The planning department says they have no influence regarding what can be done on Baltimore Avenue, East-West Highway, and Queens Chapel. They claim this because the said roadeways are owned and operated by the State Highway Association. Yet, Hyattsville city planners provide no warnings on the wikimap or in other community interfaces so the public can be aware that their ideas for Baltimore Avenue, East-West Highway, and Queens Chapel, will not come to fruition. To add to the confusion, they verbally provide a link during project meetings to where we can comment on SHA roadways.

More importantly, I spoke with SHA and the Transportation Planners at Prince George's County. They confirmed that the City of Hyattsville planner's perception of no influence is incorrect and short of completing the planning tasks of collaboration and coordination during the planning process. In the industry, this is called "working in a vacuum".

Please be aware that Hyattsville planning staff and leadership do not want to work anymore than obligatory. Lets challenge them to set meetings and coordinate with their municipal counterparts. This action will fulfill what all of these cool internet tools aspire to offer. After all, its not that hard to set up a meeting and speak up on behalf of your city.

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Laura Reams admin 6 months ago

Mr. Bello, The City/planning staff has a longstanding relationship with SHA District Office and the County DPW&T. They do provide the City with information and consider our input in decision making, but like everything else, they work based on funding and State/County priorities. Please give us a call or send an email if you have a specific issue you would like the City/planning staff to be aware of.

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Ryan Mannion 4 months ago

Hi Laura, what's the best way to advocate for funding? Are any HVL council members working on this issue directly? Making Baltimore avenue pedestrian friendly will be difficult but should be a priority for all our elected officials. What's the best way the community can help?

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Michael Bello 4 months ago

Hi Laura,

We know there is a relationship, we also know you can write a priority letter (I spoke with SHA and PG Transportation Planning to confirm) like Bowie regularly does, to capture the ear of the state to fund improvement projects. As a community member, I am trying to help your team see that we do have ways to address community concerns. I did this regularly as a planner for Montgomery County (see coordination with SHA in the Grosvenor-Strathmore Master Plan) Please see my email to Katie and Jim over a month ago offering contacts to coordinate efforts and remove the typical silo planning approach. We received no response from Katie or Jim. In fact, you are the only one who has attended to the very obvious issue with your Transportation Project, "Why was Baltimore Avenue not included in the project?". It seems like an obvious component to work on. My email regarding conversations with SHA and PG County Transportation regarding interactions with city planning is below:

Hi Katie, Planning Team,

Thanks for the recent transportation study event, and sharing how we can help connect our day-to-day experiences with those who strive for implementation. I understand, per your presentation, that the city has little influence regarding the state highway administration (SHA) roadways. I appreciate the web link you shared where we can add our independent thoughts regarding any non-city roadways as well.

As you already know, Baltimore Avenue, in addition to East-West Highway, remains far from a pedestrian-oriented environment. I'm cognizant of the county approach to wait for development applications to improve the street's character. That said, I've read the comments on the Wikimap and recognize that we can create a community main street with more pedestrian and bicyclist appeal along Baltimore Avenue (Arts District's Main St.). We are happy to see that College Park has successfully demonstrated this with medians and trees down the street. We look forward to continuing this constructive dialogue with an intent to aim for proactive planning and collaboration with other agencies.

I want to introduce you to David Rodgers, who works as the liaison between cities, the county, and SHA. I spoke with him at length about the procedures cities can take to be more proactive about positioning themselves for funding and improvements. He noted the following steps in addition to the link you shared with the community:

  1. David explained how each city can either write a priority letter, or contribute to the county's priority letter. The county then takes this letter and the city's requests into further consideration and coordinates with the State Highway Administration (David, please correct where necessary). This will help us greatly in getting our project(s) or project ideas into future CTPs, which are developed annually with a 5-year cast ahead.

  2. David also recommends that the city request a meeting with SHA (ie. District 3 of SHA) to discuss their letter and any additional concerns.

He further noted that the City of Bowie serves as precedence, as they recently submitted their own priority letter.

Your team can find David's information in the following link for further communication: http://www.roads.maryland.gov/index.aspx?PageId=507

Thanks again!

Michael Bello

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Laura Reams admin 3 months ago

Hi Ryan,

The City’s transportation study includes Baltimore Avenue. The study will look at flow of traffic during various times of the day, signalization and timing, and will make recommendations for pedestrian improvements. We anticipate that a presentation of the initial City-wide study findings will be presented to the City Council on March 5. The City will hold 1-2 community meetings following the Council presentation to solicit feedback.

The need for improvements to the City’s traffic flow and pedestrian improvements is an important one. Our Mayor and Council members have consistently included funds to make improvements in the City’s budget and advocated for changes through State Highway and/or Prince George’s Department of Public Works and Transportation.

I think the best way the community can help is by talking to the City’s elected officials to keep these issues at the forefront and participating in the upcoming meetings on the transportation study. Notice of transportation study meetings will be posted on the City’s website at hyattsville.org/meetings. You can sign up to receive text or email alerts for upcoming meetings at hyattsville.org/notifyme. Public comment is welcome at Council Meetings, as well.

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Laura Reams admin 3 months ago

Hi Mike,

Thanks for sharing the contact info for David Rodgers and the information regarding priority letters. The City Administrator has begun reaching out to her counterparts to get more info. We intend to coordinate with the Mayor and Council for our submission of a priority letter once we have more information on funding requirements.

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mai abdul rahman 3 months ago

Baltimore Avenue runs right through several neighborhoods. As a walker and biker- the street is in such poor shape and in places cuts because of poor maintenance. To tread through the small patches of side walks- walkers and bikers are forced to step into traffic- and when I see school children forced to walk through traffic I worry about their safety, and I am sure many who have witnessed this think it is insane to continue to put young people in harms way regardless of the reasons. Never mind, that the few if any trashcans in sight, and the litter everywhere is a an embarrassment; the willful neglect of long stretches that have but a few marked pedestrian walk ways is easy to fix and must be attended to.

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