Residents concerned with Takoma/Langley Transit Center construction -- Gazette.Net


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The photos accompanying this story were corrected Feb. 19, 2014. An explanation follows the story.

Construction of the Takoma/Langley Transit Center has begun, but residents and local business owners are concerned about the lack of appropriate signage, business disruption and walkability during construction, according to a recent report from the Silver Spring Regional Center.

Reemberto Rodriguez, the center’s director, said concerns were expressed during conversations between him and community members.

But according to state transportation officials, bilingual signs were placed to help pedestrians navigate their way and advise that businesses are open during construction.

A community outreach team from Casa of Maryland helped the Maryland Transit Administration liaison disseminate information about the project in both English and Spanish.

“This project was designed so that construction would be staged in a manner to minimize its impact to the community and businesses during construction, but it is a very busy area to work,” said James Miller, project manager for the state agency.

Agency officials recognized that construction activity will always cause temporary impacts to the community, but hope that the “multiple phases” construction will minimize its impacts to business and pedestrians.

“We have, therefore, planned this project to be constructed in stages that address its future impacts early on and incrementally,” Chrys Wilson, community relations and task manager for the transit center, wrote in an email to The Gazette.

Takoma Langley Crossroads, at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, is one of the busiest parts of the county for bus transfers. On both roads there, more than 60 buses pass per hour.

Construction on the project started in November.

“The new transit center will provide a central off-street location for the buses to safely pick up and discharge passengers, and allow them to connect with other routes quickly without risking traffic conflicts,” Wilson wrote.

The project will cost $34 million, including planning, engineering and real estate, and is financed by a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery federal grant. The center will serve 11 bus routes that provide service to 12,000 passengers daily at the crossroads.

Takoma Park Councilman Fred Schultz said he hasn’t heard any complaints from residents or local businesses owners, adding that people should not be concerned.

“As far as disruption to traffic, I am familiar with the design plan, ... but looking at the plans ... I don’t see how this is going to be disruptive to any business anywhere in that area,” Schultz said.

Wilson said state officials are on “top of the matter” and will always address any issue or concern.

The transit center is planned to be completed by December 2015 with bus routes from Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the University of Maryland running into the center.

abarros@gazette.net

Correction: Two photos of the incorrect location of the transit center initially ran with this story.