Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: You're fired


Photo by matthewvenn on Flickr.
Goodbye thieves: WMATA has fired both of the employees recently arrested for stealing coins from fare machines. The supervisor of the revenue division will also leave WMATA on his own. (Examiner)

Post Office Trumped: The GSA has awarded the Old Post Office to Donald Trump's organization which will turn it into a 250-room luxury hotel. (City Paper)

Bus burns again: A Champion model Ride On bus caught fire yesterday, the 4th to do so in 17 months. Mechanics and union officials urged Montgomery County not to buy these buses, 46 of which remain in service. (Examiner)

New plans for waterfront: The developers for the Southwest Waterfront's Wharf development have released plans and renderings for it's second stage, which will include several mixed use buildings. (DCmud)

CaBi brings in capital: Capital Bikeshare brings in enough revenue to cover a considerable portion of its operating costs. In fact, DC makes more than it spends on operations if marketing and management expenses are excluded. (TBD)

Evans won't let go of 'Skins: Jack Evans wants to use an NFL-funded loan program to bring the Redskins back to DC. One economist thinks its unlikely to happen as FedEx Field is "perfectly adequate." (City Paper)

Where the poor live: Over 20 years, poor African-Americans remained concentrated in a few neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River, while poor whites and Hispanics were more dispersed and moved as neighborhoods changed. (MetroTrends)

And...: Mayor Vince Gray gave his State of the District speech last night. (Post) ... Prince George's County is closer to a 5¢ bag fee. (Post) ... A form-based zoning code is slowly transforming Miami. (Architect's Newspaper)

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Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  

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I saw one of those smaller-model RideOn buses smoking up a storm on northbound 29 in White Oak yesterday morning

by JessMan on Feb 8, 2012 9:03 am • linkreport

The irony of sterile, car-oriented downtown Miami is that it's so close to boisterous, ped-friendly South Beach. Glad to see that downtown Miami is going to take some lessons from it's far more successful cousin next door.

Also, the problem with downtown Miami is not lack of density (it has the third highest number of skyscrapers) but lack of street level retail/life.

Also, glad to see that Miami 21 is not relying on expensive, grandiose plans for huge scale public works programs like a massive metrorail expansion. The low-hanging fruit is really about encouraging street level activity and making downtown more ped-friendly.

by Falls Church on Feb 8, 2012 9:31 am • linkreport

IF there were people living in Downtown Miami, that would help....lots and lots of empty condos.

by charlie on Feb 8, 2012 9:33 am • linkreport

I stayed on Biscayne a number of years ago for work. I heard all the talk about what was happening, but it still seemed like a pretty lifeless place. It sounds like a case of "A" for boosterism if not effort, but C- for results.

by Rich on Feb 8, 2012 9:35 am • linkreport

While DPZ's code is a big step in the right direction, I think Miami is going to take a while to truly flesh out. Not only do you need good public transit, but you need buildings that re-inforce the urbanism. When you have condos floating on parking structures, you'll get density that's not worth walking by, unless decorated very well.

Most any first floor can be retrofitted to accomodate retail, assuming the relationship to the street works, but having the character and grain of a Miami Beach has to be baked into the cake. I'm not sure legislating those things is possible without strangling out the growth engine, but I guess it's a bit like the chicken and egg argument. When a guy like Glasser argues that preservation laws are stiffling the growth of Manhattan, does he take into account that New York's older fabric is the key component of its quality of life/desirability? I'm not sure New York would be a cultural capital if it's skyscrapers where all of the Singapore/Vancouver type.

Part of Miami Beaches success is its architecture. You absolutly need all the components of good urbanism, but the least advocated is architecture of quality and beauty, which usually dosen't translate to the often championed avant guard architecture.

by Thayer-D on Feb 8, 2012 10:10 am • linkreport

RE: DC football team - why is it that with all the issues we have in this city of ours, Jack Evans can't get past his monomania of bringing the football team back into DC proper? I thought all of these crazy ideas have been thoroughly debunked and/or refuted. How can we get through to him?

by Shipsa01 on Feb 8, 2012 10:14 am • linkreport

For clarification, The photo atop the Examiner link is of a shorter length true Gillig transit bus, and not the Champion cutaway style model that is the focus of the article.

by Adam on Feb 8, 2012 10:16 am • linkreport

You absolutly need all the components of good urbanism

I really hope not. Few cities will ever try urbanism if it's an all-or-nothing proposition. That theory also doesn't pass the smell test as it seems like plenty of cities receive benefits through each phase on their journey toward better urbanism. Let not the perfect be the enemy of the good. Let's also not make urbanism into some kind of unreachable goal that only the privileged elite cities with the right kind of history can ever hope to achieve.

by Falls Church on Feb 8, 2012 10:53 am • linkreport

Given that Dan Snyder owns FedEx field, why would he want to move the team to a stadium where he (a) likely would have to put up more money and (b) have to give up some seat revenue through a revenue sharing program?

