Greater Greater Washington

Parking


Heritage building 105 parking spaces under 6 rowhouses

The Heritage Foundation plans to build 6 rowhouses near its offices at 3rd Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NE. There will be 105 parking spaces underneath, which Heritage will rent out to employees, though well below market rate, and a Capital Bikeshare station.


Photo by Sam Felder on Flickr.

Heritage has an existing office building with only a small amount of parking on site. The foundation purchased a vacant apartment building on 3rd Street, which isn't considered a contributing structure in the Capitol Hill Historic District, to build a garage for its adjacent offices.

Each rowhouse will get one space, while the remaining 99 parking spaces will be reserved for employees and visitors of the Heritage Foundation at a cost of $90 per month. For secure garage parking one block from Metro, this is far below market rate. For example, the currently monthly rate one block away at Union Station is $263.39.

According to the report from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Heritage has agreed to pay for a new 40-foot Capital Bikeshare station, which costs about $70,000. Heritage also will build 42 new bicycle parking spaces, 6 in a locked room and 36 in the new garage, in addition to 10 existing indoor spaces.

Will this below-market parking bring more traffic and encourage more driving?

In this case, the parking garage on 3rd Street will not create a void in the rowhouse fabric because it will be entirely underground, and Heritage will build the 6 new rowhouses above. These new homes match the historic properties on the block, and won support from ANC 6C and the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).


Current (top) and proposed (bottom) elevations on 3rd Street, NE.
Images from the application. Click for full PDF.

However, this still may bring negative impacts to the neighborhood. The exhaust shaft for the parking structure will be less than 15 feet high, and the Heritage Foundation has not proposed any special filters, landscaping, or other measures to prevent buildup of particulate matter at adjacent properties.

All vehicles will also enter and exit off of a residential block of 3rd Street. A traffic study by Gorove/Slade (commissioned by the Heritage Foundation) found that the adjacent intersection already has a high crash rate, though they speculate without evidence that recent re-striping may have reduced the rate.

The study claims that this project will have a positive impact on traffic and parking, but that is, at best, still an open question.

The study found that many of Heritage's workers take transit, some park on site or at a nearby Heritage-owned lot already, and others park at other private parking lots or garages in the area. A few also park on local streets in the neighborhoodlikely a mix of Ward 6 residents and other workers who plan on paying occasional parking tickets.

The traffic study also claims that "traffic will not increase" because "the cars... already drive to the neighborhood; they just park on the street and in other locations. This parking will eliminate the pressure to use on-street parking and will not generate any new traffic."

However, it seems unlikely that the workers already parking on the streetwhether legally or illegallywill shift their patterns to park in the new garage. In addition, any existing spaces in other private garages will likely be used by other drivers to the neighborhood, driving more traffic to the neighborhood through induced demand.

The DDOT report says that:

DDOT is generally opposed to Applicants providing more vehicle parking than is necessary for land development projects. Adding parking capacity to an existing facility while holding the development program relatively constant creates potential for additional vehicular trips and increased congestion. ... The additional vehicle parking has the potential to encourage additional commuters to switch from transit, biking, or carpooling to single occupant vehicle travel.
Heritage needs zoning approvals

In order to build this project, the Heritage Foundation is seeking relief from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) from several sections of the zoning code including those related to expanding an existing non-conformance for FAR (771, 2001.3); exceeding the height limit on penthouses (1203.2(b)); vehicles parking across lot lines (2303.1(b)); and building accessory parking in the R-4 zone (214).

Zoning regulations prohibit parking from spanning multiple parcels or serving as accessory to other uses in the R-4 zone in part because it has the potential to mar rowhouse neighborhoods by disrupting home spacing in these dense, historic neighborhoods. For example, some area churches have purchased rowhouses just to raze them for parking lots. This is not allowed by right in the zoning regulations.

In 2011, HPRB denied an application by the Third Street Church of God in Mt. Vernon Triangle to raze 3 historic buildings to create a parking lot (for a net gain of 5-7 parking spaces). If the raze had been granted, the church would have needed similar variances and special exceptions to the ones that the Heritage Foundation is seeking.

Lawyers for the Heritage Foundation claim that zoning relief is justified because of the unique aspects of the property, including that the multiple properties are irregularly shaped, span across two different zones, and the two large buildings facing Massachusetts Avenue NE (214 & 236) are nonconforming in both FAR and height.

The application claims a hardship in part because these lots proposed for the parking garage are zoned residential, which they label an "accident" of history. However, the lots have been zoned R-4 for decades. This block of 3rd Street NE is narrow and has been lined with residential rowhouses for over a century.

One variance that the Heritage Foundation doesn't have to seek is one to exceed maximum parking requirements. There are none in DC, although proposals have been considered as part of the zoning update. Some other cities, such as San Francisco, have instituted parking maximums in certain areas which are close to downtown or otherwise well-served by public transportation. These maximums range from ½ to 1 spaces per unit, with a special exception required for additional parking.

The new rowhouses included in this proposal by the Heritage Foundation will likely be a positive addition to the neighborhood. However, that portion of the project is allowed as a matter-of-right. There does not appear to be much positive impact for the neighborhood or District from a new parking structure, serving a commercial use, in a historic and residential zone.

BZA will hear this proposal at its April 9th meeting, as case number 18531.

Update: We mistakenly first published an earlier draft of this post which did not include more recent information that Heritage is adding a Capital Bikeshare station and indoor bike parking as part of the project. The post has been updated.

Tony Goodman is an ANC Commissioner for 6C06 in Near Northeast/NoMA and member of the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he is a Construction Project Manager with a Masters degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan and has lived in Washington, DC since 2002. 

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April Fools?

by Jacques on Apr 4, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

so, crappy pop up on V st = good.

new townhouses on Cap Hill = bad.

by charlie on Apr 4, 2013 11:02 am • linkreport

the two renderings look the same to me. Are they supposed to be images of existing and proposed?

by Tina on Apr 4, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

I am aware that GGW supports eliminating parking minimums. Might GGW support at least in concept the idea of parking maximums? If so, could it be applicable to the congressional members (snicker) and their staff members (snicker again)? Those bullies keep confiscating streets for parking way out from their office buildings.

by Tom M on Apr 4, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

Tina: Oops, I've fixed the images.

charlie, Tom M: From the about page:

Greater Greater Washington is an opinion site. All articles are the opinions of their authors and not necessarily those of the site's operators or editors.
Dan Malouff's article on pop-ups is his view of pop-ups. Tony Goodman's article here is his view of this project. The two are different people and I am not either one of those.

"GGW" has no "position" on pop-ups or townhouses. Individual people have their views on various things. I know some contributors and editors definitely disagree with Dan about V Street. I haven't heard any contributors disagree with Tony here, but the article just went up.

"GGW" also does not support eliminating parking minimums; I do, and I think most contributors do, but there is no ideological test to be a contributor.

