Schedule for January – June 2013
Our regular meetings are on the second Monday of most months from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Hyattsville City Hall, 4310 Gallatin Street, in the Multipurpose Room.
The following are the specific dates for the next six months:
- Jan. 14
- Feb. 11
- March 11
- April 8
- May 13
- June 10
Prince George’s County is considering four locations for the Regional Medical Center, all of which are less than two miles away from FedEx Field. This could cause significant access issues for emergency and other vehicles on game days. More than 350 people attended a meeting at the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex to speak out on the various options. Cheverly resident Reba Watkins voiced her support for siting the hospital near a Metro station, specifically Largo Town Center, as it would provide better access for pedestrians and transit users. Largo seemed to be the favored choice of the crowd, although others supported building the hospital at the former site of the Landover Mall, which is over a mile from the nearest Metro station.
Prince George’s County endorses Greenbelt for new FBI headquarters
February 26. 2013
Prince George’s County finally has a horse in the race for the new FBI headquarters. The county officially endorsed Greenbelt on Tuesday in its push to land the FBI, which is looking to move its much-maligned headquarters from the J. Edgar Hoover Building in D.C. County Executive Rushern Baker and County Council Chairwoman Andrea Harrison sent a letter to the U.S. General Services Administration extolling the virtues of the location’s transportation access and development opportunities.
Metro proposes land deal to lure FBI to Prince George’s County
February 12, 2013
WMATA has proposed using 78 acres of land near the Greenbelt metro station to be used as the new FBI headquarters. The FBI is searching for a new location, and WMATA is pushing for the Greenbelt site as a way to encourage “reverse commuting” and increasing ridership at the station. Prince George’s County has the least federal office space of any major jurisdiction in the D.C. region, and Senator Barbara Mikulski, Representatives Donna Edwards and Steny Hoyer, and County Executive Rushern Baker have all worked to bring the FBI to Greenbelt.
Where will Prince George’s hospital go?
February 3, 2013
Smart growth advocates have applauded Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III’s commitment to support new projects near the county’s 15 Metro stations, but as the county executive considers the best place to put a new $650 million regional hospital, he is making them nervous. Baker plans to hold a forum Feb. 28 at the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex to begin vetting four possible sites for the hospital. Two of them, the shuttered Landover Mall and the newly built Woodmore Town Centre, are nearly three miles from a Metro station in locations that require pedestrians to cross a Capital Beltway interchange.
Prince George’s worst in Maryland for pedestrian safety
January 3, 2013
The Maryland State Highway Administration and Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation, combined with other safety and planning agencies, have released a report that shows that Prince George’s County is the most dangerous jurisdiction in the state for pedestrians and bicyclists. In order to make streets safer for all users, the county must employ a more data-driven, focused strategy. The county and state should coordinate better on pedestrian safety issues, as 77% of pedestrian fatalities occur on state-managed roads.
A recent Sierra Club report titled “Smart Choices, Less Traffic: 50 Best and Worst Transportation Projects in the United States” has named the Purple Line as one of the 25 top transportation projects in the nation. The Purple Line is among a group of projects that would have the greatest contributions on reducing gasoline consumption, improving public health and safety, and save taxpayer money and commuting hours.
Purple Line will spark neighborhood renaissance, officials say
October 25, 2012
Stretches of Riverdale Road have stayed the same for decades, but that could all change when the Purple Line is built. Prince George’s County government officials and business owners met October 25 in Greenbelt to review possible designs for housing and retail around future Purple Line stations. The meeting was hosted by the nonprofit Purple Rail Alliance, who stressed that public-private partnerships would be essential to building the light rail line. County Executive Rushern Baker said the Purple Line would benefit the county by improving access to office space and sparking economic development. University of Maryland, College Park President Wallace Loh voiced his support for the Purple Line, saying the current alignment through campus would encourage retail and housing development for the campus community, as well as reducing the need for parking garages.