Is he going to sell that many more tickets just because? He could sell more tickets by making sure the team is better.

by ah on Feb 8, 2012 11:11 am • linkreport

@ Falls Church,

"Few cities will ever try urbanism..."

I thought cities where urban!

I don't uderstand your argument. Are you hoping that we don't need all the aspects of good urbanism? I never suggested the zero sum argument you're implying, simply that a good zoning code should allow for good urbanism rather than denying it. You can build inferior buildings if you like, but like the new DC zoning, it should allow for the aspects that we know contribute to good urbanism. By the way, good urban architecture is a lot cheaper to build than starchitecture. How that becomes a discussion about elitism is beyond me.

by Thayer-D on Feb 8, 2012 11:33 am • linkreport

Bringing the Skins back to DC is good for the city. They belong here, RFK and the surrounding area is a dump. We can talk all day re the pie in sky dreams of a few bloggers or we can get things done and keep the city moving forward. I have lived in Ward 7 for twenty years. This is good for my hood and good for DC. Thank you Jack Evans. Now I just need to get my Councilwoman behind this.

by Rezzie13 on Feb 8, 2012 11:35 am • linkreport

Don't get too happy about the firing of the Metro coin theives. They just might get their jobs back.

If a bus driver who was fired for killing a pedestrian due to her own negligence could get re-hired through arbitration, don't think a couple of guys who got fired for stealing a few coins can't get their jobs back too - plus psychologic help for their "gambling problems" - all at Metro's expense.

Nice work if you can get it.

by ceefer66 on Feb 8, 2012 11:40 am • linkreport

I don't think it's anyone's desire to get back into this debate since we've thoroughly exhausted it (many times over) the past few months, but I still maintain that bringing the football team back (physically) to DC-proper would be the biggest waste of time, money and resources. Now, since this administration seems to love dealing with one boondoggle after another, I sort of resigned myself to the fact that they are going to pursue it and we'll have to be ready to stand against them.

by Shipsa01 on Feb 8, 2012 11:40 am • linkreport

@Rezzie13, not sure what planet you're living on but there are no arguments that can be made that bringing the R******* back to DC is good for the city. It's certainly not on any economic grounds, in fact it would be a disaster. The idea that the team "belongs" here is nonsense. I live in Ward 7 too, and I can promise I'll be lobbying CM Alexander just as hard to make sure it doesn't happen.

by Joe on Feb 8, 2012 11:54 am • linkreport

Now, since this administration seems to love dealing with one boondoggle after another, I sort of resigned myself to the fact that they are going to pursue it and we'll have to be ready to stand against them.

Contrary to what you apparently believe, the administration hasn't suggesting bringing back the skins. If you didn't notice, Jack Evans has.

I sorta resigned myself to the notion that some people are ready to stand up against anything the city does, whether the administration is behind it or not.

by HogWash on Feb 8, 2012 11:55 am • linkreport

Ah, yes, you're right - he only suggested bringing back a practice facility: http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/city-state/2011/nov/1/dc-officials-visit-nfl-buc-facility-help-bring-hom/

Practice? We're sitting here talking about practice! How silly is that?! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGDBR2L5kzI

As for your extremely astute (cough, cough) second point - I do think there are a lot of people in this city that do protest and stand up against very stupid ideas - such as, oh, I don't know - relocating a football team 11 miles. But that's a good thing.