A lot of people seem to assume that we all believe the same thing, and even that I believe things that some of you say in the comments. We are all different people, contributors don't have to approve every other contributor's post, and people do not all have to agree or hew to an official party line on anything.

Even when we have political endorsements, that's an official position from a vote of contributors, but not all contributors necessarily agree with the decision, and that's fine.

by David Alpert on Apr 4, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

This project has widespread support amongst neighbors on Capitol Hill.

Including the parking.

The author of this piece may dismiss the idea that Heritage Foundation workers and guests (and their interns that live onsite) currently park on nearby residential streets and take up the few for rent offstreet spaces in the area, but many of the people that live here will tell you it absolutely happens.

They also monopolize the metered spaces on Mass Ave NE, making it harder for people to use those spaces to support our local restaurants and businesses.

They are by far the biggest business on the entire little strip there, and everybody else's needs in terms of parking sortof get lost in the shuffle.

I could be wrong, but if I believe Heritage Foundation added a large residential component to this block a couple years back. It's the massive and build-up on top and in the back of the existing building.

I think it's some sort of intern or staff housing.

I don't think they added any parking at that time.

Could be wrong about that. but that was my impression at the time.

The only negative I could see would be the entrance being on a residential street.

But 3rd Street is already a heavily travelled street. It's not like we are disturbing some bucolic out of the way uber-quiet location.

But I will be sad if they get rid of Bagels and Baguettes. That place is great.

Worth noting also that Heritage will get taxed on the value of this underground parking facility.

That's likely to be a fairly substantial never-ending tax source for DC.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

so, crappy pop up on V st = good.
new townhouses on Cap Hill = bad.

The issue is with the 105-space parking garage, not the development.

the two renderings look the same to me. Are they supposed to be images of existing and proposed?

It's a little confusing, but the biggest gray/silver building is actually behind everything else. So the rowhouses are lining the street in front of that building.

by MLD on Apr 4, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

Well, it's the Heritage Foundation so they probably couldn't care less if it encouraged more vehicular traffic.

by King Terrapin on Apr 4, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

@Hillman

I agree, there is substantial support for the rowhouses from the neighbors and community, and ANC 6C voted unanimously to support the HPRB application. On the other hand, I have not heard many positive comments on the parking garage aspect.

by Tony Goodman on Apr 4, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

GGW supports eliminating parking minimums but also supports letting the market dictate demand for parking, and that's exactly what is occurring here. I don't really have a problem with the notion of a parking maximum but the concept seems to contradict the idea letting the market take its course.

I see several positives for the neighborhood and city as a whole:

The Foundation seeks to build new rowhouses at an exempted height, increasing density and reconnecting the streetscape;

build parking underground instead of on a surface lot;

and charge a rate 72 times higher than on-street residential permits (it should be noted that $260 is only the market rate at the existing level of parking scarcity and is not necessarily the "ideal" or "perfect" rate).

While less parking would be better, but this proposal is way better than many developments going on in DC lately. This is a god-send compared to the V Street popup.

by Scoot on Apr 4, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

You are ignoring the negative impact on the neighborhood of providing low-cost housing to the Heritage Foundation interns who will require considerable mental health services to de-program.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Apr 4, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

Well but how are the Heritage Foundation supposed to get to work? It's nearly a 4 minute walk to Union Station!

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 11:44 am • linkreport

The real scandal in my view is a nonprofit spending large amounts of money on staff parking. It's incredibly wasteful.

by TakomaNick on Apr 4, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

how many employees does heritage have?

I dont rule out that in some situations a parking maximum could be justified, but I dont see an argument for that here (it really does sound like further proof that the absence of a parking minimum does not mean no parking, and is not a war on cars) and I would be reluctant politically, to open that can of worms here and now. There may be reasonable objection to THIS garage for the reasons expressed in current law - disruption in a residential neightborhood. I imagine that the view of that depends on whether one lives or walks on that block, vs if one is impacted by the parking on neighboring blocks. In this instance I see nothing wrong with allow the local democratic process to proceed, based on local issues, and the current law.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 4, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

Tony:

There is a lot of support amongst the small businesses on Mass Ave NE.

And the surrounding residential areas as well.

This is a dying commercial strip, in large part because there's nothing tying it to Capitol Hill as a whole, it's out of the way for nearly everyone except those that live within a few blocks, and parking here is pretty terrible.

The restaurants on H St and Barracks Row get all the press and attention these days. Those strips have the critical mass that Mass Ave isn't capable of.

Mass Ave NE is out of the way for many, and it gets a lot of it's support by people that drive, hoping for one of the metered spaces, or if that's not available then they take advantage of the neighborhood parking.

This isn't just commuters.

It's a lot of Hill people that live too far to comfortably walk to Mass Ave NE.

Having what little metered parking they had in years past monopolized by Heritage Foundation is a big deal to these folks.

Ask the owners or staff at La Loma, or Bistro Cacao, or the haircut places.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 11:47 am • linkreport

The sort of people who work for the Heritage Foundation are the sort of people who want to drive to work. It's a shame they pretty much blackmailed the local neighborhood by using up all the street parking until the neighborhood relented at their demands for a parking garage, and a parking lot right next to Union Station sounds like a huge waste, but there it is. At least the garage seems to be incorporated as a separate business so that it is taxable property.

by JustMe on Apr 4, 2013 11:50 am • linkreport

Or ask the pizza joint guys (Petes APizza), who I believe just in the past few months faced neighborhood opposition that centered in large part on parking or lack thereof, in front of their proposed location where White Tiger used to be at 3rd and Mass.

It's my understanding that Petes is no longer coming to this strip, because of that opposition.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 11:54 am • linkreport

Not a huge fan of the Heritage Foundation but if they want to invest in this project, good for them.

by Richard Bourne on Apr 4, 2013 11:57 am • linkreport

This project seems like a smart and logical use of space that promises to improve the neighborhood. That said, I am concerned about how this same practice may be employed elsewhere in the city to expand parking. The fact is that Heritage is only buying and redeveloping the townhouses (which they intend to sell) in order to facilitate the construction of their underground parking garage.

by Nearby Mass on Apr 4, 2013 12:02 pm • linkreport

"The sort of people who work for the Heritage Foundation are the sort of people who want to drive to work."

You may be surprised to know how many people working for or visiting the Sierra Club and PETA, both of whom had offices on Stanton Park (right down from Heritage), drove to work.

And back when John Kerry's presidential headquarters was here? All those chaps drove. Or so it seemed.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 12:03 pm • linkreport

Sounds like most of the problem is with the people who are "uncomfortable" walking a 1/2 mile. I mean seriously, how lazy can you get? I have friends who will do this - drive around for 15 minutes trying to find a parking space rather than just walking for 10 minutes - and it drives me crazy.

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 12:03 pm • linkreport

Again, an illustration of the need for Transportation Management Districts and an integrated approach to dealing with mobility at large employment sites, including TDM.

