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Proposed Pedestrian Bridge Between Greenbelt and College Park Not Moving Forward

The much-discussed pedestrian overpass between College Park and Greenbelt is not going to happen, at least for now. The College Park City Council approved a location just south of Public Works property. Unfortunately, the Greenbelt City Council decided not to build the overpass.

The Prince Georges County Planning Board approved the Greenbelt Station DSP resolution on April 14, 2016. This resolution approves Greenbelt Station with conditions but removes the condition for the pedestrian overpass. The Planning Board decided not to require the bridge since the municipalities involved (the City of Greenbelt and the City of College Park) could not agree upon a location for the bridge. The City of Greenbelt opposed any pedestrian bridge, as did the applicant. The County Attorney ruled that since the cities could not agree on a final location, the condition requiring the overpass was not fulfilled and therefore could not be imposed.

The decision is rather unfortunate because residents of both cities will lose an important connectivity option.

Our staff talked to Greenbelt staff numerous times. Staff also agreed on a recommended location based on these conversations. However, even though Greenbelt staff agreed with the location we recommended to the City Council, the City of Greenbelt’s Council voted that they simply do not want the pedestrian overpass period.

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8 Comments to “Proposed Pedestrian Bridge Between Greenbelt and College Park Not Moving Forward”

  1. By sam, May 7, 2016 @ 9:08 pm

    any insight on why the Greenbelt City Council is opposed to this idea? Hard to imagine how this could be bad for anyone involved…

  2. By Fazlul Kabir, May 7, 2016 @ 9:50 pm

    I haven’t had the opportunity to check Greenbelt’s meeting minutes, however, one concern was about the loss of some housing units in the new Greenbelt South core development. The developer had the same concerns when he came before our Council when we voted to approve the bridge unanimously.

  3. By scott, May 9, 2016 @ 1:46 pm

    As a resident of Greenbelt, I can not be happier with the decision. You can hear all of the reasons in the recorded greenbelt city council meetings, however, I can summarize why greenbelt is not in favor of the bridge from college park into the new Greenbelt station south core development. There will no longer be any retail in the new development which was one of the main driving factors of the overpass.

    Location of the over pass was also another main issue for both sides. And as mentioned, the development would have lost of a whole row of housing units along with an unsightly overpass landing in the middle of the phase 3 neighborhood. Phase 3 is already extremely densely packed with housing where an overpass would make the situation much worse.

    Cost of the bridge was another main issue since it would cost somewhere around 6-8 million to construct. Also further maintenance of the bridge such as snow removal, repair, security, etc. would be part of the south cores HOA fee.

    But most of all, the overpass provided absolutely no benefit or destination in the near or long term future for the South core residents. If they wanted to get to college park, they could either use the new sidewalk constructed along greenbelt road, or the existing underpass at the Greenbelt metro station. A bridge in the middle would lead to no where.

  4. By Sam, May 9, 2016 @ 5:40 pm

    Thanks – that makes sense, although still too bad as it would benefit that development more than anyone.

  5. By scott, May 10, 2016 @ 10:20 am

    I believe it benefits the new Greenbelt station residents just as well since they won’t have to shoulder the huge cost of maintaining the overpass. And it won’t be an eyesore for them. And most of all having less of a security issue since the overpass would be extremely close to many of the homes.

  6. By Onward, May 14, 2016 @ 3:52 pm

    For the record, the proposed pedestrian bridge would have been an added benefit to residents who use the extensive bike/pedestrian trail network in the local area. If you’ve tried the two routes that are currently available, you can quickly see the downside to both. Using 193 puts you very close to multiple lanes of fast moving traffic. The Greenbelt Metro route is a better option, but you’re still forced to go through a giant parking lot on the Greenbelt side. And if Greenbelt Metro is closed, that route can get blocked off, which is something to consider with the all Safe Track work coming up.

    We know these sort of bridges can work in College Park — look at how the bridge connecting to Berwyn Heights & Lake Artemesia was missed until it was rebuilt last month. Now that the planned retail at the Greenbelt Station development is apparently not going to happen, that takes away an important argument for the proposed bridge. Long term, there may be other opportunities to build a bridge in a similar location, though it’s hard to see how that might happen now.

  7. By scott, May 17, 2016 @ 9:48 am

    Good to hear reasons for both sides. I agree that bridge connections can be a good thing, but in this location, it makes no sense since there are no amenities on both sides. For greenbelt station residents, there is absolutely nothing on the college park side (near or long term since there is no more land to build) where this bridge location will save time.

    A comparison to the popularity of the lake artmesia bridge is crazy. there are alot of amenities on both sides of that bridge. Building a bridge just anywhere for the sake of building a bridge is not smart. Build them where they are needed, not because 15 years ago, someone had proposed the idea.

  8. By scott, May 17, 2016 @ 10:00 am

    For those that really want to spend 6-8 million on a bridge, I can think of many other locations where that money would better serve residents:

    – overpass over greenbelt road to get to lake artmesia (near the 7 eleven)

    – getting across route 1

    – getting from the greenbelt station development to the metro