Greater Greater Washington

Better access to RI Ave Metro would help communities

Despite being one of the original stations in the Metro system, the Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood station hasn't reached the potential of so many others because of a lack of connections into the nearby communities. Simply improving pedestrian access to the station will invigorate otherwise disconnected neighborhoods.


Photo by robin.elaine on Flickr.

In 1976, designers created a park and ride station, with pedestrians and pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods as an afterthought. Although it straddles 4 neighborhoods (Brentwood, Edgewood, Eckington, and Brookland), the station barely connects with 2, and it stands nearly 50 feet above Rhode Island Avenue.

The high elevation and a lack of neighborhood connections hinders the neighborhoods around the station from developing into the vibrant communities they could be.


Access points to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro. Image modified from Google Maps.

Today, there are only 3 ways of accessing the station:

  • The bus bays next to the former parking lot (labeled 1 on the map)
  • A winding pedestrian bridge (labeled 2)
  • A (temporarily closed) four-story staircase from Rhode Island Avenue (labeled 3)
Plans are in the works for an additional pedestrian and bicycle bridge (labeled 4), which will connect the station with the Rhode Island Avenue Center mall and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Although this will improve station access, another connection is needed for the areas southwest of the station.

Riders from nearby Eckington must trek up Rhode Island Avenue, under an overpass on a narrow sidewalk where cars speed by, then go up the ramp or stairs to reach the station. Even for residents closest to the station, the circuitous walk can take up to 15 minutes and makes rail a less-appealing option for riders.

A ramp should be built from the station, across the CSX tracks and down W Street to better connect the station with Eckington (labeled 5 on the map). This will enable residents to access the station more readily and will lay the groundwork for future improvements along 5th Street NE.

In its vision for the Rhode Island Avenue corridor, the DC Office of Planning suggests turning the area around the rail overpass and 5th Street into a mixed-use district, containing shops, offices, and new residential structures. The report also calls for a new connection to the station, running along the 600 block of W Street NE (which is currently used as an alley for nearby warehouses) toward the station (labeled 6 5 on the map).

Making another pedestrian connection to the station would create a sense of neighborhood cohesiveness that does not currently exist, and help surrounding neighborhoods grow and prosper.

Support us: Monthly   Yearly   One time
Greatest supporter—$250/year
Greater supporter—$100/year
Great supporter—$50/year
Or pick your own amount: $/year
Greatest supporter—$250
Greater supporter—$100
Great supporter—$50
Supporter—$20
Or pick your own amount: $
Want to contribute by mail or another way? Instructions are here.
Contributions to Greater Greater Washington are not tax deductible.

Originally from New Jersey, John moved to DC in 2006 to attend American University and became an avid urbanist. He now lives in Northeast DC and works in environmental advocacy. 

Comments

Add a comment »

Once again, a GGW column with no description of where in the Metro region we're talking about. Is this in DC? Maryland? Readers shouldn't have to start googling to figure out what the subject is.

by movement on Dec 22, 2011 11:39 am • linkreport

+1

by Redline SOS on Dec 22, 2011 11:39 am • linkreport

@ movement: There's only one Rhode Island Avenue metro station. It's not that difficult to check a Metro map.

As for the topic, I completely agree. Better connections to the station are needed in order to entice redevelopment in the nearby neighborhoods. The outdated shopping center to the Northwest of the station with its expansive parking lots does very little to add any vibrancy to the area. Creating a better connection to the station, as shown in access point #4 in the map, would greatly enhance walkshed and hopefully encourage denser transit oriented development.

by Aaron on Dec 22, 2011 11:50 am • linkreport

Not to quibble, but don't you need a neighborhood to have neighborhood cohesiveness? This is in a spot that's retail, light industrial and some office quadrisected by a major thoroughfare and railroad line.

