New Purple Line design called 'Trump Wall'
There's a petition with hundreds of signatures going around against what's being called a "Trump Wall,” and not the proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexican border. Dissenters say one’s going up right in our backyard in Prince George’s County.
Those dissenters are talking about the Purple Line. The proposed Riverdale Park Station is supposed to go near East-West Hwy and Kenilworth Avenue, but the latest design includes a 26-foot-tall, 500-foot-long cement wall.
A lot of people are not happy about it.
“Who’s going to see you? Somebody has to see you form the road, from the other side to come here,” said the owner of PG Brake & Front End Service, Casey Dastani.
Monday, he listened to the sounds of fans more than he did drills and mechanics’ tools.
Business has been slow.
“It was high 14-years ago, drop, drop, drop,” Dastani said.
Dastani is one of several Kenilworth Ave. business owners who have expressed concerns saying, the newly designed Riverdale Park Station will destroy them.
The station design appears to completely separate the community around Kenilworth Avenue with the cement wall, said those who oppose.
“Trump’s Wall,” said Patricia Hayes-Parker. She told WUSA9 that’s the first thing that came to mind when she saw the redraft in April.
Hayes-Parker is with the Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization CDC and says the community was very excited about more open plan originally proposed.
However, she says the wall came as one of several changes made when Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, decided to cut around $210 million dollars in project costs. This reportedly happened around a year ago.
WUSA9’s editorial partner, The Washington Post, reports a final design is expected to be completed in October.
‘Divisive’ is how she described both Trump’s proposed wall and the new station design.
“You don’t put a highway wall in the middle of a community and at the same time, tout the project as being able to offer economic change,” she told WUSA9.
“We believe that the purple line is going to be an asset to our community, but it has to be done right,” Hayes-Parker added.
The 16-mile light rail is supposed to connect Montgomery County to Prince George’s County, promoting both travel and business.
The Prince George’s County Executive’s Office is involved, they want the Purple Line but those working in Economic Development are siding with the community on this one and are in talks with the state to see if they can come-up with any kind of resolution.
A Maryland Transit Administration Spokesperson, Paul Shepard, sent WUSA9 a statement saying among other things, returning to the station’s original design could $5 to $6 million. The county’s Secretary of Business and Economic Development, David Iannucci told WUSA9 over the phone, that’s not a significant number for the state to pay, compared to how much the state is paying for this rail project.
While Dastani is not for the project at all, Hayes-Parker is and hopes changes can be negotiated sooner rather than later.
In the meantime the, the Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization CDC has this petition.
Hayes-Parker said it’s already garnered more than 600-signatures.