Trolley Trail Day returns to Prince George’s Co. this weekend


For Hyattsville leaders, the hope is that the community will turn out to offer input on the future of The Spot, a pop-up park that sits along the trail at Hamilton Street. (WTOP/John Domen)

It started in 2019, and then had to stop because of the pandemic. But this Saturday, Trolley Trail Day is set to return to the U.S. Route 1 corridor in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The event celebrates the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail, which runs from the Hollywood neighborhood in College Park down to Hyattsville. In 2019, there were three different spots along the trail with activities. This Saturday, there will be seven different activity hubs.

“Drawing attention to the trail itself, but then also to all of the cultural and economic assets along the trail,” said Holly Simmons, acting director of community and economic development for Hyattsville.

Events are slated to start as early as 9 a.m., with activities happening throughout the day and into the evening on different segments of the trail, which runs from College Park south into Riverdale and Hyattsville.

For Hyattsville leaders, the hope is that the community will turn out to offer input on the future of The Spot, a pop-up park that sits along the trail at Hamilton Street. Currently, it’s not much more than a few picnic tables and lawn chairs that serve as sort of a bare bones gathering spot in The Arts District. The city aspires for much more.

“We have funding to turn this into a permanent community space that’s really going to be the backyard of this area,” said Simmons. “Trolley Trail Day is the kickoff for our design and engagement … get us a better sense of what elements are going to make people want to linger in this space, what are people looking for at The Spot to make it a permanent community space.”

The celebration of the trail also comes as the last half-mile segment is built to connect this trail with the Northwest Branch Trail that comes out of Silver Spring and connects to the various trails along the Anacostia River basin.

“We’re going to have connectivity that will go from the University of Maryland to the District of Columbia in a way that makes all bicyclists safe in the Route 1 corridor,” said Stuart Eisenberg, the executive director of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation.

Hyattsville sees it as another magnet for customers and visitors to the city’s restaurants, breweries and cultural scene.

Eisenberg says hundreds of people already use the trail, and “we expect it to be in the high thousands over time once everything is fully connected,” said Eisenberg. “That full connection is really what’s going to activate everything and so this is about building people’s awareness that this is about to happen.”

The expectation is that the trail will be fully connected later this winter.

“Route 1 is a highway … it’s never been that pedestrian friendly. It’s improved over time but ultimately it’s a daily highway for commuters,” noted Eisenberg.

When it connects with the Northwest Branch Trail just north of Brentwood, “then we can go anywhere. We can go into D.C. (and) we can go to the National Arboretum, Navy Yard. That just opens up all the possibilities for everyone in the community, and in D.C., to enjoy our destinations.”

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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