Apr
17
2014

New Registration for City Residents to Get UMD Emergency Alerts

UMD Alert

UMD Alert

The University of Maryland Police Department is asking College Park residents to register to receive relevant updates at the following address, especially during emergency situations that may occur on UMD’s campus: http://collegeparkmd.gov/government/public_services/umd_alert.php

This link only applies to those residents who not affiliated with the University.

The UMD Alert system is the channel the UMD Police use to provide critical information and instructions, as needed.

Since 2007, any person affiliated with the University of Maryland has been able to subscribe to UMD Alerts. The large number of subscribers, approximately 160,000, have impeded the system at times and delayed the delivery time of messages to those who need it most—our current students, faculty and staff. The registration system for residents will help improve the alert system.

All registered students and employees with active UIDs will remain in the system and no action is required to remain subscribed to UMD Alerts. If you are a current student or employee and need to change or update your contact information for the alert notifications, please log in to UMD Alerts (https://alert.umd.edu).

In an effort to improve the speed of notification to the campus community, effective today, the UMD Alerts text and email messaging system will only send updates to current students, faculty and staff.

If you are not a current student, faculty or staff member, we welcome you to follow us on Twitter (@UMPD), Facebook (University of Maryland Department of Public Safety) or subscribe to the UMPD news site (umpdnews.umd.edu).

Notifications will be posted to the news site and social media when UMD Alerts are issued. Instructions on how to subscribe to UMPD News are available at http://www.umpdnews.umd.edu/node/55.

Apr
16
2014

City Council Asks SHA to Improve Pedestrian Safety on Route 1

At last night’s Council meeting, the City Council discussed a number of ideas to improve the pedestrian safety on Route 1, especially in light of last weekend’s tragic accident at the Knox Road intersection. Here is the text of that letter we decided to send to the SHA.

April 15, 2014

Ms. Melinda B. Peters, Administrator
State Highway Administration
707 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Dear Ms. Peters:

On behalf of our residents, students, and visitors, I would like to convey to you our strongest request that SHA implement—in the most expeditious time possible—significant pedestrian safety improvements along Baltimore Avenue in the City of College Park. On April 11, 2014 we suffered the second pedestrian fatality this year when 23-year-old Carlos Pacanins was killed on Baltimore Avenue in downtown College Park. Cory Hubbard, a 22-year-old student, was killed in January in the same area.

Over the years, the State, the County, and the City have conducted studies and have implemented some safety improvements. SHA is currently finishing a Pedestrian Road Safety Audit for Baltimore Avenue, and a County working group involving State, City, and University stakeholders has convened to identify solutions. We appreciate these important efforts.

Without pre-judging the current processes or additional recommendations that may come from these activities, the City Council and I urge you to designate the area a pedestrian zone, and implement the following steps within the Pedestrian Road Safety Audit area (Berwyn Road to Guilford Road):

• Install pedestrian count-down lights for all sides of Baltimore Avenue intersections
• Use automatic flashing “walk” signals with a green light
• Install better lighting along Baltimore Avenue and at the intersections
• Lower the speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour
• At the soonest opportunity, present the final Pedestrian Road Safety Audit report to the City Council and include a timeline to implement the recommended safety improvements.

The City of College Park will examine its pedestrian lighting and other aspects of pedestrian safety that it can influence, including increased policing, education and outreach activities. However, we need SHA to address the items above so that we significantly and permanently reduce the risk of auto-pedestrian incidents in the shortest time period possible.

Thank you for your attention to this issue, and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Andrew M. Fellows
Mayor

Apr
15
2014

Route 1 Pedestrian Safety Takes the Spotlight After Fatal Accident

Pedestrian Safety on Route 1

Pedestrian Safety on Route 1

This Sunday, another pedestrian died from serious injuries he suffered after he was struck on Route 1 near the University of Maryland.

