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The Commission of Fine Arts, is charged with giving expert advice on matters of design and aesthetics, as they affect the Federal interest and preserve the dignity of the nation's capital. The Commission consists of seven "well qualified judges of the fine arts" who are appointed by the President

I'd say the Commission did its job. It provided expert artistic advice on how to preserve the aesthetic dignity of the nation's capital. Now it's time for the DC Council to do its job which should be designing spaces that serve the best interests of its stakeholders.

by Falls Church in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 19, 2014 12:44 am • linkreport

the CFA is a big bad wolf because it is a federally appointed group of outsiders telling *us* what to do.

That is certainly part of it. But the main problem is that we keep doing what they tell us to do. I think this article is saying that we should listen to them, but only as advisory board. I serve on an advisory board, and people ignore us all the time. And we're actual DC citizens.

by David C in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 11:22 pm • linkreport

"commission members oppose features such as an arch to announce the entrance to Jazz Alley, calling this and other structures "both formally and tectonically extraneous to the project."

It's arguable that some of the most 'extraneous' elements of DC's older neighborhoods are what give them so much character. Tectonically extraneous elements are typically referred to as "ornaments" by 'architectural experts', and developers are more than happy to value engineer them out, especially if their architects can do no better than design another K Steet box. A special site like this one that's all about its public space ought to abound in pedestrian scaled ornaments.

It's especially puzzling that Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk wouldn't know better since with her partner, DPZ was one of the first firms to employ pedestrian detailed architecture and urbanism in their excellent planning work. Then again Ms. Zyberk was more the code end of the duo while Andres seems to have a more of the intuitive sense of what make places unique. And places like National harbor show it doesn't have to be another classical vs. modernism argument. Hopefully Monte Hoffman, who's done great work before, will heed Mr. Well's advice and shoot for something more than just another mass of glass boxes.

by Thayer-D in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 11:20 pm • linkreport

Maybe Tommy Wells would have more credibility here if he hadn't been blowing the anti-outsider dogwhistle shortly after his demeaning kowtowing to the churches on the parking issue.

He did not kowtow to the churches on the parking issue. One writer at the city paper reported it that way. But I don't think any reasonable reading of what Wells actually said can support this. Crikey7, usually we are in agreement on the issues, but in this case we most certainly are not.

by David C in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 11:03 pm • linkreport

This article overlooks the one of the first and most important steps: Secure the scene. If on the street, post someone to watch for and direct traffic. If the victim came be moved, get them out of danger. The same if on a sidewalk for bike path. You do not want a motorist or other cyclist plowing through the carnage.

by Ron in Crash course: What to do if you're in, or see, a bicycle crash on Apr 18, 2014 10:52 pm • linkreport

Tom, I think this may be a "roller coaster" problem. Roller coasters are scary, but not very dangerous. Likewise a bi-directional cycletrack may be scary, but I know of no research showing them to be dangerous. Nonetheless, if one chooses not to ride in the bike facility, they shouldn't be abused for that. What kind of abuse are we talking about. Again, I know of no research showing more abuse in these situations. I've been yelled at to get in bike lanes on streets without them.

Still, DDOT is trying new things - and all bike infrastructure is relatively new - so that should be encouraged. I can tell you that WABA actually had very little to do with this facility. It started in DDOT and was a project of opportunity.

On 15th, Penn and L street, DDOT has noticed significant increase in cyclists after the cycletracks were added. Isn't this something that cyclists should support?

by David C in Curb-protected cycletracks are now appearing in DC on Apr 18, 2014 10:51 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity, do you mind disclosing where you are from?

by selxic in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 10:32 pm • linkreport

Projections like these rarely are accurate--it's difficult to know how populations will grow or redistribute. Not worth arguing.

by Rich in By 2040, DC's population could be close to 900,000 on Apr 18, 2014 8:34 pm • linkreport

@sk

So you proved to the cab driver that he was wrong, but you still got hit. Sometimes the best way to not get hit is to realize you have to be the mature one and let the idiot do their thing.

Maybe I'm totally interpreting your story inappropriately, but I've seen other bicyclists get into a, "I'm legally right," mode and then get into an incident. When you really get down to it, what is more important? Proving a point or protecting yourself?

