Monday, October 22, 2007
And I could be mistaken but I believe in this photo you can see the existing Tenleytown library under construction!
And finally here is a fun website I found a few months ago that tries to calculate the walkability of a neighborhood:
It seems to strictly measure retail within walking distance and doesn't attempt to ascertain how unfriendly a neighborhood maybe to pedestrians but it has a lot of useful information including some restaurants I was not aware of.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Lots of us seem to be asking, “What is going on at the former site of the Outer Circle Theater?” As we understand it, the community is getting a brand-new drive-through bank. Ugh! Could anything be less desirable at this location? A building expressly designed to generate as many car trips as possible – not the sort of development anyone with a concern for Smart Growth or neighborhood traffic wants to see. A suburban building type usually seen in places like Rockville Pike plopped down on
So, what we want to ask is, “Why do we have to put up with this?” Shouldn’t we have a plan for the future of our neighborhood that envisions something more exciting and entertaining than drive-thru banks? Shouldn’t the affected ANC’s be taking a position in opposition to a clearly inappropriate use, an anachronism that just screams tailfins and 35¢ per gallon gas? Apparently not, given the silence that has surrounded this project. Apparently not, since the vocal opponents of most new development and planning for Upper Wisconsin Avenue have told us that existing zoning is just all right with them. Apparently there is no reason to raise our expectations for new development in our neighborhood. The next time you are urged to oppose changes to “matter-of-right” zoning, remember that this is what you could get – a drive-thru bank. Ugh. We can certainly do a whole lot better.
Monday, November 06, 2006
The whole thing makes you wonder. New theatres are opening in the city -- two downtown at E Street and at 7th Street, one at Bethesda Row, and another in Georgetown. These places are exciting, experiencing new mixed-use development, and attractive to investors.
4000 Wisconsin is closing due to a corporate merger, but if our neighborhood was experiencing the sort of re-birth that say, Chinatown, has (or even a quarter of that) -- would the new owner be so fast to close the theatre? I doubt it.
Good retail and good entertainment options come with residential density to survive, and the movie theatre and the old Left Bank Cafe are proof of that.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
By Marc Fisher, Washington Post, 9/14/06
"...In the city, however, voters resoundingly rejected candidates backed by the vocal but tiny minority of residents who have made enough noise to stall or kill transit-oriented developments that the District requires to expand its tax base and serve citizens most in need. Voters in upper Northwest's Ward 3 chose Mary Cheh, the one council candidate who forthrightly said she will stand up to the NIMBY crowd and fight for a denser, more urban feel to the upper Wisconsin Avenue corridor."
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
As usual, Marc Fisher has got it right with his biting assessment of the Ward 3 Council race. From Potomac Confidential's Election Night coverage:
Mark in Adams Morgan: Why is Kojo Nnamdi reporting results with 75 percent of precincts reporting and the Post's got NOTHING?
Marc Fisher: We've got plenty--
DC Ward 3 council, with 11 of 17 precincts reporting:
An easy, dominating win for Mary Cheh, with 46 percent of the vote so far in a nine-way race. That's a powerful endorsement by the silent, pro-development majority against the NIMBYs and suburban wannabes who have fought against transit-oriented development around Metro stations.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
All along the Red Line we have diverse housing types - in fact if you think about it it is the Connecticut avenue corridor that has the high rise apartment/condo buildings and then you segue to the rowhouses and a bit further away the single family homes. Near Wisconsin we have just a couple of buildings with condos, which are mostly new, a handful of rowhouses (and some duplexes), mostly in FH, and then mostly single family homes. So in fact what is lacking are multi unit/family buildings.
There is a good argument that there is a shortage of multi-room housing being built, but current zoning does nothing to help this - in fact by limiting the available pool of all housing it hurts the overall housing situation in DC. It's not just a shortage of family housing or affordable housing - it's a shortage of housing in general in DC that have driven up costs and priced people out of the city. If indeed more family housing is what we need, why not try and amend the current proposal to mandate inclusion of family (multi-bedroom) units? When it comes down to it, limiting height and density is always going to be the opposition's determining factor in approving a new development, nothing else, no matter how badly it is needed.
I would take this argument a step further and add that one of the benefits of multiple types of housing is that it creates more supply and enables more folks to move in and out of different types. For example young folks can get in first to a condo, live there a few years building up equity, maybe move up to a row house and then in middle age when they may have teenagers hopefully get into a single family house with the most space. And once the kids are gone they can start to move the other direction and start downsizing. But the lack of diversity in housing options inhibits that movement.
Folks who are young and want to be close in but aren't willing to take a chance on a more transitional neighborhood like Ft Totten might opt to not live close in because the restraint of supply has driven the cost of 1 bedrooms to a starting level of $300,000+. Conversely the older folks who have more house than they need have no incentive to leave their extra square footage behind - sure they may have a $900,000 home they paid $200,000 for but a 2 bedroom in Chase Point is starting at $800,000 so that move makes no sense for them. But strangely some seem to suggest that the market could soon be oversaturated with these units. Why that is their concern (particularly given their animosity towards developers) I don't understand but the example I just cited is why that could be a good thing even for buyers looking for single family homes - if that 2 bedroom in Chase Point comes down to a more reasonable $500,000 then maybe that retirement age couple makes that move. Enough folks do that it increases the supply of single family homes and slows the inflation of their prices.