Latest Purple Line Videos, Presentation

Last week the Maryland Transit Administration held the latest information session about the Purple Line, revealing updated results of their work estimating the cost and proposed alignments through campus. We did not attend, but have obtained a copy of the presentation (PDF) and videos presented MTA consultants at the meeting. The Diamondback covered the event and even ran an interview with Joel Oppenheimer, the man who has become the public face of the engineering team at these meetings.

The videos show light rail vehicles in the context of campus along the proposed Campus Drive alignment.

Stamp Student Union

Hornbake Plaza

> See the MTA April 9 Presentation

Thanks to Laura Moore for sharing these materials

9 thoughts on “Latest Purple Line Videos, Presentation”

  1. I don’t know whats more excruciating- waiting for the University’s administration to give in to the sensible Campus Drive alignment, or waiting for Hillary to drop out of the presidential race.

  2. This looks wonderful. What an improvement from the Campus Drive seen today. I hope that if this alignment is chosen, it will serve as a model for the landscaping around St. Mary’s and Jimenez Halls, which currently is not up to par with the University’s expectations. The landscaping on the other side of McKedlin Mall near the current location of the Journalism Building also needs some work, but that’s another story.

  3. Fantastic videos and the report is just about as impressive. I thought the most notable points were:

    – Campus Dr alignment results in 78% decrease in traffic (vehicles per minute)
    – Preinkert alignment projects in 20 years Campus Dr will be gridlocked during the day

    – Campus Dr alignment improves pedestrian safety significantly
    – Preinkert alignment introduces one vehicle per 1.5-2 minutes to an area currently vehicle-free, possibly reducing pedestrian safety

    – Campus Dr has minimum of 110 feet between buildings, more space for landscaping, an existing transit plaza, requires less grading and filling
    – Preinkert alignment has minimum 62 feet between building, limited space for pedestrian and bicycle facilities, transit plaza must be built, will run through historic quad and next to chapel and large tree

    – Campus Dr alignment has existing transit plaza at center of campus
    – Preinkert alignment will require new transit plaza, and in addition the Campus Dr transit plaza may still be needed

    – Campus Dr alignment will cost UM $44 million
    – Preinkert option will cost UM $50.2 million plus cost of new transit plaza

    – Vibration & EMI effects are not a significant issue for either alignment

    So it appears there is absolutely no good argument for the Preinkert alignment. Let’s get with it, UM administrators! The Campus Drive alignment will help make UM’s physical environment world-class — and that’s what everyone wants, isn’t it?

  4. Rebecca Kavoussi
    HISP200-0104-Extra Credit
    due: 17 May 2008
    Although I can see the practicality of a light rail ranging from Bethesda to New Carrollton, I do not think this Purple Line should cut through the University of Maryland campus. As a current student of the University of Maryland, it is hard for me to fathom a light rail track existing on Campus Drive or even Stadium Drive for that matter. Although I will have graduated by the time the current proposal is carried out, I simply think that the line will do more harm instead of good for our campus. The fact that students would not be able to take a light rail from East Campus to main campus and from campus to the metro seems unnecessary considering the budget will cost millions of dollars. One of my favorite parts of being a student here is walking to class and seeing my fellow peers, and a transit-line depersonalizes campus. Also, with the college park metro bus operating sufficiently as it does, it seems like a waste of money to replace it with a light rail. I think the university needs to focus more on construction that will benefit the campus community as a whole such as more housing (the East Campus Housing Initiative). I acknowledge the fact that public transportation is beneficial in terms of the environment, however considering most of the vehicular traffic on campus is not necessarily from the Bethesda or New Carrollton area; it will not deter people from driving their cars. The construction alone will rip up the campus for a long time. Not to mention the disturbance the light rail will cause. I feel it is important to diversify our campus however it makes me feel uneasy that any person could ride the light rail and get off right in the middle of campus when before they may never had had the chance too. The university already experiences petty and often dangerous crimes, and a stop on campus would only perpetuate crime. If a Purple Line is even necessary at all at least have the College Park stop be not at the heart of the University of Maryland campus. I realize the inevitability of change however a transit line on the University property will just emphasize the deterioration of our land. Since the University started as an Agricultural school it seems ironic that a rail road track would be constructed on the campus.
    The rethink college park website claims that the purple line will “help the university do its part to combat global warming” because it will restrict vehicular traffic on campus (an eliminated 7 out of 9 vehicles on campus per minute). Although campus would restrict traffic, most of those vehicle owners are not coming necessarily from the Bethesda or New Carrolton area and therefore will operate their vehicles anyway. Also, as a student who lives off of campus, there have been times when I am running late to a class and a friend drops me off. With limited vehicular traffic on campus then this luxury would no longer exist. “Aristotelian Space is the concept of a “city as the community made up of communities”. It also is the idea that public concerns “constrain” private interests. It seems a transit stop on campus defies this concept in that the true benefactor in the scenario is the owner of the light rail; and not the community as a whole. Urbanization is an ongoing force in our world today; and although I acknowledge it is inevitable, I do not think it needs to be perpetuated in the University of Maryland community. When is one is reading or lounging on McKeldin mall the sound of a roaring light-rail will harm if not destroy the historic character of our campus.

