Greater Greater Washington

Preservation


Streetcar car barn design improves in latest round

The DC Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) will discuss a new set of designs for the Benning Road streetcar maintenance facility this Thursday. The US Commission on Fine Arts (CFA) already got a look last week.


Aerial view. Top: "Vertical/Civic" option. Bottom: "Horizontal/Podium" option.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) showed earlier concept designs to HPRB and CFA in November. CFA recommended "a more urban and civic condition of a public building," while HPRB wanted it to be as small and unobtrosive as possible.

Therefore, DDOT has developed 2 concepts. One has more vertical architectural elements designed to give the building a "civic" look, while the other has a more horizontal feel dubbed "podium." Both are the same height, but the "horizontal/podium" design sets the 3rd floor back from the front façade, while "vertical/civic" does not.


View from Benning Road. Top: "Vertical/Civic" option. Bottom: "Horizontal/Podium" option.

These designs look much better than the previous ones. Historic Preservation Office staff, in their report, say that the architects have better related the building to Spingarn High School by using a brick veneer, preserving certain sight lines to Spingarn, and creating a border of green space around the perimeter.

It's too bad DDOT wasn't able to locate the building on the nearby RFK parking lots. Streetcar planners should have started pursuing this option with the federal government sooner, but there's no guarantee they ever could have gotten permission; the National Park Service is fairly jealous about keeping "recreational" land free of buildings even if that "recreation" right now is just empty parking space for a stadium.

At the MoveDC kickoff forum, Meg Maguire of the Committee of 100 made the sensible suggestion that DDOT plan locations for other car barns early, so that other communities have more chances to participate in designing them, and so that there's time to work more thoroughly to pursue the most appropriate sites.


26th Street elevation. Top: "Vertical/Civic" option. Bottom: "Horizontal/Podium" option.

HPRB members will be tempted to block the building because they wish it could be elsewhere, but that's not their standard. This building is compatible with the adjacent historic ones and should go forward, though if HPRB members have suggestions to improve the design, it's certainly worth getting the best example of a civic building that's practical to build here.

DDOT is holding a public meeting Tuesday to update the community on the streetcar's progress. It's 6:30-8 pm at Miner Elementary, 601 15th Street, NE.

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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Seems like they are making the best of a bad situation. The building is nice enough looking I guess. Still concerns me that it's so close to a school. Teenagers are not known for their excellent decision making skills. I suppose fencing is a good start.

by Alan B. on Feb 25, 2013 3:56 pm • linkreport

Alan B: DC is planning to close that school, actually, and then create a new technical program there which will include training kids for streetcar maintenance jobs.

by David Alpert on Feb 25, 2013 4:00 pm • linkreport

Ah, ok. Well then I guess it's a fine location. Good to know!

by Alan B. on Feb 25, 2013 4:06 pm • linkreport

Wow, the "Civic" version has the seeds of a pretty good building in it. Though the entryway of the "podium" version is maybe more appropriately scaled to the use.

by Neil Flanagan on Feb 25, 2013 4:10 pm • linkreport

Sigh. Just let them build the dang car barn.

by Jasper on Feb 25, 2013 4:17 pm • linkreport

Is it just me or do both designs look too Bauhaus?

by Steve S. on Feb 25, 2013 4:20 pm • linkreport

How again is the Mayor proposing to have the streetcar system operational in 9 months if they haven't even broken gound on the barn yet?

by Drr on Feb 25, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

I'm with Steve. Straight out of the 1960s and much uglier than the original, IMO. Much less in-your-face, though, so there's that.

by BeyondDC on Feb 25, 2013 4:53 pm • linkreport

I think I feel about these designs the way a lot of commentors felt about the previous one. These look okay. Not exciting, but I could tolerate them.

by Lucre on Feb 25, 2013 4:53 pm • linkreport

How is this Bauhaus? Is there a building you're thinking of?

by Neil Flanagan on Feb 25, 2013 5:04 pm • linkreport

I like these designs. But when I saw them I immediately thought:


