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County Weak, City Strong on Metro Walkability

While county ranks last in Metro station walkability, Prince George's Plaza Metro Station is among most walkable in system.

In the wake of a meeting which saw comes an analysis of Walk Score ratings from Greater Greater Washington blogger Matt Johnson which argues that Prince George's County has the least walkable Metro stations in all of the transit system, and perhaps in the nation.

According to Greater Greater Washington's analysis, the area around Prince George's County's 16 heavy rail transit stations would rank last in terms of walkability when compared with development around other American heavy rail transit systems.

The county is at a disadvantage because of the placement of many stations. But even so, Prince George's has not committed to transit-oriented development around its stations. It also has a history of allowing development on the fringes of the county to short-circuit demand for offices and retail near Metro. - Johnson writing in Greater Greater Washington.

Now, a word about Johnson's methods. He based his analysis on the website Walk Score, which calculates an area's walkability based upon a number of factors such as availability of sidewalks and distance to destinations. Locations are graded on a scale of 0-100. The higher the number, the easier it is to get around on foot.  

System-wide, WMATA has an average Walk Score of 72.1, according to Johnson's analysis. Prince George's County's 16 Metro stations lag far behind that, with an average Walk Score of 49.8. That's about 10 points behind the Cleveland RTA Red Line's 18 station heavy-rail network.

Blogger David Klion also recently examined the issue through Walk Score results using a similar methodology and provided a station by station breakdown of Metro's walkability. 

According to Klion's analysis, the most walkable station area in Prince George's County is Prince George's Plaza, with an 88 Walk Score, far above the system-wide and county averages. Prince George's Plaza's Walk Score puts it in the company of transit oriented locales Brookland, Ballston, Wheaton and Union Station. 

The West Hyattsville Metro Station, tucked in the heart of the ranks a walkability score of only 55. 

College Park Metro comes near the county average at an even 48. 

Greenbelt is by far the least walkable Metro station in our neck of the woods along the Green Line's northern Prince George's County right-of-way, with a Walk Score of only 38.

Jim Groves March 09, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Kind of underscores the need to develop West Hyattsville. So much space over there, it just does not make sense that there is not a development there yet. Also underscores what folks have been saying that the Whole Foods should really be put at UTC. Even if the "in your dreams" bride is built over the RR tracks to the CP Metro, it's still about 1/2 the distance walking wise. While someone with no sense of history may find this disturbing, you have to remember that a lot of the infrastructure was already set up by the time the Green Line came around. There was only so many places they could put the tracks. It wasn't like they had the money to put an underground station under Greenbelt. Still, it's there now and the County needs to do a better job attracting businesses to the areas next to the Metros.
Justin Fair March 11, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I second Jim's comment. Furthermore, as a regular walker, I'm glad PG Plaza is up there, as I'm there often and have no troubles walking around. Similarly, with West Hyattsville, the sidewalks are easy and well designed, but unfortunately yes--where to walk to besides Queens Chapel Town Center? In regards to Greenbelt and as well to College Park, Greenbelt Metro is a giant parking lot and several blocks of College Park's suburbs on the other side; similarly, College Park has long streets on one side and suburbs on the other. I would like to see development around stations like these on the Green Line such as incorporating wider sidewalks, preferably benches and decorative shrubs, at the very least... The stations may exist as they are, but the routes getting to and from them can always be improved to ease walkers and bikers.

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