I don't have a problem with this. Heritage owns a parking lot across the street in the center of the block. But I think that conditional for the approval, they should have to provide transit benefits, like how the Federal Government does it. I don't know if they do this now. + other TDM programming, yes, with the encouragement that more people use sustainable modes rather than drive, in alignment with the DC sustainability agenda, where 75% of trips are to be done by sustainable means.

2. I think the loss of the lower cost apartments is a big deal and surprised that it isn't mentioned. The building is probably empty only because the HF has owned it for awhile, with this kind of intent. They should have had to include apartments as part of this project.

DC needs a policy for dealing with loss of affordable units in situations like this.

3. And yes, in off hours, perhaps the lot could be used for shared parking scenarios (e.g., the Pete's mention). I don't like that people drive to neighborhood districts but they do and while I can encourage them to get there by other means, some will still not do so.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

a parking lot right next to Union Station sounds like a huge waste, but there it is.

Sure, but it pales in comparison to the 2,200 space garage already at Union Station.

by Scoot on Apr 4, 2013 12:06 pm • linkreport

It pains me to say anything positive about the Heritage Foundation, but it's nice to see a company making investments on its employees' behalf. Although perhaps they plan to cut healthcare benefits in exchange.

by Chris S. on Apr 4, 2013 12:07 pm • linkreport

Alan:

It's not quite so 'lazy' if you are old, are not well, etc.

And it's a lot more than 1/2 mile from most of the Hill to this commercial strip.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 12:08 pm • linkreport

We got some info yesterday that Heritage is also building a CaBi station as part of the project. It was added but I inadvertently published the version we had finished up yesterday. I've replaced this with the more updated version. Apologies.

by David Alpert on Apr 4, 2013 12:10 pm • linkreport

That's a small percentage of the population then - maybe 20% that can't walk. I see people who aer 70+ walking around my neighborhood all the time. People can take a taxi or a bus. Being able to drive to whatever restaurant you want to whenever you want is not a human right.

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

And it makes the able-bodied people who choose to drive when they don't need to sound kind of like jerks to me.

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

As much as I dislike Heritage politically, I can't really see a ton of problems with this.

As many have noted, Heritage people are more biased towards wanting to drive. Right now, they clog up street parking for the neighborhood. Now, all of their SUVs can be underground.

I guess the end problem is that there will probably be more cars coming in during peak hours to use the garage. We don't need more congestion in that area of the Hill - Aimee Custis will get hit by a car again :(

by Nick on Apr 4, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

This seems like a terrific plan for me. I am 100% in favor of parking minimums, but if someone wants to build an underground garage, in an out of the way spot, I see no reason to not let them. I think most importantly is that DC ensures these spots do not become free, and put a floor under the price, ensuring that DC get 18% of $90 or whatever that number is.

They are going to add 6 rowhouses, and a CaBi station, and this development virtually ensures that the Heritage Foundation (as much as I dislike them) stays in DC, as opposed to decamping for Tysons etc.

LOL at their "study" that says this will not increase (even slightly!) the amount of cars driving to the place. Of course it will, but to me, it seems the other positives outweigh a few more cars driving to work.

by Kyle-W on Apr 4, 2013 12:18 pm • linkreport

BTW, what happens if this is not approved? HF sells the property to a developer who builds as of right - the affordable units are lost anyway, you don't get the garage with its pluses and minuses and you also don't get the Cabi station.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 4, 2013 12:18 pm • linkreport

Whoops, I am 100% in favor of ELIMINATING parking minimums, but do feel that the free market should be allowed to work here.

by Kyle-W on Apr 4, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

@Hillman

1) There have been no businesses which have attended the recent ANC 6C meetings where this project was discussed, nor any emails of support (or opposition) from local businesses for this project.
2) The proposed renovations to accomodate Pete's were supported by the ANC at its June 2012 meeting. They never actually had signed a lease, and neighborhood opposition is certainly not the reason they pulled out.

by Tony Goodman on Apr 4, 2013 12:21 pm • linkreport

The sort of people who work for the Heritage Foundation are the sort of people who want to drive to work."

You mean humans? Since they are the sort of people who actually drive anywhere.

And it makes the able-bodied people who choose to drive when they don't need to sound kind of like jerks to me.

If we're seriously interested in multi-modal transportation options, why wouldn't able-bodied people "choose" to drive to work or anywhere else they might choose? I know it's shocking to consider, but there are those who abhor public transportation and avoid it at all costs. Suggesting otherwise is very small worldview'ish...

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

I'm not sure I see a problem with the parking. It's a free country. If they want to waste their money on a parking garage dressed up as a row house, then that's their problem.

I am somewhat surprised that nobody is complaining that six row houses do not really fit into the neighborhood. The images show that the surrounding buildings are much higher. But now I am starting to sound like a real Washingtonian complaining about everything and anything that changes. You know a very conservative person. Someone who could be working at the Heritage Foundation.

by Jasper on Apr 4, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

Alan:

I never said it was a human right.

But when you are old or ill it's awfully nice to not have to take a bus and spend more time on the bus then you do at dinner or getting your hair cut.

It's awesome that 70 year olds in your hood are so spry.

Some of us aren't so lucky.

And a taxi?

When's the last time you tried to get a taxi on most of the Hill?

It's simply not a reliable option.

Yes, you could Uber, but a round trip Uber adds $30 to that haircut or meal.

Beyond that, it's not a matter of just the old or infirmed.

Ask any business on this strip.

Parking is a huge deal for their businesses.

The residential surrounding this strip simply isn't dense enough to support most of these businesses.

You have to have people come in from other parts of the Hill or other parts of town.

And having parking as one option, albeit in reality a limited option, is a great help to these businesses.

And I fail to see any substantial harm to the neighborhood.

Certainly no harm that justifies intentionally harming these businesses to prove a theoretical point about the awesomeness of walking and mass transit.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 12:23 pm • linkreport

If the free market is truly to work here, Heritage shouldn't get the free use of a roadway paid for by all us transit-riding and bicycling taxpayers. 3rd Street needs a toll booth.

by Ben Ross on Apr 4, 2013 12:26 pm • linkreport

@Hillman

It doesn't surprise me in the least that a large amount of employees of the Sierra Club or PETA drive to work. The reality in this country is that the majority of people still drive to work in a SOV. The argument here is that an even larger percentage of employees at the Heritage Foundation would choose to drive to work. Given the organizations beliefs, I certainly agree.

by Kyle-W on Apr 4, 2013 12:32 pm • linkreport

Kyle-W, as odious as Heritage Foundation is, they don't have a property tax exemption for their property, so they actually pay property taxes, unlike many other nonprofits. I don't know if they got city bonds to build, I doubt it, as other nonprofits (and for profits even, I think in some instances) often do.

Too bad we can't get them to shut up about transit (e.g., anything written by Ron Ott). At least can we ask them to not obfuscate?