Maybe it's just the columns and straight lines.
I actually like how the MLK Library looks from a distance. Under the arcade not so much.

by MLD on Feb 25, 2013 5:13 pm • linkreport

Kinda generic but OK I guess. It would be nice to have some design nods to DC's streetcar history - http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7180/6880386501_5a3335fae8.jpg

by Chris on Feb 25, 2013 5:31 pm • linkreport

The old car barns are beautiful, but I wonder whether they are practical for modern street cars, and it CERTAINLY appears that these more modern designs have a MUCH smaller footprint. A hat-tip to them would be nice, though. They're absolutely gorgeous.

by Ms. D on Feb 25, 2013 7:46 pm • linkreport

"One has more vertical architectural elements designed to give the building a "civic" look, while the other has a more horizontal feel dubbed "podium."

Both of these designs are horrible, but let's see how these "vertical" items make this warehouse look more civic. The vertical one looks taller, has windows that line up, and has an arcade level above the brick slab that aligns with taller entry columns. And the building "relates" to the high school building becasuse it has brick?

Just build it but spare us the rational that these minor tweaks on a completely bland building is supposed to give it a more "civic" bearing.

by Thayer-D on Feb 25, 2013 9:11 pm • linkreport

The other significant improvement is the grass in the train yard.

by Neil Flanagan on Feb 25, 2013 9:58 pm • linkreport

To the contrary, the site lines have been not preserved. The prime view of the stately, if currently rundown, school that 100,000 commuters see from Benning Rd will be obliterated.

It seems that DDOT is committed to this site, come hell or high water. I suspect that nothing short of mayoral direction will cause them to build this elsewhere.

There is plenty of need for this building as a school, and this property should be fully reserved for educational use. According to OP and DCPS and everybody else, the student population will increase 55% in 9 years.

by goldfish on Feb 25, 2013 11:50 pm • linkreport

@ David Alpert

Arent there two schools over there; there is or was a middle school behind Spingarn

by kk on Feb 26, 2013 12:09 am • linkreport

Considering that commuters have to turn their heads 90 degrees to see the school from the side I think we will all be ok with the loss of that particular view.

by Drumz on Feb 26, 2013 8:13 am • linkreport

I thought the commuters were supposed to be driving not sightseeing? If they want to be entertained they should take a bus or the metro.

by Alan B. on Feb 26, 2013 9:08 am • linkreport

Sightseeing on the Metro? I'm not sure I would call that the scenic route, at least not downtown.

by Chris on Feb 26, 2013 9:12 am • linkreport

@Alan B: you look at it while you wait at the light on 26th St.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

I suggest everyone concerned with the matter click on goldfish's link.

Is that "unique" view really worth further delaying the project?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

AWitC: much more than the view is at stake. The symbolism of this effort stinks.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

The car barn will be used for training purposes as well, so one could consider it an extension of the education campus.

by William on Feb 26, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

@William: run with that: compared to other trades, how many jobs will be provided by streetcar maintenance?

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

What symbolism? Putting the car barn there is the compromise. People against it and who are so sure that anywhere else will do have failed to provide any actual analysis of why the delay would be better in the long run.

So on one side you have space that the city already owns and can build on which means that at least this part of the process won't face as many headaches or delays, on the other you have concerns about what people in their cars will have to look at (the side of a soon to be empty brick building) and "symbolism".

by drumz on Feb 26, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

Alpert's statement that HPRB will be tempted to block the building because they wish it to be elsewhere is an odd or inaccurate statement. The HPRB approved the location of the building in October. Now, it's just a matter of design at that location.

by crin on Feb 26, 2013 9:52 am • linkreport

@drumz: the streetcar system is not ready; far more planning needs to occur. This "delay" (seconding your rhetorical use of quotes) is the consequence of haste.

The entire system of governmental is based on equality and symbolism. Ignore at your peril.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

I wonder how McDuffie feels about this since he did jump on the anti-Sprinarn bandwagon.

