to relocate sizable Purple Line exhaust tower from Woodmont Plaza into a new building
  • Accommodates a new bike station integrated into the station

The Capital Crescent Trail

  • The 1994 Bethesda CBD Sector Plan recommended that the CCT have both a street-level route and a tunnel route to cross Wisconsin Avenue.
  • The 2010 Purple Line Functional Plan recommended that the trail be located above the train in the tunnel route.
  • Further study by MTA revealed that both the train and the trail could not be accommodated within the existing tunnel without significant unanticipated additional cost and posing a potential structural hazard to the buildings above.
  • As a result, the County Council determined that the CCT would not have a tunnel route and would be limited to the street-level route.
  • The redevelopment of the Apex building site provides a new opportunity to create a dedicated CCT tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue.
CCT Alternative Routes

Planning Board Draft Plan

On December 5, 2013, the Planning Board approved the Planning Board Draft Plan Amendment [PDF](pdf, 8.2 MB). The plan was sent to the County Executive and County Council for review.

Planning Board Worksessions

Staff held two worksessions with the Planning Board, on December 5, 2013, and November 21, 2013, to discuss the testimony received at the November 7, 2013, Public Hearing. See the transcript of the November 7, 2013, Public Hearing below.

Public Hearing

The Planning Board approved the Staff Draft Plan as the Public Hearing Draft Plan on September 26, 2013, and set the Public Hearing for November 7, 2013. See the Public Hearing Draft Plan below.

Public Hearing Draft Plan Amendment

Open House

Planning Department and MTA staff have prepared image boards and handouts for the Open Houses:

Staff Draft Plan Amendment

Frequently asked questions

What about the Bethesda CBD Plan?

This Minor Master Plan Amendment is looking at the recommendations of the 1994 Bethesda CBD Sector Plan for the area immediately around the Purple Line Station. The Planning Department is also beginning a separate update to the 1994 Plan that will look at Downtown Bethesda and address a broad range of issues.  See the Bethesda Downtown Plan page.


July 22, 2013Planning Board approves Scope of Work (pdf, 2MB)
September 3, 7, & 9, 2013Open House Preview of Staff Recommendations, Bethesda Regional Services Center
September 19, 2013Staff Draft Minor Master Plan Amendment online.
September 26, 2013Present Staff Draft Minor Master Plan Amendment to Planning Board for approval as Public Hearing Draft.
November 7, 2013Planning Board Public Hearing, with Public Testimony
November 21 & December 5, 2013Planning Board Worksessions
December 5, 2013Approval of Planning Board Draft Minor Master Plan Amendment
January 14, 2014County Council Public Hearing
January 27, 2014Council PHED Committee worksession