Synergies with such a station may always be thwarted barring a major repurposing of its surrounding area, and even then would be challenging.

by Crickey7 on Dec 22, 2011 12:07 pm • linkreport

@ Crickey7, Silver Spring is also quadrisected by a major thoroughfare (Georgia Avenue) and elevated rail, yet development is still occurring in that area. I'm not implying the same kind of development with numerous midrises should occur near the Rhode Island Ave Metro, just noting development can occur. And considering this location is located reasonably close to the Capitol & Union Station, it seems to be a good location for the District to focus more resources in redeveloping.

by Aaron on Dec 22, 2011 12:19 pm • linkreport

If by chance someone doesn't know where the Rhode Island Ave.-Brentwood station is, the article goes on to say it "straddles 4 neighborhoods (Brentwood, Edgewood, Eckington, and Brookland" and is adjacent to "600 block of W Street NE." If with all that info you still have no idea where this is then that's hardly something you can blame on GGW. Turning to Google to learn about the neighborhoods and what the Red Line is sounds like a good idea at that point.

by jag on Dec 22, 2011 12:19 pm • linkreport

@Crickey7

The areas directly surrounding the metro may be more commercially oriented but there are residential neighborhoods within 1/2 mile or just outside that are very poorly connected to the station. The connections to areas SW of the station are terrible.

by MLD on Dec 22, 2011 12:22 pm • linkreport

I'm not sure if it's particularly neccesary to say (in a NY based blog) that the 42nd and Broadway stop is in Manhattan. There is only one..much like RI Ave.

by HogWash on Dec 22, 2011 12:27 pm • linkreport

The community could also benefit from murals and art installations on the stair-cases (existing and proposed), which would help transform stretches of concrete and railing into public art.

by SLA on Dec 22, 2011 12:30 pm • linkreport

Not sure Silver Spring is a good example. It's always been the social and commercial heart of SE Montgomery County. One can even visit the springs, though I warn you they are a little disappointing.

The nearby neighborhoods likely have their historical geographic hearts elsewhere. I agree that better access is a good thing, but realizing the vision of this area as a vibrant mixed use hub requires more than a Planning Department suggestion. Usually, those kinds of things succeed when there is pent-up private sector demand such that dreams of synergy are a bit more realistic. Until we see that, I think better access ought to be the goal all by itself.

by Crickey7 on Dec 22, 2011 12:33 pm • linkreport

Does anyone know or remember what was around the station at the time of opening was the Post Office, Rhode Island Ave Shopping Center, Bible Way Church and the warehouses west of the station there or in use at the time of opening.

There could have been many ways to have the station better connect with the surrounding area

1 Built the station above Rhode Island Ave and have entrances on both sides similar to Silver Spring; this would have gotten rid of two of the problems

2 The elevation of the station to begin with could have been leveled to meet Rhode Island Ave or atleast lower a 20 or 25 feet.

3 Why is there only one bus that travels north and south of the station D8 while the others end there. That right there creates a problem when trying to connect the neighborhoods.

I have a suggestion how about some pictures of the area at ground level to give users a sense of the landscape and area which looking at a map does not show.

by kk on Dec 22, 2011 12:35 pm • linkreport

@KK

1. There are entrances on both sides of RI Ave, they just direct to one common mezzanine.

2. The reason the station isn't (and can't) be lowered is because the Metro tracks must clear the CSX tracks immediately to the south of the station. Even if the platform itself were lower, that doesn't solve the grade issues (since the Metro faregates at at grade on the higher side of the bluff there).

by Alex B. on Dec 22, 2011 12:56 pm • linkreport

Van Dorn is among the most poorly designed stations for pedestrians. Within 5 blocks there are only maybe 2-3 housing developments. It is in the middle of an industrial park, .4 mile walk to get to the nearest main road, and you have to go a round about way to get to the main road.

by wat on Dec 22, 2011 1:19 pm • linkreport

Better station access from the southwest is a fine idea (though it will be expensive and take forever). The new retail/residential at the station is sure to spur some changes for the better. But that entire area really can't emerge until the properties northwest of the station are redeveloped. The dreary failure of the "Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center", with bottom-feeding Forman Mills, a vacant Safeway, and soon-to-be abandoned CVS will always suck opportunity out of the area. Property owners including the megachurch should invest in a total reshaping of what they've got. How about a spectacular church sanctuary at the corner of 4th and Rhode Island, anchoring the vista up 4th St NE to the Basilica? How about tall buildings lining the north side of RIA, with access to a new street grid behind that helps relate to the Edgewood highrises? And maybe all that would spur Jemal etc to do something with their bombed out warehouses northeast of the station. Ahhh, Ward 5, with so much opportunity, so little leadership...

