Dream of Suburban D.C. Light Rail a Nightmare to Local Residents

At an open house organized to update the public on plans to build a 16-mile light rail line linking spurs of D.C.'s subway system in suburban Maryland, planners' visions of smart growth where seen as a developer-driven nightmare by local residents.
May 9, 2013, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The bird's eye view offered a vision of progress—modern transit spurring economic development - but homeowners who studied the path of the $2.2 billion project at an open house organized by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) on Tuesday night saw something different," reports Martin Di Caro. 

"Despite the assurances of state transportation planners and transit advocates, homeowners like [Anne] Spielberg and [Tom] Armstrong could not help but see the hands of real developers in every twist and turn of the Purple Line's path," notes Di Caro.

"The Purple Line seems to be designed to increase development.  It's about helping developers. And we've actually seen statements to that effect from people who are building the Purple Line, instead of doing what makes sense for our neighborhood," Spielberg said.

"To the project's supporters, focusing mixed-use development (housing, retail, and office) around the 21 station stops is a positive aspect of the project, in addition to the ability to move people more efficiently."

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Published on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in WAMU
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