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

oh, re driving, the net zero energy building of the Rocky Mountain Institute (Amory Lovins) is pretty much only accessible by automobile.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport

I wish Congress would get rid of its ridiculous street lots and build underground parking.

by Potowmack on Apr 4, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport

@Richard

I did not know that. Either way, as obnoxious as they are, I certainly prefer keeping them in the city. Certainly some of their employees use Metro/live in DC (Gasp!) and spend money here as well.

by Kyle-W on Apr 4, 2013 12:41 pm • linkreport

Heritage shouldn't get the free use of a roadway paid for by all us transit-riding and bicycling taxpayers. 3rd Street needs a toll booth.

Toll booth for the cyclists as well, as they are using the road as well? And those who use Zipcar, Car2go, buses, etc? Charge them a toll as well?

I am somewhat surprised that nobody is complaining that six row houses do not really fit into the neighborhood. The images show that the surrounding buildings are much higher.

Almost all the buildings in the neighborhood are low-rise rowhouses.

by Scoot on Apr 4, 2013 12:42 pm • linkreport

@Alan B.- That's a small percentage of the population then - maybe 20% that can't walk
1) 20% prevalence of the population is large not small. Small=<~5% when referring to human health conditions, generally.
2) where did you get this stat? I'm incredulous. 20% prevalence of the population can't walk???

by Tina on Apr 4, 2013 12:49 pm • linkreport

Okay, so as part of the deal, in addition to funding the Cabi Station, have HF fund a paper on the economics of parking minimums. DO IT!

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 4, 2013 12:57 pm • linkreport

Oh my god a private property owner is doing something with their own property and given their employees an in-kind benefit! It's horrible!

by Kolohe on Apr 4, 2013 12:57 pm • linkreport

Compared to the proposal (endorsed by the Post) of putting a parking lot under the national mall, this is pretty tame.

by JimT on Apr 4, 2013 1:04 pm • linkreport

2010 NHANES data: ~4.8% reported a problem that limited ability to walk
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/nhanes2009-2010/PFQ_F.htm

I don't see why the HF population would deviate from this, in fact since there seems to be an emphasis on "young" interns at the HF, that population may have a lower prevalence reporting a problem that interferes with ability to walk since there is an increase with age.

by Tina on Apr 4, 2013 1:04 pm • linkreport

"1) There have been no businesses which have attended the recent ANC 6C meetings where this project was discussed, nor any emails of support (or opposition) from local businesses for this project."

With due respect that doesn't mean there isn't support.

The ANC process doesn't work for everyone, particularly since quite often there's very little outreach done by the ANC in terms of reaching businesses or residents, even those most directly affected.

As a resident that's lived in this area for 15 years I can tell you the entire project - including parking - is well supported in my residential neighborhood and by the businesses on the strip as well.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 1:07 pm • linkreport

What are all the Heritage interns going to do now that they'll no longer have to go out and feed the meter for Ron Utt?

by MLD on Apr 4, 2013 1:11 pm • linkreport

Tina:

Much of the business on that strip comes from Cap Hill at large.

Cap Hill skews older.

And there's a difference between physically being unable to walk and the fact that if you're older you simply aren't going to walk ten blocks each way to and from dinner or a haircut.

Doesn't mean you couldn't physically do it, in an emergency.

There is also a safety factor on the Hill.

We can pretend there is no real crime left on the Hill, but that's just not the case.

At the end of the day arbitrarily cutting out parking just because we want to make a bigger point about how people shouldn't drive is hurtful to the people that actually work and live in this neighborhood.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 1:15 pm • linkreport

Is this parking garage really going to make street parking any better during the times most people will be wanting to use it, which is outside of business hours and on the weekends?

by MLD on Apr 4, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

I would rather see Heritage waste their money on parking garages than hiring more people to write papers like this: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2003/02/public-transit-a-bad-product-at-a-bad-price

by Nick Casey on Apr 4, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

"Oh my god a private property owner is doing something with their own property and given their employees an in-kind benefit! It's horrible!"

That's a somewhat charitable way of looking at it.

Heritage bought an apartment building, evicted the residents, and left it vacant.

They then bought another adjacent church, demolished it, and left the land vacant.

Heritage are largely responsible for blighting the land that they now want to "fix."

I personally don't think that this is a terrible project, but I don't like how Heritage are swaying public opinion. It's not cool to deliberately blight a property so that the proposed "fix" receives far less scrutiny. Richard Layman's also correct to point out that the loss of affordable housing is something that is not being addressed.

If we're going to talk about bad developments in this area, though, the real award has to go to the developer working on the 700 block of 2nd St NE. 2 years ago, they demolished a number of well-maintained rowhouses (some were 100+ years old), and replaced them with a "temporary" parking lot. The structures were hastily demolished, because the developer feared that the Capitol Hill Historic District would eventually expand to encompass his properties.

by andrew on Apr 4, 2013 1:21 pm • linkreport

^correction! ~4.7% is for kids 5-19years. I am stunned to find in the NHANES data ~27% of adults reporting "some/much difficulty/unable" to walk 1/4 mile!! This is from a limited sample but still, its huge. I guess this is an outcome of the obesity epidemic. About 1/3 of the US population is obese.

by Tina on Apr 4, 2013 1:22 pm • linkreport

Tina, I agree that the percentage that can't walk is less than 20%. I should have said "won't walk". I just bumped it up a lot to account for the old and infirm that don't "like" to walk. My point was you can't design a city only around the small minority of users preferences, nor is it fair to say attribute the viability of a business to relatively small percentage of the potential customer base. I also think there are viable alternatives to walking or driving for a significant part of the minority that won't walk. Basically, I am saying that lack of parking beyond on street is not going to kill any businesses in this area.

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

It's partly age and disability. I've seen around 10% for some form of disability and about 13% of the population is over 65. I seriously doubt even 10% of the population can't walk, its probably fair to say most of the people in both groups won't be walking far. Of course that doesn't mean driving is a viable option for the majority of them either.

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

@Hillman -I was responding to what I tho't was a statement about the HF's population, not the CapHill community. In any case regarding speculating on this type of health data- "In God we trust -all others bring data." I looked up the data, which are publically available. See above.

by Tina on Apr 4, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

Hillman, my 68 year old father walks or bikes miles every day, for fun. I think you are underestimating the ability (if not desire) of many people.

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 1:34 pm • linkreport

Andrew:

I don't know the history of the apartments but as long as I've lived here that building was derelict and looked 90 percent empty.

Does anyone actually know how many lived there when Heritage bought?

And did they actually evict anyone? I don't know.

The church? Inconsequential at best . A fairly ugly 1960s thing, if I remember right.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

@Alan B -I'm not an NHANES expert. that huge prevalence of difficulty walking from the data I quoted above might be only among those who reported a health problem that interferes with activity. Any NHANES experts to interpret PFQ061B?

