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UMD Asks to Change Paint Branch Avenue’s Name to Campus Drive

The City has recently received a request from the University of Maryland to support their intention submit a request to Prince George’s County to rename Paint Branch Parkway to Campus Drive.

Paint Branch Parkway extends approximately 1.6 miles between Baltimore and Kenilworth Avenues, and is located in the municipalities of College Park and Riverdale Park.

The University thinks that extending the name Campus Drive would provide greater continuity between the main campus, the forthcoming Innovation District, and the M Square Research Park.

A name change would provide clarity in wayfinding. Visitors, as well as members of the local community, will be able to navigate more easily and articulate directions more effectively.

Finally, according to the University, since the number of properties on Paint Branch Parkway is limited, and several of them are owned by the University, the process of modifying street addresses would be straightforward.

Please let me know what you think about the name change.

Discover Arts at the Arts Drop-In Events

Organized by College Park Arts Exchange, Arts Drop-In is a multi-media arts discovery series perfect for children aged 2 to 10.

The monthly Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon programs are led by Aaron Springer: Saturdays 10-noon at College Park Community Center, 5101 Pierce Avenue in Lakeland; and Sundays at the Old Parish House, 4711 Knox Road, 2 – 4 pm.

There is also a bi-weekly afterschool program led at Youth and Family Services (4912 Nantucket Avenue, near Hollywood Elementary) led by Ann Potter. To learn more about this program call 301-474-1210.

Arts Drop-In also helps out at many events around the year, and we welcome the help of volunteers. Please contact cpae ( at info@cpae.org ) if you have a good idea for a project or if you would like to help out for an hour or two.

Fueling Innovation in College Park

The Metropolitan Council of Government (MCOG) has recently featured College Park in their 2016 State of the Region: Economic Competitiveness Report. You can see the coverage on page 52.

In 2005, the City of College Park implemented an economic development strategy that successfully transformed it from being an auto-dominated community to one with thriving walkable retail nodes. Now ranked among the Top 50 Small College Towns in the United States, College Park has attracted a series of economic development projects that are collectively forecasted to generate over 500 new hotel rooms, approximately 93,000 square feet of new retail space, and over 1,000 new multifamily housing units.

With over 37,000 students and 4,400 faculty, the University of Maryland at College Park is a major economic engine both for Prince George’s County and the region.80 The University contributes more than $3.4 billion into the economy, supporting 23,000 jobs and generating an 8:1 economic return.81 University and community leaders are working to take this impact to the next level with a focus on cultivating innovation while also redeveloping land along the City’s Baltimore Avenue commercial corridor and the proposed Purple Line light rail station into a mixture of apartments, university housing, retail, offices, and laboratory buildings. This initiative has already helped to attract a new wave of technology companies to College Park–including such groundbreaking
startups as Immuta and FlexEl.

Small businesses continue to play a major role in College Park’s economy. The City of College Park has created several grant programs to assist local businesses with sustaining their economic growth. This year the City awarded approximately $50,000 in business expansion grant funds to local small businesses. These funds were matched by approximately $170,000 in private capital investment.

Beltway – Edgewood Rd Interchange Safety Improvement Project Update

Here are some updates about the Beltway-Edgewood Interchange project.

The SHA has added the project to their website. Here is the link.

According to the SHA, topographic surveys and existing right of way information were received on December 11, 2015. The design team is currently working towards the 10% design milestone, which includes setting the alignments and typical section for the project.

According to the site, the purpose of this project is to improve safety at the I-495 and US 1 interchange and the US 1 and Edgewood Road intersection. The project limits extend from Cherry Hill Road to the inner loop ramp from eastbound I-495 to northbound US 1 for a distance of 0.251 miles. The scope of the project includes reconfiguration of the I-495 and US 1 interchange and realignment of the US 1 and Edgewood intersection to enhance safety.

The proposed improvements include:
• The removal of the eastbound I-495 to northbound US 1 inner loop ramp. This will eliminate the weave at the collector-distributer road traveling on I-495 and on US 1.
• The eastbound I-495 to southbound US 1 ramp will incorporate left turn movements to compensate for the removal of the eastbound I-495 to northbound US 1 inner loop ramp.
• The storage length at the same ramp will be extended to service higher traffic capacity.
• The entrance to Edgewood Road will be realigned to better accommodate drivers coming off the eastbound I-495 to southbound US 1 ramp.
• The existing northbound US 1 to eastbound I-495 ramp will be realigned to provide a smoother transition onto I-495.

