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Breakfast links: The military and the battle


Photo by Joe in DC on Flickr.
Tanks roll into Ft. Totten: Riders on the Red Line north of Union Station are used to looking at warehouses and graffiti, but on Tuesday morning they passed dozens of Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Destination: classified. (DCist)

Rock Creek bike crossing needed: Richard Layman calls for a cycletrack on Military Road across Rock Creek Park. There are currently no good options for cyclists looking to cross the park in the area and Military Road is designed like an interstate.

Mara leads in cash: While Anita Bonds leads in the polls, Patrick Mara has a the most cash on hand with one week to go to the April 23 election. Elissa Silverman is second, while Matt Frumin has spent the most already. (Examiner)

McAuliffe doubles Cuccinelli: Terry McAuliffe raised $5.1 million to Ken Cuccinelli's $2.4 million in the first quarter. Ethics rules barred Cuccinelli from fundraising while the legislature was in session, but McAuliffe's take is historically huge. (National Journal)

Trains to Virginia getting popular: Amtrak trains in Virginia which used to be delayed half the time are now running 90% on time, and ridership has soared. (Post)

Banning vans as rape prevention?: Vans are a popular public transit option in Rio de Janeiro. When a tourist was raped in one of them, the city banned the vans from the touristy areas. Is that good precedent? (Atlantic Cities)

Wheaton moving too slow: Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro, whose district includes Wheaton, says Ike Leggett is moving too slowly on redevelopment projects there. Leggett now doesn't want to move the planning department to what's now a parking lot, as previously planned. (WTOP)

Who has frequent network maps?: Maps highlighting transit routes that come at least every 15 minutes are very useful, but hard to find. BeyondDC is trying to list every city with a frequent map. Know of any that aren't on there yet? (BeyondDC)

And...: Is retail redlining holding back certain neighborhoods? (Atlantic Cities) ... An event tonight discusses how to create vibrant retail east of the river. (REEL) ... Computer problems grounded all American Airlines flights for several hours Tuesday. (CNET)

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Nick Casey is a Project Manager at the Center for American Progress. He and his wife live in Takoma DC. Nick is originally from the west side of Cleveland and attended Denison University. His posts do not necessarily reflect the views of his employer.  

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Exactly what part of Military Drive is an "interstate"?

by charlie on Apr 17, 2013 8:48 am • linkreport

The part that crosses through Rock Creek Park. There is a bike path parallel to Military on the NW side, but it ends at Beech, so one could then go through the stop sign and up the other side, or up the hill to Kennedy. There are options, but they are not optimal.

by Andrew on Apr 17, 2013 8:50 am • linkreport

"designed like an interstate." I'd agree with that as it refers to the section that crosses the park. People fly through there. I can't imagine trying to walk or cycle along Military Rd there.

by rdhd on Apr 17, 2013 8:50 am • linkreport

Seeing military equipment going along the CSX tracks is nothing new. I see it regularly as it crosses over the Long Bridge heading north.

by RJ on Apr 17, 2013 9:04 am • linkreport

I see where you're coming from on Military just based upon driving on it. Klingle is bad too, but thats a shorter stretch. Seem like the few cross-Park routes should have some kind of bike consideration, at least sharrows.

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

@charlie

This part of Military: http://goo.gl/maps/cIOel. It has exit ramps and everything. Just no shoulders, and a 40mph speed limit.

by Nick on Apr 17, 2013 9:07 am • linkreport

I'm sorry, that isn't an interstate.

Highway standards, maybe. Seperated road?

I notice the picture has a sidewalk.

Just a bad choice of words,but sometimes it is revealing.

by charlie on Apr 17, 2013 9:13 am • linkreport

@charlie -- the sidewalk ends at the end of the bridge. If you're saying highway-standards would be appropriate terminology, then "like an interstate" is hardly much of a stretch.

by Jacques on Apr 17, 2013 9:17 am • linkreport

Interstate Highways do have pretty specific standards. Some older roads that were grade-separated and did not meet the letter of the law were signed as interstates for networking purposes, but the standards are, well, standard.

by Alex B. on Apr 17, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

Public trash cans taken down on Cap Hill. London took them out of the Tube. Can DC function without public trash cans?

Commercial red-lining is a problem in renovated neighborhoods too. Logan still is shown as minority and poor to national chains.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 17, 2013 9:25 am • linkreport

There were 5 fires set at Christopher Newport University in Newport News last night as well. Tiny fires, in trashcans, but wouldn't be surprised to see trashcans removed there as well. End result is more trash on the street. Annoying.

by Kyle-W on Apr 17, 2013 9:36 am • linkreport

Yes, Tom C., it's terrible how the folks in Logan have to make do with places like Church Key instead of Olive Garden and Applebee's.

by A Streeter on Apr 17, 2013 9:40 am • linkreport

Who wants national chains anyway? I am kind of appalled that anyone would actually want an Olive Garden in their hood.

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 9:42 am • linkreport

I'm a little farther south than Richard, so I tend to go through Mount Pleasant and over to Tilden when I cross through the park. At least Tilden has a bike lane starting after the bridge across the creek, and Park road has one right up to where the bridge into the park starts. The road within the park there is narrow though, and this isn't helpful for people further north who would be more likely to use Military.

by David on Apr 17, 2013 9:43 am • linkreport

As a frequent rider on Washington-Lynchburg Amtrak lines, I can tell you that the improvement in on-time performance is almost entirely due to the recent addition of the Northeast Regional extension. The two long distance trains that travel the route still experience significant delays; regularly upwards of 3 hours for the Cardinal, less so for the Crescent. It's been exciting to watch ridership grow over the past two years, although I do miss having a pair of seats to myself.

by Kelli on Apr 17, 2013 9:52 am • linkreport

Is retail redlining holding back certain neighborhoods?