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/nhanes2009-2010/PFQ_F.htm#Component_Description

by Tina on Apr 4, 2013 1:44 pm • linkreport

I guess my overall point is that this strip is barely hanging on as it is.

We've lost several anchor restaurants (White Tiger and before that the French place), and you'd think we'd be doing all we could to help these businesses.

But instead we are pushing transportation dogma goals for the entire city onto this one isolated situation.

To the detriment of those that live and work here.

And for what?

Worth noting, as others have, that if this goes bye-bye then so does the $70,000 CABI station.

Which of course would help the residents and businesses here as well.

So we'd get less parking and less cycling infrastructure.

For what?

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 1:49 pm • linkreport

Honestly, the fact that you think parking spaces was the main factor in restaurant closings seems suspect. First of all restaurants are a tough business period with thin profit margins, they last something like 2 years on average. Second all, if anything there has been a huge increase in the number of them in the city in recent years. I suspect competition has way more to do with restaurants closing than limited parking. If parking were the main concern why are there thriving restaurants all over Dupont, U st, and Gallery Place?

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 1:57 pm • linkreport

I just looked up White Tiger on Yelp, they got a very middling 3 stars. I probably wouldn't go there with that review. It was variously described as "bland", "blah", "tacky" and "has mice".

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 1:59 pm • linkreport

Dupont and other areas have a much higher residential density than this part of the Hill.

So its easier to support a business there.

I never said the primary reason businesses here fall is because of parking.

I said parking is one factor.

But its a factor we have a chance to impact.

At no cost.

In fact, we get a ton of free bike infrastructure and even increased taxes out of it.

Added bonus would be pointing to this as an example where the different transportation modes can all be improved.

If not then those that want to build any sort of vehicle infrastructure in the future, no matter how poorly designed or destructive, can point to this and rightfully say that no matter what someone proposes as long as it isn't all public transit then we will reject it, no matter what.

If you really want public transit and cycling and pedestrian use over cars going forward, then you pick your battles and convince the public of the obvious wisdom of your methodology.

This one isn't one you pick. Its just denying parking for the sake of denying parking.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 2:28 pm • linkreport

Wow, what is Heritage's beef with light rail? I'm not surprised they don't support it, but what do they get out of slamming it so vigorously?

by Chris S. on Apr 4, 2013 2:30 pm • linkreport

But instead we are pushing transportation dogma goals for the entire city onto this one isolated situation.

To the detriment of those that live and work here.

And for what?

Worth noting, as others have, that if this goes bye-bye then so does the $70,000 CABI station.

This city's transportation goals mostly affect people who neither live here nor work here or people who work here but don't live here. Generally speaking the city's transportation plans are tremendous net positives for people who live and work here. There are exceptions here or there, but exceptions are not norms.

A CaBi station will inevitably get built, whether HF pays for it or not. It's great that HF is willing to fund the station, but CaBi does not need that funding to locate on that site.

by Scoot on Apr 4, 2013 2:33 pm • linkreport

but is the parking garage (the housing will get built anyway I assume, as of right) such a bad thing that its worth turning down 70K to stop it? even if you dont agree that its a boon to local restaurants.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 4, 2013 2:35 pm • linkreport

Honestly, I'm not even against this project, at least it's structured parking. And I don't live there so it's none of my business. I am annoyed that the car first culture is being reinforced in a very walkable/transit area of downtown (it would be different if it were in the burbs). I am most of all against BS arguments that anything less than a sea of parking dooms businesses which has been disproven by cities around the world and even other neighborhoods in DC.

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 2:51 pm • linkreport

I don't really care ultimately whether the parking gets built here or not (though I think it's a bad idea even from HF's pov).

But I'll take exception to this.

In fact, we get a ton of free bike infrastructure and even increased taxes out of it.

So you have CABI (which actually needs far less government assistance than any other public transportation) and then you have a couple of cycle tracks. Most of the rest of the infrastructure is just paint.

And none of that has raised taxes.

And there will be a cost to adding the parking even if nots the city gov't that pays for the construction.

by drumz on Apr 4, 2013 2:58 pm • linkreport

Heritage hates transit.

So why locate a block away from Union Station?

Let me guess, their clients appreciate the convenience...

by JJJJ on Apr 4, 2013 3:06 pm • linkreport

CaBi is a great thing, and I think a frugal deal for the taxpayers. But 70k is 70k. And IIUC the garage will be taxable, so whatever its assessed at, is revenue. That vs any incremental traffic, and the extra curb cut. Plus, you know, the propaganda value of "no parking minimums is NOT a war on cars, why look at the Heritage Foundation as an example"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 4, 2013 3:08 pm • linkreport

I'm guessing Heritage's location has a lot to do with its proximity to the Capitol.

by Potowmack on Apr 4, 2013 3:09 pm • linkreport

The idea that this will increase traffic noticeably is simply not supportable.

Suppose absolutely every single one of these Heritage workers and guests parking here would not have driven before. Ignoring the fact that neighbors will tell you they already do.

Suppose this brings even 200 more vehicles into this area per day.

Anybody care to hazard a guess how many vehicles there are on Mass Ave every day?

200 vehicles traverse Mass Ave probably every few minutes.

This isn't some massive 5000 space garage.

It's 100 spaces.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 3:21 pm • linkreport

"I am most of all against BS arguments that anything less than a sea of parking dooms businesses which has been disproven by cities around the world and even other neighborhoods in DC."

Nobody is arguing for a sea of parking.

But yes if we can take 100 vehicles out of metered parking and neighborhood spaces that makes a noticeable difference, for businesses and residences alike.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 3:23 pm • linkreport

MLD:

Yes, it will make a difference.

First, a lot of residents like to use the services there during business hours. Particularly for lunch, for daytime haircuts, etc.

Second, Heritage holds a fair number of events on weekends and at night. So the impact isn't just during the day.

And if I'm not mistaken a lot of their staff live there full time. I assume some of this parking will go to them (though I don't know that for sure).

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

The plan gets rid of two curb cuts on Massachusetts Avenue as well (eliminating the circular drive and returning it to pedestrian space). Very nice.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Apr 4, 2013 3:29 pm • linkreport

"I'm guessing Heritage's location has a lot to do with its proximity to the Capitol."

I assumed it was so they could be close to that Washington Blade newspaper box on Mass Ave.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 3:31 pm • linkreport

I should correct one of my false assumptions.

This garage represents a net gain of 65 or so spaces. It replaces the surface parking lot, which has 34 spaces.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 3:50 pm • linkreport

Hillman, I am curious how you can say that the site will have a noticeable effect on parking but not a noticeable affect on traffic? There are literally thousands of parking spaces within 5 blocks of the proposed site, and most likely we are talking about far fewer than 100 cars off metered and on-street spots at any given time. I would guess that traffic and parking are interrelated.

