The Prince George’s County Planning Department (PG Planning) is undergoing a process to improve Central Avenue between the Capitol Heights and Addison Road Metro Stations. The development will improve business, aesthetics and safety in the area.

The project is a part of the Sub-region 4 Master Plan. The plan is focused on transit-oriented development (TOD) spanning Central Avenue from the District/Maryland line to the Largo Town Center Metro Station.

It is this kind of development that people from the county executive to regional business development organizations say is what Prince George’s needs to grow.

“Demographics are changing and dramatically driving up demand for convenient, walkable and transit-accessible neighborhoods,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth, in a statement. “Prince George’s is in a perfect position to ride this long-term trend and offer an outlet for the kinds of transit-oriented places sought by growing numbers of young professionals, empty nesters, and retirees.”

The project consists of four related areas. The first is community outreach. Parks and Planning has already held one meeting on Jan. 19 and has another scheduled for Feb. 23. It wants as much public input as possible to not only make sure residents feel a part of the process, but to also have a forum where organizers could get more ideas.

PG Planning says it has gotten off to a good start in this area by hosting the Jan. 19 meeting. Next steps in this area include walking tours and educational briefings along with forming an implementation workgroup.

The second area revolves around pedestrian safety, which is of huge importance along the busy Central Avenue corridor. The Maryland Department of Transportation estimates that up to 50,000 vehicles travel along Central Avenue per day, making safety an issue of paramount importance.

To research ways to make the roadway safer, the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission is using grant money from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) to receive technical assistance to develop a pedestrian safety and streetscape improvement plan.

The third area revolves around economic development and how to bring businesses to the area. While, there is no shortage of commerce in the area, this part of the project will focus on how to maximize the resources the area has to offer.

“Although the businesses are typically grouped or located within close proximity to each other, these businesses are neither organized nor designed in a manner that encourages the development of a shared identity, maximizes resources, or addresses common issues,” PG Planning said in a statement. “The project will examine business recruitment techniques to diversify and increase economic opportunities conducive to transit-oriented development.”

The last area is neighborhood conservation. PG Planning not only wants to address issues such as street lighting and improving sidewalks, but it’s also planning to work with local and federal agencies to address foreclosures in the area.

Specifically, the group is planning to work with the county’s Department of Housing and Community Development to submit an application to HUD for a Community Development Block Grant to help preserve homes for low-to-moderate income families.

PG Planning is asking residents to come to its Feb. 23 pedestrian safety and access meeting in the Omega Room of St. Margaret’s Catholic Church at 410 Addison Rd. South in Seat Pleasant.

Click here to download a PDF of the Central Ave Development Strategy.