Greater Greater Washington

Transit


UMD plans to ban all transit from Campus Drive

The University of Maryland plans to close the central Campus Drive to nearly all traffic this summer, including Metrobus and almost all student shuttle bus routes. This will diminish student access to transit and seems designed to strengthen the UMD administration's efforts against a Purple Line through the center of campus.


Concept sketch of Purple Line in front of the student union. Image by MTA via Rethink College Park.

The closure follows the 2001-2020 Facilities Master Plan, last updated in 2007, which calls for creating a more pedestrian-focused central campus core. That plan only allows a single internal circulating shuttle on Campus Drive.

All other shuttles and transit vehicles would be relegated to the edges of campus along with private cars, and forcing many students to transfer to reach the Metro or other destinations outside campus.

According to the MTA, 750 transit vehicles use Campus Drive between 6 am and 7 pm on a typical school day, compared to 5,500 private cars, mostly containing only a single passenger. The University could still make Campus Drive a mostly pedestrian-centered area without banning transit vehicles. Meanwhile, Shuttle UM ridership has soared as the University builds more off-campus student housing connected to the campus by shuttles.

One transit route that is planned to run on Campus Drive is the Purple Line, connecting UMD to the Metro, New Carrollton, Silver Spring and Bethesda, and finally connecting the campus to surrounding areas in ways that were missed when UMD and College Park pushed for a Metro alignment along the railroad tracks instead of along US-1.


Left: Proposed new campus shuttle (blue) would be the only transit in the center of campus. Right: Routes to other destinations would stop at the edges.

Student Government Association (SGA) Director of Environmental Affairs Joanna Calabrese wrote,

I strongly believe that students will react negatively to this current plan. The Stamp [Student Union] is a central transit hub and a primary destination of students and visitors. Denying transit access to the such a central place would make it difficult for visitors, staff, students, and faculty to reach a prime campus destination and would unnecessarily complicate area transit routes.

Including transit vehicles in the Campus Drive access restriction plan runs counter to goals established in the Master Plan (and Climate Action Plan) to encourage alternative transportation use. Students are supportive of restricting private vehicle access from Campus Drive. However, the idea of eliminating transit vehicle access to campus drive poses unnecessary inconvenience, decreases transit access, and would appear to many students as nonsensical.

The administration has been fighting this for years, citing concerns that the trains would harm sensitive experiments in the basements of the bio-sciences, physics, and engineering buildings that are on Campus Drive. This does not hold up to even the most basic logic test. Cars and buses have been running on Campus Drive for decades. Meanwhile, the University of Maryland has become a world-class research institution during that time.

As a UMD alum (B.S. Physics, 2003) I implore the University of Maryland to listen to the Student Government Association and to also come clean about why they oppose the Campus Drive alignment. The administration is not doing the University any favors in the present or the future by their actions.

The SGA recently once again explicitly endorsed the Campus Drive alignment of the Purple Line, debunking some of the arguments against Campus Drive:

8. WHEREAS, the University of Maryland does not currently support the campus drive alignment because of concerns of electromagnetic interference which could potentially affect delicate research equipment in buildings close to Campus Drive; and,

9. WHEREAS, concerns of electromagnetic disturbance to delicate research equipment has been debunked by researchers and experts; and,

10. WHEREAS, the University of Maryland has proposed an alternative route alignment which adds an eighty million dollar tunnel to run underneath of Preinkert Field House; and,

11. WHEREAS, the Maryland Transportation Authority has stated the University proposed alternative alignment as unserviceable; ...

13. WHEREAS, the success of the Purple Line rests on federal funding; and,

14. WHEREAS, the allocation of federal funding is threatened by the University of Maryland's stance against the Campus Drive alignment for the Purple Line;

When I was a freshman, I lived in the dorms on North Campus. The College Park Metro Station is a 25-30 minute walk from my old dorm. I learned that if I could get to the Metro, I would be able to explore the region. (I didn't grow up in the area and didn't even know what a subway system was when I first moved in.)

