One of the diagrams Metro created for the bicycle and pedestrian study shows the anticipated change in residential or employment density from 2005 to 2030 across the system. The most visually evident conclusion: Prince George’s County is completely failing to take advantage of its existing Metro infrastructure.
In the map above, dark green represents areas with a projected net decrease in residential and employment density. Light green denotes small increases, redder colors larger increases up to dark red. Of the suburban areas, Montgomery County is doing the best, with increases around most of its Metro stations and little to no other growth elsewhere, except for the Gaithersbungle site, the large patch of orange west of Shady Grove. Fairfax’s growth is more spread out, including BRAC sites like Fort Belvoir, but the greatest increases surround Metro stations and Tysons, which will eventually get Metro stations.
Meanwhile, many of the areas around Prince George’s Metro stations are actually declining in residents and jobs. The areas around the southern Green Line and eastern Blue Line look no different from the rest of their surroundings. New Carrollton is slated for some growth, but not Cheverly and Landover. And the growth at Prince George’s Plaza and Greenbelt is near, but not at, the Metro stations.
Prince George’s County is eager for economic growth, but they’ve mainly ignored their existing, high-capacity, underutilized Metro stations while building auto-dependent faux-Smart Growth in places like National Harbor and Konterra, or total sprawl in rural areas like Accokeek. The County has assets that counties around the nation would kill for, being so close to a major city with many heavy rail, high-frequency transit stations. It’s time to start taking advantage of them.