Just my 2 cents.

by EB in Crash course: What to do if you're in, or see, a bicycle crash on Apr 18, 2014 6:34 pm • linkreport

I fear getting clipped by an oncoming wobbling cyclist in a track that's too narrow and inescapable to offer paths for avoidance. And I dislike the additional abuse from drivers that comes when I am not using adjacent infrastructure that I am not comfortable using.

One of the reasons I decided not to renew my WABA membership... :(

Just give me lanes up the side that are painted green... I'll take boxes at larger intersections too.

by Tom in Curb-protected cycletracks are now appearing in DC on Apr 18, 2014 5:52 pm • linkreport

The reality, AWITC, is that DC is in fact special, given the federal interest, and the history of planning vis-a-vis the federal interest in the city.

Of course, you would not expect a federal CFA in every other jurisdiction, they don't need standing. (Note though that this is an issue on the Hudson River viewshed with regard to some Korean chaebol hq projects.) And the federal interest area was defined by a legal case to not include Rosslyn, when the NPS tried to limit building heights there as an impingement on DC's federal interest, viewsheds, etc.

(cf. Gillette _Between Justice and Beauty_).

Unlike Scoot I am reasonably fine with the existence of CFA although I don't always agree with their recommendations.

I do think that a blog entry in GGW doesn't suffice as a detailed, actionable critique.

And it reminds me -- in a bad way -- how the DC Ec. Dev. folks tried to sway the Old Georgetown Board on the Apple Store.

That doesn't mean that I don't think a rebuttal isn't warranted. And frankly I have no doubt that the stellar team of architects, landscape architects, and other consultants on the project are likely to consider the critiques and prepare such a response.

by Richard Layman in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 5:44 pm • linkreport

I would say you should answer it, as you are the one reading what is clearly an attack by Wells on an anomalous institution, imposed on DC and DC alone, as a being an encouragement to parochialism.

If I thought the CFA should be abolished, or severely diminished, it would be because I think the Office of Planning could do the same job -- not because I'm afraid of federal interests or outsiders coming in and deciding what's best for DC. That's the tone that I feel the article set -- the CFA is a big bad wolf because it is a federally appointed group of outsiders telling *us* what to do. Tone is obviously up for interpretation, and clearly you disagree with it.

To me, there are many reasons to diminish or abolish the CFA that have nothing to do with where its members live. Still, though, I think Wells' analysis of the CFA's comments is flawed.

by Scoot in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 5:28 pm • linkreport

Tom what you're not factoring in is that a lot of people would rather pay $700 a month to share a big house a mile away from 14th st than $1000 for a cramped room right on it. So you're right, but if you go up a few neighborhoods you will find U St, Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant and Petworth are bursting with group houses.

by BTA in By 2040, DC's population could be close to 900,000 on Apr 18, 2014 5:10 pm • linkreport

Re: car-free situations
Everybody is supposed to have health insurance now so that is what I rely on for coverage. If the motorist is at fault their insurance will be primary but with our contributory negligence laws finding them so can be iffy.

Renters/Homeowners insurance will provide coverage for any damage you are at fault for. I don't believe it covers damage to your bike but I can self insure for that.

Non-Owners Auto Insurance is very good to have if you still operate other peoples vehicles, rentals, or use car-sharing services. Car-sharing membership often comes with just the minimum mandated insurance limit which would cover, these days, about 10 minutes of ER time. $100,000 liability is not an unrealistic minimum to have.

by jeffb in Crash course: What to do if you're in, or see, a bicycle crash on Apr 18, 2014 5:00 pm • linkreport

There may be a group house on Swann toward 15th I'm unaware of. Still, that's 1 out of 50 just like my block. That's not an compelling way to increase density.

There may be many smaller lot houses in R4 where the maximum potential area is more like 3000 sq' than 4000. But even there the density laws at 2 units keep out 3 additional units of the normal market size today (600sq'). In most cases it's more.

I wouldn't expect density limits to be dropped completely all at once. But even adding one additional potential unit per rowhouse could over time add as many new units as all the new buildings have the past few years. And in DC the market will convert those units fairly fast depending on how much the limit is increased.

I can say from experience in many cases that neighbors do usually get upset about increased height and lot coverage on neighboring houses. Really upset. But those rules are in place whether more units are allowed or not.

I've never heard of people being upset only about additional units without additional height or lot coverage. Maybe the market at increased allowable density would cause those buildings to enlarge faster but that would also prove it's effectiveness.

