Dreams for a new Cheverly pharmacy and traffic relief from related road adjustments may not come to fruition due to a dispute on who foots the bill for improvements to Md. 202.
The Maryland State Highway Administration says Landover DK LLC, the project developer for a proposed Walgreens at Kilmer Street and Md. 202, needs to pay for new traffic signals in addition to its pledge to widen Kilmer Street to reduce current congestion caused by traffic from neighboring Landover Hills.
Landover DK was willing to pay to widen Kilmer Street since changes would provide customers with easier access into the planned Walgreens and to Md. 202 by allowing for four lanes: a left turn lane, a combined left turn and through lane, a right turn lane and one lane of traffic coming from the opposite direction of Kilmer Street, said David Warrington, Cheverly’s town administrator.
Currently, drivers who want to turn right on Kilmer Street to get on Md. 202, which is often congested, share a lane with those going straight on Kilmer, he said.
“We’re just trying to better handle the traffic coming in and out [of Kilmer],” Warrington said.
Because Landover DK would pay for the Kilmer Street widening, Cheverly officials asked the SHA if they could get a new traffic signal to fit the lane changes. However, the SHA said these improvements are only necessary if the project is approved by the Prince George’s County District Council and the developer would have to pay, said David Buck, an SHA spokesman.
Buck did not have a cost estimate for the improvements and said that would be between the developer and the contractor they hired.
Buck said the SHA has made many improvements at that intersection, such as new crosswalks and countdown crosswalk signals. But Cheverly officials have lobbied Prince George’s County and the state to help with the traffic backups from Kilmer Street to Md. 202 over the years, wrote Kevin Kennedy Jr., vice president of the development division for NAI The Michael Companies, a consultant to Landover DK, in a Sept. 28 email to The Gazette.
“If the state declines to assist with the intersection re-signalization, then that would put the Kilmer Street widening on hold, which would jeopardize the Walgreens project, because the permits for Walgreens are being held up pending the resolution of the traffic signal,” Kennedy wrote.
David Michael, senior vice president of The Michael Companies, previously told The Gazette in February 2011 that if all went well, he hoped to break ground on the new Walgreens in the summer of 2012.
Mamie Small, a resident since 1975 of Radiant Valley, a neighborhood next to Landover Hills, said she thinks the SHA should pay for the improvements because the Kilmer Street route to Md. 202 is not working and now residents are finding their own way around having to sit waiting at the intersection.
“A lot of people now are just taking a short turn and going through the [Landover Park] shoppin center and making a U-turn,” Small said.
Cheverly resident Susan Pruden said in general she does not want to see a “big ugly lot” at that corner, but it does not need to be a Walgreens. Currently, the lot is grass covered.
“We just all would like some place to gather, socialize, go read the paper in the morning, a bagel shop, anything like that,” Pruden said. “We were all kind of anxious like that for something to be in the area.”