While "retail redlining" is a catchy phrase, I really wish they'd chosen something a bit more accurate. "Redlining" is the process of banks denying loans to people who wish to buy in certain (usually high-minority population) areas.

That's different from private retail/restaurant owners and potential owners not opening in areas with high-minority populations. Not sure what the solution is here. Seems a lot more complicated than just "racism". Ask the owner of Ray's or Yes! Market.

by oboe on Apr 17, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

Alan B: Who wants national chains anyway? I am kind of appalled that anyone would actually want an Olive Garden in their hood.

Try EotR. For years there were no sit down restaurants. Then things improved when they got a Denny's.

by goldfish on Apr 17, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

It doesn't bother me that we don't get national chain cafes at all. It does hurt when it comes to service retail like banks, office supply stores, etc.

There needs to be a Plan B if we lose trash cans in Metro and on major streets. London hangs plastic bags that are monitored in the Tube.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 17, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

Regardless of whether it's more like an interstate or a "grade separated high-speed roadway", the point is that biking on that stretch is absolutely terrifying, and there is no good way around it without a massive detour. If we want 25% of trips in this city to be by biking and walking, we simply must fill in the major gaps in biking infrastructure, such as this one.

by Jacob on Apr 17, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

@goldfish,

I'm always fascinated by the Trinidad Denny's on Bladensburg Road. 99% of the clientele seems to consist of black Marylanders (obviously this is an observation driven by their on-site parking). The old diner that was just up the street had a much more diverse crowd.

by oboe on Apr 17, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

99% of the clientele seems to consist of black Marylanders

Is this on Sunday? sounds like the post-church crowd.

by goldfish on Apr 17, 2013 10:05 am • linkreport

The speed limit on the fastest stretch of Military is 35 mph, and most of the time there's a mobile speed camera to nab speeders in both directions.

by ChevyChase on Apr 17, 2013 10:05 am • linkreport

@ChevyChase

There is sometimes a speed camera there. Everyone knows where it is, and well the speeds have slowed going east from Oregon to 16th, people still hit 45+ with no sidewalk. This stretch is absolutely unpassable on a bike, and the few times I see people biking here makes me incredibly nervous.

by Kyle-W on Apr 17, 2013 10:09 am • linkreport

I think we should improve the Tilden/Park Rd crossing before starting in on Military Rd (also, as noted, there is a less than ideal path parallel to Military).

As noted, Tilden has great bike lanes and Park Rd has them in Mt. Pleasant. The real issue is the lower section of Park Rd from the intersection of Beach and Tilden up to the bridge before Mt. Pleasant. This Rock Creek Park crossing is very close to ideal and I think should be the higher priority since it would likely take less time and effort to make it a safe crossing than Military.

by Sam on Apr 17, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

It's looking more likely like the 3-way vote splitting might just give Bonds the edge she needs to win. I am sorta shocked that she's gotten most of the CM's endorsements. What's up w/that? Anybody know which one supports Mara, Silverman or Frumin? Any big endorsements coming up?

I'm not a Cucinelli fan but am most certainly NOT a McAuliffe fan either. So I'm ambivalent wrt who should win. Guess the voters in VA will decide this one. Terry is a Clinton so the fundraising numbers shouldn't be surprising.

I am kind of appalled that anyone would actually want an Olive Garden in their hood.

Why? Because it provides good/reasonably priced food for those who love it? Heck, I'm surprised anyone would eat from a food truck...but they do.

Interesting story about retail redlining. But considering our proximity to PGC and it's dearth of good retail options, none of us here should be surprised.

I might just attend the retail meeting tonight.

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 10:15 am • linkreport

I guess it's hard for me to equate retail redlining with no sit down restaurants. If there is a market why wouldn't entrepeneurs serve it. Was there a regulatory barrier, or were banks not lending? It just seems like they are complaining about the wrong problem. Why did the original sit down places that must have been there close in the first place?

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

I have to agree with one of the Atlantic Cities' comments - do people really think that viable markets are left untapped simple because or racism? Maybe it isn't racism but some sort of correlation between race and market conditions?

I used to work at a delivery pizzeria which drew its clientele from three main sources: a large state university, a preppy private university, and an historically black college. Drivers downright dreaded delivering to then HB, simply because they knew that 80 - 90% of the time they wouldn't receice a tip. Had absolutely nothing to do with racism.

by onelasttime on Apr 17, 2013 10:19 am • linkreport

99% of the clientele seems to consist of black Marylanders

I frankly don't know anyone who eats there but I'm glad you're giving that corridor your business. Is it possible the others take transit? Or did you expect white DC residents to patronize it?

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 10:19 am • linkreport

Drivers downright dreaded delivering to then HB, simply because they knew that 80 - 90% of the time they wouldn't receice a tip.

Sounds like a large city. So the pizzeria didn't have a problem attracting business from those at HBCU's...they had a problem w/tips. Was the service provided as good as that at the preppy white school and state university?

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

HogWash: David Grosso has endorsed Silverman. Incumbent politicians very, very often endorse other incumbent politicians and/or the candidate of the party establishment, because they want/need the support of that party establishment and other elected officials.

by David Alpert on Apr 17, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

How many times have we seen new buildings open up with expensive ground floor retail that remains vacant for years? That's where you usually need the national chains. There should still be older buildings in the area with lower rents that are more likely to draw small/independent businesses.
See Petworth: http://www.popville.com/2013/03/dear-popville-why-is-park-place-retail-still-vacant/

by TakomaNick on Apr 17, 2013 10:30 am • linkreport

I guess it's hard for me to equate retail redlining with no sit down restaurants.