Carlos Pacanins, a senior from Bethesda, died from his injuries. He was a few weeks away from graduating with a degree in political science, the Hatchet reports.

According to the Diamondback, it happened just before midnight at the intersection of Route 1 and Knox Road. Prince George’s County Fire Department and paramedics responded to the scene, and transported a man in his early 20s to a trauma center.

According to reports, this is not the first time this intersection has seen tragedy. In January, a hit- and-run driver struck and killed a pedestrian at the same location. Cory Hubbard, 22, was a UMD student. He was also not in a crosswalk at the time.

Carlos was probably jay walking, which is illegal in the State. The police can always cite pedestrians for violating the laws, but I think we should do more to prevent such accidents to happen in future.

One idea is to build fences on the street medians. For example the Takoma Park built the fence after to prevent Jaywalking on University Blvd/ http://takomalangley.org/about.php.

As you know, the Route 1 is going through some design changes. It’s a good time to discuss these issues to improve pedestrian safety there. We plan to discuss this matter with other stkeholders – SHA, UMD and the County.

Apr
14
2014

City Set to Award Community Groups with Grants

Every year, the City gives out grants to non-profit organizations and schools that serve City residents. The Council will review this year’s grants in tomorrow’s worksession.

The City has $20,000 budgeted in FY 2014 to allocate among the applicants, and may give a maximum of $2,500 to each organization. Grant applications were e-mailed to previous recipient organizations on November 16 and were advertised on the City’s website (with links to the application form and criteria), character generator and in the “Municipal Scene”.

The City received 10 grant applications by the extended deadline, requesting a total of $24,750. On April 8, a subcommittee A subcommittee comprising myself, Councilmembers Mitchell, Day and Dennis met to review the submitted applications and formulate its recommendation for grant award. Applications were rated based on the grant criteria. Some recommended grant awards are lower than the requested amounts (in order to stay within the budget). The National Museum of Language, Lakeland Community Heritage Project (Lakeland Heritage events) American Legion Auxiliary Park Unit 217 (College Scholarships for College Park pageant participants), Pregnancy Aid Centers, Inc. Food pantry program, College Park Woods Swim Club Senior summer day camp and Embry Center for Family Life (Lakeland All-Stars basketball program) each received $2,333. Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack 298, College Park community library and Holy Redeemer Catholic Church Safe Haven program each received $1500.

Apr
13
2014

Hollywood Farmers Market Set to Open April 26

Hollywood Farmers Market 2014

Hollywood Farmers Market 2014

Apr
12
2014

FY2015 Budget: Major Changes in Revenues and Expenditures

Revenue changes:
1.Slight increase in real and personal property tax revenue (+$100,000), income tax revenue ($125,000), and A&A tax revenue (+$150,000)
2. Decrease in Highway User Revenue tax (-$140,000)
3. Increase in speed camera revenue (net of charges to Optotraffic) (+$61,000)
4. Revitalization Tax Credit for the Varsity (-$60,000)

Expenditure changes:
1. Decrease in 0.87 FTE’s (elimination of Asst. to City Manager and Public Safety Officer, addition of part-time Outreach Coordinator Assistant in Youth and Family Services, full year of Asst. City Manager) and associated benefits (-$50,000)
2. COLA and merit increases for employees (+$240,000)
3. Increase in health insurance costs (+$120,000)
4. Cost of buying into Maryland State Retirement Plan (net of decreases to contributions to 401A as a result of switching to MSRP) (+$257,500)
5. Increase in contributions to CPCUP (+$25,000)
6. Decrease in marketing expenditures (-$10,000)
7. Decrease in farmers market costs plus addition of market master and advertising costs for Hollywood Market (-$11,000)
8. Funds for additional crosswalk RRFB signal at Hollywood and Rhode Island Ave. (+$25,000)
9. Decrease in expenses for gasoline and diesel due to newer vehicles, more efficient usage (-$19,000)
10. Decreased contribution to capital improvement projects plus additional $20,000 for PTZ security camera at Hartwick Road and Princeton Avenue (-$140,000)
11. Decrease in workers comp insurance (-$48,000)
12. Increased dues to include Other Dues for National League of Cities constituency groups (+$300)
13. Increased dues to include U.S. Conference of Mayors (+$3,489)
14. Contract lobbyist for assistance with state legislation (+$30,000)
15. Increased cost of retreat for Mayor and Council and department heads (+$1,500)
16. Increased Special Events fees to pay 1/2 of cost of SGA flags for downtown businesses on game days (+$550)
17. Funding for possible City contribution to a feasibility study for a north County animal shelter (+$25,000)
18. Contract pre-treatment of 55 lane miles of City streets with salt brine solution for 2 snow events to assess the viability of purchasing and using this pre-treatment system in the future (+$6,600)

