Planners and transit geeks have been waiting for months for USDOT’s announcement of TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Competitive Grant recipients – a $1.5 billion slice of the stimulus package designed to invest in innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects related to the nation’s road, bridge, rail, port, transit and intermodal facilities and infrastructure.
USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced the winners yesterday in Kansas City, MO and it turns out College Park and the immediate area is getting on board the stimulus train (or bus in this instance). The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments received nearly $59 million in funds towards a planned $83 million improve to the efficiency and reliability of the region’s buses.
Construction is planned to begin ASAP and take about two years. Part of the federal money will go towards consolidating bus stops at a new Takoma/Langley Transit Center at University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue ($12.3 million – photos HERE). That project will not only improve buses, but will pave the way for the Purple Line. According to BeyondDC, almost $1 million will go towards improvements to Route 1 between Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station and Laurel. It is unclear whether bus improvements will be like the “super-stops” (pictured above) envisioned in the 2008 City-contracted transportation study of Route 1 in College Park (RTCP discussion/analysis HERE). Another $1 million will support similar investments on University Boulevard in conjunction with the transit center:
- Takoma/Langley Transit Center
This bustling intersection is one of the busiest transit locations in the DC area, however bus stops are currently scattered far from each other at different locations around the intersection. The new transit center will consolidate all the bus stops at the intersection into one facility. This will eliminate the need for transferring passengers to cross wide and busy roads where there is an unfortunate history of vehicles colliding with pedestrians. This will also provide a permanent and visible transit amenity. Through new bus bays, pedestrian walkways, a full canopy, restrooms, lighting, and bus information, the transit center will ultimately provide a safe, attractive, comfortable and efficient facility for passengers and for bus transfer activities, and will also improve pedestrian safety, accessibility, and connections to bus services in an area that is largely low income and transit dependent.
- U.S. Route 1 Bus Priority Improvements: Capital improvements proposed include queue jump lanes and transit signal priority at several intersections.
- University Boulevard Bus Priority Improvements: Improvements include four queue jump lanes, transit signal priority at around 20 intersections, and a number of bus stop enhancements, such as the deployment of NextBus technology. This project will support planned light rail transit, such as the Purple Line, and will utilize the Takoma Langley Transit Center also included in this proposal.