The East Campus project is located roughly half a mile from the College Park Metrorail station, adjacent ten bus routes, bisected by a bike trail connected to a major regional trail system, and the future home of a Purple Line light rail station.
The project developers have made a guess as to how much less parking will be needed than what is already required under the existing zoning. Included in their parking analysis revealed last night, they’ve provided parking at 90% of the existing zoning for office, 75% for apartments, 90% for restaurant visitors, 90% for retail, 100% required for the hotel and grocery store, and 95% needed for the Birchmere and cinema. At the presentation last night, the developers boasted of the forward-thinking that produced their estimate that the project would require 15% less parking than Prince George’s County zoning requires. Although the traffic study estimated roughly half of the peak trips to and from the site will be not in automobiles, the percentages above represent how much parking will be provided for each use – a much higher amount.
Thanks to these estimates, the developers plan to build roughly 4,000 parking spaces in the first phase, and perhaps 1,500 in the second phase. For the most part, the parking will be concealed at the center of blocks and in two “enormous” (their word) underground parking structures that will span nearly the entire width of the site. (When they are posted, we’ll add the diagram shared with the committee last night.)
However, the biggest news from last night’s East Campus meeting was about the Purple Line. It seems the MTA, Foulger-Pratt, and President Mote have agreed to plan for the Purple Line on Rossborough Lane, one block south of the route anticipated in early project plans.(The farthest south in the illustration to the right.) On campus, only two alignments remain — Campus Drive, and a new, at-grade southern alignment dubbed by the MTA the Preinkert Drive/Chapel Drive Alignment. Over the next month, the MTA will be completing a detailed analysis of the new alignment in order to compare it with Campus Drive.
Also last night, the developers presented their traffic impact study that found the road network would be able to absorb the traffic from the project for the first phase, and for the second phase suggesting several modifications needed including new turn lanes and modifications to traffic lights. As expected, University Park resident Bridget Warren grilled the developer’s traffic consultant over the finer details of the 57-page traffic impact study.
The developers said that now that the Purple Line route has been settled, they will begin to refine and finalize the block structure and architecture of the project. At the next meeting, a committee including the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Dean Garth Rockcastle will present a “design principles” document they have created, and the committee will discuss the overall development principles for the project.