[Ref: Office of finance: City of College Park]

Apr
11
2014

College Park Connected – Sign up to Get City Updates!

The City of College Park is launching an email listserv to make it easy for residents to automatically receive information about City government, events, new development, and other activities in the City.

To sign-up, go to www.collegeparkmd.gov, and click on the “Sign Up” button under Latest News.

Receive the latest information in these categories: City Council, General Interest, City Events, Public Works Information, Development News and City Job Listing.

You can specify the type of information you want to receive, change your selection, or unsubscribe at any time.

Apr
10
2014

Today’s NCPCA Meeting: Graffiti, Election, City Budget and More..

NCPCA - It's Your Neighborhood Association

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

Today is the second Thursday of the month and hence the day when we will be having our monthly NCPCA meeting.

The meeting will start with a discussion about NCPCA Nominating Committee for the upcoming election. A group of members are needed to identify candidates for our elections on June 12. All offices are “open”. They need to know if you wish to serve on the committee, or if you are willing to be elected!

There will be also a discussion about the problems with Graffiti in North College Park. If you have seen them around the neighborhood, please come and talk about them

There will be news & updates on College Park City budget, City Snow Removal, Mother Day 5K race, City Animal Shelter, Branchville Fire Station, College Park Academy, FBI Relocation, other news.

Members will also discuss NCPCA Email Policy. Discussion and possible changes to allow interactive or ‘moderated’ dialog via the NCPCA email list serve. There will be discussion on NCPCA Nominating Committee for Election of Officers on Jun. 12.

As always, meeting will take place at Davis Hall at 7:30pm. See you all there.

Apr
9
2014

College Park Creates Aging in Place Task Force

A gathering of College Park senior citizens

A gathering of College Park senior citizens

At last night’s meeting, the Council created an aging-in-place task force, to explore ways that the City can help senior residents to remain in their own homes in our community as they age.

The Task Force is proposed to consist of 8 residents and two Councilmembers, as well as outside experts. Here are various tasks the group will consider to accomplish:

  • Identify existing City resources that support our aging population
  • Identify existing County resources that support our aging population
  • Identify needs of the City’s aging population who desire to age-in-place
  • Identify gaps between current resources and the needs of the aging-in-place population
  • Identify and research potential strategies that the City could pursue to address the gaps between the available resources and current needs for aging-in-place.

Please let me know if you might be interested in serving on this task force!

Apr
8
2014

North College Park Crime Map: March 30 – April 7, 2014

Please see below last week’s crime report and let me know if you have any questions.

Breaking and Entering Commercial

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/06/14] BREAKR 10:11 13:55 9500 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,
[3/06/14] BREAKR 10:25 12:44 9600 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,

Breaking and Entering Residential

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/05/14] BREAK 21:39 05:16 3400 Blk DUKE ST,

 

Apr
7
2014

Council Reviews FY 2015 Budget

The City has published the FY 2015 draft budget which is now available here on our website

Despite the challenging fiscal times we’re going through, the City Manager has proposed a few cuts. We’are also expecting the an increase in both income tax revenue and admissions and amusement tax (because of the UMD joining the Big 10). These will allow us to get through this year without any increase in the property tax rate.