Give me a good idea and I'll support it - throw out the idea of turning Reservation 13 into a football stadium - or worse, a practice facility (actually that might be better since it'll be used more) and I'll oppose it till the cows come home (whatever the he!! that means).

by Shipsa01 on Feb 8, 2012 12:07 pm • linkreport

@Rezzie13 -- The Redskins would play 8 or 9 home games a year. Plus, they are a much bigger enterprise than when they left. Instead of a stadium that seated 55,000 (RFK), they'd likely want a stadium about twice the size. This means twice the parking capacity. How will this be a boon to Ward 7? Lots of jobs as parking attendants, I guess...and also selling food, drink and Redskins memorabilia.? That would be great...if they had more than 8 games -- OK, more than 10 or 11 games, since there will also be preseason games and a college bowl game. If they make the playoffs, there might even be a 12th game. That's 2 days of work each month over 6 months.

If you want a new stadium there, that would be an economic boon, how about replacing RFK with a soccer stadium? DC United plays 20 regularly scheduled home dates a year. They could also play additional home dates, with the US Open Cup, MLS Cup playoffs, and possibly the CONCACAF Champions League. So, we're talking about 22-28 DC United games each year. That's 2-3 times the number of football games that would be played there.

There's also other soccer games that would be played there. There's a strong possibility that the stadium would become the home for the NCAA Final Four and/or the ACC tournament -- either permanently or, at the very least, in a small rotation. The Men's and Women's national teams would play there every year, so that's another 2-5 games per year. There will also be games involving foreign national teams looking for a bigger payday than they might get at home.
We're at anywhere between 30-35 dates a year, with 20-25,000 at the games. That's jobs that are more substantial. Plus, this stadium would have a much smaller footprint, allowing for both more development and more parkland than exists now.

There's even the possibility of a revival of the Women's Professional Soccer league, or the lower-level women's league where DC United currently fields a women's team. Smaller crowds, to be sure, but another audience. Also, DC United's reserves (Substitutes and a few Academy players) would play in a Reserve League, which normally plays games the morning after the first-team plays. The crowds are in the dozens, not thousands, but they could offer lunch-time business. The DCU Academy would also begin an expanded schedule on a complex of fields that would be maintained for these budding professional prospects and the community.

It would be a much cheaper and much more productive use of resources. The team is looking at the Akridge site on Buzzard's Point, next to the power plant, but there's little question the team would prefer a new stadium on the site o the current one (or next to it). Unlike the mirage of bringing the Redskins back, this is a project that would happen, so long as the city is willing to back the financing and assists with the infrastructure. The city would benefit not only in economic activity, but also because the project could involve a transfer of land from the Park Service for much needed development -- none of which would happen if the Redskins came. Try convincing Jack Evans that he's betting on the wrong team.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Feb 8, 2012 12:30 pm • linkreport

Great article on management problems that certainly effect WMATA.

by WRD on Feb 8, 2012 12:33 pm • linkreport

There are often significant largely false assumptions in arguments regarding the Redskins returning to DC.

1) DC will pay for the stadium,
2) PG needs the stadium,
3) there will not be any development around the stadium, and
4) it will only host 8 regular season games

Those are just a few.

by selxic on Feb 8, 2012 2:14 pm • linkreport

Thayer-

I thought you were advocating that you need all aspects of good urbanism before you see benefits. Thats simply making tweaks around the edges is no good. Perhaps that's not what you're saying.

It's an important point though because some new urbanists seem to always want to take a "failed space" and blow it up or advocate for other hugely expensive changes when the low hanging fruit is really small changes at the edges. Not every city can (or wants to) implement all components of good urbanism.

by Falls Church on Feb 8, 2012 2:19 pm • linkreport

@selxic

1) In the CP article, Evans is talking about an NFL fund that's chipping in $200m to the SF 49ers. NFL stadiums these days run in the 750m-1b+ range. $200m is a drop in the bucket - who's paying for the rest?

4) Barring any changes to the NFL schedule (which were just debated and rejected in the previous CBA the Owners and Players signed), there will indeed only be 8 regular season games at any NFL stadium. Barring a second NFL team coming to DC (a la Giants and Jets sharing a stadium), you're not going to see any more than that. Maybe you meant stadium events, but the number of regular season games isn't going to change anytime soon.

