Greater Greater Washington

Takoma plan addresses resident objections; is it better?

A plan to build some transit-oriented development at Takoma Metro has been in the works since 2000. After a lull of at least 5 years, it's back on the front burner. Developer EYA has devised a totally new plan that may address the objections neighbors raised to the previous plan last decade.


Image from Google Street View via WMATA.

The original concept involved 90 townhouses across most of the site and creating a "village green" of more active, but smaller, open space. Residents didn't like losing that much open space, and also argued that 2-car garages would foster too many car trips for a project right at a Metro station.


Image from EYA via WMATA.

EYA now proposes a much more compact developmenta 5-story, "approximately 200" unit condo building that's almost entirely on the footprint of the existing parking lot. According to a presentation on the WMATA Board agenda for this Thursday, the large open space on the southeast side would stay mainly as is, though pedestrian "desire lines," where people cut through the site today, would become real paths.


Image from EYA via WMATA.

The bus bays would remain where they are, and expand to have 1 new bus bay and 1 "layover bay" for a bus to wait between runs. Metro would build a bike station that can hold 105 bikes.

The current surface parking lot has 141 short-term spaces, but according to WMATA documents, the lot is rarely more than 50% full, so the new project's garage would include 100 metered Metro spaces along with some resident parking.


Photo by the author.

Why did people oppose the previous plan?

The first time I visited Takoma, on a WalkingTownDC tour, the tour guide stopped at the Metro parking lot, and held up a photograph of the old commercial street that was once here, long before the Metro station.

She opposed the previous EYA proposal, and made some strong points about its weaknesses, such as the 2-car garages. However, she also talked about Takoma's "small town" feel, and seemed at some level to oppose the idea of more neighbors. The question lingered in my mind: how many were opposing the plan because of its flaws, and how many out of resistance to building anything or adding new residents at all?

The new building will bring a similar number of residents or maybe even more, but provides the 2 things residents asked for most strongly: more open space, and fewer garage spaces.

There is a community meeting on July 16 for residents to hear more about the plans and discuss with WMATA and EYA. As residents get to see more details, we will be able to understand if this is truly a better design than the old one.

This plan keeps a lot of open space, but instead of small blocks of townhouses, it'll be one large apartment building. From the massing sketches, it looks like just a parking garage will face the Metro station. For better or worse, smaller condos will probably be less attractive to families, which have been strongly drawn to the Takoma area. The Metro presentation says that "mid-rise development has occurred surrounding the site bringing into question ... the suitability of townhomes for the site."


Image from EYA.

This new plan provides a good opportunity for those who want better TOD to push for a plan that builds what would be best for Takoma. As the process continues, perhaps they can find other ways to make the plan even better, as long as that doesn't just mean shorter, smaller, or housing fewer people.

David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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I feel like we need a subclass of NIMBY: NOIMBY -- no one in my back yard.

by Alan B. on Jul 8, 2013 3:17 pm • linkreport

What is the value of all the developable land WMATA owns, including the Royal Street bus garage in Alexandria and the large bus garage in Friendship Heights?

by 202_cyclist on Jul 8, 2013 3:24 pm • linkreport

If you want the small business/small town feel then you need residents to support those businesses. That's easier to do when more people can walk to these stores.

by drumz on Jul 8, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

I have to laugh at people who say they want to preserve a "small-town feel." For one thing, I grew up in a small town. Small towns are not all they are cracked up to be. The one I lived in until age 18 was very unfriendly... unless you were opening a bar.

Second, the "feel" can be created in a denser neighborhood. I live in a neighborhood in the heart of DC filled with high-rise towers and detached, single-family homes. It feels like the "small town" of myth and legend because I have made an effort to get to know my neighbors, and they have made an effort to get to know me.