Wheelchair-accessible taxis available in Prince George’s
August 13, 2012
Prince George’s County has introduced wheelchair-accessible taxis, which will vastly increase mobility for Prince George’s residents with disabilities. The taxis have been in operation since June, and unlike other similar services such as paratransit service MetroAccess, users do not need to make reservations 24 hours in advance. The new service was lauded by disability advocates for giving people with limited mobility more freedom to get where they need to go.
Prince George’s targets Green Line’s southern leg
June 22, 2012
The Prince George’s County Planning Commission is beginning its efforts to turn 4 Metro stops on the southern stretch of the Green line into transit-oriented, mixed-use communities. Their first target will be the Suitland station where the Suitland Federal Center, housing 8,000 workers, is across the street, making it a perfect place for a mixed-use community with retail, housing, and dining for the government workers.
With 3,000 people riding during the work week and 1,800 on weekends, it’s no wonder the Central Avenue bus lines are suffering from overcrowding and infrequency. As this year’s WMATA focus for improvement evaluation, riders hope to get more buses, especially for the Prince George’s Community College students, and funding to rehabilitate the 178 bus stops without sidewalks or concrete landings.
In the discussion of the new $600 million Prince George’s medical center, it makes the most sense for the location to be at a Metro station with a transit-oriented design, so that the hospital is easily accessible to workers and patients alike and easy to navigate once there. UCSF’s Medical Center at Mission Bay provides the perfect example with its compact design and location on 2 light rail stops, while the Landover Mall site and Bowie State MARC station, also options for the hospital’s location, offer little to no access to public transportation.
Residents who live near Branch Avenue approve of the state and federal officials’ plans to add additional lanes to the congested and accident heavy road but say public transportation in the corridor also needs to be a priority. County Councilman Mel Franklin agrees that road expansion is not the solution, but that the road needs to be designed so that it can accommodate light rail or bus rapid transit.
UMd., MTA Work Toward Campus Safety
May 30, 2012
In order to keep the University of Maryland’s campus safe and prevent crime, Metro’s proposed Purple Line will bypass the 3 light rail stops near the university after 10pm. However, students like Doug Miller see the fault in this, citing that many students will not necessarily be back to campus by 10pm, especially if attending events in the District and the surrounding area.
Central Avenue safety measures hinge on grants
May 24, 2012
40 Prince George’s residents came out for a meeting to discuss the Central Avenue-Metro Blue Line Corridor Plan, designed to make the neighborhoods surrounding Metro stations between Capitol Heights and Large Town Center safer and more accessible for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. With issues like the a missing landing in front of the Addison Road South bus stop and no bike lanes, the plan proposes to turn Central Avenue into a “complete street” with lane reductions, bike lanes, and streetscape.
Metro tests secure parking with new “bike and ride”
May 15, 2012
The College Park Metro station opened the first secure bicycle parking area, “bike and ride,” which is designed to hold 120 bicycles. By accommodating cyclists in ways like this, WMATA hopes to triple the number of people biking to Metro stations by the year 2020.
Bikeshare to pedal through to College Park
May 7, 2012
The Maryland Department of Transportation granted $375,000 to College Park and the University of Maryland to build eight Capital Bikeshare stations, a project costing a total of $475,000. As Capital Bikeshare has done for Arlington and the District, it should provide an alternative means of transportation for students and other members of the College Park community. $60,000 has also been granted to Prince George’s County for a feasibility study on growing the program throughout other areas in the County.
Metro is the owner and manager of some extremely valuable land around their stations and bus hubs, especially for those developers interested in transit oriented development. At the West Hyattsville station, the 27 acres surrounding the station are all Metro owned and originally planned for a grand mixed-use development with office space, retail, and 800 new housing units. Despite the efforts of the Prince George’s County executive, no plans are currently in the works for the Hyattsville land.
“Diverging diamond” doesn’t help make a walkable corridor
April 30, 2012
Prince George’s has almost finalized a plan to create an urban, pedestrian-friendly environment immediately west of the Greenbelt metro and MD-193. However, Prince George’s planners recommended a “diverging diamond” for the intersection that creates a free-way like environment for cars and forces pedestrians to cross to the median, walk between concrete walls, and move across 3 or 4 lanes of traffic.
