Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Build it in Ward 8


Image from UrbanAdvantage.
Anacostia's future, too short?: Renderings show what Anacostia's gateway could look like. It's much, much nicer than what's there today. But should it be taller than 2 stories? (And Now, Anacostia, City Paper)

St. E's triggers TOD: The upcoming St. Elizabeth's development is catalyzing more development nearby, with a 7-story building proposed at Congress Heights Metro. (Examiner)

A pedestrian bridge across the Anacostia?: David Garber used a nice pedestrian bridge in Denver and wants to bring one to the Anacostia. (TBD) ... A pedestrian bridge is actually part of two of the Poplar Point options considered 2 years ago.

HOT lanes will lose promised transit: Virginia wants to cut proposed BRT from the HOT lane project on 95 and 395. Now, the project will increase congestion inside the Beltway. Sean Connaughton says Arlington's opposition made the project less profitable, but Chris Zimmerman thinks the bus money was a mirage from the start. (Examiner)

Gray donations violate laws: Some cash donations to the Gray campaign, many from taxi drivers, exceeded legal limits, and campaign workers illegally converted them to money orders, which can be larger (why?) (Post) ... Many of the same people in this scandal are the ones who got Gray into trouble earlier this year. (Examiner)

Beware the zoning Death Eaters: The Committee of 100 thinks there needs to be a giant ad campaign like the one for the latest Harry Potter movie to alert residents that their neighborhoods are "under attack." Or, maybe, they realize that the supposedly Voldemort-esque zoning rewrite isn't actually so bad. (City Paper)

Road rage leads to labor (the obstetric kind): A driver started yelling at a cyclist for riding between cars (but not hitting any) in Dupont Circle. He yelled back, the driver yelled more, her water broke and she went into labor. (DCist)

Boston neighborhoods 3 different ways: Most cities' neighborhoods are not officially defined. In Boston, there are several different ways to define boundaries, and an interactive Boston Globe feature lets you see the overlapping boundaries.

And...: Mary Cheh joined the ACLU in a brief opposing Dan Snyder's lawsuit against the City Paper (DCist) ... Montgomery councilmembers are not pleased with Pepco's new aggressive tree pruning. (Post) ... Dogs are distracting to drivers. (Baltimore Sun) ... Get pizza delivered in Clarendon on a Segway. (WTOP)

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David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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I've always loved the Millenium Bridge in London...something like that connecting Poplar Point to the Ballpark District right there at the bend in the river would be great!

by jnb on Jul 20, 2011 8:48 am • linkreport


oh, yeah, a link would be helpful

http://www.pps.org/great_public_spaces/one?public_place_id=658#

by jnb on Jul 20, 2011 8:49 am • linkreport

I think the development near St E's is 7, not 70 stories.

by Lucre on Jul 20, 2011 8:51 am • linkreport

Oops, that was a typo. Yes, 7.

by David Alpert on Jul 20, 2011 8:52 am • linkreport

Seven stories at Congress Heights, not 70. Too bad, I was intrigued.

by ossipago on Jul 20, 2011 8:53 am • linkreport

Pedestrian Bridges:

I don't see Poplar Point as the most important link. Soon, that area will get a new South Capitol Street bridge, as well as the new local span of the 11th Street bridge upstream.

The existing Sousa bridge isn't bad to cross on foot or by bike, though the connections at either end (Barney Circle WotR, cutting under the Anacostia Freeway EotR) leave something to be desired.

The Benning Road bridges are also fine.

The worst offender is the East Capitol bridge - the sidewalks there are ridiculously narrow, perhaps only 3 feet wide. There are some connections to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail on both sides, but for the most part those narrow sidewalks just dump you into freeway offramps on either end. There's a huge opportunity to improve the access here.

