- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 19, 2004

The first train out of the Largo Town Center Metro station at 6:54 a.m. yesterday carried few passengers, but the six-car trains will be filled with them tomorrow for the weekday commute.

“Everything went smoothly this morning, but it will be very congested Monday,” a train operator said.

“I can guarantee you we will be crushed,” a second train operator said. “This station will have a load before it leaves, and I’m loving it.”

The Largo Town Center and Morgan Boulevard Metro stations in Prince George’s County officially opened yesterday morning with speeches by Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele and County Executive Jack Johnson.

The Largo station is expected to add more than 6,000 riders a day to the system, and nearly 3,000 will use the Morgan station. Metro moves about 660,000 commuters every day, including 116,500 over 100 miles of Blue Line track.

The stations, which extend the line 3.1 miles past the Addison Road-Seat Pleasant station, cost $456 million and end new construction for the first time since the system opened in 1976.

“It is aesthetically pleasing; both [stations] are absolutely gorgeous,” Mr. Johnson said at the Largo opening.

The postmodern commercial Largo structure features glass elevators surrounded by a steel structure with glass ceilings. A steel globe sculpture dominates the concrete plaza next to a multi-story garage with 2,200 parking spaces. Commuters can escape bad weather by crossing an enclosed bridge from the parking structure to the station.

A statue of Garrett A. Morgan stands at the station, named in his honor. Mr. Morgan was a black man who created the traffic signal, Mr. Steele reminded ceremony attendees.

“We had to find a way to keep white folks from running into us,” he said jokingly to the crowd.

Officials from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs the transportation system, also attended the openings of the system’s 85th (Morgan) and 86th (Largo) stations. One-way rides from the new station were free to the public yesterday.

The stations are expected to give an economic boost to an already expanding area in the center of the county and relieve traffic congestion.

“This is a great day for our county and a great day for Metro, which can finally reach the heart of Prince George’s County,” Mr. Johnson said.

Mr. Steele called it “a renaissance of economic development.”

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