by jingeddie on Dec 22, 2011 1:24 pm • linkreport

The text "adjacent to "600 block of W Street NE" is in about the 7th paragraph, after a jump. Making sure that the subject of your article is clearly established up front is writing 101. Come on, folks, this isn't that hard to do. A few words in the opening paragraph or better yet an overview map with an annotation highlighting the area in question is all that we're asking for.

by movement on Dec 22, 2011 1:32 pm • linkreport

@kk, The shopping center and post office postdate the Metro. The post office was built at a time when USPS was looking for urban locations, but freeway access which made central post offices in many places relatively inaccessible to people w/o a car. the one in Cleveland moved from a very central location (which has been the subject of multiple development ideas for decades) to a location that's annoying even in relation to freeways.

The station is unlikely to serve as a downtown. The presence of the railroad will be an impediment to residential and will probably enable semi-industrial uses to remain. DC needs places for non-cutesy activities anyway. The station and its environs could work better, though, and stimulate the commercial potential of the area. The old parking lot was poorly configured to take people to the Home Depot center next door and the orientation of the entrance and the store itself is too unfriendly to pedestrians--simply putting the garden center on the other side of the store would have made a positive difference.

by Rich on Dec 22, 2011 1:33 pm • linkreport

@movement

I don't recall complaints about other GGW articles about Metro stations not referencing their exact location. Google "RI Ave Metro" and the first result is the WMATA page about it with a map. I don't expect the writers here to baby readers on every single piece of information they might need.

by MLD on Dec 22, 2011 1:57 pm • linkreport

Good article, and I'm fine with not being more explicit about where exactly the location is. Any reader of this blog should be familiar with it already, or be able to look it up in a flash. Now, if you're talking about Arlandria, well, then maybe a little more geographical description is appropriate. ;)

by MrTinDC on Dec 22, 2011 2:26 pm • linkreport

Some chicken and egg issues here with the development and pedestrian access.

What to do first? How about raze and repurpose the dreadful Foreman Mills plaza.

Where is the neighborhood that the southwest pedestrian bridge will lead to? (a real question, not a rhetorical one).

by Ward 1 Guy on Dec 22, 2011 3:27 pm • linkreport

@ Alex B

When I meant an entrance I meant one that did not require a 5-10 minute walk after going up the ramp. Such as having the entrance to the mezzanine where the ramp starts and the mezzanine itself directly above R.I. Ave and the platform directly above that

Actually the station could have been lowered; after crossing the CSX tracks near the Post Office the Metrorail tracks continue to climb higher to a point where it is twice as high.

1 Other side of Rhode Island Ave; if the station didnt climb as high as it does with the combination of the station being on the north side of R.I. Ave it could be lower.

2 Have the mezzanine directly over R.I. Ave (where the ramp is) and a elevator or escalators down to R.I. Ave itself.

3 Get rid of the hill and flatten the area from the Station to where the Giant is now to the level of Rhode Island at the underpass.

4 Lower the tracks of all and raise R.I. Ave.

by kk on Dec 22, 2011 3:37 pm • linkreport

@Ward 1 Guy:
The neighborhood to the SW of RIA Station is Eckington. Razing the Rhode Island Avenue Center would be a huge first step, but it would be odious in the near future considering the following:
-Terrain (it sits on a bluff)
-Existing services would need to be transplanted.
-Carving up the superblock into smaller plots for development.

@Rich:
It would be a stretch to expect a Silver Spring-style "downtown" at RIA, but there's been significant progress recently with Rhode Island Row nearing completion. There isn't a neighborhood centered on the Metro now, but if people are drawn there for transport, retail, and other services it will inevitably transform at some point.

by John Marzabadi on Dec 22, 2011 3:41 pm • linkreport

@kk

To your options:

1: It could've been slightly lower, but not that much. Lowering it to the grade of the land in the parking lot would've required 2x as much vertical circulation in the mezzanine (down to mezz, back up to platform).