We have housing codes on what the minimum size of units can be. The much tighter restriction in zoning is simply to keep those areas more exclusive. But in DC our density laws are just absurd for an urban core.

Eventually Americans are going to have to come to terms with less wasteful housing expectations.

by Tom Coumaris in By 2040, DC's population could be close to 900,000 on Apr 18, 2014 4:58 pm • linkreport

"let me ask again. does any other city or county have a comparable review board composed of nonresidents appointed by the federal govt? "

"I think my comments have made clear what I think about the CFA and Tommy Wells' position on the CFA; if you need an answer to that specific question then I suggest you find out for yourself."

I would say you should answer it, as you are the one reading what is clearly an attack by Wells on an anomalous institution, imposed on DC and DC alone, as a being an encouragement to parochialism.

But I will answer - as far as I know there is NO city or county in the US subject to something like that. Zero. Zilch. Because in fact its NOT needed (areas with real federal interests apart, and even there it oversteps) as there are many ways for a city to get outside ideas and advice. Ergo, an attack on it, in the terms Wells used, is not an encouragement to parochialism, and one need not be concerned about his words having that effect (as if the folks who tend to be most parochial in DC listen to Wells.) QED.

by AWalkerInTheCity in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 4:49 pm • linkreport

"I doubt you'd like it if every time you made a comment on a post about DC, someone came in to remind everyone you're not from here."

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/22551/federal-board-wants-dignified-dull-southwest-waterfront/#comment-229562

by AWalkerInTheCity in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 4:43 pm • linkreport

Scoot -- but CHAP weighs in on design matters for parcels of a certain size, regardless of whether or not the property is in a historic district, and on municipal buildings. So it has a broader purview than HPO/HPRB somewhat more comparable to CFA, which we should add, was a response by the federal government to the McMillan Plan.

That one purview makes it similar to the CFA, but nonetheless, CHAP's chief responsibilities are designating historic districts, legally approving developments within historic districts, maintaining the city's monuments, administering elements of the city's housing and tax codes and providing recommendations on the city's preservation ordinances. Correct me if I'm wrong but CFA does none of that.

by Scoot in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 4:43 pm • linkreport

The reason you don't want certain things In Your Back Yard - apartment buildings, especially of the 'affordable' variety, mass transit, free entertainment venues like skate parts or basketball courts, etc. - is because they attract people of a lower Socio-Economic Status than you. You must protect yourself, and most importantly your children, from their corrupting influence.

Sorry, but I don't think this is a negative. I worked really hard to get away from those people (I grew up in a rural area devastated by thievery, drunk driving, and heroin) and I want to keep it away from me now too. I don't think there anything wrong with wanting to live around people that have the same lifestyle that I have...which is not one of domestic abuse, the police showing up all hours of the night, and smashing people's car windows for fun.

by Another Nick in Dead ends: Euphemisms hide our true feelings about growth on Apr 18, 2014 4:41 pm • linkreport

This journal article is a very good sum up of the state of present practice on waterfront revitalization.

http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/5/11/4578

by Richard Layman in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 4:33 pm • linkreport

let me ask again. does any other city or county have a comparable review board composed of nonresidents appointed by the federal govt?

I think my comments have made clear what I think about the CFA and Tommy Wells' position on the CFA; if you need an answer to that specific question then I suggest you find out for yourself.

You can interpret the tone of the article as you wish, but to me it just seems needlessly anti-federal and anti-outsider. I doubt you'd like it if every time you made a comment on a post about DC, someone came in to remind everyone you're not from here.

That's the kind of attitude that pervades much of DC politics, and I don't think we need another high-profile politician encouraging more of it. Just my 2 cents.

by Scoot in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 4:31 pm • linkreport

the waterfront issue is a perfect example of the tension. DC has plenty of green spaces that Willow likes along the river, and the spaces aren't that well used. This particular stretch of waterfront specifically once served as DC's port, so presumably it was very active and "exciting" the seafood market being one type of function that likely existed "back then."

There were steamships traveling to Norfolk and then up the Atlantic Coast to NYC, etc.

And the waterfront revitalization activities that I have been writing about in the context of Europe (Liverpool, Bilbao, Helsinki, Hamburg, Thessaloniki, Marseille) are all about activation as best as possible, given the historical antecedents and the resulting changes in the organization of the maritime industry, which meant city docks were no longer vital places for the transportation of goods and people and for industry.

