Home Page, Site Index, Search, Help

Venture into the current realm of the Blue Line with our Metrorail Guide, replete with fares and schedules.

Read about other proposed Metrorail extensions, including a Purple Line and a train to Georgetown.

Green Line construction has caused a mess in Columbia Heights.

Go to Transportation Traumas page

Go to Growing Pains

Go to Washington World

Plan to Extend P.G. Metro Line Moves Forward

By Stephen C. Fehr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 18, 1996; Page C03

A plan to extend Metro's Blue Line to Largo, near USAir Arena, has cleared an important hurdle: A review found no significant environmental problems that would stop construction of the three-mile, two-station addition, transit officials said yesterday.

Based on the favorable report, the Metro board yesterday scheduled a Dec. 3 public hearing on the plan, which is Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening's top transit priority for the area. The board plans to make a final decision early next year but then would have to find about $400 million to pay for the extension. Construction could start before 2000.

"I think the likelihood of this happening is very, very good," said board member John P. Davey, of Prince George's County. "The governor is 100 percent behind it, and we anticipate a combination of federal, state and private funds to build it."

Despite the optimism of Davey and other officials, money is the chief obstacle. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of a House transportation appropriations subcommittee, has told Metro officials that Congress probably wouldn't contribute the two-thirds or more of the cost of subway construction that it has in the past. That means the state and private business would have to fund a larger share.

The proposed extension, which would link the Addison Road station with Largo Town Center just outside the Capital Beltway, is Maryland's first choice for expanding the Metrorail system. The original 103 miles and 83 stations are due to be completed in 2001. Virginia is considering an extension to Dulles International Airport, and the District wants to build a cross-town line linking Georgetown with Fort Lincoln near the Maryland line.

The Prince George's extension would include a station just west of Summerfield Boulevard and another west of Lottsford Road, near the still-developing Largo Town Center. Local buses would be rerouted to carry commuters to those stations, and 2,700 parking spaces would be added at the sites. The stations would serve a wide area of central Prince George's, including Largo, Mitchellville and Bowie, as well as Calvert County commuters who now take Route 4 (Pennsylvania Avenue) and Route 202 (Largo/Landover Road).

"The exciting part of going to the Largo Town Center is that it gives an impetus to develop in that corridor," Davey said. The town center plan calls for a concentration of offices, shops, restaurants and housing, much of it predicated on having a Metro stop there.

Board members asked why the extension's Largo Town Center station would serve USAir Arena, which is losing its professional basketball and hockey teams to the District's MCI Center, while the line avoids the new Washington Redskins stadium, scheduled to open next year.

Transit officials said that although the Bullets and Capitals are leaving next year, the arena will continue to be the site of tractor pulls and other events. They said rerouting the Blue Line to the Redskins stadium would destroy neighborhoods and nearly double the cost of the extension. The Redskins are working with state and county officials to create a shuttle bus network serving nearby Metro stations and the stadium site, about a mile north of the Summerfield station.

Davey said the proposed route was chosen mostly to serve the Largo Town Center area; that route was discussed before the arena opened. Maryland officials stressed the proximity of a planned Largo station when they were trying to keep team owner Abe Pollin from leaving the arena. Pollin opted for a downtown Washington site near five transit lines.

The federal-state environmental review concluded that three homes, two businesses and a church would have to be destroyed for the subway. Walls would be built along the route to reduce noise, and seven wetland areas would be destroyed and replaced.

Federal Transit Administration officials, who also must vote on the project, last week gave Metro the go-ahead to conduct a public hearing. It will be at 7 p.m. at Central High School, 200 Cabin Branch Rd. in Capitol Heights.

© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

Back to the top

Home Page, Site Index, Search, Help