New Sunnyside Ave. Bridge Design Unveiled

Sunnyside bridge

The bridge on Sunnyside Avenue, just north of College Park will be going through a major improvement.

The bride was built on 1946. Unfortunately, it gets frequent flooding when it rains. Also the bridge is structurally deficient.

The current bridge is a single span, steel multi-beam one with a concrete deck. It’s 37 feet long with a clear width of 22 feet.

The plan includes replacing the bridge with a wider 7 ft raised bridge. The project’s objective is to mitigate flooding and create a “Green / Complete Street” that includes shoulders, bike paths, sidewalks and street lights. The project will also create additional environmental features, including additional wetland beneath the bridge, storm water management facilities.

The new structure will be able to handle “a legal load.”

County’s DPW&T held a community meeting on May 17 to present the plan at the Beltsville Academy on 4300 Wicomico Avenue.

According to the plan, the final design will be completed by Spring 2013, right-of-way acquisition by Fall 2013. an advertisement for construction will go in Fall 2013 and the construction will begin in Spring 2014. It will take about 18 Months for the construction to be completed.

Existing roadway plan

Existing roadway plan

Proposed design

Proposed design

Here are the details of different stages of development:

Stage 1

  • Maintain traffic on existing bridge
  • Construct south portion of new bridge
  • Construct south portion of approach roadway
  • Relocate Utilities

Stage 2

  • Shift traffic to the new bridge
  • Remove the existing bridge
  • Construct the north portion of new bridge
  • Construct the north portion of approach roadway

Stage 3

  • Reset the temporary barrier and shift traffic to the
  • final lanes of new bridge
  • Construct the sidewalk on the south portion of new bridge

R.I. – Edgewood Intersection Painting Completed, Lights Turned On

Finally, County’s Public Works has finished painting lanes at the the Rhode Island avenue / Edgewood Road intersection. I was at the intersection yesterday afternoon and took a few pictures. Please se them below.

They also turned on the traffic lights in “red p flashing” mode. According to County’s Public Works, the lights will start flashing until they become fully functional from tomorrow. They need to make the lights flashing for 3 days as part of the installation process.

This means that until tomorrow, we’ll have to drive at the intersection “with cautions”. The stop signs will still be operational until this Thursday with additional right turn lanes open. Thus as far as the traffic rule goes until Thursday, we’ll have to follow the rules that apply to stop signs.

Let us thank our County councilwoman Mary Lehman, Public Works Director Dr. Haitham Hijazi, project manager Mr. Dwight Joseph and their staff for a job very well done for our community.

City Asks Hollywood Gateway Park Project Bids

The Little House - The City plans to build the Gateway Park at this site using Community legacy fund

City has recently asked for bids for the final design and construction of Hollywood Gateway Park at the intersection of Edgewood and Route 1.

The site is an approximately 6,800 square-foot lot at the southeast corner of U.S. Route 1 and Edgewood Road that is zoned Commercial Shopping Center (C-S-C).

The City of College Park purchased the property using Maryland Program Open Space (POS) funds and plans to redevelop the site as an eco park and gateway to the City and the Hollywood neighborhood, with an ecological and educational theme.

The City worked with students in the University of Maryland’s Landscape Architecture program to develop design concepts for the site through a competition and nine student teams prepared drawings for the site and presented them to the community.

The City has a total of $380,000 currently available for design and site improvements and could phase construction, if necessary, while additional funds are secured for future phases. The City owns the site and will operate and maintain the park.

The bidders have until no later than Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. to submit their proposals.

City to ‘Personalize’ Memorial Day Today

Veterans Memorial, College Park

The College Park Veterans Memorial Improvement Committee is looking to make the holiday a little more personal for residents.

Today, residents are encouraged to bring personal photos and memorabilia of loved ones who served the country, to be honored at a ceremony at the College Park Veterans Memorial. Photos and mementos will be displayed for viewing by attendees.

The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at the memorial.

On a side note, because today is a City holiday, offices and services will be closed. Trash pick up in District 1 will happen on Thursday, instead of this Wednesday.

NCP Crime Map: May 19 – 20, 2012

[mappress mapid=”69″]
Date of
Time of

05/21/2012651B & E, COMMERCIAL9300 Block BALTIMORE AVE
05/21/20121820THEFT10000 Block BALTIMORE AVE
05/21/20121927THEFT FROM AUTO4800 Block CHERRY HILL RD
05/23/2012524THEFT FROM AUTO9500 Block 49TH PL
05/23/20121306THEFT FROM AUTO4700  Block CHERRY HILL RD
05/24/20121704THEFT9900 Block RHODE ISLAND AVE

County’s Approved Budget Includes Rhode Island Ave. Improvement

Prince George's

Prince George's

Last week, the County Council adopted $2.7 billion Fiscal Year 2013 operating and capital budgets.

The budget placed a strong emphasis on improving public safety and continuing our commitment to our pre-K-12 education system, which accounts for 62 percent of spending.

The Council dedicated $5 million to pedestrian safety improvements: sidewalks, cross walks, lighting and improving Rhode Island Ave. in College Park.

