MARC Station Sector Plan Takes Next Step
Above: A proposed concept for the new entrance at Rt. 197
By Bekah Oester
A post-charette open house was held on Jan. 13 in the Wiseman Center to present a preliminary illustrative plan, or "first draft" for the MARC station sector site, as well as receive feedback from students and local citizens.
Over 24 residents and Bowie State staff and students attended the meeting and provided input. Elected officials also attended including Delegate Gerron Levy and Councilwoman Ingrid Turner. The MARC sector plan was one of Turner's first initiatives when she was elected into office, and she said she is happy to see it coming about.
New features presented on the preliminary 219-acre plan include new BSU buildings along the campus' entrance on Rt. 197, additional housing, a convocation center, a community center, a mixed-use main street including retailers, a biomass power plant, and a charter school. Turner said she is particularly excited for the potential a school could bring to BSU students because the school would provide them with an opportunity to student teach as well as to perform educational research and try new programs and methods on a small scale.
The vision statement of the Prince George's County Planning Department regarding the project is to: "Achieve a compact environmentally sensitive, pedestrian-friendly, and transit-supportive mixed-use Community Center which serves BSU students and faculty as well as surrounding neighborhoods and MARC commuters.",
Features in line with this statement would include a new and relocated MARC station, bike paths on campus, bike lanes on 197 and Race Track Road, and walking trails. Some trails will connect to Old Town Bowie. Turner said it is important that the BSU community be walkable and environmentally safe. She is also excited to see this plan develop the area into a transportation hub, which would bring more jobs and economic growth to Prince George's County.
For drivers concerned about how the campus growth will affect traffic and road conditions, preliminary plans also include a traffic circle at the intersection of Race Track Road and Jericho Park Road, as well as another circle at Loop Road and Jericho Park Road.
At this stage, plans for the project are not final. Turner noted that one section of the plan on the farther end of the land included single family homes, which will likely be replaced with office space for university use, and possibly a hotel. Plans will become finalized in the upcoming stages which include a printing and distribution of the preliminary sector and a joint public hearing before the plan's final approval, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 2009.
The full presentation from the post-charette open house can be viewed online.