The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.


Breakfast links: Making plans

Photo by jm3 on Flickr.
A new library: The DC Public Library revealed plans for new library in Woodridge. The three-story building with numerous balconies will be the latest new DC library building. (DCmud)

A Ward 7 Walmart: The DC Housing Authority has submitted plans for the Ward 7 Walmart, which look pretty much the same as the "school-like" design from 2010. It will have 665 parking spaces, half surface and half in a garage. (Post)

More CaBi for Arlington: Arlington proposes locations for its next set of CaBi stations, which generally fill in the space between Rosslyn-Ballston and Pentagon-Crystal City. What do you think? WashCycle wishes the airport had one.

WMATA hires in planning and development: WMATA has hired Shyam Kannan from RCLCO to run its planning division, replacing Nat Bottigheimer, and Stanley Wall to handle its real estate and development projects. (Post) ... We reported on presentations Kannan made about TOD at two forums this spring.

Maryland sees crime rate fall: Maryland's crime rate has fallen to the lowest rate since 1975. Murders fell by 6% last year, and other types of crime are also down. (WAMU)

Don't "like" new Facebook HQ: Despite a trend in tech companies toward urban offices, Facebook's new headquarters in Menlo Park is a single-use, isolated, and surrounded by a sea of parking. Oh, and Frank Gehry designed it. (TNR)

Dresden rolls out longest bus: Beginning in October, Dresden will operate the longest bus in the world, a 98-foot long double-articulated bus which holds 256 passengers. The manufacturers have also received inquiries from other cities. (Tecca)

And...: Why you shouldn't let dogs pee on trees. (Atlantic Cities) ... Google adds turn-by-turn bike directions to Android phones. ... Democrats and Republicans disagree over repairing the Capitol dome. (DCist) ... We'll miss JDLand.

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.


Add a comment »

Lydia nailed it on the facebook campus. Where's the disconnect? How can these cutting edge companies be so last century with their huge corporate office parks? My guess is it has something to do with the starchitecture they aspire to as a branding tool. And while that's probably a good marketing move, it's telling how the latest modernist out put succeds best when dropped like sculpture in an isloated spot. Urban architecture tends towards what's derisivly refered to as facadism, becasue it's usually only one facade that's visible from the public realm, and doing a facade is still troubling for contemporary modernism which like early modernism, it was designed for an automated world where the pedestrian realm was thought to be obsolete. Lydia was also thankfully much less snarky, which allows her acute observations to shine through. Bravo.

by Thayer-D on Aug 31, 2012 8:57 am • linkreport

We could use those triple buses here in DC and boom where's all your "streetcars have a lot more capacity/they ride smoother/they won't interfere with traffic as much as you think" arguments now? This thing has a computer to help it turn, what does a streetcar have? A series of switches along a fixed guide rail? Gimme a break.

/could have also gone for an induced demand joke about this bus.

by drumz on Aug 31, 2012 9:08 am • linkreport

Why you shouldn't let dogs pee on trees.

Any suggestions on how owners of male dogs should explain their dogs to suppress millennia of instinct? Bitches squat.

And while retraining instincts, can someone also train men to not use toilets for #1s when urinals are available?

by Jasper on Aug 31, 2012 9:20 am • linkreport

@drumz: induced demand for a BUS? LOL. Go for the joke.

by goldfish on Aug 31, 2012 9:40 am • linkreport

The airport definitely needs a CaBi. But given how inhospitable it's been to bikes, it wouldn't be surprising if the airport authority said "no thanks." The closest alternative might be a bike station right along the Mt. Vernon trail where the airport turn off is.

by aaa on Aug 31, 2012 9:42 am • linkreport

The proposed stations at the Marine Corps Memorial and Arlington Cemetery Metro are really good ideas. I'm sure they'd draw a lot of tourists and would be a great way to link the monuments across the Potomac. Good on Arlington for pushing for this.

by Gavin on Aug 31, 2012 9:51 am • linkreport

The new Facebook campus expansion isn't surrounded by parking. The entire building will be built over a parking garage on the other side of a highway from where they are currently located. They are currently using the Sun campus. The new campus is currently an office park, but it will be redeveloped. I'm not a fan of the plans or designs, but it reads like many of the complaints ignore the actual plans. Why should they leave where they are?

