Minnesota Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, the driving force behind the successful Twin Cities light rail system, will headline an impressive roster of speakers for the Purple Line Corridor Coalition’s (PLCC) upcoming workshop, “Beyond the Tracks: Community Development in the Purple Line Corridor.”
The workshop, sponsored by The National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) takes place March 21, 2014, at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The program will feature a host of experts in transit, housing, small business and workforce development, including Harriet Tregoning, former D.C. planning director and current director of HUD’s Office of Economic Resilience. University President Wallace Loh, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker will provide opening remarks. “Coming on the heels of the announcement that the federal government intents to provide funding for the Purple Line light rail system, this event will help the region to develop a strategy and make a commitment to economic resilience, affordable housing and workforce connectivity in the Purple Line corridor,” says Gerrit Knaap, Director of the National Center for Smart Growth. The workshop has been organized by The Purple Line Corridor Coalition, the first major initiative aimed to guide the efforts and expertise of community, government and private business leaders active in planning for the Purple Line corridor, by providing a platform for collaboration and access to key research, tools and case studies. Developed last year by NCSG director Gerrit Knaap, the PLCC will leverage the NCSG’s analytical capacities—such as mapping, forecasting, research and partnerships with other cities—to help invested groups capitalize on opportunities presented by the Purple Line, while preserving the unique identities of each community. This includes actively seeking out market opportunities and identifying vulnerable areas along the corridor where communities can collaborate on best practices. Employing the knowledge base of the NCSG, the PLCC can assist leaders in pinpointing specific goals for both growth and preservation, such as advancing workplace development, preserving affordable housing or promoting cultural assets. The initiative models other successful corridor projects in cities like Denver and the Twin Cities, where partner integration resulted in more financial support, productive joint projects and a better standard of living for those who live and work along transit corridors.
“Beyond the Tracks” expects to draw over 150 representatives, community leaders, non-profit groups, industry professionals and stakeholders from across the region. It is the first event of its kind in the Washington region and the largest assembly of community stakeholders since the Maryland Transit Authority announced their plans for the light rail project. To learn more about “Beyond the Tracks” and to see a full list of speakers, visit the National Center for Smart Growth’s website.