  5. I would like to discuss the proposed Purple Line. Don’t get me wrong I think it would be a great thing to have a rail system that connected New Carrolton, College Park, Silver Spring, and Bethesda. However I don’t think that having it go through campus is the best idea in the world. The University has enough problems with construction, and a bigger concern should be housing, and not putting a light rail through the middle of campus. Ideally I think the best situation would be if the on campus Purple Line stop was at the new proposed East Campus. The land that the University plans to use for East Campus is pretty decrepit right now, and could use some new renovations. What this University really needs right now is some new high brow housing facilities with high brow retail. This could help draw in many new students and possibly even raise the ranking of the University because it would go a long way to fixing the housing problem. Unfortunately the priority for the state and the University seems to be building this light rail. I feel like they are so interested in getting this done because they have recently encountered some problems with getting past the cities historic districts. One of the proposed lines would go right by Morrill Hall which is one of the oldest buildings on campus. They feel that it would not be right to disrupt the historic places of this campus. I think that this problem has a way bigger scale than most people realize, and it affects almost every student who attends this University. The City of College Park in my opinion would like to believe that the University of Maryland is totally separate from the city. They believe that the stone wall around campus is really a boundary or fence that should not be crossed. The city is very stingy about selling land to private contractors to build more housing for students. There are houses that are condemned in College Park but cannot be renovated because they are part of historic College Park and it would be illegal to change certain parts of these houses. College Park does not accept that it is a college town, and that almost all of the business that route one receives is from people who attend this University. If the town makes it harder for people to live off campus, and the University is doing little to nothing about fixing the housing problem then more people are going to commute. If they have more people commuting there will be more traffic, and now they want to start construction on East Campus and the Purple Line. This will only create more traffic, and more hassle for the students who have not been awarded housing so they have to commute. It really makes the University look bad. College Park should consider getting rid of this historic district and give the students a chance to really enjoy their college experience. Seniors shouldn’t have to be worried about getting ready for graduation, finding a job, and commuting to campus everyday in hours of traffic. There are also many students from out of state and if they don’t get housing then they are pretty much out of luck. The University and the State of Maryland should be more concerned about actually making College Park “A Livable Community” like their sign says and then they can build the purple line. In the long run the purple line will hopefully have a great effect on the campus but it shouldn’t be first on our list of things to be built.

  6. Jonathan Muravchik
    Hisp 200-0105

    There are a few problems that I have with the purple line. But over all I believe that this new transit system will only benefit the University of Maryland and the people of College Park. I think it would be a great idea to have a transportation system available that would lead us in and out of College Park. But there is a question in whether it would reduce the amount of traffic or will it increase it. Of course people that commute to school and work are able to have a safer, cleaner, and faster way of transportation. But whether it matters if there are going to be a lot of people that will change their way of travel. If people continue commuting on vehicles, the transit system might just cause a greater amount of traffic. Plus with the new east campus on the way, there will be more people coming into college park. So whether these people will take the transit system is a question. Parking will most likely become less of an issue for student and visitors arriving to campus. Permits should become cheaper, but tuition will cost more. This construction will cost millions of dollar, and will have to loan the money from businesses. People, especially students will be upset about this use of cash because of the concern for housing. There has been a problem with housing for student for many years. For next year (Fall 2008), many juniors will not be able to find housing close to the campus. With the city not doing anything to fix the housing problem, people are going to have to commute somehow. With gas prices so high, I believe that most commuters will try taking the transit systems. It is economically efficient and will be environmentally friendly. As long as people will prefer the transit system instead of driving, then this will slowly save the environment. Though there is a concern for safety of College Park students. With a transit coming into the heart of the University, people from different neighborhoods have easier access onto the campus. Crime has been a problem in College park for a while, at least once a week there is some type of alert. A great way to solve this problem is to allow student or teachers off the train only if they have an id. This will only apply if people are stopping on campus, otherwise these people should have no reason to be at the University.
    I think that the purple line should be built. It will help make the University a better place. With a new East Campus and a purple line on the way, the University of Maryland will rise in its rankings among other colleges. It will overall become a benefit to College Park.