For new bridges, I think a Mass Ave bridge is the most obvious connection to make. The existing distance between Pennsylvania and East Capitol is by far the largest between bridges. A Mass Ave bridge would link the Hill East development to the park and trail across the river, it would also help provide a place for the ART along the east bank to make the jump over the railroad tracks - as well as provide a connection into the neighborhood on the other side of the Anacostia Freeway and up towards Fort Dupont Park.

by Alex B. on Jul 20, 2011 9:13 am • linkreport

Is that Boston map based in part on the parking permits? I've always liked how they have neighborhood specific parking stickers with a picture from the neighborhood on each.

by TM on Jul 20, 2011 9:21 am • linkreport

I agree with Alex B, a Mass Avenue bridge would help tie the Res 13 development with eotr river quite nicely.

by Tim Krepp on Jul 20, 2011 9:29 am • linkreport

I think Hains Point would benefit from having a pedestrian and bike bridge over the Washington Channel. This would be a smaller, cheaper bridge than one over the Anacostia (which would be cool as well). Also, I think a pedestrian/bicycle bridge spanning Rock Creek Park north of Calvert Street would be useful in connecting neighborhoods, and avoiding the more car-friendly steep downhill and then uphill for cyclists and walkers (basically the span would remain level from each side of the valley).

by MrTinDC on Jul 20, 2011 9:47 am • linkreport

BRT

There will of course still be express buses on I95/I395 as there are now, they will presumably use the new HOT lanes outside the beltway, and they will use the existing HOV lanes inside the beltway - and I presume there will be express buses direct to the Mark Center, instead of only to the Pentagon. There will also be new park and ride lots. What will be gone, AFAICT from the Examiner story, is the BRT STATIONS, and the additional operating subsidy. It all raises again the question, where is the dividing line between BRT and conventional express bus, and how important is it. I understand from the urbanism POV it would be better to have BRT stops that would encourage something like TOD beyond the beltway - but I'm not sure their absence is cause for major handwringing.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 20, 2011 9:59 am • linkreport

That's a pretty neat rendering of Anacostia. It also shows the main street where the proposed streetcars would go. I think a suggestion was to have it turn at this intersection and make its way back sw down MLK towards St. E.

It would be great to see Anacostia look like this, maybe even with my preferred bike lane.

by HogWash on Jul 20, 2011 10:03 am • linkreport

Coincidentally, there was a slideshow featuring interesting pedestrian bridges on HuffPost today.

http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/07/20/worlds-coolest-pedestrian-bridges-photos/#4305520

by jyindc on Jul 20, 2011 10:11 am • linkreport

I like those Anacostia renderings! Height's nice, but that's a very human-scaled downtown (and a fairly realistic-looking to boot). I like it.

A pedestrian bridge across the Anacostia near the ballpark would need to either be a drawbridge, or very, very tall as to not cut off access to the Navy Yard. That's expensive, and as others are mentioning, won't really solve any problem when you consider the new local 11th St bridge, and the new South Capitol bridge.

A bridge across the canal sounds a lot more interesting/useful. I'd love to see that, although there would likely be security issues that would need to be sorted out.

I'd also like to see a pedestrian/bike connection along the CSX railroad bridge along M St SE. This would provide better access to Anacostia Park, Fort Dupont, and a number of bike paths. (I'd also like to see a local road bridge constructed to connect both sides of Mass Ave to help remove another "barrier" between EoTR, but that's another issue.)

by andrew on Jul 20, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

I hope all of you pro-height limits folks enjoy your scalding walks on exposed streets today.

by beatbox on Jul 20, 2011 10:38 am • linkreport

HA! Pepco's "new" aggressive tree pruning? Pepco has been cutting down healthy trees and leaving dead ones up for years. If anything, tree pruning should be taken out of the hands of Pepco (add it to the list of things Pepco shouldn't be doing).

by Brian M on Jul 20, 2011 10:43 am • linkreport

I really like the unique playground in option three of the Poplar Point redevelopment proposals. Can we get some of those built around town?

by NikolasM on Jul 20, 2011 10:46 am • linkreport

"I hope all of you pro-height limits folks enjoy your scalding walks on exposed streets today."

Presumably you've never been to Manhattan in the summer. It's plenty hot and miserable.

