Saturday, March 8, 2008

Local artist Gerald King's drawings from the Bookshop concerts

Gerald says "For those of you who remember the Riverdale Bookshop and “Music Junction” you may be interested in browsing a recently added page to my web site.

I’ve put up 100 sketches I did while attending Saturday performances from 2001 to 2005. These are on-the-spot pencil sketches of the musicians and audience during live performances. Though I am not a courtroom artist, nor was my intent here to do portraits, some may recognize the people portrayed.

I dedicate this page to Audrey and Simon for providing Riverdale Park some unique history. Those of us, who were fortunate enough to be there and helped keep the Bookshop alive, should cherish our memories, and hope someday the community spirit and vitality of that brief period will occur again."

Gerald King

Thanks for sharing these, Gerald. -- Dwight

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Moving on... please join me on the Riverdale Park Wiki

I've enjoyed writing about some of the issues that interest me -- and, in some case, others as well -- about our lovely town, and posting them to this blog. And I've certainly enjoyed hearing from many of you that you've read some of it, and thought it was worthwhile -- the positive feedback has been great. But increasingly I've felt that a "blog" was much too personal to accomplish what I was actually interested in doing... I believe that what we need is a good wiki for all things Riverdale Parkian. So that is where I'm going to be putting my energy now, not this blog.

I assume you've read something on Wikipedia, the free, on-line encyclopedia, at least once or twice? A wiki is a cooperative, all-hands-on-deck website that is constantly under construction. And unlike in the Outer Limits, where they are in control, in the Wiki World, we are in control. Read something and know it to be incorrect or incomplete, or out of date? Don't mutter to yourself -- change it! Edit! Rewrite! Add a paragraph, or a whole new page! Find some information on recycling that you think everyone in the town could benefit from? By all means, post it to TownTalk. But -- and this is what led me to the wiki idea -- TownTalk (or any email list) is so ephemeral. Read it today, forget it by tomorrow! So, instead -- or in addition -- put it on the wiki, and it's there for good, for you or anyone else to return to at any time.

I see the Riverdale Park Community Wiki as a combination bulletin board, Welcome Wagon, soap box, scratch pad, photo album, scrap book, file cabinet, encyclopedia, yellow pages, Rolodex, 'Whole Earth Catalog,' entertainment guide and community center. This is not, "Build it and they will come." This is "Build it -- and let's use it!"

(Have you seen the Hyattsville wiki? They've done some great things over there -- much good information that is useful to anyone, certainly anyone in our area.)

So, see you over on the RP Community Wiki? --Dwight

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I love my MARC

One of the many factors that weighed in on our decision to buy our home in Riverdale Park, was the convenience that the MARC service offered in terms of my getting to work, and leaving the car at home!

These stats about the DC Metro area come from the AAA and were published in today's Washington Post (9/4/07), Metro section, p. B2:

3.3 million vehicles in the area
1.7 million people who drive to work alone every day
900,000 people headed to school every day (schools and colleges)
700,000 people riding Metro (is that actually people? or trips?)
446,000 people riding Metro's buses
70,000 people riding trains into Union Station (MARC, VRE, Amtrak)

Only 70,000?!? Wow. Obviously the MARC trains aren't convenient for everyone - but for a town like Riverdale Park, I have to think that the MARC is a very underutilized resource.

From our lovely MARC station in Town Center, it is a 10 minute ride to Union Station - for me it's then another 15 minutes by Metro to Farragut North. All told, half an hour or 35 minutes door to door, from my home on Riverdale Rd to my office in NW. I nominally pay $100 for a monthly MARC ticket and $2.70 per day (roundtrip, Union Station to Farragut North) on the Metro -- but due to Uncle Sam's penchant for providing perks to the middle class, I save a quarter of that by purchasing the tickets with pre-tax dollars through my employer. If I go to the office 20 days a month on average, that's effectively $3.60 per day for the MARC + $3.89 per day for Metro = $7.49 per day total -- and the car stays in the driveway. If I drove to work I'd pay more than that just for the parking downtown -- never mind the gas, wear and tear on the car, and increased insurance premium. And if I drove to the Metro, I'd save the $3.60 for the MARC everyday -- and use it to pay $3.50 for parking! (Plus it would cost me additional for the longer ride on Metro).

I believe that in my one year of riding MARC to work, I was unable to get a seat just one time. And I can take my coffee on board and savor it all the way to Union Station if I want to (unlike Metro). And then there's the comraderie with all the other MARC regulars... All in all, I love my MARC!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Is it just me? Or did the CSX fix of our RxR crossing not fix anything?

Does anyone think that our Queensbury Rd RxR crossing is any smoother now than it was prior to the CSX repair job in June? To me, it seems just as jarring as ever.

Meanwhile, I'm still wondering when the new crossing gates will be installed. While setting up at the Farmers' Market last week, around 2:30, I witnessed a pretty close call as someone weaved their car through the gates that were already in their down position. Fortunately, the train was moving at a moderate speed...

Anyone got a Cafritz update?