Also, there is a strong possibility that the the Cherry Hill rd intersection improvement might be included in the scope of the project.

I’ll keep you posted as we get more update.

Free Lunch for county School Children, Today

As you likely have heard PGCPS is closed again today. Many of the school children receive free or reduced-price breakfast and/or lunch at school and I have been worried about them during this snow emergency. Please help me spread the word that lunch will be provided for free, no questions asked, between 11am and 1pm tomorrow (Wednesday) at the following schools:
Northwestern HS, 7000 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville
Suitland HS, 5200 Silver Hill Road, District Heights
William Paca ES, 7801 Sheriff Road, Hyattsville
Langley Park-McCormick ES, 8201 15th Avenue, Hyattsville

Any PGCPS student can go to any of those locations to be fed. The official alert is below. Thank you in advance for sharing this important information.

ALERT: Code Yellow – PGCPS schools and offices are closed on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. EMERGENCY PERSONNEL only must report to work. (Código Amarillo – Todas las escuelas permanecen cerradas. Todas las oficinas permanecen cerradas. Solamente el PERSONAL DE EMERGENCIA debe reportarse al trabajo.)

Lunch is provided for any PGCPS student at no cost between 11am-1pm at Northwestern HS, Suitland HS, William Paca ES and Langley Park-McCormick ES.

City to Seek Funds for Hollywood Streetscape Project

At tonight’s Council meeting, the Council will consider sending a request for a State Bond bill for $200,000 in capital funding for the Hollywood Streetscape project. The estimated total capital cost of the project exceeds $1 million.

The City would like to proceed in phases, first with the streetscape phase of the plan, at an estimated cost of $106,000 for design and $425,000 for construction ($531,000 total). City funds would pay for $331,000 of the cost, and the State bond bill would provide the remaining $200,000.

If funded, the construction will happen in phases. We’re working on the first phase only at this time. The scope includes the pavement, roadway & landscaping improvements itemized in the conceptual plan (please see below in the link)

Final Design: March 2016 – August 2016
Permits: September 2016 – November 2016
Advertise for Bids: December 2016 – February 2017
Construction: April 2017 – July 2017

You can find more about the project here

Snow Update: January 25, 2016

Public Works crews will be clearing a wider path on City streets today. Residents have been requested to toss snow back onto your yards and not into the street. Thank you for your cooperation.

According to staff, the City’s first priority was clearing one lane to allow for passage. The second priority was to increase the width of the lane, which crews are working on today. Once completed, the snow depth from the single lane to the curb (or parked cars) will be decreased.

Staff are working on that very question and are reviewing procedures.

Jonas Jan 25 2016

Storm Update: Saturday, January 24, 2016

Here are some important updates about snow storm in College Park and around.

City Streets: All streets should be passable now. Our crews have worked around the clock since 6:30 or 7:30am, Friday, January 22. I am going to allow them to take the rest of the evening off to rest.

Refuse collection: will provide regular refuse and recycling collection. Others will be in equipment working on roads to clear more snow and do additional treatments. The website announces that the refuse and recycling collections will be made on regular schedule this week.

Metro Services: Metro will be open tomorrow only with limited underground Metrorail and “lifeline” Metrobus services. This means there will not be any train running from and to Greenbelt station tomorrow.

Office and Schools: The government offices are closed tomorrow. So are the local schools, UMD and are schools.

Snow Shoveling: Thanks everyone who helped out the elderly and the residents with disabilities today. My son and I joined Sunnyside residents Christina Toy and Andrew at Nantucket Rd. shoveling driveways of two residents in need.

Snow Storm: Carbon Monoxide Precaution Reminders

A National Weather Service blizzard warning remains in effect through 6 a.m. Sunday, forecasting an additional 7 to 14 inches of snow and sustained winds up to 30 miles per hour with gusts as high as 50 miles per hour.

