Category Archives: Route 1 Corridor

Route 1 Sector Plan Update Meeting & More

Fun new meetings on our Events page, most immediately a July 8 gathering on the Rt. 1 Plan. Rethink College Park provide a nice bit of data-driven context for this plan by tallying all the residential units and commercial square footage in the development pipeline at the moment. A recent note from Chad Williams at M-NCPPC updated citizens on the Route 1 Sector Plan. In case you did not receive it…

“I just wanted to let you know that due to circumstances beyond our control we will be unable to make our target date of tomorrow afternoon for distribution of copies of the Preliminary Central US 1 Corridor Sector Plan and Proposed Sectional Map Amendment document.

However, I do want to reassure you that you will still have plenty of time to read and review this document prior to the Joint Public Hearing that is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 in the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro. The legally mandated timeframe for review of preliminary plans is 30 days, which would mean copies must be available no later than August 15. We will continue to make every effort to provide copies as early in July as feasible to provide extra time for your review and to prepare comments on the plan for the public hearing record.

In the meantime, the meeting that has been scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8 at the Gildenhorn Recital Hall in the Clarice Smith Center will still occur. The purpose of this meeting is to present an overview of the recommendations of the preliminary sector plan to provide some background as you begin your reading and review.

I will send another message to this group once copies are available for pick-up and online.”

Other notes from our inbox included these tidbits:

Green Infrastructure Plan Legislation In 2005, the County Council approved the first-ever Green Infrastructure Plan for the county. The legislation to implement the plan has recently been transmitted to the County Council for review. Details on the plan and legislation can be found at Environmental Projects.

Review of County Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations The Planning Department has recently hired a consultant to propose amendments to the county’s existing regulations to better implement the General Plan. More details on this new project can be found at Development Review.

Envision Prince George’s Lives And you thought all that visioning stuff might have died a quiet death. “The Prince George’s County Planning Department is pleased to announce the selection of AmericaSpeaks—a nationally recognized nonprofit organization specializing in public engagement on community and policy issues to support Envision Prince George’s! We are excited that the organization pioneered concepts in community engagement and has an exemplary record of doing so with both the strategic expertise and the energy that is needed to make this initiative a success and sustain our efforts.”

A new  newsletter includes the dates of community planning events and updates from the Department and information on upcoming Envision workshops and events…eventually they will think to put these on the event calendar.

Leave a comment

Filed under Growth, Planning, Planning Board, Public Input, Public Transit, Route 1 Corridor, Route 1 Sector Plan, Transportation

Buy Local: Shop, Eat & Drink

42-15529187This holiday season keep your hard-earned dollars in the community and working for you by spending locally.

You can have an impact. Shifting even a small amount of your spending from chains to locally owned businesses can have a major impact on the local economy. According to a new study, in Western Michigan, if the 600,000 residents of Grand Rapids and surrounding Kent County were to redirect just 10 percent of their total spending from chains to local businesses, it would create nearly $140 million in new economic activity for the region and 1,600 new jobs.

Add that to a recent report on how Wal-Mart and other big box retailers legally skim sales tax and you have to wonder how priorities became so skewed. In Maryland alone, we’ve lost $31,000,000 in potential sales tax revenue.

Our new and redeveloping districts need you this season. Please support the locally owned businesses of Gateway Arts District, Hyattsville, EYA, University Town Center and in College Park. Think of these businesses for gift certificates, catering, office or class gift exchanges and more. Many are new businesses–let them know what you are looking for, ask if they order, speak up if you’d like to see a menu item added.

Buying locally creates community: support our local economy to build a sustainable future for the Route 1 Corridor.

1 Comment

Filed under Community, Local Economy, Retail, Route 1 Corridor

Bring Joe’s Electric Bus to Route 1

At a meeting in June of 2007, a group of Route 1 area residents had a chance to talk frankly with SHA Administrator Neil Pederson about transportation issues, congestion, capacity, possible improvements and Route 1. During the meeting, Riverdale Park resident Joe Kelly popped out with a great idea that’s been talked about since with public officials, now we need you to add your voice to the chorus.

