When the Washington Metro was built in the 1970s, it was planned and built as a wagon wheel. Upscale malls and subdivisions far-flung from the city center were considered posh and the main purpose of the Metro was to deliver suits to government offices and their suckling contractors. In the evening, it would deliver them back to their comfortable suburban existences. If this was the ideal, it was not how real people lived. Anyone who tries to drive east-west across Montgomery County between the spurs of the transit line knows it’s a time-draining snarl. It’s one of my least favorite places to be. Recent streetcar and light rail initiatives around DC, the city is trying to knit its neighborhoods back together again. The 16-mile Purple Line will also connect several other transit systems together
Interestingly, the Purple line is using a joint public/private arrangement to fund construction and operation of the system. It feels kind of throwback. Nobody is made happy about the use of imminent domain to acquire lands, especially business owners, home owners, and the posh golf course that the line is planned to pass.
Here is some information and viewpoints on the project at the MTA website, Purple Line Now, and opposing voices at Gazette.Net (which has an interesting if problematic interactive of sites that will be impacted by the construction of the line).