Yeah I'm having a hard time believing the city gains much (at all) by preserving a street view.

by HogWash on Feb 26, 2013 10:20 am • linkreport

So we need more planning so what's the deal if we totally throw these plans away and try something different? That totally won't add to the overall cost and be used by critics as a way of pointing out the streetcar is too expensive. It's a good strategy for some but bad overall for the city.

And you'll have to enlighten me on the equality lost and symbolism destroyed at this particular site (and why the loss of which is greater than the costs of not having the car barn there) because so far its eluded me.

by drumz on Feb 26, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

@goldfish, would you prefer that a separate training facility be located somewhere else? If so, where, and why?

by William on Feb 26, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

Wait was that "scenic panorama" supposed to convince me of something? That building is pretty uninteresting if you ask me. And they could at least plant some trees on that sad lawn. I revise my previous statements, the car barn is probably an improvement.

by Alan B. on Feb 26, 2013 10:36 am • linkreport

drumz: That totally won't add to the overall cost and be used by critics as a way of pointing out the streetcar is too expensive. It's a good strategy for some but bad overall for the city.

First: this is not a delay. The H Street line is years away from running; there are no plans for a terminus at either end! They do not have a power system, let alone a consensus on necessary changes to the law that bans overhead wires. Etc.

The school grounds are needed for education. The DC school population is projected to explode by 50% within ten years, a consequence of all these people moving here and having babies. According to Council Member Tommy Wells, the number of registered voters have increased by 1,000 month since the 2010 census. The surplus school building and its grounds will come in very handy quite soon, probably much sooner than the streetcar system is built.

There are several sites that are more suitable for a maintenance shed than these school grounds. The closed Pepco plant, to name only one.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

let alone a consensus on necessary changes to the law that bans overhead wires

OK, people have brought this up in the last couple streetcar threads so let's clear this up now:

The overhead wire law was amended to specifically exclude the H Street area YEARS ago, specifically for this project.

There are plenty of screwups to point out in this project, no need to bring up a complete red herring.

We (and DDOT) have also been over the relative merits of many nearby sites over and over. Saying the Pepco site is "more suitable" really depends on what factors you consider, and completely ignores any timeline requirement.

by MLD on Feb 26, 2013 10:54 am • linkreport

"The H Street line is years away from running; there are no plans for a terminus at either end! They do not have a power system, let alone a consensus on necessary changes to the law that bans overhead wires. Etc."

If I the H Street line is running (with revenue passengers) by June of 2014, I want you to donate $100 to the Coalition for Smart Growth. Care to promise to do that?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 10:55 am • linkreport

A. There will be a need for expanded educational facilities. No one denies that. There is also a need to put in a car barn to handle the streetcars that will also accomadate the same growth. Meanwhile, great news! There is already a school building next door.

B. Again, people throw out alternate sites without any actual reasons why its worth the cost of moving there. The pepco site is across the river outside the initial scope of this first line (which adds cost), the site is likely toxic and its unclear what environmental reclamation needs to happen here even for a use like a car barn (which adds cost and delay), and would need a design review period anyway similar to whats been done here (which adds cost), and finally is not already owned by the District (which adds cost). So yes, the Streetcar may need a lot more time but this simply adds more on top of that. So why is preserving the view so important? The opportunity costs of putting the barn where its going is far less than trying to move it somewhere else.

by drumz on Feb 26, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

People throw out alternate sites without any actual reasons why its worth the cost of moving there.

Or what that cost is. Or what would be an acceptable cost.

by David C on Feb 26, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

Note: the city and pepco do have a deal on what needs to be done to clean up the site so its not a total mystery but the "how" and especially "when" of that is still up in the air.

by drumz on Feb 26, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

AWitC: I like the idea of the bet, but I cannot abide in whom you have chosen to benefit.

To select two other worthy organizations with important local outreach programs that are often subjected to (too much) criticism: the Committee of 100, or the catholic church. I am affiliated with neither.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 11:08 am • linkreport

FWIW, while I agree that student enrollments will increase over time with added population, the current footprint has enough capacity to accommodate this.