Those seem like strong basis for making said assumptions. If you have some information to the contrary, please share.

by Alex B. on Feb 8, 2012 2:22 pm • linkreport

If we "bring back" the Skins, can we leave the owner in Landover?

by Jack Love on Feb 8, 2012 2:23 pm • linkreport

Selxic - I think that's a wildly unfair assumption on your part. People on this site have been more than willing to hear arguments (and are still waiting) for a "American football" stadium or for (even) a practice facility and so far all we've gotten is: "They're the DC team - they belong here! Civic pride! There's a big parking lot - let's use that." yadda yadda yadda.

by Shipsa01 on Feb 8, 2012 2:25 pm • linkreport

@ Jack Love: +1,000,000

by Shipsa01 on Feb 8, 2012 2:27 pm • linkreport

Stealing coins? C'mon doesn't anyone think big any more? Did Harriette Walters not impart any lessons?

by Jack Love on Feb 8, 2012 2:31 pm • linkreport

People on this site have been more than willing to hear arguments

No they haven't. In fact, when there was an article describing the mayors interest in having just a practice facility here, the Anti's were in full swing. It wasn't their idea, so obviously they weren't going to support anything which wasn't.

by HogWash on Feb 8, 2012 2:45 pm • linkreport

I think that a lot of people on this site are opposed to the idea of devoting a HUGE chunk of prime DC land for something that will only be used for all intents and purposes twenty (? is that being overly generous?) times a year. In addition, the pure cost benefit in terms of civic usage is so much higher doing anything with that land rather than a pro-football stadium.

But anyway, like you said you know our (or at least mine - Sam Shipley who does not in any way speak for GGW) opinion. I would love to hear why this would be good for the city with the exception of "Civic Pride, yo!"

by Shipsa01 on Feb 8, 2012 2:58 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash- Gray said "I'm telling you, almost everywhere I go, people say, 'Bring them back, bring them back.' And I say, 'Well, we are working on it.'"
So, that's pretty much his rational. Has he made other statements regarding the skins?

Saying that b/c it wasn't the idea of someone here and that's why no one supports it is, frankly, ridiculous. People here don't like the idea for a couple of reasons. First, the economics don't make sense. Second, there are better uses for the land.

by thump on Feb 8, 2012 3:01 pm • linkreport

@HogWash:
'People on this site have been more than willing to hear arguments,'

No they haven't."

I think you misunderstand. "The 'Skins should come back because this is where they belong" doesn't rise to the level of an argument. Make an argument; most people are open to one. Doesn't mean they have to accept it blindly though.

A Cri de coeur is not an argument.

by oboe on Feb 8, 2012 3:06 pm • linkreport

Falls Church,
I was just pointing out all the ideals that should be advocated for, not the requirements. I'll take anything as long as it moves us forward. The first thing you need is people on the street, what ever kind of architecture, transit etc you have. That's why I like to walk in cities, to see other people, but when I'm bored, nice buildings to study come in handy.

by Thayer-D on Feb 8, 2012 3:25 pm • linkreport

Ship/Oboe/Thump,

Factually, there is no argument that most people here would be willing to listen to since it doesn't conform with that they already believe.

So no, people on this site aren't "willing" to hear arguments in favor of bringing them back and if the previous conversation is an example of "willingness" then ok. I'm sure the tea party would never admit their "unwillingness" to hear an opposing argument either. They would likely consider themselves "open" as well.

Not an attack. Just moreso a statement of fact.

by HogWash on Feb 8, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

Jack Love, never underestimate the value of the small con. Those security guards would have gotten away with it had they not been so stupid that one of them bought lottery tickets with the change in HIS UNIFORM.

Hogwash, what oboe said. Most people here would support the return of the Redskins if the Redskins paid for their stadium. They don't support it if we pay for their stadium. The problem isn't the Redskins, it's the spending of tax dollars to subsidize billionaires.

by David C on Feb 8, 2012 4:00 pm • linkreport

@HogWash

Speculation that, were an argument forthcoming, that argument would be in vain is still not an argument.

by oboe on Feb 8, 2012 4:01 pm • linkreport

@David, I disagree. I believe most people here still wouldn't support the Skins coming back even IF Snyder financed it himself..which is something I don't believe any sports owner has ever done in the history of modern sports.

Why? Because the same argument would still exist. "We can do something else w/the space."

The argument has been two-fold. Waste of space and not with my money.

by HogWash on Feb 8, 2012 4:24 pm • linkreport

You're right, HogWash, and you can count me in the camp of people who wouldn't (and don't) support them coming back ever. Football stadiums - much like Nascar tracks - should be placed as far away from thriving cities as possible. Why do you think the Giants and Jets don't play in NYC, but instead in the swamps of Jersey? The land in NYC is too valuable for a behemoth stadium that is never used and surrounded by surface parking lots.