I found out that one of the buses that stops in front of the Stamp Student Union on Campus Drive is a shuttle that goes to the Metro. I walked over to the Student Union, caught the bus to the Metro, and later that day walked around a major city unsupervised for the first time in my life.

I was hardly the only one to use those buses. The bus stops in front of the Student Union are the main transit hub on campus. Multiple bus services including ShuttleUM, WMATA, and TheBus stop there. It's how transit-oriented students and staff arrive on campus.

However, the UMD administration now intends to close Campus Drive to all motorized vehicles, including personal cars, buses, and a future Purple Line. Such an action will immediately create a tremendous inconvenience to the large portion of students, faculty and staff who ride buses to campus. It would require rerouting buses to streets that are not well-equipped to handle them. It would require transit-oriented students, faculty, and staff to walk much farther to reach classroom buildings, most of which are clustered near the Stamp Student Union.

The administration doesn't like anything that looks or feels urban. They view the campus as suburban or even rural. They largely live a car-dependent lifestyle and have never lived a student life on the campus. They don't understand what it's like to have so many amenities just out of reach due to poor connectivity with the regional transit network.

They don't get what it's like to take the Metro to a campus whose Metro station is a 25 minute walk from most classrooms. They don't get how much more accessible the University of Maryland is because its main bus stops are located in the heart of campus, convenient to most classrooms. They also don't get that the Purple Line is a fantastic chance to rectify the huge mistake made in the original Green Line routing; they probably don't even think that original routing was a mistake.

The UMD Climate Action Plan identifies the Purple Line as a key strategy for attaining carbon neutrality by 2050. Sadly, when it comes to the Purple Line, sustainability and student satisfaction don't trump suburban sensibility.

Cavan Wilk became interested in the physical layout and economic systems of modern human settlements while working on his Master's in Financial Economics. His writing often focuses on the interactions between a place's form, its economic systems, and the experiences of those who live in them. He lives in downtown Silver Spring. 

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Yay, walking here I come! Ugh. Might as well walk all the way from College Park-U of MD. while I'm at it.

by Mike on Apr 27, 2010 10:32 am • linkreport

Stupid stupid stupid. That shuttle line between Stamp and CP Metro Station is a lifeline for students, faculty, and visitors. This plan will backfire big time.

And just like not locating the Metro station closer to campus was a misstep 20 years ago, I hope that the Purple Line actually goes through campus as opposed to just touching at the outskirts.

by Adam L on Apr 27, 2010 10:45 am • linkreport

A similar debate is being held in Minnesota, where the University of Minnesota is concerned about electromagnetic interference from the planned Central LRT line on experiements and sensitive lab equipment (including medical equipment) in the buildings along the planned LRT route. They went as far as to sue earlier this year, but a tentative agreement was reached earlier this month. Resolving the lawsuit is still ongoing, and mediation was scheduled to resume yesterday.

by Froggie on Apr 27, 2010 10:54 am • linkreport

Umm, that plan is now 8 years old, please refrain from citing anything newer than Jan 2002 in your arguments.

I remembered hearing about closing Campus Drive back then, but there have been no loud rumblings in at least 5 years. Any changes to it are about as far along as East Campus.

by m on Apr 27, 2010 10:55 am • linkreport

Froggie, it is not uncommon for university administrators to oppose transit when their students and staff are heavily in favor of it.

As for the LRT wires interfering with experiments, it's just an innacurate front they hide behind to keep from saying that they oppose what everyone else wants because of their own suburban sensibilites.

Just like the supposed viewsheds in the District and the streetcars.

by Cavan on Apr 27, 2010 10:58 am • linkreport

UMD isn't a walkable campus. Closing Campus Drive will do very little to change this. Removing transit will actively make it even worse.

by andrew on Apr 27, 2010 11:12 am • linkreport

Yet another reason to hate UMD, in addition to the "Mandatory Fee" of $300 they charge me in graduate tuition every semester. (still trying to figure out what that fee is for.)
What fools! When on campus, I see thousands of students using buses going in and out on Campus Dr - it's the lifeline of the campus. Why not take an approach like my Alma Mater, Penn State? Enact a policy to ban POVs on campus roads, ONLY allowing TRANSIT. Without all the cars, the buses will be able to move more swiftly, and efficiently transport more people - likely spiking the ridership. Silly, silly nonsense. Shame on you, Terrapins. Shame on you.

by Matt Glazewski on Apr 27, 2010 11:15 am • linkreport

Ahem, both Matt Johnson and I are alums of the School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation. Take note!