The planner in me 1. understands the need to rightsize the school system footprint through closure 2. while at the same time, I advocate for maintenance of a basic system of neighborhood-based schools.

wrt high schools specifically, DC has way too much capacity. Look at the document that goldfish linked too. Even with accepting students from closed schools, most of the DC high schools have enrollment of less than 700 students. No way is there enough demand to fill both Spingarn and Eastern e.g. Same thing with Roosevelt and Coolidge.

Why DC paid to rebuild Dunbar is beyond me. A total waste of money, given the availability of scads of enrollment space across the city. Etc.

by Richard Layman on Feb 26, 2013 11:25 am • linkreport

@RL: don't let the current enrollment put you to sleep. This is going to be a huge problem is 5 years.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

"AWitC: I like the idea of the bet, but I cannot abide in whom you have chosen to benefit. "

but since you are sure that the streetcar will not be running by June 2014, that doesnt really matter, since you are sure you will never have to pay the bet. You seem to be missing the point, which is to show that you are from sure about your prediction. Promising to give $100 to a CSG is only a cost to you if you think there is a real chance the streetcar will be completed within the time frame mentioned

If there is a real chance it will be completed within that frame, then expediting the mtnce facility is a worthy goal.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 26, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

@AWitC: The way a this sort of bet works is that the beneficiary gets paid no matter who wins.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 11:42 am • linkreport

Where are the numbers to back up an exploding school age population?

According to the latest census figures the Under 14 population looks like it represents a smaller share of the population than it did in 2000(~98k). Overall it might be increasing from where we were in 2010 (~82k), but not at a rate that will greatly surpass 2000 levels any time soon. Plus significant capacity has been added over the years throgh charter campuses.

by Alan B. on Feb 26, 2013 11:54 am • linkreport

That just confirms what I said. Am I missing something enlightening? DCPS is proposing that they can consolidate and better use existing capacity. The numbers include charters which receive about half of student enrollment so capacity has gone up a lot recently which is why schools are underenrolled.

by Alan B. on Feb 26, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

Alan B: Actually the DCPS plot I linked to is a bit dated. The latest results indicate a 5% increase from last year.

In 10 years, the total school population is projected to be greater than 100,000, and there is no end in sight to this increase. Obviously the uncertainty becomes large and clearly something will happen to put the brakes on this, but right now the best figures indicate a looming facilities problem.

Beside the symbolic and aesthetic concerns this maintenance shed violates, to use this property for anything other than a school is a mistake. As this in the center of the lower-cost property in DC, many? most? of the new arrivals will be settling close by. Nearby there are large developments in the pipeline that will add many students to this area.

This is good news -- it shows that people are moving to DC and feel good enough about the schools to stay and enroll their children. The figures should not be a surprise, as there are many other indications of population increase -- numbers of registered cars, property value, and so on.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 12:38 pm • linkreport

Quoting the article you linked:

"The school system, which lost tens of thousands of students after its enrollment peak in the 1960s, has held more or less steady since 2009. But competition from charters has been a challenge for DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who is closing 15 schools for low enrollment."

Seems to indicate that enrollment is still down if you take charter capacity into account. Schools will close and new ones open all the time as demographics dictate.

Obviously if we get close to capacity then steps need to be taken, but it's just a flimsy excuse to use to try to derail the streetcars.

by Alan B. on Feb 26, 2013 12:47 pm • linkreport

The schools are needed regardless of whether they are DCPS or charter.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 12:50 pm • linkreport

wrt schools, and I apologize for writing about this on this thread, where it technically is irrelevant, it would be good to calculate the max enrollment capacity from the DCPS schools (in operation or not) and the charter schools. My sense is that the DCPS property inventory is fully capable of educating 100,000 students. Add to that charter schools (some in DCPS properties, some in other facilities that weren't originally schools, and the Catholic schools converted to charters) and I don't see a problem with accommodating growth within the current footprint.

