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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Will Columbia's turn ever come?
The first section of the new silver line of the Washington Metro opened this past weekend. This first new Metro line since 1991 will serve Northern Virginia including Tysons Corners and eventually Dulles Airport. I remember the excitement when the first section of the Metro system opened in 1976 from Rhode Island Avenue to Union Station. I first rode this section to the Carter Inauguration in January of 1977. This was after a number of years of having major streets in DC torn up to build the Metro. Moving to Columbia just as the Metro made travelling around DC tolerable seemed to be missing the reward after having put up with its inconveniences.
At the time of our move to Columbia it was not hard to imagine that some day the Metro might reach out to our area or at least to Laurel. Unfortunately all we have for proximity are the Greenbelt and Silver Spring stations. Neither is that convenient with a trip down heavily traveled routes 95 or 29. In 2006 the Maryland Department of Transportation did a million dollar study of the feasibility of having the Metro come to Columbia as part of an expansion to the subway to BWI. Two routes were studied. One extended the Red Line up the median of Route 29 to the Columbia Mall and another studied extending the Green Line from Greenbelt along the rail right of way up Route 1. Nothing much has come from that study as the multi-billion dollar cost seemed prohibitive. Can you imagine the economic benefit to both Columbia and BWI to be connected with the DC Metropolitan area?
Remember the high speed Maglev line that was to be developed if Washington and Baltimore had been successful in getting the 2012 Olympics? The plan would have allowed guests to the Olympics travel easily to venue sites in each city. With the area not getting selected for the Olympics that plan also was a non-starter.
It may only be a matter of time until the two cities are connected with some type subway or high speed rail system that goes beyond the Amtrak service that we presently have. With Columbia's geographic location between Baltimore and Washington we would probably see the next big change in development of Columbia with such a transportation resource as a subway line. For now all the action in expanding the Washington Metro seems to be in Northern Virginia.
Posted by duanestclair at 4:45 AM