A Montgomery County-based grassroots organization is planning a flash mob in support of the Purple Line Thursday.
The Action Committee for Transit is hoping the flash mob planned for 5 p.m. at the Silver Spring metro station will draw attention for the need of the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
The light rail system would connect Bethesda and New Carrollton with 21 stations in between to stretch across 16.3 miles. The project, estimated to cost $1.6 billion, is still only in the planning stages.
Ted Van Houten, a board member for Action Committee for Transit, said Thursday morning that the flash mob will not disrupt the evening rush hour traffic flow as the group will be set up on the corner of Wayne Avenue and Colesville Road.
The flash mob will help “dramatize the desperate need for better transit in Maryland,” according to a press release about the planned event.
Recently, the routes for both the Purple Line and Baltimore's Red Line were approved by federal transit officials, however funding for the projects is still problematic. Maryland lawmakers are debating a gas tax to help fund transportation projects, which organizers support.
Although officials from the Maryland Transit Administration reported last year to Patch that funding may not be available for both projects, MTA spokesman Terry Owens said Thursday that both projects are now in the prelimenary engineering stage.
“I don’t see the (Baltimore) Red Line as competition. They are grassroots organization and we’re a grassroots organization,” Van Houten said. “We want to highlight the importance of public transportation and plan our future. Driving everywhere all by yourself is not the best way to plan our urban spaces. We need to increase the public transportation options.”
Montgomery County Police Capt. Paul Starks said the police department was not aware of the planned flash mob. However, Starks said that there are officers stationed in downtown Silver Spring and if WMATA asked for assistance they would provide it.
WMATA was not aware of the flash mob either as of Thursday morning, according to a spokeswoman Caroline Lukas.
"We have alerted Metro Police," Lukas said, "but I am not sure if they plan on increasing their presence."
Van Houten said that members of the public should feel free to join the flash mob.