The best way to encourage this? Get people out of their cars. It's easier to greet and meet people when you're on foot. In this respect, the new plan for the Takoma Park station may be a step in the right direction.

by TJ on Jul 8, 2013 4:17 pm • linkreport

The folks in Takoma Park have long been against any changes to their community. Why do you think that the only stretch of 410 that is two lanes is in Takoma Park? it brings traffic to a standstill along that stretch. They have a long and successful history of defeating both good and bad development. There is already one mid rise apartment building on the DC side (that I heard was hard to fill) and ongoing construction for another mid rise building across from TROHV. That project sat idle for years as the condo market dropped. It was supposed to be a green building, but those plans were thrown out. I think now it will be apartments and not condos (not sure). The good folks in Takoma Park complain mightily about being overlooked for businesses and restaurants, but they have successfully established a very anti-business mentality in the community. ALL development is BAD development.

by ArchStanton on Jul 8, 2013 4:26 pm • linkreport

Takoma Park MD resident's opinion:

We need this development. The area around the metro station really isn't inviting to those coming to visit Takoma or Takoma Park. More residents and eyes on the street = less crime, more business, more people in the area (DC and MD side). It's a win/win. I can understand the car traffic concerns, but I think reconfiguration of the Carroll Ave/Cedar Ave intersection would go a long way if that could somehow be incorporated into this project. The roads around the metro station look like they haven't been touched by DDOT since 1983.

I'm personally not that affected by this project as I don't travel through that area by car often. I do walk to the metro often, and it would be great to have that walk be more pleasant (which is already underway with the new building where busboys and poets will be). Resistance will come from residents who live on Cedar, Maple, Eastern, Tulip aves, etc, in 7500sqft or 10000 sqft lots, who don't want to look at this parking garage/condo, and worry about people parking on their (ha) streets. Hopefully they'll realize that development is better in the long run for our neighborhood.

by Nick on Jul 8, 2013 4:35 pm • linkreport

A good chunk of Takomans aren't so much NIMBYs as they are BANANAs: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.

by Tom Veil on Jul 8, 2013 5:03 pm • linkreport

I like in Mt Pleasant. We I'd say we have a small town feel (I mean what an ambiguous term anyway) with a density of maybe 20,000 per sq mile?

by Alan B. on Jul 8, 2013 5:08 pm • linkreport

Is the historic Takoma Theater still around or was it torn down?

by GDubber on Jul 8, 2013 5:11 pm • linkreport

People want to defend and preserve the kind of neighborhood that they moved into and established roots in. There is nothing wrong with that, and those of you who deride them and call them NIMBY's have nothing at stake in the fight except for your own ideas about what you think is right for other people.

by DTSSER on Jul 8, 2013 6:13 pm • linkreport

There is wanting to preserve the neighborhood and there is strenuously objecting to any new people in the neighborhood despite having many states claims placated by a redesign of a site.

Granted the meeting may come and people may love the redesign but these are usually hardly about the merits of a proposal but rather a reaction against any change. Even when all this replaces is a parking lot with an actual park.

by drumz on Jul 8, 2013 7:08 pm • linkreport

People want to defend and preserve the kind of neighborhood that they moved into and established roots in. There is nothing wrong with that

I am perfectly content to simply shut down metro stations of neighborhoods that aren't interested in any kind of development around those stations. That way, everyone wins: the community doesn't get too much development, and the public doesn't have to keep pouring money into a metro station that isn't being used to its maximum capacity.

by Tyro on Jul 8, 2013 9:08 pm • linkreport

This looks better than the original plan, but I'd like to see some renderings and some more intense diagrams of how this site works before making a final judgement.

by Matt on Jul 8, 2013 9:14 pm • linkreport

While we're on the topic of NIMBYs, why does Takoma Park oppose the Metropolitan Branch Trail? The trail stops at the town line, and there is no effort to push it through. You would think that the town would approve of an alternative to automobiles, but you would be wrong.

by arthur on Jul 8, 2013 9:16 pm • linkreport

@arthur

The metropolitan branch trail does not enter Takoma Park MD. Check the trail website map.

by Nick on Jul 8, 2013 9:27 pm • linkreport

The Met Branch Trail doesn't currently enter Takoma Park, MD but when it is finished it is supposed to. One of the two preferred alternatives would include a sidepath along Cedar and Eastern. The MBT map you're referring to is the one maintained by DDOT and it stops, frustratingly, at the DC/MD boundary [I wish they could just include the whole trail].