Also, JDLand isn't going anywhere. She's simply cutting back on some of the content (aggregating community news) that has taken over her site more recently and focusing more on photos.

Is that new library design functional?

by selxic on Aug 31, 2012 10:04 am • linkreport

I know that the article wasn't quite saying it, but I need to defend architecture a bit. I don't think it's true that "starchitects" such as Frank Gehry are designing suburban style corporate complexes as a doctrine of their design. Frank Gehry has designed in many urban spaces and fits in quite well as one can find with other "starchitects." While Washingtonian's don't care for his style, I think the aggression towards contemporary architecture in general is really silly. As a final note for the architect getting the blame for "urbanistically bad" buildings, the owner and zoning decide a lot of what is designed. I don't know if this is the case for the Facebook Headquarters, but usually the density problem is brought on by your local zoning people of which no architect has any control.

by Matthew on Aug 31, 2012 10:09 am • linkreport

You would think DC would have learned its less about building these ridiculous all glass "architectural masterpieces" in less than savory neighborhoods after what happened recently.

There is no reason to make the criminals lives that much easier by simply giving them an easier way in.

Crime aside, these designs are future maintenance nightmares. Replacement windows cost an absolute fortune and for a library system that does nothing but get less and less money you have to wonder who makes these decisions and what they could have possibly been thinking?

by Library on Aug 31, 2012 10:16 am • linkreport

I find Google Maps inclusion of bike routes to be extremely valuable and I'm interested to try this new feature out because I'm a nerd like that...however, I question the real value of turn-by-turn navigation for bikes. I mean, to even use it, you'd need to buy a mount...these are common for iPhones, which have a standard design but won't have this capability, but there are so many models of Android phones out there, manufacturers may be hesitant to waste time designing mounts for them. Also, one of the advantages of cycling is that if you need directions, it's really easy to pull over and pull out a map (digital or paper). Now, if Google adds the capability to program in specific routes (like Garmin's Courses feature for their Edge bike computers), then I'll be interested.

by MM on Aug 31, 2012 10:40 am • linkreport

What ever style facebook runs with wasn't so much Lydia's point, rather their choice of location. In fact, Gehry's style is probably better for a hightech company than a traditional style, but the suburban zoning wouldn't have followed facebook to a more urban location, even with an undulating glass or titanium curtain wall.

by Thayer-D on Aug 31, 2012 10:40 am • linkreport

Instead, Apple and Facebook are building themselves palaces in the desert. They're deluded if they think all the hot shots they're going to need will want to make the trek.

It's Apple and yes, people will trek to wherever they are.

Locating in cities has the distinct advantage of increasing your pool of potential employees but innovation has historically occurred in campus style universities. Even the most urban universities like Columbia make a distinct effort to isolate themselves from their environment. If you are big and important enough, you can locate in distant places like Cornell and Dartmouth and people will come to you -- rather than you needing to locate where there are people.

The idea is to create an intellectual oasis where cross-pollination occurs as people trek across the campus and bump into people in various disciplines. Steve Jobs actually designed his offices to *maximize* distances to things like bathrooms and mailrooms to increase chance encounters. That's why Apple's new O-ring shaped office is designed to *minimize* density.

by Falls Church on Aug 31, 2012 10:41 am • linkreport

I question the real value of turn-by-turn navigation for bikes. I mean, to even use it, you'd need to buy a mount.

Also, one of the advantages of cycling is that if you need directions, it's really easy to pull over and pull out a map (digital or paper).

Assuming the directions will be spoken to you, you don't need a mount. You just need to put the phone in a pocket where you can hear the directions.

