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Wasteful development at Landover Metro

It's no secret that Prince George's County is lousy at developing around its Metro stations. But check this madness out by Landover Metro station on the Orange Line:

The buildings between 75th Avenune and Dodge Park Road look at first glance like a bunch of huge single family homes. On second glance, I'm pretty sure they are apartments. But even if they are, they are incredibly suburban considering their proximity to Landover station. And proximity is something that station has in short supply.

To the north and west, US-50 creates a bulwark separating the station from the neighborhood a stone's throw away on Parkwood Street. There are no pedestrian facilities connecting the two. Instead, you have to drive almost a mile via Landover Road and Pennsy Drive to get to the station. At that point, most people may as well drive to Stadium-Armory or Eastern Market. Even low density neighborhoods need access to their nearby stations.

The residential development on 75th Avenue also doesn't appear to have any safe and direct access to the Metro station a couple blocks away. The only close thing to Landover station is ample parking. And there are few places where Landover station is more convenient than New Carrollton or Cheverly, or even more convenient than driving. This is not how development around stations ought to look. This is why Landover and Cheverly are among the lowest ridership stations on the Orange Line.

We need to break up industrial super-blocks around Metro stations and repurpose them for mixed use. The current land use diminished any incentive to use trains, which increases traffic and devalues the investment in Metro. This is an unfortunate pattern on the eastern end of the Orange line. These stations must embrace more practical development practices. Otherwise, they could become a financial strain on the rest of the system, as obsolete stops slowing the trip from New Carrollton to downtown.

Cross posted on Imagine, DC.

Dave Murphy is a Geographic Analyst for the Department of Defense and a US Army veteran. He is also a part time bouncer. He was born in Foggy Bottom and is a lifelong resident of the DC area. He currently resides in the Eckington neighborhood of Northeast. 


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Most of the industrial land there has been there before the station, I really see no reason to for it to move or anything they knew what they were getting into when they built the stations.

Most of the area around Landover Hills, Kentland is detached houses or apartments and strip malls; I don't see any type of big development going on there at all, the area is pretty much car dependent you have a highway on one side of the station and huge parking lot on the other then industrial and then Landover Rd and apartments and limited bus service if you get rid of one it wont make the area any safer or less car dependent.

Try crossing Landover Rd at any point along the road and you will find that it is hard as hell to cross and basically wasn't more for people to walk along or cross it most of Landover road does not have sidewalks.

Even if a street was between 75th ave and Pennsy drive it would still almost be a half mile away from the actual gates in the station.

Every station does not half to big a mecca of high dense offices and apartments or town homes the area obviously wasn't meant for that since the size of the parking lot and the placement of the station.

If we do breakup the industrial areas where should they be eventually there will be development where ever they move to in the area.

by KK on Jan 8, 2009 1:49 pm • linkreport

True, the progress around the stations has been ridiculously slow in the county. At Branch Ave. Metro, twelve small single family homes were finally demolished a few years ago and replaced with a mid-rise condo building, and condos, townhouses and apartment buildings began being put up on huge empty parcels next to the station.

But I don't think you can expect much in the next 3-5 years. There are so many mixed use sites planned in the county and National Harbor being the best and one of the earliest is still getting off the ground. But a handful of condoes selling there above $800,000 hopefully cements the fact that if something nice is build people will come.

( use "potomac" for the street name)

Unfortunately, I don't expect to see stations with super high-density development like Balston, Rosslyn, Pentagon City, or Crystal city in the county even with 15 years. I think medium density stations like Springfield, Van Dorn, Huntington, Eisenhower, etc. are about all that one could reasonably expect in Prince George's (which would still be a good thing).

by kevin on Jan 8, 2009 2:01 pm • linkreport

on the SDAT page, change the "from date" to October 1, 2008.

I say all the empty parcels around other metro stations in the county will be developed first, way before buildings around Landover metro are razed to make way for mixed use development.

(Branch Ave. metro)

by kevin on Jan 8, 2009 2:14 pm • linkreport

The problem with huge developments like National Harbor (and PG county isn't alone in this -- Fallsgrove, in Rockville, suffers from this too) is that they're TOD without the T. And I'm sorry, but a standard bus line or two (like in Fallsgrove) doesn't count as effective transit to fully take advantage of the higher density and mixed uses that these developments cite as their benefits.

I cite Fallsgrove only because I live(d) across Darnestown Rd from it.

by Adam on Jan 8, 2009 2:18 pm • linkreport

I loved the title you gave the post on your imaginedc blog.

by Cavan on Jan 8, 2009 2:22 pm • linkreport

This inefficient development pattern is often found where transit is routed along existing industrial rail lines. Sure it's the path of least resisance during construction - easier to obtain right-of-way and few neighbors to complain. Unfortuantely, the result is stations like Landover.

by G-Man on Jan 8, 2009 9:20 pm • linkreport

I understand the problems with what is already there... but if they're going to construct new developments, which they clearly are, it is absurd how they're ignoring the opportunity to make efficient use of the land.

by Dave Murphy on Jan 9, 2009 1:37 am • linkreport

This area needs a pedestrian bridge across Rt. 50 to the residential on the other side. There is a pretty significant amount of multifamily housing over there (Coopers Crossing I think) that would benefit from easy direct access to the metro. This would also encourage redevelopment of the commercial along 202 north of Rt. 50.

by Consider this on Jan 9, 2009 7:57 pm • linkreport

Landover and Cheverly (along with Capitol Heights) are three of the most dismal metros I have been to of the 76 (out of 86) I have been to. I could not find any reason for a metro to be around these areas and I must also state, getting to the first two mentioned (I was on a long distance run for all three) was...not easy, as the streets around the first two are really poorly labeled for a runner/walker and also, oddly labeled (I remember somewhere seeing 52nd ave, 52 pl in quick succession followed by 53rd st) or something along those lines. Highly confusing + the roads twist and wind and abrubtly end (someone hates the grid system A LOT, maybe the urban developers in that area.. Old landover street, also, just kind of ends suddendly a half mile before John Hanson highway and as a newcomer, I had no way of knowing the lay out as I took a left away from Landover road. Overall, I think Cheverly and Landover metro areas are some of the very worst urban planning areas I have ever seen in the world (of the 25 countries I have been to) and I have no desire to go even near that place other than a possible long distance run to New Carelton or Morgan Blvd. At least Capitol Heights, as dismal as the area around that metro is, has streets and a general layout that..makes sense.

by Carl on Feb 6, 2014 12:04 am • linkreport

Great string of thoughts regarding need for Mixed Use at the Landover Station. We in the area, have been extremely patient but imagine our surprise when we found out that WMATA wanted to place a rail yard here in direct contradiction to 5 years of planning efforts with MNCPPC through the Sub Region 4 Plan and the Route 202 Corridor plan.

It would seem that if WMATA really wanted to increase ridership it would identify areas for railyards in locations not directly located at metro stations.

by Mike on Dec 9, 2014 11:28 am • linkreport

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