The Town of University Park is interested in a comprehensive park plan that maximizes the value to the community of Wells Run Park, a green corridor and trail that follows the flow of Wells Run, a tributary of the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River. As with all urban watersheds, controlling the quantity of flow upstream protects the destabilization of the stream corridor, riparian buffer, and tree canopy that creates the pleasurable ambiance of the trail and park.
Students could explore ways of developing and implementing integrated management of water resources in the Wells Run Watershed, which begins in upstream headwaters in the neighboring municipality of Hyattsville (see Hyattsville Watershed Implementation Project), and flows downstream from University Park to neighboring Riverdale Park. As in College Park and Hyattsville, the analysis could include opportunities for green roofs, green walls, downspout disconnects, rain barrels, rain harvesting, rain gardens, swales, tree canopy enhancements, other green scaping and water-retaining methods with a goal of mimicking forest hydrology for the Wells Run watershed. Students could study co-benefits related to climate change, energy cost-reductions, aesthetic improvements, property value increase, and economic development and job support, and analyze cost reductions through integration with transportation and other infrastructural improvements (e.g., complete streets, buried power lines, local generation of clean energy).
The co-benefit of special focus on this project is for the marketing and property value for park improvement on adjacent properties, and for the municipality as a whole as a place to live or locate.
The Low Impact Development Center proposed a study of Guilford Run on the southern border of campus, with the goal of improving water quality by modernizing stormwater management facilities. The University can help support the development of such a study, and/or otherwise engage in collaboration on the protection and restoration of the Guilford Run Watershed, which flows from Adelphi Road to the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River.
A corollary project to the Wells Run Park Plan, Wells Run floods near 44th Avenue in the eastern portion of University Park. In addition, or instead of the larger scope of the Wells Run project, students could examine means of reducing or financially managing flood impacts, including flood insurance risk and appropriate financial products, and flood control alternatives that are not dependent on upstream flow reduction.
A professor in the Geography Department who is a resident of University Park is developing a study of how trees in the community are sequestering carbon, using remote sensing. This very specific project is an example of University engagement by faculty who are also residential members of a neighboring community. This project might be explored for the development of ancillary projects, or to provide additional support to this project itself.
Residents of University Park have worked with staff to develop a mosquito control program, and seek to collaborate with the University of Maryland on means of improving and more thoroughly implementing the program, which involves voluntary measures by residents and other property owners.
The University Park “Green Team” has developed a number of projects that expand upon this list of ten projects, including a draft Sustainability Plan. In addition, University Park created a clean energy plan “Small Town Energy Plan University Park”, or STEP UP which was largely implemented during 2011-2013. Students interested in this project would be in put in touch with the current Green Team to explore collaborative opportunities.
The proximity of University Park lends itself to bike riding to neighboring College Park and the University of Maryland, and this project seeks to enhance and expand the trail system to facilitate walking or biking. Some trails need to be clarified and improved, and all can be better mapped and promoted.
University Park has a circulator service that can be expanded and integrated into neighboring bus and shuttle systems. The development across Baltimore Avenue in Riverdale Park offers potential for additional resources, and pending development at the Prince George’s Plaza Metro station offers still more. In addition, the University of Maryland shuttle, Prince George’s County bus service, and Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority offer additional transit options, and neighboring municipalities might collaborate on further expansion of bus service.
An expansion upon project UP C7 above, this is an opportunity for students to work with the community to create a comprehensive plan to improve the Town’s walking and biking paths to enhance local transportation options. This project is related to the following project as well.
University Park is without a commercial district, and neighbors College Park, Hyattsville, Riverdale Park, and the University of Maryland have economic development and growth projections with a significant impact on traffic and other quality of life issues. The Town has an interest in collaborating on the consideration of a Transportation Demand Management District that would include itself and neighboring communities in the interest of maximizing efficiency and gaining value through multi-jurisdictional planning.