Traffic on Campus Drive will operate in one direction starting in mid-to-late August to accommodate the Purple Line on the University of Maryland campus.
From then on, the street will only operate westbound, allowing cars to enter campus from Route 1, said Carlo Colella, the university’s vice president for administration and finance. The Purple Line will eventually operate on sides of this lane. Buses and emergency vehicles will be able to use the two light rail lanes when trains aren’t present, but for all other vehicles, Campus Drive will only be one lane.
“Once construction activities reduce Campus Drive to one lane, it will permanently stay one lane,” he said.
Michela Shako, a rising junior elementary education major, said closing the eastbound lane on Campus Drive could “make the traffic terrible … and add to commute time.”
Officials have said the line will address mounting traffic concerns in the area, but students say they’re worried about the effects of construction in the meantime.
The eastbound lane of Campus Drive was also closed during construction of the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center, which opened in May 2017.
Stamp Student Union bus stops on Campus Drive will be relocated, Colella said, to either nearby Lot 1 or elsewhere on campus, depending on the route.
This summer’s work is mainly preparations for future construction, the bulk of which will happen in the summers to come, and will include the relocation of utilities and the removal of trees on Campus Drive and Union Lane.
The trees lining Campus Drive have been removed, Colella said, but will be replaced by newly planted trees elsewhere on the campus.
“[Construction] will be done with just partial closures of sidewalks and will detour pedestrians and bicycles and perhaps some vehicles around a limited work zone [this summer],” he said.
The university and city are trying to focus construction mostly in the summer months, and next summer in particular, so it will not have as much impact on students and other members of the College Park community, said Mayor Patrick Wojahn.
“There is going to be some impact on students while Campus Drive is closed during periods where students are in town,” Wojahn said. “But we’ve been working on how to respond to this and make sure that it’s not as bad as it could be.”
There are also safety concerns for students with high-speed trains running through the middle of campus, said Erika Sawicki, a rising junior biology major.
“I don’t like the idea of a metro running through campus. I don’t like the idea of the M moving. … I’m just waiting for somebody to get hurt,” Sawicki said.
Senior staff writers Naomi Grant and Arya Hodjat contributed to this report.