MHP is encouraging Metro to end the so-called Silver Spring turnback, a cost-cutting practice that means many northbound trains on the east side of the Red Line only go as far as the Silver Spring station and then turn around without reaching the Forest Glen, Wheaton and Glenmont stations.
At a town hall meeting convened by Montgomery County Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee, Amee Bearne, MHP’s Neighborhood & Policy Coordinator, urged the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to provide the funding to end the turnbacks because of their negative impacts on people living near the three affected stops.
“MHP is not only worried about our residents, but the many other community members that we work with regularly who we know rely on Metro and must live in these areas due to income constraints,” she said. “There are significant social and economic equity impacts surrounding this policy, particularly on this side of the Red Line, and we urge WMATA to acknowledge these residents by eliminating the disruptive turnbacks at Silver Spring station.”
Committee Chairman Tom Hucker and committee members Evan Glass and Hans Riemer all support eliminating the turnback practice.
Here is the full MHP statement:
My name is Amee Bearne, Neighborhood and Policy Coordinator for Montgomery Housing Partnership, or MHP. MHP is the largest affordable housing developer in Montgomery County, ensuring that people of all incomes can find affordable, quality housing. I am here tonight to testify in support of additional funding to end turnbacks at Silver Spring Metro station, which currently impact the three stations, and their communities, to the north.
There are many reasons why people choose to live in communities like Forest Glen, Wheaton, Glenmont. They’re nice places to live. They are also home to much more diverse housing price options, allowing residents greater chance to find appropriate or more affordable housing than what can be found in and south or west of the Silver Spring central business district.
In MHP’s portfolio, we have 352 units within ½ mile of either Forest Glen or Wheaton stations, and another 276 units within a 15-minute drive of Glenmont Station.
That means over 1,000 residents live in MHP properties within ½ mile of the Forest Glen or Wheaton stations. Another 700 residents living in MHP properties within quick driving distance to Glenmont Station.
Nearly all our residents make less than 60% of the Area Median Income, many as low as 30% of the AMI. Already many of them rely on Metro to access work and educational opportunities. Where they already have to wake up earlier to be to work or class on time, with the turnbacks their commutes are significantly extended, ensuring that our residents’ quality of life (time that could be spent with their families, or out in their communities) is now being eaten by platform waits.
MHP is not only worried about our residents, but the many other community members that we work with regularly who we know rely on Metro and must live in these areas due to income constraints. There are significant social and economic equity impacts surrounding this policy, particularly on this side of the Red Line, and we urge WMATA to acknowledge these residents by eliminating the disruptive turnbacks at Silver Spring station.