Arthur, I'm not sure Takoma opposes the MBT, why do you say that?

by David C on Jul 8, 2013 9:58 pm • linkreport

People want to defend and preserve the kind of neighborhood that they moved into and established roots in. There is nothing wrong with that

True. To a point. But when people oppose something that they would support over there, but not here, that opens them to criticism as a NIMBY. When people oppose something that is good for the community, because they perceive that it is bad for them, that opens them to criticism as a NIMBY. And when people oppose a project because they want to maintain the status quo, but they claim that they want to make the project better, that opens them to criticism as a NIMBY.

by David C on Jul 8, 2013 10:04 pm • linkreport

@ 202_cyclist

Isnt almost all land that WMATA owns developable land; all land except for the land that is occupied by the metro stations themselves could be developed?

Plus they need the land for buses unless they are planning to push the bus garages further out places like Annapolis, Germantown or Front Royal.

by kk on Jul 8, 2013 10:12 pm • linkreport

@Tyro

Yes, exactly. It seems small towns shouldn't have a bleeping Metro station. I know it sounds crappy and cynical, but Takoma Park doesn't have anywhere near the wealth to maintain a small town 6 miles from downtown with so much transit availability.

@arthur and others

The Met Branch Trail actually *is* in Takoma Park. Starts at the DC line (where Eastern Ave NW becomes Takoma Ave) and ends by Montgomery College. Or maybe continues a little through Montgomery College--I'm not sure if the paved path north of the Takoma Park border is Met Branch trail or not. It's only like 1/2 mile or something like that, and too narrow in my opinion, but Takoma Park definitely built its portion of the trail. Of course, it doesn't actually connect to anything at the moment...

Regarding this development more generally, I'm heartened that *something* more than a 2/3 empty parking lot will be literally next to the Metro station. Yes, that Metro report saying that it's at most 50% full is being *very* charitable. It would be awesome if there were ground-floor retail there, perfect for picking up small grocery items (e.g., actual food items, not available at the 7-11 across the unused park) or other things. It's so ridiculous walking across an empty parking lot on the way to and from the Metro every day.

by EMD on Jul 8, 2013 10:37 pm • linkreport

@DTSSER
I take your point that people want to maintain the neighborhood the way it was at the moment when the move in. But is that a reasonable objective? As the economy and population grows, should a neighborhood remain trapped in time, like Harpers Ferry, WV? Or should it adapt to the needs of the present? If it is going to adapt, what form should that adaptation take? Is the goal to push as much development out of our own neighborhoods and into somebody else's neighborhood? If our neighborhood is transit accessible, is it not to the betterment of the planet that homes are provided in an area where walkability and transit are enabled?

by renegade09 on Jul 8, 2013 10:45 pm • linkreport

My bad, for some reason I though Takoma Park ended at Baltimore Avenue.

OT: What an odd selection of cities that are used to name streets in that area. I wonder how they were selected?

by David C on Jul 8, 2013 11:33 pm • linkreport

I concur with DTSSER. Neighborhoods should be organized and planned for those who live in them (and who have bought property in them). If the majority do not want dense development, then put the dense development somewhere else.

Jurisdictions mean something - I don't want Representatives from Oklahoma or North Carolina telling me how DC should look, or what sort of transit policies we should have. I doubt that residents from Takoma Park MD want GGW readers from Columbia Heights or Chinatown telling them how tall their buildings need to be.

The point about the metro is fair. Transit resources should be prioritized to support the greatest number of users. But there may be those in Takoma who would be willing to trade their "town like" quality of life for the (increasingly unreliable) metro link to downtown.

by JM on Jul 9, 2013 8:05 am • linkreport

"organized and planned for those who live in them (and who have bought property in them)"

Did I step back into the 1700s? Yes, let's all bow to the whims of the landed gentry.

