Greater Greater Washington

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Lunch links: Fashionable transportation and land use


Photo by Amsterdamize on Flickr.
Très cycle chic: Cycling and fashion go together, and at least in Europe, there are whole blogs devoted to photos of people looking good while riding a bicycle. One could easily get plenty of similar photos on one of DC's main streets to or from downtown around rush hour. Tip: Froggie.

Shakespeare Not In the Park: The Shakespeare Theatre's free shows will move from summer performances in Rock Creek's amphitheatre to the company's new theater in Gallery Place. Marc Fisher decries the move. If only we had a big, centrally located park in which to hold productions...

Commuter lot on 8th Street? A parking lot underneath the Southeast Freeway formerly used by the Marines will become a public lot, reports Infosnack's Michael P. The current plan is to limit parking to 2-4 hours, but Michael thinks it should accommodate all-day parking (at market rate, of course) so area employees park there instead of shuffling cars around the neighborhood all day.

Ring my Belvoir: A Fairfax task force is recommending the county zone the area around Fort Belvoir for greater office, residential, retail and hotel development, reports the Post. But others worry that too much development far from transit will cripple the state's roads. How about this as a solution: build some transit there!

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. 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 loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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Regarding Tres Cycle Chic - You can check out DC's best version of cyclists about town at http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com

Gwadz mixes up some of his personal stuff in there, but he's at the center of the DC Mountain Biking/Cycling universe and usually has some good shots

by Phil Lepanto on Oct 27, 2008 12:09 pm • linkreport

As for the Southeast Freeway parking, a group is taking up this issue as we speak-

http://www.jdland.com/dc/index.cfm?id=2762

by SG on Oct 27, 2008 12:25 pm • linkreport

Here is a link to the BRAC APR map. As you can see a nice chuck is clustered around the Franconia Metro/VRE and Huntington Metro Stop.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/apr/brac/brac_apr_map_table_2008.htm

by RJ on Oct 27, 2008 4:20 pm • linkreport

She'd look much better if she were wearing a helmet. I've had three friends who have suffered permanent, severe damage as the result of an accident without a helmet. One developed amnesia lasting 10+ years, one, a teacher and painter, is now on full disability living with his mother, and one had to drop out of graduate engineering courses because he could no longer do the math. Please show a picture of someone looking attractive and healthy, wearing a helmet! A head is too valuable to damage because of fashion.

by Susan Meehan on Oct 27, 2008 6:48 pm • linkreport

1. In places like Denmark and the Netherlands helmets aren't really needed, because the way that cars and bicyclists interact is so much different.

2. The opportunity costs were too huge to even consider it, but I always thought that the Old Convention Center site should have been converted into a kind of Millenium Park space, there in the center of the city. Freedom Plaza is gross and that area isn't the center of the city.

by Richard Layman on Oct 28, 2008 6:39 am • linkreport

Richard, I couldn't agree with you more regarding the Old Convention Center site. After attending a Cirque de Soleil performance there, it was pretty clear to me that that space is the kind of public space that Washington-the-local-city has been lacking all along. Yes, there's the Mall and other federal public spaces for Washington-the-national-capital, but no real "town square" for us the locals. I mentioned the idea to a friend on Evans' staff ... asking that the idea be put forward. I was told there wasn't a chance it would be considered as the site was just too valuable to not be developed.

I still think the opposite is true. It is too valuable to be 'developed' ... at least as a bunch of buildings. It is too valuable to take out of the public realm and put into the private realm. Can you imagine if NYC had decided to develop Central Park!?! Yeah, it too (and the property around it)is valuable ... simply because it is there. I'm all for development, but it has to respect boundaries. We can build more and more, but to do so to the detriment of the very reason people would want to build near a public space is to cross the line from good development to bad development. In the same way the '50s highways proposed to be built over our historic neighborhoods would have destroyed the very city they were being purported to help, building over all our open spaces and destroying our mid-rise historical buildings in order to build more high-rise, high-density boxes, is to destroy the very essense and reason why anyone would want to build ... or live here ... to begin with.

by Lance on Oct 28, 2008 9:41 am • linkreport

I completely disagree on the Convention Center site. Develop that baby and do it well, but we don't need any more open space. The two case studies proffered, Central Park in NYC and Millennium Park in Chicago are both in completely different contexts.

Central Park is huge - 843 acres compared to about 10 acres for the convention center site. Think of it this way: Central Park is about half the size of Rock Creek Park.

Millennium Park is more comparable in size, but it's situated within a series of parks along the Lake Michigan shore. Together with Grant Park, that's a huge area.

The convention center site does not fit with the pattern of urban fabric and open circles and squares from the L'Enfant plan. Both Millennium and Central parks fit within their respective cityscapes.

by Alex B. on Oct 28, 2008 10:41 am • linkreport

Well ... if we're going to adhere to the L'Enfant plan, then we should be razing the nearby Carnagie Library building on Mt. Vernon Square ... since Mt. Vernon Square was designated in the L'Enfant plan as that "open square" to serve the public needs for open space. Short of razing that now historic building, I think the old Conventer Center site is a suitable nearby substitute to serve the same needs.

by Lance on Oct 28, 2008 10:58 am • linkreport

Alex B: In my mind, this park idea is less comparable to Central Park (whose best analogue is the Mall) and more to Bryant Park. Bryant is a one square block park that's extremely well used in nice weather for office workers to eat, for evening movies, and more. Of course, we have some parks about that size (like Franklin, or even Farragut and McPherson) that we could totally use for such purposes if NPS started doing a better job of making parks into good public spaces.

by David Alpert on Oct 28, 2008 4:49 pm • linkreport

Agree on the Bryant Park comparison - that's a much better choice.

Still, we've got some great and some woefully underperforming public spaces in DC that are city-centric, not Federal.

Basically, the issue is a programmatic one, not a design one. The best use of the convention center site, in my mind, is development that infills the downtown and provides more density to help activate those other public spaces.

by Alex B. on Oct 28, 2008 5:06 pm • linkreport

Franklin, Farragut, McPherson, Dupont Circle ... There're all federal parks and can't be used for "town square" functions such as the Cirque de Soleil performances, the tennis matches, etc. which the District was able to organize on the old Civic Center property.

by Lance on Oct 28, 2008 7:20 pm • linkreport

There's no good reason for them to be federal parks. A family isn't perusing the list of national parks and says, "hmm, Joshua Tree sounds good, but how about Logan Circle park instead?" NPS should control the Mall, West and East Potomac Parks, the Arboretum, and maybe the C&O Canal, and give everything else to the District to run its own green squares, circles, and waterfronts like any other city.

by David Alpert on Oct 28, 2008 7:27 pm • linkreport

I agree that pocket parks should be locally managed... to a point. OTOH - do you want the District to be the ones paying for upkeep?

by Squalish on Oct 29, 2008 10:12 am • linkreport

I think NPS should retain management of RCP too, with some better partnership with the city in some aspects. For instance there is a bike lane on Park Rd. that could be a biking entry to RCP but when Park Rd. crosses the NPS boundary the bike lane disappears. The same is true on the otherside of Beach Dr. where Park Rd. continues as Tilden. The bike lane disappears upon crossing the NPS border.

by Bianchi on Oct 29, 2008 10:13 am • linkreport

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