Greater Greater Washington

What should DC do with Walter Reed?

The District government has received many proposals from government agencies and non-profits for redeveloping 62.5 acres of the 113-acre Walter Reed campus in northern DC.

In 2005, the Pentagon decided to relocate the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the campus of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Last year, the State Department selected 18 acres on the west side of the campus to host foreign embassies, much like the former National Bureau of Standards campus in Van Ness.

The General Services Administration (GSA), which manages much of the Federal Government's office real estate, chose to keep 32.5 acres on the northeast corner of the site. The remaining 62.5 acres will go to the District for certain acceptable uses.

One would expect DC to auction the site to the highest private bidder, but the federal base closure process requires proposals from government agencies or non-profits. The "public benefit conveyance" (PBC) requires using the land for homeless assistance, parks, recreation, wildlife conservation, lighthouses, historic monuments, education, public health, jails, law enforcement facilities, HUD self-help programs, airports, seaports, veterans cemeteries, or emergency management facilities, among other uses.

In April, the District selected Perkins + Will as the master planner of the city's allotment. The Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development has posted all the proposals online.

More than half of the applicants propose a combination of affordable, workforce, senior and rehabilitative housing. Five applicants propose public charter schools and Howard University proposes relocating its medical schools and hospital from their current campus. DC Fire and EMS proposes to relocate Engine 22 to the site while DDOT proposes testing highway materials. Even WMATA proposes a building a new bus garage on part of the site.

Social Services:
  • Help USA: 75 units of permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless veterans
  • So Others Might Eat: 277 units of rental housing for the chronically homeless, the elderly, the mentally ill, veterans, and others requiring rehabilitation
  • Transitional Housing Corporation: 120 units of mixed-income affordable and workforce housing, 110-120 units of affordable housing for the elderly, 3500-4000 sq. ft. of office space for the program
  • Zenith Community Arts Foundation: housing for 20 artists over age 50, an art gallery, art classrooms, parks
  • Concerned Citizens: housing for seniors
  • Manna, Inc.: 30 units of affordable and workforce housing
  • DC Dept. of Housing and Community Development & DC Dept. of Mental Health: Artist housing, homeless housing, student housing, Section 8 housing, market-rate rental housing, first-time homes, and senior housing
  • Veterans and Military Family Life Progress: two-year transitional housing for veterans
  • DC Dept. of Human Services: family shelter and permanent supportive housing
  • Urban Matters/ Emory Beacon of Light: 146 units of permanent supportive housing for veterans, the chronically homeless and families and 209 units of workforce housing
  • Veterans and Military Family Life Progress: (unknown)
  • Ayeni International Inc.: job training and emergency, transitional, and permanent housing for homeless and low-income families.
Public Services:
  • DC Fire and EMS: Relocating Engine 22 and building a community service unit.
  • DDOT: Materials testing and research laboratory
  • WMATA: garage for 100 - 250 buses
Education and Health:
  • Building Hope: Charter school incubator facilities.
  • Center City Public Charter Schools: New public charter school teaching pre-K through 8th grade
  • Friendship Public Charter Schools: New public charter school teaching pre-K through 12th grade; 1,125 students, IB program.
  • Latin America Montessori Bilingual: New public charter school teaching pre-K through 6th grade; 200 students.
  • Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School: Relocation of existing school, expansion to teach pre-K through 12th grade; IB program.
  • T & T Healthcare -(unknown)
  • Howard University (and Howard University Hospital) - relocation of Howard University's existing hospital and medical schools.

The deputy mayor's office will soon determine which applicants are qualified to continue and, over the coming months, will award the site to one or several of the applicants. Since many of the applicants do not propose using the entire site and since the city has hired a planning firm for the site, it seems highly likely that Walter Reed will host several of these projects together.

What would you like to see at Walter Reed?

Eric Fidler has lived in DC and suburban Maryland his entire life. He likes long walks along the Potomac and considers the L'Enfant Plan an elegant work of art. He also blogs at Left for LeDroit, LeDroit Park's (only) blog of record. 

Comments

Add a comment »

One thing they should do is reconnect the street grid across the site as much as they can. I'd prioritize theses as 14th, Dahlia, 13th and Butternut.

They should also widen Aspen to allow for a cycletrack - as Aspen connects into RCP.