by Adam L on Jul 9, 2013 8:09 am • linkreport

This new plan is much better than the old one. For starters, the public space is much more readable. The previous one looks like a funnel shape terminating obliquely on a garage structure. The density of a five story building is more appropriate right next to the metro as opposed to a mini-block of townhouses. Lastly, the public space can be build on at the Eastern and Cedar end of the site with another smallish appartment building that if done right would make a great capstone to the remaining public space. I hope Takoma Park takes it's progressivness seriously and demands the best looking building consistent with it's wonderful character.

by Thayer-D on Jul 9, 2013 8:23 am • linkreport

Parking garages bother me. I know they are necessary but we waste so much space and money on building homes for cars. Wouldn't it be better to have a little less parking, may be a little of it underground and have to top deck be green, like a small park? I know, it's reprehensible.

by Randall M. on Jul 9, 2013 8:26 am • linkreport

JM, but this site isn't in Maryland. It's in DC. If you don't want people from Oklahoma telling us what to do in DC, why should we let people from Maryland do it?

by David C on Jul 9, 2013 8:28 am • linkreport

I concur with DTSSER. Neighborhoods should be organized and planned for those who live in them (and who have bought property in them). If the majority do not want dense development, then put the dense development somewhere else.
Jurisdictions mean something - I don't want Representatives from Oklahoma or North Carolina telling me how DC should look, or what sort of transit policies we should have. I doubt that residents from Takoma Park MD want GGW readers from Columbia Heights or Chinatown telling them how tall their buildings need to be.

Jurisdictions do mean something. And luckily all of us in this region are in the WMATA compact jurisdiction. We all pay for the transit infrastructure.

All of us pay to service and maintain the Takoma Park metro station, which is probably worth hundreds of millions of dollars. So we all have a stake in ensuring that it gets used to its fullest extent. Sometimes that means the desires of the public outweigh the desires of those in the immediate area. Especially when those desires are unreasonable (e.g. maintaining "small town feel" in an area next to $100M in transit infrastructure, 5 miles from the CBD of a major metropolitan area).

by MLD on Jul 9, 2013 8:30 am • linkreport

" The question lingered in my mind: how many were opposing the plan because of its flaws, and how many out of resistance to building anything or adding new residents at all?"

This is just up the street from the metro and is under construction now: http://www.level2development.com/takoma_central.php
Three other multifamily buildings were constructed around the metro in the past 6 years or so. And another was approved several years ago but the developer has yet to do anything.
__________

The previous townhouse plan was awful. Any development isn't always better than no development...

by Bob See on Jul 9, 2013 8:33 am • linkreport

Yes, neighborhoods should be planned and designed for those that live in them. However, that does not mean that incumbent residents get a veto on any new development.

There are city-wide interests that need to be taken into account as well. The city and region have already extended a great deal to Takoma with the addition of Metro; accepting new development is part of that deal.

In cities, the only constant is change. That dyanmism is an important part of why cities are such valuable places to live. It requires a balancing between interests of the broader scale and of the neighborhoods.

by Alex B. on Jul 9, 2013 8:57 am • linkreport

The mistake of metro design was the assumption of "build it and they will come." Personally, I think regional transit and development interests, particularly around metro stations, take much more priority over the parochial interests of Takoma Park resident who themselves may not even live walking distance from the metro station. If we aren't willing to do this, then deprecating some underutilized metro infrastructure might be in order, unless DC and Maryland can hand over zoning and development authority to WMATA for the region in a 1/4 mile radius around stations.

by Tyro on Jul 9, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

Do you people have/expect to have kids or grandchildren? Where exactly do you expect them to live? Frederick County?

It is one thing if you live way out in the country but it is just functionally unreasonable to expect usable urban parcels to go undeveloped because you like the feel of the suburbs on the edge of the city. Furthermore there are existing garden apartments in the area, so it is unreasonable to expect no other similar development to happen.

by Alan B. on Jul 9, 2013 1:34 pm • linkreport

How do the bus bays remain where they are when there is not enough room for that extra standby lane for buses to be placed there ?

From looking at the images above they are they are either moved 200-500 feet west or east to add room for the standby lane and from looking at both images it seems that they are moved slightly closer to the actual station and the green space is smaller.