North College Park resident Chris Wilson has sent the following reminders about checking for snow blockage in these commonly forgotten areas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

1. Gas Clothes Dryer Vent – outside
2. Natural Gas Vent – outside
3. Your car exhaust pipe (before you start it)

4. Also, a reminder to consider getting carbon monoxide detectors if we haven’t already. A 2014 PG County law has required them for most homes in our area (I didn’t realize until today!).

An anecdotal story and links to further information are provided below. Stay warm and stay safe =0)

1. Gas Clothes Dryer Vent – outside & 2. Natural Gas Vent – outside

While clearing the snow around my house, I remembered to check for blockage of my outside dryer vent and Natural Gas vent (We can often forget that). I was glad I did because my dryer vent was blocked by a good 6″+ of snow and the snow was just shy of the Natural Gas vent. My dryer is a gas dryer so a blocked vent would have allowed exhaust fumes including carbon monoxide – back into the house when drying out my winter apparel from shoveling earlier.

Inline image 3

In my development here in Hollywood, we have indoor gas meters with a small outdoor vent. My vent is by my water spigot as seen above.

I wanted to use my story to remind my neighbors to protect themselves from carbon monoxide poisoning as we all hunker down.

Washington Gas has tips at: http://www.washgas.com/pages/WinterEssentials

3. Car Exhaust

Another commonly overlooked source of carbon monoxide we can forget in 2ft of snow is our car tailpipe. A News4 article from 2014 had a good general snow removal article and recommends:

“If you’re headed outside to warm up your car, be sure to clear the tail pipe first. With the amount of snow we’ve received, covered tailpipes pose a carbon monoxide poisoning risk.”

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Snow-Removal-Around-Your-Home-245388521.html

4. Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Lastly, I did not realize that according to a 2014 Prince George’s county law, those of us with gas furnaces, fuel burning appliances and/or attached garages are required to have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor. I had bought a couple months ago from Home Depot but hadn’t powered them up until last night. Glad I did.

Info sheet at: http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/sites/Fire/Resources/Tip-Sheets/Documents/PGFD.Carbon_Monoxide.pdf

For the backstory see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/prince-georges-to-require-carbon-monoxide-detectors-starting-july-1/2014/06/26/5c8717b6-fc8a-11e3-b1f4-8e77c632c07b_story.html

That’s a lot of info, but I hope it gets us to double check and remind our neighbors and loved ones as well.

Stay warm & stay safe!

Important Snow Information

Blizzard Warning remains in effect from 3 PM this afternoon to 6 AM EST Sunday.

Heavy snow and wind with blowing and drifting snow this afternoon through Saturday night. Sleet may mix with the snow tonight into Saturday morning east of Interstate 95 before changing back to all snow by Saturday afternoon.

Our area is expected to receive around 24 inches of snow.

Heavy snow will develop this afternoon and continue through Saturday night. Conditions are expected to deteriorate this afternoon with the heaviest snow. Strongest winds, and potential life threatening conditions expected tonight through Saturday night.

City’s snow control center will be staffed to answer calls and monitor snow removal operations. Calls may be made to 240-487-3590.

County in collaboration with the Prince George’s County Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission reminds residents without heat to utilize one of the local Warming Centers near your community. (Please call the center to obtain specific hours of operation).

Also, any unsheltered residents seeking assistance during the late evening and night hours, are encouraged to call 211 or the homeless hotline at 1-888-731-0999. Counselors will be available to assist with the Prince George’s County’s Hypothermia “Warm Nights” program.

Remember to call 911 only in cases of emergency and utilize Prince George’s County’s CountyClick 311 system to obtain information about public services.
Important Utility Numbers include:
Pepco: 1-877-737-2662
Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
SMECO: 1-877-747-6326 or 1-888-440-3311
Washington Gas: 1-800-752-7520
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC): 1-800-828-4002

North college Park Crime Map: January 10 – 18, 2015

Please see below last week’s crime map and let me know if you’ve any questions:

Date Time Type of incident Location
1/14/16 0513 STOLEN VEHICLE 9600 Blk MILESTONE WAY
1/16/2016 2256 BREAKING & ENTERING 9600 Blk 48TH AVE

City Revenue Can Go Up by $750K from Property Tax in FY2017

The  city  has received the estimate of FY2017 real property tax assessments and the total is 11.75% higher than the FY2016 assessment (prior to application of the homestead tax credit). Depending on the amount of the homestead tax credit, not available until mid-February, this increase could equate to a $750,000-900,000 increase in real property tax.

