Monday, July 5, 2010

The Green Line's Connected to the Yellow Line I: From Greenbelt to Columbia

This is a particularly exciting post for me because it overlaps this and my sister blog "Baltimore City's Past Present and Future." This post is dedicated to bringing Rail Transit to Columbia both from Baltimore and Washington DC. Although this is not a priority for the MTA, I will press on, perhaps taking this proposal out of the hands of the MTA. With that I give you the separate entity known as the "Columbia Rail Transit Association" still funded by the State with matching Federal Funds it won't be gridlocked with MTA projects and the State will fund it separately thus speeding up the process.
First lets start off in the Suburban Washington DC Community of Greenbelt. This, like Columbia is a "Planned Community" for the purposes of this post that's a moot point. Greenbelt is the northern terminus of the DC Metro's Green Line. Now there have been proposals to extend the Green Line along the MARC lines into Howard County and into Columbia that way. Although localizing existing MARC Lines is a good idea, I'd like to create a new route that will give Rail Transit to other Communities that currently lack it while en-route to Columbia.
At first it will follow the MARC lines until its first stop in Beltsville. After that, things will get interesting. It will make a sudden turn northwest into the eastern edge of Calverton. Calverton straddles the Montgomery County and PG County Line. The Calverton Stop will be located in PG County at the intersection of Briggs Chaney Road and Old Gunpowder Road. Although this stop is located in PG County, Montgomery County will see traffic relief from this.Now rather than going into Montgomery County, the expanded Green Line will continue on old Gunpowder Road through what appears to be nothing. Now why wasn't this ever developed? I believe this was to be a right of way for the ICC. The ICC did not use this route (it will be south of here) so with a new Metro Line running through this outback, I think it only fair to develop a TOD Village known as "Greencastle", named for Greencastle Road which ends at the new stop here. The Green Line will turn easterly to meet Sweitzer Lane which is becoming a developing Commerce Area in its own right anchored by the UPS Customer Service Center. This area is known as "West Laurel."After West Laurel the Green Line will travel along Route 198 until its intersection with Route 29. When Route 29 was relocated to build the interchange Commuter Bus were added making Burtonsvillle a good location for a Multi Modal Transit Hub. This will also help the Shopping Centers that used to be on the main line of Route 29. Burtonsville can also be the ending point of a "Red Line Spur" I'm proposing as well.Well we've made it into Howard County with a stop that will generate a lot of Commuter Traffic with the APL, Tai Sophia, Rivers Corporate Park, and Maple Lawn all within a short walk. Next Stop Columbia.And we've done it! The DC Metro has been extended to Columbia! Next stop is Baltimore.


peter said...

At least somebody is thinking about this important connection. Spence, nice work. You're way ahead of the pack on this.

I wouldn't mind an additional train in the MARC easement, with plenty of circulator buses to feed it. Why not run a spur line up Broken Land, right to the MARC corridor? The heck with running it through Burtonsville then by Johns Hopkins. What do weapons scientists need transit for? They wouldn't use it.

Spence said...

This is part 1 in a series of posts regarding rail transit connecting to Baltimore and DC by way of Columbia. Stay tuned for more.