@ Alan B

It is one thing if you live way out in the country but it is just functionally unreasonable to expect usable urban parcels to go undeveloped because you like the feel of the suburbs on the edge of the city.

Please explain Spring Valley, Klingle Valley, Colonial Village, Chevy Chase, Brookland, Anacostia, Capitol Hill etc all of those could be developed alot further but aren't. Why complain about some when other parts of the city aren't being developed.

by kk on Jul 9, 2013 1:46 pm • linkreport

@kk
"Klingle Valley"
Is that the same Klingle Valley which has been overlooked by an 11-story apartment building since the 1930s?
"Brookland"
The same Brookland where the 5-story, 220-unit mixed-use development is going in?

Development is happening everywhere in the city. Are you seriously arguing that a site right next to transit in Takoma should not be developed until every available scrap of land in the District has been built on?

by renegade09 on Jul 9, 2013 2:44 pm • linkreport

Please explain Spring Valley, Klingle Valley, Colonial Village, Chevy Chase, Brookland, Anacostia, Capitol Hill etc all of those could be developed alot further but aren't. Why complain about some when other parts of the city aren't being developed.

Does WMATA have parking lots next to metro stations in those areas that would be better served as housing? Yes actually, in a couple of cases but it's not like as if Takoma Park is on the Frontier somewhere. It's definitely in the city and should have a mix of housing types especially close to a metro station.

by drumz on Jul 9, 2013 2:52 pm • linkreport

@kk:

"Plus they need the land for buses unless they are planning to push the bus garages further out places like Annapolis, Germantown or Front Royal."

No it doesn't. WMATA does not need to have its bus garage directly above the Friendship Heights metro station in a walkable neighborhood with some of the most expensive land in the entire Washington region. It could move this to a more auto-oriented loaction and earn the agency signifcant revenue. There is only a finite amount of land within 1/4 to 1/2 mile around the metro stations. It is a waste to use a large portion of that for a bus garage.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 9, 2013 3:14 pm • linkreport

On jurisdictions.... The metro station and this development are in Takoma DC, not Takoma Park, MD. Seth Grimes, a councilman from Takoma Park, MD, is one of the people fighting this development.

by LamondNick on Jul 9, 2013 6:07 pm • linkreport

@ 202_cyclist

You also mentioned Royal Street so why are you replying just by Friendship Heights one.

Second where would they move the Friendship Heights garage to, most of the routes there are DC buses. Do you really want buses traveling for miles putting exhaust in the air to get to the start of the line before even in service. What about when they need a bus to replace a broken one would you want one coming from Bladensburg RD or 14th street to Frienship Heights

Arent most of the buses in use for DC routes where else in DC can they go without creating logistic issues.

@ renegade09

Im arguing that there are many areas in DC that can develop; just because something is near transit means nothing, look at Wisconsin, Connecticuit, and Georgia Avenues they could all be stretches of 1 story houses but each of the three have highrises near and away from Metrorail.

Second, there are other places that could be developed first before going to the edges of the city. All of the land in DC between N Street NW, Columbia RD and Railroad tracks in NE to Rock Creek Park is under developed except for a small part; there could be plenty of apartments and condos but the majority is 3 story houses.

by kk on Jul 9, 2013 7:02 pm • linkreport

@LamondNick

I'm one of Seth Grimes' constituents, and I'm not pleased about his position on it. You are absolutely right that this development, though across the street from Takoma Park, is in fact in the District. And, there are already apartment buildings on Eastern Ave across from SFHs in Takoma Park, so it's not like this would be something out of place.

There are more SFHs in Shephard Park across the street from much taller buildings in South Silver Spring than we're talking about here. And that's not stopping Montgomery County.

