The Green Line extension was a five-station, 6.5 mile extension from Anacostia station to the Branch Ave station completed in 2001. The Green Line serves the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with 21 stations and passes through Prince George's County, Maryland and the District of Columbia. This heavy rail line runs at-grade, on elevated rail lines, and underground in its north-south direction and is operated by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
Project Type:Line Extension Project Mode:Heavy Rail Average Weekday Riders:3,932 Length (mi):6.50
Economic Distress:1.00 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):4930 Population Growth Rate (%):-0.11
Employment Growth Rate (%):0.06 Market Size:6,366,928 Airport Travel Distance:9.8 Topography:4
Region:New England/Mid-Atlantic State:MD County:Prince George's County & Washington D.C
City:Temple Hills CDP & Suitland CDP Urban/Class Level:Metro Local Area:Zip Code Temple Hills CDP & Suitland CDP
Impact Area:Area within half a mile of Congress Height, Southern Ave, Naylor Road, Suitland and Branch Ave stations. Transportation System:N/A GIS Lat/Long:38.851141 / -76.957030
Initial Study Date:1995 Post Constr. Study Date:2006
Constr. Start Date:1996 Constr. End Date:2001
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): 2001 Planned Cost (YOE $):900,000,000
Actual Cost (YOE $):761,000,000 Actual Cost (curr $):1,014,830,000
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
Select a region to display the conditions for that region:
NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
|Income (in $M's)||801.90||0.00||801.90|
|Output (in $M's)||895.40||0.00||895.40|
The Green Line is part of the heavy rail transit system in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Green Line extends from the Greenbelt station in Prince George’s County, Maryland, passing through 19 stations in Maryland and the District of Columbia, to terminate at the Branch Avenue station in Prince George’s County. The last extension of the Green Line opened in 2001, connecting the Anacostia station in Washington, D.C. to Branch Avenue. This 6.5-mile extension project completed the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) initial plans for the 103-mile long, 83-station Washington Metro Rail System.
The planned cost of the project was $900 million. However, the final cost was $139 million below this budget (both costs in 2001 dollars). Converted into 2013 dollars, the extension of the Green Line south of Anacostia River cost about $1 billion, or approximately $154 million per mile.
In 2016, an average of 5,500 riders per day boarded the Green Line at the Branch Avenue station. It is estimated that new businesses and developments in the area have created 8,104 jobs as a direct result of the Green Line extension south of the Anacostia River. Around 90% of these jobs are for office and retail trade workers.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
The 6.5-mile extension of the Green Line south of the Anacostia River was part of the 103-mile initial plan for the Washington Metro heavy rail system, which serves Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland, Fairfax County in Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The Green Line has transfer points with the Yellow, Blue, Silver and Orange Lines at L’Enfant Plaza station, and with the Red and Yellow Lines at the Chinatown and Fort Totten stations.
The Green Line provides service to northeast and southeast areas of the District, with stations on the National Mall, Georgia Avenue, the African-American Civil War Museum and Howard University. In Prince George’s County, the Green Line stops in the City of College Park, where shuttle service is provided to/from the University of Maryland. The Virginia Railway Express and Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) trains have connections with the Green Line metro rail at L’Enfant Plaza and College Park stations, respectively, connecting the Washington Metropolitan Area to Fredericksburg and Manassas in Virginia and Baltimore in Maryland. The Green Line passes under Interstate 395 in the District of Columbia and Interstate 295 in Prince George’s County. The northern and southern termini of the Green Line at Greenbelt and Branch Avenue stations are both located close to Interstate 495, also known as the Capital Beltway.
As of 2017, the Green Line operates from 5 am to midnight on weekdays and from 7 am to midnight on weekends. The trains run every 8 minutes during morning and afternoon rush hours, and every 12 minutes at all other times.
