Purple Line NOW News - Prince George’s T&E Briefing

As promised, this edition of Purple Line NOW News brings a recap of the Prince George's County Council T&E Committee Briefing on February 28, 2019. Additionally, if you live inside the Purple Line corridor, we ask you to take a brief survey created by the Purple Line Corridor Coalition. Please take a moment to do so - and feel free to pass the link on to your friends and neighbors. 

Please feel free to share this newsletter - no permission from us needed! You can always find a link to our newsletter on our website (www.purplelinenow.com) which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW

Our March 27 edition of Purple Line NOW News highlighted the Montgomery Council Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, & Environment (T&E) Committee briefing by Chuck Lattuca, Executive Director for Transit Development and Delivery for the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) and Fred Craig, the Chief Executive Office for the Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP).

We would like to share with you the February 28th Prince George’s County Council briefing from Mr. Lattuca and Mr. Craig, which includes updated construction information specific to the county.

We encourage you to listen to the Prince George’s T&E briefing (which starts at about the 1:40 mark) as the presentation contains all sorts of interesting tidbits and slides, but in this newsletter we will attempt to give you the highlights, as well as share some of those slides with you.

The briefing was hosted by T&E committee chair Councilmember Deni Taveras and attended by other councilmembers of the committee.

Much of the general information overlapped with our previous newsletter (see link above), so we will focus on the Prince George’s County specific information in this edition.

Mr. Lattuca began by saying that MDOT was pleased to assist the University of Maryland’s Center for Smart Growth in obtaining a $2 million grant from the FTA which must be spent down in two years, so work is gearing up right now.

Mr. Craig reiterated that they are still working hard to be operational in late 2022 and moving quickly to catch up from the year-long lawsuit delay. County-wide, but especially in Prince George’s, this is one of the largest utility jobs (outside of hurricane reconstruction) in the country. He talked about the transformational aspect of the project and emphasized that the Purple Line will “give the community mobility to jobs and connections to cities as far as Boston and Richmond.”

Economic Growth and Opportunity

Making jobs accessible is another feature of the project, and the two slides below show how access to jobs will significantly increase once the line is operational. Pretty awesome, right?!

The project has been a “catalyst for renaissance,” Mr. Craig said, with billions (in dollars!) being spent in construction around the project. The slide below cites two examples - one in New Carrollton where Urban Atlantic and Forest are building a 2.7M square foot mixed-use development, and another in College Park where Corporate Office Properties Trust is developing a 75K square foot building. 

Specific to Prince George’s County, the Purple Line is already expanding economic opportunities.

Art-in-Transit

The goal of Art-in-Transit is to make the stations NOT look like a railroad and enhance neighborhood identities. A total of $6M has been allotted for artwork at the 21 stations, allocated equally among Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. You may recall a number of public meetings in the past few years that enabled selected artists to gain community input and get a better feel for their designs. Community representatives participated in the selection of the final art proposals and currently, contract negotiations are underway with selected artists. We are happy to hear that the station artwork is to be installed prior to passenger service!

Ellin Road and Veteran’s Parkway

As you can see by the slides below, work continues on Ellin Road and Veteran’s Parkway, as well as on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Coming later in the year (October 2019 through May 2020), Ellin Road Phase 2 will begin. At that time, Hanson Oaks will route to Veterans Parkway (which is a similar traffic pattern to what the area is currently experiencing.)

University Boulevard and University of Maryland

Both University Boulevard and the University of Maryland are dealing with utility relocation resulting in lane closures. MDOT SHA is currently evaluating lowering the speed limit on River Road to 35 mph.

Phase 1 of the Northwest Branch at University Boulevard will begin this month and last until March 2020. Traffic will shift to the south side to demolish and replace the north bridge. A pedestrian crosswalk has been added for sidewalk access.

Aesthetics and Landscaping

Trees are being replaced at "better than the 2:1 requirement stipulated in the contract," the concessionaire reported. Additionally, Mr. Craig said, "13 acres along the corridor is being reforested while every effort is being employed to spare trees during the construction process."

The councilmembers had a lot of questions following the presentation and we encourage you to listed to the entire briefing.

Slides courtesy of MDOT, MTA, and the PLTP. 

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PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS

We are working on the next Purple Line NOW forum happening late spring/early summer 2019. The topic will be the trail and we are already lining up terrific speakers, so stayed tuned for the date announcement and official invitation SOON!

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PURPLE LINE NOW ACTION

PLCC Purple Line Housing Plan Survey

Purple Line NOW is working with the Purple Line Corridor Coalition as they create a Purple Line Housing Action Plan this spring, with a principal focus on preserving and producing affordable housing for the corridor from New Carrollton to Bethesda. The coalition is made up of public, private, and non-profit organizations who have banded together to ensure equitable outcomes for residents, small business owners, and neighborhoods along the corridor.

Before the group starts writing the plan, they are reaching out to residents, community groups, and many other stakeholders to gather input and guidance on what the plan should focus on specifically and what it should prioritize. On their behalf, we would greatly appreciate it if those of you living and working inside the corridor would take the following survey (which should take no more than 5-7 minutes to fill this out) and to let your friends and neighbors know about the survey, too. 

Click on this link: Take Me to the Survey! If you would like the survey in Spanish or would prefer a PDF version, contact our Executive Director, Christine Scott at cscott@purplelinenow.com.

Consider a Donation to Purple Line NOW This Spring

If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to become a sponsor - your name will appear at all events and on all promotional materials for a year following your donation. The benefits of sponsorship are listed on our website and donating is easy - just follow this link: I'd like to become a sponsor! There are several levels of sponsorship - and we appreciate them all! 

We are a not-for-profit organization with an active group of volunteers and one quarter-time employee. We operate on a bare-bones budget and appreciate every donation we receive.

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