The parking lot at Takoma Metro is so ridiculous. A 2/3 empty lot, at it's busiest as far as I've ever seen, next to a Metro station.

by EMD on Jul 9, 2013 7:03 pm • linkreport

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] I have seen my neighborhood transformed by multiple condo developments right next to the Takoma subway station.
There is a downside to taking all the green space and replacing it with concrete and buildings, this neighborhood is known for its relationship to nature, parks, trees etc. There are too many condos being built in the DC area and we homeowners are tired of every availabe space being sucked up by developers without regard for the people that live there.
We like the small town feel and as someone who has lived there since 1956, we didnt want the metro station either. Everyone seems to think more is better
we dont want anymore condo/townhouse development. Just look at the development of the Shaw area or Eckington, the city sewer system cannont handle the aditional waste that all this development creates.
This is about greed and corruption. When Takoma metro was built it was with a promise that the green space would never be touched as usual politicians and metro speak with a lying tongue. And as for the rest of you if you cant buy a home in the area stay out, we like the neighborhood to remain quaint, keep your money and your dogs.

by sligocreek on Jul 10, 2013 11:17 am • linkreport

I believe we have a new slogan for the city:

"Takoma Park: if you cant buy a home in the area stay out"

or

"Takoma Park: keep your money and your dogs."

But seriously, I'll point out that what is being replaced here is not green space, but a parking lot.

by David C on Jul 10, 2013 11:38 am • linkreport

Indeed, this project adds green space, it doesn't take it away.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2013 11:44 am • linkreport

@David C

No green space NOW but it's just a slippery slope from these apartments to the futuristic dystopia depicted in Blade Runner!

by MLD on Jul 10, 2013 11:46 am • linkreport

if you cant buy a home in the area stay out
The people moving into this area will be buying homes. Also is Takoma a place where the houses naturally sprouted up out of the ground replacing what was once barren rock?

by drumz on Jul 10, 2013 11:46 am • linkreport

That guy sligocreek just reminded me of the scene where the cop throws the coffee cup at the Dude. "Stay out of our nice little beach community, jerk-off!"

by renegade09 on Jul 10, 2013 12:01 pm • linkreport

"as someone who has lived there since 1956,"

I would like to thank you for making me feel young, since, despite my grey hair, I was not born at that time.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2013 12:08 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by JustMe on Jul 10, 2013 1:03 pm • linkreport

@ sligocreek

There is a solution as I have done it before when something was about to be built near by greatgrand-parents house; buy the land. Buy the land or get together as a neighborhood with the ones who don't support whatever is happening and the buy the land then turn it into a park, garden or something.

I really didn't want was being built near my ggp house so I got the money together and offered the person double what it was worth (while they were still in talks) and left it how it was an open field. I understand people in DC may not have the money or that it might be 10 times more expensive but if there is a will there is a way.

by kk on Jul 10, 2013 1:09 pm • linkreport

this neighborhood is known for its relationship to nature, parks, trees etc.

Your neighborhood is known for a metro station, a farmer's market, and a nice downtown strip of shops, along with being known as an inner ring suburb next to DC. If Sligo Creek is known by anyone, it's known because of the Sligo Creek Parkway. The population density is 8,036 prople per square mile, which is almost TWICE as dense as Bethesda.

by JustMe on Jul 10, 2013 1:14 pm • linkreport

@sligocreek

[I am] a homeowner, and yes, someone who can and did buy a home in Takoma Park. [deleted for violating the comment policy.] As @David C pointed out, this building would replace a parking lot. A parking lot that doesn't seem much like nature to me. A parking lot that I walk through twice a day.

And, [deleted] "we didn't want that Metro station either" in the same post as "if you cant buy a home in the area stay out"! Hm, I wonder what might make that part of Takoma Park so desirable a place to live that people pay a premium to live there? Think maybe that Metro station had something to do with it?

by EMD on Jul 10, 2013 1:59 pm • linkreport

The new design is beginning to move in the right direction. The site planning is generally a very good response to prior criticisms, but a few more significant revisions are much needed. Simply stated, 1) the design of the structure along Eastern Ave is much too massive and overbearing to be compatible with the neighboring historic homes, 2) the dwelling unit private vehicular parking quantity is too numerous to be accommodated along with the bus traffic flow by the two lanes of Eastern Ave, and 3) too many of dwelling units are so small as to not generate stable long term and healthy tenancies. The solutions to be considered are as follows. 1) The facade height along Eastern Avenue should be limited to 20 feet, 2) the number of units and their parking spaces should be reduced by about fifty percent, and 3) the average size of the units should be increased by about 30 percent. One final additional needed action is an absolute agreement that the remaining green space will never be developed.
I believe the actions suggested above would go a long way towards creating community harmony and obtaining community support. In addition future citizens of the community living in the new facility will be better served. After all, would you really want to live in a closet plus wait an extraordinary amount of time in reaching and exiting your parking space?

