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Inside: Transportation: Train is bound for controversy

University of Maryland officials say they want a light-rail or rapid-bus system on their College Park campus, but not if it's built on one of the campus' main streets.

State officials planning the so-called “Purple Line” say that running the line along Campus Drive would enable it to serve the most riders. However, university officials say their master plan calls for Campus Drive to be closed to traffic and serve as a major pedestrian mall.

“Turning Campus Drive into a dedicated transit way is inconsistent with this vision of free pedestrian transit,” University President Dan Mote wrote last fall in the school newspaper. “A Campus Drive alignment would irreversibly damage the beauty of the campus entrance …. This iconic place will not remain as special as it is today with such an alignment.”

In its entirety, the Purple Line would run 16 miles — from Bethesda, Md., to New Carrollton, Md.

In January, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announced that his proposed budget includes $100 million to move the project forward from the planning phase to the engineering phase.

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