DC may have been a city that could have supported a football stadium in the past, but not anymore. Our land is just too too valuable now to waste it (yes, waste) on a football stadium.

In fact, if you want to go even further, I would argue that the stadium in Landover is a waste and should be moved somewhere like deep Loudoun or Prince Williams' Counties.

by Shipsa01 on Feb 8, 2012 4:44 pm • linkreport

which is something I don't believe any sports owner has ever done in the history of modern sports

Didn't Abe do it with the Verizon (MCI) Center?

by David C on Feb 8, 2012 4:53 pm • linkreport

Hogwash-You didn't say people here wouldn't be willing to support the skins moving back, you said they wouldn't be willing to listen to any argument what-so-ever on them moving back.
My guess is that, IF Snyder paid with his own money and IF the stadium wasn't surrounded by acres of parking (sitting useless most of the time) and IF it was well integrated and supported and revived the surrounding community, then you'd have lots and lots of folks here willing to look seriously at those arguments. I'd certainly be willing to look at that argument.
Also, I just did a google search "privately funded sports stadiums". Seems like there are quite a few actually. The biggest reason municipalities don't want to fund these things is because they don't make economic sense to those places and owners seem to think it's better to just move. It's a race to the bottom.

by thump on Feb 8, 2012 4:54 pm • linkreport

@Ship-Maybe we can get Bradley Heard to do a piece on how the FedEx location is a prime piece of real estate for TOD?

by thump on Feb 8, 2012 4:56 pm • linkreport

There are several NFL stadiums that were built with no public money:
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/09/08/sports/20100908-stadium-sidebar.html

by MLD on Feb 8, 2012 5:40 pm • linkreport

I call them the Landover Redskins.

by ksu499 on Feb 8, 2012 5:52 pm • linkreport

Alex B. A 80,000+ seat stadium with a roof will likely be more just north of $1 billion. $200 million will come from the NFL stadium fund as well as the NFLPA fund. That is the only financing that is known. My entire point is nobody knows who is paying the rest. The team is worth as much as it is largely because of the stadium and most acknowledge Snyder would not want to give up owning something as valuable as a stadium in conjunction with the team. FedEx Field and the surrounding property is worth more than $1 billion. It has long been rumored he would pay for a stadium with the sale of the current stadium.

2) The stadium will host more than just 8 regular season games and a couple of pre-season games. Some of that has been outlined already. It might not be a great number, but it will be used for several events and not just 10 NFL games.

Since it would be a privately owned stadium, it would require a land transfer from the federal government. Snyder would likely want to develop around the stadium as is the norm for quite a few stadiums right now. Many of the lots would disappear and be developed not unlike Gillette Stadium.

by selxic on Feb 9, 2012 10:20 am • linkreport

@ Selxic - "It has long been rumored he would pay for a stadium with the sale of the current stadium."

I don't understand that. He would sell Fedex Field to someone and then use the money to build a new stadium? Who in their right mind would buy Fedex - esp. when no team would be playing there.

"Snyder would likely want to develop around the stadium as is the norm for quite a few stadiums right now."

I highly disagree. Snyder loves his surface lots and loves gouging people to park and tailgate. The fact of the matter is - DC is a big tailgating community (not sure if New England is the same) and people are not going to be happy about having no surface parking lots to party in 10 times a year.

"The stadium will host more than just 8 regular season games and a couple of pre-season games."

That's all and good - but the fact remains the number is going to hover around the 20 mark. What is Verizon Center - 200? Nats Park - 100? Say it's even 50 - does that make it acceptable? I think to be in the city it would have to be used at least 100 times a year - at least.

by Shipsa01 on Feb 9, 2012 10:29 am • linkreport

@selxic

Ah, Gilette Stadium as the bar to meet.

You might want to take a look at Gilette's location relative to Boston. Likewise, surrounding a stadium with a glorified strip mall that's still surrounded by acres of parking lots isn't exactly a solid step for urbanism. The area around RFK (which is really the only site in DC that remotely makes sense for an NFL stadium) is ripe for some development already. If you want to talk about public benefits, a smaller soccer stadium for DC United would be a far better sports catalyst - more events, smaller impact, smaller footprint, lower cost, etc.

Gilette is an endorsement of everything that FedEx is already, not a reason to move the Redskins to a more urban location.