After years of stagnant staffing levels in the police and fire departments, the county is working to increase the number of sworn officers after adjusting for retirements.

The county executive proposed and the council supported training of 150 police recruits for a total of 1,786 sworn officers. In the Fire Department, the administration proposed two classes of 25 recruits each for a total of 50 new firefighters, but the council pushed for and secured funds for an additional 20 recruits for a total of 70 new firefighters, bringing the number of sworn firefighters to 841.

The budget also includes bonuses for nearly all county employees. They will receive a $1,000 bonus in fiscal year 2012,
and another $1,250 in fiscal year 2013.

The county also approved a $2 billion capital budget on Thursday that includes $80 million for school renovation and construction.

North College Park Asks to Review Greenbelt North Core Development

Greenbelt  North Core

Greenbelt North Core

Recently, the North College Park Civic Association has sent a letter to the Mayor and Council with its views on proposed Greenbelt north core development.

In its letter it says “Over the past several months, members of the North College Park Citizens Association have attended the meetings of the M-NCPPC study for the Greenbelt Metro and MD 193 Corridor Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment. The findings of this study and plans for the future development of the Greenbelt Metro area will have major impacts on the community”.

Here is the text of the letter.

a. Mix of Uses to Serve North College Park. The members of NCPCA do not oppose the relocation of a major GSA tenant to the North Core. However, we strongly request that neighborhood-oriented retail development be prioritized for the area closest to the
Greenbelt Metro Station. Retail uses near the station will promote an attractive, pedestrian-oriented center closest to our community, and provide many benefits to our neighborhood. NCPCA has always supported the development of the North Core with a mix of uses, and continues to support Greenbelt Metro as an active urban center with local appeal.

b. Building Heights and Setbacks. The members of NCPCA support the architectural vision of the 2001 Greenbelt Metro Sector Plan that promoted the development of tall buildings at the center of the North Core with shorter buildings near the Metro Station and along the railroad tracks. A gradual step-down of building heights to our neighborhood will greatly reduce visual and reflected noise impacts of this development. NCPCA has always supported a vision of the North Core that included attractive building designs, with materials and architectural massing to reduce impacts to our community.

c. North South Connector Road. The members of NCPCA support construction of a new roadway with full cloverleaf interchange between the Beltway and MD 193. Several of our members participated in the SHA study that recommended a connector road along the east side of the North Core, and away from existing homes in College Park as a way to promote access while reducing direct visual and noise impacts to our community. NCPCA has always supported a transit-oriented Greenbelt Metro that minimizes automobile uses, and a Connector Road along the east side of the North Core.

d. Preservation of Narragansett Run. The members of NCPCA have longstanding concerns about flooding and groundwater impacts to their homes. Many residents believe that previous construction of the Metro station, tracks and parking lot adversely impacted drainage patterns. Many other residents believe that protecting local streams and forested areas near Greenbelt Metro are vital interests of the community, and that these areas should be preserved with as few impacts as possible. NCPCA has always supported the preservation of natural areas near Greenbelt Metro, and opposes any realignment or reengineering of Narragansett Run in its path from our community to its confluence with Indian Creek.

Group Gets Prepared for National Night Out

National Night Out (NNO) 2011

National Night Out (NNO) 2011

This year’s  National Night Out (NNO) event is still more than 2 months away, but City’s Neighborhood Watch group is already gearing up to organize the event.

Last year, the group held the NNO event at the College Park aviation Museum . The event featured free light refreshments, self-guided tours of the museum, visits by police from local agencies, a Police helicopter and fire department equipment. Several neighborhoods also had NNO observances at the same evening. See some pictures of the event here.

The group will be holding a community meeting at 7pm today at Davis Hall and is inviting residents to share their  thoughts & ideas on how to make the City of College Park’s observance of National Night Out at the College Park Aviation Museum this year the most memorable &
effective one, ever!

Davis Hall ((Public Works Bldg.)  is located at 9217 – 51st Avenue. College Park, MD

If you’re unable to attend, please send your suggestions to Neighborhood Watch’s Steering Committee at cpnwsc@collegeparkmd.gov.

Council Approves Budget, But not without Changes

The FY2013 draft budget book

The Council last night voted to approve the FY 2013 budget.

Based on the discussion in last week’s worksession, a small change was made to the draft budget – an amount of $4100 for Council retreat was taken out and put back to the reserve funds.

I’d like to thank our staff and colleagues for their good hard work in putting together this budget. We should all be happy to see a budget that does not ask for an increase in any kind of tax from our residents. We also did not add or raise any fines or fees for our residents.

Instead we added more services for our residents. We added 100,000 for an additional ful time police officer, 80,000 for the new middle and high school (College Park Academy), 25,000 to attract for environmentally friendly businesses, 20,000 for noise enforcement.

The Council could also make Cost of living adjustments (COLA) and merit increase for our staff. Our staff do really deserve this for the quality work They do.

That said, I wish our budget could be a bit more transparent in certain areas.  Our budget document is a 400+ page book, but does not talk in great details how exactly we spend 60% of our budget expenses that go to pay our staff. Many many other Cities voluntarily and proactively make these salary figures in details available as part of the budget process, and I don’t see why that cannot be done in our budget. It’s all part of transparency and our residents have the right to see how exactly their tax dollars are spent.