Otherwise the Howard hospital sounds like a natural fit.

by David C on Jun 4, 2010 11:54 am • linkreport

Put Howard Universitie's medical school in the older part to re-establish the old collegate campus feeling, and leave the grounds as an open "park" for the community to enjoy. The GSA parcel needs to have some kind of public space with the future Georgia Avenue trolley stop and pack it in with mixed use medium density buildings. Not sure we need another embassy campus, maybe one of those smaller schools to take advantage of some of the open space.

by Thayer-D on Jun 4, 2010 11:58 am • linkreport

I always thought they should move UDC to Walter Reed. Walter Reed already has a college campus feel.(Where as UDCs campus now is more like a prison complex.) Its accessible enough from the Georgia Av and 16th street buses. And Shuttles could run from campus to Silver Spring metro. This would allow for the Van Ness UDC Campus to be bulldozed to make room for better, denser development there atop the redline. I'm sure the historic preservation folks would pitch a fit but lets be honest. UDC is ugly.

by John on Jun 4, 2010 12:01 pm • linkreport

@David C:
+1

Connecting the street grid is a must.

by Matt Johnson on Jun 4, 2010 12:01 pm • linkreport

I propose both an airport and a seaport.

by Tim on Jun 4, 2010 12:06 pm • linkreport

Connect the street grid!!! Definitely a priority. I like the idea of Howard Hospital or UDC moving there, but please build some useful/interesting Georgia Avenue frontage

by Dave Murphy on Jun 4, 2010 12:09 pm • linkreport

I'm with Tim here, but I would throw in a lighthouse. Maybe eve a historic one we could relocate from somewhere else (like the shore). The federal government has suggested that abandoned military bases be used for lighthouse locations? Seriously? (My Captcha is "committing shticks," seriously.)

by Stanton Park on Jun 4, 2010 12:13 pm • linkreport

I like the idea of both having Howard or UDC move to the location.

However, I also like the idea of providing housing for people in transition (S.O.M.E's idea in particular) because of how much the Fenty administration has displaced services for those with mental illness, addiction, or struggling with homelessness.

Finally, I agree we need to reconnect the grid.

by David Uhl on Jun 4, 2010 12:18 pm • linkreport

Well as long as we are having fun with it why not a small amusement park? I'm surprised an urban Pocket-Amusement Park concept hasn't taken off. Just a coaster and ferris wheel. Akin to what you find on a beach boardwalk. How bout down by the Nationals Stadium. A boardwalk along the water. Some carny games.

by John on Jun 4, 2010 12:21 pm • linkreport

Oh, maybe something like this:

http://www.stadiumguide.com/volkswagenarena.htm

by EdTheRed on Jun 4, 2010 12:27 pm • linkreport

No one wants a bus garage, but the question is where do you put a replacement for the current facilities in NW Washington?

The garage on Wisconsin Ave (a prime development area next to Friendship Hts Metro) and the one at 14th & Decatur NW (in a residential neighborhood) both need to be replaced due to age. Both are located in areas which minimize non-revenue hours and thereby hold down bus costs. Neither are in desirable areas for a bus garage.

Walter Reed offers a more appropriate area for a bus garage than the current location on 14th Street and may have a large enough parcel to combine both facilities there. This is not ideal, but where else would you locate a bus garage in Northwest Washington? Opposition to using this site for a bus garage necessitates a realistic alternative proposal.

by Craig Simpson on Jun 4, 2010 12:37 pm • linkreport

Does the bus garage on 14th really need replacing? Seems well located and the building itself is beautiful. Can't they just renovate that location for a lot less money.

by John on Jun 4, 2010 12:45 pm • linkreport

It was renovated once in the 1980s--mostly unsuccessfully. It has a beautiful exterior which should be preserved. Neighbors are strongly opposed to its continued presence in a residential area. The District wants to develop the area while preserving the exterior and parts of the original building.

The cost of renovating to modern standards would likely exceed the cost of a new garage. However, from an operational standpoint that would work. Does it work from a city planning and a political perspective? Probably not.

by Craig Simpson on Jun 4, 2010 1:14 pm • linkreport

It's a beautiful campus with a lot of history, and I hope both will be preserved. If Howard were to move its medical school there, that could be a good match; surely it might get more applicants if the med school were not in the same sort of iffy part of town as the undergrad campus. And it would keep its purpose as a medical facility.

UDC? Seriously? Why would we want to reward and encourage an institution whose educational quality is widely regarded as dubious at best?

by JB on Jun 4, 2010 1:15 pm • linkreport

If WMATA wants a bus garage, then I think the onus is on them to integrate it well into the site and mix uses. Maybe have it below grade with office space above? I don't know what the answer is.

by Alex B. on Jun 4, 2010 1:18 pm • linkreport

I am all for moving ALL of UDC here. It shouldn't be looked at as a reward, rather an opportunity to put that uber prime transit oriented land in Van Ness to a better, higher density use.

