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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Imagine West Hyattsville

West Hyattsville Metro Station is one of the most underutilized stations on the Metro system, standing out even in TOD-beleaguered Prince George's County. It stands seemingly in a large field, discouraging the station's use as anything but a commuter stop. The County has plans (pdf) for vitalizing the area around the station, but I thought I might take a crack at it myself with some street connectivity.


View Larger Map

Queens Chapel Town Center has a great deal of potential to anchor a strong retail district. The area, at the intersection of Chillum, Mount Rainier, and Hyattsville, has the population to support retail progress. The success of the nearby Hyattsville Arts District has changed the image of the area. West Hyattsville, connected to the Arts District by a traditional suburban street grid, is poised to parlay the success of one of Prince George's County's most popular real estate ventures into success of its own. Only the presence of a Metro station,

The Northwest Branch runs just to the south of the station, but instead of serving as a barrier, I believe this watercourse can be embraced by development with small waterside paths. I included several new bridges over it, connecting potential new developments to the Metro station. The key element, in this case, is adding parallel roads. As I have stated time and time again (as with many before me), a street grid reduces traffic, lessens vehicle miles traffic, and eliminates car trips as the area becomes more walkable. Hopefully a developer with the vision will take advantage of the opportunity, and hopefully the County won't block any progressive efforts. Hyattsville could become the new Bethesda, it just takes some progressive leadership to make it happen.

7 comments:

Pat O said...

What about the Northwest Branch Trail? Your grid would add 4 street across it...

Daniel said...

Yes, yes, yes! This area is in need of the density and quality of urban development that Bethesda has. I think PG Plaza (the next stop up the Green Line) has some (albeit, not all) of those qualities.

Dave Murphy said...

Pat,
I think the more streets there are to cross, the easier they will be to cross for the NWB Trail. Some of them could probably be grade separated, but even if not, street connectivity (with smart development along the new gridded streets) will encourage more use of the trail. Plenty of streets cross the canal trail in Georgetown and the Capital Crescent Trail through Bethesda, and those are highly traveled without major pedestrian issues.

Daniel,
My very next "Imagine" was going to be PG Plaza. I almost combined the two in this post, but figured they ought to be separated.

Dave Murphy said...

Pat,
Allow me to elaborate a bit on my first statement in that last comment... If there are more streets paralleling Queens Chapel, they will handle the automobile capacity in smaller doses, making the (signaled) streets easier to cross. If the NWB is a focal point of West Hyattsville, that portion of the trail will be almost a riverwalk or a promenade that would get hefty foot traffic. That would ensure that the cars wouldn't overrun the pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the trail.

IMGoph said...

dave: gotta ask, what happened to the last sentence in the paragraph after the map. it just dead ends with a comma...

S said...

Thanks for the focus on this lesser heard part of DC. This area is ripe for this type of development. However, a recent article in the Gazette highlighted some potential development that would cut the "next Bethesda" idea in half before it had a chance... http://www.gazette.net/stories/02052009/portnew182029_32488.shtml

Dave Murphy said...

S- thanks for the tip. I wrote a post on that and it should be on GreaterGreaterWashington next week.