“If I were a Mayor, I would..” Contest Winners at Council Meeting Tonight

Mayor Essay Winners

"If I were a Mayor Essay" Winners at MML (2011)

Mayor Fellows will be in trouble at tonight’s Council meeting, when city’s at least five young students will challenge him with their ideas to make our city even a better place to live.

Every year, the Maryland Municipal League (MML) sponsors a contest for 4th grade students around the State, where students are asked to write an essay about what they would do if they were the mayors of their towns.

This year, students are asked to include ideas for reaching out to all community member. You can find more about the contest here at the  MML’s website.

Each school selects a winner of the essays submitted, and the winner goes on to a regional contest and then a State-wide contest.

At tonight’s meeting, the winners from Berwyn Christian School, Al-Huda, Hollywood Elementary School, Paint Branch Elementary School, and Holy Redeemer will read their essays.

Congratulations to all the winners!

College Park Central – Residents’ Service Request Portal Goes Live

College Park Central

After weeks of testing, the residents’ online service request portal has gone live on City’s website. Here is the link: https://clients.comcate.com/newrequest.php?id=165 .

The project has been designed to improve the quality of life by providing residents easy access to City’s various services.

Now you can submit complaints about issues in your neighborhood, such as tall grass, crime incidents, noise, litter, graffiti, etc. on this website. Registration is required when you use it for the first time. Please check this F.A.Q. section on how to submit complaints: https://clients.comcate.com/faq.php

You can submit your complaints anonymously, in case you do not want to provide any personal information. You can see responses on an online status screen or  you can choose not to receive any response.

Once you submit complaints, you can check back the status of your complaint here: https://clients.comcate.com/login.php?destination=%2Fmyfeedback.php

College Park Tour Visits Fishnet, This Wednesday

College Park Fishnet

The “Experience and Enjoy College Park Tour” will resume again this month with a visit to Fishnet, a relatively new restaurant on Berwyn Road.

This new restaurant has been receiving accolades from a number of sources.

Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema gives Fishnet three stars (out of four) . You can read his review here:

Date: Wednesday, May 23
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Place: Fishnet, 5010 Berwyn Road (www.eatfishnet.com)

The purpose of the “College Park Tour” is to provide an opportunity for College Park residents to meet other residents, talk about local issues, and support our local restaurants.

The guest speaker this month will be Rob Specter, the University of Maryland Vice President of Administrative Affairs.

This is a great opportunity to talk with one of the University’s “movers and shakers” who leads the University’s involvement in local development issues (including East Campus) as well as overseeing its public safety program.

To RSVP, please email ilovecollegepark@gmail.com.

Heavy Traffic Expected for Tomorrow’s UMD Commencement

UMD Commencement

The University of Maryland will hold its annual Commencement Ceremony tomorrow, when thousands of graduating students and their parents will gather at the university campus.

The campus-wide ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 20, at 1 p.m. in the Comcast Center. The procession of students will begin at 12:15 p.m. However the doors will open at 11am and the UMD is asking graduates report to Lot 4B Comcast no later than 11:45am.

The individual college or school ceremonies will occur at various times on Sunday, May 20 and Monday, May 21.

The traffic on Route 1 is expected to be heavy throughout the day tomorrow and possibly on Monday.

You can take a look at the schedules of individual ceremonies here on the commencement’s webpage.

Crosswalks Refreshed on Rhode Island Ave.

RhodeIsland Crosswalk - Before the refresh

If you’ve driven on Rhode Island Avenue between Edgewood and Rt 193 in recent days, you’ve probably seen this – many parts of the stripes on the four existing cross walks are faded / worn out and some parts of them are completely gone.

I took a picture of one of these crosswalks early this month (See that on the left). The DPW&T staff was requested if they could consider restriping them as part of their maintenance budget.

I just noticed last night that the DPW&T staff completed that refresh / repaint work. They are near Hollywood, Indian and Cherokee (near the Duvall Field), The crosswalk at Muskugee will be done when the pavement marking for the intersection is done.

Let’s thank the DPW&T staff for their prompt actions.

The DPW&T will also come to a public town hall meeting soon to talk about more permanent measures on pedestrian safety on Rhode Island Avenue. We’ll let you know when more details become available.

Cross walk at Hollywood Rd

Crosswalk near Indian Lane

Crosswalk near Cherokee St.

School Eyes Moving to College Park

"Available" - 4700 Berwyn House Rd

Chelsea School, a 35 year old private school currently located in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The school is currently searching for a new location because the current property is proposed to be purchased by a private development company for redevelopment. Since many of its students are from Prince George’s County, it has naturally been focusing upon areas within this County.

The school is currently focusing on the property and building located at 4700 Berwyn House Road in College Park. The School has an opportunity to purchase this property, and believes that the location and size of the building and property are ideal for its purposes.

The School leadership came to this week’s worksession to discuss this possible relocation with the Council.

The Berwyn House Road property is currently privately-owned, but the City-University Partnership has been looking at this property as a possible location for the College Park Academy.