The Reagan National Airport (DCA) is located 8.7 miles west of the center point (Naylor Road station) of the Green Line extension project. WMATA’s Yellow Line services the National Airport metro station. DCA is accessible for Green Line riders by transferring to the Yellow Line at L’Enfant Plaza station or several other stops north.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
Four of the five stations of the Green Line extension south of Anacostia River are located in Prince George’s County, Maryland: Southern Avenue, Naylor Road, Suitland, and Branch Avenue. Prince George’s County is the second-largest county in the state of Maryland, with nearly 900,000 residents and 203,520 households (2013 census data). The county borders the eastern side of the District of Columbia. This proximity has attracted many governmental offices, such the United States Census Bureau, to establish their headquarters there.
Although the federal government remains the main employer in the Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area, education and tourism are other important sectors in the local economy. In 2005, government jobs accounted for more than 35% of all jobs in the DMV area, while education and tourism and hospitality jobs accounted for 13% and 8%, respectively. Between 1995 and 2006, the population of Washington, D.C. decreased by 3.5%, while in Prince George’s County, there was a 9.9% increase. The decrease in the population of Washington, D.C. was mainly associated with high real estate prices. However, between 2006 and 2015, Washington D.C.’s population grew by more than 17%, as the district provided more housing opportunities. In 2006, more than 980,000 people were working in the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County combined, showing a 4.7% growth in the total employment since 2000.
In 2006, five years after the new Green Line stations began service, the per capita income for Prince George's County was $36,633, compared to $46,326 for the Country for Washington D.C. $57,025. The per capita income in Washington, D.C. increased by more than 75% from 1996 to 2006, while the per capita income for Prince George’s County increased by about 50%.
The Congress Heights Station serves the Congress Heights neighborhood of southeast Washington, D.C. After World War II, a military reserve facility was built in the center of the neighborhood and most of the residents were employed at the U.S. Naval Gun Factory (which closed in the 60s) or the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. During the latter half of the 20th century, the neighborhood was mostly neglected while other neighborhoods in the District experienced more development. Yet after 2000, and around the time of the opening of the metro line extension, Congress Heights began to attract attention from residential developers because of relatively low land prices. Today, most of the residents live in garden apartments, but there are also older single-family bungalows. St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Medical Campus is the major employer in the area.
Prior to the creation of WMATA in 1967, plans for providing a rapid transit system in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area already existed. However, the primary alignment of the right-of-way and the locations of the stations were based on the needs of commuters (mostly government employees), neglecting the needs of residents of less prosperous neighborhoods. Around 1968, the Green Line was added to metro system plans mainly to serve the economically distressed areas around 14th and U Streets. This area was also adversely affected by riots after the death of Martin Luther King, and the planners hoped that transit access would trigger commercial redevelopment around the station.
WMATA faced many financial obstacles and had to try multiple realignments to secure the construction funding for the Green Line. In the 1968 plans for the Green Line, the metro crossed the Anacostia River near the 11th street Bridge, with a final station at Branch Avenue near the Capital Beltway. In 1976, Prince George’s County advocated for a realignment of the Green Line extension south of Anacostia station, which ended the line at Rosecroft Resort, favoring some of the politically powerful land owners of that area. At the same time, WMATA was struggling with unexpected costs of demolition in residential neighborhoods along Good Hope Road.
The new alignment that ended the line at Rosecroft Resort was approved by WMATA after a public hearing in 1980. However, in 1981, the U.S. District Court of Maryland called the hearing invalid as it had been held with “insufficient public notice.” After another hearing in 1982, the alignment to Rosecroft Resort was again approved, but another lawsuit followed. In 1983, the U.S. District Court of Maryland called for another public hearing, claiming that in the previous meeting the WMATA officials did not emphasize the benefits of the Branch Avenue alignment. After a public hearing in 1984, the alignment of the Green Line extension south of Anacostia River to the Branch Avenue station was approved, with the condition that the alignment be changed between the Anacostia and Congress Heights stations. Finally, the Anacostia station opened in 1991; four years later, WMATA started seeking funding for the extension of the Green Line beyond the Anacostia station.