You should actually look around -- lots of fast food and Chinese take out, and 7-eleven, gasoline, but little else. It is more than just restaurants; for years there were no grocery stores, no coffee -- imagine no Starbucks! -- and no hardware stores. It is better now, but services are still definitely lacking.

In the 90s most DC retail fled to the suburbs, with cheaper land, plenty of free parking, and less crime hassle. Some neighborhoods got hit pretty hard.

by goldfish on Apr 17, 2013 10:35 am • linkreport

@Hogwash

It seems like the current CMs are jumping on the Bonds bandwagon as it seems she will win. They want her on their side when they need her. Also, more race baiting, note Yvette Alexander endorsing her because she is a black woman ""I am proud to endorse her as an African-American, I am proud to endorse her as a woman"

Business as usual can be expected. Was very happy to see Grosso endorse Silverman.

Will be interesting watching the VA election. Not sure how Cuccinelli survives the coming TV onslaught about the mess he has created as AG of Virginia. Parents are already annoyed as they are getting mailers again, I told them to expect almost as much campaign junk this fall as they got last fall.

by Kyle-W on Apr 17, 2013 10:39 am • linkreport

@oboe

"That's different from private retail/restaurant owners and potential owners not opening in areas with high-minority populations. Not sure what the solution is here. Seems a lot more complicated than just "racism". Ask the owner of Ray's or Yes! Market."

How are banks not lending in certain minority areas different from retail not serving in certain areas? Banks are private. Retail as you say is private and there are minority communities that want to have access to that retail.

Ray's and Yes! Organic are two bad examples. The article in the Atlantic mentioned affluent communities. Ray's and Yes! located their stores in low-income communities because they were trying to serve a community that didn't have that type of quality retail. But what about the affluent communities in PGC where quality retail still lags compared to Montgomery and Fairfax? I'm not saying we need chains, but even local proprietors pass over PGC. Only recently with National Harbor, College Park, and Hyattsville are we seeing the type of retail seen in DC and other areas. But the relative wealth has been in PGC for decades. I believe Riverdale and University Park is getting PGC's first Whole Foods because the community is mostly made up of affluent whites.

by adelphi_sky on Apr 17, 2013 10:39 am • linkreport

Hogwash,

Yes, the pizzeria did still generate a profit from the HBC. But honestly, if that were their only clientele, they would have trouble finding drivers willing to work their for any length of time.

"Was the service provided as good as that at the preppy white school and state university?"

I suppose you can make some argument about driver psychology, but you'd be grasping for straws as there really isn't a whole lot to delivering pizza. I will say that the HBC was much closer to our store than the preppy university, so they generally got their food considerably faster.

by onelasttime on Apr 17, 2013 10:40 am • linkreport

@goldfish: "In the 90s most DC retail fled to the suburbs..."

That happened in the 60s and 70s and was well over, and even beginning to reverse, in the 90s -- certainly by the late 90s when Williams had succeeded Barry.

by A Streeter on Apr 17, 2013 10:46 am • linkreport

I just seems like the arguments are reversed, shouldn't communities actively attract retail if they want it rather than complain about it. What is the local economic development community doing to make it happen? I mean are there no business people EOTR that could invest in restaurants if there is a market for them? It seems like the implication is that it's racism because white restaurant owners are opening there but what about black businesspeople? Isn't the issue just that the large concentration of poverty makes it a not very good business prospect for most people? Maybe someone should fund market research that proves otherwise.

I find these quotes from the article linked above most telling.

“My community is stigmatized,” said Yvonne Moore, a retiree who has lived in Anacostia for 35 years. “The chain restaurants won’t come here because they think we don’t have the income. They are afraid of crime. You’d think with Obama in the White House, it would’ve gotten better.”

Albert “Butch” Hopkins, president of the Anacostia Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit that has promoted investment east of the river since the 1970s, said he’s frustrated by such arguments: “It ain’t about race and class, it’s about economics. Unless we can show there’s an increase in daytime jobs with people who have disposable incomes, we will be singing the same tune for the next 40 years.”

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 10:49 am • linkreport

Re Military Road - the speed limit is 35 mph, not 40 mph. A bit low for its design, but it's loaded with radar cameras. People don't speed there like they used to. Still, not a good place for bikes.

Joyce Road seems like a good alternative for bikes between Beach Drive and 16th Street, but the paths connecting Oregon Avenue to Beach Drive to the west are very indirect and/or unpaved.

by Frank IBC on Apr 17, 2013 10:54 am • linkreport

@ goldfish, @ A Streeter - IIRC, DC's "white flight" peaked and started to reverse itself in about 1978.

by Frank IBC on Apr 17, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

Agreed that Military Rd needs better bike infrastructure so people can get across.

You can take a kind of roundabout route if you are willing to ride against traffic briefly (http://goo.gl/maps/cHBnF) - the rail through there is paved. But this is also quite unfriendly to bikes and peds, there is no sidewalk. Access to the park from the east here sucks via anything other than a car.

by MLD on Apr 17, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

Actually, the comments about Prince George's county do ring true. The area sure seems like it should have the demographics to support (vastly) better retail than it currently does. Most of PG's commercial strips are depressing as hell.

by andrew on Apr 17, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

David, thanks! My comments were purely snark. It seems as if the black CM's are supporting her...save Kenyan...for obvious reasons.

I am proud to endorse her as an African-American, I am proud to endorse her as a woman

If she hadn't added the black part and stuck w/woman. Would it have been equally as misandrist as it is racist? Odd logic but ok.

I'm obviously not happy that Grosso supported Silverman. He might not receive my vote again.

I suppose you can make some argument about driver psychology, but you'd be grasping for straws as there really isn't a whole lot to delivering pizza.

Having a former roommate as a Manager for a local chain, I can assure you that waiter/driver psychology is actually not a straw man.