2: This is also an option, but would've also raised the cost substantially.

3: Regrading the entire area would be absurdly expensive, and in the end wouldn't solve many of the core issues of the site (grade separation for Metro/RR tracks, grade changes on the site, etc). Regrading the area doesn't remove the hill, it would just move the hill 'problem' elsewhere.

4: This is the same idea as 3, and also would've been absurdly expensive.

by Alex B. on Dec 22, 2011 3:49 pm • linkreport

This is a peek at what the Silver Line stations will resemble west of Tyson's...and frankly two at Tyson's come to think of it. Hubris over common sense.

by Pelham1861 on Dec 22, 2011 3:50 pm • linkreport

@kk:
Since the freight rail lines have existed far longer than WMATA's structures, it's fair to assume that CSX/Conrail wanted the tracks to be that high so that double-decker freight cars could pass under and grant air rights - not to mention MARC and Amtrak's Superliner cars. Retrofitting the entire station would be outrageously costly (as Alex B. mentioned) and a huge hassle for red line riders for at least 2 years.

@Pelham1861: Care to share your other clairvoyant visions of the future?

by John Marzabadi on Dec 22, 2011 3:59 pm • linkreport

While slightly off topic my dream for the shopping center where the foreman mills is currently, is to tear the whole thing down and build a proper mall, granted a smallish one. It could cause traffic problems, and I live near by so I would experience them, but I think it is a great location for this.

DC needs a mall of some sort so residents don't have to keep going to VA or MD when they want to go to the type of stores that are in malls. I think it could get a lot of business from people in PG county heading home.

Being right on the metro I think you would have less people driving then at a standard mall, and while I am not an engineer I think with the hill, underground parking may not be too bad to build.

What you would need is not just a bridge to the metro and then have to walk to the back end of the platform to enter, but an actual metro entrance on that side of the tracks. You may be able to build and overpass from the end of the platform closest to brookland metro over the tracks and down to the otherside. You would have faregates over there. It could function like the falls church metros with their overpasses over 66.

by nathaniel on Dec 22, 2011 4:15 pm • linkreport

Since my vision above is likely not possible, you could also redevelop the shopping center into standard city blocks. While only one street would connect down to Rhode Island Ave, the grid would connect just fine to 4th street on the west end of the property.

by nathaniel on Dec 22, 2011 4:18 pm • linkreport

DC doesn't need a mall.

Retail? Sure. I'd love that. But it doesn't need a mall.

That strip mall should have some gridded streets to connect to surrounding areas and be developed with dense, mixed-use development. Feel free to get as much retail square footage as you like in the ground floors. But a mall? No way.

by Alex B. on Dec 22, 2011 4:18 pm • linkreport

If we're trying to connect Eckington to the metro station (laudable!) then we need to do something about the industrial mess in that triangle east of 5th St, between the residential area and the place where pedestrians would presumably get on a ramp to the Metro station.

If I were a deep-pocketed developer I'd raze all of that -- Foreman Mills monstrosity and the industrial-looking short buildings south of RI Ave and turn it all into a town center with apts/condos on top of street-facing retail. Call it Rhode Island Row West. It would take up several city blocks and have a plaza in there somewhere for people to gather and shops and restaurants all around.

Just google map over that whole area and you'll see what a sad morass of warehouses, surface lots, fast food, and general crap that area is now. We should be pushing industrial land use to the outer edges of the city and using this prime area for residents.

by Ward 1 Guy on Dec 22, 2011 4:19 pm • linkreport

I think the Silver Spring analogy is apt. SS metro has to deal with major roads and rail tracks. I think one of the best low cost things done for that station is to make the underpass on 29 pleasant to walk through with the penguin mural and decent lighting. RI metro's access problems are as much about unpleasNt walking as the actual distance.

by Falls Church on Dec 22, 2011 4:47 pm • linkreport

@ John Marzabadi

I never mentioned anything about retrofitting the station.
I'm speaking on the issue of why was this stuff never thought of before such as when the station was in the planning stages.

