Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has announced a new mixed-use development near the largely underutilized (from a land-use-planning standpoint) New Carrollton Metro station for the new headquarters for the State Department of Housing and Community Development. See the Washington Post Story today for details.
This is good news for Prince George’s County. It is also a good example of sound, transit-oriented development to bring more jobs to parts of the region that need more employment opportunities, already have a large supply of workforce housing nearby, and that are near current or planned transit centers. The proposed new development will include a mix of retail, housing and commercial office space, all of which will help to minimize the need to drive everywhere.
Adding density where it is needed most — near our Metro stations — is one of the long-term strategies that the entire region is pursuing to varying degrees. While this is no panacea for the region’s traffic problems, and in the real world will only make a small dent in the future growth of travel demand, it is a small step in the right direction and worthy of support.
Congratulations to Prince George’s County and the Governor for getting this one right.
Last month, the Rockville City Council abruptly reversed itself on the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT), asking the State of Maryland to re-route the CCT alignment away from King Farm, one of the major communities it was designed to serve. The State is now in the final stages of identifying it’s “Preferred Local Alternative” for the long-awaited transit line extending from Shady Grove Metro Station north to Clarksburg. Supporters of the CCT are asking the State to continue with current plans and retain the alignment through King Farm, which was designed around the CCT as a “transit-oriented development” (or TOD) from its inception, with the full support of the City. Without the CCT on the alignment that was envisioned in County master plans, the fear is that traffic conditions on surrounding roads, access to jobs and housing for King Farm residents and neighbors, and King Farm property values would all be negatively impacted.
The CCT will add tremendous value to King Farm by providing convenient transit access to destinations up and down the heavily traveled I-270 corridor, and it was a big part of the reason King Farm is there at all. This is what transit-oriented suburban development was supposed to be all about. Rockville would be better served by retaining the current alignment and the more sustainable development patterns that can be achieved through transit-oriented development, in King Farm and elsewhere.