What the Next U-MD President Can Do

This is a reprint of a Op-Ed piece from the Sunday Washington Post by Eric Olson a current member of the Prince George’s County Council and former Councilman from the City of College Park.

The August departure of C.D. Mote Jr. after 12 years as president of the University of Maryland is obviously a major moment for the institution. But it means just as much to the surrounding community, and it’s important that the person who is chosen to succeed him embrace a number of ideas that will move the university and community forward together.

Local residents need a university president who truly becomes part of our Prince George’s County community and who shares in our efforts to increase opportunities at the elementary, secondary and higher education levels. We also want a partner in building an even stronger environment for job creation, energy efficiency and investment. Finally, residents seek redevelopment that would transform College Park into a more bustling “college town,” with all the unique restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and arts and culture of other major university communities.

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Next College Park Tour Event June 23rd

The next “Experience College Park Tour” event will be Wednesday June 23rd at 7pm at Plato’s Diner.  Our featured guest this time will be the State Senator  for the 21st District Jim Rosapepe. This event is open for anyone who lives, works, or plays in College Park and would like to get together to discuss local issues or just enjoy the great desserts offered up at Plato’s.

RSVP via Facebook HERE

UMD And Lockheed Martin Corp. Form Partnership


The University of Maryland and Lockheed Martin Corp. last Friday announced a new partnership that would potentially help fill more research and office space at the M-Square research park. The Fortune 500 global security company and the university have ties that go back 60 years. Lockheed Martin has committed to spend $1 million dollars per year for three years with the possibility of continued support in the future.

The new agreement provides a strategic framework for current and future cooperation that leverages the resources, talent, and ideas of both institutions to produce innovative solutions for global and national security challenges. The agreement provides for work in three key areas: Centers of Collaboration, Joint Pursuit of Business Opportunities, and Enhanced Research and Development.

It is currently unknown if the partnership will require space at UMD’s M-Square research park. There are three additional buildings that have not broken ground yet. The key focus areas in the partnership would be a perfect fit at M-Square.

Officials say a key part of the new strategic relationship is the creation of Centers of Collaboration, which will support sustained cooperative work in mutually agreed-upon areas – initially logistics and sustainment, climate change, and cyber-security.

Current tenants at M-Square include the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity organization, Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Earth System Science and Interdiciplinary Center, and the American Center for Physics to name a few.


DC to Expand Bike Share Program, Will UMD/CP Get on Board?

A few weeks back, the DC Department of Transportation and Arlington County announced plans to replace DC’s SmartBike bikesharing program that it instituted in 2008. They announced that they’ll expand the program this fall from 100 bikes at 10 stations to 1,100 bikes at 114 stations. 14 of new stations will be in Arlington. They christened the more ambitious program two days ago as “Capital Bikeshare” after a public vote. According to DDOT:

The new system will be similar to the one the Public Bike System Company (PBSC), based in Montreal, produced, commonly known as BIXI. The BIXI system has been running in Montreal since 2009 and will be arriving soon in Minneapolis, London, and Melbourne, Australia. BIXI bike sharing stations are solar powered and use wireless technology to allow for easy installation and adjustments. It may look different, but the BIXI bicycle has many of the same features as the Smartbike: 3-speed, internal hub gears, fenders, chain guard, lights, and a front rack. Annual, monthly, and daily memberships will be available for area residents and visitors.

A grant may expand the program even further. We noted back in February, that the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments(MWCOG) did not win the $10 million for bikeshare expansion that it had applied for through a federal stimulus program called TIGER. UMD and the City of College Park were a party to that grant application, but unfortunately that money was highly competitive and grant requests outstripped available funding by 38 times. MWCOG will submit another application for a second round of TIGER funding. They’re proposing to add an additional 2,250 bikes to the 1,100 already in the works. It looks like CP will be a party to the grant application again and so will UMD presumably. Unfortunately, things will be just as competitive this time around and 20% in local matching dollars are now required. That match may be tough to come by in this economy… especially since the system isn’t expected to break even for some time.

Interestingly, Prince George’s County as a whole has not and is not considering jumping on this opportunity. Since all the bikes in Capital Bikeshare would be interoperable with different racks across the region, the College Park bikes would in theory exist in their own bubble… it’s hard to imagine that they will ever leave the city. Membership would cost $80 a year and the first 30 minutes the bike is out would be free. The nearest non-CP rack would be miles away, but we think if there are a critical mass of bikes such a program could be quite popular intra-city.

Here is a cool video of the old SmartBike system:

SmartBike DC“, a video by EMBARQ

Charrette Outlines Future Development Near Mowatt Lane

On April 30, 2010 a Charrette was held in City Hall on the Domain project and the surrounding area. This also includes the area of the Mosaic at Turtle Creek. The goal was to come up with a overall vision for the area that can guide future development and create a mixed use neighborhood with tree-lined, predestrian and bicycle-friendly streets.

This area is located at the intersection of the Campus edge (near the Smith Business School) and a residential area. This is mostly on undeveloped property. There are many religious buildings in the immediate vicinity. The Domain project is located at the intersection of Campus Drive and Mowatt Lane while the Mosaic project located off Mowatt Lane.

The comprehensive vision includes 3 primary themes.

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Food Safety Lab Coming to M Square

The Gazette is reporting on a new 5,000 square foot Food Safety lab to be in place in the Patapsco building by July of 2011. This is a  joint venture with the Waters Corp. and the University.  The Patapsco location is ideal for a lab such as this since it is directly next to the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition building.  Scientists will attend two-week training sessions at the new lab which will be called the International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL).

About 200 foreign scientists will be taught there annually by members of the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, a collaborative program between the university and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The lab will have a staff of five full-time workers.

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