Salutations, Streetcar Suburbs! 

Welcome to the Streetcar Spotlight, New Year’s edition. 

First up is our overview of the new Maryland General Assembly session, which began Monday, January 8th and runs through April 10. Our editors asked all the local delegates and state senators to forecast their top legislative priorities for this session. Priorities for District 21 (Laurel and College Park) include housing initiatives, transportation oversight of construction on Route 1 / The Purple Line, and managing projected school budget shortfalls following the end of federal Covid-19 emergency funds. 

In District 22 (Riverdale Park, Greenbelt, and much of Hyattsville), and in the wake of the recent tragic pedestrian fatalities of two Riverdale Park schoolchildren, all delegates who responded cited traffic safety and approving stop sign cameras as a top district priority, though such measures have previously failed at the state level.

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Photo courtesy of Heather Marléne Zadig.

This recent editorial by several local PTA/PTO boards urged local leaders and law enforcement to swiftly and dramatically improve traffic safety for children walking to school. College Park Here & Now’s Paul Ruffins did a deep-dive into local pedestrian safety recently, reporting that pedestrian fatality rates in our county are the deadliest in the entire DMV region (twice the rate of DC!). 

Advocates of stop-sign cameras already installed in the District hope they will make streets safer for pedestrians, while critics have decried the extreme sensitivity and rigidity of the technology, saying they don’t reflect realities of normal safe driving (drivers must come to a complete resting stop and be 100% behind the white line to avoid citations). Critics also suggest that the high fine for tickets disproportionately impacts residents with lower incomes and doesn’t take into account the rigid criteria. What do you think? Share your take on stop-sign cameras in our Facebook polls: HL&T, CPH&N, & Laurel

In another distressing local development regarding safety and schools, a Northwestern High School student was shot and critically wounded in an attempted robbery behind the school Friday, just days after returning from winter break. The Life & Times has previously reported on community safety concerns with the sports field area behind the high school, abutting the site of last week’s shooting. The new head of Prince George’s County Public Schools, Millard House II, had hoped to curb campus violence by installing weapons detectors and requiring clear backpacks at high schools this past fall, though a Hyattsville Life & Times analysis found that — both locally and nationally — the vast majority of shootings and gun incidents occur outside school buildings (as did this one). 

On a more hopeful note, The Laurel Independent‘s Jimmy Rogers offers readers in the region a little known secret for bringing life to your garden during this otherwise dormant season. He reveals a novel trick for directly sowing seeds in winter while spending just pennies on the dollar relative to whole plants.

Oh, and don’t forget to bring your reusable bags to stores across the county (like I did yesterday)! The new plastic bag ban went into effect January 1, so stash a stack in your vehicle to avoid buying paper bags. 

That’s it for our first newsletter of 2024! What else would you like to see from us in your inbox? Reply to this email with comments or feedback on the newsletter to let us know what you think! Keep up with local news & events along the Route 1 Corridor here online and on social media (below). 

Heather Marléne Zadig, Newsletter Editor

Upcoming Events

Unless marked with an “$,” events listed do not charge admission.

Jan. 10, 7 p.m. — Relic Baroque Ensemble: Enchanted Forest at Old Parish House organized by College Park Arts Exchange: experience an open rehearsal with Relic – curiosities and pleasures from the English and French baroque. Music of Corelli, Purcell, Lully, and others.

Jan. 11-20 — $ “Merrily We Roll Along” @ Greenbelt Arts Center Several dates & times. Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim & book by George Furth. “A musical comedy about fame, friendship and fate. Stephen Sondheim’s score is his best ever!” 119 Centerway, Greenbelt.

Jan. 11, 7 to 9 p.m. — Brentwood Arts Exchange, film “Singlefin: Yellow.” Experience surfing in January! The film tells the story of one surfboard’s life as it travels the globe shared by a group of friends. 3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood. 301.277.2863 

Jan. 12, 7 to 10 p.m.  — Blues Night with Stormi and the Blue Skies atMaryland Meadworks. (tipping the band is encouraged). 4700 Rhode Island Ave., Suite Bee, Hyattsville. 201.955.9644

Jan. 12-28 — “12 Angry Jurors”: Laurel Mill Playhouse presents the play about 12 jurors responsible for deciding the fate of a 19-year-old man standing trial for the stabbing death of his father. Several dates at various times. 508 Main St. For more info, call 301,617.9906

Jan. 13, 4 to 6 p.m. — “Local News Journalism Today” in University Park. A discussion with Peter Pichaske, retired reporter for Prince George’s and Montgomery Journals, and Ken Weiss, author of Still Trending: A Divided America from Newspaper to Newsfeed (due out next August), faculty from UMD’s Merrill College of Journalism, & staff & board members of Streetcar Suburbs Publishing. University Park Church of the Brethren, 4413 Tuckerman St.

Jan. 14, 2 to 4 p.m. — Laurel PetSmart Cat Adoption Event. Laurel Cats will host an event with fully vetted adult cats available for adoption. 13600 Baltimore Ave., #160. For more information, call 301.886.0161

Jan. 18, 7 to 9 p.m.  — Brentwood Arts Exchange, Film: Riding Giants.Start your winter off warm with this documentary about the art of big-wave surfing. 3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood. 301.227.2863  

Jan. 19-21 — Open Auditions for Summer 2024 Shakespeare in the Parks. Here’s your chance to get into the act, whether you’re a beginning talent or an experienced thespian. Register by Jan. 19 for auditions on Jan. 21 at For more info, email

Jan. 20, 10 a.m. — Trolley Trail Extension Celebratory Walk starting at Melrose Skate Park. The Hyattsville Community Development Corporation is hosting a walk accompanied by The Wild Anacostias along the new trolley trail extension, ending at the City Building for warm drinks and snacks.

Jan. 20 — Kids’ Art Drop In. Hands-on creative session hosted by the College Park Arts Exchange, led by an experienced teacher for ages 3-8 accompanied by caregivers. Two locations: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at College Park Community Center, 5101 Pierce Ave. and 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Old Parish House, 4711 Knox Road. For more information, email

Jan. 21, 5 to 8 p.m. — College Park Arts Exchange Needle Arts Club. Are you a sharp little sew-and-sew? Meet up with other folks who like to sew, knit and crochet. Old Parish House, 4711 Knox Road. For more information, go to

Jan. 22, 7 to 9 p.m. — “Harlem Street Singer”: Hyattsville Public Library, (2013, 76 min.) chronicles the life of the Rev. Gary Davis, the great American ragtime, blues and gospel guitarist who inspired and influenced a generation of folk musicians in the 1950s and 1960s. Register at 6530 Adelphi Rd. 240.455.5451