Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MTA organizing work groups/sessions for Purple Line Station planning

Purple Line
Extract from a graphic by the Sierra Club Metro DC initiative.

For the Red Line light rail planning in Baltimore City and County, MTA has organized advisory groups for each station. According to this Post article, "Purple Line planners move on to details," and the Purple Line website, that's not exactly what MTA is doing for the Purple Line, a light rail system proposed for Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. From the Post article:

Negotiations are well underway on the project's two most controversial details: how trains would travel through the University of Maryland campus and along the Georgetown Branch Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring. This month, the MTA also will begin holding work sessions with residents along the 16-mile route to examine the trains' impacts and how they might be reduced.

Even those who welcome transit in their communities say they want to help determine how a Purple Line would operate. "We want the look and feel of the thing to be high-class," said Dabolt, a board member of the West Lanham Hills Citizens Association.

Instead MTA is organizing "work group sessions," which could be as few as one meeting, for each station. Additionally, they have some broader topic groups, such as for bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

See the Purple Line Work Sessions webpage to sign up for station areas and/or topic areas that interest you. The process is underway, so don't hesitate.

Other resources

- Crandall-Arambula one page guide from their Revitalizing Cities Series on station area planning
- Center for Transit Oriented Development
- Performance-Based Transit-Oriented Development Typology Guidebook
- Transit-Oriented Development resource page from the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington State
- WMATA bicycle and pedestrian access study -- the recommendations in this study should be relevant to station planning for the Purple Line
- Transit Waiting Environments, GRTA, Cleveland (more related to bus stops, but still relevant)
- Project for Public Spaces Transportation resources
- Links to pedestrian audits from the WalkingInfo website, including the
- Federal Highway Administration's Pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists, an excellent resource for conducting comprehensive audits of the roadway environment

I don't have handy my recommendations from the Baltimore County plan I did, but I recommended that within one half mile of subway and light rail stations, that sidewalks be wider than is typical. Most jurisdictions have 5 foot wide sidewalks. In the 1/2 mile catchment area of stations, on main thoroughfares especially, sidewalks should be wider than this. I recommended that at least for the 1/4 mile to the station, sidewalks should be 10 feet wide on main thoroughfares.

From the Purple Line webpage:

Please note that many of the groups may meet more than one time, as it may take multiple meetings to work through a specific design issue. Also, please remember this will be a process that will continue over the next two years, so we may not schedule some of these meetings for some time or additional work sessions could be added.

Here is a listing of our small group work sessions that we have planned:

Station Areas:
•Connecticut Avenue/Chevy Chase Lake
•Silver Spring Transit Center
•Silver Spring Library
•Dale Drive (under study)
•Manchester Place
•Long Branch
•Piney Branch Road
•Takoma/Langley Transit Center
•Riggs Road
•West Campus
•UM Campus Center
•East Campus
•College Park
•River Road
•Riverdale Park/MD 201 & MD 410
•Riverdale Road
•Annapolis Road
•New Carrollton

Additional Meeting Areas/Topics:
•CSX Corridor
•Georgetown Branch/Capital Crescent Trail
•Wayne Avenue
•Bonifant Street
•University Boulevard
•Kenilworth Avenue
•Ellin Road
•Bike and Pedestrian Facilities

Bicycle gutter, Lutherville Light Rail, west platform
Access from the west to the Lutherville light rail station in Baltimore County ends abruptly at the end of these steps to the station platform. To reach the station from Greenspring Road you have to walk through a little creek.

I can't find the image at the moment, but from the east, there is no official access to the Timonium Fairgrounds light rail station, because the Maryland Fairgrounds won't provide access to the station when their property is closed. People have forged a path at the fence edge of the Fairgrounds property from Thelma Street, even though "Landstreet Road" on the Fairgrounds property provides through access.

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