The budget includes a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of 1.75% plus merit increases. With the elimination of the Assistant to the City Manager position and the half-time Public Safety Officer position, the requested budget limits the increase in personnel costs to 3.3%.

The City Council reviewed the FY 2015 in a long marathon meeting this Saturday and added a few changes to the City manager’s requested budget. In the end we’ll be supporting these changes by drawing some $130,000 from City’s reserve funds. Please see them below and let me know if you have any questions. The numbers in braces show the way the Council voted.

City Lobbyist (7-1-0) $30,000
Animal Shelter Feasibility Study (5-2-1) $25,000
CCTV Camera near College Park Metro (8-0-0) $20,000
Marketing /  sponsorship event (8-0-0) $10,000
Public Works contract snow pre-treatment (8-0-0) $ 6,600
Hollywood Farmers Market (7-0-1) $ 6,000
Dues – US Conference of Mayors (8-0-0) $ 3,489
Council retreat (8-0-0) $ 1,500
Downtown business district promotion (flags by SGA) (8-0-0) $ 550
Mayor and Council – Other Dues (8-0-0) $ 300
Apr
6
2014

Budget Town Hall Meeting: April 23, 2014

Please mark your calendar. Council members from District 1 and 4 will be hosting a public forum on the FY15 budget on April 23, Wednesday, 7-9 pm at Davis Hall. Please mark your calendar. See you all there.

Budget Town Hall meeting, 2014

Budget Town Hall meeting, 2014

Apr
5
2014

SHA Begins Resurfacing Work on MD 193

Repair work at MD 193 and Rhode Island Avenue

Repair work at MD 193 and Rhode Island Avenue

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has begun the resurfacing phase of a project on MD 193 (Greenbelt Road) from Rhode Island Avenue to Southway in Greenbelt, Prince George’s County. The work is part of a $4.5 million safety and resurfacing project, which began last spring and should be complete by late summer, weather permitting.

Work this spring involves removal and replacement of the top layer of asphalt, adding new asphalt and placing final pavement markings. Crews will mill and resurface westbound MD 193 first, then proceed to the eastbound side of the road. The resurfacing work will improve the road quality on MD 193.

Through April 1, crews have completed portions of guardrail installation, driveway construction and sidewalk and ramp work for Americans With Disability Act (ADA) compliance. This spring and summer, crews will finish work on these items and will also complete traffic signal enhancement and inlet and pipe cleaning activities. Last fall, crews completed construction of pedestrian bus pads at bus stops s and construction of concrete bus pads—the road surface located directly in front of a bus stop which is strong enough to support heavier vehicles without damaging the roadway.

SHA’s contractor may temporarily close one lane within the project limits weekdays, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and up to two lanes, overnight, Sunday through Thursday, between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. All work is weather permitting. Residents and travelers are advised that construction equipment can be loud and disruptive.

Apr
4
2014

Guest Column: Not so Silent Spring – Frog Calls in College Park

[By Rick Borchelt. Rick lives in College Park and writes a blog here http://leplog.wordpress.com/]

College Park is extremely fortunate to have several vernal pools that attract frogs and salamanders early each spring to call and mate. A vernal pool is defined as a temporary pool of water, generally without fish, that dries up at some point in the year (hence the no-fish condition). This is very important for frogs and salamanders, whose eggs and tadpoles are usually wiped out where there is fish predation. Vernal pools typically fill up from winter rains and snow melt and dry out in July and August, giving tadpoles a chance to metamorphose into young frogs and leave the water.

The vernal pool most convenient to watch and hear this spring ritual is located between the Tot Lot and the Metro Parking on Columbia Ave. in Old Town. It’s fenced off, but you can get pretty close from the Tot Lot side, and even listen pretty well from the north end of the College Park Metro platform.

