Transit Oriented TOD: Watercolor Renderings

The Blue Line Corridor sets the stage for substantial transit-oriented suburban retrofit in a growing region. HRA Advisors and Design Collective won a Merit Award in The Region: Metropolis, City, and Town category of CNU’s 2022 Charter Awards

www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2022/03/02/transit-oriented-model-economic-development-suburbs

Economic development goals in Prince George’s County, Maryland—the largest predominantly African-American suburb in the US—are centered around transit-oriented development (TOD) on the DC Metro system. The county has 15 stations in multiple corridors. The four stations on the Blue Line Corridor will test the potential of this policy for the county as a whole.

The Corridor will guide economic development activity for 20 years: setting policy and investment goals; growing the tax base; attracting jobs; connecting people to transit and services; boosting housing affordability; and launching signature projects. Prince George’s has adopted a well-funded plan for transit-oriented suburban infill and retrofit. The Blue Line planning area is about ten square miles, including up to a thousand acres of undeveloped or underutilized land around the stations.

The TODs are strung out on or near Central Avenue, a 4- to 6-lane suburban arterial that is slated for a pedestrian-friendly redesign. Central Avenue is re-imagined as a complete street, lined with mixed-use buildings and active street level uses to create a safer, immersive environment, the team explains. A network of streets and sidewalks, reduced block lengths, bike lanes, more frequent intersections, and safer crosswalks will enhance multi-modal connectivity. The pedestrian-bicycle Connector Trail along the corridor will link the stations, traverse natural stream corridors, and connect neighborhoods.

“The Blue Line Corridor is a new model for comprehensive place-based, economic development,” says Angela Alsobrooks, County Executive. “We will transform the BLC into an accessible, walkable, amenity-rich destination with access to transit.”

The county has secured $45.7 million for corridor projects, including a $14 million complete street reconstruction for Central Avenue, an $11 million multiuse trail, a $16 million amphitheater, $2 million in other pedestrian safety improvements, and public art.

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