Coalition Mounts Broadside Against UMD Bus Plan, Purple Line Position

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Purple Line 7BREAKING: In an unprecedented show of unity, a diverse coalition of student leaders, local elected officials and advocacy groups have mounted a broadside against the University of Maryland’s planned summer trial closure of Campus Drive to most buses. In a letter written to University System of Maryland Chancellor Brit Kirwan, they connected the UMD administration’s bus plan, which is set to begin in June, with UMD’s continued opposition to the only feasible Purple Line route through campus. They implored the University to keep “the buses where they are,” and to “become an ardent champion and outright supporter of the Purple Line.” The coalition called the proposed at-grade Campus Drive alignment “the only achievable option” and demanded the University coordinate campus transportation plans more effectively with the Maryland Transit Administration and the Purple Line planning process.

Purple Line MultimodalThe letter, drummed up and drafted by Rethink College Park Founder and Co-editor David Daddio, represents the consensus view of every major local stakeholder on and off campus and joins a chorus of other voices (including the Prince George’s County and College Park City councils) opposed to UMD’s transportation plans. The two-page salvo was signed by the leaders of the Student Government Association, the Graduate Student Government, the Residence Hall Association, the Action Committee for Transit President, and Purple Line NOW (signed on behalf of their board – on which Prince George’s County Councilman Eric Olson and College Park Mayor Andy Fellows sit). The letter today represents the strongest and most diverse coalition ever put together to support the Campus Drive alignment and is timed to alter UMD’s planned summer bus trial so it will support rather than work at cross purposes to the Purple Line: READ THE LETTER.
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9 thoughts on “Coalition Mounts Broadside Against UMD Bus Plan, Purple Line Position”

  1. ‘Although Brewer said administrators are aware of the community’s concerns, university President Dan Mote said he didn’t think the university was reconsidering.

    “I can say that we are listening; we have been listening,” Brewer said, noting he expects the plan would have to be finalized by the beginning of June.

    The university will gather data on a number of factors during the summer, including bus ridership, which critics have said they expect to decrease, Brewer said.

    “We know what people think will happen, but you know facts are funny things, they don’t always correspond with people’s speculation,” he said.’

    So yes, they’re listening… they’re just being entirely dismissive of any dissent or concern.

  2. Where did you get the street cross section at the end of your post? It seems that the artist forgot the buildings along Campus Drive. If a third lane is added (yes, best option), the sidewalk is going to be much narrower, as in definitely far less space than shown there. Probably going to be a building where most of the people are shown standing.

    Sorry, but considering that campus drive is completely lined with buildings, with the only exceptions being Hornbake plaza and the amphitheater, an omission like that is lying to the public.

    It still bugs me that there’s no plan for bikers along Campus Drive. I’m not going to feel safe biking right next to a train. Why can’t there be a space for us too? Isn’t part of the point of the Purple Line to get

  3. Sorry, somehow submitted without my last phrase:

    *to get people to commute using greener methods?

  4. The cross section isn’t big enough to include the buildings. I don’t understand your comment at all. The sidewalks will not be narrower. That’s just one cross section of one part of the project on Campus Drive.

  5. I’m trying to say that the cross-section above includes 3 lanes of traffic, but most of Campus Drive (esp. the section that was going to be mass transit + emergency vehicles only) is only 2 lanes. The picture above includes what appears to be a light rail at a station, a bus, and an ambulance. This implies that it’s part of the 2 lane section of road I mentioned. So, does this mean that the MTA decided to expand Campus Drive? If so, it would mean greatly reduce the amount of sidewalk space on both sides of the road. The image makes the sidewalk space look as wide as the road, which there definitely isn’t space for considering the buildings in the way.

    If you created the image, congrats on the awesome artistic ability. If it’s not, please credit your source, if nothing else out of fairness to the author.

  6. It’s from MTA’s website. You should think about looking at it. There are several concepts on the table, but there is plenty of space (from building to building across campus drive) to maintain sidewalk widths and add a 10 foot travel lane if that is deemed the best option. Also, keep in mind that there are several spots where there are already 3 lanes today.

  7. Considering the other drawings I’ve seen of the purple line, I’m not so sure its a fair representation. If the Purple Line is as good a transportation system as they claim, it wouldn’t require dodgy drawings and unrealistic boarding numbers.

    Can also anyone tell me who is funding PurpleLineNow, as I keep hearing they are a nonprofit, but there are no details on who is funding them, except the Smarter Growth Coalition, which are funded mainly by developers.

    Saying all that I agree Campus drive is the right route, I’m not just sure they have the right layout for it.

  8. Paul:

    If you want to know who is funding Purple Line NOW, just go look at their website, at their “Who we are” page. It has a link to donor profiles for 2007 and 2008 at the bottom of the page. As the PLN treasurer, I can confirm the donor profile for 2009 was very similar, although total income for last year was less than the previous years. Most PLN income for 2010 to date has come from the March reception, and the “Who we are” page has a link to a list of reception sponsors for that event.

    Purple Line NOW! has a very broad base of donors, with a very significant part of its income from small donors (less than $200).

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