University Hills is a quiet neighborhood bordered by Adelphi Road, University Blvd., Northwestern High School and the University Hills Park and Duck Pond, a popular destination for both locals and people from as far away as the District. Our children attend University Park Elementary School, a mere mile away. A few minutes’ drive gets us to the Prince George’s Plaza Metro–as well as the amenities of daily life, such as a grocery store, a Target and a modest shopping mall. The library is actually within walking distance, but if one is loaded down with books, there is free and plentiful parking.
The Landy Property development threatens to change all of this. Yes, the school will still be there. The Metro and the stores–even more of them in fact–will still be there. And the library will still be walking distance from our homes. However…
With the overcrowding at the elementary school resulting from Landy, our children will likely be reassigned to far away Paint Branch Elementary School, a school to which we have no community connection. This move has been previously proposed, but Paint Branch promises to be a good 45 minute or hour long bus ride away in rotten Route 1 traffic. (And it will only get worse).
Could the mile and a half drive to the Metro Station become a thirty minute trip? Since the Landy Property developers have coyly ducked the suggestion of adding a Metro shuttle to their development, and because they have allotted two parking spaces per unit (amounting to an astonishing 2,400 cars), you can bet that traffic snarls will overwhelm intersections. Think of the potential back-ups at East-West Highway and Adelphi/Queens Chapel and the various Adelphi, Belcrest and Toledo intersections. Which brings us to pedestrian safety…
Walk or bike to any of these destinations? I don’t think so. Pedestrian and bike safety has been on almost no one’s mind as the Metro area development has been planned. Without crossing guards at every intersection, you can be sure that frustrated commuters will be far from solicitous when it comes to giving pedestrians the right-of-way.
And our tranquility in University Hills? It could also be destroyed. There is talk that the Clay Property (which Mr. Blumberg gave to M-NCPPC in exchange for the environmental impact at the Landy development) will have its trees cut down and soccer fields put in their place. How will this new park be accessed? Through University Hills, specifically via Stanford Street and Rosemary Lane, both dead-end streets. It should be noted that these streets do not have sidewalks. They have little or no off-street parking. Adding park traffic to these narrow residential roads would be a disaster waiting to happen.
As concern grows in University Hills, citizens wonder what they can do to put the brakes on this project. There is still hope. By contacting County Councilman Will Campos (or Eric Olson, if you’re in his district), you can send a clear message that we will not tolerate these negative changes to our community. Ask for real and long term solutions.
Will Campos can be contacted at wacamposATco.pg.md.us or 301-952-4436. Eric Olson can be reached at eolsonATco.pg.md.us or 301-952-3060. Samuel Parker Jr., Chair of the Prince George’s County Planning Board, should also hear from you. Contact him at samuel.parkerATmncppc.org or by fax at 301-952-5074, send copies of your Planning Board letter to your councilperson and delegate. The Landy Property Planning Board hearing will be held July 12, so call or write soon!–SJP, University Hills