The idea that this will increase traffic noticeably is simply not supportable.

if we can take 100 vehicles out of metered parking and neighborhood spaces that makes a noticeable difference, for businesses and residences alike.

by Scoot on Apr 4, 2013 3:57 pm • linkreport

Yes, traffic and parking are interrelated.

But the traffic inconvenience will really only be when these 65 or so vehicles will be entering and leaving the garage.

Which in theory shouldn't take terribly long per vehicle.

Whereas having those 65 or so vehicles off of residential street parking and metered retail parking is an all day thing.

And it's all about location. Right now Heritage personnel (and particularly visitors) will grab the closest available parking. Which would be the metered retail spaces. Or street spaces.

They of course can't use the government-only spaces, and aren't going to use Union Station parking unless they absolutely can't find anything else.

Is it going to cure parking shortages in the area? No.

But it will help.

Worth noting also that this plan includes 42 new bicycle parking spaces.

In fact, when you add in CABI it's as many new bike spaces as it is vehicle spaces.

In theory at least of few of those will mean people will bike instead of drive.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 4:16 pm • linkreport

No Heritage fan here either, especially after that Las Vegas looking addition they did on top and used political power to get it approved.

But it strikes me that they will include a Capital Bikeshare station. It seems few new developments (or old ones) will allow a bikeshare station to be placed even on public property in front of their buildings. I guess that's a cause of the under-supply in Dupont/Logan. Thank you Heritage Foundation ! (and that's probably the last time I'll say that).

As for the parking, business-subsidized parking encourages more driving any way you cut it. Tax the hell out of it.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 4, 2013 4:18 pm • linkreport

Whereas having those 65 or so vehicles off of residential street parking and metered retail parking is an all day thing.

I don't really suppose that 65 out of the thousands of available spaces in the immediate area is going to noticeably impact the parking situation. Perhaps there may be a minor, short-term impact within a few hundred feet of the site, but eventually those "freed up" spaces will be occupied by folks who previously could not find parking on the street but will now be able to, and then the parking situation will be the same as before if not worse.


In fact, when you add in CABI it's as many new bike spaces as it is vehicle spaces.

I'm not sure about that; there would need to be over 60 CaBi docks to satisfy the number of new vehicle spaces, an unlikely figure.

by Scoot on Apr 4, 2013 4:48 pm • linkreport

I don't think the issue is that one group does this. The problem is compound effect when everyone does this. Sort of a death by a thousand cuts which results in a traffic nightmare for everyone.

by Alan B. on Apr 4, 2013 5:01 pm • linkreport

Scoot:

There are 42 new bike spaces proposed in the parking garage proposal.

These are in addition to any CaBi spaces.

That'd leave 23 new CABi spaces needed to make an equal number of car and bike spaces.

Not sure where you're thinking that there are thousands of available parking spaces nearby.

People generally won't frequent a business if they are driving in and can't find parking within about three blocks.

And no, they aren't going to park in Union Station's garage to go get a haircut on Mass Ave.

And, again, it's about location. These 65 new spaces are smack dab in the middle of the restaurant/retail strip. About forty feet from the geographic center of the restaurant / retail strip.

That from a business perspective is a lot more valuable than 65 new spaces several blocks away.

Again, this won't solve parking shortages completely. Not even close.

But it will help somewhat.

by Hillman on Apr 4, 2013 5:05 pm • linkreport

I don't see a problem with a private entity building off street parking without subsidies. If we're going to mandate/proscribe uses, I'd much rather see the ground floor of his and all other new buildings on retail corridors zoned for retail. The noticeable difference between DC and Chicago or NYC is the number of dead-zones created by private entrances along high-density commercial corridors. You dont get many opportunities to enforce this sort of zoning; itt's a tremendous lost opportunity to squander during times of new development.

by oboe on Apr 5, 2013 9:14 am • linkreport

The other takeaway is that wingnut welfare is a very lucrative field to get into. No wonder the Examiner decided to get out of the newspaper business.

by oboe on Apr 5, 2013 9:18 am • linkreport

Oboe raises a very good point.

It's a shame Heritage doesn't have ground floor retail in all of these buildings.

If we were going to fight for anything that's what we should be fighting for.

by Hillman on Apr 5, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport

We must remember that the sort of work carried out at the Heritage Foundation -- meetings with the influential and sponsors, and such -- demand appearance and decorum. It is unreasonable to expect the fellows, workers, and interns to report to such duty, every day, having walked through the rain and snow, even if the distances are short. Just try to walk any distance in a suit in the heat or when the weather is bad. Of course they need to drive.

Sounds like most of the problem is with the people who are "uncomfortable" walking a 1/2 mile. I mean seriously, how lazy can you get?

The prejudice displayed by this comment is indefensible. Shame!

by goldfish on Apr 6, 2013 8:15 pm • linkreport

It is unreasonable to expect the fellows, workers, and interns to report to such duty, every day, having walked through the rain and snow, even if the distances are short. Just try to walk any distance in a suit in the heat or when the weather is bad. Of course they need to drive.

Yes, because everyone knows none of the zillions of people who wear suits and work in downtown DC take transit. Oh wait, tons of them do so quite successfully.

Good grief!

by MLD on Apr 8, 2013 8:24 am • linkreport

Or any city.

by Drumz on Apr 8, 2013 8:44 am • linkreport

@MLD: yes, many do. But many don't.

I do not think it is appropriate to delve into the reasons why some workers choose to drive, because in every case, the choice will depend on the needs, appointments, weather, available time, tools and resources, that such a person faces every day. Moreover, some of the staff at the Heritage Foundation are older and are paid very well, with heavy demands on their time. Suffice to say that many workers, that have responsibilities such as children and who's time is valuable, occasionally need to drive and are required to pay the the extra costs necessary to do so. Obviously as an employer, the Heritage Foundation recognizes this need, and is provided parking as a perquisite to retain its best people.

by goldfish on Apr 8, 2013 8:48 am • linkreport

@goldfish
Those are all valid reasons why people would drive. But your only point was "these people are important so obviously they can't take dirty sweaty peasant public transit!"

They certainly can add parking if they want but the city can also make requirements as to how they mitigate the environmental and traffic impacts of adding that parking. You can't just dump your negative externalities on everyone else without accounting for them.

by MLD on Apr 8, 2013 8:53 am • linkreport

@MLD, But your only point was "these people are important so obviously they can't take dirty sweaty peasant public transit!"

That is your pejorative, not mine. Moreover, I was referring to walking in the heat (which is undeniably sweaty), not riding the metro.

If you want to promote public transportation, you need to recognize its shortcomings -- which is, after all, why some people do not use it.

by goldfish on Apr 8, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

If you want to promote public transportation, you need to recognize its shortcomings

Most of it's shortcomings come from the fact that they city is overwhelmingly in support of driving. From the zoning (like here) to the way the law is built to protect drivers from facing any real consequences for their actions.

