After throwing together a handful of alignments, including the “chapel field alignment” (in blue on map) last month, we are getting word that the University is pursuing yet another alignment. Once again (deja vu) realizing the impracticality of a tunnel under campus, the administration is proposing a slightly altered chapel field alignment (in red on map), which veers south of Lefrak hall at street level (instead of across and under the historic Morrill Quad). The sharp turns and narrow right-of-way (shared with heavy pedestrian traffic) between South Campus Dinning Hall and Lefrak make this latest alignment nearly as ridiculous as the proposed tunnel under Morril Quad. Meanwhile the East Campus Developer has been forced to cease designs of that $700 million development out of uncertainty over the Purple Line alignment.
At this point, is the University just trying to save face or is it proposing alignments that are actually practical? We’re leaning towards the former hypothesis. The debate is beyond throwing new alignments into the mix. The UMD administration will find it far more fruitful to work with MTA to refine the Campus Drive alignment to suit the needs of campus. If they preffer to come to that conclusion kicking and screaming, then so be it.