Greater Greater Washington

On the calendar: Parking! Walking! Bicycling! Controversy!

Whether you care about parking, bicycling, walking, or all three, in DC, Maryland, or Virginia, there are some important events coming up, from a parking meeting tonight in Georgetown to a forum on upcounty Montgomery pedestrian safety to a bike rally in Richmond.


Photo by HogueLikeWoah on Flickr.

Talk parking in Georgetown: Tonight (Wednesday, January 16) is a Georgetown community meeting about parking. Topher Mathews reports Georgetown is likely to get some form of performance parking, but before it does, leaders want to hear from residents about their parking needs and desires. The meeting starts at 6:30 at Hardy Middle School.

Make walkable neighborhoods for everyone: Many DC neighborhoods like H Street are becoming desirable, walkable places, but also increasingly unaffordable for many. How can we ensure these places serve everyone, including long-time residents, rather than one small segment of the population?

The Coalition for Smarter Growth, the most influential smart growth group in the Washington region, organized a panel with Chris Leinberger of Brookings, David Bowers from Enterprise Community Partners, and the DC Fiscal Policy Institute's Ed Lazere. It's Tuesday, January 22, 6:30-8:30 (with some refreshments beginning at 6) at NCPC, 401 9th St NW, suite 500 North. RSVP here.

Talk pedestrians in upcounty: After a spate of pedestrian injuries and deaths in upcounty Montgomery, the Action Committee for Transit put together a forum on pedestrian safety at the Germantown Public Library, 2-4 pm on Saturday, January 26. Barbara McCann from the National Complete Streets Coalition will talk about the area's pedestrian safety problems and possible solutions.

Support biking in DC, Maryland: WABA is inviting folks to its offices on Wednesday, January 23 to talk about bicycle planning in DC and Maryland. The MoveDC initiative and a transportation planning process in Maryland will be collecting a lot of public input.

Stop by WABA's offices in Adams Morgan, 2599 Ontario Road NW, between 5:30 and 9:30 to talk with WABA staff and fellow cycling advocates about how to best weigh in during these processes and what to say when you do.

Support biking in Virginia: In the Commonwealth, the biggest bicycling issues are in the state legislature, where advocates are pushing for 6 specific bills that will make roads safer for cyclists. They are organizing a Bicycling Action Day in Richmond on Tuesday, January 29, starting at 10:30 at the "compass" plaza at Virginia Commonwealth University, followed by a bicycle ride to the state capitol for a rally.

Zoning update! And don't forget the Ward 4 zoning update information session, 6:30 tonight (again, Wednesdaysorry daily email readers) at Takoma Education Campus.

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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"How can we ensure these places serve everyone, including long-time residents, rather than one small segment of the population?"

I find it unlikely that the laws of supply and demand will repealed in the near term, regardless of how smart our growth is. Allowing greater density and removing control of property from bureaucrats and commissions is the only way.

by Michael Hamilton on Jan 16, 2013 12:26 pm • linkreport

many DC neighborhoods like H Street are becoming desirable, walkable places, but also increasingly unaffordable for many. How can we ensure these places serve everyone, including long-time residents, rather than one small segment of the population?

Well, one option is to make more of these desirable, walkable places, so that househounters have more options to choose from.

The other option is for long-time residents to move to less walkable and less-transit-served areas.

by JustMe on Jan 16, 2013 12:38 pm • linkreport

Hasn't H st been walkable for quite a while? Besides the edges and some major highway barriers you can pretty much walk anywhere you want in the city. If you mean rezoning/redevelopment to make it more appealing to a broader audience, you're kind of inherently implying that you will push out some of the people who live there now, largely because it isn't so desirable and therefore cheap. Obviously requiring a larger share of affordable housing to be included in new projects is one option. And let's be honest, in many ways these areas are becoming desirable precisely because some longtime residents are being pushed out.

by Alan B. on Jan 16, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

Many DC neighborhoods like H Street are becoming desirable, walkable places, but also increasingly unaffordable for many. How can we ensure these places serve everyone, including long-time residents, rather than one small segment of the population?

Depending on the definition of "serve", they already do serve everyone. Or did you mean, "How can we ensure that everyone who wants to live on H Street can?" The answer to that is, you don't.

(Though as others have pointed out, continuing to create new walkable neighborhoods makes it more likely that these places will be more affordable to more people.)

by oboe on Jan 16, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

...let's be honest, in many ways these areas are becoming desirable precisely because some longtime residents are being pushed out.

I'm not sure that follows. How would that work?

by oboe on Jan 16, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

Well neighborhoods don't just suddenly become desirable. Unless we are talking about a large transportation project or something generally neighborhoods become trendy when new businesses and housing have come in. And that often means displacing current people/businesses. Usually rents go up and redevelopment happens. Pretty much none of that is possible without a lot of old residents and uses going away. If they all stayed there usually wouldn't be enough to redevelop. Just look at 14th st. It's not like there was nothing there before.

by Alan B. on Jan 16, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

Well there is a difference between residential and commercial. But I think its the case in a lot of DC neighborhoods that most homeowners aren't pushed out as much as cashed out. Especially when you consider that DC has the homesteader tax relief which can lock in property tax rates.

Moreover when you allow new buildings to be built you can make sure that more people can move in to a neighborhood without anyone else having to move out.

WRT to commercial spaces, it will always be a gamble gentrification may introduce extra volatility but at a ceratin level one must accept that a store or restaurant they love will probably not last a lifetime for any number of reasons.

by drumz on Jan 16, 2013 2:29 pm • linkreport

It's not like there was nothing there before.

Empty storefronts and vacant lots are about as close to "nothing" as one gets in the middle of the city.

by Marian Berry on Jan 16, 2013 2:46 pm • linkreport

Yeah that's totally true that difference slices of people benefit or don't. I'd be curious to what extent residents of such areas are homeowners vs renters. It's not that I have anything against owners cashing in anyway. Just a quick perusal of www.neighborhoodinfodc.org tells me that 2000 home ownership rate was 29% in Ward 1, 32% in Ward 2 etc. I mean you could analyze the hell out of that stuff and obviously there are affluent renters who are just peachy about gentrification and higher rents and less well off owners that get a good deal on selling.

>>Empty storefronts and vacant lots are about as close to "nothing" as one gets in the middle of the city.>>

Well that's why I used the example of 14th st. There were a lot of businesses there that closed up shop, it wasn't really empty storefronts. That's not to say that I necessarily that I think they were great for the community or that I personally cared if they stay. It's just my observation that gentrification appears to lead to pretty complete turnover. It seems like almost everything on that street has changed since 10-20 years ago. I wonder to what extent the process ever does much to serve most long time residents with the exception of property owners. It would actually really be interesting to organize a panel that consisted of long time residents in gentrifying areas to hear what they say perhaps more so than think tankers or developers.

by Alan B. on Jan 16, 2013 4:35 pm • linkreport

http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/Office%20of%20Planning%20and%20Capital%20Programming/Maryland_Transportation_Plan/Involved.html

Register to participate in MD's State Highway Administration 2035 Transportation Plan.

Participate in a survey, receive alerts about roundtables happening Jan-Feb.

by www.bikepg.org on Jan 16, 2013 6:17 pm • linkreport

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