I'm not strongly for or against the height limit, but this is a pretty bad argument against it. No matter the height of the building, the best way to cool a street is trees.

by TM on Jul 20, 2011 10:50 am • linkreport

Also, the height limit is sufficiently high to shade virtually any street in DC. It's a dumb argument.

by andrew on Jul 20, 2011 10:51 am • linkreport

I would think a higher building height in Anacostia than shown by those drawings would be preferable. It's only a half-mile from the metro, is located at a gateway intersection, and probably right where the streetcar would be. It's also zoned for buildings over twice the height depicted in the drawing.

by DCster on Jul 20, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

I hope all of you pro-height limits folks enjoy your scalding walks on exposed streets today. by beatbox on Jul 20, 2011 10:38 am

Do trees not exist in your world?

by greent on Jul 20, 2011 10:56 am • linkreport

I use the Congress Heights Metro station daily, riding my folding bike west from the Metro to my job on the other side of 295. Congress Heights could really blossom in the next decade or so, with the proposed TOD one of the first visible signs. The area directly south and west but still within easy walking distance of the Congress Heights Metro station has some amazing houses, some of which have been kept in very good condition. Their value could appreciate strongly in the coming years. The principle downside, at present, is a rather bleak retail scene, but it sounds like this proposed building might start to change that.

by thm on Jul 20, 2011 11:00 am • linkreport

Any bridges over the Anacostia would have to allow naval ships to pass. Also- people need to be thinking about the possibility of dredging the Anacostia to allow larger ships to return there - possibly cruise ships as they have berthing at Alexandria- where the river bottom and port access was improved with the new Wilson bridge. Any new waterfront improvements should also include facilites/ capabilites for ships to once more dock in what was the USA's first large shipyard. Plus- with energy prices going up- water transport will look more feasable and it is cheaper- why not take advantage of exisiting potentials? We waste our resources in the USA- every little water access in Europe is used or made use of by transport and commerce. The best we can do is build parking lots and airports.

by w on Jul 20, 2011 11:33 am • linkreport

My height limit comment was a little tongue in cheek, but there is an element to truth in it. Yes, I have walked through Manhattan in the summer, I bet many more times than you have. Taller buildings provide more shade cover. I just never got why, in a city with a climate like DC, people argue for short buildings on wide streets. Look at the way people hug the shade lines while walking down K st. sometime.

by beatbox on Jul 20, 2011 11:44 am • linkreport

and on the whole, trees are good, but they can isolate you from the street scape as a whole. They recently put some trees in Times Square. What the hell are they thinking?

by beatbox on Jul 20, 2011 11:46 am • linkreport

"What the hell are they thinking? "

That trees are vital to life, and work well to cool an area (especially buildings), and to assist with smog reduction?

Oh, you just wanted a anti-height rant. Never mind.

by greent on Jul 20, 2011 12:41 pm • linkreport

I had to trust people to properly carry out the duties for which they were responsible.

I did not like him before. Now I can rest assured this man is completely untrustworthy.

If he cannot ethically manage the staff of his campaign, how on earth can he ethically manage this city?

by greent on Jul 20, 2011 12:48 pm • linkreport

Sorry, but the trees in Times Square are just stupid for this urban landscape. They don't provide any cooling and visually are counter to what the Times Square vista should be.

by beatbox on Jul 20, 2011 1:01 pm • linkreport

Pedestrian Bridges.

I agree with a lot of what Alex B wrote. The worst thing about East Cap is that the south side pedestrian lane is fenced off on the east side making it useless. So we have a mutli-million dollar bridge that no one is allowed to use. Sigh.

The 11th Street Bridge will be a very nice crossing for pedestrians when it is completed.

Mass Ave would be great. NPS wants a bridge there to be able to carry a service vehicle or two across, but locals opposed that. Not that there is money for either. But it may mean no bridge.

The ART will build a bridge just south of the Arboretum.

And a pedestrian bridge at New York Avenue would be a big help.

I think a bike/ped bridge across the Channel at P street is in the bike plan.

by David C on Jul 20, 2011 2:32 pm • linkreport

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