Prince George’s County Council unanimously approved a bill that requires new developments to include measures such as sidewalks and crosswalks to support pedestrians and cyclists. Cheryl Cort, Policy Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, believes this bill will enhance Price George’s communities and make it a safer place for pedestrians by actually setting requirements for developers.
Planners keep options open for Greenbelt Metro development
April 20, 2012
The Prince George’s County Planning Department has developed two different plans for the Greenbelt Metro North Core which is the 78 property adjacent to the Metro station. Option one is a mixed-use town center that includes 1,267 housing units and over a million square feet each for office and retail. Option two depends on a major employer or government agency taking the space; in that case, a smaller mixed-use development is planned for the area immediately surrounding the Greenbelt Metro station.
Prince George’s moves toward complete and walkable streets
April 16, 2012
The Coalition for Smarter Growth, Envision Prince George’s Community Action Team for Transit-Oriented Development, and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission hosted a forum last week to bring together government officials, planners, and community members to discuss the County’s streets and public safety. It was announced that $17 million is promised to a “Green Streets” fund that will pay for sustainable streets that accommodate everyone, pedestrians and bikers included. Residents and CSG Policy Director, Cheryl Cort, voiced concerns over public safety and the need for a new highway to the Branch Avenue Metro station.
New Purple Line Alignment a Relief to Many
April 14, 2012
In order to better serve the community, the Purple Line has been redesigned to run down the center of Kenilworth Avenue replacing the median and one southbound lane. This change will save 6 of the 9 businesses originally displaced in the former plan and will not increase traffic.
921 bus route service grows
April 10, 2012
Four new shuttle buses have been added to the 921 bus route which takes Annapolis commuters to the New Carrollton Metro Station. Because of New Carrollton’s connection the Metrorail, bus service, MARC, and Amtrak, increasing the bus service should cut down the single vehicle occupancy during peak hours.
As a Prince George’s County executive recognized the importance of sidewalk and street lighting fixes to prevent pedestrian fatalities, the county police took to the streets issuing citations and educating drivers and pedestrians on safe driving practices. The county police want to be preventative rather than their previous stance of reactionary and have increased their presence on streets and highways to inform and enforce traffic rules.
Prince George’s joins region in pedestrian-safety campaign
March 22, 2012
After consistently reporting the highest pedestrian fatality rates in Maryland, Prince George’s County has finally joined the Washington area’s Street Smart program, designed to educate residents about safety issues. Cheryl Cort, policy director with the Coalition for Smarter Growth, sites Prince George’s County’s high –speed traffic and wide roads as a dangerous situation for pedestrians. Besides this education campaign, Prince George’s needs to start local initiatives like repairing roads and building sidewalks in order to successfully improve its pedestrian fatalities.
Greenbelt Sector Plan: North Core Concepts and Design
March 14, 2012
The Prince George’s County Planning Department is working on a new plan for the city of Greenbelt, all revolving around the Greenbelt Metro Station. The goal is to encourage transit-oriented development around the Metro station as well as pedestrian-oriented improvements along MD 193. This development is not a new idea considering the County approved a concept site plan a few years ago that included retail, office space, housing, and hotel rooms.
State legislatures have proposed a bill that would expect colleges and state facilities to build bike paths and pedestrian walkways on their campuses. Though Senator Jim Rosapepe sites that College Park is well behind most campuses, the University’s master plan already includes the creation of pathways that separate the flow of pedestrians and bicycles and designates $100,000 annually toward efforts to promote biking on campus. Because a bike and pedestrian friendly campus gives the university room for future development projects, the university is committed to reducing the number of single occupancy vehicles as well.
