Prince George's County still doesn't get "transit oriented development" and walkable communities: Greenbelt edition
Greenbelt sector plan defeats its own walkability goals," at GGW about how the proposed new Greenbelt sector plan, despite saying the right things about transit oriented development--the Greenbelt Metro Station is the northern end of the Green line and other nearby large shopping centers such as Beltway Plaza offer additional opportunities for what Christopher Leinberger would call a WalkUP or "walkable urban place"--the plan calls for widening roads and focuses on automobility rather than transit.
(Prof. Leinberger's report lists two PG County Metro stations as "regionally serving," PG Plaza and New Carrollton, and doesn't list the Greenbelt Metro Station as one of the 43 regionally serving potentially walkable urban places in the region, but I think with some tweaks in the sector plan and other inducements, that the Greenbelt Metro Station does offer better opportunities compared to PG Plaza, but of course, New Carrollton is the pre-eminent location in the county for TOD.)
See "PG looks to spur development around Metro stations with pair of bills," Examiner, and "Metro board selects team for development near New Carrollton Station," Post. Also this webpage from PG County Planning, TOD in Prince George's County:
Prince George's County is uniquely situated in the Washington region to take advantage of the regional interest in TOD. The county is home to 15 of the region's 86 Metrorail stations. Within one-half mile of the county's Metrorail stations are over 2,500 acres of undeveloped land, providing ample opportunities for innovative, mixed-use development with a strong emphasis on transit-oriented design. While many Metrorail stations are over capacity, 11 of 15 stations in Prince George’s County have the capacity to absorb additional Metrorail ridership growth.
Of course, if you don't make your plans TOD-supportive and TOD-directive, all the "potential" in the world doesn't matter.
It happens that two weeks ago, I ended up at the station with my bike during rush hour and so I rode my bicycle home through more of that area than I cared to (because of course I made a wrong turn and rode miles out of my way) and yes it is a car sewer, but surprisingly has great potential because of the garden community of Old Greenbelt and some of the neighboring communities, and some attractive bicycle trails in College Park and Berwyn Heights, etc.
I have been making the point for awhile now that Prince George's County has a second chance to refocus on transit-enabled development, a chance that was ignored during the period when the WMATA subway system was first constructed, but now with the planning underway for the Purple Line light rail system, the county gets a second chance.
See the past blog entries "The future of mixed use development/urbanization: Part 3, Prince George's County, where's the there?," "A recommended new planning direction for Prince George's County," and "Another lesson that Prince George's County has a three to five year window to reposition based on visionary transportation planning."
Greenbelt is a perfect station at which to unveil such changes in planning paradigms.
And one way to support and accelerate the change would be for the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission's PG County headquarters to move from its Kenilworth Avenue location, not very accessible via transit, to the Greenbelt Metro Station redevelopment, as a way to illustrate commitment to the new land use and transportation planning paradigm.
There is a hearing tonight on the plan. People should recommend that the plan be modified so that the land use and transportation recommendations are truly congruent with the TOD-related goals in the document. And that in the meantime, the plan shouldn't be approved.
Joint session public hearing
The Prince George's County Planning Board and County Council
Preliminary Greenbelt Metro Area and MD 193 Sector Plan and Proposed Sectional Map Amendment
Tuesday October 2nd, 2012, 7pm
County Administration Building
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Chad Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.