Coalition Fights Displacement Along Purple Line

Community advocates are warning that Maryland’s new light rail line could cause displacement without concerted efforts to preserve affordable housing and legacy businesses.

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October 6, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Purple Line Extension

Maryland Transit Administration / Purple Line route map.

The Washington Post’s Katharine Shaver spoke with Gerrit Knaap, founder of the Purple Line Corridor Coalition, a group created to study the potential for displacement and other economic impacts in the areas around Maryland’s new Purple Line light rail.

Knaap spoke to the importance of preserving existing housing stock as well as boosting the construction of new mid-density housing that can serve middle-income households. “The Purple Line corridor is in for a change, and it’s really important that that change is managed to promote equitable development and that we do our best to try to prevent displacement in the corridor.” Knaap also highlighted the importance of community involvement and placemaking to maintaining a vibrant and resilient community. “Obviously being sensitive to the existing cultural assets of a community is where you start. Also engaging with residents who currently live there to identify their aspirations and their cultural preferences is key.”

In addition to housing, connecting residents to the new rail stations will require investments in safer transportation infrastructure for people biking, walking, and using other transit connections to reach the stations. Knapp notes that, due to the suburban nature of much of Maryland, “We’ve identified a lot of places along the Purple Line corridor where the pedestrian and bike access really needs quite a bit of work.”

Friday, September 30, 2022 in The Washington Post

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