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Save the Date: Trolley Trail Day Saturday, June 8

Trolley Trail Day
Saturday, June 8, 2:00 p.m.
Trolley Trail: College Park, Riverdale Park, Hyattsville
Save the Date for the first ever Trolley Trail Day along the trail route connecting College Park, Riverdale Park and Hyattsville. It will be an active fun filled day of walking, biking, eating and shopping in support of local businesses along the trail route. Residents can stay tuned for more details here!

City May Hold November Election at UMD’s Ritchie Coliseum

Ritchie Coliseum, University of Maryland

It’s anticipated that the City Hall may not be available as a polling location for this year’s November 5 City election due to the impending City Hall redevelopment project. The Board of Election Supervisors is recommending adding Ritchie Coliseum as the third polling location. The BOES thinks that arrangements can be made with the University of Maryland for use of the space at no cost. We don’t anticipate having the parking issues at Ritchie that we are facing at Stamp.

The Council will discuss this option at tomorrow’s Council meeting

Additionally, the Council will also discuss revised election budget and voting centers at tomorrow’s meeting. Earlier, the Board was exploring the functionality of Voting Centers, which would allow a qualified voter to vote at any of the City’s three designated polls. This concept requires that the poll locations be connected in real time, just like the state/county do for early voting.

The initial plan was to work with the state on making this work, but in March the State told that they wouldn’t be able to support the City because they were tasked on another more pressing matter. The group met several times, a plan is in place, and equipment has been ordered. The preliminary election budget presented in February has been updated to include these costs. The new budget is estimated at $59,015.

Once the BOES have tested the equipment and know they have a working connectivity plan, they will proceed with advertising the polling locations and Voting Center concept to city voters.

Council to Discucss Language Access Accommodations for City Residents

At this week’s meeting, the City Council will discuss language access accommodations for City residents to better engage with City government.

Currently, many City documents, such as those produced by the Youth and Family Services and Public Services, are translated in Spanish. The Resident Guide is also translated into Spanish and is available online in English and Spanish. The Clerk’s Office and the Department of Planning, Community, and Economic Development have contracted interpreters to attend meetings when requests have been made. City’s website and The City’s website, emails, and social media all can be digitally and automatically translated into other languages based on the individual’s computer, mobile or browser settings/add-ons. This functionality will also work for the Accela and AIMS parking software and forms.

According to the 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-year estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, in College Park the top three languages spoken outside of English are Spanish (8%), Chinese (5%), and Korean (2%). Residents speaking these three languages, (about 4,500 residents), a majority report that they speak English “very well.”

Interpreter rates are usually between $100 – $125 per hour. Document translation services range between $0.14 to $0.25 per word and depending on the size or scope of the document, can take several days to weeks to produce.

Staff have also researched the possibility of captioning the City’s Council meetings or providing ASL interpreters for our hard of hearing communities. Live captioning is preferred over ASL interpreters due to the logistics of filming, barriers of communication and higher costs. The cost for captioning Mayor and Council meetings would range from about $16,000 to $22,000 annually. However, in order to provide captioning service, equipment would need to be upgraded, and additional space may need to be required. Staff has not confirmed the cost of new equipment required for captioning.

Language access and translation were budgeted for $20,000 in the FY2020 budget. Some options mentioned above may cost more than the amount budgeted.

Today at the Hollywood Farmers Market

Please see below today’s Hollywood Farmers Market newsletter
================

Strawberry season is upon us! Enjoy the locally grown berry from our farmers. So good in a smoothie, on a shortcake or just by themselves.

Welcome back to Baker Charley! So happy to have many of our vendors returning. We’ll see Heavenly Created Desserts and Dogs next weekend. Victory Chapel Farm will return as soon as they are able to harvest their honey which is in about a month.

Returning (tentatively) vendors for this week include:
A Little Pottery: Hand crafted pottery
Alcoba Coffee: Guatemalan coffee by the pound and by the cup
Amity Kitchen: Thai food, Spring Rolls and Mango Sticky Rice
Baker Charley: Gluten Free desserts
Calvert Farm: Produce and fruits
Dearheart Wood and Designs: Unique cutting boards
Designed Naturally: Natural bead jewelry
Double Sharp: Local Musicians
Gloria Bakery: Fresh breads
El Sol: Tacos, Tortas and Pupusas
Inge’s Crochet: Hand made crochet items
Mel’s Munchies: Sweet treats
University of Maryland Dairy: Fresh Ice Cream and non-dairy Sorbet
Valencia’s Produce: Produce and flowers
Waltz Family Farm: Meat, eggs and cheeses

Also, if you are an Instagram user please follow us at hollywood_farmers_market_md or on Facebook @hollywoodmarket

Route 1 Construction to Complete by 2023

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has recently given us the following update about ongoing Rt 1 construction (between College Ave and MD193) and what to expect in the days ahead.

