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Rhode Island Protected Bike Lane Project Gets More Reviews from Residents

About 50 residents attended last week’s community meeting on the 50% plan of the protected Rhode Island Avenue Bike Lane project.

The latest plan calls for 5 ft bike lanes with 2 ft buffers, vertical separation at intersections, with 10 ft travel lanes. In the section between University Blvd and Greenbelt Rd, the bike lanes will share the travel lanes. Earlier, the project team considered other options, including the use of the service road as the bike lanes.

This project is an outgrowth of the City’s Complete and Green Streets Policy which seeks to make all streets safer for all users –  motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders.

City’s newly adopted 5 years Strategic Plan also asks for expanding alternative modes of transportations, such as biking, across College Park, and connecting the neighborhoods together.

According to the plan, 3 WMATA bus stops on this segment will be relocated slightly. The latest plan also askes for raised concrete on the sections in front of the bus stops.

The residents who attended the meeting gave many good comments.

The updated design has reduced the number of flex posts along the segment of the road. To make the bike lanes beginner and family-friendly, there were suggestions to consider options for more protection along the route, e.g., expanding the use of flex posts and wheel stops that will be added near intersections. Others also asked for wheel stops and flex posts along the bike lane to alert cars turning off University Blvd onto northbound Rhode Island Ave.

Currently, this segment of Rhode Island Ave has a speed limit of 35 mph. Some residents asked to reduce the speed limit on Rhode Island Ave if the City takes ownership of the road or work with the County to reduce the speed limit on the road if the County maintains ownership.

The County was asked to reduce the speed limit a couple of years ago, but because of the “Collector Street” designation of this street, the County decided not to reduce the speed limit. The City is currently in negotiation with the County to take over the ownership of this segment of Rhode Island Ave from the County, and City ownership will help to reduce the speed limit in the future. The City ownership of the road will also help better maintenance of the street.

There was also a suggestion to contact the local fire department about the movement of fire trucks and other vehicles during the time of emergencies.

The project’s design is fully funded, however, the construction isn’t. The project team recommends completing the construction in 2 phases, with phase I from University Blvd. to Muskogee St ( $530,000), and in phase 2 from Greenbelt Rd. to University Blvd ($465,000)

In case you didn’t get a chance to attend the meeting, you can watch the meeting video here. You can see the presentation here, and plans of two segments of the road, from Fox St to Muskogee st here, and from Greenbelt Rd to Fox / Erie st here.

There are a lot of things to balance in this project and all residents’ comments will be considered. If you have comments about the project, please send them to Katie Hart, Community Development Planner at khart@collegeparkmd.gov (phone: (240) 487-3541). The project team does appreciate your important feedback.

I want to thank the residents for attending the meeting and sharing their feedback. Also, my sincerest thanks to our City staff for organizing this wonderful forum.

The City Council will review the latest plans at an upcoming meeting. The project team will complete the 100% plan and present it to the Prince George’s County Planning Board for conceptual approval.

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