As a freshman architecture student, one of the first things I was shown was the Campus Master Plan, though I was under the impression that Campus Drive would be used for all transit, not just the shuttle. This latest turn of events is grossly disappointing and really makes me question how committed our administration is to, you know, running a university.

Of course, it's extra sneaky that they'd close Campus Drive at the start of summer vacation, meaning most people won't even realize it's happened until September.

by dan reed! on Apr 27, 2010 11:18 am • linkreport

m,

The plan was to close Campus Drive to private vehicles; transit would still be allowed.

As senior in 2006-2007, I sat through numerous meetings in which Dan Mote trotted out every desperate excuse to scuttle any useful transit alignment on campus while every student organization supported it.

First he said the Purple Line would mar Campus Drive. He neglected to mention that the line would bring millions in streetscaping to Campus Drive improving it from its current degraded state.

Then he said the trains would be dangerous, carelessly mowing down students as though the trains weren't built with brakes.

Then he said the trains would cause adjacent buildings to vibrate, neglecting to mention that the current traffic along the street causes much noise and vibration.

Then he said the proposed route would go through a parking lot used for tailgating and that it would be too dangerous and might reduce the parking capacity by a few spaces.

Then he said it would make better sense to drop students off directly in front of Byrd Stadium away from the center of campus. MTA then noted that stadium crowds would make it impossible for trains to move through and would up the costs.

Then he demanded the MTA route the train through South Campus, through a historic-designated section of campus, completely ignoring the fact that Federal law would likely prohibit it.

Time and again Dan Mote has produced every specious argument and time and again the SGA, Graduate Student Government, MTA, and Maryland Sec. of Transportation have opposed him. Yet he continues. When he retires, I'm saying good riddance.

by Eric F. on Apr 27, 2010 11:20 am • linkreport

Andrew, that's quite incorrect. Most underclassmen live on campus without cars. Most upperclassment try to live close enough so they don't need them because walking is so much easier. Every student who arrives by bus walks around. Every student who parks in one of the satellite lots walks around for their entire day.

It is very walkable and beautiful on top of it. While it is self-contained, the distances between buildings are on the human scale and the buildings that are adjacent to streets all come up to the sidewalk.

by Cavan on Apr 27, 2010 11:21 am • linkreport

UMD needs to listen to reason and its students and let the purple line go where it will be most useful. They have always made the argument that having a mass transit stop on campus would bring in unsavories, but its not like people cant just walk in or take the metro bus. Its a stupid argument and they will regret it if they let it block the purple line.

by fivepercentyak on Apr 27, 2010 11:22 am • linkreport

Dear UM:
Please note that until the administration takes a positive stance toward transit, I will not be making any donations to the University.

--Matt' Johnson
Alumni, Master of Community Planning, 2009

by Matt Johnson on Apr 27, 2010 11:47 am • linkreport

Wouldn't this negatively affect those that are physically disabled?

by John Euill on Apr 27, 2010 11:52 am • linkreport

Agree with the "stupid, stupid" comment.

I got my first bachelor's degree at Boston University, which has an MBTA Green Line trolley running down the center of campus. It's a major benefit to students, faculty and visitors, whether or not the students live off campus. (When I went to Boston U. 30 years ago, the school didn't even have enough parking spaces for its faculty and staff, never mind the students.) Oh, and over the last three decades that university has significantly improved its science and engineering programs without demanding rerouting of the MBTA Green Line.

