The University of Maryland's strident opposition to running the Purple Line through campus was possibly one of the stupidest things the administration has ever done. Not that they don't have the right to an opinion, but they consistently failed to give a reason why transit couldn't work on busy Campus Drive, the heart of campus. Yet there's good news: new president Wallace Loh says the University will stop fighting the project and start working with the Maryland Transit Administration to make sure that convenient, rapid transit can come to College Park, all the while maintaining U-Md.'s historic campus atmosphere. Now, I say that's worthy of a riot!
There remain challenges, like finding ways to tie the Purple Line in with the new library and transit center in Silver Spring, preventing displacement in Langley Park due to development the project could draw, and dealing with our friends in Chevy Chase who continue to place the demands of a few wealthy people over those of the entire region.
Given all that and, of course, the need to obtain federal funding for the Purple Line, the MTA anticipates that the trains won't start running until 2018 at the earliest. Bummer. Seems like just yesterday the Purple Line was supposed to happen . . . well, yesterday.
I was really excited to see this in the Metro section today. UMD really shouldn't have been a problem in the first place, you'd think that the schlep over to the Green line would be enough to teach that lesson.
While the Purple Line should go through the UM campus -- and the Metro Green Line should have, too -- I'm surprised at your comment that the UM Administration had consistently failed to give a reason why it shouldn't. They have been very clear about electrical interference from the Purple Line causing problems for sensitive lab instruments in buildings adjacent to the proposed route through the campus. Their approval came after plans were changed at some substantial expense to mitigate this problem. It was also agreed that the trains would stop at all crosswalks, etc.
There was never consensus about the effects of the Purple Line on lab instruments. Rethink College Park even wrote a professor at MIT, where heavy rail trains have run past laboratories for decades, who said that they weren't a problem. Most of U-Md.'s issues, from aesthetics to the apparent inability of college students to look for trains before crossing a street, were rarely if ever backed up.
I go to school in a place with not one, but FIVE streetcar lines passing in and around campus (both underground and in the street) and I haven't heard of any problems comparable to those being raised at Maryland. I'm glad the administration has finally given up on a fool's errand and will work to make the Purple Line a reality.
This is a quote from your interview/walk with Meir Wolf of Chevy Chase:
"I point out that, since Bethesda is a large job center, the majority of commuters would be headed from New Carrollton to Bethesda, and ask if Wolf has ever driven or used transit along congested East-West Highway before.
"No, I haven't driven it because that's not the route I take," says Wolf, adding, "I think the people on that transit should have a better understanding of the history of the trail.""
At the time, and still, it struck me that he's basically telling the people who have to use E-W Hwy (and potentially the Purple Line) tough noogies.
Why is having a metro stop on any campus such a big deal? All of the universities in the WDC area (Georgetown, Howard, etc.)should have a metro stop on campus. Make the WDC area convenient for folks to walk and bike to where they need to go so they can PARK THEIR VEHICLES.
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