I just seems like the arguments are reversed, shouldn't communities actively attract retail if they want it rather than complain about it.

PGC residents have been trying for years. It's fine if you want to consider it "complaining" but PGC is NOT EOTR and this article is more PGC'ish than EOTR'ish. So that's the context in which we should be looking at this.

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 11:05 am • linkreport

Honestly, I don't really see how it makes a difference if it's PG or Anacostia or Georgetown. I find it really hard to picture these uber racist business people that are turning down a nice profit in order to satisfy their evil bigotry. It might make sense if there wasn't a strong black middle class. I guess I mean you could ask the carryout owners why they didn't choose a sit down establishment? I guess I'm not clear on exactly what people have been "trying for years" that they haven't been able to open any businesses in the county? Honestly, it sounds like a dysfunctional government regulation or lack of supporting market and a lot of excuses.

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 11:13 am • linkreport

Who wants national chains anyway?

It depends on the national chain. Most people would kill for a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's in their hood. But, of course, those two retailers are much more sophisticated in their location decisions than their competition. As someone pointed out, Logan still shows up as minority/poor but Whole Foods decided to locate there years ago when they were in the early stages of gentrifying.

As much as some people despise Walmart/Target, they're pretty sophisticated at location decisioning as well and don't rely on obsolete data or racist rules of thumb about where to locate.

While I think places like PGC get overlooked for retail to some degree, implying that there's money to be made opening retail there, it's hardly a slam-dunk business opportunity. The rewards of opening retail in PGC are potentially higher due to the lack of competition but the risks are higher due to a number of factors as well. The risk/reward is probably best at the northern end of the green line and Largo which is where retailers are looking to locate.

by Falls Church on Apr 17, 2013 11:13 am • linkreport

It does hurt when it comes to service retail like banks

Yeah, if there's one thing DC doesn't have enough of, it's bank branches.

by Alan Greedscam on Apr 17, 2013 11:13 am • linkreport

In addition to the Denny's across from the Benning Road Metro station, another chain sit-down place EOTR is the IHOP at 15th and Alabama SE. Maybe there's something that makes that sort of all-day family-oriented chain more likely to locate there (or maybe it's just a coincidence).

Granted, EOTR as it is nowadays was largely developed in the 20th century era of strictly separated land uses, with so much of the retail in isolated strips or suburban-style strip malls, so you wouldn't expect to fill up with dining every other storefront the way some of the core WOTR neighborhoods seem to have done. There's probably some opportunity there for outparcel-style restaurant development in the redeveloping strip mall parking lots though.

by iaom on Apr 17, 2013 11:17 am • linkreport

Or did you expect white DC residents to patronize it?

Not everyone who lives in DC is either white or black.

by Vinh An Nguyen on Apr 17, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

@ Alan B:Who wants national chains anyway?

I was in New England recently, and very surprised at the lack of national chains. I am sure they are there, but all the little towns I came through mostly had their own local shops. How come they have that while Greater DC is chainefied beyond believe?

by Jasper on Apr 17, 2013 11:25 am • linkreport

Was the service provided as good as that at the preppy white school and state university?

Anybody who's worked for tips will tell you that black folk aren't known for their generosity in gratuities. Lesbians are known to be stingy in that department as well. Yes, yes, there are exceptions, but many stereotypes have a basis in fact.

by Alice on Apr 17, 2013 11:26 am • linkreport

Another factor in why minority areas may not have the same quality of retail is that many times (especially with restaurants) retail reflects the culture of the owner. And, due to historic reasons, there are a lot more white people with the necessary capital and connections to open retail than there are minorities.

I think it would be a lot harder for say a white Irish person to have a successful pub that catered to minorities than it would be for a person like Jason Miskiri to open a place like Society Lounge.

by Falls Church on Apr 17, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

Honestly, I don't really see how it makes a difference if it's PG or Anacostia or Georgetown. I find it really hard to picture these uber racist business people that are turning down a nice profit in order to satisfy their evil bigotry

But that takes a very narrow view of racism..unconscious or not. PGC fits the economic/geographic ideal but something's missing. So there has to be reasons beyond the obvious. I'm surprised you don't see a difference in perceived potential opening a business in G'town, Anacostia..and PGC. No, they all aren't the same...nor perceived as such.

Not everyone who lives in DC is either white or black.

Really? I've never noticed.

How come they have that while Greater DC is chainefied beyond believe?

Because there's a market for it?

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 11:31 am • linkreport

Yes, yes, there are exceptions, but many stereotypes have a basis in fact.

Yeah sure. Isn't that like saying white people are known to be racist..but there are exceptions even though the stereotypes are based in fact? It is true right?

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 11:34 am • linkreport

I agree that if that were the situation it would make sense. BUT PGC is 65% Black and has a median family income of $82k. It is doing comparatively better than the rest of the country. So it seems like there is both demand and access to capital. I am really finding it hard to understand what the roadblock is here if there is a market for more retail. Maybe people are just happy going to DC or VA or Montgomery County for their needs? Maybe PGC leadership is not doing the county any favors in terms of attracting good retail?

While restaurants are capital intensive they are much less so than many many businesses so I find it hard to believe that no one in the county could come up the financing if the area is bursting with untapped demand.

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

HogWash why are you assuming investors are white? The DC area has probably the largest black middle class/elite in the country.

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

I was in New England recently, and very surprised at the lack of national chains. I am sure they are there, but all the little towns I came through mostly had their own local shops. How come they have that while Greater DC is chainefied beyond believe?

Yeah. When I moved to (Hampton Roads) Virginia from New Jersey, I was shocked by the almost complete lack of local businesses. It was chains all the way down.

