Metro Crime Highest at College Park Station

Metro Crime Highest at College Park Station

Recently, the Washington Post reported that the College Park Metro had the highest crime incidents in the third quarter of the entire Metro system.

The article says “The rail stations that had the highest number of major crimes for the quarter were College Park, with 26; Southern Avenue, with 21; Deanwood, with 20; Suitland, with 18; and Greenbelt, with 16.” (please click the graphics at the left).

You can view the entire WMATA crime report here.

In explaining the high crime figure at the Metro, a Metro spokesperson said: “I can report to you that for the 3rd Quarter 96 percent of all crime at the College Park Station was property related (auto/bike). There was only one crime against a person reported.”

He also said Metro has provided the Prince Georges County PD as well as other jurisdictional partners in the area Smart Trip Cards so they can patrol at the Metro.

Update on Rhode Island – Niagara Intersection

New stop signs at Rhode Island and Niagara Road

Since we talked aboutthe stop signs at the new intersection of the Rhode Island Ave, and the Niagara Road, the City and the county staff worked together to improve the traffic safety at the intersection.

One concern we still had was about vehicles going into Niagara Road from Rhode Island Avenue. These vehicles often come to the intersection too fast, so much so that other vehicles on the service road and Niagara Road may face the danger of accidents.

To address this concern, the staff  observed / recommended the following issues at the intersections:  

1.       The vegetation on the northwest corner should be cut backed and thinned. 
2.       The tree on the northwest corner should be removed.
3.       The existing signs along the southbound lane of Rhode Island Avenue should be checked and adjusted so that they do not block the sight distance.
4.       An advanced intersection sign (indicating Niagara Road) along southbound Rhode Island Avenue may be necessary. DPW&T’s Traffic Safety Division will look into this request. If warranted, the advance warning sign will be installed.
5.       A “Niagara Rd” street name sign will be required along Rhode Island Avenue at Niagara Road.
6.       The “stop” sign along the service road should be moved further northward.
7.       Traffic operations at the intersection of Niagara Road and Service Road should be observed during peak hours. If operational problems were observed (specifically for left turning vehicles on Niagra Road), then a “Do Not Block the Intersection” sign should be installed on the eastbound Niagra Road approach to the service road. The temporary stop sign installed on the same approach will be removed unless it is otherwise directed by the City of College Park. The City will provide the request in writing.
The county’s satff will review the temporary measures initiated by the construction project manager and City’s observations to determine what is necessary to make this intersection comply with common County traffic safety standards and practices.
In addition, the City staff will recommend to the City Mayor and Council that the temporary “stop” sign on Niagara Road become a permanent installation so that the sign will not be removed at the completion of the construction project. 

Please let me know if you have any question or further suggestions.

Constituent Services

Last night a new Council took office. That means, like everyone else on the council, today is our first day at the office.

I’d like to thank the residents for giving me the opportunity to serve the residents of District 1. It really means a lot. I do value the trust that they have put into us. I hope to execute that in the next two years faithfully.

I’d also like to thank my family for the sacrifice they will be making during my tenure, including many long evenings they will have to be away from me.

One of the major parts of this duty I’ll really enjoy is the constituent services – it’s about helping out the residents in the district with city services – no matter how big or small they are.

I will be serving District 1 with Council member Wojahn. So please give me a call or send an email to any of us when you need us. Here are our contacts:

Fazlul Kabir (301) 659-6295 fkabir@collegeparkmd.gov

Patrick Wojahn 240-988-7763 pwojahn@collegeparkmd.gov

When you email, please email to both of us. This way, if one of us cannot address your issues, the other can help out.

Cafritz Agrees to Continuance

Cafritz Development

Under pressure from Riverdale Park, College Park and University Park, the Cafritz developers have agreed to continuance: More here on the Riverdale Park Patch.

This came in less than 24 hours after Riverdale Park Mayor Vernon Archer set an ultimatum to the developers on this continuance request. Please see his email below:

Friends and neighbors,

I write today to provide some information about the Cafritz project application that many of you have been following closely. 

First let me remind you that tomorrow evening the council will meet at 8 PM to take a position on the project. By that I mean we will send a letter stating our views to the MNCPPC planning board that is scheduled to review the project on Thursday afternoon. 

I wish I could write and tell you precisely what the outcome will be, but I cannot. I would like to share the following information with you to consider.

