LANGLEY PARK, Md. (DC News Now) — A new study by researchers under the Purple Line Corridor Coalition shows areas in Prince George’s County where the purple line will be built may lead to gentrification. The study provides various solutions and residents hope leaders listen.
Nick Finio, Associate Director with the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth, said the coalition is aimed to ensure the purple line has a positive impact on those living in the area.
“We are all really excited that construction is ramping back up, and that we have this time before the train gets here to really make a difference,” said Finio. “How do we get affordable housing? How do we look a little bit further away from the stations to make sure people can get there safely? And how do we make sure that people can get good jobs and economic development in the future? So that’s the big picture.”
Researchers looked at the impact of new buildings and businesses in nearby areas like in Washington D.C.
“When the government makes a big public sector investment that really increases land values right around where that investment happens. So the classic examples of this would be in D.C like when the metro went in, or recently when the green line was built through U Street, Columbia Heights, Petworth in the 90s. So it really really changed those neighborhoods,” said Finio.
The study revealed Langley Park and Greater Riverdale will be affected the most since current public transportation is limited to buses.
“Langley Park and Riverdale are sort of like in between New Carrollton and College Park for Riverdale and in between Silver Spring and College Park for the Langley Park area. Right now all they have is the bus which is a pretty long ride to get to the metro. So once the purple line gets there that really changes things,” he said.
Anna Rodriguez with CASA works with residents in Langley Park. She says people are happy about the new development but also concerned about eventually pricing out residents and businesses.
“We want to make sure the people that live here, they’re not going to be displaced. We want to make sure the people that live here stay here because it’s their home,” said Rodriguez. “The businesses are for the Latin community who live around here, we want the businesses to stay here we don’t want to let no one move from here.”
Rodriguez said the cost of living increase is a big concern.
“We want to make sure that everything doesn’t go higher than what it is. We want this place to stay the same [despite] the purple line,” she said.
The study provided some recommendations like ensuring housing remains affordable in the area, protecting and attracting small businesses and adding services that residents may need in the area. Finio also emphasized the importance of pedestrian safety.
“There’s a lot of issues with simple things like lack of sidewalks on major roads or sidewalks that are real narrow and it’s kind of unsafe, or there’s no bike lanes. So you know these stations are coming in but we want to make sure it’s safe and easy for people to get to the station,” he said. “The governments have tools in their toolbox that they can use and we propose some new ones.”
The purple line is expected to open in the fall of 2026.