If it was up to me, we would simply do away with UDC all together and save the DC taxpayer the burden and embarrasment of it all.

There is a lot of commericially valuable infrastructure and buildings there and it would be a waste to tear them all down. Move a couple DC gov agencies into them to get them out of higher cost downtown real estate, letting private business take its place.

DC has a shelter problem, Just one wing of the existing facilities would make a fantastic shelter and have tons of room to spare.

by nookie on Jun 4, 2010 1:40 pm • linkreport

There are alot of buildings in the way for 13th Street being reconnected into the grid within Walter Reed. If the buildings are going to be demolished then 'yes' let's make sure restoring 13th Street is a priority. But I don't think street grid should be the leading factor in having them demolished. If the buildings can be repurposed they should be.

by Paul on Jun 4, 2010 1:47 pm • linkreport

Remember all those strip clubs displaced by the baseball stadium.....

by Fritz on Jun 4, 2010 2:24 pm • linkreport

What with all the hate with UDC. What about people whom can not afford other universities.

Why would anyone place a Hospital or University there it is not accesible by Metrorail. How do you expect people to get there.

Who in the hell would want to have a university there take UDC its right by a metrostation who in the hell would rather be there atleast a good mile from the nearest station and having to depend on buses.

UDC should stay where it is but rebuilt. They have already had enough land taken from them over the past 20 years. Intelsate, Chinese Embassy and other buildings were built on land UDC had and DC Govt sold.

I damn sure bet the Students wouldn't want to be at Walter Reed since there is nothing around there.

If you want to put UDC somewhere the McMillian site would be a way better place because it is in the middle of the city and would be more accessible to people coming from all parts of the city.

by kk on Jun 4, 2010 2:29 pm • linkreport

Nookie, I too would support building more homeless shelters, because I think allowing our fellow humans to live on the street is unconscionable. But I don't think it's just or practical to put shelters near residences--especially in an affluent part of town where people paid good money, frankly, not to be near such things.

kk: There are plenty of other low-cost college options aside from UDC in the region. I think places like UDC waste the very money of hard-working poor people by giving them a degree no one respects. And I went to a mediocre state school!

by JB on Jun 4, 2010 2:47 pm • linkreport

62.5 acres is roughly equivalent to 20 city blocks. That is a lot, people! Think much bigger than just UDC.

I suggest that if the grid were put back there would be enough room for nearly everything on the wish list -- 3-4 charter schools (strongly supported by tax-paying voters); fire station (likewise); DDOT lab (high paying, secure jobs); artist's lofts (local draw); mixed-income housing. Even after all that, there would still be room for a bus garage.

by goldfish on Jun 4, 2010 2:52 pm • linkreport

@ JB

so which low cost (around UDC price for a typical 4 class load) university is there that is a commuter schools and have the same exact or nearly exact majors/courses and is in driving or accessible by transit to people from DC ?

Only thing I can think of are Everest (plus every other profit school around here), NVCC, Montgomery College, PG College and none of those are Universities.

A large portion of UDC students aren't even typical university age students. There is a large amount of 40 + years olds there going back to school or doing it for leisure.

Also what about the students there now do you think they would want to come to Walter Reed when its hard to get there ?

Unless DC has a plan to add a streetcar or metrostation right by Walter Reed before anything is built; no college, university, hospital or any building that would add a significant amount of people traveling by public transit to get there should be built.

by kk on Jun 4, 2010 3:05 pm • linkreport

By the way, I don't think the base closure process's mandated uses of the facility make very much sense. They make sense for a standard military base, airfield, naval base, etc., but not for what is basically an urban hospital campus.

Perhaps the BRAC legislation should have taken into account the diversity of military facilities that were slated to close.

by Tim on Jun 4, 2010 3:22 pm • linkreport

KK: The *exact same* courses? Of course that's not possible.

But I would bet that American U, GWU, George Mason, Catholic U, U Maryland--all at or near Metrorail stations--have courses that nontraditional (older) students could take.

If I were advising someone with modest income on their best options, I would probably (depending on their situation of course) recommend moving to VA and getting in-state tuition at George Mason, V Tech, or other schools--while paying less in rent, taxes, and other costs of living. Or there's NOVA CC. Or I might advise them to get an apprenticeship in a skilled trade like plumbing or electrical work--where there is a dearth of new blood and where salaries start at around $60K/year after an apprenticeship.