Yesterday, I contacted the attorney representing the Cafritz project and told him that there were too many outstanding issues for me to recommend to my council that it support the project with the well-publicized conditions (you can review this as Letter from Town Council to Planning Board (Draft #3)11-18-11on the town website).  I told him that I want his client to join us in asking for a continuance—that is a postponing of the review before the planning board—on Monday.  This will allow us to continue to work on settling the issues that are not adequately settled, and hopefully reach a point that we can all agree on.  I told him if Cafritz will not join us in requesting a continuance that I will recommend to the council that they reject the proposed rezoning that will allow the project—simply put if they will not go along with a continuance to settle outstanding issues, I will ask the council to vote NO on the project.

Read more »

Cafritz Development: What Do You Think?

Proposed Cafritz Development Map

In tomorrow night’s session, the City Council may vote on the Cafritz rezoning application issue that it tabled two weeks ago. The Council wanted to allow the developer more time to address a few important concerns in their proposed plan, the most important one being the increased traffic generated by the development.

Also,tomorrow night, the 2011-2013 City Council will be sworn in. Thus if the Cafritz development comes to the council, I will get a chance to vote on this rezoning issue.

Currently, the development site is zoned as R-55 (residential), which the Cafritz wants to change to MUTC (Mixed Use Town Center). The MUTC zoning is particularly suitable for developments like Cafritz that have a combination of property uses – some residential and some commercial / retail development.

The City staff earlier made recommendation to approve the zoning change, provided Cafritz agrees to certain conditions, such as maintaining green building (LEEDS) standards and also some measure to reduce the impact of traffic on US 1.

Unfortunately, the traffic issue has been a very important issue for Riverdale Park and the surrounding communities, such as College Park, University Park and also Hyattsville.

An estimated traffic study data shows that in the year 2040, the average daily traffic will increase from 25,000 to 44,200 on US 1.

Apparently, this traffic study does not include other planned developments, such as East Campus development, which will cause more strain on Route 1.

One way to relieve the traffic burden on Route 1, is by building a CSX crossing (presumably a overpass / bridge)  in the east side of the development. Unfortunately, the developer is saying that is not a possibility, at least in the phase 1 of the development.

Because of this important traffic concerns all surrounding cities / towns have asked the Park and Planning with continuance of the project. This means that the developer will need to address this important concerns before the Park and Planning approves the project. There is a very good chance the the Town of Riverdale will also take the same position in their tonight’s Council meeting.

I’d like to know what you think about the project. You can submit your comments at the end of this post or via email.

Book Exchange Plan Comes Back to Council

Maryland Book Exchange

City council will likely to discuss the Book Exchange development sometime next year again, after County’s Park and Planning issued an continuance to the developers in its last Thursday’s public hearing.

Several residents and City officials attended the public hearing and expressed their concerns on the size of the student housing project there.

The Park and Planning wants the developer to step-back the design so that it conforms to the residential characteristics of the surrounding area.

Members of the North College Park Civic Association (NCPCA) were generally warm to the idea of the development as they think a student housing there will reduce traffic on Route 1 in the City.

I’m interested to see what the developer comes up with the new design.

Indian Creek Cleanup

Indian Creek Cleanup

Please join the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) and Citizens to Conserve and Restore Indian Creek (CCRIC) to help clean up Indian Creek!

Date: Saturday, December 17, 2011 Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm
Meeting Location: 5050 Powder Mill Rd. Beltsville, MD 20705.

The group will be meeting in the parking lot of ATK and working along the creek on both sides of Powder Mill Rd.

All materials and supplies needed will be provided by AWS. Please be sure to wear long pants that you don’t mind getting dirty and closed-toe shoes. If you have your own work gloves, feel free to bring them! Otherwise, AWS will have gloves available.

Visit www.anacostiaws.org/calendar to RSVP — or contact AWS Membership and Volunteer Coordinator Maddie Koenig at 301-699-6204 ext. 109 or mkoenig@anacostiaws.org. CCRIC contact Vicky Hageman, Vicky.h@ccric.org

Come See How Your 911 Calls are Answered

P.G. Public Safety Communications Center

City’s Neighborhood Watch group has scheduled a tour of the brand new, state-of-the-art Public Safety Communications Center for PG County, which is located in Bowie and became operational in May of this year.

This is the center where all 9-1-1 & Non-Emergency calls are received and processed.

The tour will take place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday evening, December 16th, 2011.

The group will be going as a group of up to 10 people, and they have 6 slots left for those who’d like to join. So, please let me know ASAP if you’d like to join the tour.

NCPCA Meeting, Potluck Dinner and Community Winter Clothing Drive

NCPCA - It's Your Neighborhood Association

Today is the second Thursday of the month and hence the date for December monthly meeting. The meeting will start on 7:30pm at Davis Hall. Everyone is welcome!