by J DiLuigi on Jul 12, 2013 1:25 pm • linkreport

"The folks in Takoma Park have long been against any changes to their community. Why do you think that the only stretch of 410 that is two lanes is in Takoma Park? it brings traffic to a standstill along that stretch. They have a long and successful history of defeating both good and bad development."

Well, I think the people who lived near the Giant by Cactus Cantina in Ward 3 beat anyone living in Takoma Park by miles. Those residents in Cleveland Park and Massachusetts Avenue Heights spent ten years fighting Giant's efforts to redevelop their outdated 1950s supermarket. They filed lawsuit after lawsuit trying to stop Giant from remodeling to the point that, with the closure of GC Murphy and the Chinese restaurant, the entire block between Macomb and Newark Streets became a blighted eyesore. No design that Giant proposed was good enough.

I think that Takoma Park can't hold a candle to those people in Ward 3 who almost stopped Giant and kept that block on Wisconsin Avenue between Macomb and Newark Streets undeveloped for a decade.

by Rain17 on Jul 13, 2013 11:31 pm • linkreport

@J DiLuigi A lot of words to say you want the building to be smaller and to house fewer people. And what makes the homes any less historic because there's a tall building nearby? Does the metro line running right by (and dramatically increasing the values of) their homes decrease their history?

I actually rent my space in one of these "historic" Takoma homes, and I have to say the condos and apartments look a LOT more appealing.

by Pennsy on Jul 14, 2013 3:19 am • linkreport

The legitimate concerns of many Takoma residents led not only to the present proposal but also to WMATA’s general acknowledgment that transit-oriented development must place the needs of the transit facility above the short-term goals of developers.

Takoma residents rightfully criticized the earlier plan which called for the construction on parkland of 85 townhouses with two-car garages and a space-consuming internal alley system. Residents urged construction of an apartment building on the existing parking and enhancement of the existing bus bay/drop-off area, along the lines of the current proposal.

See OpEd, Foster/Paris, Metro Opens Doors (to Automobiles)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/19/AR2007101901976.html

WMATA’s earlier resistance to transit-oriented development resulted in the project being delayed for over five years by the onset of the recession. The green apartment building, supported by the community, could have been built during the economic downturn, as was the Cedar Crossing apartment, which following the onset of the recession was converted into a rental building.

Commendably, WMATA is now proposing to enhance the existing bus/drop-off area, which the earlier proposal would have been constrained radically to make room for the townhouses. It is unclear whether WMATA is planning a more active park to serve transit users and cyclists. However, Takoma’s residents and businesses would benefit from the welcoming presence of a park serving Takoma Station patrons and Metropolitan Branch Trail cyclists.

The provision of some larger units than the present concept provides would accommodate families whose presence tends to be associated with greater neighborhood stability. Additionally, I would like to see the environmental footprint of the building minimized by a further reduction in the number of parking spaces provided. Residents of a transit oriented building should have the option of living automobile-free without the financial penalty of paying for parking spaces.

Dave

by Dave on Jul 14, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

"Neighborhoods should be organized and planned for those who live in them" - wrong, they should be planned for those who will live in them in the future.

by Payton on Jul 14, 2013 3:01 pm • linkreport

I think its a bit distressing to see people actively prevent development that could contribute to a better quality of life for residents not only of their neighborhood but of Washington DC as a whole. Instead of being protective and insecure about our property we should be promoting the highest quality and most affordable housing that we can.

by Sam on Nov 4, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

You can now follow these proposed plans at http://takomaconnected.com/ and register to receive updates on events, community meetings, renderings, plans and more.

by Jennifer McIvor on Nov 22, 2013 2:09 pm • linkreport

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Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

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