COLLEGE PARK – College Park, Berwyn Heights, Riverdale Park, University Park and Hyattsville have formed a coalition to address mutual concerns along the Route 1 corridor near the University of Maryland. The Route 1 University Communities Coalition met formally for the first time to discuss development and safety issues on Route 1 Wednesday night. Visionary […]
COLLEGE PARK – College Park, Berwyn Heights, Riverdale Park, University Park and Hyattsville have formed a coalition to address mutual concerns along the Route 1 corridor near the University of Maryland.
The Route 1 University Communities Coalition met formally for the first time to discuss development and safety issues on Route 1 Wednesday night. Visionary planning and open discussion among municipalities would help improve Route 1, city council members and mayors from the municipalities said.
“A number of us got together and brainstormed enough ideas to say collaboration would be helpful for all of us,” said College Park City Councilman Patrick Wojahn.
Municipalities already collaborate, Wojahn said, citing the Prince George’s County Municipal Association and the Four Cities Coalition, which includes the cities of College Park, Greenbelt, New Carrolton and Berwyn Heights, as examples.
“We tend to think on our little turfs. We don’t ever pull back and think strategically,” said Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo.
Route 1 has experienced a surge in development projects, especially in the section of the corridor nearest to the University of Maryland. Near the University of Maryland, more student housing and hotels are being constructed. In the southern portion of the Route 1 corridor, the Hyattsville Arts District is nearly complete and the Cafritz mixed-use site in Riverdale, which would include the area’s first Whole Foods, will be constructed soon.
To help alleviate traffic, the State Highway Administration already has a plan to widen the corridor to fit two vehicles and a bike lane going both ways. But to widen the lane, the SHA has to reduce the width of the pedestrian walkways on both sides, something that the coalition attendees expressed concern about.
David Lingua, a Riverdale Park councilmember, characterized Route 1 development as “urbanization of a state highway.” Lingua and other meeting attendees said it is a challenge to alleviate traffic while making the corridor pedestrian friendly. However, meeting attendees did not discuss solutions.
Calvo said he want the coalition to take actions to solve problems, not just discuss mutual interests or concerns.
“The Four Cities Coalition discusses items of mutual interest, and it changes your view of seeing things,” Calvo said. “But I’m interested in putting money in a format where we do not just discuss things, but champion things.”
Riverdale Park Mayor Vernon Archer said he got a better understanding of development in the area, and that the coalition, when organized a little bit more, is a step in the right direction to improving Route 1.
The coalition plans to meet quarterly, possibly rotating meeting locations amongst the municipalities.