Nicole Curtis, special to wtop.com
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Safety, noise and history are just three of the reasons some University of Maryland students are upset about the light rail that will soon run through the center of their school.
“I just want a quiet campus,” says junior Brionna Lomax. “To have Campus Drive cut off is super inconvenient.”
The Purple Line will run along streets — not underground — between New Carrollton and Bethesda with a stop in the center of College Park. An additional lane will be added to Campus Drive, currently a two-lane road, to accommodate it.
Approved by university president Wallace Loh, the $2.2 billion project will connect people to jobs and combat global warming, says Paul Shepard, deputy chief public information officer of the Maryland Transit Administration.
Shepard says, “With the light rail, taking transit to UMD events will be more attractive, especially with the Purple Line traveling along Campus Drive.”
It will also be a big change for the University of Maryland’s campus.
Jade Farr, sophomore, says although the train will make the campus more accessible to the public for special events like games, she knows that it could also affect students’ safety as well.
“Lately we’ve been having problems with pedestrians being hit by cars,” Farr says, “I’m wondering if we will have the same problems but with trains. I’m hoping not.”
The Purple Line will replace many University of Maryland shuttles and will relocate the landmark M Circle on Campus Drive, which is a garden in the shape of an “M” that marks the main entrance to the university. Many students say relocating the garden destroys a part of the university’s history.
“That is the first thing I saw when I had my first visit,” says Madison Moore, a junior. “University of Maryland’s history is partially why I chose this school.”
Although some preliminary work has begun, full construction will begin in 2015 and the train will be open to service in 2020.
For more information on the Purple Line, visit Maryland Department of Transportation’s website.