Here’s the concept: Joe’s Electric Bus would run regular loops on Route 1 for a nominal fee, just as DC’s Circulator does. It should serve the Route 1 communities, Arts District, Gateway and area Metro/Purple Line stops from Eastern Ave. to the Beltway, perhaps running loops north from 410 and south from 410. Joe thought this would be convenient, environmentally friendly and a perfect opportunity for an innovative business person (or forward-thinking government). Somehow the picture of a purple bus with bright, psychedelic lettering gained currency and this imaginary bus was christened Joe’s Electric Bus.

Meanwhile, Prince George’s County has been working on a draft Transportation Master Plan that strongly recommends the developed tier implement a strong “urban-style” bus system. Although several points highlighted as possible connections in a July presentation fall in the Rt. 1 area, there are very few specifics available online currently. This Thursday, the Planning Board will take up a staff request to print the preliminary plan–it would be great to have Joe’s Electric Bus included.

So click the Email Lady to send a note to Planning Board Chairman Sam Parker and your county council person urging them to include a Route 1 looped bus route in the plan. Then get your friends & neighbors on the bus, OK?

More on the Preliminary Countywide Master Plan of Transportation
Presentations
Open House Comments
Timetable

2 Comments

Filed under Infrastructure, Planning Board, Public Input, Public Transit, Route 1 Corridor, Transportation

Countywide Visioning Process Launches

Envision Prince George's

Friday brought the second one-day economic outlook forum called “Envision Prince George’s” sponsored by the Prince George’s County Planning Department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), along with the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Prince George’s County government. And while the morning was interesting and worthwhile, the afternoon presentations were the real deal.

Dr. Stephen Fuller, Director of the Center for Regional Analysis and professor of public policy at George Mason University gave a frank and unvarnished assessment of the strengths of the county and pulled no punches as he discussed where we were and where we needed to be to compete regionally for jobs. He spoke persuasively about past land use decisions and current opportunities. Richard Florida, professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and author of The Rise of the Creative Class and Who’s Your City, followed with a fairly general talk. But on the heels of Fuller’s brief, it had a little more impact.

Planning Board Chairman Samuel J. Parker, Jr. stole the show though with his announcement that the Planning Board would launch a visioning process, with an opportunity for significant public input. This process, while long overdue, will allow community input to shape our area’s future development.

Envision Prince George’s has four major goals:

  • Educate a broad cross-section of community stakeholders about the collaborative visioning process and need for their participation.
  • Engage individuals and groups across the county in a facilitated process to solicit their input into the vision for the county’s future.
  • Articulate their desired outcomes as a shared vision for quality of life in the county.
  • Translate that vision into subsequent goals and implementation strategies that help shape agency work programs and guide county policies. (Emphasis added)

The final product will be a community development framework that can inform decision-making, for example, in land use development, planning, and community services that are in alignment with future vision of the county as described by its committed and engaged citizenry.

Many jurisdictions across the country have forward-thinking plans, one of them is just across the Potomac. In 1960, Arlington County, Virginia adopted a comprehensive plan with five basic elements. Politicians have come and gone, but the comprehensive plan has continued to provide a unifying framework for Arlington’s growth. It has been updated, but basic principles remain intact and the county is now the transit-oriented development model for the rest of the nation.

Let’s hope that the same sort of coherent and community-driven plan, along with an updated zoning ordinance, can come out of Prince George’s visioning process. Kudos to Mr. Parker and his colleagues for kicking this off. Visit the project site and sign up now to help shape your county.

1 Comment

Filed under Community, Events, Infrastructure, Planning, Planning Board, Public Input, Route 1 Corridor

US 1 Corridor Sector Plan News

US 1 sign

Why Are We Doing This?
If, like me, you were curious as to the rationale for the sector plan update, here’s the short version. The City of College Park requested that M-NCPPC revisit the sector plan to better address development concerns such as architectural guidelines, building height and other issues. To quote the project site:

Unanticipated development pressure in the area and an inadequate transportation system has resulted in conditions at odds with the recommendations and design standards of the current plan.