... especially if the schools would get rid of the non-DC residents. CHarter schools aren't motivated to really prevent non-residents from going to school since they are paid per student. This is even an issue with regular DCPS schools, because they are funded similarly.

by Richard Layman on Feb 26, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

I believe the "capacity" numbers cited in the DCPS report only include spaces in schools that are open and operating. That may include some ramp-up capability (e.g. we are only using 80% of this building and could easily add teachers/students in those classrooms). I do not believe it includes school properties that DCPS owns that are closed but could later be reopened. Of course some of those properties are in use as charter schools.

by MLD on Feb 26, 2013 1:25 pm • linkreport

@RL it would be an interesting exercise, but the main problem is, to what standard? that is, I can show you schools that are currently open but should not be because they are in such terrible shape (e.g., Jefferson). I dare say in their current condition the closed buildings are probably far worse and really are not usable as a school.

True story: A few years back I was in Elliot one day because they closed it due to a bad smell. All the kids went home that day. That is not a viable place.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 1:40 pm • linkreport

Bringing this back on topic:

Why was the decision made to align the building's facade to be parallel with 26th St, rather than Benning Road?

Is it better to build the building to the street, or leave that small park/plaza in front of it?

by andrew on Feb 26, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

I don't think anyone would disagree with the idea that we need to renovate schools. But it's not like DC isn't building/renovating schools. I remember when my local high school, Bell, was opened in 2006(?) to replace the old structure. Closing excess capacity will free up more resources to do just that.

by Alan B. on Feb 26, 2013 2:12 pm • linkreport

True story: A few years back I was in Elliot one day because they closed it due to a bad smell. All the kids went home that day. That is not a viable place.

Not sure how it helps DCPS' maintenance budget by keeping a bunch of empty schools lying around. You still have to pay for the upkeep of empty and nearly empty properties, right?

by oboe on Feb 26, 2013 3:00 pm • linkreport

oboe: Frankly I think the Spingarn property should be turned over to a charter school. Whoever gets it will fix it up and expand to fill out the property. Certainly there is the need.

But that will never happen if this thing is turned into a streetcar maintenance shed.

This property should be reserved for exclusive educational use.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 3:04 pm • linkreport

@AWitC @goldfish

The point of a bet like this is that if you lose, not only do you lose the money, but it goes to an organization that you (might not) like.

E.g., I'll make a bet, and if I lose, not only does it cost me $20, but that money has to go the Republican Party. Double-ouch. But it's also putting your money where your mouth is.

by MetroDerp on Feb 26, 2013 3:05 pm • linkreport

Just so disappointing that the streetcar project is taking so damn long.

by ceefer66 on Feb 26, 2013 3:19 pm • linkreport

@MetroDerp (& AWitC): Point taken.

I bet that the H St streetcar will not be running in a normal way (picking up and dropping off passengers all day long) by the end of June 2014. I am willing to put up $20 and Mr. Walker can decide where my money goes if I lose. If I win, the winnings get donated to Committee of 100.

by goldfish on Feb 26, 2013 9:30 pm • linkreport

With DCPS closing so many schools how percentage of DC actually has local schools that children can walk to vs the added expense of taking a bus or driving

by kk on Feb 27, 2013 1:01 am • linkreport

kk -- your point is why I've come to be against charter schools from a transportation demand management standpoint. As citywide schools, they induce significant numbers of trips. OTOH, it's not fair to consign children to failed local schools either. It's a terrible conundrum. The best thing to have done would have been to have a true and real focus on improving the traditional system, within its footprint. But that would have required significant changes far beyond what the Rhee/Fenty/Gray/Henderson regimes were ever capable of.

by Richard Layman on Feb 27, 2013 8:30 am • linkreport

@RL - transportation takes a back seat to schools. Charter schools are partly responsible for re-animation of DC, at a cost of a bit more traffic. It is worth it.

by goldfish on Feb 27, 2013 8:45 am • linkreport

" I am willing to put up $20 and Mr. Walker can decide where my money goes if I lose. If I win, the winnings get donated to Committee of 100."

er, no. You are proposing a bet based on even odds, which suggests a 50-50 possibiliy of the streetcar being in revenue operation in June 2014.

