Riverdale Park has big hopes for its town center, and for good reason.
In recent months, the town has renovated a historic clock, spruced up a traffic signal box, installed artsy bike racks and renamed the MARC commuter train stop from “Riverdale” to “Riverdale Park Town Center.”
The last step might seem minor, but it involves convincing the Maryland Transit Administration to change a lot of maps, schedules and web pages. That usually takes a concerted effort and some political sway — as when the Metro system split the difference with its U Street/African-American Civil War Museum/Cardozo station.
“Change is in the air,” the town tweeted. “New artbox, renamed train station, renovated clock. It’s good times and good vibes only in [the Town of Riverdale Park].”
It’s not just the small things. The town center now has fast-casual Vietnamese restaurant Banana Blossom Bistro, Spanish-Mexican fusion Riviera Tapas, the expanded Town Center Market and a Bikram yoga studio. It’ll soon add a coffee shop too.
The location is great: Just a little off the busy Route 1 corridor, a short bike ride on the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail from the row homes and soon-to-come apartments of Riverdale Park Station, and surrounded by historic homes.
And it has the aforementioned MARC station, one of only 12 on the Camden line between the Camden Yards baseball field in Baltimore and Union Station in D.C.
The new station name should help market the area to the 4,600 commuters who pass by, but the MARC system will benefit too if more people live nearby and start taking the train. Studies show that for each rider using a parking space at a park-and-ride transit station, four more riders would use it if that space were instead part of a transit-oriented development.
That’s probably not going to happen around Riverdale Park’s MARC station, but it is happening the next stop up at College Park. And if the town added a bike rental station along the Trolley Trail, a few of the residents of Riverdale Park Station might take the train too.