Updated Boundaries
On September 17 at a community meeting in College Park, M-NCPPC planner and project manager Chad Williams announced revised boundaries for the update to the US 1 Corridor Sector Plan. The new boundaries will stop at Guilford Road, the southern edge of College Park, and will not include the Cafritz property, portions of University Park or Riverdale Park. In response to opposition from the University Park Town Council and other county officials, this area was dropped from the plan. The northern boundaries of the proposal remain unchanged and have expanded beyond the 2002 sector plan.

Understanding the Process
You maybe be wondering: what’s the process and how does the community fit in? The US 1 Corridor Sector Plan will follow an 18-month planning cycle. The College Park community meeting was part of the pre-planning phase, presumably to hear initial public comment.

So what’s next? Next week, there’s the Planning Board initiation to formally begin the project. In two months, December 5-10 (location TBD), there will be a series of open design meetings (called a charrette) where community members can make specific recommendations. This is our best opportunity to express specific ideas and concerns about development along US 1.

Next summer, there will be public hearings on the first draft of the plan and the following spring (2010) the proposal will go before the county council for approval. The project web site has more information on the process and schedule.

And The Next Meeting is…
On Thursday, October 2 in Upper Marlboro, the Planning Board will initiate the US 1 Corridor Sector Plan. What is this, you ask, and is it important for the community to attend? This is a regular meeting of the Planning Board and the Sector Plan will be one of many issues discussed. Can the public comment on the proposal to the full planning board? Yes. If you would like to speak, please contact the Planning Board at 301-952-3560 to ensure adequate time is added to the agenda.

This excerpt from the RFP for this project summarizes the public outreach plan; hopefully a more complete plan will be available after the project’s formal initiation. The full RFP appears here, skip to page 10 for the meat of the request.–Michelle H.

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Public Input, Route 1 Corridor, Route 1 Sector Plan

Meetings, meetings

and more meetings are sure to come. Please check the Events page for a list and links.

Plus East Campus is on the fast track for development review. If you care about this development and its impact, please file a Request to Become a Person of Record. This is a easy way to stay up to date on all actions regarding a development you are concerned about. Just complete the form and use the project name University of Maryland East Campus and the DSP 08030. M-NCPPC’s Henry Zhang is doing the review along with Jeanette Reed.
9/10/08 parties were to identity major issues of concern
9/19/08 subdivision review
9/25/08 referral due date–response from concerned parties

Leave a comment

Filed under Growth, Planning, Public Input, Route 1 Corridor, Route 1 Sector Plan

Updating the Route 1 Sector Plan

Exciting summer reading!

Planner Chad Williams of M-NCPPC will make a presentation on the Central US 1 Corridor Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment on Monday for the University Park Town Council (event details here). The public is invited and Mayor John Tabori hopes residents of neighboring communities will attend as well.

Williams will discuss the possibility of extending the Route 1 Sector Plan’s boundaries, which encourages dense, mixed-use development along Route 1. The plan is currently confined to Route 1 in College Park but a preliminary proposal would move the southern boundary to East-West Highway/410. Williams will discuss

  • the plan’s purposes
  • preliminary boundaries
  • consultant team
  • timeline
  • citizen participation process

But the plan’s proposed boundaries will be the evening’s focus. The towns of University Park, Riverdale Park and the Calvert Hills neighborhood of College Park would be impacted by the boundary extension. What are the positives and negatives?

Would this allow Route 1 towns to better address traffic concerns? Would it involve rezoning Route 1 properties from single family to mixed use? Would it be better to pursue comprehensive planning standards along Route 1 from Eastern Ave. to 495? This might knit together our sector plans, transit districts and overlays into a coherent whole.

Williams presented a lot of information on growth in the Route 1 corridor at a crowded November gathering in College Park. His PowerPoint and the plan is available here, under Council Forum on November 2007. It provides an overview of projects already approved and in the pipeline and details the dramatic increase in housing and commercial inventory headed for Route 1.

Leave a comment

Filed under Calvert Hills, College Park, Community, Events, Growth, Hyattsville, Planning, Public Input, Riverdale Park, Route 1 Corridor, Route 1 Sector Plan, University Park