  7. The Purple Line light rail system seems like a new innovate way for the University to get recognition and boast about its technological advances rather than practical and effective way for transportation. Sure there are definitely need for more on and off campus transportation especially due to housing crisis and students getting kicked off campus, but there is no reason why there needs to be a light rail system installed into the ground. They can just as easily set up new and more efficient bus routes. That was in fact on the front page of the Diamondback College Newspaper earlier this week. DOTS, Department of Transportation Services announced that they are introducing new and more routes for Shuttle UM.
    I think the big reason people are making such a huge deal about this is new system of transportation is not because of its efficiency, but because of its technology. The University wants to be technologically advanced and its willing to spend so much money on a project that can serve the same purpose if they spend even a fraction of what the light rail system will cost. Imagine what the money could be spent on. Better dining hall food and services, I cant even tell you how man times I find myself leaving the dining hall hungry and disappointed because of the disgusting food they serve. Or how about the housing crisis. Thousands of students are getting kicked off campus because of this schools refusal to accommodate the students they accept. It seems like the dirty little secret they don’t tell you when you first apply here. These are just two of the many causes that the money can go to. And as far as this new “technology” argument is concerned, this isn’t even that innovative. Cities have had these systems for years. San Francisco has had them for over 20 years. There’s absolutely nothing special about the light rail system.
    The whole process of building this system is going to cause so many ruckuses on and off campus it’s going to be absolutely horrendous. The traffic is going to cause a gridlock everyday on campus drive. Now that more students are getting kicked off campus, they are naturally going to be using their cars more often. One of the reasons this Purple Line is being considered is to discourage people from using their cars. No matter how many people are discouraged, there is still going to be significant traffic during the construction of this Line. Professors, faculty and students alike will be directly affected by the increased traffic and mayhem that would go into shutting down a large portion of the narrow street of Campus Drive.
    This Line would connect the towns of New Carrolton, College Park, Silver Spring, and Bethesda. This is great for students that live in Maryland and have homes in these places. But what about the Out of state students that need to find housing and live in other places away from these towns? Discouraging students from using their cars by these means will have a negative effect on the out of state students who don’t live in New Carrolton, Silver Spring, and Bethesda.
    So what happens after they build this Line. This would not only make the University more accessible to students whole live in the few select towns, it would also make the University more vulnerable to criminals. We have criminals from College park and DC now. When they build this Line we will have criminals come from many others towns.
    The Purple line is definitely not something this University needs. UMD needs to focus on other problems that are more deserving of attention. Spending time, money and resources would be a waste and an injustice to the community of the University of Maryland.

  8. William Cheung
    Section 0103

    I honestly think that the Purple Line will only cause more trouble if it runs through campus. There is already enough traffic and congestion already through campus. Bringing in the Purple Line would only cause more congestion and pedestrian safety, because the construction will only force drivers to reroute more around the campus drive area, where if they made the campus “Authorized Vehicles only,” where they only allow Buses and UM vehicles in, it tolls on the safety of the pedestrians. Think about it this way, when there are less vehicles on the road, people are much more likely to drive fast and increase their chance for an accident. As of right now, the current congestion increases pedestrian safety because the cars are going slow due to the heavy volume in traffic. Another problem with this is that even with a Purple Line, people would still take just as long to get from College Park to Silver Spring compared to taking the Shuttle Bus and the Red and Green Lines required to get there. There are also buses that service from College Park to Silver Spring such as the C8 and the F6 and C2 buses and the C8 bus to White Flint that run through campus. Getting to Bethesda would only require people to transfer to the Red Line. Another part of the problem is the large costs in making and maintaining the Purple Line. The annual costs for maintaining that Light Rail system would be put to more use towards the already ongoing problems with the current Metro-rail system and Dulles Rail expansions. The costs of the Purple Line is 44 million dollars excluding the buildings costs of being taken away, which would help fund for the very much needed repairs to the Metro-rail trains and expansions to the Metro rail. Currently Metro-Rail has too many service problems and it has been causing extreme inconvenience towards the 800,000 customers already riding Metro daily. The problems can be found on, where they report all of the Train problems that go on every day. Once WMATA(Metro) puts funds into the Purple Line, it will reveal sunk costs that it could’ve used for a different part of its budget. Not only will the construction cause a negative externalities of noise due to construction and heavy volume in traffic, but it will make some placess that were once very convenient on campus a thing of the past. The development of the Purple Line around the East campus area is just not worth it. There would be large costs in order to increase the size of the road, so it will fit within its range to build a purple line, its just flat out inconvenient to the commuters and to the workers to demolish some of the old buildings around campus that have been preserved since the University began. The most important thing is, it will take the Purple Line 77 minutes to service from New Carolton to Silver Spring and 105 minutes to service from New Carolton to Bethesda. In that much time, you could have already taken the Orange and the Red Lines to get to those destinations within that time. Honestly, its not worth all the construction and all the hastle just for more convenience.