If the odds are indeed 50-50, the case is made to expedite the car barn.

Your case for not worrying about carbarn delay flows from the notion that its a certainty the street car will not be running for years. Ergo, you don't need any winnings to be indifferent to the bet. Its simply YOU put your money where your mouth is, with nothing staked by me. I never said that the streetcar running by mid 2014 was a certainty.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 27, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

The plan to take away property that for decades has been reserved for education and make it part of a shiny new streetcar system is an echo of the worst mistakes of the early 60s urban highway construction. In those days the thinking was, in order for a city to compete with low-cost property offered to employers in the suburbs, cities had to improve their highways to enable the productive workers that lived in the suburbs to quickly get to their jobs downtown. The result was "urban removal": entire neighborhoods bulldozed to make new highways.

In this case, the new highways have been replaced by the latest trend, streetcars, which similarly are built to enable people to get to their jobs downtown. It is a better solution than the land-wasting highways, but to sacrifice school space for this is a terrible mistake. It is the school that provides the anchor to the neighborhood; it is the school that makes the neighborhood livable for families. More than any other building or institution, the school is the symbol of where the city invests in its future. Transit lines are built to serve needs, which are jobs and schools.

Many older residents see the streetcars as a way for white yuppies to get to the bars on H Street. While not entirely true, I think there is grain of truth there. There is a strong push to get this done! get this done! without due consideration to greater needs -- just like those highways in the 60s.

In particular, the Spingarn campus has been the nicest part of what has long been a run-down and neglected neighborhood. It has been the only thing good DC has provided. Now that things are looking up, it too should be improved according to its original purpose.

People have pointed out that it may cost more for DC to acquire other, more appropriate property for the car barn. What is not taken account by this thinking is the desperate need for good schools in this area. This property is currently set up to support a school, not a maintenance shed. I say that the added expense of building the carbarn somewhere else is actually less than what it will cost to build schools somewhere else.

by goldfish on Feb 27, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

@AWitC: do you want to bet or not?

by goldfish on Feb 27, 2013 9:48 am • linkreport

but to sacrifice school space for this is a terrible mistake

This isn't school space. It's an open field.

This property is currently set up to support a school

How is an open field "set up" to support a school?

by David C on Feb 27, 2013 9:52 am • linkreport

the city is shutting down schools right and left. The projections of increased enrollment MAY pan out, or they may not. IF they do some of that increase MAY go to charters located in buildings other than ex-DCPS buildings. There are existing DCPS buildings not to be shut down, that are under capacity. To the extent there is a surge in enrollment coming, its likely to be in the lower grades - is there any projection of a surge in HS enrollment? Spingarn was a HS. Maybe it could be repurposed as an elementary school - but then its not the historic anchor, its a new school. And again, the actual school building will STILL be there. This is a grass field next to a busy road, not the school building itself. Meanwhile there is a need for the mtnce facility now, to be weighed against a speculative need for the school space (which this does not preclude anyway) 5 or 10 years down the road.

To compare this to bulldozing an inhabited residential neightborhood is silly. The only justification is that its an example of a transport project needing SOME land that MIGHT be used for something else.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 27, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

@AWitC: Still no answer about the bet. I can only assume that you agree that the H St line will not be finished on time.

by goldfish on Feb 27, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

"@AWitC: do you want to bet or not? "

I want YOU to promise to donate to CSG if the streetcar is in revenue service by June 2014, with no one promising you anything in return. Its not a two way bet, its you personally putting your money where your mouth is. Since you are certain that the street car will not in operation by that date, a one way, unreciprocated bet with no upside, is still of no cost to to you. The upside is you making clear that you really DO believe that there is zero chance of the street car being built by June 2014.