Harvard and MIT are near underground subways, built largely with the shallow "cut and cover" method (i.e., nowhere near as deep as some of our Red Line stations), and those institutions seem to be pretty good places to conduct scientific research, too.

by Greenbelt Gal on Apr 27, 2010 12:24 pm • linkreport

Cavan: can you point to the studies where experts debunked the claims of electromagnetic interference?

I've been following the debate at the University of Minnesota (since I'm attending there in the fall), and there, the road the light rail would run on is already very urban -- I can't imagine LRT changing the character of the campus. Also, the U-Minn. administration seems to strongly favor transit in general. So I wonder if there's something to these concerns. Cars and buses are of course powered differently, so your "basic logic test" proves little.

by Scott F on Apr 27, 2010 12:37 pm • linkreport

@Greenbelt Gal

The whole time I was reading this, I was thinking about how in Cambridge there are several buildings right above the MBTA Red Line run by MIT and Harvard and specializing in physics, engineering and biotechnology. Not to mention all the biotech companies with headquarters and labs in that same area. Considering some buildings were built before the Red Line and some after, I'm sure that any "interference" is either negligible or non-existent.

by Teo on Apr 27, 2010 12:52 pm • linkreport

Agree 100% with Cavan and Eric F's comments. Back in the day when I tried to get Mote to support fairly basic environmental issues on campus (i.e. don't build the Comcast Center on top of a federally protected wetland and get rid of polystyrene take-out containers in the dining halls) he was not very receptive. That said, I thought that UMD was trying to maintain an eco-friendly image these days so I'm surprised at its stance on the Purple Line. Is there anything alumni can do to weigh in on this? Who else can we send our comments to other than to Mote's office?

by DC_Chica on Apr 27, 2010 12:52 pm • linkreport

To start off with I'm a huge fan of public and personal transport (I don't even own a car, and bike 14 miles each way to work most days), but speaking as a physicist who actually works in a city with a major subway presence (NYC) the worries about disturbing scientific instruments are serious and real.

The electromagnetic disturbance created by a bus, car or trolley is several orders of magnitude smaller than that caused by a subway train. In NYC, they had to build a special half-billion dollar building in an area far removed from subways to be able to do these experiments (look up the New York Structural Biology Center). Unless the purple line comes with a similar amount of funding to build a similar building, it would seem most keeping with the research mission of the University (not to mention its bottom line in view of the hundreds of millions of dollars in grant money that would disappear) to make the train go next to, instead of through, campus. The arguments about MIT here, btw, are specious, as the high level instruments we're talking about had to again be put in an expensive, custom built facility (see Frances Bitter Magnet Laboratory), which was bankrolled with State, Federal and donor funding.

by PhysicsProf. on Apr 27, 2010 1:16 pm • linkreport

@PhysicsProf.

Couldn't this be solved by a suspension rail system and/or slower operating speeds for the surfaces affecting the labs for much less than building a $500 million dollar facility? Your thoughts? I'm sure the rail cars wouldn't be speeding through the center of campus at speeds any greater than 10 mph.

by John Euill on Apr 27, 2010 1:25 pm • linkreport

Physics Prof, I get what you're saying, but what experiments in particular are affected?

Columbia University has the CEPSR building and the new Northwest Corner building right next to (practically on top of) the Broadway IRT tracks. I don't know exactly what they are researching there, but it does include physics and chemistry research.

by Neil Flanagan on Apr 27, 2010 1:32 pm • linkreport

@ Physicsprof: Campus is big enough to not have the science building next to the metro line. You're in a major metropolitan area. Deal with it, other universities can as well.

