Former Maryland Governor: College Park UMD Metro location 'a huge mistake'

Former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening (ABC7)

In very candid comments, former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening is speaking publicly about his regrets about the location of the College Park - University of Maryland Metro station. Glendening calls it a "huge mistake."

“Where would the university and [College Park] have been if we did it right to begin with?” Glendening said.

As first reported by Maryland Matters, Glendening told a campus symposium this week that he regrets not insisting the College Park Metrorail station be built right on UMD’s campus.

“It was a strong resistance [to an on-campus station], including from the university,” he said. “I wanted it built. And so what happened really was a matter of expediency.”

The decision to build the station 1.3 miles away from campus was made in the early 1980s when the Democrat was serving as Prince George's County Executive.

Looking back, Glendening says the most emotional opposition to an on-campus Metrorail station focused on “high crime areas” along the Green Line in D.C. and Prince George's County.

“When you use words like ‘crime spillover’ and things of this type, you're really talking about race,” Glendening said.

Some students don't mind the distance from campus to the station, but many others wish it was closer.

“I commute to my internship so like it's pretty far for me and I go in two or three times per week,” said UMD student Madison Sarisky.

“The whole purpose of Metro is to keep the cars off the road and in College Park it doesn't really do that,” added College Park resident Alice Klages.

Now, president of Smart Growth America's Leadership Institute, Glendening calls the coming Purple Line a "turning point.” He noted the university’s current leadership supports the Purple Line, bringing two stations to campus.

“This corrects the earlier mistake in a lot of ways because it will link to the College Park station as well,” Glendening said.

In a statement, university spokesperson Katie Lawson added:

“The University of Maryland is proud to work in partnership with local and state government in support of public transportation for our campus and community. Our Greater College Park initiative is a $2 billion public-private investment to rapidly revitalize the Baltimore Avenue corridor. Without a doubt, this development will be fueled by the Purple Line, which we collectively and enthusiastically welcome to campus. “

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