As for financing, if you're point is "we don't know," that's fine. That's also not the answer most of the public is looking for - they're looking for "no public money, period." You can debate the merits of that position, but simply saying the funding is unknown won't reassure critics. Ergo, the assumption isn't a false one at all.

Likewise, the notion that Snyder would pay for it himself doesn't mesh with anything Snyder has done publicly since he bought the team. A guy that tried to charge pedestrians $25 just to walk to the stadium instead of paying his $40 parking fees doesn't strike me as a magnanimous guy interested in the greater good of his stadium neighborhood.

If Dan Snyder really wants a new stadium, I suspect he'll end up going the route of the Giants and the Jets when all is said and done - build a new one in the parking lot next to FedEx. The land is assembled, the infrastructure is there,

by Alex B. on Feb 9, 2012 10:33 am • linkreport

@David, Didn't Abe do it with the Verizon (MCI) Center?

Can't say I know for sure. Maybe he did use his own personal money. Still seems like quite abnormal practice.

And I find some of the comments quite rich that NO PUBLIC money should be used to finance a stadium.

If that's where we're starting from. I can see how conversations where Group A thinks the city can benefit from Item A and could cosign some public investment...then Group B thinks the total opposite.

Then both sides get into trying to be most right, adamantly defending their positions. But not really listening to anything.

Experts: An increase in taxes should be part of any balanced budget.

Dems: We need to at least consider raising taxes in order to balance the budget. Republicans don't want to compromise.

GOP: We will not consider ever raising taxes because it doesn't work. Democrats don't want to compromise.

by HogWash on Feb 9, 2012 10:49 am • linkreport

I wouldn't say that NO PUBLIC money should be used, but it needs to be a well thought-out expenditure, and I suspect any deal to bring the Redskins will not be as it will be filled with emotion and politicians' desire to "bring back the Redskins" at any cost.

But to a larger extent we need an independent system for calculating what a business - any business - is worth to DC and how much they should get in the form of "enticements" and what kind of guarantees the city gets in return. And then we can just plug it all in to the equation and determine what we're going to give. We should know the criteria beforehand.

Instead, what we do is bargain with each business individually which is a system fraught with opportunities for shenanigans and overpaying.

So, in that framework, if a hypothetical deal involved some public investment that could be shown to be worth the cost based on a means of measurement that we agreed on beforehand, then I could support it. But we don't have a deal to look at, and I remain skeptical that such a deal would emerge.

by David C on Feb 9, 2012 10:58 am • linkreport

The Phonebooth was privately financed.

I'm sorry the development around Gillette isn't satisfactory to you, Alex B.. I was simply using that as an example of a NFL stadium where parking lots around the stadium were removed for development. Also, do you and Shipsa01 really believe Snyder would prefer to charge $40 on a few thousand parking spots than charge even more for less parking and make much more on development on the property as well?

As I said in my initial comment, a lot of the arguing here is based on great assumptions.

by selxic on Feb 9, 2012 11:40 am • linkreport

The Phonebooth was privately financed.

The arena was, but the overall project involved some significant public funding for infrastructure - specifically for the reconfiguration of the Metro station. IIRC, it was on the order of $60 million.

I'm sorry the development around Gillette isn't satisfactory to you, Alex B.. I was simply using that as an example of a NFL stadium where parking lots around the stadium were removed for development.

Just look at the aerial photos on Google Maps - they didn't exactly remove much parking.

Also, do you and Shipsa01 really believe Snyder would prefer to charge $40 on a few thousand parking spots than charge even more for less parking and make much more on development on the property as well?

First, FedEx doesn't have a few thousand spaces, it has close to 20,000 spaces.

As for development, I'm fine with that - I'm just skeptical that it would make sense for the football stadium. We can redevelop the RFK environs without a 110,000 seat stadium.

In short, selling development as a benefit to the stadium doesn't really fly.

by Alex B. on Feb 9, 2012 11:48 am • linkreport

@HogWash

I think we should spend little or no money on an NFL stadium because it provides little to no benefit to the city AND the owners/users (if pub $ is involved the city "owns" the stadium, even though owning it has little benefit) of said stadium stand to make billions over the life of the building.

There is a case to be made for more public money going to other types of stadiums and especially an arena like the Verizon Center because they host many more games and events and induce much more spending.

