KabirCares.org

Bike to Work Day is Around the Corner. Register Today!

If you haven’t already registered, Bike to Work Day is May 17! The City will once again host our Pit Stop in front of City Hall from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m.

Register for free at biketoworkmetrodc.org

f you’re one of the 20,000 to register, you can get a free t-shirt.

[City of College Park]

City’s Urban Forest is in Danger, But there is a Hope

Trees in a College Park park

The urban forest in College Park is under threat due to new construction and individual tree removal, the city’s tree canopy has been steadily declining since 2009 – a report has concluded.

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City Council will hear a presentation about the City-wide Tree Canopy Assessment. The City secured a consultant SavATree LLC to perform the assessment and to prepare the report. The tree canopy was assessed utilizing a combination of satellite imagery and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data.

The report also concludes that preserving the existing tree canopy is critical. Recent losses of the tree canopy, particularly on private land, highlight some of the threats to the city’s overall tree canopy.

While ordinances can help to prevent tree removal, it is difficult to legislate tree care and tree planning on private land, necessitating other approaches.

There is however hope. Residents hold the key. A clear majority of the city’s tree canopy is on residential land or on rights-of-way in residential areas. How residents value the trees in and around their property may very well be the determining factor in how the city’s tree canopy changes over the coming decade. If residents fail to care for their trees and plant new ones to replace those that have been lost the city’s urban tree canopy will continue to decline.

An analysis of the city’s tree canopy based on land cover data derived from circa 2018 data found that 1341 acres of the city is covered by tree canopy (termed Existing Tree Canopy). This represents 38% of all of the land within the City. An additional 43% (1545 acres) of the city’s land area contains space to accommodate tree canopy (termed Possible Tree Canopy). Within the Possible category, 28% (1009 acres) of total land area was classified as Vegetated Possible and another 15% (536 acres) as Impervious Possible. Establishing tree canopy on areas classified as Impervious Possible will have a greater impact on water quality and
summer temperatures while planting on Vegetated Possible (grass/shrub), will generally be easier. 19% (742 acres) of the city is generally not suitable for establishing new tree canopy (buildings and roads).

Additionally, the report encourages to continue mapping, monitoring, and inventorying.

This project was able to provide insights into changes to the city’s tree canopy over the past decade The Council will have a few options to consider:
(a) Support funding requests for tree planting on public and private lands
(b) Consider a new ordinance to address tree removals on private property
(c) Support tree planting in the public right-of-way to increase tree canopy where there is a distinct potential planting space

You can see the full report in our council agenda packet here: http://bit.ly/2GonV8N (page 4)

Tornado Watch, Until 3 a.m. Tonight

This evening, the National Weather Service issued the tornado watch, which runs until 3 a.m. on April 15.

According to the Watch (please see below), 13 Maryland counties, plus the city of Baltimore, have been asked to watch the tornado until early Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Showers and scattered thunderstorms are expected tonight into tomorrow that could generate damaging wind gusts and an isolated tornado. Heavy rain in thunderstorms may lead to isolated instances of flooding, the weather service says.

Tornado Watch, by the National Weather Service

 

Gov. Larry Hogan said: “I am asking all Marylanders to pay close attention to the updated weather forecasts for this evening and overnight.  The National Weather Service is predicting severe storms, high wind gusts, and the potential for isolated tornadoes across the state. Residents should take every possible precaution, and stay indoors away from windows during thunderstorms. It is especially critical to make sure that emergency alerts are turned on in your mobile device settings.”

 

Good Neighbor Day 2019 – In Pictures

GND is Tomorrow – You Can Join us at Hollywood Shopping Center

The 8th Annual Good Neighbor Day is TOMORROW! The event is on rain or shine.

  • You can join us directly near the MoM’s at the Hollywood Shopping Plaza (9827 Rhode Island Ave). There will be volunteers to register you.
  • Please arrive at 8:30 am for check-in. The projects are scheduled until 12:00 pm
  • Bring a filled reusable water bottle to the event
  • If you have a Good Neighbor Day T-shirt, wear it! (It’s the same design every year)
  • All tools and supplies will be provided
  • We’ll clean up the community garden and some of the neighborhood streets
  • Share your service moments with us by using #GoodNeighborDay2019

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Tonight’s NCPCA Meeting: 21st Delegation, Chick-fil-A Plan & City Budget

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

Today is the second Thursday of the month and hence the day when the North College Park Community Association (NCPCA) hosts its monthly meeting.

The meeting will start with an update from the MD 21st Delegation. Sen. Jim Rosapepe and Delegates of the Maryland’s 21stDelegation will be visiting with us tonight to present news about this year’s legislative session.

The members will discuss the NCPCA letter to Sen. Rosapepe and the City’s response to Sen. Rosapepe will be reviewed.  Questions and discussion with members of the 21st Delegation will follow.

Members will also discuss a proposal for a large restaurant with drive-in lanes near the College Park Veterans Memorial at US 1 and MD 193 Greenbelt Road will be reviewed.  Motion for NCPCA resolution regarding this project is likely afterward questions and answers.

