It’s no secret that Prince George’s County is lousy at developing around its Metro stations. But check this madness out by Landover Metro station on the Orange Line:

The buildings between 75th Avenune and Dodge Park Road look at first glance like a bunch of huge single family homes. On second glance, I’m pretty sure they are apartments. But even if they are, they are incredibly suburban considering their proximity to Landover station. And proximity is something that station has in short supply.

To the north and west, US-50 creates a bulwark separating the station from the neighborhood a stone’s throw away on Parkwood Street. There are no pedestrian facilities connecting the two. Instead, you have to drive almost a mile via Landover Road and Pennsy Drive to get to the station. At that point, most people may as well drive to Stadium-Armory or Eastern Market. Even low density neighborhoods need access to their nearby stations.

The residential development on 75th Avenue also doesn’t appear to have any safe and direct access to the Metro station a couple blocks away. The only close thing to Landover station is ample parking. And there are few places where Landover station is more convenient than New Carrollton or Cheverly, or even more convenient than driving. This is not how development around stations ought to look. This is why Landover and Cheverly are among the lowest ridership stations on the Orange Line.

We need to break up industrial super-blocks around Metro stations and repurpose them for mixed use. The current land use diminished any incentive to use trains, which increases traffic and devalues the investment in Metro. This is an unfortunate pattern on the eastern end of the Orange line. These stations must embrace more practical development practices. Otherwise, they could become a financial strain on the rest of the system, as obsolete stops slowing the trip from New Carrollton to downtown.

Cross posted on Imagine, DC.

Dave Murphy is a Geographic Analyst for the Department of Defense and a US Army veteran. He is also a part time bouncer. He was born in Foggy Bottom and is a lifelong resident of the DC area. He currently resides in the Eckington neighborhood of Northeast.