This election is happening at a critical time in our City's history. We can all see the cranes rising above the skyline; from the new Iribe Center on campus, to the recently opened Hotel at the University of Maryland, College Park is undergoing a transformation. It will take passionate, dedicated leadership to make sure that the many projects underway deliver smart development with the amenities that we need, while still respecting the quality of life, character, and vitality of our neighborhoods.
This is clearly a difficult balancing act, yet achieving this balance is critical.
A Vision for Development
If I am elected, I will work together with our communities, colleagues on the Council, and with partners at the county and state levels to achieve a new development vision for College Park emphasizing the following:
Smart growth, with redevelopment clustered around midtown and downtown College Park and around College Park’s two METRO stations, producing nodes of high-quality retail and housing for residents throughout the City.
Access for citizens of all ages to a robust multi-modal transportation network that includes bus, bike, train, and car connections.
Well designed road improvements and traffic engineering on Baltimore Avenue that improves vehicular access, reduces congestion, and makes this major arterial safer and more pleasant for cars, buses, bikes, and pedestrians.
Emphasis on safe pedestrian access throughout the city, but especially Downtown. This requires a balanced approach that includes both greater enforcement, and infrastructure improvements.
Attracting more diverse retail and dining to the City, with an emphasis on independent stores and restaurants that cater to residents of all ages.
Creating a new focus on public art, patterned on a program that has been in place in cities such as Denver which require that funds from new development be explicitly set aside for creation of durable art, permanently installed, in the built environment. In addition to bringing more beauty to the built environment, this initiative could provide an opportunity for local artists to become engaged in making our city more attractive and visually appealing.
Making the new College Park METRO station development an example of how collaboration between the City of College Park, WMATA, and Gilbane (the site's developer) can result in top-class, successful transit-oriented development. A vitally important step in this process is assuring that any train noise reflected off of new buildings at the site be mitigated through sound buffering.
Ensuring that a new City Hall contributes to the vibrancy of downtown.
Critically, for all development in the City but especially for development in and near our neighborhoods, members of the community must be at the table from the beginning. If elected, I will insist on an open, transparent development process, and stay engaged with civic associations and other community leaders from the very earliest stages.