Fedex Field is nearly 4X the footprint of the Verizon Center. That's not counting parking. You can't build a walkable neighborhood with restaurants and things around something that big. And the restaurants won't come in for something that's only used 15 times a year.

I and I think some other people could be convinced to put some public money into a stadium just to keep the team here. There's probably some intangible benefit that we could justify throwing SOME amount of money (under $100 million) into the pot.

However, if you check out the NYT chart I posted above, the vast majority of NFL stadiums fall into one of two categories: 100% funded by the team, or 70+% funded by the public. Study after study is showing that it's a bad deal for cities.

by MLD on Feb 9, 2012 11:48 am • linkreport

@DavidC, great point...and reasonable I might add!

by HogWash on Feb 9, 2012 12:51 pm • linkreport

MLD, quite a few American football stadiums are part of walkable urban areas.

by selxic on Feb 9, 2012 2:47 pm • linkreport

@selxic

Correlation is not causation. How many of those stadiums made their surroundings more walkable? Likewise, consider how they got there. Many were part of redevelopments of existing superblock land uses.

by Alex B. on Feb 9, 2012 2:53 pm • linkreport

@selxic
MLD, quite a few American football stadiums are part of walkable urban areas.
Such as? There may be some that are in downtowns but they don't exist in the kind of environment the Verizon Center does. And that's specifically because there isn't enough going on at the stadium to support restaurants and other businesses.

by MLD on Feb 9, 2012 3:14 pm • linkreport

@selxic - Please give us some examples because I'm just doing a quick Google search and I am finding nothing. Here are a few examples:

Paul Brown Stadium in Cincy? http://g.co/maps/a4w2k

SunLife Stadium in Miami? http://g.co/maps/fs7t7

Quallcomm Stadium in San Diego? http://g.co/maps/cyvd9

Century Link Field in Seattle? http://g.co/maps/tjz8d

Look at all that wasted space. Surface parking lots on PRIME waterfront land. Such a terrible waste.

by Shipsa01 on Feb 9, 2012 3:36 pm • linkreport

Re walkability, I suppose it depends on your definition. As someone pointed out, football stadiums are so big that it's impossible to achieve the walkability of the Verizon Center. On the other hand, Ravens Stadium (or whatever it's called) is walking distabce to quite a few bars and restaurants. It's certainly not part of the urban core, though.

As someone who has spent many, many Sundays at the Meadowlands (and remains a season ticket holder to this day), the Garden and Shea Stadium, I am firmly in the camp of football = outside or outskirts of a city, with lots of parking (and mass transit a huge plus), baseball = outskirts/closer in city, mass transit essential, decent amount of parking, and arensa = city center, minimal parking, mass transit essential. That's based purely on personal experience, not on any data. (So, basically, meaningless, but there it is.)

by dcd on Feb 9, 2012 4:19 pm • linkreport

@dcd

No, I think that's about right.

Football stadiums have very large footprints, large capacities, and host few events. Therefore, they need lots of space and should be located on the perimeter. Adding transit can help reduce the required parking footprint.

Baseball stadiums have a fairly large footprint, medium capacity, and host many events in season. Edge of urban/downtown areas are perfect. Also, the somewhat variable dimensions of the baseball playing field help fit ballparks into odd spaces within a city (see Fenway Park as the classic example).

Arenas host many events year round, have a relatively small footprint (approx. one full city block), and are often best located within the urban core.

by Alex B. on Feb 9, 2012 4:33 pm • linkreport

Too often discussions on this site reach a point where posters get caught up in arguing for the sake of arguing instead of having a constructive discussion. As dcd said, "Re walkability, I suppose it depends on your definition." As it is, do you consider RFK Stadium (minus Lots 7 & 8) walkable? M&T Bank (Ravens) Stadium is considered walkable by many and there is more development planned for the immediate area. Most will concede that Century Link in Seattle is also walkable. I am not familiar with Paul Brown Stadium, but it doesn't look much unlike Ravens Stadium. I'm not sure what it needs to be near for you to consider it walkable, Shipsa01. Do transportation options, mixed use development and a street grid make a stadium walkable? Also, it's disingenuous to call the land "prime" let alone "prime" waterfront land. None of those stadiums were built on "prime" land. The two from your post that I mentioned (while walkable and perhaps "prime" in that instance) were formerly industrial areas just as the RFK site isn't prime land and instead is a paved over toxic wasteland. There have been arguments regarding the latest host of the Super Bowl on GGW in the past, but most thought Indy did a great job of hosting the Super Bowl and keeping events in a central, walkable area. Many NFL stadiums exist on the edge of downtown areas with limited parking options immediately surrounding the stadium yet they work well within the city. RFK isn't near a downtown area. If you don't consider RFK Stadium walkable as it is, you likely won't consider anything in or near the same footprint walkable either even if there is a significant gateway development around it.

by selxic on Feb 10, 2012 9:05 am • linkreport

@selxic

Define walkable.