[Disclosure: I've worked in physics labs next to military airports, in nuclear shelterrs, next to a highway and next to world-news-size demonstrations. Yep, some measurements are sensitive. Yes, sometimes you're just picking up noise of some sort. Then you do your measurement again. If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be research. We have plenty of research (academic, gov't and military) in this area that is doing just fine, despite being in a major metropolitan area. You need to enable your lab to handle noise or move to the desert, not stop the rest of the world from getting to history class.]

by Jasper on Apr 27, 2010 1:37 pm • linkreport

Physics Prof,

The problem with Dan Mote's argument on EM radiation is that his solution was to propose the Stadium Drive alignment, which would actually bring the train within feet of numerous science buildings. The section of Campus Drive slated for the Purple Line only passes by two science buildings, and those are rather old--- unlikely candidates for new, expensive science equipment. That's why I think his EM argument was completely disingenuous.

by Eric F. on Apr 27, 2010 1:40 pm • linkreport

PhysicsProf:

The Purple Line is not a subway line.

Somebody asked if there had been any "studies" showing that a rail line would _not_ be a problem. Well, of course not. The question is far too simple to require a "study".

If UMD wants to deny purple line access to campus, and there is a legitimate scientific reason to do so, all they have to do is produce the scientists and have them state their reason. An anonymous comment by somebody calling himself "Physicsprof" isn't much of an argument. If UMD had a legitimate reason, it would be easy for other scientists to verify it.

The problem is that this reason sounds like just an excuse. UMD doesn't want their campus to be more accessible because they don't want people to be able to get their easily via Metro.

BTW, Georgetown has the same 'feature'. The thinking is that metro accessibility allows the riff-raff to come to vist whenever they want to. But UMD cannot simply say that, so they have to conjure up a litany of excuses. When you see the story changing constantly, and it cannot be substantiated, that's a good clue that somebody is lying.

UMD should join the rest of the DC metro community and make itself more accessible.

by RickD on Apr 27, 2010 1:57 pm • linkreport

RickD,

While I agree with most of your points, I believe that the reason Georgetown did not get a Metro station was because it would have been too difficult to connect it to the Blue and Orange line. At the point where the line goes by Georgetown, the subway is already under the river. To build a station there would have been prohibitively expensive. Given the number of buses already in the area and the proposal for a streetcar through Georgetown, I fail to see the "riff-raff" argument holding any water.

by Teo on Apr 27, 2010 2:33 pm • linkreport

Instruments that need EM isolation get it. It does not take a lot of sheet metal to enable your instruments to ignore a trolley passing by. The most sensitive magnetic instrument in science, the magnetoencephalograph (measures magnetic fields generated by human tissue!!), is often found within feet from the loudest electromagnet known to man (MRI machines). Same departments have both. All around the world.

It's a red herring, and this guy brings his university into disrepute by saying something that stupid.

by Omri on Apr 27, 2010 2:41 pm • linkreport

The potential effects of electromagnetic interference on campus have been studied thoroughly. UMD is proposing an alternative alignment through campus that, from what I understand, creates equal concerns identical to those created by the Campus Drive alignment. The main thrust for their argument continues to be a gut-level opposition to any alignment on Campus Drive.

by David Daddio on Apr 27, 2010 2:59 pm • linkreport

Eric F has the chronology wrong. Mote's administration proposed the Stadium Drive alignment well before the EM concerns were raised. Their solution was the Preinkert/Chapel Field alignment which comes close to a number of very sensitive research buildings. See map here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rethinkcollegepark/4194087976/sizes/o/

by David Daddio on Apr 27, 2010 3:03 pm • linkreport

This is why my diploma from UMD sits tucked away in my closet while my diploma from stays nice and Penn State prominent. I was quite amazed at how little much of the faculty in the transportation department & planning department both know so little about the Purple Line, made even more perturbing by the positions that some of them hold on the Faculty Senate. The University's apparent disregard of students is precisely the reason I've been running the same route that Matt Johnson noted a couple comments above.

by Bossi on Apr 27, 2010 4:11 pm • linkreport

@PhysicsProf et al
In addition to track side mitigation strategies, the University is planning construction of a new, $100+ million physical science building a 1/4 mile from Campus Dr. followed by a complete overhaul of the existing Physics building.

by Bob Hayes on Apr 27, 2010 4:13 pm • linkreport

@PhysicsProf

There's a good chance someone already said it, but keep in mind that the Purple Line *isn't* a subway line. It's more like a bus or trolley than the systems running throughout much of NYC.

by Bossi on Apr 27, 2010 4:20 pm • linkreport

Would this have anything to do with the University's need to raise money by getting more students to spend more time -- nay, live -- on campus?