The DC area's a bit better, but for all the lip service that Virginia gives to being "pro-small-business," there sure don't seem to be many of them.

by andrew on Apr 17, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

there's a whole bunch of new retail in National Harbor. not sure if thats heavily patronized by people from elsewhere in PG, or if the costly parking prevents that.

then theres that lifestyle center out near Bowie, an Ikea, and a few other things tht come to mind. Is PG really THAT under-retailed?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 17, 2013 11:38 am • linkreport

I think we just don't notice small businesses as much. We recognize chains easier from a distance because we are used to seeing them. If you did a survey you'd notice a lot more small businesses than you realize. Georgetown with huge flagship chain stores also has a ton of small businesses.

Now do we have less or more small business retail places than New England? I don't know.

by drumz on Apr 17, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

PGC fits the economic/geographic ideal but something's missing.

A low crime rate.

by Vinh An Nguyen on Apr 17, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

PGC fits the economic/geographic ideal but something's missing. So there has to be reasons beyond the obvious.

PGC is not the economic/geographic ideal. The ideal is a place with lots of foot traffic from people with money to spend and who are in a spending mood -- particularly tourists since, believe it or not, shopping is ranked the #1 favorite/most common activity of people on vacation. The ideal place combines shopping with attractions and has a large critical mass of unique stores with strong brand appeal. Georgetown, 5th Ave, the Magnificent Mile, Rodeo Dr, and the Vegas strip fit the ideal. While there's opportunity in PGC due to lack of competition, it's nowhere near ideal.

by Falls Church on Apr 17, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

Why? Because it provides good/reasonably priced food for those who love it? Heck, I'm surprised anyone would eat from a food truck...but they do.

Interesting story about retail redlining. But considering our proximity to PGC and it's dearth of good retail options, none of us here should be surprised.

I have a hypothesis that HogWash's comment illustrates pretty well, and gets to the heart of the dilemma: large chain restaurants (e.g. Denny's) are more risk-averse, but more easily attract customers in . Meanwhile, small independent businesses are less risk-averse, but have a hard time attracting business.

So (I hypothesize) the businesses that the majority of the black community want are loathe to invest in black communities, and the smaller businesses who want to invest in black communities are largely shunned by the black community.

If Ray's the Steaks were an Olive Garden, even at the same price point, they'd probably be thriving today. Doesn't bode well for Busboys and Poets either.

by oboe on Apr 17, 2013 11:54 am • linkreport

HogWash why are you assuming investors are white? The DC area has probably the largest black middle class/elite in the country.

Not sure which post you're referring to.

A low crime rate.

Is it higher or lower than in Olympia Fields? Since the discussion is framed around it.

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 11:54 am • linkreport

@A Streeter: That happened in the 60s and 70s and was well over, and even beginning to reverse, in the 90s

@Frank IBC: IIRC, DC's "white flight" peaked and started to reverse itself in about 1978.

BTW, I was writing about businesses. I suppose you could trace it back to the deseg. decision in the 50s, when DC first started to empty out, but I think it is clear that it continued well into the 90s. Downtown Woody's for example, closed in the early 90s -- which might be a convenient place to mark the end of this. Downtown DC was pretty risky territory in those days.

by goldfish on Apr 17, 2013 11:55 am • linkreport

So (I hypothesize) the businesses that the majority of the black community want are loathe to invest in black communities, and the smaller businesses who want to invest in black communities are largely shunned by the black community.

If Ray's the Steaks were an Olive Garden, even at the same price point, they'd probably be thriving today. Doesn't bode well for Busboys and Poets either.

Hunh? How does this relate to PGC again?

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 11:57 am • linkreport

Who wants national chains anyway? I am kind of appalled that anyone would actually want an Olive Garden in their hood.

Open an Olive Garden in any neighborhood in the city and it will be packed, and not with tourists.

Who wants an Olive Garden, or Chili's, or Friday's? many, many people. There's a reason successful chains are successful, they sell a product that people want and understand how to profitably run a business (unlike some struggling artist who tries to open a waffle shop for example).

by dcdriver on Apr 17, 2013 12:00 pm • linkreport

Is it higher or lower than in Olympia Fields?

It doesn't matter. The comparison should be is Olympia Fields crime rate higher than it's neighboring jurisdictions that do attract the stores and restaurants OF wants. I suspect the answer is "yes".

by Vinh An Nguyen on Apr 17, 2013 12:02 pm • linkreport

Not sure which post you're referring to.

But that takes a very narrow view of racism..unconscious or not. PGC fits the economic/geographic ideal but something's missing. So there has to be reasons beyond the obvious.

So racism is implied. I supposed you could be arguing that it's due to non-white people being racist.

Maybe you can explain what you think is missing if it's not (white) business people being racist against a majority black population?

In fact, maybe just tell us why you think businesses aren't locating to PGC and whether or not they have good reasons?

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

Open an Olive Garden in any neighborhood in the city and it will be packed, and not with tourists.

...which raises the question, why hasn't somebody opened one? if it would be so profitable.

by goldfish on Apr 17, 2013 12:07 pm • linkreport

re chains like olive garden

we are talking about three different situations

1. High end WUPS like Logan circle. People wondered why Tom C would want one there. He clarified that he didnt really. They arent a great concept for those locations, and I think most folks are fine with that

2. typical suburbs - there are plenty around here. I think we all accept they have a business model that works for such places. Some parts of the NE have more indie places in their suburban village centers, which almost certainly has to do with retail layout issues (more village centers vs shopping centers) and may also have to do with the transience of the DC area, and with southern tastes vs Northeastern

3. places like anacostia - mostly black, relatively low income areas, with few sit down restaurants. I think we all realize that a chain rest like Olive garden would be a great thing there. They may notbe there because of demographics, overcaution by chain managers, crime - or even racism.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 17, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

You also consider the building type/zoning. Olive Garden is still in a place where they can grow plenty by just opening up pad sites in the target/wal-mart parking lot. Easier to get the approval and its a known quantity. While wal-mart and target think that their next big growth target is in the city with smaller/a typical buildings/layouts the chilis and olive gardens of the American Landscape may not be ready yet.

