TOD Plans Take Shape in Prince George's County

The historically car-dependent county is hoping the planned revitalization of the Blue Line Corridor will boost the local economy and help maintain affordable housing.

September 13, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Arlington Cemetery Station

Tupungato / Shutterstock

In what Ethan Goffman calls "a radical break for a county with a history of developing in 'a spread out and automobile dependent' fashion," Maryland's Prince George’s County "has signed on to the transit-oriented development (TOD) revolution to boost its economy while helping the environment." According to the plan, "The Blue Line Corridor will become a major economic engine for the County by catalyzing development, creating jobs, and incentivizing the development of a sports and entertainment-branded corridor."

"The Blue Line would be the template for a much-needed economic boost for Prince George’s County that simultaneously helps the environment and maintains affordable housing." The plan "emphasizes business and economic development, crucial in a county with plenty of housing but relatively few jobs." Its authors hope it will attract large, institutional employers and raise the average annual salary in the area to a level closer to the rest of the D.C. region. "The plan’s second broad goal is to increase commercial tax collection by $100 million annually, enhancing much-needed local services. Third is increasing the population by 50,000 in areas near transit, including a mix of incomes and housing types."

"The plan’s fourth goal is preserving affordable housing and a diverse housing stock even in the midst of growth." The county also hopes to "increase food retail options in low-income areas to make fresh, healthy food widely accessible" and enhance "identifiable character" through public features and amenities.

"The plan is proactive on [the issue of displacement], calling for building 26,000 new residential units, 75% of which would be dedicated as affordable to households making less than 120% of the area median income," which could help fill the need for so-called 'missing middle' housing.

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