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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Stupid Growth: Landover Metro

It's no secret that PG County is lousy at developing around its Metro stations. But check this madness out by Landover Metro station on the Orange Line:

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In the bottom right (southeast) is what at first glance looks like a bunch of huge single family homes. on second glance, I'm pretty sure they are apartments. But even if they are, they are incredibly suburban considering their proximity to Landover station. And proximity is something that station has in short supply.

To the north and west, the station is bulwarked by US-50. No pedestrian facilities to serve the neighborhood a stone's throw away on Parkwood Street. Instead, you have to drive almost a mile via Landover Road and Pennsy Drive to get to the station. At that point, most people may as well drive to Stadium-Armory or Eastern Market. Even low density neighborhoods should have access to their nearby stations.

But back to that residential development on 75th Avenue... granted, I've only been to Landover station once or twice, and I've never seen this development in person. But it doesn't appear to have any safe and direct access to the Metro station a couple blocks away. The only close thing to Landover station is ample parking. And there are few places where Landover station is more convenient than New Carrollton or Cheverly, or even driving. This is not how development around stations ought to look. This is why Landover and Cheverly are among the least used stations on the Orange Line

Industrial super-blocks around Metro stations definitely need to be broken up and repurposed for mixed use. Otherwise, the incentive to use trains is diminished, which increases traffic and devalues the investment in Metro. This is an unfortunate patter on the eastern end of the Orange line. More practical development practices must be embraced at these stations, otherwise they could become a financial strain on the rest of the system, obsolete stops slowing the trip from New Carrollton to Downtown.

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