Then the Ihop and various fast food places EOTR are on a lot of pad sites.

by drumz on Apr 17, 2013 12:15 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish, Woodies didn't move to the suburbs, it folded entirely, and its suburban locations, except for a few that were bought by other chains, closed as well as the downtown location.

My point, though, is that almost all of the many businesses that moved to the suburbs had done so by 1990. It was a process that happened not in the 90s but in the decades preceding them.

by A Streeter on Apr 17, 2013 12:18 pm • linkreport

Honestly, I'm not sure that an Olive Garden would survive in Georgetown or Dupont. I'm sure they would get business but their profit margin wouldn't like be enough to pay the rent and they would be competing against many good, reasonably priced options. Given the option I'd always go to a Cafe Luna or a Pizzeria Paradiso. I'm just surprised people think chains are so unsophisticated when they actually have very advanced modeling they use to choose locations.

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 12:19 pm • linkreport

Honestly, I'm not sure that an Olive Garden would survive in Georgetown or Dupont.

I don't believe anyone suggested that. They would, however, probably do quite well places like Fort Lincoln or Deanwood. Maybe even Brookland.

by Pigbath on Apr 17, 2013 12:28 pm • linkreport

@ Goldfish, A Streeter - Yes, the downtown Woodies closed at the same time the entire chain closed, in 1995. A handful of suburban locations including Seven Corners, Landover and Parole Plaza, had closed a year or two earlier. All of the downtown department stores that had failed earlier - Garfinckel's (1990), Raleigh's (1991), Lansburgh's (1973), Kann's (1975), Jelleff's (1969) all had suburban locations, and all kept their downtown stores until the end.

Hecht's closed its store on 7th Street in 1985 but this was because they built a new store at Metro Center.

by Frank IBC on Apr 17, 2013 12:29 pm • linkreport

then theres that lifestyle center out near Bowie, an Ikea, and a few other things tht come to mind. Is PG really THAT under-retailed?

That's the current thinking of developers. I think they're correct and can make money but it's a high risk/reward proposition. Here's what the VP of JBG Retail had to say about PG:

There is a tremendous opportunity for restaurants and soft goods retailers. Quality restaurants, unique non-chain restaurants just don’t exist, or not a significant amount of them exists. Quality soft goods retailers don’t exist—if people are looking for the better national brands, not value-oriented, they are forced to go outside the County. I personally think there is a pent-up demand for the national brand retailers, it’s just not known yet because not a significant amount of them exists in the County today. But I think [once they] find out there is that pent-up demand and come in, sales will be very strong.

In Bowie, the single largest demand continues to be for grocery stores. Royal Ahold and Safeway have gone with larger concepts, but a lot of the residents like the smaller stores—for example, an Aldi with about 20,000 square feet. There is an opportunity for the stores with a smaller footprint to come in and compete with the larger national chains. Secondly, there is an opportunity for different kinds of food and restaurant concepts. We don’t have a lot of ethnic food concepts in the city. If one’s tastes don't run to Mexican or Chinese, you have to go far to get that.

by Falls Church on Apr 17, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport

Pigbath,

dcdriver literally said you could open one in any neighborhood in the city a few posts above you.

I'm not disputing that they could do well, it's really outside of my expertise to analyze the markets. I'm just confused that people will make these assertions and then come to the conclusion that it's due to some ill will on the part of retailers who are forgoing profits without really being able to produce any evidence that there is a market that is unserved or that retailers have viable options they are passing up. It seems that people sometimes just jump on racism as an explanation for anything that doesnt happen without anything to back up that assertion.

If an olive garden would do well why hasnt someone opened an italian restaurant called "Garden of Olives" there or something to capture that latent market? I just don't buy the argument that retailers are so oblivious.

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 12:37 pm • linkreport

Not sure about Olive Garden but the IHOP and the Ruby Tuesday in Columbia Heights are always packed.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 17, 2013 12:39 pm • linkreport

There's a Ruby Tuesday in Rosslyn, but only tourists eat there.

by Juanita de Talmas on Apr 17, 2013 12:42 pm • linkreport

Vinh is correct. Crime in PG is the problem. The boulevard at cap ctr tried to bring upscale retail and at first they drew large crowds but a murder and a couple shootings early on hurt the place and a few name stores closed. Also, the fancy niteclub on top of National Harbor was very popular but they had to close to the public (private parties and hotel guests only now) after a few months because patrons were bringing in weapons and they were going to lose their liquor license if they didn't put a metal detector at the front door.

by keithdc10 on Apr 17, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

re: Tanks in Fort Totten on the CSX line

Interesting, but it would be nice to know which direction they were heading so we could narrow it down

re: Military Road an interstate

Didn't realize interstates had 35mph speed limits...

re: McAuliffe doubles Cuccinelli

Let's not celebrate just yet. Everyone thought McAuliffe (known to the Virginians as "the carpetbagger") was a shoo-in in the primaries, but look what happened. McAuliffe is a fairly liberal Northern Democrat which won't make him popular in VA. Right now, McDonnell is a fairly popular governor (even with his $15k wedding and abortion restrictions) and won over 90% of the counties in the state, including Fairfax. This makes cooch the favorite.

re: Trains to Virginia getting popular

It must be the horrible traffic on I-95, because I don't know why anyone would sit on a train from DC to Hampton Roads for longer than it takes to go from DC to NYC. If it wasn't for the anti-transit politics in the region they would have started building the Southeast Corridor by now in VA, NC, and beyond.

re: Wheaton moving too slow

I find this hilarious since Ike DID propose a massive redevelopment at the Metro station in concert with B.F. Saul, but the council in all their "wisdom" (i.e. stupidity) put a stop to that.

by K Street on Apr 17, 2013 1:24 pm • linkreport

Open an Olive Garden in any neighborhood in the city and it will be packed, and not with tourists.

