Standing on the elevated platform of the new Landover Metro station, it is easy to understand why this is one Metro location to which citizen opposition has been virtually nonexistent.
To the east are warehouses . . . and warehouses . . . and warehouses.
To the west is the high-speed John Hanson Highway, acting almost like a moat separating the Metro shop from the suburban homes more than half a mile in the distance.
"Why should Metro bother us?" said a resident of Kent Village, which is across yet another four lane highway - Rte. 202 and from the station. The trains "are either going right past us or they're turning in the other direction, so the noise and the traffic will not come through the neighborhood.
For those closest to the station in the Ardwick Industrial park, Metro is no bother, it is a boon.
"Knowing that there's a Metro stop here, we can catch people at the Beltway and get them to come right down the funnel (Rte. 202) to this area," said James Rodgers. He was chairman of the advisory committee that studied the area to determine the best locations for Metro stops. "We have almost unanimous support from the business community for this project," he said.
Specifically, local businessmen are hoping Metro will bring more commercial sales customers to the area. Many of the warehouses have clearing houses and rental facilities attached to them and they are hoping for increased business. The Hechinger Co. already has moved its corporate headquarters into the park and expansion has been discussed by other companies if Metro proves to be a success.
But none of that appears to be part of the immediate future. Home values have not increased any faster in Landover than in other areas, apartment rents have not gone up and there is no waiting list to get an apartment at Stratford Woods, the nearest apartment complex to the site.
Thus, for the same reasons that none of the residents are complaining about Metro, they are not cheering loudly about it either: for most of them its presence is not expected to change their life style noticeably.
There've been trains running on those tracks one way or the other for 100 years," said Metro spokesman Cody Pfanstiehl, referring to freight trains and Amtrak commuter trains that stop almost adjacent to the new Metro stop. "We tried very hard to put our tracks where there were already existing tracks. This is one of those places."
The Ardwick Industrial Park is directly adjacent to the station and its 1000-space parking lot. Some commercial establishments already operate in the park but many citizens - including Prince George's county council member Gerard T. McDonough, who represents the area - hope that Metro will spark "a general face lifting of that area if it's possible."
"I would hope that with Metro in the area some more commercial businesses will be encouraged to slide in there," McDonough said, "and I would hope that some of the warehouses would expand or change their look because the area could certainly use some change."
But that is somewhere down the road, perhaps several years in the future. The business in the industrial park are almost unanimous in their support of Metro, but they aren't planning any drastic changes soon.
"We're advertising the fact that we're located right across from Metro," said Tony Balestino, operations manager for Cort Furniture and Rental. "We think that we can do more business by letting people know we're right here next to the subway.
"It's also got to help us in terms of getting our employes to and from work. Now, if they can drive to a subway stop they can take the subway right to the door."
Balestino said that the only concern he and other businessmen in the area had with the Metro stop was the added traffic that would suddenly be coming through the relatively quiet corridor on Pennsy Drive.
There's been some concern expressed that some people won't want to pay the $1 to park in the Metro lot (the cost is 75 cents) and instead will come over here and use our lots. But that's really a relatively minor concern. The overwhelming feeling throughout the area is that this is a very good thing."
Businessmen in the area are as enthusiastic as the residents across Rtes. 202 and 50 are indifferent.
I don't use public transportation so it doesn't matter to me one way or the other," said Donald Jones of 2729 Hawthorne Ter. which is about half a mile from the station. "I can see where it will help a lot of people in the area who have to go to Washington so it's fine with me. But personally, I'm not going to be affected one way or the other."
That sentiment was voiced by many homeowners, both in the Kent Village area - which consists largely of one-story brick homes starting in price at about $30,000 and in the Radiant Valley area on the other side of Rte. 50, where the homes are larger and more expensive.
"We really haven't had any problems at all in any of the neighborhoods," said Dee Allison, administrator for the county's transportation authority. "Most people are just delighted to have the subway arriving."
"Look around you," said Reese Hanson, who also lives on Hawthorne Terrace. "This is a perfectly nice neighborhood. But we're only a few yards from the highway to begin with. The trains aren't going to affect noise.
"I've lived here seven years now and I think I've probably been here longer than most. This isn't an old established neighborhood trying to maintain its identity or anything."
Metro will change life for some people in Landover by making it more complicated.
"Before, I could just walk out of my house get on the bus and go right to Capital Plaza," said Freda Parker, who lives at 7222 Flagstaff St. and works as a waitress in Kresge's at Capital Plaza. "But with the subway, I'll have to take two buses.
"It's not terrible or anything, it just makes life a little harder, and more complicated."
Parker is in the minority, however. In the Stratford Woods apartment complex many of the residents does own their own cars and the coming Metro is a blessing.
"It means I don't have to try to get rides into the District anymore," said Russell Tiliery, a student at the Washington International School. "I think everyone over here wants to ride it. A lot of us here can't afford to have cars or drive back and forth all the time. We don't just want the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] way, we need the subway."
So on Monday the subway will [WORD ILLEGIBLE] to Landover. "We've waited a long time for this," Rodgers said. "It [WORD ILLEGIBLE] necessarily building up businesses, and creating heavy commercial density in the area to make money that everyone's thinking about.
We're thinking about a better way of life. We think the train can be [WORD ILLEGIBLE] of it."