  9. I believe that this new transit system will benefit the University of Maryland and the people of College Park. The Purple line will be very beneficial in many different ways. Though it may pose some issues for the College Park city and University. The Purple line plans to have the light rail ranging from Bethesda to New Carrollton. And will come straight through the center of campus with the light rail track existing on Campus Drive. The Rethink College Park websites says that the Purple line should “help the university do its part to combat global warming”. It will restrict vehicular traffic on campus (an eliminated 7 out of 9 vehicles on campus per minute). Along with the restricted vehicular traffic on campus, some of the immediate traffic in the College Park area should decline. The accessibility to what the city has to offer will increase, which should help the local economy. It should also lower local traffic and ease the commute for many students. Though with plan for the light rail going directly though the center of campus may cause some problems public transportation is beneficial in terms of the environment. With gas prices so high, I believe that most commuters will try taking the transit systems. It is economically efficient and will be environmentally friendly. The purple line will not only benefit students but also residents in the Metro area of D.C., and parts of Maryland and Virginia. Now almost all of the business that Route 1 receives is from people who attend this University. This could potentially bring many people, consumers, to the retail, food, and other shopping scenes of College Park. With mass development in the Route 1 Corridor and the new East Campus many high-class retail and food will become available to almost anyone in neighboring areas. Though the is a benefit and some aspects it could also be a major problem. Any person could ride the light rail and get off right in the middle of campus. When before they may never had the chance too. The university already experiences petty and often dangerous crimes, and a stop on campus would only perpetuate crime. People of all kinds and back rounds will have accessibility to the campus. One possible way of dealing with this issue may be to not place the light rail through the center of campus where strangers and possibly criminals would have easy access anywhere on campus. If you want to drive onto campus now your identification and information is recorded, which can often deter many criminal behavior. Urbanization is an ongoing force in our world today; and although it is inevitable it should be controlled and executed in the safest form for the communities well being. “Aristotelian Space is the concept of a “city as the community made up of communities”. It also is the idea that public concerns “constrain” private interests. Some may argue that is truly benefiting the owner of the light rail and goes against the concept of Aristotelian Space. It is true that the use of the light rail will benefit the owner of the light rail, but this is usually the case in almost all investments of construction. The truth is that it will definitely benefit the community of College Park as a whole, the city and campus. Though I believe that the Purple line is an excellent idea and should be carried out I think that the College Park communities have many several other issues that need attention. Some being more important and needing more immediate focus to execute them more rapidly. As I see it the two most major problems in College Park is traffic and housing. With hope that the new Purple line will help traffic issues, it may in fact actually increase housing problems. The bigger concern that should be dealt with first should be housing, and not putting a light rail through the middle of campus just yet. The University of Maryland will coast a significant amount of money; the Campus Dr alignment will cost UM $44 million 
and Preinkert option will cost UM $50.2 million plus cost of new transit plaza. That is over 90 million dollars that UMD plains on spending that could be used effectively and immediately in student housing. The new Purple line is a great concept but I believe other issues as housing need more immediate and serious attention. As a whole the Purple line will be very beneficial to the community. The University of Maryland is a major destination in the corridor with more than 35,000 students, 12,000 employees, and many visitors. The Purple Line will provide an opportunity for students, faculty and visitors to have much better east-west transit accessibility to the campus, reducing the need for access by cars. Purple Line stations in the center of campus and in East Campus will significantly improve transit connectivity between the Main Campus, East Campus, and the College Park Metro station, as well as the M2 development. The Purple Line will support future development and help the University achieve its “Master Plan”. It is definitely a step in the right direction, but other steps should be made first.

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