The 1.4-mile project will support current and future development and improve traffic operations and safety for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians along US 1. Progress permitting, all work should be complete by year-end 2023.

The SHA considers US 1 as a major north-south artery and the gateway to the University of Maryland – College Park campus, which is located within the project work limits between College Avenue/Regents Drive and Paint Branch Parkway/Campus Drive.

Pedestrian and bicycle traffic are very heavy along the corridor, especially in the vicinity of campus.

Currently, US 1 between College Avenue and Lakeland Road is a four-lane divided roadway, with a raised median and no shoulders. It is lined with fields, parking lots, and office buildings. US 1 between Lakeland Road and MD 193 is a five-lane undivided roadway with a double left-turn lane movement and no shoulders. The roadway is lined with businesses and residential neighborhoods. The existing sidewalk along US 1 is not continuous.

As part of the construction for this project, US 1 will be widened to provide a four-lane roadway (with 11-foot wide through lanes) with auxiliary lanes (with 10-foot wide turn lanes), 5-foot wide bicycle lanes, and a median with varying widths between 2 feet and 16 feet. Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant sidewalk will be provided along both sides of US 1 throughout the project limits.

Other improvements include resurfacing, landscaping, drainage system upgrades, stormwater management facilities, new signage and pavement markings, pedestrian lighting, intersection lighting and utility relocation work.

Currently, electricity and gas infrastructure utility relocation work is simultaneously taking place on US 1 within the project limits.

Drivers can expect lane closures in active work zones on the following days and times (weather permitting):

Gas Utility Work (Northbound and Southbound US 1)

•Weekdays, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. and up to 24 hours per day on Saturday and Sunday

Electricity Utility Work

•Northbound—Weekdays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

•Southbound—Weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Once non-utility related construction work begins—and throughout the entire lifetime of the project—intermittent lane closures are possible within the project limits weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Sundays through Thursdays between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Additional lane closures and work times may be needed to expedite all phases of work and keep the project on schedule.

The SHA gave us the following timeline:

Utility Relocation Work…In Progress

Project Advertisement Date..Summer 2019

Notice to Proceed Issued…..Fall 2019

Project Completion……..Year End 2023

(Source: The State Highway Administration)

 

 

Beltway Town Hall on May 23, Final MDOT Public Meeting Tonight

In addition to the Rep. Brown’s town hall below, please join tonight at the final MDOT public meeting on the I-270/I-495 toll lane widening plan. Please weigh in and share your concerns with the current scope of this project. This is the final public meeting before it goes forward to the Board of Public Works for approval. Please make every effort to attend the meeting.

Thursday, May 16, 2019, at 6:30pm at Seneca Valley High School (19401 Crystal Rock Drive in Germantown, MD 20874).

mBike to End Operation in August

College Park’s bike share program, mBike, will end this summer, with the last day of operations on August 31, 2019. The City made this announcement yesterday.

The mBike is a collaborative bikeshare program between the City, and the UMD.

With the three-year contract coming to an end, the City was unable to come to terms on a replacement system with Zagster and have mutually agreed to part ways. The mBike program grew steadily over the past three years with more than 4,000 unique users and 130,000 trips.

The City, the UMD, and the Town of University Park intend to build on the success of mBike by introducing a new shared mobility system that provides pedal bikes, pedal-assist bikes and electric scooters. We hope to make details of this new system public very soon.

The County is also rolling out the Capital bike share network in College Park and the surrounding municipalities.

[City of College Park]

Residents Review Duvall Field Concept Plan

Yesterday, at Davis Hall, the Duvall Field consultant and the architect presented the concept plan to a community meeting. Here are the major highlights of the plan.