NCPCA priorities were sent to Mayor & Council, and discussions are now underway.  Councilmembers Kabir and Mitchell are hosting a Budget Town Hall Meeting at Davis Hall, tomorrow, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.  Tonight would be an ideal time for recap and clarification of the members’ concerns.

As always, the meeting will take place at Davis Hall, at 7:30pm.

Lidl to Open Soon – Traffic Advisory this Weekend

College Park’s brand new grocery store Lidl is set to open soon – as early as in late May / early June. According to the latest announcement, the store was set to open this spring. I’ll keep you posted once we get a confirmation.

The 36,185 Square Feet store has been under construction starting early this year on the site previously occupied by Clarion Inn on Route 1 (near MD 193).

As part of the construction, this Friday, April 12 beginning at 9:00 a.m., the right-hand northbound lane of Baltimore Avenue (Route 1) by the Lidl construction site will be closed. Weather and progress permitting, all traffic lanes will reopen at 5:00 AM Monday, April 15, 2019. Please see below the letter for details.

A local artist was chosen to create a unique feature on the south-western corner of the lot.

LiDL opened its first store in Germany in 1973 and in the U.S. in 2017. The store operates out of the U.S. in Arlington, Virginia, and plans to expand to Long Island and New York City. Lidl’s other stores in the greater D.C. area are in Virginia: Woodbridge, Fredericksburg and Manassa, and in Ashburn. The store expects to offer groceries at affordable prices, similar at prices offered by Aldi.

Understanding New Zoning Laws

Join the Prince George’s County Council and the Prince George’s County Planning Department Today, April 9th at 6:30 pm for a Community Educational Forum about Understanding the New Zoning Laws. During the meeting, staff will be available to answer your questions about the new ordinance. The session will take place in the County Administration Building (14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772) in Room 2027.

(Prince George’s County Government)

Find How the Beltway Expansion Plan May Affect Your Homes

Several north College Park homes are at risk because of the Beltway expansion plan

Starting this week, the MDOT SHA will be hosting a series of public workshops to present its plan to widen the section of I-495 Beltway and I-270 highways.

Officials from the MDOT SHA will be out at these eight workshops  to “sell” the proposed plan about the traffic, environmental, and financial analyses for the recommended “Screened Alternatives along with the recommendations for the alternatives to be retained for detailed study in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement”.

The project, dubbed as the ‘Traffic Relief Plan,’ seeks to have the state partner with a private company to expand capacity on I-270 and the Maryland portion of the Beltway by adding toll lanes at “zero cost” to the state.

Though the original plan stated that it would not claim any private homes, recent comments from some officials suggest that is the best case option. Several homes along beltway, including as many as 45 homes in north College Park are at risk. Many north College Park residents are also worried about the indirect impact due to increased noise and pollution.

Advocacy groups like Cabe495 are working with residents to take their concerns to the MDOT.

The City of College Park has been opposing the expansion plan and has asked the MDOT to look into alternative transportation option to ease traffic. I, personally, testified with our concerns at the regional transportation meeting.

MDOT wants to fund construction of four new lanes on the Beltway and I-270 through the use of public-private partnerships, financing arrangements in which private-sector firms provide up-front monies in exchange for the right to collect tolls on the new lanes, for up to 50 years. Existing lanes would remain free.

The College Park City Council recently supported House Bill 1091 — a legislation that would require additional assessments of the environmental and financial impact of the proposal. That bill was approved by the House of Delegates 96-42 on March 18 but the Senate has been slow to move.

Map of I-495 and I-270 map showing the sections that might be widened (MDOT-SHA)

Spring Egg Hunt – Next Week

What: Spring Egg Hunt
When: Saturday, April 13, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Where: Youth & Family Services, 4912 Nantucket Road
It’s the City of College Park’s Annual Spring Egg Hunt!
Join us on Saturday, April 13 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at the City’s Youth and Family Services (4912 Nantucket Rd) for a spring-time fun egg hunt. There will be face painting, games, prizes, arts and crafts, meet the Bunny and more!

Want to Go Solar? Information Session

Join the City’s Committee for a Better Environment and the Solar United Prince George’s County Solar Co-Op for an information session on April 10 at 7:00 p.m. at Davis Hall. Learn more or sign up at solarunitedneighbors.org/pgcounty or mdteam@solarunitedneighbors.org

[City of College Park]

College Park Residents May be Getting their Own City Paper!

The last edition of the local newspaper – the Gazette

At this week’s meeting, the City Council gave general approval of a proposal to create a College Park only newspaper for city residents.

The Hyattsville Life and Times (HL&T) recently approached the City with this proposal. According to the proposal, the City will be buying ad spaces to promote City specific contents in the new paper. The new paper is expected to be mailed to all College Park residents.

The City currently shares these contents using its Municipal Scenes publication. City residents can get paper copies of the Municipal Scenes mailed to them by special requests.

Before the Gazette stopped its publication, the City used to buy space in the paper. The content included summaries of Council actions, City events, program announcements and hearing notices.

After the Gazette paper stopped its publication, there has been a vacuum in the easy access to local news and information, in particular, in the area of print media,

The Gazette was delivered to all single-family residences in the City (and beyond, to the entire northern P.G. County) and copies were also placed at various locations.