A lot of public schools have hit a tuition ceiling. And the state is not providing more money. And the costs are going up.

That money needs to be made up somewhere. The big third source is "student engagement," i.e., selling them coffees and t-shirts and Pepsis on campus as they hang out, attend sporting events, and live in residence halls.

Better public transit to campus could hurt efforts to recruit more residential students. Would you have x number of students who pay tuition + the same amount & then some in residence-related expenses or y number of students who only pay tuition? Note that if y is twice x, so is the cost to educate them ...

Basic university economics ... easier commuting adds students but it can substantially lower the amount each student contributes to the university's budget ... and the state will not be providing more tax dollars ...

by Commuter Chuck on Apr 27, 2010 5:23 pm • linkreport

The argument about where to put the purple line is easy if you are only thinking about the most convenient location. However, the administration obviously has to do itÂ’s due diligence to understand the complete impact of whatever alignment is chosen. Maryland doesnÂ’t want to make large numbers of labs on campus uninhabitable for magnetically-sensitive experiments. It's not cheap to put a faraday cage around existing buildings...

by Michael S on Apr 27, 2010 5:23 pm • linkreport

Commuter Chuck, no. Just no.

The University has had an on-campus housing shortage for years now. It's gotten much better with some new apartments opening up but it's still there. The University of Maryland has no trouble filling its on-campus housing beds. The Purple Line would either have no effect or would actually encourage on-campus housing in order to live near the transit.

by Cavan on Apr 27, 2010 5:48 pm • linkreport

Purple Line gets my support.

We'll see how long this fight from the administration lasts. President Mote is retiring this year.

UMD Master of Real Estate Development '10

by Grad Student on Apr 27, 2010 6:20 pm • linkreport

I live in Nebraska. When my daugher selected a college, one of several reasons she selected SUNY Stony Brook was the fact the school had a Long Island Railroad station, offering more than a dozen trains directly into the heart of NYC every day. The station was located on the edge of the campus, just a 10 minute walk from the Student Union and half the campus dorms.
Giving college students easy access to mass transit can only be a major plus to any university campus!

by Zoomie on Apr 27, 2010 7:28 pm • linkreport

As a Northwestern graduate, the El was only steps from campus and provided NU students with an entire world of possibilities. UMD is shortsighted! Oh, the opportunities missed for future students - internships, arts, et al.

by Michael Welles on Apr 27, 2010 8:35 pm • linkreport

I'm also not completely convinced by Physics Prof's claim that EM radiation from the purple line will prevent the university from conducting EM-sensitive experiments. It would be nice to see some technical details to back up that assertion. Mentioning the voltage to be used on the line and whether it's AC or DC would be a good start. And since the strength of an EM field falls off at 1/(radius)^2, the distance from the overhead wires to the buildings would seem relevant too. Without knowing specifics, it's hard for me to believe that the EMI would be severe enough to prevent people from conducting experiments.

The concepts needed to get a basic understanding of these issues are things a professor might chat about for 10 minutes at the start of the first day of an undergraduate emag/antenna course. I agree with Omri that the university's claim about the "dangers" of interference make the university less credible.

by Amber on Apr 27, 2010 9:55 pm • linkreport

To follow up on Michael Welles' comment. One of the "selling points" UMD touts is the access to internships, the federal government, Captiol Hill, DC, museums, etc. Doesn't sound like the administration is committed to ensuring students have access to these amazing opportunities. Shortsighted.

by adjinx on Apr 27, 2010 10:56 pm • linkreport

What are we suppose to do if we are at McKeldin studying after dark? Walk home? Yeah, try and tell high school girls and their parents that they'll have to walk home or walk to a bus stop on the perimeter of campus in the dark in College Park and we'll see how many student come here in the future. What a joke.

by KJ on Apr 27, 2010 11:48 pm • linkreport

Something else that's been bothering me about this... if the "Nothing on Campus" summer test is to see if it'd work, well the key element would be that it's *summer*. College Park becomes a virtual ghost town during the summer, with US 1 suddenly becoming among the finer drives in the Washington region and MD 193 dropping to a fraction of the volumes it might otherwise have. Meanwhile, internal circulation during summertime is clearly different from the rest of the year.