Largo plan aims for growth around Metro station
March 12, 2012
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has created the Largo Town Center Sector Plan to stimulate redevelopment around the Largo Metro station and the Boulevard at Capital Centre retail complex. This government support is designed to incite the private sector to create the county’s first truly, high-density transit-oriented community. Communities like this one planned for Largo Town Center benefit its members directly by bringing more commercial tax revenue thus lessening the burden of the residential taxpayers and by creating jobs, housing, and services.
Prince George’s delegates approve Pilot tax waiver bill
March 2, 2012
Prince George’s County legislators approved a proposal that will give the county the power to grant property tax exemptions to some economic development projects. These projects include hotels, offices, and retail and mixed use building that will create a considerable number of jobs for the community. The Council agreed the exemption will not apply to developments involving gaming and that potential recipients will have to guarantee the creation of a minimum number of jobs to qualify for approval.
In order to revitalize the Suitland community, the “Buy Suitland” program was created to give buyers up to $40,000 from the county to move into a foreclosed home. Residents recognize the best way to revive their community is to get more people to live there – not just come and go for work. The program targets young professionals who can take advantage of the short term incentives and move into an up-and-coming area.
Prince George’s County leaders have created the Economic Development Incentive Fund, a $50 million multi-year plan to increase the County’s commercial tax base by giving loans to small and medium sized businesses. Officials feel they need to invest more in the commercial sector to increase the number of available jobs in order to keep up with the growing population of the county, the majority of who are currently leaving the county for their jobs. Priorities for the loan will be given to small businesses, transit oriented development, companies that hire locally, and businesses that will add more jobs to the County.
Morgan Boulevard Metro is the best site for the FBI
February 14, 2012
The Morgan Boulevard metro station, one of Prince George County’s most underutilized stations, is an ideal candidate for the FBI’s relocation. It is within a mile of the Capital Beltway and has space for the proposed new hospital complex as well as the FBI building across Central Avenue. Developers envision a pedestrian walkway from the station to the FBI with a Main Street feel lined with storefronts which would allow the community as a whole to benefit from the revitalization for the area.
Feds to help Prince George’s revamp its housing programs
February 12, 2012
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is providing Prince George County with specialists to facilitate a massive improvement in the management of their housing programs and other community revitalization efforts. An audit conducted last year uncovered that the county’s housing agency lacked trained staff and a long-term housing policy which allowed for millions of dollars to be granted to developers who did not meet any sort of formal criteria. County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) considers these efforts a priority and hopes Prince George County will join the ranks of Houston, New Orleans, and the District that are undertaking similar efforts.
Prince George’s County Leaders Want New FBI Headquarters
January 10, 2012
The FBI is exploring its options regarding the J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Ave. NW, an outdated building. Prince George’s County leaders are attempting to lure the FBI to near one of its underutilized Metro stations. Poorly designed federal offices like the Suitland Census Bureau and New Carrollton’s IRS illustrate the need for a new approach to integrating federal buildings into their surroundings to create truly transit-oriented, mixed use places.
Pr. George’s Co. executive wants growth near Metro stations
December 16, 2011
County Executive Rushern Baker declares Metro-centric development an economic priority, citing a high population of Federal commuters.
Guest column: Dispelling your fears
December 6, 2011
A local University of Maryland sophomore speaks up about who will benefit from the Purple Line, and in turn shares his cultural perspective of what it means to be a Prince George’s resident.
The next FBI headquarters
November 19, 2011
Citing fractured real estate and antiquated architecture, officials are visualizing a new home for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Possible plans to modernize the 100 year old institution may include a government “campus” near the Greenbelt metro station, hoping to incite regional economic and transportation development.
Bowie State partners best use for MARC station site, panel says
November 3, 2011
Initial plans for the Bowie MARC station, which includes mixed-use and transit-oriented development, are being reconsidered to integrate Bowie State University facilities. Planners from the Urban Land Institute in Washington concluded that local University-oriented businesses would be more appropriate for the site, with mixed residential development to follow suit.
Purple Line developers eager to begin engineering phase
November 3, 2011
Following an open house community meeting last week, Purple Line project leaders look forward to the transition from planning to preliminary engineering. Coupling the input from county residents with newly acquired support from the Federal Transportation Administration, the county’s light rail project begins outlining its goals.