Anyway, going on and on about lifestyle choices doesn't mean that its a good idea for Heritage to build this parking. It's their land and what they want they want to do with it but like MLD said, its in the city's interest to ensure that the effects of putting these spots (in the middle of one of the most walkable, and transit accesible spots in DC) are mitigated.

by drumz on Apr 8, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

Huh? Delving into why some workers choose to drive, and others do not, is useful WHEN its needed to estimate the impacts of alternative policies. Not to judge individuals lifestyles or preferences. In this case, the policies under discussion, are not either subsidies to transit, the level of the gas tax, or even the overall DC zoning code. Its about giving one variance, to accommodate a parking garage that one institution wants, and is willing to pay for - but its located in a zone where they can't do it by right.

Seems to me this is a fair thing for the locals to hash out - the localized negative impacts (which is what this aspect of the code is designed to address - its not a parking maximum in disguise, just as historical preservation is not a chance for neighbors to evaluate the density they like) versus possible positive impacts of more parking, plus the 70k for the Cabi station as a sweetener (to make this a win-win). If the local impacts are very negative, then it may be appropriate to ask for more in the way of TDM and concessions than just the CaBi station.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 8, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

@Goldfish

I thought your original comment was sarcasm. I thoroughly enjoyed. Then I realized in your response that you were being serious.

It is unreasonable to expect the fellows, workers, and interns to report to such duty, every day, having walked through the rain and snow, even if the distances are short.

Snow.. In D.C.? In recent snowstorms Metro is certainly the more reliable way to get around. Perhaps they should buy an umbrella for rain?

Also, where is all this respect for interns coming from? Their job is to get me coffee and file things. Snow/rain/wind be damned.

by Kyle-W on Apr 8, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

@Kyle-W: DC has two kinds of snowstorms: (1) minor dustings that people overreact to, that really are more a nuisance but nevertheless can be a bit messy to walk in high heels, and (2) huge storms that really are knock-outs. In the latter case Metro is probably better, but for hte most part it is the former that we are confronted with.

Regarding interns: you forget that they are supported by parents, have cars, and compete for parking with residents in the nearby neighborhood. It is impossible to park around there. In terms of "externalities", (a term that I hope makes me look smart) the time people spend looking for a place to park is, by far, most costly consideration.

by goldfish on Apr 8, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

If even the interns are driving to work then who are all these people that I squeeze onto the metro with?

by drumz on Apr 8, 2013 10:45 am • linkreport

Goldfish inadvertantly touches on a good point, sortof.

A lot of this parking will be for Heritage Foundation guests.

They hold a ton of meetings, social functions, etc.

Many are during working hours, but many are also at night and on weekends.

Assuming those people are going to Metro is silly.

They aren't going to.

If you have a social function to go to on a Saturday many aren't going to add an hour transit each way.

Nope.

This isn't just a work facility.

It has a huge social function.

And like it or not Metro just isn't that great for night and weekend usage. The times between trains (especially if you have to transfer lines) is more than some people are ever going to put up with.

by Hillman on Apr 9, 2013 7:08 am • linkreport

But this is why they should have to do a TDM plan, to show how much the garage will be used and when, and what traffic it will generate. So then there would be data backing up those assumptions rather than just assertions that Heritage has late night events, and certainly those people don't drive.

by MLD on Apr 9, 2013 8:32 am • linkreport

But this is why they should have to do a TDM plan

How large does one need to be to trip this requirement?

Consider the spectrum.
1. Pentagon (very large employer)
2. downtown FBI headquarters (large employer)
3. Social Safeway (medium employer)
4. Downtown think tank, e.g., Heritage, Cato, Urban Institute (a bit smaller than Safeway)
5. local hardware store (e.g., Frager's) -- small employer

I don't consider the Heritage Foundation to be very big.

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 8:47 am • linkreport

Well if you want to build a bunch of parking and have to get a zoning variance to do so (which is the case here) then you have to prove that your project won't have negative impacts or that you will do enough to mitigate those impacts.

It's an organization with an $80 million budget. I think they can manage.

by MLD on Apr 9, 2013 8:57 am • linkreport

@MLD: you didn't answer the question. If this is to be policy, the requirement must be established, and not carried out ad-hoc. How large? Under what circumstances?

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 9:12 am • linkreport

It shouldn't be on the size of the employer, it should be on the size of the project.

What the limit should be is ultimately up to the city but I can see an argument for this at least.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 9:18 am • linkreport

It shouldn't be on the size of the employer, it should be on the size of the project.

Bingo. I didn't avoid the question - I said if you want to build enough parking that it requires a zoning variance then you should have to do a plan. Some places will want to build more parking but not be able to afford this - too bad.

Zoning is the policy we already have in place that tells us when you need to prove to the board that your project is good and when you do not.

by MLD on Apr 9, 2013 9:32 am • linkreport

@MLD and @drumz: Specifics, you know, are the key.

HOW LARGE? UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES?

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 9:39 am • linkreport

Goldfish,

Again, that's something for the city to decide. But you'd think that needing a variance/needing to tear down an existing building/needing to dig underground for the entire structure would necessitate it. I'm not so sure me declaring a number would satisfy you anyway.

I've said before that I think its a bad idea but its Heritage's property so that's something they (and the city, who's zoning employees know the specifics far better than I do) to determine what's appropriate.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 9:44 am • linkreport

Add: because this is bigger than just Heritage. The city should have something in place for every neighborhood. I'd rather not hash these things out ad hoc every time.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 9:47 am • linkreport

HOW LARGE? UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES?

Large enough that it triggers the need (by law) for a variance. The zoning policies that govern when that happens are already in place. Do you think they should be changed? Why?

I'm not sure why you are having trouble understanding. Do you think the city is just picking on Heritage because it's Heritage?

by MLD on Apr 9, 2013 9:47 am • linkreport

Heritage wants to build 105 parking spaces. Taking in the big picture that would be considered under the TDM: in an area between the Capitol and Union Station, filled with lobbying organizations, think tanks, union and professional organizations that seek to be close to Congress, and the staffing needs of Congress itself, that isn't that much. And no doubt, parking is very tough around there.

As a policy, the the numbers MUST be established for this to be effective. Otherwise it looks punitive, given the comments above from what many people think of this organization.

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 9:52 am • linkreport

I'm not sure why you are having trouble understanding. Do you think the city is just picking on Heritage because it's Heritage?

Not the city; you.

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

Ok, 104 then.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

@drumz: Ok, 104 then. LOL!

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 10:14 am • linkreport

@Drumz: and if that is the case, all Heritage needs to do is delete one space and it is good to go. Not effective.

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

It would be ineffective which is why focusing on any specific number is not as effective as looking at the need for the variance and the other factors I mentioned.

You can be specific about conditions without providing a hard number.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 10:24 am • linkreport

What conditions then?