Expenditure Budget: Departments will be asked to limit non-personnel expenditures to FY2016 levels unless they provide justification for an increase. Exceptions are fuel and utilities. FY2017 will be the first year of a new collective bargaining agreement for certain Public Works employees and negotiations have not yet begun. As a result, it is unknown whether FY2017 will include a cost of living adjustment (“COLA”). Quotes for FY2017 employee benefits are not yet available.

Mayor & Council Wish Lists: Mayor & Council may submit “wish list” items for FY2017, whether for the operating or capital budgets. Submitting them by the February 12 deadline will allow time for the departments to price them out, and they may be included in the requested budget.

Budget Schedule: A tentative FY2017 Budget Schedule is attached. The first Saturday budget worksession is scheduled for April 9. Please see below the complete schedule below.

  • Operating budget worksheets distributed to departments: Thursday, January 21
  • Mayor & Council wish lists due back to Finance: Friday, February 12
  • Pricing of Mayor & Council wish list items by departments: February 15 – 26
  • Operating budget worksheets due back to Finance: Monday, February 22
  • Capital project pages to be updated: February 1 – February 19
  • Review of department operating budget submittals: March 7 – 11
  • City Manager’s Requested Budget distributed to M&C: Thursday, March 31
  • Budget worksessions Saturday, April 9 @ 7:30 am Saturday, April 16 @ 7:30 am (if needed)
  • Additional worksessions if needed Budget ordinance introduced Monday, April 25
  • Budget public hearing Constant yield tax rate public hearing (if needed) Tuesday, May 10
  • Worksession discussion of possible budget changes after public hearing (if needed) Tuesday, May 17
  • Adopt budget ordinance Tuesday, May 24
  • Effective date of FY2017 adopted budget July 1

City Revenue Can Go Up by $750K from Property Tax in FY2017

WSSC to Replace 2.8 miles of Water Mains in North College Park

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) plans to replace approximately 2.84 miles of water mains in Daniels Park neighborhood of north College Park. The project is necessary because the water mains are nearing the end of their useful life.

The affected streets include: 49th Place, 50th avenue, 50th Place, 51st Avenue, 51st Place, 52nd Avenue, 53rd Avenue, Huron Street, Iroquois Street, Kenesaw Street and Narragansett Parkway. Please see the affected street map below.

Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2016 and be completed by Fall 2018, weather permitting.
WSSC-Replacements-ncp

2016 Mothers Day 5K race Announced

MothersDay-5k-2016

This year, the College Park Community Foundation (CPCF) is pleased to host the 3rd Annual College Park Mother’s Day 5k. Runners and families will make their way around a five kilometer (3.1 mile) course around downtown College Park, Calvert Hills, and Old Town, starting and ending at City Hall. Please see the map above.

The CPCF will be at tomorrow’s worksession asking the City to cosponsor the event. By co-sponsoring this event, City liability insurance will provide coverage for the event. Additionally, the City will provide logistical support and help promote this event. Cost estimates include the following (a) Public Works crew to place and retrieve traffic cones at all cross streets along the route – $405.00 (b) City Contract Police to provide Race safety escort and traffic control – $600.00

Berwyn Bridge Repair is Expected to Happen in this Spring

Berwyn bridge (Courtesy: The Washington Post)

Berwyn bridge (Courtesy: The Washington Post)

The Washington Post is reporting that the Berwyn bridge repair schedule is hit with another delay. The earliest we can see it happening this Spring.

The paper says: “Nine months after a Metro contractor’s crane destroyed a pedestrian bridge over Green Line tracks in Prince George’s County, the company has yet to complete replacement of the structure. What’s more, the unusable bridge has further delayed a rail project that was supposed to have been finished nearly two years ago.

Metro says it has done its part to restore the bridge that provides an important pathway connecting two communities in northwestern Prince George’s. But its contractor, the global construction company Skanska, has repeatedly postponed work on the bridge. Most recently, the company canceled work that had been planned for Jan. 8 and 9.

“They’ve made a number of commitments as to a date, and those dates have come and gone,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said. “We are not happy.”

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