Is that a stadium you can walk to? Then sure, lots of stadiums are within walking distance of stuff. But I don't think that makes them walkable - walkable implies much more of a contribution to their surrounding neighborhood, not just proximity.

RFK is a good location, within walking distance of transit. But the stadium itself isn't walkable.

The Verizon Center is walkable. It fits into the existing urban fabric, it has storefronts on street level that aren't stadium-related (Chipotle, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Green Turtle), it's mixed use with a salon and a gym, and if you were an alien from another planet walking by on the street, there's nothing that screams this building is fundamentally different from other nearby theaters or retail uses.

That mixed use and the interaction with the surrounding urban uses activates the building both during events and when events aren't in session. I have yet to see a football stadium that does the same thing. The scale is generally too large to make it happen, the uses too specialized.

RFK isn't like that. Nor are most football stadiums. RFK's location is potentially walkable, because of the proximity to transit and to existing urban fabric - but the design of the stadium itself isn't anything special.

by Alex B. on Feb 10, 2012 9:19 am • linkreport

Alex B is right 100%. Yes, RFK has a Metro stop and yes, you can "walk" to the stadium, but it's not walkable in terms of a neighborhood destination like the Verizon Center is (and hopefully) Nats Park soon will be. I was in Cincy for a cousin's wedding a few weeks ago and we stayed at a hotel right downtown that was on the same street as Paul Brown Stadium. After the commuters left the city at 6:00, there were NO people there. My Jersey family was joking that the city motto should be: "The city that ALWAYS sleeps."

So yes, they have a nice stadium - right on the riverfront - but no one is there - EVER. How is that good for the neighborhood?

by Shipsa01 on Feb 10, 2012 10:01 am • linkreport

I don't disagree, Alex B. That was part of my point. I don't believe the RFK site is walkable in the sense that some may want. There isn't a bar, a coffee/cupcake shop, or a CVS a block away. I don't believe any plans for the Eastern Gateway will be walkable in that sense though. The area isn't a commercial retail hub with a vibrant street life. There aren't large employers in the area. Even redevelopment of Reservation 13 will be a limited and concentrated amount of mixed use development. It is primarily a residential area. None of the plans for the area will create walkable corridors that will meet the demands of some. Of course none of that matters in this discussion though.

by selxic on Feb 10, 2012 11:05 am • linkreport

selxic, there is a plan for the RFK site that makes it significantly more walkable than it is now. Is it downtown? No. But its walkscore would go way up.

There are many possible options that DC could pursue that would make it more walkable or more often used. Even if it were just changed into soccer fields and basketball courts it would be more used than now. I don't think a R***** stadium would be on that list.

by David C on Feb 10, 2012 11:26 am • linkreport

Of course none of that matters in this discussion though.

How does it not matter?

For one, I think the Reservation 13 project has potential to add quite a bit of mixed use. The original proposals varied, but I liked the denser ones - and they would've added a substantial retail and office component to the area, in addition to more residential density. The area currently is a bit of a hike from either H St or Penn Ave/Barracks Row/Eastern Market, so there's an opportunity for the area to really expand and grow as more of a mixed use hub - a hub that will serve both the existing rowhouse 'hoods as well as the new development at Res 13.

So yes, the plans for the area can and should (and will?) be walkable. The ingredients are all there.

The opportunity is there to expand that beyond just Res 13, too - but RFK is am obstacle, not an asset. I happen to think that a DC United stadium there and a refurbished Armory would be good assets, but that's a different issue.

by Alex B. on Feb 10, 2012 11:33 am • linkreport

Have you seen any plans for the RFK site that don't more or less incorporate the Eastern Gateway ideas?

by selxic on Feb 10, 2012 11:54 am • linkreport

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