We were unable, unfortunately, to attend either of the Cafritz meetings this past week... And I see their website has yet to be updated (presumably, they'll be filling in the "goals" section). Would anyone care to give us an update of what was said by presenters and those attending from our community?

Monday, July 16, 2007

A golden opportunity to build momentum for hiker-biker issues in Riverdale Park

There is an extraordinary opportunity for Riverdalians interested in promoting hiker/biker trails to meet with our county's Bicycle and Trails Advisory Group (BTAG) along with the Hyattsville Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee at a convenient local, evening meeting
(Tuesday, July 17, 7 pm, Hyattsville City Hall, 4310 Gallatin Street. South on Route 1, pass Franklin's Restaurant, turn right onto Gallatin St, it's on the right, directly across.the street from the post office.)

Anne Villeacres of the Hyattsville committee invited us and she feels this meeting is a good opportunity for us to make contacts, learn about and create local energy for improving trails in RP.

Below is the email from BTAG announcing the meeting. I definitely plan to attend (as does Rob Oppenheim) and we would love to have you join us.

Much work has already gone into the Trolley Line bike trail project. Personally, I'd like to help in any way I can, to build on that foundation, and see Riverdale Park continue to become a greener,
friendlier and safer place for pedestrians and bikers.

About BTAG...

The County Executive's office created BTAG to coordinate, advise and set bike trail development priorities and plans. BTAG meetings are normally held during office hours in Upper Marlboro,
so this is a rare chance for interested citizens to attend a local, evening meeting. It's my understanding that this evening meeting is, at least in part, in recognition of the dedicated, energetic and successful efforts of the Hyattsville Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee.

Regular participants in BTAG meetings include the County Executive's Office, the Planning Department, the Parks Department, the Department of Environmental Resources, the State Highway Administration, the Department of Public Works and Transportation, the National Park
Service (NPS), several Bicycle and Trail Clubs, municipalities and civic associations.

More info about BTAG is available on their web page:

More info about the Hyattsville Bike an Pedestrian committee is available here:

Here's the email announcing the meeting from Fred Shaffer of BTAG:

---------- Forwarded message ----------

"Shaffer, Fred" <> wrote:
Subject: BTAG Quarterly Meeting
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2007 13:43:22 -0400
From: "Shaffer, Fred" <>

The next quarterly meeting of the Prince George's County Bicycle and Trails Advisory Group (BTAG) is scheduled for:
Tuesday, July 17th
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Hyattsville City Hall
4310 Gallatin Street

Please note the Tuesday meeting date and evening meeting time. This change from our usual meeting time was done to better coordinate with the Hyattsville Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee.

Light refreshments will be served.

Issues on the agenda include:

Sidewalk retrofit/pedestrian safety needs in Hyattsville
Possible mountain bike skills park in Hyattsville
Master Plan of Transportation (Trails Element) – re-initiation and
upcoming fall workshops
South County Master Plan "Listening" Sessions with Trail User Groups
Paint Branch Trail Extension
Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail crossing of Paint Branch Parkway
BTAG letter to National Harbor

It will also be my pleasure to introduce Dan Janousek, a new planner in the Transportation Section at M-NCPPC. Dan will be spending approximately 50% of his time working on bicycle, trail, and pedestrian issues, and will be a big help ensuring that all of the trail projects, area master plans, and inter-jurisdictional coordination get the time and attention that they warrant. In addition to working with BTAG, he will begin by working on some subdivision review applications and the Subregion V Master Plan update. We will also be working together to bring the Trails GIS Layer up-to-date. Dan has previously worked on bicycle and trail issues in Montgomery County. Please forward to me additional agenda items. I can be reached via e-mail or at (301) 952-3661 for questions or comments.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cafritz Web Site Up & Running

Well, the long-anticipated Cafritz Property web site is now up and running -- here, I've lifted the "Events/News" page, which describes the upcoming meetings on their calendar. The URL is

Community Meeting
Thursday, July 26th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Riverdale Elementary School

Meeting Overview: Develop the Design Plan

Presentation and discussion of draft design principles for the Cafritz project area.
We will develop draft design principles for each of the nine categories that we have used to solicit community ideas, input and concerns. We will use those principles, modified to include the input from our July sessions, to guide the development of a conceptual plan for the Cafritz site.
This meeting will be replicated in its entirety on July 28th.

Community Meeting
Saturday, July 28th from 10:00 am to noon Riverdale Elementary School

Meeting Overview: Develop the Design Plans
The subject matter of this presentation will be identical to that of the July 26 meeting.

Community Meeting
Thursday, September 15th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Riverdale Elementary School

Meeting Overview: Refine the Design Plans

The concept plan will be discussed and will include information on the following: building heights, land uses and locations, the developmentprogram, street network and circulation patterns, parking locations,open spaces, neighborhood bike and sidewalk connections, publicamenities, sustainability features and storm water retention.
This meeting will be replicated in its entirety on Sept. 18th.

Community Meeting
Saturday, September 18th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Riverdale Elementary School

Meeting Overview: Refine the Design Plans
The subject matter of this presentation will be identical to that of the Sept. 15 meeting.