Photo by *Brujita* on Flickr.

The Cafritz development along Route 1 in Riverdale Park is slated to bring the first Whole Foods to Prince George’s County. While one neighboring community is trying to cut off access, another sees opportunity in increasing connectivity.

The Riverdale Town council, at first inclined to restrict access to the project only from Route 1, may now see access to the development from the south, along Maryland Avenue, as a chance to open its own town center to additional traffic.  This commercial area adjacent to the MARC station, and home to a popular farmers market, has struggled to find tenants.  It could become a successful complement to the Cafritz project.

By contrast, University Park wants any new traffic signal on Baltimore Avenue at Van Buren Street to prevent traffic from crossing into its residential streets.  Yet access works both ways. 

Without such a light, town residents will have to use some part of Route 1 to shop at Whole Foods.  And that feeling of being trapped by traffic, which residents have commented on at council meetings, would only grow worse.

Good news on access was heard at Cafritz’s presentation last Thursday to the Riverdale Park council.  The cost of building a bridge or ramp over the CSX line at the rear of the property is possibly much lower than the $15 million first expected.  This would provide access to River Road on the the other side of the tracks, with its significant office developments.

Vehicular access into College Park to the north, along Rhode Island Avenue, may remain a dream.  This means that College Park residents from adjoining neighborhoods will have to make a left onto Baltimore Avenue, and another left into the site, to get to the development.

Yes, they can use buses and shuttles, which should be integrated into the design from the outset. Or perhaps they can walk or bike along the trail that the Cafritz development will now complete.  But many people who go grocery shopping choose to take their cars.  Forcing them all onto arteries won’t repeal this preference, but it may make traveling on those arteries more difficult for everyone.