My Two Cents: August letters to the Editor

Suggestions from a Trolley Trail traverser

The article in the July issue about constructing a half-mile of new trail to connect the Trolley Trail to the Northwest Branch Trail is a bit like the trail itself: it’s great as far as it goes, but something is missing.

I am a frequent bike rider on the Trolley Trail, from Farragut Street to Greenbelt Road, with some furtive workarounds for the currently missing section near the new Whole Foods in Riverdale Park. So I support the general concept of extending the trail to Armentrout Drive and the Northwest Branch trail on the southern end.

But there’s a glaring issue: one that I have not yet heard addressed by proponents of the new trail section. The east side of the intersection of Route 1 and Armentrout Drive would be a very tough place to create a safe bicycle crossing.

Currently there is no sidewalk down the east side of Route 1 at that intersection. There is no pedestrian crossing of Route 1 on the north side of that intersection. And the railroad overpass abutments immediately east of the intersection would block sightlines for cars coming from Alt 1 and for bikers and pedestrians who would be coming south down the new trail. This creates a nightmare scenario: it would take only one driver or one biker carelessly rolling into that blind intersection to cause a nasty accident.

There are already other ways to connect from the Trolley Trail to the Northeast Branch Trail and our wonderful wider trail system, either north of Paint Branch Parkway or by taking the Riverdale Road crossing of the CSX tracks and using quiet streets in Riverdale Park. If we’re going to make the Trolley Trail go farther south, we need to pay careful attention to the conditions at its new southern terminus.

Flawn Williams is a media producer and college professor who bikes for pleasure and commuting.

Please finish ‘Bursting on the Scene’ mural

My name is Emma Atlas. I used to write as a columnist for The Diamondback at the University of Maryland and currently live in the neighborhood around the West Hyattsville Metro station.

Before I say anything, I want to preface: I love graffiti. I know it’s a sore spot for some, but anytime I see a new tag on a dull walk my face lights up. So the recent public graffiti tagging on the soon-to-be-demolished Ginn’s Warehouse near the West Hyattsville Metro, presented by ART BLOC DC and Double Down Kings, was an absolute thrill to see.

But this gorgeous fresh paint has created a really pathetic juxtaposition against the “Bursting on the Scene” mural (by ART BLOC DC and volunteers). Uncompleted, still covered in tape, and seemingly abandoned, it’s a far cry from the vibrant art only a stone’s throw away. Frankly, the warehouse art reads as a protest.

I know what ART BLOC DC wanted to do: Get the community involved, make the design easy enough for anyone to paint it, and be careful to keep it looking like a mural and not like a vandalized wall. They had some deadline and can’t be blamed for being rained out. They picked this design out of 28 alternatives. I know they had good intentions.

But the mural mustn’t stay unfinished forever. I’m imagining some committee somewhere thinks it’s done or ART BLOC had to re-prioritize to the warehouse before it was knocked over. But I’m begging you: Come back and finish when you can. In its current state, “Bursting on the Scene” is mostly an eyesore, while I’m pining for the talent I’m going to have to watch get torn down with the warehouse.

Emma Atlas is a resident of West Hyattsville.