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City Asks County to Build Sidewalks and Bike Lanes on Rhode Island Avenue North of College Park

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: tedernoga@co.pg.md.us ), the County Council (email: clerkofthecouncil@co.pg.md.us), and the Acting DPW&T Director Martin Harris (email:  mlharris@co.pg.md.us)

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4 Comments to “City Asks County to Build Sidewalks and Bike Lanes on Rhode Island Avenue North of College Park”

  1. By Alaina, January 12, 2022 @ 8:40 pm

    Thank you for doing this! It’s so important that we have high quality, safe infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.

  2. By David, January 13, 2022 @ 6:58 am

    Awesome! This is huge. It may not be much to most, but RI Ave is a slightly calmer walking alternative to busy route 1. It keeps peds away from the insane Cherry Hill / I495 ramps. It will be amazing to have a safer path for those who use this everyday. RI Ave has so much more potential than a cut-thru alternative to Route 1. YAY!

  3. By Scott, January 13, 2022 @ 9:06 pm

    Thank you since there is really needed. It could help businesses if people could travel further north

  4. By DAK4Blizzard, January 13, 2022 @ 10:55 pm

    I’d like to see a bike pedestrian path on the west side of Rhode Island Ave for 3 reasons.

    1) No relocation or fiddling of the utility poles on the east side required.

    2) There’s more opportunity for shade on the west side. People will tend to use this path during the daytime when it’s warm or hot. Trees could possibly be planted on the west side of the path, and if so they would provide shade during the hotter hours in the afternoon. (Any trees east of the path would only provide shade before noon, when it’s cooler.)

    3) A path on the west side would better connect with an existing sidewalk on the south side of Sunnyside Ave, as well as a more consistent sidewalk on the west side of Rhode Island north of Sunnyside Ave.

    I acknowledge there’s already a sidewalk on the east side of Rhode Island Ave south of Paducah Rd. But in addition to 2 existing crosswalks, there’s an existing path west of Rhode Island Ave, between Sunnyside Park and the National Agricultural Library. It doesn’t have driveways and is shaded.

    Also regarding the “more consistent sidewalk on the west side of Rhode Island north of Sunnyside Ave”, I wrote to PG County in 2019 asking for a sidewalk farther north on the east side of Rhode Island Ave in Beltsville where there’s a gap: across from the Wawa gas station by the Public Storage building. It seems they rejected the request, as the status on it was closed with nothing done.

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