We’re expecting City economic Development Coordinator Michael Stiefvater to brief us on the development news in North College Park.
We’ll also be having a community potluck dinner after the meeting. Please bring a dish if you can.
Also, like every year, we’ll be holding a Community Clothing Drive. There will be a clothing bin outside the meeting hall. We will be accepting winter any warm clothing, such as coats, sweaters, jackets, pants, gloves/mittens, hats and scarves etc. Please make sure that the items are clean, have no stains, extreme wear, holes or tears.

Jack Johnson Gets 7 Years

The judge ruled yesterday that Johnson would spend 87 months in custody, and then be under three years of supervised release.

In addition, he must pay a $100,000 fine, forfeit $78,000 and an antique Mercedes Benz (reportedly worth about $60,000, according to prosecutors), and undergo alcohol treatment. Since this is a federal sentence, there will be no early release.

During yesterday’s hearing, Johnson’s lawyer argued that he should be spared from any prison time since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in April. Prosecutors disputed that contention, arguing that Johnson had been seen playing golf shortly after his apparent diagnosis.

Johnson’s wife, Leslie, will be sentenced for her role in the corruption scandal on Friday. It’s probably worth remembering that she was caught with $79,000 in her underwear after having flushed a $100,000 check down the toilet during a raid of the couple’s house.

Police Increases its Presence in Hollywood

Prince George's Police

Following two back-to-back commercial robberies, the Prince George’s Police department has increased their presence in the Hollywood commercial district, according to the PGPD’s community liaison officer Ofc. Errol Lobin.

Last week the 7 / 11 store was hit by an armed robbery, the 5th in recent months. A few days earlier, another store in the district, Bamboo Eater was hit by another armed robbery. Both robberies occurred during night time.

Following the armed robberies, we went to the store and met store’s owner Mr. Yadata, who showed us the captured video of the entire crime incident. We also discussed a few options to improve store’s safety. The safety measures include increased lighting at the store front, better video surveillance with larger in-store TV monitors, and more visible warning signs on store’s glass doors.

Oficer Lobin also spoke with manager of 7/11 yesterday again about the safety issues. He said the manager said he was going to look into purchasing electromagnetic lock doors. Let’s hope the security situation will improve in future.

NCP November 2011 Crime Map

[mappress mapid=”59″]

College Park Library Collects More Than 1000 Books

I stopped by at the College Park Community Library yesterday to drop off a few books at their “Donation Day” event.

It’s only been  about three months since the library started, but I was pleased to know that the library’s book collection has grown past 1000 mark.

North College Park resident Joe Smith started the community library at the basement of the Church of the Nazarene on Rhode Island Avenue. A few other residents also volunteered to help him out.

Joe told me that he is working on a database of collected books and hopes to open the library sometime next month for everyone. When it will open, residents should be able to borrow books.

The Church also donated a few computers to the library that will soon be connected online. Once the library opens next month, residents can use these computers to browse internet, just like they can do in other public libraries.

The way the librray is growing, I thing it will soon run out of space. The next thing we ought to do is find a bigger place for the library.

In the mean time, if you want to donate books, please contact Joe or other volunteer by visiting library’s web page here.

Thank you Joe and everyone involved for this great community project!

Fire Claims 3 Lives, Prompts Door to Door Smoke Alarm Campaign

The fire departments throughout the Prince George’s County will be conducting a door to door fire safety and smoke alarm awareness campaign this month.

A fire which resulted in three fatalities in the Lewisdale neighborhood may have been prevented , or the residents may have self evacuated safely had there been a working smoke alarm in the house. A survey by PGFD/EMS indicates that as many as 25% of the homes in the County may not have a working smoke alarm.

Winter and the holidays often present additional fire risks such as space heaters, candles, unattended cooking.

Please make sure to check there are working smoke alarms in every area of the home used for sleeping and on every level of the home. If you don’t have any for your home yet, you can contact alarm fitters.

If a resident needs fire prevention information, or cannot afford a smoke alarm, or needs assistance in properly placing smoke alarms, please call PGFD/EMS at 301.864.7233, the local fire station, or the City Code Enforcement office for assistance.

The most fire safe homes are those equipped with both working smoke alarms and automatic fire sprinklers. Even then, proactive fire safe behavior is necessary to prevent injuries.

Transportation Board Seeks Member

Transportation planning

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is seeking applicants for the 2012 TPB Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).

The TPB CAC is a group of 15 citizens from throughout the Washington metropolitan region who represent diverse viewpoints and provide input on long-term transportation policy.

The mission of the CAC is 1) to promote public involvement in transportation planning for the region and 2) to provide independent, region-oriented citizen advice to the TPB on transportation plans and issues.

Please visit the TPB Citizens Advisory Committee website for more information about the TPB CAC. The 2012 CAC application is available online and is due by 5:00 p.m. on December 23, 2011.