County Passes Groundbreaking Bill for Cyclist and Pedestrian Access

Time to count one for the bike/ped community. In a 9-0 vote, the County Council passed a bill that will require the Planning Board to take into account the surrounding areas access to pedestrian and bikeway facilities when evaluating new development. In planning terms, the bill is an adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO) for sidewalks and bikeways.
Route 1 in CP

 

For years bike/ped access was barely an afterthought when a new development submits its plans to the county as the focus has always been on traffic impacts and automobile access. For instance, a development projected to increase car trips at a nearby intersection may be required to add turn lanes and reconfigure the traffic signal, but would only be required to build sidewalks immediately next to the development.

This ordinance will give the Planning Board the tools they need to require developers to make off-site pedestrian and bike improvements when a development proposal is projected to increase such trips. For these improvements, developers must now build bike and pedestrian facilities in the nearby public right-of-way approaching the site to the “maximum extent possible” (up to a specified maximum cost depending on the size of the project).

County Council Vice Chairman Eric Olson (D-College Park) and council member Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro) sponsored the bill which is expected to be signed by  County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D).

“When new development occurs, developers can now be required to invest in off-site improvements for walking and biking, rather than just cars.  As we seek to create healthier, more walkable mixed-use communities, this is an important step forward.” – Eric Olson

Greg Billing of the Washington Area Bicyclists Association called the county’s approach “a very simple solution.”

“If you can only get to a development by car, the development loses out,” he said.

In Prince George’s, most of the affected developers would be in what is known as the developed tier, inside the Beltway and relatively close to the county’s Metro stations. – The Washington Post

Bill sponsors believe the scope of the bill is unprecedented nationally. It may become a model for improving non-motorized transportation. Read the bill HERE. The press release is below the break.

Continue reading County Passes Groundbreaking Bill for Cyclist and Pedestrian Access

News & Notes: April 2012 Edition

Here’s the latest roundup from the Business Beat newsletter, published every two months by the City of College Park.

College Park Earth Day

Upcoming Events:

College Park Earth Day Project & Music Festival
A two-day event featuring a volunteer opportunity, live music, a film, and festival is taking place on April 21 and 22. The volunteer opportunity is on Saturday, April 21 at the Cherry Hill Road Community Park, while the remaining events will be held at Duvall Field. For more information, visit their website.

Maryland Day
An excellent opportunity to explore the University of Maryland Campus with over 450 free activities and events, including live performances, educational seminars, and climbing walls. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found here.

College Park Day
Save the Date !  College Park Day 2012 will be on Saturday, October 27. If you’re interested in joining the planning committee, email cpdayevent at gmail.com for more information.

General Announcements:

College Park Farmers’ Markets:
The City Hall Farmers’ Market is now open on Sunday mornings, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features returning farmer Miller Farms, delicious eats from Bill’s Backyard Barbeque, and several other vendors. More information about the City Hall Farmers’ Market can be found here.

The College Park Farmers’ Market at Wells Ice Rink/Linson Swimming Poll is currently closed for the season but will return on Saturdays in May.

College Park Community Library:
The College Park Community Library is now open in one of the basement rooms at the College Park Church of the Nazarene, at 9704 Rhode Island Ave. in Hollywood. At this point, the library has collected over 5,000 books and continues to expand through donations. If anyone is interested in volunteering or donate books please contact cpcomlibary at gmail.com. More information about the library can be found on their blog.

April 2012 Business Activity

New Businesses:

ChiDogO’s (Varisty apartments, ground floor retail)
Owner is a Chicago native and UMD graduate.  Serves “Chicago style fare” (Vienna Beef Dogs, Italian Beef sandwiches, etc)
– Blue Tech Cleaners (corner of Rhode Island Ave & Edgewood Rd)
– Six Star Dry Cleaning (Rt, 1, south of Edgewood Rd – replaces Fast Cash Leasing)

Business Closings:

Austin Grill Express (Varsity apartments, ground floor retail)
We hardly knew ye … open & shut down in less than three four months ! Covered by Patch
– Pebbles Wellness (Rt. 1, south of Berwyn Rd)
– Fast Cash Leasing (Rt, 1, south of Edgewood Rd)

Coming Soon:

Downtown:

– Big Play Sports Grill
Now expected to open in the next few weeks (late April) at the former location of Vito’s Pizzeria.  Operated by a UMD graduate; will be strongly focused on the campus sports scene with memorabilia from former standout athletes on the walls.

– District Dumplings
Scheduled to open in May/June time frame.  Will offer a menu mostly devoted to the Asian delicacy.

Note that these two are both going into Terrapin Station, which has seen a lot of
business turnover over the years.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill
Lease signed: former location of California Tortilla on Rt. 1.  East coast chain, Mexican grill that uses fresh, organic ingredients, and has vegetarian, low carb & low fat options.  There’s already locations in DC, Clarendon & Pentagon City.

– Terrapin Turf
Lease signed: former location of Santa Fe Cafe, still in the process of obtaining a liquor license.  The operator ran Saloun earlier, a bar featuring jazz, blues, and soul music, in Georgetown for many years until it closed in late 2011.  Live music along the lines of Saloun is expected to continue at Terrapin Turf.  Previously covered in Patch and the Diamondback.

More info about several of these businesses can be found in this Diamondback article.

Lower Midtown:

Three additional businesses are listed as “Coming Soon” and will be ground level retail in the Varsity apartments.

The Frame Mender
Expected to open later this month. Offering over 35 years of eyeglass repair experience; moving from their current Berwyn Heights location.  They also have two other locations in Rockville and downtown DC.

– Yo Love Frozen Yogurt
Expected to open later this month.

Roti Mediterranean Grill
Expected to open in August.  Fast casual chain, offering Mediterranean fare.

Going into Campus Village:
– Pho D’Lite:
Now expected to open in May, a new venture from the owners of Hanami Japanese Restaurant.  Described as “a unique Asian fusion concept that provides healthy options focused on Vietnamese soup and Southeast Asian delicacies”.

Sharing the same location as Rita’s Italian Ice (8900 Baltimore Ave):
– Newaabsaab Kabobs:
Expected opening in August.

Hollywood:
Two new businesses with signed leases — no announced opening dates yet.

– Johnny’s Carry Out:
Going into Hollywood Shopping Center (by MOM’s & REI).

– Pollo a La Brasa:
Going into Hollywood Square (9925 Rhode Island Ave).  Sounds very promising, especially if they could offer anything approaching the awesomeness over at Sardi’s in Beltsville.

Uptown:
– Chipotle:
New location expected to open in the April/May time frame.  This is just north of the Beltway & Rt. 1 interchange by the Buffalo Wild Wings & Potbelly, in the strip of businesses next to the IKEA.