On the narrow question of does this project achieve it’s stated goals — shortening highway commute times — Maryland may have a success. But on the greater question of proactive, responsible planning according to objective public policy, this plan is highly suspect.
Prince George’s County officials had harsh words for Maryland transportation officials pushing plans to add new lanes to the Beltway. Members of the Prince George’s County Council were briefed on the proposal, dubbed the I-495-I-270 Managed Lanes Study, at a March 25 meeting. The proposal calls for the addition of variable-rate toll lanes to the Maryland portion of the Capital Beltway. During discussion of the proposal – heavily backed by Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration – District Three County Councilor Danielle Glaros said the project lacked broad buy-in from local communities. She contrasted the toll lane proposal with the efforts to build the Purple Line, a transportation infrastructure project more enthusiastically endorsed by the communities and local governments through which it wends.
Last week, we explored how massive engineering projects and car-centric post-war suburbanization transformed the Route 1 corridor over the past 70 years. Now, we’re going to focus on a more-recent phenomenon which has also fundamentally altered the built environment of the Route 1 corridor: urbanism. For decades between the end of World War II and the new millennium, the Route 1 corridor was shaped by the road, the car and by single-use zoning. You had your office parks, your shopping centers and your residential areas, and never the treble shall meet. But something has changed.
Editor’s note: Please see correction notice at bottom of article. Developers want the Prince George’s County Planning Board to tap the brakes on a proposed overhaul of the county’s procedures for reviewing new development plans.
The most prominent changes include the establishment of a formal pre-application conference with county planning staff and new deadlines that prevent developers from making last-second changes to their plans.
The formalized pre-application conference is designed to create an opportunity for planning staff to learn more about developers’ plans, in turn giving planning staff an opportunity to inform the developers of what types of reports and documentation will be necessary to move ahead with an application. Initially, it will be optional. But that could change if Prince George’s County Council overhauls the zoning map to reflect a new zoning code passed by the previous Council in 2018. The new zoning code requires a pre-application meeting between developers and planning staff.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ political committee is responsible for a phone poll asking detailed questions about local policy issues, including legalizing recreational marijuana and the relocation of the Washington Redskins. Route 1 Reporter first learned of the poll in late January. In addition to policy-oriented questions, it also asked several questions designed to assess the respondents’ feelings about Alsobrooks herself. Multiple phone calls, emails, text messages and other attempts by Route 1 Reporter to contact Alsobrooks’ office for comment on the poll were met with silence. But Alsobrooks could not stay silent on the matter on the Kojo Nnamdi Show’s Local Politics Hour on WAMU this past Friday, Feb.
Richard Lee, a 37-year old District Heights resident, is the latest person to be killed by a motorist in Prince George’s County. He is the 145th pedestrian to be killed by motorists in Prince George’s County since 2010.
The poll focused particularly on recently-sworn in County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, asking respondents to rate their perceptions of Alsobrooks across a series of questions. So, did Alsobrooks’ office commission the poll? Good question.
January has a reputation in the news industry for being a slow month. Well, consider the trend bucked here in the Route 1 corridor. Because it’s the last week of the month, Route 1 Reporter turns its attention to running down the top stories of January. The most-read stories focused on development issues, and who can blame us for being interested in that? Development – or, in the case of many Route 1 properties – redevelopment news is a Rorshach test upon which we project our own insecurities about our communities.
Editor’s note: Please see the correction notice after the article. A Prince George’s County youth career and college training program has added to its roster of participating nonprofits. The program, dubbed the Ready for Work Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative, is a six-year, $15 million effort by Venture Philanthropy Partners. The program’s goal is to build networks of community-based organizations that can help provide or supplement social services. The money will be split into “mini-grants” between four Prince George’s County nonprofits on a project-by-project, each selected through a competitive bid process and specifically focused on providing high school students with academic achievement, high school completion, post-secondary preparation, career readiness and healthy behaviors.
They newly selected nonprofits are:
The Training Source, College and Career Pathways, Inc., Liberty’s Promise and Community Youth Advance
They join last year’s recipients First Generation College Bound, Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education, Inc. (FAME), Joe’s Movement Emporium and End Time Harvest Ministries.