The Gazette stopped its publication on June 12, 2015.

After the Gazette announced its decision to discontinue publication, I asked to have a worksession to discuss exploring other ways to disseminate information to its residents. One idea was to partner with a local newspaper publisher, such as the HL&T.

At last week’s meeting, the City Council agreed to allocate $30,000 in this newspaper project, as part of the upcoming FY2020 budget. City staff is currently working out the details about the proposal. The City Council is expected to review the final proposal for at least one last time before it gives the final approval. I’ll keep you posted as this idea moves forward. Please stay tuned!

[Photo credit: Hyattsville News and Life]

College Park PGPD Crime Map: March 2019

The College Park March 2019 PGPD crime map was generated from the PGPD crime data for the period of March 3 – March 31, 2019 (Beat 7) and March 5 – April 1, 2019 (Beat 6). The interactive map can be seen here: http://bit.ly/2TQYMqH. Here is the summary of crime incidents by major neighborhoods.

NeighborhoodsTotal # of incidents# of incidents per 1000 housing units
North College Park164.3
Mid Town31.3
Old town/Calvert Hills62.9
Yarrow and Estate00
West College Park22.9

Additional crime incidents inside the UMD campus and the surrounding areas can be found here on the UMPD website: http://bit.ly/2OKqgNQ

Last month, some of you asked me to present the population in the each major neighborhood along with the crime data in the corresponding neighborhoods. Unfortunately, U.S. Census does not give us the number of residents living in each neighborhood. That said, I’ve compiled the number of housing units in the major neighborhoods and calculated the number of crime incidents per 1000 housing units. Hopefully, this will give a better crime indicator in these neighborhoods.

Please note that, when it comes to crime analysis based on population, it’s also important to include the transient population in addition to the residents population. The transient population includes people who work, study or visit the city, but do not live in the city. For example, a good percentage of UMD’s staff and students do not live in the city, but frequent the midtown and downtown areas of the city and fall in this category. Unfortunately, we do not have counts of this category of population.

North College Park (16)

March 3 thru March 11, 2019
9500 Blk Baltimore AveVandalism
4800 Blk Fox STStolen Veh
4700 Blk Cherry hill RDTheft from auto

 

March 12 thru March 16, 2019
4700 Blk Cherry Hill RDVandalism
4700 Blk Cherry Hill RDVandalism
9000 Blk 51ST PLTheft from auto
9600 blk Baltimore AVETheft from auto
4700 Blk Cherry Hill RdTheft
9100 Blk Baltimore AveTheft from auto
9500 Blk Baltimore AVEVandalism

 

March 17 thru March 23, 2019
9600 Blk Baltimore AveStolen auto
5000 Blk Laguna RDVandlism
4700 Blk Cherry Hill RDVandalism

 

March 24 thru March 31, 2019
9803 52ND PLAssault
9006 51ST AVEStolen Auto
10200 BALTIMORE AVETheft from auto

 

West College Park (2)

March 3 thru March 11, 2019
Davidson STVandalism
9200 Blk Limestone PLTheft from auto

 

Mid Town (3)

March 17 thru March 23, 2019
8400 Blk Baltimore AveTheft

 

March 24 thru March 31, 2019
9020 BALTIMORE AVE SBTheft

 

March 26 – April 1, 2019
8300 bk of Baltimore AveTheft from auto

 

Old town (6)

3/5/19-3/11/19
4600 blk of Norwich RdVandalism
4400 blk of Knox RdVandalism

 

3/12/19-3/18/19
4600 blk of Norwich RdTheft from auto

 

3/26/19-4/1/19
7400 blk of Dickinson AveStolen auto
7300 blk of Baltimore AveAssault
7700 blk of Baltimore AveTheft from auto

 

Yarrow and Estate (0)

 

 

Housing Units in College Park’s Neighborhoods

Towns and jurisdictions often use the number of housing units in different sections / areas within their towns when they analyze events (such as crime incidents) and discuss future policy decisions (such as adding future amenities etc.).  Recently, I came across the latest data on the apartments (student and multi-family) in the city. I combined that with the number of single-family homes in different neighborhoods and prepared this list.

North College Park (3709)
Single family homes2264
Camden508
Monument235
Mazza232
Wynfield302
Ferris Manor60
Attic tower108
Mid Town (2230)
Single family homes548
University View I507
University View II360
The Varsity258
Spellman141
Parkside128
Enclave97
University Club135
Alden-Berkley Townhouses56
Old town / Calvert Hills (2125)
Single family homes554
Landmark267
4611 – 4613 Calvert Road31
Terrapin Row418
South Campus Commons599
Domain College Park256
Estates and Yarrow (314)
Single family homes314
West College Park (667)
Single family homes667

Please Register – Good Neighbor Day 2019

This year’s annual Good Neighbor Day is just around the corner. On Saturday, April 13, 2019, local residents will be joining UMD students, faculty, staff, alumni in a number of service projects to clean up many parts of the entire city and make them safer and more beautiful.

In north College Park, the volunteers will clean up the Hollywood Community Garden and a number of our streets.

Please register the event at goodneighborday.umd.edu.