...which raises the question, why hasn't somebody opened one? if it would be so profitable.

There were plans for one in Columbia Heights, right across from the Ruby Tuesday's, but apparently they fell through. I'm sure it would have done great (I don't know why the plans fell through), but I am pleased that it isn't happening. Aside from the fact that, other than the Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden is the poster child for everything that is wrong with the way America eats (vast, sometimes unlimited quantities of unhealthy food - for cheap!), it woudl nto have been a positive step in the continued improvement of the neighborhood.

But that's in a rapidly gentrifying area, not an area that has few to no sit-down restaurants. I can see why OG would universally be welcomed in those areas (although I still think we'd be better off as a country of it and its ilk were banned forever . . . but enough of a digression on food policy).

by dcd on Apr 17, 2013 1:25 pm • linkreport

It's really different chain classes with cafes; the $10-$15 IHOP, Olive Garden, etc big chains vs. the $50-$100 small chain cafes around Dupont/Logan. I like the latter around me because it makes the neighborhood fancier but I also don't eat at them as much because of the prices. And the rents around here are too high for the budget cafe chains.

People don't realize there are very expensive national chains and most of what we perceive to be "small local" cafes are actually small chains (trying to get bigger).

I like to go to Scottsdale and it's dismaying how you can now drive for miles out Scottsdale Road thru North Scottsdale with mile after mile of nothing but national chains. They're the more expensive ones and the architecture is drop-dead amazing and innovative, but they're all big chains. Even Old Town Scottsdale has a lot of chains now.

The large expensive chains won't venture into Logan yet because the stats chains use still show it as borderline at best.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 17, 2013 1:26 pm • linkreport

Wait so you are saying that all small restaurants are $50+ for a meal?! I mean that's not even remotely accurate. You can go to a thai place or ethiopian or a diner in any neighborhood and get an entree for $10-15 easily.

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 1:39 pm • linkreport

@Tom: A quick search on Opentable lists the following restaurants for Logan Circle: 15 ria, Avenue Cafe Bar and Grill, Birch and Barley/Church Key, Commissary DC, Estadio, La Villa, Logan Tavern, Masa 14, Nage Restaurant, The Pig, Posto, Tortilla Coast- Logan Circle, and Le Diplomate. Not to mention that dozens of places that are a very short distance (and a pleasant walk) away in U Street, downtown, and other neighborhoods. Now compare that to the situation EOTR and in PG County.

As "problems" go, this ain't a bad one to have.

by dcd on Apr 17, 2013 1:44 pm • linkreport

@K Street

re: Tanks in Fort Totten on the CSX line
Interesting, but it would be nice to know which direction they were heading so we could narrow it down

From today's Politico Morning Defense:

DESSERT — MILITARY VEHICLES STUCK AT THE TRAIN STATION: The blog DCist snapped photos of what it described as a “trainload of Bradley Fighting Vehicles sitting by the Fort Totten Metro station on a Tuesday morning.” An unusual sight, huh? And what exactly were the Bradleys doing there?

“The BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicles that traveled through the Washington, D.C., area today are being sent back to our facility in Fayette, Pa., to receive our latest survivability enhancements,” BAE spokeswoman Stephanie Serkhoshian told Morning D.

“The vehicles were previously stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia,” Serkhoshian explained. “We have designed and manufactured Bradleys for more than 30 years and are continuously looking for ways to improve the force protection technologies that keep our Soldiers safe in combat.”

Here are the pics du jour: http://bit.ly/10bcfNH

by Dizzy on Apr 17, 2013 2:26 pm • linkreport

Probably too obvious to point out, but independent restaurants and retail have a lot more cachet among younger, more urban-centered residents than older people, and those who choose to live outside the urban core.

Part of the attraction of living in the city is patronizing Tryst, or Perigrine, or Sidamo instead of Starbucks. Or eating at Busboys & Poets, or Granville Moore's, or Two Amy's instead of PF Chang's.

by oboe on Apr 17, 2013 2:54 pm • linkreport

dcd,

As "problems" go, this ain't a bad one to have.

I don't think Tom was suggesting it is a problem. Rather, these independent restraunteurs all like the area, so why is it still considered taboo for some chains?

Basically, what kind of data are the chains using in their decision-making?

This isn't a new idea. Chains often won't break new ground. They'll insist (or their financiers will, or the financiers of the development they would lease space from will) on more parking spaces or a better location or something along those lines, simply because the model they're used to has never been tried in an urban area before, and they don't know how to compensate for that.

It's a bias in their thinking - and I think that was Tom's point. Those biases, whether because they're based on old data or for whatever reason, clearly do not often match the reality on the ground.

by Alex B. on Apr 17, 2013 3:10 pm • linkreport

"Or eating at Busboys & Poets, or Granville Moore's, or Two Amy's instead of PF Chang's."

Er, theres a Busboys and Poets in Shirlington. And Hyattsville Art District I think. Mr Shallal is a big fan of suburban WUP's.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 17, 2013 3:15 pm • linkreport

Part of the attraction of living in the city is patronizing Tryst, or Perigrine, or Sidamo instead of Starbucks. Or eating at Busboys & Poets, or Granville Moore's, or Two Amy's instead of PF Chang's.