I know that nothing will ever be done to fix the problem at this point; I was thinking of the fact that why did developers, engineers not thinking of this situation when the station was in the planning stages.

by kk on Dec 22, 2011 5:21 pm • linkreport

@kk

How do you know they didn't think of these issues?

The conditions of the site at the time that couldn't be changed (the existing RR grade, the topography, the need to cross the tracks, etc) are what they are. The end result certainly isn't ideal, but that doesn't mean it wasn't also the best possible solution given the constraints put before the engineers at the time.

by Alex B. on Dec 22, 2011 5:33 pm • linkreport

nathniel, I don't think that adding a second set of faregates, and a corresponding set of escalators, is out of the question. I don't know the specific engineering of the station as it is, but many, many stations have numerous entrances/escalators along their length (I'm thinking specifically of NYA right now, but there are many others, not the least of which is Silver Spring). Heck, even stairs, or a one-escalator/one-staircase solution. I think that'd be a great community benefits demand of any larger store that might be interested in part of the Foreman Mills plaza. I'd even support making me, as an area resident, pay some kind of special tax for that benefit, even though I would rarely use it!

As for the Foreman Mills plaza, that's a huge chunk of land that I can't wait to see planned. I agree with others that mixed-use is the most viable, as more retail in this area is going to require more residents. The RIR development is a step in that direction. Sure, more residents will change the character of the immediate area, but the character of the immediate area is low-rent fast-food and warehouses...not such a loss, IMHO. Plus, it's the stuff RIGHT ON TOP OF THE METRO. It's going to attract people who are more likely to be car-free, shoppers who are more likely to take the Metro, and there's plenty of space in that parcel to include garage parking, to minimize those concerns while bringing a more urban feel. The uprooting of the retail available there, likewise, isn't much of a concern for me...Payless, Popeyes? First, Payless is located in DCUSA, so if they can afford that rent they could afford rent in a new development here, too. Popeyes, likewise, has some locations in more-affluent areas. And even if they leave it's not much of a loss, if we gain more and more diverse retail offerings. And there are many other vacant storefronts in the immediate area, where I'm sure the rent is pretty darn low, that could accomodate what's there now. I do think, however, that any vision for this parcel is dependent on direct Metro access from the MBT and over the CSX tracks. I don't think we'll see anything proposed until that bridge is at least fully planned and funded. On a side note, one thing overlooked here is that us residents on the east side of the Metro will use that bridge to access the MBT and the other side of RIA. My neighbors and I are very excited about this access point, so there is two-way traffic.

As for needing places for industrial uses, sure, we need these, but we don't need them on top of a Metro station only *5* stops from downtown and *1* stop from a major office center (NYA) and *1* stop from universities and *2* stops from the Capitol, etc. The truck drivers going to the asphalt plant and delivering goods to the warehouses don't need the Metro...residents do. The District's population is growing by leaps and bounds, and if we don't seriously grow our housing stock, we're all going to be in a world of property value hurt and squeeze out thousands of people who, clearly, want to live here. The best, and most desirable, places to put those new residences is near existing, under-developed Metro stations. There's plenty of room to put the industrial uses in areas with better road/highway access that are less suitable/convenient to urban transit-oriented residential development. The railroad tracks and railyards aren't going anywhere, but they don't have to be the death-knell of an area with lots of potential. Clearly the tracks aren't hindering development on the east side of the NYA Metro or Silver Spring, and we have reasonable plans to bridge these impediments here, LITERALLY. Plus, I happen to think the Post Office and railyards are pros, rather than cons. What better advertisement to bring people with good, middle-class jobs into a neighborhood than "walk to your job at the P.O./Metro/Amtrak?" Given what property values are in my neighborhood now, if we densify the Metro area fast enough and advertise things right, we can provide affordable housing for these type of people in the neighborhood. No, it won't be in the sure-to-be-expensive new developments at the Metro, but it could be in Brentwood/Langdon/others, which have plenty of housing stock suitable for families (everything from multi-bedroom condos to single-family rowhomes, rentals and owner-occupied) that is currently priced FAR below DC averages and attainable to large swaths of middle-class folks (a some-work-needed - cosmetic mostly - 3-bedroom rowhouse in my neighborhood will currently run you less than $200K, for example). Maybe we would need some creative thinking to make this possible (limiting how much "flipping" can go on in the neighborhood, for example...the decent, move-in-ready-but-not-luxurious homes in the area could be reserved for owner-occupieds, for example, preventing price inflation...again, just be creative). As it stands, my neighborhood is currently a truly mixed-income community (professionals like me, lots of para-professionals, a number of Metro/Amtrak/P.O. employees, some service workers, a few senior citizens, and a handful of college students - mostly Catholic and Galludet, who aren't generally trouble-makers, etc.) and it's nice that way and it would be nice to preserve that element, providing a good place for people to live near work, but also give us services and a larger residential base to support both the services and the District's growth. Maybe I'm dreaming, but I wouldn't want to be anything but a dreamer.