  • Main field: The plan proposes to turn the south side of the field into a multi-sport field, with the options to play soccer, lacrosse, rugby, baseball and softball etc. The consultant recommends a turf field, allowing different sport groups to practice at different parts of the field concurrently.
  • Children playground: The playground has been moved from the northern part of the field to the middle – between the concession building and the field. This will keep children at the playground closer to the adults watching the games in the main field. There could be some safety fencing
  • Walking trail: The plan shows a 0.3 miles long walking trail around the field. The trail will include a new sidewalk on the 50th place in the neighborhood.
  • Cricket and Volleyball Fields: A volleyball field and a cricket practice / pitching field have been proposed at the northern part of the field
  • Lights: Energy efficient LED lights around the main field
  • Trees: The plan proposes several trees around the south and west part of the field. The consultant also proposes some bio-retention feature to grow a healthy tree root system. Will maintain the existing trees, including the ones at the corner of Delaware Place and 50th Placer.
  • Parking: Improved traffic circulation. Retaining the same number of space while adding more amenities. Entry/exit from Delaware Place.
  • Entrance: Proposes a welcoming sign / artwork at the entrance.
  • A stage for events: The plan shows a circular gathering place with a small stage area near Cheyenne Place.
  • Cost: The estimate is about $5.5 million. The turf field may cost about $1 million. The City may need to borrow a significant amount along with the amount needed to build the City Hall
  • Timeline: The consultant will make the same presentation to tonight’s City Council meeting and get the Council’s feedback. After this, the consultant will prepare a report with recommendations. It will take about 2 years to design and complete construction.

Buying Your Parking Permits will Get Easier Soon

City is attempting to make your experience to get your parking permits easier. In a few months, you will not need to make a trip to the City Hall or Davis Hall to get your yearly parking permits. You will be able to order them online and get them mailed to you.

You will also have better user experience in paying parking fines, payment management, and citation adjudications. For example, residents should be able to contest parking tickets directly online, instead of downloading forms, filling them out and then sending them to the City office.

At tomorrow’s meeting, the City Council is going to approve a contract with the AIMS parking for a total of $139,240 over 3 years to get these enhanced services, in addition to other existing services. The previous contract has been used to maintain support software for handheld parking ticket writers, and deterioration of the handheld hardware due to age, replacement hardware and software options were investigated. Equipment, software and costs from several vendors were evaluated by Parking Enforcement and Information Technology staff.

The proposed full-service contract to AIMS, in the total amount of $139,240 ($37,580 year 1, $50,830 year 2, $50,830 year 3), for software support including cloud data management hosting, handheld ticket writers, on-line permit registration, and on-line ticket payment processing. Years two and three include the software support costs for the current AIMS product the City is using

On a related note, the temporary facilities at 8400 Baltimore Avenue are not well suited for long lines of over the counter permit applicants as we have had in the past at City Hall at the beginning of fall and spring semesters. Additionally, these services can be provided more efficiently for customers and staff by using the online capabilities of the AIMS system.

All New Duvall Field may have a Multi-Sport Turf, Lighting, Walking Trail, Stage and a Play Area

Tomorrow, Monday, May 13, at 7 p.m., please join a community meeting at Davis Hall (9217 – 51st Avenue) to see the conceptual plan about the second phase of the Duvall Field project.

The community input received as a result of outreach efforts last winter has been translated by the City’s consultant, Greenplay, LLC, into a conceptual plan with new facilities and amenities.

The draft plan includes features such as synthetic turf that can accommodate a variety of sports like soccer, lacrosse, rugby and softball; new lighting; a walking trail, stage for performances; new children’s play area with pavilion; revamped parking and enhanced landscaping.

A preliminary cost estimate based on the conceptual plan is approximately $5,000,000.

Following tomorrow’s community meeting at Davis Hall, consultants from the Greenplay, LLC and Amol Deshpande, LSG, Landscape Architecture will present the conceptual plan to the City Council. Feedback from these meetings will be used to refine the plan and prepare the final report. A subsequent City Council Worksession will be scheduled to discuss the next steps for the project.

Your feedback will help the City Council to determine which improvements to move forward with.

City Code Reminders

Here are two helpful reminders about City Code regulations for grass and solicitation. For any questions, or to contact the City’s Code Enforcement Division, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/dps.

Grass
With spring showers comes grass… and lots of it! Make sure to keep grass and weeds trimmed no higher than 12 inches. Ornamental grasses are exempt from this regulation.

 

 

 

Door-to-Door Solicitation
Door to door solicitors in the City are required to have and display (upon request) County and City permits. They also should have photo identification.
Remember, you don’t have to open your door to any stranger. There are both legitimate and scam solicitors.
Report any suspicious people or activities immediately to 9-1-1.

[ City of College Park]

Join the Little Free Library Big Share!

