The University of Maryland’s Department of Public Safety has recently established the ‘preferred’ route from the University of Maryland Campus to the College Park Metro stop through a partnership between the University of Maryland and the City of College Park. This route has been given increased lighting, additional emergency phones and landscaping improvements in order to improve public safety and eventually clarify a walking route from the Metro station to the university.
The Department of Public Safety recommends (for your safety):
- Avoid walking alone
- Avoid using electronic devices that impair your senses
- Use police escorts
- Keep your eye on the blue-light phones
- Stay away from suspicious vehicles and persons
Hopefully this first preferred path is only the start to a network of ‘safe’ roads in College Park. While we’re glad that there is interest in clarifying the pedestrian-heavy route between the campus and the metro, there are plenty of other well-traveled roads to the metro that are not included in this plan. Knox and Hartwick Roads in particular, both connect to major student housing (students are likely the most at risk group) areas on the west side of Route 1, angle towards the metro on the east side, and are some of the most recognizable street names in the city. Neither of them are part of this preferred path. Knox Road would be the most logical path for late nighttime bargoers. We also question the rational for identifying the west half of Calvert Road as a preferred route from campus. Calvert Road does not come within several blocks of campus and also fails to connect with most of the major student developments closest to campus.
Hopefully the future plans of the Department of Public Safety include programs that would increase the amount of foot traffic along these pedestrian routes. Lighting and new landscaping is great, but more ‘eyes on the street’ in sparsely populated Old Town would help reduce crime over the long term.