County Bike Paths & Capitol Heights Wal-mart (Demo)

Legislation requires bicycle & pedestrian space on new PGCo roads
Capitol Heights development pins its hopes on Wal-mart

bike laneI guess the bill, CB-83-2012 Complete and Green Streets Policy is intended to get our expectations up for bike lanes and sidewalks as areas are gentrified redeveloped and as roads are built or fixed.  The legislation has been approved by the Housing and Environment Committee but I just need to see it in actionI’m a professional pedestrian (DC BORN AND RAISED BABY!!) and I’d love to have walkways in Upper Marlboro and Clinton but I just don’t see that happening.
From the Gazette, “The complete and green streets proposal cleared the council’s Transportation Housing and Environment Committee on Oct. 11 on its way to a final vote from the County Council. The measure would instruct the county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation to include lanes for bicyclist and space for walkers on all new roadways or when existing roadways go under repair. The legislation would also require an emphasis on green or environmentally-friendly measures such as improved storm water management systems.

Legislation, CB-83-2012 Complete and Green Streets Policy, All planned County financed and approved road, sidewalk, trail and transit related construction and reconstruction projects shall include facilities for the combined use of motor, emergency and freight vehicles, transit, bicycles and pedestrians, except when cost shall be disproportionate to the projected need or when such facilities would be inappropriate due to the nature of the project, including the context and character of the surrounding built and natural environment of the neighborhood or area.

The Capitol Heights Metro Station has been around for 30 years.  All these years there has been no development, surrounding businesses have not thrived unless they’re liquor stores, and sadly, the same conversation is still going on.  The Prince George’s County Planning Board and the Maryland National Park and Capitol Planning Commission have been holding a series of forums on the Central Avenue Corridor’s transit oriented development.   Capitol Heights officials are pinning their mostly dashed hopes on a new Walmart planned for D.C.’s Ward 7, right on the DC/PGCo line.  
Washington Post reports that “The 130,000-square-foot Wal-Mart planned at 58th Street on the north side of East Capitol Street is one of six Wal-Marts planned in the District. Part of a larger development known as Capitol Gateway Marketplace, it would be in an area redeveloped into a mixed-income neighborhood.”  Sadly, for all the planning commission/board’s years and years of plans, looks like it’s going to take a big box store moving into the neighborhood in order to bring some change.  I encourage you to contact the project leaders and get involved.  Our neighborhoods change when we demand it.  Don’t wait for people who make more money than you to move in, and turn your church parking and open spaces to dog parks before you get fed up enough to call for action.  You’re paying high taxes already: GET YOUR MONEY’S WORTH.  Call these people and MAKE them prioritize US.

Tanya Hedgepeth Project Manager/Project Coordinator – Neighborhood Conservation 301-780-8165
Sonja Ewing Project Coordinator – Sectional Map Amendment 301-952-3571
Roberto Duke, Project Coordinator – Marketing and Economic Development 301-952-4609
Willliam Washburn, AICP Project Coordinator – Pedestrian Safety and Access 301-952-3166
Vanessa C. Akins Community Planning North Division Chief 301-952-3134
Whew, I just got angry.  This quote from the WPost article has me HOT: “Aubrey D. Thagard, a top aide to Baker, said that even though Capitol Heights hasn’t made the priority list, the county still hopes the town will benefit from the planned Wal-Mart.” How come Capitol Heights isn’t on the priority list when it’s a gateway area WITH a subway station?  Suitland, Greater Upper Marlboro, District Heights, and Capitol Heights are areas that mimic DC and Old Town in their look and central location.  Instead of waiting on massa to dole out federal funds for development, how about we just take a page from plans that have already worked?  Look at Adams Morgan, H Street, and Old Town Alexandria and think Main Street Upper Marlboro, Suitland, and Capitol Heights.  It can be done. It can be done without bankrupting the soul of the neighborhoods and moving all the working class people out.   There are already historic structures, funky buildings, storefronts, sidewalks, bus routes and subway stations.  The county’s focus is on New Carrollton and that’s great but the more urban areas should take priority.  My opinion.

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