A Little Free Library in Hollywood

You are invited to join the Little Free Library Big Share during May 17-19! There are several Little Free Libraries in the College Park and Greenbelt area that you can visit.

Here’s how you can participate:

Step 1: Stop by a Little Free Library May 17–19 and share a book.

Step 2: Take a photo of your visit and share it on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #LFL10. (When you do, you’ll be entered to win a $20 e-gift card to our online store!)

Step 3: Repeat! Visit as many Little Free Libraries and share as many photos as you’d like.

Hint: There is one at 9510 Rhode Island, one at the bus stop/bike rack near MOM’s, and one inside MOM’s.

Currently, there are 10 Little Free Library in College Park. Find out where Little Free Libraries are from the map page: https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/

[Credits: Lea Wade, Hollywood]

In College Park, Beltway Expansion Can Cause Loss of Properties & Green Space, Kill a Playground, and Increase Noise & Traffic

The MDOT has recently published a map  showing the areas in College Park  neighborhoods that will most likely be impacted by their proposed I-495 / I-270 expansion plan. In all of the alternatives, I found the following issues should concern us all.

  • Loss of residential properties / property value: 18 homes on Niagara Rd and Odessa Road will lose part of their backyards. For neighbors on Ontario Road, the beltway will come right next to the street, potentially causing a significant loss of property values.
  • The completely wooded Polish Club property on Edgewood Road has been designated within the “Limit of Disturbances”

    Loss of trees and green space: The green boundary in the map shows the “Limit of Disturbances”, indicating the areas which will most likely be used as a staging area during construction. The areas include (a) the SHA owned wooded area, and (b) more importantly, a very large parcel north of Edgewood Road (called Polish Club) property and (c) also a large City – Owned parcel at the end of Odessa Road in Sunnyside. It’s unclear whether the MDOT will acquire the Polish Club or Odessa Rd properties using eminent domain or lease them from the property owners. Regardless of the way the arrangement,  the use of these properties for construction purposes mean loss of many trees in these parcels.

  • The dotted red line showing 66dB noise contour line

    Increased Noise and Pollution: The beltway noise and pollution impact boundary line will go deeper into the neighborhood. The red dotted line shows the 66 decibel noise line. The neighbors living closer to the beltway will be experiencing noise with a higher decibel level.

  • Construction delay or even loss of the proposed Sunnyside playground: The City has worked with the residents of the Sunnyside neighborhood (north of Beltway) over the past two years to build a playground on the City-owned property, at the end of Odessa Road. The City Council has allocated funds in the FY20 budget to build the park and we’ were expecting to start construction in a few months A large section of the playground has been proposed to be under the “Limit of Disturbance” area, meaning either delay or total loss of the project, depending on whether the area is leased or acquired through the eminent domain.
  • Increased traffic on Route 1: With 4 lanes added to the beltway, we can expect more volume of traffic over the time, at all beltway exit roads , such as Connecticut Ave, Georgia Ave, New Hampshire ave, including Route 1 in College Park.Unfortunately , the Route 1 at the beltway intersection is already dysfunctional as motorists need to wait several traffic cycles at exit 25 on the ramp. Things can only get worse with increased volume on an expanded beltway.An increased traffic on Route 1 will also go against City’s long standing efforts to reduce traffic on Route 1 by exploring alternative modes of transportation, such as through the complete street project, and building more student housing close to the campus.

The College Park City Council discussed some of the impacts at this past Tuesday’s meeting. We plan to approve a letter to the Board of Public Works (BPW) at next Tuesday’s meeting. The BPW is set to meet and vote next month, most likely on June 5.

Please send your comments / concerns here. Also, please consider joining the resident advocacy group Cabe495 here. There’s also a petition going to the 3 members of the State Board of Public Works, which is scheduled to vote on Beltway expansion soon.

Today: Community Conversation with Tom Dernoga

Night Out in College Park – This Friday

FRIDAY, MAY 10, 6:00 TO 9:00 P.M.
Spend the Evening at a Local Restaurant
Bring this flyer into the College Park Grill (8321 Baltimore Ave) during the event time frame to get happy hour pricing on select dishes.

Xtreme Teens Drop-In
Bring your preteen(s) and teen(s) to the College Park Community Center to have fun while you’re out!
Youth aged 10 to 18 are encouraged to attend Xtreme Teens on this and every Friday from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. with preteens (10 – 12 y.o.) welcome for the first hour only.

Questions: Call 301.441.2647
Sponsored by the City Recreation Board
[City of College Park]

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