The Purple Line is a $2.2 billion light rail project that will cross 16 miles to connect Bethesda and New Carrollton, passing through many communities along the way. Take a virtual ride on the transit line from Riggs Road to New Carrollton to see the project’s impact on Prince George’s County.
Boarding the line at the first stop in the county, situated on University Boulevard East, after the intersection with 15th Avenue and just before the intersection with Riggs Road, your light rail car will share the two middle traffic lanes and what once was a median with the Purple Line rail line along University Boulevard East.
The station will be roughly between Pep Boys auto parts store and H&A International Food Supermarket. The train will travel by a spot near the corner of Riggs and University Boulevard East where a gas station once stood, demolished to make way for the new line.
Tiren Patel, the owner of a 7-Eleven near the intersection, said he welcomes the Purple Line, but is concerned about how it will affect already-congested traffic patterns at the intersection.
Olga Rodriguez, who manages an All-State Insurance office just past the intersection, said the Purple Line will be a great boon to her customers, many of whom use public transportation, as well as being a benefit to all the people who live in the area.
The train will continue along University Boulevard until it intersects with Campus Drive, where it will follow Campus Drive onto the 1,250-acre University of Maryland, College Park, campus.
The train will then roll into the Adelphi Road/West Campus station on Campus Drive, just past the intersection with Adelphi Road and south of the entrance to the Marriott Inn and Conference Center at University of Maryland, University College.
The station and Purple Line tracks will run in a median that will be created by moving the eastbound lane of Campus Drive farther south, where a parking lot and green space are now.
Continuing through the University of Maryland campus, the train will follow Campus Drive until it reaches the intersection with Presidential Drive. The Purple Line will turn left onto Presidential Drive, where the tracks will split, with northeast and southwest trains running to the right of their respective lanes of traffic. The Purple Line will follow Presidential Drive as it leads into campus Parking Lot 1B and will continue onto Union Drive, where it will run on both sides of the road.
Passengers will ride into the Campus Center station on Union Drive near the road’s intersection with Campus Drive, which will be modified to make way for the station. Passenger platforms will be on both sides of Union Drive, just south of the Cole Student Activities Building, near the Adele H. Stamp Student Union center at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The Purple Line will continue east on Campus Drive until it comes to the traffic circle intersection with Regents Drive. The circle, marked with the school’s iconic flowering letter “M” landmark, is replaced with a traffic signal. Campus officials will move the “M” farther east on campus.
The Purple Line then will follow a track that will be built through what is now green space and a parking lot, running north and east of the campus Armory building.
Haley Yue, a graduate student at the university, said she thinks having the Purple Line would help students not just commute to and from campus, but on campus as well.
The Purple Line will pass through the University of Maryland campus (passing the Rossborough Inn, a historic building on campus), and cross Baltimore Avenue/U.S. 1 onto what is now Rossborough Lane. Tracks will run on both sides of the street by using what is currently parking spaces, leaving the middle of the street for vehicle traffic.
There will be an eastbound platform stop at the Ritchie Coliseum athletics facility on campus. The westbound platform will be at the University of Maryland Police Information Office, which is across the street from the main campus.
Farther east on Rossborough Lane, an intersection will be created with Paint Branch Parkway where none currently exists. At that intersection, the Purple Line will travel east on Paint Branch Parkway.
Just prior to the Paint Branch Parkway intersection with River Road, the Purple Line will turn right off Paint Branch Parkway, running directly in front of the College Park Metro station parking garage, parallel and to the southwest of River Road. Riders will continue into what is now part of the Metro station’s parking lot, and the Purple Line station will be adjacent to the Metro station.
The Purple Line will then run southeast, through more of what is now a parking lot, parallel to River Road. Just past the station, there will be a “pocket” track used to store extra trains, providing additional transportation for special events at the University of Maryland.
The Purple Line will turn east, entering Riverdale Park, to run to the right of eastbound lane traffic on River Road, adjacent to the road in what is now a wooded area. The station platform will be across the street from the parking lot of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center at Riverside building.
What had been a traffic circle will be replaced with a traffic light at Haig Drive so the Purple Line train can pass.
The Purple Line will continue to run along River Road until it reaches the intersection with Kenilworth Avenue, which currently has six lanes. The Purple Line will turn onto Kenilworth to run south on what currently is the median of Kenilworth Avenue.
As the Purple Line runs down Kenilworth Avenue, it will pass two businesses between the intersections with Quesada Road and Quintana Street. The businesses are to be leveled to expand the southbound lane of Kenilworth.
