Last week, I asked the Council to send a letter to Prince George’s County requesting funding for sidewalks and bike lanes on Rhode Island Avenue from Paducah Road to Sunnyside Avenue. This segment of Rhode Island Avenue is an essential link between the neighborhoods of the City of College Park and the commercial and business district in Beltsville. But unfortunately, it is lacking in proper shoulders, sidewalks, drainage, and bikes lanes.
Many pedestrians, walkers, and bicyclists travel this segment of Rhode Island Avenue every day for work, shopping, and exercise. The roadway in its current condition is not very safe for pedestrians. The shoulders of the existing roadway are narrow and overgrown. There is an inadequate separation between vehicles and pedestrians. Vehicles are required to cross the center lane when passing pedestrians.
The County initiated 3 related improvements for Rhode Island Ave. in 2003. the county was able to get the first phase completed around 2007, which involved signalizing the Edgewood intersection. Unfortunately, before it could move on to phase 2, the fiscal crisis interceded and many capital projects had to be deferred.
At this point, DPWT will be transferring control of Rhode Island Ave. in the City limits to College Park. This transfer will eliminate the need for the capital budget to upgrade phase 2 of the project. The part of phase 3 (up to Paducah) will also be taken over by College Park. College Park City Council will appreciate prioritizing what remains of phase 3 (Paducah to Route 1) in the upcoming capital budget program.
At last night’s meeting, the Council approved this letter to “support the extension of sidewalks and bike lanes along Rhode Island Avenue from Paducah Road to Sunnyside Avenue”. The letter recognizes that College Park is a walkable community and for this reason, we support the needed improvements to Rhode Island Avenue to enhance the safe movement of pedestrians between the neighborhoods and the commercial area.
The County’s budget process is well underway and it’s important we ask the County to add a budget for this important improvement. Please write to CM Dernoga (email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), the County Council (email: email@example.com), and the Acting DPW&T Director Martin Harris (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)