I'd go for more active than less active. But as far as the specific comments of CFA are concerned (which I am not going to read), I'd recommend a point by point rebuttal, which then justifies taking another course.

Given the relative deadness of DC's waterfronts, with the exception of Georgetown, having an active waterfront to the extant possible, should be one of the city's biggest priorities.

The trick is to do it in a way that is sustainable and organic, even though it is all new construction. E.g., Inner Harbor is touristified, and requires regular refresh because it doesn't have many original elements. E.g., right now the IH Marketplace is in bad shape business-wise.

Liverpool is a really interesting example, in terms of how they've brought cruise ships back, etc.

by Richard Layman in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 4:29 pm • linkreport

I have been in a few car-bike crashes over the years, none of which resulted in serious injury. Because of that, I never reported them to police. But I will report any future ones, because I believe that the availability of such crash data will make it more likely that traffic engineers will use it to address bike-car safety issues (or that outside advocates will use such data to pressure transportation departments to do so).

So, thanks for this article.

by John Henry Holliday in Crash course: What to do if you're in, or see, a bicycle crash on Apr 18, 2014 4:28 pm • linkreport

What is the current thinking about handlebar- or helmet-mounted video cameras for cycling, in order to record events in the event of a crash?

I bought a Swann digital video camera a year or so ago on sale. It's decent, but certainly not optimized for cycle commuting. Fortunately I haven't been involved in a crash, although I was able to identify a "How's my driving" ID number from a driver to went out-of-turn at a 4-way stop (yes, I did come to a stop) and came within about a foot of my front wheel.

by thm in Crash course: What to do if you're in, or see, a bicycle crash on Apr 18, 2014 4:25 pm • linkreport

Scoot -- but CHAP weighs in on design matters for parcels of a certain size, regardless of whether or not the property is in a historic district, and on municipal buildings. So it has a broader purview than HPO/HPRB somewhat more comparable to CFA, which we should add, was a response by the federal government to the McMillan Plan.

I do think they are big on monumental architecture though and while we love the City Beautiful movement, Jane Jacobs was right in her criticisms. So there is a tension between big buildings that look great from the air vs. spaces that are supposed to be vibrant and used.

e.g., years ago at an NCPC hearing, I specifically contradicted NCPC speakers describing PA Ave. as "America's Main Street," while technically it is, for the most part it's a lousy space for people and isn't very vibrant and many of the spaces along it (Freedom Plaza, Pershing Park) are really bad.

by Richard Layman in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 4:18 pm • linkreport

"Whether he is or is not anti-outsider himself, that's the tone of the article,"

its one line.

"and his opposition to CFA is not what I take issue with but rather the attitude he is attempting to foster in order to drum up the opposition in others."

an attitude that a federal commision of non-residents should not have de facto veto. I think the idea that he is trying to foster parochialism is a straw man.

let me ask again. does any other city or county have a comparable review board composed of nonresidents appointed by the federal govt? if they can get along without one, why does DC need one (apart from issues with a clear federal interest)

"The update at the bottom underscores the care he took in reminding people the CFA is not 'from here.'" that was added by DA because someone was quibbling that the initial comment was somehow a knock on Va and Md commuters.

"Interestingly, he didn't seem to mind who makes up the CFA when it strongly supported the project overall,"

Since they were taking the same position as the elected DC council was, why would he take issue with it. An outside defacto veto only matters when it actually tries veto something.

by AWalkerInTheCity in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 4:14 pm • linkreport

@AWalker

Whether he is or is not anti-outsider himself, that's the tone of the article, and his opposition to CFA is not what I take issue with but rather the attitude he is attempting to foster in order to drum up the opposition in others. The update at the bottom underscores the care he took in reminding people the CFA is not 'from here.'

Interestingly, he didn't seem to mind who makes up the CFA when it strongly supported the project overall, yet seemed to take issue with it as a federal outsider whenever it filed a comment he didn't like.

by Scoot in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 4:03 pm • linkreport

The relevance of the height limit, in addition to constraining supply downtown, is that extra height could be granted conditionally on adding residential to a project.

by AWalkerInTheCity in By 2040, DC's population could be close to 900,000 on Apr 18, 2014 4:02 pm • linkreport

But yes, SW ecodistrict is another source of potential housing to include in any build out analysis. I think OP included it in theirs.

by AWalkerInTheCity in By 2040, DC's population could be close to 900,000 on Apr 18, 2014 4:01 pm • linkreport


"Many big employers have moved from downtown to the cheaper submarkets, incl. NoMa, Tysons, Rosslyn,"

I have heard about firms move to Tysons from Arlco, and Intelsat from upper NW. Which firms have moved there from downtown? I agree NoMa is the one submarket that has actually picked up tenants from downtown - I guess historically Rosslyn has, but not sure of any lately.