Hyattsville: A Softer Side
November 3, 2011
With its newfound residents and commercial opportunities, the township of Hyattsville is using smart growth initiatives to change its long-standing character. The makeover includes integration with regional transit and a more welcoming atmosphere, but not at the expense of its historic vibe.
MTA: Purple Line Means Faster Travel Times, Less Traffic Congestion
November 2, 2011
College Park residents and University students weigh in on the Purple Line project in the first of a series of community open houses hosted by the Maryland Transit Authority.
Hyattsville goals updated to add parks, aid pedestrians
October 27, 2011
The town of West Hyattsville updates its $1 billion plan to revitalize neighborhoods with plans to develop sustainable infrastructure. Changes include strategic pedestrian-friendly planning, better inclusion of historic districts, and rehabilitation of the Hyattsville Metro station.
Purple Line Passes Another Critical Hurdle
October 7, 2011
In the latest development of the Bethesda – New Carrollton rail project, the new Purple Line receives its approval for preliminary engineering from the Federal Transit Administration, while the officials continue to stress the proposal’s benefits.
New Carrollton to become home base for DHCD
September 29, 2011
County Executive Rushern Baker announced that New Carrollton will become the new home to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, a move that will create hundreds of jobs and continue the push for transit-oriented development in the county.
Prince George’s County Council supports revised economic incentive fund
September 21, 2011
In response to the successful passing of Executive Baker’s Economic Development Incentive Fund, Council members express their voting rationales and highlight the bill’s final amendments.
Bill to create economic development fund in Prince George’s advances
September 21, 2011
Executive Baker and County Council members have agreed on expenditure review terms for the proposed Economic Development Incentive Fund. Under the initiative, the County would provide loans to fund a variety of local projects. These loans are subject to the Council’s review, albeit limited.
A push for smarter building around region’s Metro stations
September 20, 2011
Governor O’Malley asserts his plan to take advantage of the area’s under-developed Metro facilities, and outlines in detail the future of New Carrollton.
In one of the County’s largest breakthroughs in transit-oriented-development, Governor O’Malley plans to bring the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to New Carrollton. O’Malley cites the Department’s employee base as a primary factor in moving the state agency.
Pedestrian, student safety measures funded in Cheverly, New Carrollton
September 15, 2011
Local schools will receive a pedestrian safety overhaul with the help of a Federal DOT funding. In addition to sidewalk construction, bicycle rack installation and more sophisticated speed monitoring, the grant will help promote pedestrian and bicycle safety programs to foster daily use.
Hyattsville City Council Approves Support Of Route One Market Study
September 13, 2011
Community legislatures agree to jointly fund a study of the shared Route One corridor. Although some City Councils have limited contributions, this marks an unprecedented effort of local governments to collaboratively analyze land-use plans.
The new plans for upward development in College Park make the university-town more practical for resident students, as well as plant the seeds for smarter growth in Prince George’s County. By increasing pedestrian amenities and eliminating single-story establishments, College Park is making better use of its public space in a modern age.
The Federal transportation budget is under fire from Congress in a plan that would hamper regional employment initiatives. Despite the House’s conservative draft, a rejection from the Senate is anticipated. In response to Senator Mikulski’s (D-Maryland) preservation efforts, NTSB’s funding requirements for Washington Metro remain intact.
Potential federal transportation cuts could put jobs, projects at risk
September 9, 2011
The expiration of the Federal gas tax – which funds half of Maryland’s mass-transit projects – threatens program continuation. The once-unanimous issue turns partisan as renewal or extension of the tax remains on the table.
The move to preserve the 8.5 mile county highway may come to fruition by the Spring of 2012. Residents invoke safety and historic character in their concern for maintaining the local route.
