SGA Poised to Support Campus Dr. Alignment

After sewing the seeds of dissent for nearly a year, RTCP’s Purple Line legwork appears to be paying some serious dividends. The Diamondback reports today that next week the SGA will give their near unanimous (if not unanimous) support of the Campus Drive alignment (purple on image), thus handing another serious blow to an intransigent university administration. They will join the Graduate Student Government (who voted four months ago) and the Residence Hall Association, which both have passed strong resolutions in favor of the most common sense alignment for the transitway.

Let’s not mistake the SGA’s long wait for this vote as indication of careful consideration. While we’re happy the SGA as a whole has finally come around, their four months of resistence to this vote was unnceccessary. The “Preinkert Drive alignment” (in red on the image) is more symptomatic of the university administration’s anything but strategy rather than an indication of the on-the-ground existence of serious prudent and feasible alternatives to Campus Drive. We commend those within the SGA who had the courage and conviction to stand for everything that an academic community is supposed be – a community of reasoned and informed individuals.

Mote Alignment as of 1/11/08

(see larger interactive map)

18 thoughts on “SGA Poised to Support Campus Dr. Alignment”

  1. Bravo to SGA for recognizing the most important deficiency of the Preinkert Drive alignment which is that the MTA Campus Drive alignment “would allow Stamp Student Union to remain the transportation hub and center of campus life in the future.” and that a transit station on Campus Drive “would be convenient for all guests and members of the university community.”

    It is extraordinary that Dr. Ann Wylie, President Mote’s Chief of Staff thinks that the opinion of the SGA is no more important than that of MTA’s professional planning staff:
    [Diamondback}:
    “Ann Wylie, Mote’s chief of staff, disputed Friedson’s claim, however, saying the SGA resolution would have zero impact on the university’s stance on the issue.”

    “We’re not going to change our position,” she said. [end Diamondback quote]

    Where is this intransigence leading if the Governor choses the Campus Drive alignment as seems increasingly likely? Will it not impact consideration of the campus’s Capital Budget request? What about the request for county and state funding for East Campus infrastructure. My understanding is that this request is in the range of $140 million.

    Is opposing light rail transit the sword that Dr. Mote wants to fall on in defense of the overly auto-oriented campus? How does that relate to the university’s sustainability initiative?

    This is as disappointing as the Clemson game. Go Terps – support transit!

  2. I’ve aid it before and I’ll say it again.
    Any alignment that doesn’t drop you off in front of the Union is a failure.
    Bravo SGA.

  3. Campus Dr. alignment all the way!

    I love how the media and politicians everywhere, including at UMD, are touting new “green” behaviors and changes.

    Hey, Mote et al, why don’t you do something consequential for a change, and make a form of public transportation AS EASILY ACCESSIBLE AND DESIREABLE AS POSSIBLE??? I’m sick and tired of the resistance to change that this region fosters. Too many “good ol’ boys” in charge.

    Ann Wylie and everyone else in that office are clearly suffering from a bad case of rectal-cranial inversion.

    …I hear it’s going around…

  4. While our Rethinkers get through their exams – here are some tidbits to get creative College Park juices flowing:

    – ACC Fans can now ride light rail to downtown Charlotte venue
    http://www.charlotte.com/local/v-print/story/538928.html

    Yes, Debbie Yow, sports fans LIKE coming to events by light rail.

    – UNC Charlotte highlights LRT connection in undergraduate catalogue
    http://www.provost.uncc.edu/Catalogs/2005-2007/fastfacts_charlotte.htm and the University Chancellor, Dr. Philip L. DuBois was instrumental in seeing the 10 mile starter line through to fruition. http://www.administration.uncc.edu/chancellor/chancellor_files/Charlotte_Observer_Light_Rail.doc

    Charlotte’s light rail would not habe done through if Dr. DuBois had not pushed for it, and the line is already paying back big time in the elevation of the school’s profile. All the other UNC campuses are jealous!

  5. No news? A few small and not so small things are happening I can talk about.

    JPI West finally accepted the District Council’s Final Order with Conditions of November 19th. The Order would have expired in another day or two, otherwise.

    The Freshman Connection housing project (University View east) detailed site plan has a detailed site plan hearing date of April 17th before Planning Board.

    Collegiate Hall plans to begin construction of the Mazza Grandmarc Graduate Apartments this spring.

    Construction of the City’s Parking garage with retail should commence within the next 30 days.

    A plan has been presented to tne Mayor and Council for a student housing project with retail in a LEED Silver building at the Starview Site (2 acres between the Jiffy Lube and the car wash). The plans include a pedestrian bridge across the Paint Branch stream, too.

    Congressman Hoyer has earmarked $4 million for a stream restoration project between Route 1 and University Blvd.

  6. Thank you Mr. Catlin. I appreciate the updates. It has been quiet the last few weeks. 🙂 Also, if you have found this information online, it would help if some links could be given for those that would like to research this news further. Thanks!

  7. M : is it rectal-cranial or is it eve of retirement apathy that is going around?

    Mr Catlin – thanks much for the updates. At the 1/28 East Campus meeting I thought Mr Duncan announced that Mazza Grandmarc was dead due to economic conditions and the credit environment.

    Also – since you mentioned the pedestrian bridge …..can you leverage your position to try to get folks to develop projects along the paint branch that embrace / incorporate it into the project? Case in point – look at the cold concrete block wall where The View faces the creek. What a huge wasted opportunity. Should have a study lounge – coffee house – fitness center – with large windows overlooking the creek and the woods. what a huge mistake. lets get all of the other projects going up to leverage it. imagine a big sundeck along side the creek. This would make the region more attractive and would make all projects and economic development / redevelopment more successful by creating unique places. places people actually want to be. THANKS

  8. When we were working on the Northgate Condo site plan a problem occured. Park and Planning which owns buffer property east of the Paint Branch stream doesn’t want pedestrian activity on this property as it just expands the area it would have to police, especially after dusk. The Northgate project required building up to the rear property line because of the small size of the site.