by Ms. D on Dec 22, 2011 7:21 pm • linkreport

We used to walk across the train tracks from the Safeway to get to Rhode Island metro but that was years ago. Its fenced off now and you cant walk that way anymore. They should change this. But people used to get robbed back there all the time. My cousin says people dont get robbed as much as they used to.

by SE Jerome on Dec 22, 2011 8:27 pm • linkreport

@Alex B
Why doesn't DC need a mall? Plenty of DC residents go to malls in VA and MD, I would like for that money to stay in DC. I would also like to attract money from residents of other states, and to do that you need a destination.

Yes mixed use is good, but everything being mixed use isn't the answer either. DCUSA isn't mixed use, but everyone can agree that is good.

by nathaniel on Dec 23, 2011 10:10 am • linkreport

I'm guessing the argument is that the enclosed mall concept is dying - SOME existing ones like Tysons and Pentagon City are doing well, but others are dying or being rebuilt as something else - see landmark, white flint, etc, etc, and no new ones are being built - instead the new thing is out door lifestyle centers - but those are just ersatz city commercial areas, and DC with plenty of real city commercial areas, does not need that.

The counter I guess is that malls are dying in the suburbs, and no new ones being built, because the burbs have TOO MANY indoor malls - but that in an area without any, ONE could work well. And that DC is such a place. Im not sure the experience of Georgetown Park supports that though.

Note well - indoor mall does NOT exclude the possibility of mixed use. Pentagon city is mixed use, as are indoor urban malls in other places (the Gallery in Baltimore, water tower place in Chicago, etc)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 23, 2011 10:27 am • linkreport

@nathaniel

I don't think DC residents go to suburban malls just to go to malls, they go for the retail offerings those malls have. We should provide those offerings in an urban setting instead.

Enclosed shopping malls are inherently non-urban and are a bad use of valuable and scarce real estate.

You're right, DCUSA isn't mixed use and it's good - but residential on top would've made it better. Likewise, it's in an connected and mixed use neighborhood (see the accompanying dense residential development across the street from DCUSA). The Forman Mills site is not all that connected (hence the reason for this post!) and the uses aren't as mixed as they could be.

by Alex B. on Dec 23, 2011 10:33 am • linkreport

@Walker

The indoor, interior-oriented mall is by definition an anti-urban space. It doesn't not seek to connect, it seeks to enclose. Whether indoor or via a lifestyle center, it's not the kind of place that works in an urban context.

It's also a reality that we can't try to beat the suburbs at their own game. Cities have comparative advantages over those auto-oriented places. We're not going to be able to match their auto-oriented nature, thus we shouldn't even try - we should instead focus on the urban assets that make city life and public space great.