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 10:40 am • linkreport

Did you read the article?
In order to build this project, the Heritage Foundation is seeking relief from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) from several sections of the zoning code including those related to expanding an existing non-conformance for FAR (771, 2001.3); exceeding the height limit on penthouses (1203.2(b)); vehicles parking across lot lines (2303.1(b)); and building accessory parking in the R-4 zone (214).

Those are the conditions.

by MLD on Apr 9, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

What I said at 9:44AM.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 10:47 am • linkreport

@MLD: Large enough that it triggers the need (by law) for a variance.

I had a couple of friends that made additions to their single family capitol hill houses, in the historic district, that included parking and required variances. By your reasoning, they should be required to submit TDM plans, even though that requirement clearly is ridiculous. The project must be large enough to trigger significant additional traffic.

So the question still stands: how large? under what circumstances?

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

goldfish

If someone gives you a number, do you promise not to say "oh, and they can get around it by building one space less, its not effective"?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 9, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

BTW, if this is a variance process, isn't it possible for the body granting the variance to also grant a variance on the TDM requirement, when it presents a hardship or otherwise does not make sense?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 9, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

@AWitC, a number of some sort must be established. Of course that becomes a threshold that property owners will seek to get below, to avoid the expense. But that is a common problem with all zoning and code rules, and that problem does not undermine the necessity for establishing the rules.

The appearance of an expensive requirement that is applied punitively brings on the game of politics. Heritage running to their buddies in Congress, who slip something in a must-pass appropriation bill, is something that is far more destructive.

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 11:06 am • linkreport

I'm surprised how little talk there has been about how this proposal re-zones my office building into multi-family residential...

by Kimberlee, Esq. on Apr 9, 2013 11:06 am • linkreport

How is it being applied punitively? There is a requirement that if you want to build more than what's allowed then you need a variance. The law may be onerous or it may not address the right things but its not being applied unfairly.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 11:23 am • linkreport

@drumz, as of this moment, it is not a requirement. Richard Layman has been suggesting it for years. To demand one for this project, especially after so many have commented that Heritage is "odious", makes it look punitive.

If this did come to pass I would not blame Heritage if it did run to Congress.

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

The TDM plan isn't required. The need to apply and be granted a variance still is.

Even so if the city could mandate that TDM's be provided then Heritage could likely be grandfathered from trying to provide it.

Then I'd hope that Heritage would recognize that mostly anonymous commentors on the internet don't make up the people who make zoning decisions in DC.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

I've read the comments and the article and I really don't see a problem with this plan. Not everyone can afford to live within the District, so a commute that takes an hour and a half by Metro, might be 45 minutes by car. A half hour difference in commute can make a world of difference, especially if you have children.

As we lose reasonably priced housing, we will see a demand for parking as people have to live further from their jobs in the city. I see the loss of affordable housing as the current environment pushing out not just low income residents, but middle class residents as well.

by Alycia on Apr 9, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

I've read the comments and the article and I really don't see a problem with this plan. Not everyone can afford to live within the District, so a commute that takes an hour and a half by Metro, might be 45 minutes by car. A half hour difference in commute can make a world of difference, especially if you have children.

While this is true, the DC government has a long history of implementing policies that privilege non-resident drivers over residents. That's become counterproductive as the city continues to attract new residents. If this makes it easier to live outside of the city at the expense of DC residents, then we should forbid it.

In this case, I don't think there's much difference one way or the other as long as the city isn't going to require ground floor retail--which is the greater mistake.

by oboe on Apr 9, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

hedline - "Heritage Foundation supports bike sharing"

How much is that worth?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 9, 2013 3:43 pm • linkreport

the DC government has a long history of implementing policies that privilege non-resident drivers over residents.

Such as???????

by HogWash on Apr 9, 2013 3:49 pm • linkreport

the DC government has a long history of implementing policies that privilege non-resident drivers over residents.

Such as???????

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/18075/when-the-cars-had-won-the-war/

(My private pet peeve is the various one-way hours for neighborhood streets like Constitution Ave that have thankfully been eliminated in some (but not all) areas of the city.)

by oboe on Apr 9, 2013 4:53 pm • linkreport

@Oboe, thanks! But I didn't see anything in the article wrt to policies DC gov't implemented that privileged non-residents over residents.

by HogWash on Apr 9, 2013 5:17 pm • linkreport

@HogWash:

Your welcome!

@Anyone else interested in the topic:

Another interesting reminder of the not-so-distant past, when DCDOT's main priority was ensuring a trouble-free commute to non-residents, this article on Constitution Ave and its conversion from one-way traffic sewer to residential street:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/getthere/2007/06/constitution_goes_twoway.html

by oboe on Apr 10, 2013 10:10 am • linkreport

Anybody that thinks Heritage Foundation's politics won't play a role here clearly doesn't know DC.

I dislike these chaps politics as much as anybody, but I also want to see them get a fair shake.

Funny, again, how no one raised a peep when Kaiser made a giant underground lot for their new facility a scant six or so blocks from the Heritage property.

Or when Senate Square did it for their apartments / condos development.

Or when Giant is currently doing it for their grocery store on H St NE.

by Hillman on Apr 10, 2013 11:05 am • linkreport

is the zoning the same? Did they need variances for it? and those were new developments (which may have faced parking minimums?) not new garages to serve existing uses.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 10, 2013 11:19 am • linkreport

Walker:

Valid questions.

Mostly they were new buildings, though you could argue Senate Square was partially an adaptive re-use of an existing building. I don't recall if the old Childrens Museum had parking or not.

And the Heritage Foundation has gotten a lot bigger over the years. They aren't really the same use (in terms of scope) as they were in years past.

by Hillman on Apr 10, 2013 11:58 am • linkreport

There are 42 new bike spaces proposed in the parking garage proposal.

These are in addition to any CaBi spaces.

That'd leave 23 new CABi spaces needed to make an equal number of car and bike spaces.

42 new spaces plus 23 CaBi spaces (which by the way can only be used by CaBi bikes) equals 65 bike spaces, but the HF wants to build 105 car spaces.

36 of the non-CaBi spaces will be in the garage and 6 will be in a locked room. Are these going to be public spaces for any cyclist to use? I doubt it. I cannot verify whether HF will include some publicly accessible bike racks in its new plan but I would suppose that it would not care about such things.


People generally won't frequent a business if they are driving in and can't find parking within about three blocks.

Is this you expressing your personal opinion on your own transportation habits and passing them off as fact about what other people do?

As for parking demand, what will happen is that this increased number of parking spaces is not going to have any effect on demand, because it will just bring more cars to the area, quickly filling any spots that were freed up from the construction of the new garage. In a short while, the demand will be just as bad as before, if not worse, because the new development also adds residential density. We see this happening all across the country and world for many decades now. Adding more parking spaces does not reduce parking demand, not even a little. It almost always makes parking demand worse.

by Scoot on Apr 10, 2013 6:12 pm • linkreport

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