    You make a good point though, we should not forget to make the rear of the Starview Project, the 8400 project and others that follow embrace the stream, rather than turn their back to it.

  9. we dont have to encourage activity per se, but we should have windows instead of solid concrete block walls – i think the view of the view (!!!) from the stream is really a shame. any new projects could build a large outdoor study area / courtyard / terrace without having openings or walkways that send activity to the property. or at least have windows. its really a shame. if i was a student living in any project along there, id much rather walk or bike down the path to campus than walk along rte 1. rte 1 is dangerous and unhealthy

  10. I would point out that neither of the site’s editors live in College Park and just one of them remains a student (and is about to graduate). This site is on its deathbed since it is virtually impossible to find dedicated and qualified writers….

    Bob, any word on those renderings for starview? Why have a pedestrian bridge there that will impact the stream when there is a bridge just north of Jiffy lube? Also, any word on northgate park? I agree with kevin about embracing the stream valley as do the cp planning folks. Unfortunately, with high parking ratios, shallow lots, and the need for structured parking, it is virtually impossible to make the area behind these buildings activity centers. Even if University View had a nice park behind it, I highly doubt it would be used since there is no real draw to that area.

  11. With respect to Starview renderings, i have not heard anything, but I have not spoken to Terry for several days. A pedestrian bridge at the Starview site is desirable largely because the sidewalks south to University View along Route 1 are not pleasant, especially for bicycles. I am not sure pedestrians especially would want to go out of the way to use Metzerott Road to access the Paint Branch trail. It appears the University’s Northgate Park will be moving forward soon.

    Tonight’s Council meeting went well. We had a two hour discussion with Duncan and College Park residents on the East Campus Steering Committee on the outcome of the Committee meetings. We then met with Otis Warren/Steve McBride on their project, focusing on Campus Connection and ironed out some sticking points on our agreement and the pending detailed site plan.

    Duncan also said discussions have resumed with KSI with respect to the Golub property in Riverdale Park.

  12. We cant allow this site to die. Any thought to working with some professors in the school of Arch to make this site a student project for a grade / credit? I would gladly do the leg work on that. Another option is to make it like other blogs where folks like me and Mr Catlin or M or Jane Doe (Jane where are you? we miss you!) can start discussion topics. Only challenge there is it creates the need for a moderator.

  13. thats where the faculty advisor comes in. trouble is it may also prevent the site from vigorously challenging the university’s position

  14. If this group does not remain, then a new one must be created. This online movement cannot be allowed to die so suddenly. It would be a tragedy.

  15. It seems to me that the University of Maryland administration continues to drag its feet in coming to a decision concerning the Purple Line. Personally, I feel that the addition of a light rail-type transportation service will only be a tremendous asset to our campus’ growth economically, aesthetically, and prestigiously. It will also cut down on some of the major traffic issues on Campus Drive, as well as ease some of the outrageous housing problems by attracting more commuter students.
    48% of the University of Maryland’s outstanding student body lives in college housing (Collegeboard.com). This is to be expected, as the university attracts students nationwide. This number is a little bit surprising however, if you take a look at the percentages of other prestigious schools on the east coast. Penn State University houses only 36% of their undergraduate population. The University of Delaware houses 46% of their undergraduate population. The University of Virginia houses 43% of their student undergraduate population. These numbers are all very similar to Maryland. But in order to find where the Purple Line fits in here, you must look at the location of these schools. Virginia, Delaware, and Penn State are big schools with large followings and a diverse student body from all over the country. But these schools are all located, for lack of a better term, in the middle of nowhere. Route 29 is nothing but highway 5 miles in either direction of Charlottesville. The state of Delaware has only 3 counties. Penn State is hardly located mere miles from the nation’s capital. My point is that many high school students who reside in the densely populated area of which the current DC Metro services, with the addition of the Purple Line to run straight through our campus, will choose to commute to school instead of living here on campus. The numbers from these other schools, coupled with the addition of their geographic location, show little need for any transportation project like that of the Purple Line. There isn’t a large population directly located around their campuses. They simply do not need it. There is no existing transportation service like the metro to add on to. Sure it would look nice to construct such a great service, and it would bring a certain prestige to their campuses, but such a project to connect such a large region just wouldn’t make any sense. The necessary addition of the Purple Line will no doubt decrease the percentage of undergraduate students which the university houses, easing the tension of off-campus housing.
    Another issue that will be somewhat alleviated will be that of traffic and parking. There is no debate that our campus is overrun by cars on a school day, and finding a parking spot can be utterly ridiculous. A traffic study done in College Park in 2006 concluded that by 2026, most major intersections in the Greater College Park area will have a failing level of service. Additionally, traffic on Route 1 is expected to increase 55% (http://www.bot.org/shaping/archives/testimonies/detail.asp?id=497). It is obvious that something needs to be done about this issue. I am in no way, shape, or form proclaiming that the addition of the Purple Line will solve these impending problems. But with the sheer number of people that live in the area who commute to campus on a daily basis, it is very safe to assume that we can lessen the blow of these imminent tribulations. If one out of every ten cars currently on campus daily is taken off by the addition of the Purple Line, the issue is on its way to a solution. With the addition of another parking garage and a better use of space, and we could really be on to something here.
    It is in my opinion that the administration of the University of Maryland should accept the fact that the Purple Line is a step in the right direction to finding solutions to many problems here on our wonderful campus. Some kinks need to be worked out, and many debates with opposition and friendliness will undoubtedly occur. But something needs to be done, and the addition of the Purple Line sure is a leap forward.

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