On warm nights for the next couple of weeks you’ll be able to hear at least three different frogs calling from this vernal pool, which is the remnant of a series of pools and marshes that used to stretch all the way from the Anacostia up to Laurel, and of which Artemesia is also a remnant (although it used to be shallow pools instead of the large lake formed when dirt was removed to build the Greenbelt Metro). Late in the afternoon and continuing through the early evening, stand by the swingset on the south end and listen for:

Spring Peeper. This small frog, about the size of a quarter, is the loudest in the pool. It “peeps” single, high-pitched notes by inflating an air sac in front of the frog on its throat. When large numbers of them are calling (called a “chorus”) it can make it very hard to hear the individual peeps inside the wall of sound. These are all males calling and advertising their sexual prowess; females listen on the sidelines and then gravitate toward the singer they prefer. The males typically sing from grass or branches or leaves sticking out of the water.

Spring Peeper call:

Wood Frog. This is the largest frog right now in the vernal pool (Green Frog and Bullfrog will be larger and will show up later). It’s 3-4 inches long. Their call sounds like “quacking” or “growling”; their air sacs are on the sides of their throats, so they balloon out on both sides. These frogs float in the water as they call, and you can actually see the waves on the water from the inflation of the air sacs and the males jockeying for females. Most of the Wood Frogs are in the deeper water on the end of the pool nearest the Tot Lot.

Wood Frog call
Wood Frog video:

In the background of the Wood Frog video you can also hear a call that sounds like fingers being run over a comb. This is a Chorus Frog, and that’s the third species you’ll hear calling from the Columbia Ave. vernal pool. These are also about the size of a quarter and very closely related to Peepers. There are only a few males calling from the Old Town pool, mostly on the side nearest the railroad tracks.

Upland Chorus Frog call:

Later in the season, listen for toads calling in chorus. They’ll sound like a distant diesel engine motor revving up.

Vernal pools are among the most endangered habitats in Maryland; they’re often drained for development or in the erroneous belief they harbor mosquitoes. Every effort should be taken to preserve these fragile habitats.

Apr
3
2014

Free Spring Clean-Up in April

The City of College Park Public Works Department (9217 51st Avenue) will be open for City residents all four Saturdays in April from 7:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. The clean up days are for City of College Park residents only; you must show proof of residency in the City of College Park to participate.

Residents may drop-off bulky trash, electronics and molded/block Styrofoam® for recycling, and yard waste. Electronics that may be recycled include, but are not limited to: TVs, computers, monitors, keyboards, mice, speakers, VCRs, CD, DVD & MP3 players, cell phones & PDAs, printers, scanners, fax machines, telephones, radios, stereos, electric tools, game systems, handheld games, microwaves, and cords/cables. Number 6 expanded polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam®, cannot be contaminated with tape, stickers, food, or other impurities. Additionally, the City can only accept molded foam such as blocks used in packaging – no food or beverage containers or packing peanuts. Air conditioners, heat pumps, refrigerators and freezers may incur a disposal fee; tires will incur a disposal fee of $4.00 each.

SMARTLEAF® compost and wood mulch will also be available for sale – residency is NOT required. The City will also be working with Community Forklift and American Rescue Workers again this year to divert items from the landfill that are still in good condition. All donations are tax deductible. Clean out your homes, garages, and sheds, and bring the items you no longer use or need and donate them for reuse.

The following types of items will be collected separately so they may be reused:
• Building, remodeling, and gardening materials – any surplus or salvaged (in GOOD condition) items from your latest home or garden improvement job, including but not limited to: bricks and pavers, plumbing and light fixtures, tiles and flooring material, cabinets, doors, gardening supplies, and tools. These items will be donated to Community Forklift.
• Clothing and household items – cookware, dishes, books, linens, games, toys, clothes, shoes, and intact furniture items (NO upholstered furniture or mattresses). These reusable items will be donated to American Rescue Workers.

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