Stopping your bike and pulling out a map on your phone is a real pain. And, if you're trying to navigate the spaghetti mess of trails here (where the W&OD and Four Mile Run meet a mess of local park trails):

even pulling out a map isn't always a help. I've actually taken to writing down bike direction on a slip of paper and referring to that as I'm biking so this new feature will be welcome.

by Falls Church on Aug 31, 2012 10:47 am • linkreport

@Falls Church

Keep in mind that with universities, you have thousands of those intellectually engaged people actually living on campus, in very dense accommodations. The intellectual "college experience" happens as much in dorm rooms and the library (conveniently located near where you live) as in class. That doesn't carry over as well in the corporate setting, unless you try to go the Soviet/Chinese route and have workers live next to the factory or whatnot.

by Dizzy on Aug 31, 2012 10:54 am • linkreport

@Falls Church,

Fair point about spoken directions...that could be helpful. One thing I forgot to mention though, is that Google Maps is great at showing bike routes, but actually pretty terrible at providing bike directions. For instance, when input my current address in Capitol Hill and ask for directions to the house I just bought in ArlCo, it routes me up Mass to 6th NE, to Columbus Circle, and down Constitution, for a total of 11 miles. If I take the "normal" route down E. Cap and across the city on Penn, it's only 10 miles and probably 20 minutes faster.

Hopefully down the line, Google can somehow aggregate trip data to "learn" what routes cyclists actually take in an area...or at the very least, Google Maps on your phone can learn your riding patterns and adapt routes accordingly. That would be pretty cool.

by MM on Aug 31, 2012 11:01 am • linkreport


I think the idea at places like Google, Apple, and Facebook is that you spend most of your waking hours with work people. 12 hour workdays plus 1.5 hours commuting on the company shuttle plus all your meals provided free on campus, mean most people are essentially living at work except for sleeping. True, it's not exactly like living in a dorm on a college campus but plenty of people at even campus-oriented universities don't live in dorms; especially upperclassmen.

An interesting idea would be for these companies to create luxury on-campus free housing for their star performers, sort of like professors who live on The Lawn at UVA.

by Falls Church on Aug 31, 2012 12:37 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church

If that's their model, then there are some definite similarities. That does not sound like the sort of model that would appeal to people out of their 20s, though, at least broadly speaking. It may not be a problem now, while the companies are relatively young, but as their employee base starts aging and the biological clocks start ticking... not so sure.

by Dizzy on Aug 31, 2012 4:48 pm • linkreport

The news may have been overlooked, but it part of Greater GGW. Gov. McDonnell and Amtrak officially announced yesterday that Amtrak service to Norfolk will start on December 12. Tickets are now on sale. (Look carefully at the url: The schedule for the start of service are heavily tilted for military personnel and contractors in Norfolk making day trips to DC with a 4:50 AM weekday departure from Norfolk. The plan is to expand to 3 daily trains which should provide for better schedule options, but Virginia has to reach an agreement with CSX first for Richmond Staples Mill to Petersburg track upgrades first.

Also should note that the FEIS for the Richmond Main Street to Hampton Roads service covering both Richmond Main St to Newport News and to Norfolk routes is available on the VA DRPT website for those interested in such things. And contemplate what a 6 train a day service between DC and Norfolk with a 3:35 trip time (after a couple of billion is spent on track upgrades) would do for taking trips to VA Beach from DC.

by AlanF on Aug 31, 2012 6:20 pm • linkreport

"Locating in cities has the distinct advantage of increasing your pool of potential employees but innovation has historically occurred in campus style universities."

Any tech campuses that integrate with their cities like Harvard, say, does with Cambridge? Even more isolated urban campuses like MIT or Penn or Columbia or UChicago or Georgetown are not isolated and unwalkable like suburban corporate campuses are (not to mention that some important U's like NYU or GWU are not even as isolated as the above)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 1, 2012 9:59 am • 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)

You can use some HTML, like <blockquote>quoting another comment</blockquote>, <i>italics</i>, and <a href="http://url_here">hyperlinks</a>. More here.

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.


Support Us