The irony is that the best designed shopping malls take their cues from great shopping streets in great cities around the world. The rhythm of storefronts, the orientation around 'streets' within the mall itself, etc. It's all based on urban concepts.

by Alex B. on Dec 23, 2011 11:17 am • linkreport

@nathaniel:
Unfortunately many malls are dying at a rapid pace and are by considered by most measures "obsolete" by both real estate developers and consumers alike... If you're interested, there's a great site with a listing of Dead/Dying Malls around the US (http://deadmalls.com/). I think of the Rhode Island Avenue Center as an example of a dying mall. Malls are typically dependent on anchor stores, which in this case was Forman Mills and Safeway - when the grocery store closed, customer traffic died down too.

A true mixed-use development is really what that site needs IMHO...As long as the Metro station's there, people will always want easy access to transit, so housing along with shops makes most sense. Easier access to the station from the NW and SW areas will catalyze more development in the area.

by John Marzabadi on Dec 23, 2011 11:26 am • linkreport

@AlexB
I disagree that site is not well connect, yes it is not well connected to the metro, and I proposed some ideas to imporve that, but it is well connected to the 4st NE side and has come connection to Rhode Island Ave though it is on a hill above it. Further you couldn't connect it into a true city grid simply becuase of the train tracks and the hill behind the site. Becuase of this site the normal deficiency of an enclosed mall in regards to interacting witht he surrounding areas can't be mitigated by a more town center design anyway.

I agree that if you want to put residential on top of the commerical development that woudl be good. I think some of our disagreemtn may be one of terminology. When I say mall, I mean a location that has a lot of retail planned as one development. Whehter it may be a town center type or standard enclosed, I don't have a preference.

@john Marzabadi
What is currently on that site while it may be called a mall, is completely differnet then what I am talking about. While there is certainly risk in orienting around an anchor sotre, they still have their place. People need a reason to go to a site, an anchor store is a good reason. There are times when people want to go to big stores.

by nathaniel on Dec 23, 2011 11:52 am • linkreport

@alex

I was not addressing weather a place like fashion center at Pentagon City, or Water Tower Place, are anti urban or not. Merely pointing out that they are compatible with multi use - IE combining retail, office, hotel, residential, etc. That is a fact.

As for lifestyle centers, I am not sure that they can't be integrated with an urban street system. Look at Pentagon Row for a good example. Or that courtyard in Clarendon, whats it called. The only distinction between the storefronts at Pentagon Row and those on a traditional street is that there is one owner, enforcing mall type rules (such as common hours) on the retail tenants. Thats a different flavor from Jane Jacobs urbanism, but it clearly doesnt require a physical barrier from more traditional RE arrangements.

whether there is sufficient demand for an indoor shopping space to justify one in DC - well personally I doubt it very much. Im just pointing out that such a beast and multi use are not mutually exclusive concepts

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 23, 2011 12:29 pm • linkreport

I can't see all this hype over a small problem. Yes, the #3 staircase needs to be reopened. But with it or without, there are still entrances from both sides of RI Avenue, and sidewalks on both sides OF RI under the rail lines to those entrances.

Contrast that to the VA stations where the walking route is *miles* out of the way; or from Forbes Bvld. to New Carrolton http://g.co/maps/hbrrv

by George B on Dec 24, 2011 8:24 pm • linkreport

@SE Jerome, bridging the tracks is exactly what we are talking about here. There's already one plan underway to create a bridge over the tracks to the Foreman Mills shopping plaza/MBT, and this article simply proposes another idea for bridging the tracks to give local residents greater access to the Metro. The currently proposed bridge is great, another bridge would be greater.

@George, we're talking about an urban, central station here where people shouldn't have to walk miles out of their way to access the Metro. A very small investment would make the station more accessible and spur some great development around the area. If we don't want property values to spiral out of control, given the acceleration of growth in DC, we HAVE to provide some more housing options for people in the District and close-in suburbs. Given the amount of under-used land at the RIA Metro, it seems like a great place to start.

by Ms. D on Dec 27, 2011 8:42 pm • linkreport

>A very small investment

How small? Less than $10K? Less than $100K? I doubt it. How many feet will such shorten the route vs. the existing?

I could see a stairwell down from the Trail on one side of RI avenue, and a walkway from 5 to the Trail, but railroad spanning bridges are not cheap.

by george b on Dec 27, 2011 8:51 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or