Mary Wright, 59, of Hillcrest Heights said she and her husband like to walk so she’d love to see the area where she lives around the Naylor Road Metro Station have more shops and become more pedestrian-friendly.
“I’d really like to see that change, but I do have some concerns, in that I don’t want to see it too built up to where it increases traffic congestion,” Wright said.
Wright was one of around 30 residents to attend Prince George’s County planners’ open house on Tuesday at Suitland High School that detailed the Southern Green Line Station Area Plan, a strategy for redevelopment around four southern county Metro stations.
Planners said there is great potential for development around the stations, which include Southern Avenue, Naylor Road, Branch Avenue and Suitland, and to transform what were originally envisioned as simple commuter stations into places for residents to congregate.
Barry Gore, the plan’s project manager, said that the most ambitious plan for the Metro stations involves the area surrounding the Branch Avenue stop, where they envision 900 residential units, 960,000 square feet of office space, along with 75,000 square feet of retail and an “urban park” — a small plaza and green space.
“Branch Avenue has one of the nicest sorts of concentrations of developable land available anywhere,” Gore said. “... It’s not every day you have the opportunity to create a real ‘place’ out of parking lots.”
The site most likely to see revitalization in the short term is near the Naylor Road station, Gore said, where State Highway Administration officials appear ready to move forward with a “streetscape” plan to improve pedestrian and bicycle access. Planners have recommended a mix of 875 apartments and 250,000 square feet of retail space in the plan.
“I think you may see something happen faster there,” Gore said, although he could not give an exact timetable. “When that project gets top priority for public investment, I think you’ll see people on the private property more likely to think big and redevelop as well.”
Gore said his team of planners will take residents’ feedback about the proposals, including priority project rankings and incorporate them in the final plan proposal, which will be presented to the Prince George’s County Planning Board for formal public hearings in “mid-summer.”
Anthony Coley, 34, of Suitland said he was impressed with a lot of the ideas planners presented, but feared many of the ideas were still only “long term goals.”
“I am glad that they outlined some simple things that can be done quickly to promote growth, like the streetscape project and things of that nature,” Coley said. “Things like that, like making sure the stations are welcoming places for the community [and] are the low hanging fruit we need now.”