"And developers are scrapping plans for several planned office buildings and opting for residential units across the region." thats true, but its not conversion.

"Navy Yard hasnt picked up any notable downtown tenants. "

"I'd call BAE Systems, Booz Allen, Lockheed, and Alion notable, among others."

They were downtown? That surprises me, as they are all defense contractors, and I thought they had simply followed NavSea.

"Not sure what the Height Act has to do with office conversions. It's about market supply/demand."

Precisely.

"We've seen some residential conversions in the past, e.g., Mather Studios, Mark on M, etc. then there's the Old Post Office, and 1522 K just confirmed it's converting to a hotel."

mather and the post office are much older buildings, which are not nearly as common in DC as in some older downtowns. not familiar with Mark on M. granted 1522, though a hotel is a typical use in an office district, thats not what I was thinking of in terms of residential conversions, though I guess its technically residential.

"NCPC also has plans to convert underused govt buildings in its SW ecodistrict"

Thats more an initiative to enliven a very dead area of govt buildings, than it is a response to a surplus of downtown office space (and its only marginally "downtown")

by AWalkerInTheCity in By 2040, DC's population could be close to 900,000 on Apr 18, 2014 4:00 pm • linkreport

@Joe

My husband was involved in a t-bone accident with a car while he was cycling and the driver was at fault. A bicycle cop in DC was first on scene and he was incredible. Even came to the ER to check on my husband. I feel very fortunate that he was the one who responded bc I have heard horror stories. There are some good DC police out there and I hope there are more like him.

Another thing to recommend a witness help with (if they are so inclined to go this far) is calling the victim's In Case of Emergency person. During the aforementioned incident, I also feel very fortunate that a kind soul called me on behalf of my husband and told me what happened and what ER to go to.

Safe and happy cycling to all.

by bt in Crash course: What to do if you're in, or see, a bicycle crash on Apr 18, 2014 3:58 pm • linkreport

I was purposefully hit by cab driver in the service lane on K Street a couple of months ago. We were both stopped at the intersection and the cab got angry at me for preventing him from making a right on red. When I wouldn't move he blared his horn and then inched into me and finally hit me with his car.

I had to stand in front of the cab with my bike, holding the entire lane hostage, to get the cab driver to pull over. When the police finally arrived, they did not believe my story that the cabbie had struck me. Luckily there were Golden-Triangle ambassadors and a couple of other witnesses that corroborated my story. Only then were the police willing to take an accident report. Ultimately the police wrote the driver a ticket for reckless driving.

by sk in Crash course: What to do if you're in, or see, a bicycle crash on Apr 18, 2014 3:55 pm • linkreport

Just wanted to give my two cents as a former Arlington renter who just became a recent Fairfax homeowner ... I think telework is going to have a huge impact on where people in the DC area live in the coming decades.

My husband and I both work in the Virginia burbs and work from home 2-to-3 days per week, possibly even more in the future. This freed up our ability to purchase a home in an area not directly "close-in" to the city as we do not have to commute there on a daily basis. Some friends have made snarky comments about us *gasp* moving outside the beltway (Fairfax), but they also haven't explored the real estate market and think they can buy a 3 bedroom + home in Westover for under 600k ... but I digress.

Initially, I was hesitant to move outside the beltway, but have discovered I now have the best of both worlds. I can bus to the orange line when I feel like meeting friends for happy hour, yet still have access to good schools and was able to buy a nice home with room to grow as we have kids. I imagine once my husband and I start a family, those happy hours and nights out in the city wouldn't be a huge priority even if we were able to afford in North Arlington!