Although the plans for the extension were finally approved in 1984, the construction of the new stations did not start until 1996. After the Anacostia station opened for service in 1991, WMATA faced yet another obstacle in building the Green Line extension, when a waste site for incinerator ashes was found near St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Maryland officials took advantage of the stopped work and again began advocated for realignment, but WMATA published an environmental analysis document claiming that the ashes were not toxic or environmentally hazardous.
Eventually, WMATA paid about $1M for removing the ash and then continued to seek local funds for the construction of the new stations. In 1994, the Prince George’s County local government and the state of Maryland increased their contribution to the costs of the line extension and WAMTA started building the 6.5-mile extension with its new stations in 1996. The final cost of this line extension project summed up to $761,000,000 (in 2001 dollars) which was $139M less than its estimated budget. The new stations of Congress Heights, Southern Avenue, Naylor Road, Suitland, and Branch Avenue began operation in 2001.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
Prior to the opening of the Green Line stations south of Anacostia River, the residents’ only transit option was the local bus system. The nearest metro station was the Anacostia Station, which operated as a transit hub for local and metro buses, as well as metro rail services.
Almost immediately after the opening of the new stations, WMATA reported 18,375 total weekday ridership for the five stations of the Green Line Extension which exceeded the July 2001 projections (18,000 riders/day was the estimated daily ridership). Since then, ridership has increased slightly and in 2016, a total of about 20,000 riders/day boarded the Green Line metro at the Congress Heights, Southern Avenue, Naylor Road, Suitland and Branch Avenue stations.
According to interviews and analysis of the traffic data, the Green Line extension primarily serves a transit-dependent population, and is reported to have had little impact on traffic on surrounding roads.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
According to local officials, in the five-year period following the opening of the new Green Line stations south of Anacostia, most of the new development has been around the Congress Heights station. From the opening of the station in 2001 to 2006, 19 development projects with a total worth of $455 million were completed in the Congress Heights neighborhood. Some examples include the redevelopment of St. Elizabeth’s hospital west campus, redevelopment of Camp Simms (a mixed-use project, including a Giant Grocery Store), and 75 new residential units. The ARC cultural arts center and the Tennis and Learning Center are other new developments near the Congress Heights station at Mississippi Avenue.
In 2006, the Redevelopment Authority (RA) of Prince George’s County took the lead to create opportunities for redevelopment around the stations. The RA helped facilitate the acquisition of 22 acres of rental housing properties (at a cost of more than $48 million) to accommodate a mixed-use town center development aimed at promoting high density, transit-oriented, and pedestrian friendly designs, while accommodating mixed land uses (a combination of office, residential and retail). Suitland Manor, a development with 700 housing units and 76,000 square feet of retail and office space, is located within half a mile of the Suitland Metro Station and near the U.S. Census Bureau.
Based on tracking developments around the stations and information from interviews, an estimated 8,104 jobs have been created in Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County as a direct result of the Green Line Extension project. These are mostly office and retail jobs and the estimations are based on a 2006 study date.
Some major factors triggering the economic development in Prince George’s County are the proximity of the county to Washington D.C., as well as business incentives such as a Revitalization Tax Credit, a high technology incentive package and Enterprise Zone benefits.
In fiscal year 2006, Prince George’s County allocated $1.6 million to the economic development corporation to retain, expand, and attract businesses in the county. Funds were allocated to tourism ($66,000) and financial services, such as mortgages to citizens ($680,000), to expand the economic base by attracting new businesses to the area. However, information from interviews indicated that Prince George’s County invested the development funds to finance businesses far away from the metro rail track. The County did not adopt any zoning around stations to encourage transit-oriented development.
Organization, Name, Position
WMATA, Shyam Kannan, Director of Planning
DC Office of Planning, Art Rodgers, Senior Housing Planner
DDOT, Sam Zimbabwe, Chief Project Delivery Officer
Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation, Ajani Pierce, LMI Information Specialist
Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation, Victor Jackson, Projection and Growth Data Coordinator
Local Businesses such as Giant Grocery Store, Budget Inn, United Medical Center and THEARC were also interviewed.
Case Study Developed by University of Maryland