COLLEGE PARK – With Prince George’s County’s extra contribution to the Purple Line light rail project, the municipalities from the county and their citizens are looking forward into the future. The benefits of the Purple Line are vast, according to College Park Mayor Andrew Fellows. Not only for the citizens of College Park, but the […]
COLLEGE PARK – With Prince George’s County’s extra contribution to the Purple Line light rail project, the municipalities from the county and their citizens are looking forward into the future.
The benefits of the Purple Line are vast, according to College Park Mayor Andrew Fellows. Not only for the citizens of College Park, but the entirety of Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and even the District of Columbia.
“For College Park, it means that we are going to have a light rail corridor connecting us to New Carrolton as well as Silver Spring and some points west,” Fellows said. “It’s going to make it easier for people to come in and out of College Park. It’s going to make it more walkable and bikeable.”
The stations in College Park will also serve as new development hubs for the city and the county, Fellows said, which will help strengthen the economic development and SmartGrowth activity happening around the city.
There is tremendous potential for economic development and the betterment of the communities around the Purple Line stations. The light rail will create new job opportunities for the surrounding area.
“College Park has been advocating this project since the 1990s,” Fellows said. “We are excited to see it finally come to fruition.
“The University of Maryland deserves credit for pointing out the value of the Purple Line economically to the state of Maryland.”
With the University of Maryland serving as one of the largest locations for employment in the county and more development happening in the area, the Purple Line will have a large effect on College Park. There will be a total of nine Purple Line stations going through the area, including one at the Metro stop.
The new light rail project will bring a “substantial economic return” to District 3, where College Park is located, according to County Councilwoman Dannielle Glaros. Officials say the line will bring 60,000 riders each day and will open 23,033 more permanent jobs to citizens throughout both counties. Property values will see a $12.8 billion increase overall, according to Alexander Metcalf, who conducted a study touting the benefits of the Purple Line.
New Carrollton Mayor Andrew Hanko previously said the Purple Line would give his citizens transportation benefits they did not have before. The light rail will start off in New Carrollton and stretch for six miles to Bethesda.
The Purple Line eliminates the inconvenience of needing to find other means of transportation, Hanko said.
“There is a transportation gap for employees who work into the evening and the time local public transit is scheduled to run” Hanko said. “Often times employees must hire a cab or rideshare.”
Lessie Henderson, co-chair of the Prince George’s Advocates for Community-Based Transit and a Prince George’s County resident, said it has been a long time coming for the light rail project. She is glad to see things are finally moving forward between the state and the county.
“There are many people who will be affected by the Purple Line’s operation,” Henderson said. “Outside of just current county residents and workers, there will be those who will be actively working in the county in the future.”
The Purple Line will not only bring jobs to the table, she said, but it will also open up opportunities for other jobs citizens in both counties did not have access to before. Some people do not have the means to drive that far.
“I’m thinking about that person who just enrolled in school for the fall semester so that he or she can obtain better employment so they can have a decent livelihood,” Henderson said. “I also thought about that person who may be at a food bank right now because they can’t afford to go to the grocery store or something happened where they are now unemployed.”
This is a great move for both sides, Henderson said, and County Executive Rushern Baker III “deserves kudos” for stepping up and making the needed contributions to push the project forward. Especially with the number of different projects the county has lined up.
“They’re being visionaries. They recognized the need for this county to have sustainable transportation, the need for decrease in congestion, and also the need for additional economic development in the county,” Henderson said.
Although the county has many projects coming up and it is reaching its borrowing limit, Baker said the county is still working on growing their revenues to turn the economy around. The Purple Line will help reach that goal.
The administration has committed themselves to living within the budget they are currently working with, Baker said. There could potentially be projects down the road they may have to hold off on or slowly open, like the District 7 Police Station, but the projects will be completed.
“We’re bullish on Prince George’s County,” Baker said. “This is the hottest place in the Washington region.”