Going down Kenilworth Avenue, the Purple Line will cross over East West Highway/Md. 410 on a raised track, turning east to run parallel and above the highway. Riders will take the stairs or ride the elevator up to the Riverdale Park station, which will rest on an aerial platform near the point where East West Highway becomes Riverdale Road. There could be a plaza or public space below.
Three business properties in the path of the raised track will be demolished, as well as an office building at the intersection with Kenilworth. After Riverdale Road’s intersection with 56th Avenue, the Purple Line will descend to ground level and run adjacent to the right lane of traffic.
J. Brian Tansey is co-owner of one of those businesses. His law office currently rests under the site of a proposed aerial raised platform for the Purple Line’s Riverdale Park station.
Tansey said he is resigned to leaving the building he, his wife and their business partners have owned since 1980.
Approximately 22 residences between Mustang Drive and the Baltimore/Washington Parkway exit on Riverdale Road are in the Purple Line’s path and would be demolished.
Obdulia Rendon — who lives in one of the homes slated to be demolished with her husband, her mother and her four children — said she and her husband have been paying for their home for 10 years and don’t want to start a new mortgage.
Some residents, such as Laverne Webb, viewed the loss of their current homes as a new opportunity to start fresh somewhere else, possibly Greenbelt. Webb has lived in the house she owns for 25 years, and her daughter and three grandsons live with her.
Porthena Chavez has lived in her house on Riverdale Road for four years, but said the house has been in her family for more than 30 years. She said she, her husband and their two children moved to the house knowing the Purple Line was coming and actually were hoping to be displaced to take advantage of the MTA’s relocation assistance.
The Purple Line rail then will run beneath the Baltimore/Washington Parkway overpass, parallel and to the right of Riverdale Road’s eastbound lane of traffic. In its path, the Purple Line will take the place of two gas stations, take a portion of the East Pines Shopping Center parking lot and eliminate access to the parking lot from Riverdale Road. The parking lot instead would be accessed via 66th Avenue.
Gulshan Narang owns one of the gas stations that will be demolished to make way for the Purple Line, but he rents the property where his Sunoco is located, and said he is very upset, because he has not been contacted by the MTA and does not know what he will do.
Brian Boileau has owned and operated the Pizza Oven in the East Pines Shopping Center since 1957. Boileau’s shop is a quirky little restaurant, where hundreds of baseball caps hang from the ceiling and customers can read the day’s news on laminated placemats.
Boileau is concerned that the Purple Line will cut into his parking lot, making it even harder for his customers to visit. He said that residents who recently moved into the area are going to find it more difficult to access Riverdale Road.
The train will roll into the Beacon Heights station, which will be adjacent to the northbound lane of Riverdale Road, just past the intersection with 67th Avenue and across from the Maryland-National Capital Park Police Headquarters at 6700 Riverdale Road. Riverdale Road will be shifted slightly westward.
A residence on 67th Place near the intersection with Veterans Parkway would be torn down, and 67th Place will be converted to a cul-de-sac, eliminating its intersection with Riverdale Road. At that point, the Purple Line will turn right to run parallel and to the south of Veterans Parkway.
Deborah Wells’ home on 67th Place in Riverdale Park is one of the residences lying in the path of the planned line. Wells, who is disabled with spinal problems, said she likes her house because the bus stop is easily accessible by wheelchair. She intends to fight to keep her home.
Farther down Veterans Parkway, the Glenridge Maintenance Facility, a proposed train yard for the Purple Line, would be built south of the Purple Line tracks, with tracks to and from the yard. The maintenance facility will take the place of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Glenridge service center, which currently is on the site at 4800 Veterans Parkway.
The Purple Line will enter the Annapolis Road/Glenridge station, adjacent to the eastbound lane of traffic on Veterans Parkway, just past the intersection with Annapolis Road/Md. 450. A bakery and a bank drive-through will be displaced by the station.
The station will be southeast of the Glenridge Shopping Center, on the opposite side of Annapolis Road.
From the station, the Purple Line will continue running adjacent and to the right of the eastbound lane of Veterans Parkway in what is now a wooded stretch of land, until it reaches the Ellin Road intersection.
The Purple Line will turn left from Veterans Parkway onto Ellin Road, splitting between eastbound and westbound tracks running on the outside lanes of both directions of traffic and terminating in the existing WMATA Metrorail New Carrollton parking lot. A portion of the lot will be used for the Purple Line tracks and terminal station.
The end-of-the-line station will be on Ellin Road, across the street from the Internal Revenue Service building and across the tracks from the New Carrollton Metro Station. A passage runs under the tracks connecting the New Carrollton Metro Station to the parking lot where the Purple Line station will be.