So basically... what's this test supposed to serve? I foresee the University, come autumn, telling MTA "Closing Campus was a great success! Traffic detoured around just fine, the revised transit routes didn't get held up along the way, and ridership dropped only slightly as compared to previous years."

(and I forgot to disclose earlier: I picked up a Masters in 2008 from the arch/planning & transportation engineering programs... and by the 2nd semester I'd already become rather jaded with the University)

by Bossi on Apr 28, 2010 12:02 am • linkreport

I think it's important to consider the long term consequences of putting this type of transit system through Campus Dr.

First of all, it's going to be all nice and smooth when it is brand new. But over the years, the cars will become older, and funding for the upkeep of the streetscape will start to magically disappear (its either that or higher education funding will get cut). It will be an eyesore, I guarantee it, and the rails will start to screech when trains go by. It will affect research, even if there's no EM experiments going on now, there will be at some point in the future in at a university famous for its physics department.

Second, why has no one mentioned crime? Sure, the purple line will make it easier for students to get around, but it also makes it easier for the criminals to come straight on campus. Metro buses currently do not run through campus after 10pm, but this kind of restriction would not work with a train. The proposed Campus Drive route would make it so easy for criminals to hop on the train to UMD, rob some drunk kids, then make a quick getaway. As if crime weren't enough of a problem here, let's just roll out the welcome mat for criminals.

by Kelly on Apr 28, 2010 2:01 am • linkreport

@Kelly-

I agree with your concerns about upkeep, but in my opinion that's not just cause to nix an entire project; that's only motivation to ensure greater committment.

To respond to the EM issue: there's a lot of room on campus for such sensitive work to occur well away from the tracks should such facilities come online after the PL.

And on to crime... first, both alignments would provide just as much access to drunkards, though the Campus Drive alignment's greater proximity to crowds & increased eyes on the street could certainly correlate to a safer route; as opposed to the Preinkert alignment's greater abundance of isolated & dark spots.

But regardless of alignment: by and large, the mode of choice for criminals is the car, as you can move in any direction after you've done the deed. If you take a train, anyone attempting to make an incognito getaway will be stuck on it for several minutes; not counting time they'd be waiting for it to arrive. Plus there are fixed stops; combined with a long wait time & only a couple spots that police need to wait.

Or if someone should *hijack* a train... well they'd certainly not get very far before the attention they draw catches up with them minutes later. There's no shortage of drive-by robberies as it is in the College Park area, and if I were ever to take some kid's beer money: I'd definitely do it by car.

by Bossi on Apr 28, 2010 2:29 am • linkreport

Kelly, your point about crime is just wrong. Not just wrong but also a cliche.

If transit causes crime, why hasn't Bethesda gone to seed? It's had a Metro station since 1984.

Why hasn't downtown DC gone to seed? Oh, right, it's far more vibrant and has less crime than it did before the Metro.

Why hasn't U Street gone to seed? Oh, right, it's experienced an incredibly dramatic turnaround.

Why hasn't Columbia Heights gone to seed? Oh, right, it went from a bunch of empty lots left over from the 1968 riots to a regional shopping destination.

Name one place in our region that has gone to seed after getting a Metro station. At worst, the Metro station has done nothing either way. More often, the Metro station has raised property values, vibrance, and eyes on the street.

This stupid crime argument was used over and over again. No criminal uses transit. Once they do their theivery they have to WAIT FOR THE TRAIN. Once on the train, they're captive and very easily caught by law enforcement. Criminals use getaway cars, never getaway trains or buses.

by Cavan on Apr 28, 2010 9:21 am • linkreport

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