Yesterday, the Maryland Park and Planning Commission held a hearing on a request to add “right-in” access to the proposed RST development from Baltimore Avenue. This was a reconsideration request to make a change to the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision(PPS), which was approved by the Planning Board before. Following the PPS approval, the Planning Board and the County Council have already approved the project’s Detailed Site Plan (DSP).

The College Park City Council and the neighborhood asked the RSP developers to apply for the “right-in” reconsideration request when they discussed the project’s DSP a few week’s ago. During the discussion, the City Council and neighborhood residents have raised concerns about the increased traffic on Cherokee Street. The Level of Service at the Route 1 and Cherokee Street intersection is now and will remain a D in the AM peak and an E in the PM peak. These levels are close to the failing levels. The situation will worsen when the Metropolitan development is completed at the opposite side of the intersection.

A right-in access from the Route 1 would have definitely decreased the traffic capacity of the intersection. This solution is supported by the Applicant, our City Council, and community residents and is conceptually acceptable by the State Highway Administration SHA.

There are currently eight right-in, right a=out access points to the site between Cherokee street and Delaware street. Adding just one right-in access to this very long stretch of Route 1 will not cause any adverse effect on pedestrian safety. Also, there will not be any retail, no storefront along the 600-foot-long property frontage. This is a long block, and having mid-block access to a garage is very usual.

There has been a well-established 70+ years old neighborhood surrounding this development. The residents and the City Council are extremely concerned about the change in the traffic situation that will negatively impact these long-time residents. So there is definitely a public interest issue that can make in this case.

The applicant provides that the reconsideration request is in substantial public interest and supported by good cause. However, the Planning staff said they do not believe that there is good cause for reconsideration, so does not believe there was an error made in reaching the original decision on the PPS. The Planning Board members, in the end, turned down the applicant’s request.