I was prepared for the Montgomery County Planning Board to go with the "modified" Option 5 recommended by DPWT or possibly the cheaper "regular" Option 5, but I'm pleased to say that they recommended Option 1 which includes the bridge over Georgia Avenue and the tunnel under East-West Highway.
There was some concern early on about impacts the trail will have on Shepherd's Table (at Progress Place) - a community center for people in need - but the point was made that those impacts are more likely to be caused by the Ripley Place development than the trail.
Wendy Perdue started asking questions about the existing bridge (pictured) and made the point that the bridge could move so few bikes that "if it is heavily used, it will be unused" and that people would bike some other way - or not at all.
Then Meredith Wellington spoke passionately about how we need to think big. We need to think about the future and how things will look in the future. (had I gone, I listened live online, this would have been my point. Was any celebrated structure or public space in the world the "cheapest option"?) She pointed out that the county was spending hundreds of millions redeveloping downtown Silver Spring and that private investors were putting in even more. So we shouldn't cheap out on something this important. Not if we want it to be like the Capitol Crescent Trail. We shouldn't build interim because interim is 20 years.
DPWT the Planning Board Staff questions about the tunnel and they said some people were concerned about security issues. Wellington pointed out that if the trail were built right, it would be packed and no one would dare mug someone there. Someone pointed out that the same concerns were raised about the tunnel under Wisconsin on the CCT.
The board asked
DPWT the Planning Board Staff if money were not an option which would they chose and, without hesitation, they said Option 1. The board then decided to unanimously recommend Option 1.
One of the other members, not sure who, then asked about expanding the existing pedestrian bridge from 6 feet wide to 12 feet and he was told that the bridge is eligible for historic designation. Since it's only eligible (and since historic structures can be modified) then DPWT should study this option as it may be cheaper than the $2 million bridge planned - and the money saved could be used to build the tunnel. The only other reason DPWT had for not expanding the existing bridge was that CSX may not allow the expansion (Oh CSX, how you trouble us).
All in all though it was a very positive development.
Addendum: The County Council will be considering the proposal some time in late June. I've heard they're not expected to approve Option 1.