BY REBECCA BENNETT — At a June 16 Ward 5 community meeting called by Councilmember Joseph Solomon (Ward 5), officials from the City of Hyattsville and residents discussed possible solutions to their Gaines Alley problems.

Gaines Alley is a quaint, paved road with speed bumps that connects 38th Avenue to 37th Place.  Residents at the July 16 meeting said it not only helped them get in and out of the neighborhood, but it served as a cut-through for people trying to escape Hamilton Street traffic.   Residents petitioned the city to put traffic calming devices on 37th Place and adjacent Gallatin Street—but there were not enough signatures for Gallatin Street—citing speed as the issue.

“We don’t see speed as the issue,” Hyattsville City Administrator Tracey Nicholson said.  City staff said they put out new traffic counters — which they said were supposed to be more accurate — and the average speed in a one-week period came in at 24 to 26 miles per hour.

“It is clear it is used as a cut-through,” Nicholson said.  According to the traffic counters, that same one-week period saw 2,800 vehicles traveling in one direction and 1,600 traveling in the other.

“Obviously, we don’t want anything to happen to anyone, but especially to our children,” Solomon said, citing he had received 16 emails about Gaines Alley.

“It’s not an alley, it’s a way for people to get in and out of the neighborhood,” one resident against its closure said.

Officials and residents brainstormed a few alternative solutions, including making one of the roads one-way or butting out one of the curbs to indicate to people they can’t go that way. Nicholson said some of these solutions would take longer to implement.

At the end of the discussion, Solomon took a show of hands as to how many people were still in favor of the speed humps (3), who still wanted to close Gaines Alley (2), and who wanted the city to rethink options (approximately 9).