New hospital a prime opportunity for TOD in Prince George’s
August 9, 2011
A partnership agreement for a new medical center in Prince George’s County creates discussion of smart growth. The hospital’s proposed land requirements bring-about questions of its proximity to local transit, and how it could be better incorporated with the County’s under-utilized Metro stations.
Proactive citizens weigh-in their ideas for reclaiming Greenbelt’s walkability. In addition to planting greenery, the community devises better ways to integrate local transit methods.
A local Prince George’s County resident expresses gratitude for County Executive Baker’s prioritization of transit-oriented development around Prince George’s 15 metro stations, and briefly outlines the comprehensive outlook for the County.
In an effort to keep residential construction from exceeding road maintenance, the Council votes to restrain development in lieu of ill-met funding standards.
Executive Baker holds high expectations of his nominees for key local officials. He expresses that their ability to address transit-oriented development, affordable housing and government efficiencies are essential to the mending of inter-agency relationships.
“University of Maryland officials have dropped their long-held opposition to running Purple Line light rail trains through the heart of the College Park campus, giving a major boost to the project as Maryland transit officials seek federal funding for its construction.”
Transit Hub in Maryland Gets a Second Chance
May 31, 2011
The New York Times highlights the development opportunities at the New Carrollton Metro station in Prince George’s County and touches on a new revitalization effort surrounding the station.
Prince George’s making some strides in becoming green
April 27, 2011
The Prince George’s County Council makes efforts for the county to go green, starting with incentives for schools and businesses.
Bowie State MARC Station Targeted for Development
April 21, 2011
“Plans to develop the area around the Bowie State University MARC train station are progressing as Prince George’s County officials have applied some pressure.”
Prince George’s lobbies for federal leases
April 17, 2011
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker “wants to help the developers who have begun investing in land around the county’s 15 Metro stations turn those areas into the type of transit-oriented, walkable communities that all the region’s other jurisdictions have built in recent years.”
“More than 200 residents, planners and government officials met at the Maryland Forward forum on “smart growth,” an urban planning philosophy that focuses on creating walkable neighborhoods where people can live, work, shop and play. It was one in a series of meetings established by O’Malley to gather public comment about such issues as the economy, education, public safety and smart growth.”
“The Metro Board of Directors selected Forest City Enterprises and Urban Atlantic on Thursday to develop 39 acres near the New Carrollton Metro station, moving Prince George’s County a crucial step closer to creating its first significant transit-oriented development.”
Prince George’s creating incentive fund to lure developers
March 19, 2011
Prince George’s County officials are proposing a new $50 million economic development fund that would entice builders who will bring new jobs and increase the suburban county’s tax base.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker has proposed a $50 million fund designed to create jobs and increase the county’s commercial tax base.
Admin. shift may signal new era for rail plans
March 6, 2011
“Advocates for the Purple Line running on Campus Drive may have lost one of their largest opponents, as the bulk of the university’s new administration has backed off their predecessors’ objections to the light-rail line.”
Decision makers from multiple jurisdictions joined together to discuss connectivity throughout the region now and in the future.
Prince George’s TOD is big business opportunity
February 14, 2011
Coverage of Coalition for Smarter Growth and Envision Prince George’s forum on TOD in Prince George’s County. Presentations by Shyam Kannan of Robert Charles Lesser & Co. and Councilmember Mel Franklin.
Metro and the state of Maryland have selected a team led by Forest City Washington to develop 39 acres in New Carrollton into what is expected to be Prince George’s County’s largest project since National Harbor, said sources familiar with the selection.
Maryland governor’s race could determine Purple Line
October 7, 2010
Maryland voters’ choice of governor could determine whether passengers on a future Purple Line will ride trains or buses, a decision that comes at a critical time for a project about to begin competing for federal money.
Lead in smart growth; don’t just talk
September 2, 2010
Karren Pope-Onwukwe discusses Prince George’s ACT’s recently released 2010 Smart Growth Platform, urging leaders to take action for transit-oriented development around the county.
O’Malley Supports Purple Line
August 11, 2010
O’Malley promotes Purple Line in Bethesda Metro.