And, part of the attraction of living in the burbs is easy access to a large number of authentic ethnic restaurants.

by Falls Church on Apr 17, 2013 3:42 pm • linkreport

And, part of the attraction of living in the burbs is easy access to a large number of authentic ethnic restaurants.

That's really only the recent case in the way that our views on the city and suburbs have shifted. I'm not saying you're wrong but I'm saying that the phenomenon is fairly recent as immigrants have started moving straight to the suburbs instead of the usual move to the city then decamp to the suburb when you have money mantra.

by drumz on Apr 17, 2013 3:47 pm • linkreport

AWITC:

Shirlington and Hyattsville are essentially "the city" and populated by "younger, more urban-centered residents"...a point on which you often call me out.

by oboe on Apr 17, 2013 3:48 pm • linkreport

And, part of the attraction of living in the burbs is easy access to a large number of authentic ethnic restaurants.

Well, depending on where you live and what you're eating, the access is no less easy in the burbs than it is in the city. For great Mexican go to Hyattsville. For great Thai, go to Springfield or Rockville. Whatever. If you're in car-dependent suburbs you're 10-15 min from some good ethnic enclaves. If you're in DC, you're 15-20 min from the same restaurants. If I have to get in the car, another 5 minutes isn't going to kill me.

by oboe on Apr 17, 2013 4:00 pm • linkreport

It seems like a lot of the ethnic restaurants in the burbs actually cater to those ethnicities while in the city its geared to a more diverse population. I know back home at the local Korean restaurant and super market, like 80% of the customers are Asian. Haven't been out there but I would guess Eden Center is similar? Arlington seems to have a pretty good independent to chain ratio as does Bethesda.

by Alan B. on Apr 17, 2013 4:04 pm • linkreport

@oboe

yabbut. Shirlington at least, isn't quite H Street in terms of quirkiness - Caribou instead of Sidamo, Capital City Brewing instead of more unique beer spots, and, yes, PF Changs IIRC. My point, I guess, was that Busboys & Poets is somewhat more of a creature of the more sterile WUP world than of either the urban cutting edge OR deep suburbia. Shallal definitely has demographic models guiding him, if somewhat different ones from the folks at Olive Garden. The Shirlington B&P - a frisson of radicalism, with free parking, and the safety levels associated with Arlington. Hmmm.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 17, 2013 4:07 pm • linkreport

Alan B. is right, I wasn't bemoaning lack of large chains in my area by any means. What I was pointing out is that the financial & demo data used nationally is way behind for renovating neighbors and this also causes us to lose out on service retail like banks, office supply stores, etc.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 17, 2013 10:43 pm • linkreport

There should be a mix of national chains and local restaurants if the public wants national chains so be it, that's their choice. Another issue in the matter is the food that is served/price/speed when it comes to national and local restaurants; not all people like certain foods some have preferences for what national chains sell and some do not.

As for Dennys no way in hell would I ever step in them as I know the history of the company.

by kk` on Apr 18, 2013 12:03 am • linkreport

I confess, I've gone to IHOP in Columbia Heights more than once. Their omlettes and pecan pancakes with strawberry syrup are my comfort food.

But I like living around expensive cafes.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 18, 2013 12:19 am • linkreport

Replying to K Street here:

"Didn't realize interstates had 35mph speed limits..."

A few do. There's a stretch of I-264 here in Norfolk that's 35 MPH. Until recently, Mississippi had a stretch of I-59 that was 40 MPH.

"It must be the horrible traffic on I-95, because I don't know why anyone would sit on a train from DC to Hampton Roads for longer than it takes to go from DC to NYC. If it wasn't for the anti-transit politics in the region they would have started building the Southeast Corridor by now in VA, NC, and beyond."

First off, the "horrible traffic on I-95" has almost nothing to do with folks using the NER extension to Lynchburg, which Kelli commented on upthread. Second, the situation has less to do with "anti-transit politics" and more to do with a relative lack of funding commitment from the state and the Governor. NC has made huge improvements to passenger rail as compared to Virginia.

by Froggie on Apr 18, 2013 6:41 am • linkreport

Alan B. is right, I wasn't bemoaning lack of large chains in my area by any means. What I was pointing out is that the financial & demo data used nationally is way behind for renovating neighbors and this also causes us to lose out on service retail like banks, office supply stores, etc.

Good point. Large chains for all their sophisticated modeling tend to be behind the curve when it comes to serving non-traditional (i.e. non-sprawl) areas. Gentrifying urban areas don't fit their models. So you end up with situations like H Street, NE where the commercial corridor is surrounded by $700k houses and households where the income is $150-$200k. And nothing but cratered-out wig shops and tax preparation shops.

But no "national" restaurant/retail opens up to serve that affluent population. It's all local entrepreneurs. Since there are no local entrepreneurial financial institutions, you get the situation on H Street today where the only banking is comprised of ATMs.

by oboe on Apr 18, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport

Good point. Large chains for all their sophisticated modeling tend to be behind the curve when it comes to serving non-traditional (i.e. non-sprawl) areas.

Why bother when the city where there is always a wal-mart parking lot somewhere that you can pour a concrete slab onto and build yourself a restaurant to spec?

by drumz on Apr 18, 2013 10:10 am • linkreport

Tom, you should try brunch at Logan Tavern since you live in the area. Their caramel pecan sauce will make you forget IHOP ever existed.

by Alan B. on Apr 18, 2013 4:26 pm • linkreport

Tanks roll into Ft. Totten:
Please remember that tanks are basically armored, self-propelled artillery. The subject of your teaser, the Bradley APC, is instead a mobile box that carries extra troops inside (the dismounts) and support weapons (25mm cannon / TOW missile) outside.

by Ted K. on Apr 23, 2013 5:57 am • linkreport

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