RP Meeting Notes: Council Opposes MARC Changes; Cafritz Letter in Works
Also: STEP-UP is seeking a partnership with the town that would help residents improve energy efficiency in their homes.
Monday's Riverdale Park Town Council meeting touched on MARC train timetables, the Purple Line, the Cafritz property, and other major issues facing the town. Below is a summary of key developments and discussion points.
MARC schedule changes
The council held a special legislative session before its regular worksession to vote on sending a letter to the Maryland Transit Administration and others expressing its “strong opposition” to recent MARC train schedule changes at Riverdale Station. Ward 1 Councilman Jonathan Ebbeler, Ward 3 Councilman David Lingua, and resident Dwight Holmes expressed frustration that, effective April 2, the train can leave up to five minutes earlier than its scheduled departure time.
David Johnson, a MARC communications officer, was in attendence to discuss the changes. Johnson said ridership has increased in the past few years, meaning it takes longer to unload and load passengers at busier stops. Because the Riverdale station sees fewer riders than others, it would be beneficial to have the train leave earlier when possible, he said.
Holmes said a petition opposing the change has 40 signatures, which is most of the regular riders. The council's resolution passed unanimously. The new schedule is to be modified in the next few months, and Johnson said the letter will be taken into consideration.
Purple Line public input
Two officials from the Prince George’s County Planning Department said residents want the Riverdale community to retain its character near the two proposed Purple Line stations in town. That includes improved sidewalks and more parks, said planner coordinator William Washburn. The next town hall forums for the project are on April 4 (College Park-UMD and M Square stations) and April 18 (Riverdale Park station).
Chuck Wilson, director of Small Town Energy Program for University Park, delivered a presentation about the initiative. STEP-UP — a three-year federally supported effort to improve energy efficiency in University Park — requires the town to use some of its funds to launch energy saving programs in neighboring communities. He proposed crafting a letter of understanding with Riverdale Park to give residents free advice on improving their home’s energy efficiency.
Anacostia Trail Heritage Area update
To increase the number of visitors to local landmarks, the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area launched the Maryland Milestones project this year, said Aaron Marcavitch, ATHA’s executive director. The program is an advertising campaign about the area’s history and culture. Sites include the College Park airport — the country’s oldest still in operation — the Riversdale House Museum in Riverdale Park, and the Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Colmar Manor.
Cafritz traffic study
Town Administrator Sara Imhulse reminded the council that the Cafritz team will perform a county-mandated traffic study near intersections that would be affected by the 37-acre development. Additionally, Imhulse will send council members copies of a draft letter to the Prince George’s County District Council about the Cafritz development project for revisions.
Mutual aid agreements
Examples of other towns’ public works mutual aid agreements were distributed to council members, and Imhulse said the town attorney is crafting a document for Riverdale Park. This agreement would state that if a disaster strikes, the town can turn to other towns and agencies for additional resources and disaster relief help.
Staff and council reports
Town staff and officials mentioned the following items in their reports:
• The town Easter Egg hunt is April 7 at Riversdale Mansion, and more volunteers are needed, Imhulse said.
• Police Chief David Morris reported that the department is looking for Efrain Moncada, 33, who is thought to frequent the 5400 block of Kenilworth Avenue, for his alleged involvement in a first-degree murder attempt. The 5-foot-4-inch tall, 145-pound male has brown eyes and black hair, Morris said.
• Public Works Director Leonard Addison said the town’s spring cleaning day is April 21. Residents can clean their homes, and the town will pick up their curbside trash that morning.
• Lingua reported that the county’s stormwater management project along Taylor Road has worked; he hasn’t received recent complaints from residents about flooded backyards.
The council reviewed three ordinances to be put to a vote next week:
• The first deals with town parking permits and requires residents to register every two years for a $25 permit. Lingua spoke against this fee.
• The second concerns dumpsters and storage receptacles on residential property. It charges residents a $100 two-month permit fee to keep these on their property, which Lingua said was “egregious.”
• Council members did not voice opinions on a third ordinance, which deals with dumpsters and storage receptacles on public property.
Ward 2 Councilman Alan Thompson, Ward 4 Councilman Chris Henry, and Ward 5 Councilman Raymond Rivas were absent from Monday's meeting.