To be frank here - I do not beleive that you honestly believe the chance of the street car being done by the then is zero. I think you fully realize that the carbarn IS the only thing likely to hold it up - the odds (carbarn obstructionism aside) of it being done by June 2014 is well above 50%. Not 100%, but more likely than not. And there is a non-zero chance it will be in operation several months before then.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 27, 2013 9:59 am • linkreport

@AWitC: Nothing from your side; sorry, no deal.

by goldfish on Feb 27, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

So we have need of a car barn now (more or less) we may have need of extra school capacity later (which that isn't defined how that capacity is met, yet the Springarn building is being closed this year so they'll probably open that up first before building any new facilities).

So even if we posit that its the schools that have helped revitalize DC (which isn't true, schools are key in helping families stay but the initial push was the access to downtown, historical housing stock, and transit) that doesn't mean that you have to put every single thing on hold because you might need that land later for something else that is as yet, undefined.

by drumz on Feb 27, 2013 10:18 am • linkreport

@drumz: the point of the bet was that in fact this is not on hold, because the streetcar plan is not ready.

The support from the mayor on this issue has been a disappointment on all sides, btw. Clearly he should have stepped in to make this happen. As soon as the HSRB ruled, the mayor should have pulled the plug and directed DDOT to build this elsewhere. I think the record shows that the mayor has given lip service but no true support for the streetcars. Perhaps he resents the pressure that came from this blog.

by goldfish on Feb 27, 2013 11:03 am • linkreport

I don't care about the bet. I care about the assertion that this piece of land should be held forever in reserve for education and nothing else ever. First it was about preserviing a historic viewshed (the sideview of a building) now its apparently about how this proves that DC doesn't care about education.

by drumz on Feb 28, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

"@AWitC: Nothing from your side; sorry, no deal. "

Thats fine, Im okay if there is no deal. Glad to see the implicity acknowledgment that the bet is a real risk to you - hence that you do believe that the chances of the street car being operational by June 2014 are higher than zero.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 28, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

"@drumz: the point of the bet was that in fact this is not on hold, because the streetcar plan is not ready. "

exactly. and that Goldfish wants more or less fair odds on the bet, and does not beleive that the chance of the streetcar being in operation by June 2014 is zero, indicates that he realizes that all of the obstacles OTHER than the car barn can be overcome.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 28, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

"As soon as the HSRB ruled, the mayor should have pulled the plug and directed DDOT to build this elsewhere."

except any elsewhere would have delayed the project - a project which the new streetcar site says will be running by the end of 2013, and which clearly is likely to be running by June 2014.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 28, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport

@AWitC: if you think the odds are in your favor, then take the bet.

It is possible that they could get this done, if the mayor steps up. If you want odds, then propose them.

by goldfish on Feb 28, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

@drumz: ... the assertion that this piece of land should be held forever in reserve for education and nothing else ever.

I never said forever, but still education trumps transportation. You think school property should be sacrificed for an industrial use, this should be justified. Other than expediency, none has been offered; and furthermore it neither considered the desperate need for schools in this neighborhood, nor the looming demographic need.

by goldfish on Feb 28, 2013 10:26 am • linkreport

My justification is the fact that the city seems ok with the fact that they can use this plot for the car barn rather than anything else. Meanwhile the city is closing down 15 schools, including the one next to site. Now, obviously at some point some of these schools will need to be opened back up but no one except you is suggesting that the city will need this particluar piece to put in some sort of school use.

by drumz on Feb 28, 2013 10:31 am • linkreport

@drumz: that is expediency. It is not a good enough reason.

To see why, consider the property across the street, the RFK parking lots, own by the park service. Clearly this is a better site, as it is already paved and never used. But the park service won't sign it over, because this property has been reserved for recreational use. They recognize the importance of their mission, and jealously guard it.

The importance of schools is greater, and the future need even more pressing. If they cannot make good use of the property they should turn it over to a charter (which I admit DCPS is loathe to do).

by goldfish on Feb 28, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

So we should ask the park service for their land but then applaud them when they say no for sticking to the courage of their convictions?

Ok.

by drumz on Feb 28, 2013 10:46 am • linkreport

@drumz: no, we need to recognize when we are short-changing the commitment to schools. That has been the theme all along here.

by goldfish on Feb 28, 2013 2:49 pm • linkreport

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