Anyway ... to each their own. People should stop making negative comments about where others decide to live since it's such a personal choice dependent on lifestyle, budget, family size, etc.

by fairfaxian in Breakfast links: How Virginia moves on Apr 18, 2014 3:54 pm • linkreport

Another term that obfuscates reality: "inner city." In the context of DC, at least, the connotation of the term is not really consistent with its literal (geographic) meaning.
I've read about 'urban' Walmarts but I've yet to read anything about the 'inner-city Burberry' slated for CityCenterDC.

by Brett in Dead ends: Euphemisms hide our true feelings about growth on Apr 18, 2014 3:51 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity

"Tysons doesnt really compete for downtown tenants, AFAICT. Navy Yard hasnt picked up any notable downtown tenants."

Many big employers have moved from downtown to the cheaper submarkets, incl. NoMa, Tysons, Rosslyn, etc. And developers are scrapping plans for several planned office buildings and opting for residential units across the region.

"Navy Yard hasnt picked up any notable downtown tenants. "

I'd call BAE Systems, Booz Allen, Lockheed, and Alion notable, among others.

"...I do not think downtown office conversions (given the current height limit) will generate large numbers of residential units. "

Not sure what the Height Act has to do with office conversions. It's about market supply/demand. We've seen some residential conversions in the past, e.g., Mather Studios, Mark on M, etc. then there's the Old Post Office, and 1522 K just confirmed it's converting to a hotel. NCPC also has plans to convert underused govt buildings in its SW ecodistrict.

by Burd in By 2040, DC's population could be close to 900,000 on Apr 18, 2014 3:40 pm • linkreport

I think you are misreading "But a federal board of artists and architects, most of whom don't live in the Washington region, is trying to make it much more boring. "

Thats simply a way to encourage people to not defer to CFA on this project. I don't think he is anti outsider (is he not from Alabama, and has that not been pointed out by many DC residents, and have not many of his supporters been attacked as "transplants") and no more anti-federal than most folks in DC.

I guess I just don't see it as anti-federal or anti-outsider to oppose the CFA. I mean Arlington gets ideas from Portland, and even from Prague, but it does not need a board of czech or oregonian experts in order to do so. AFAIK no other american city or county has such a board, composed almost completely of non-residents, and appointed by an outside entity, to which projects must be submitted for review.

If those places can do without it, why does DC need it? If DC needs it, why don't all those other places need it?

by AWalkerInTheCity in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 3:38 pm • linkreport

I'm not in disagreement with Wells about that essential idea, but I am in disagreement with him about other things. I certainly don't see the sense in encouraging this anti-outsider, anti-federal attitude. Of course how can you blame him? He's a politician, looking for influence wherever he can get it and looking to rally people around his cause.

by Scoot in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 3:31 pm • linkreport

" I think the CFA's role should be diminished"

Then I am not sure we are in disagreement, or that you are in disgreement with Wells.

by AWalkerInTheCity in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 3:23 pm • linkreport

@AWalker,

Some do have a grasp of local conditions. Others believe they have a grasp of local conditions but don't. Still others just have a grasp of their own interests and little else. NIMBYism if you will. There's nothing stopping you from going to one, if not to make a valuable comment (which I hope would be taken seriously even if you do not live in the neighborhood) then to just sit and observe.

Also, re: the CFA. Its recommendations are balanced by plenty of local stakeholders -- remember that the entire plan is being designed and built by the DC Office of Planning, PN Hoffman (a local DC developer), Perkins Eastman (which has an office in DC), and numerous local landscape architects. I think the CFA's role should be diminished, but that's more an effect of the planning politics of the region, rather than a mandate from the CFA itself.

Likewise, we can appreciate what Oslo has done and try to emulate it - the key being we here can do so - and yet we wouldn't want the project designed and administrated by Norway.

Well, the CFA is not the designer of the project, nor involved in administration of completed projects, but if planners in Norway wanted to make comments that could be taken seriously by planners and designers here in DC, I would be thrilled. I know I don't speak for everyone. Some people only want DC residents to have input.

by Scoot in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 3:20 pm • linkreport

I agree 100% with Tommy Wells. Especially the part that "Large areas become more interesting when changes in pavement and vertical elements create recognizable 'neighborhoods' by varying the built environment. As architecture experts at Gallaudet University have told me, such features are exactly what it takes to signal that you are moving into a new room or area." I used to live on the Foggy Bottom-Georgetown border and I loved the transition from the more typical sidewalk to the trademark Georgetown cobblestone. I've been following the SW news for a while and would love to buy a place there in a few years if the plans go as promised. I'll be sorely disappointed if they keep it dull and free of character.

by Matt V in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 3:11 pm • linkreport

"Much of this blog is written about people making poor design and planning decisions about what goes on in the cities and towns where they themselves live -- and much of the commentary about those people is from other people who don't live there."

and any final decision making body, whether its the DC council, an org like CHAP, the FFX BoS, would be well advised to listen to ideas, data, analysis from people who do not live there. Because they may have really good ideas. But to balance that with local input, from people who generally DO know local conditions and concerns better (and no I wont go to an ANC meeting, it wouldnt be my place - and from what I have read here they often do have great grasp of local conditions)

Granting CFA as de facto veto is a different thing.

