At last night’s meeting, the City Council voted on an Ordinance, authorizing the acquisition, ownership, jurisdiction, control and maintenance of Rhode Island Avenue from Paducah Road to Greenbelt Road from Prince George’s County.

Thank you all for your important input on the proposal.

There are many benefits of the City’s ownership of this segment of Rhode Island Avenue.

(1) Help with the current and future projects: In North College Park, the City has invested in two major projects along Rhode Island Avenue, namely the Hollywood Streetscape Project and Rhode Island Avenue Buffered Bike Lane Project – which will extend the trolley trail to the northern end of College Park. These two projects prompted a discussion with Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation about the transfer of the road from the County to the City, as the ownership will facilitate the implementation of current and future projects. Negotiations have resulted in a proposed Road Transfer Agreement. The City has experienced delays and added costs with the approval process on two projects it has undertaken along Rhode Island Avenue. We could anticipate additional costs, delays, and denials for our projects if the roadway remains a County road. The road has not been maintained at a high level, which detracts from the quality of the community.

(2) Improved Services: We hope to see some significant improvements in the way the City will provide services on this segment of Rhode Island Avenue. For example, the snow cleaning of the road during winter is expected to be a lot faster, as the County snow trucks take some time to clean the County roads.

(3) Road Safety: Many residents have told us this segment of Rhode Island Avenue is too dangerous, for both motorists and pedestrians. Despite the fact that we added a few yellow flashing RRFB lights at multiple intersections, some motorists often disregard these lights. Others have complained about motorists drive too fast. Some residents have also asked to reduce the speed limit on the road. This could be finally possible if the City is able to own the road.

(4) Improved Traffic Flow: The other benefit of ownership is that the City will be able to address the current traffic issues on Rhode Island Avenue. Now it’s very difficult to turn left or cross Rhode Island Ave from either side of the road at all crossings on Rhode Island Avenue, especially during peak time. The City has been asking the County to address this important issue for more than a decade, but unfortunately, they haven’t been able to look into this.

(5) Economic Development / Revenue: Finally, an improved Rhode Island Ave with new amenities along the road will help revitalize the Hollywood commercial district and will help bring additional revenue.

We’re very much aware of the cost issue you mentioned, and thank you for bringing this up. A significant portion of the cost is the road resurfacing – which the County said will do before they hand the road over to us for $0. The next resurfacing will happen in 20 years.

Given many benefits the City’s ownership will bring, the City Council unanimously voted to approve the takeover proposal.