I would add, much of this blog is about famous architects, planners, developers, etc making poor design and planning decisions.

by AWalkerInTheCity in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 3:03 pm • linkreport

I was a carfree person, and I had really cheap non-owner car insurance. It was super cheap as it covered me if I rented or borrowed a car. However, it also had underinsured motorist coverage and that provided coverage when my wife was hit.

by jwetz in Crash course: What to do if you're in, or see, a bicycle crash on Apr 18, 2014 2:56 pm • linkreport

"Continuous" would be perfect. Link it up with nearby L'Enfant Plaza. Monument to the Neutron Bomb.

by massysett in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 2:54 pm • linkreport

@ AWalkerInTheCity; agreed that on the R-B corridor ARL has been successful in this model. Not sure if it applies to say, Lee Highway, Rt. 50, or Crystal City.

But yes, as I keep saying a mix of housing is essential for success.

by charlie in Dead ends: Euphemisms hide our true feelings about growth on Apr 18, 2014 2:53 pm • linkreport

They would presumably have both more awareness of local DC concerns and goals, and also a greater stake, as taxpayers.

Why is that presumed? Check out an ANC meeting and get back to me about whether people have a proper awareness of their own neighborhood's concerns and goals, much less the concerns and goals of neighborhoods far away from theirs. Much of this blog is written about people making poor design and planning decisions about what goes on in the cities and towns where they themselves live -- and much of the commentary about those people is from other people who don't live there.

Xenophobia, parochialism, provincialism -- call it what you will. The English language has many words for concepts that mean essentially the same thing.

CHAP, in Baltimore, is appointed by the Mayor of Baltimore, and the commisioners seem to be mostly (all?) citizens of Baltimore. Do you think Baltimore should get a federal commision instead?

CHAP is not really the same thing as the CFA. CHAP = DCHPO.

by Scoot in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 2:50 pm • linkreport

Scoot

CHAP, in Baltimore, is appointed by the Mayor of Baltimore, and the commisioners seem to be mostly (all?) citizens of Baltimore. Do you think Baltimore should get a federal commision instead?

by AWalkerInTheCity in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 2:38 pm • linkreport

"So if the CFA were composed of people from Brightwood -- a residential neighborhood 8 miles away from the pier -- then its comments should be taken more seriously? What about people from Columbia Heights, or Spring Valley or Truxton Circle or Fairlawn?"

They would presumably have both more awareness of local DC concerns and goals, and also a greater stake, as taxpayers.

"personally don't see the sense in stoking stoking xenophobia"

Please, xenophobia is fear of foreigners - you are referring to parochialism, not xenophobia. Rather different things with different consequences.

And again, the examples are EXAMPLES. I doubt Tommy Wells would have written this response if one of these architects had simply written an oped in the Post expressing their personal opinion. Its because of the weight they are given.

by AWalkerInTheCity in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 2:37 pm • linkreport

Just FYI - the actual minutes from the meeting are now available.

I haven't had time to read them, but I generally like simple paving and varied buildings. That way it's clear what's a continuous public space, and what is the joyful anarchy of the city.

by Neil Flanagan in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 2:37 pm • linkreport

@Lurker:

I wouldn't say the likelihood of getting Congress to amend the Commission is nonexistant. Rep. Issa has been willing to review the Height Act restrictions.

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee has held hearings on the Southwest Ecodistrict initiative. To the extent that the Commission of Fine Arts has design review over the Southwest waterfront, this complicates the General Service Administsration and National Capitol Planning Commission's effort to redevelop Soutwest to make it more vibrant and sustainable.

by 202_Cyclist in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 2:36 pm • linkreport

Although at least WRT my first example, I take that back. I would give anything to have TfL run our transit system here instead of WMATA.

by LowHeadways in Federal board wants "dignified," dull Southwest Waterfront on Apr 18, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

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