Walter Reed has always had a lot of people there--patients, doctors, nurses, other staff--so I don't see how it would require any additional transit service, desirable as that might be.

by JB on Jun 4, 2010 3:24 pm • linkreport

@ JB

All people cant just up and move and especially for school.

Even if someone did move to VA it would still cost more by taking into account the price of buying a car if they don't already have one as more of DC is covered by transit than Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax (county and city) and Loudoun county

And I bet all of Walter Reed's patients, and Doctors don't take the 70/71 or the 52/54 there. Matter of fact I have never seen anyone beyond maybe a receptionist or janitor even get off a 70/71,52/54 and go through the gates.

Perhaps some nurses and lower may take the bus but I doubt anyone higher than a nurse does.

Most of the people going there are probably ferried there by shuttle bus from a metrostation or drive.

A college would in no way possible be able to run enough shuttles to provide for all who would take the red line to Takoma and they would not run them late enough. The last class gets out at UDC around 9:45pm I doubt they would be running shuttles at 10pm or 7am and frequently enough to compare being right next to a station.

What benefit would anyone working or attending UDC get by being at Walter Reed except for a new building and that one would probably happen at the current site within the next 5 - 10 years.

by kk on Jun 4, 2010 3:38 pm • linkreport

KK,

No that this thread is about UDC, but reasonable people can look at the facts of the issue and come to the same conclusion. The fact is that a UDC degree means less than one from an online degree mill like "phoneix online".

The 6 year graduation rate is a whopping 19%. UDC is probably the only "higher learning" institution with a lower graduation rate than the DC public sschools.

Add on top of that, that most of their programs have fallen in and out of accreditation the past 20 years, a degree from UDC is literally not worth the paper it is printed on. UDC doesn't even rank among other universities or community colleges.

Of the ~5,000 students currently enrolled in UDC, only 950 will leave with a degree.

Tuition for a full time undergrad at UDC costs just over $5K a year, $7K a year for a full time grad student. DC taxpayers give (and it is in this years budget as well) 50 million a year to suppliment UDC.

Thats a per student subsidy of $10,000 per year, when it only costs $7K for a full time grad students tuition, which the students themselves are ALREADY paying.

Look at it this way, with the 19% graduation rate, the DC taxpayers are paying $210K per graduating student, PER YEAR!

DC also has reciprocity with every state in the union in that DC residents get "in state" tuition privlidges in every state in the union.

NVCC, UMUC etc are all exponentionally better schools in every metric used to judge places of "higher ed".

Here is what I have been recommending for years.

DC admit UDC is a failure and has been for decades and quit shoveling truckloads of money down this bottomless hole.

The trade off is that DC becomes the nations most higher education progressive place on the planet (save for dubai).

DC offers to pay FULL tuition for a period not to exceed 4 years for any resident that gets accepted to ANY school in the nation.

Most will go to local community colleges like NOVA etc, which is still immesley cheaper than the $10K a year per student that we are already spending.

We save lots of money, DC students get free rides to more highly regarded places. Everyone wins.

Bu the first step is realizing UDC is worthless.

by nookie on Jun 4, 2010 3:45 pm • linkreport

DC also has reciprocity with every state in the union in that DC residents get "in state" tuition privlidges in every state in the union.

I'm pretty sure this is not true. DC has this program which is not the same as "in state tuition in every state" - it doesn't apply to grad school or random college courses, only to people pursuing their first bachelor's.

by MLD on Jun 4, 2010 3:54 pm • linkreport

Connecting 14th through the campus would be a huge help for bicyclists and pedestrians who now must go all the way to Georgia or 16th to get around Walter Reed. At a minimum, I hope they will provide some kind of bike and ped trail to allow north-south access. This would also help make any mixed uses on the site more accessible.

by Casey Anderson on Jun 4, 2010 4:00 pm • linkreport

UDC is fully accredited. There are excellent faculty and students at UDC and so-so ones, just like every other school. This public bachelor and master degree awarding institution is important to DC and the immediate region. The location at Van Ness is an assest. The brutalistic architechture is not.

by Bianchi on Jun 4, 2010 4:07 pm • linkreport

I truly did not mean to drag this thread off into tangentland. But now that we're there:

Even if the DC reciprocity thing only applies to bachelors' degress--what a deal! The only other thing like that I know of is in New England--and it's only residents of I think four states.

Kudos to Nookie on all those UDC facts.

"DC offers to pay FULL tuition for a period not to exceed 4 years for any resident that gets accepted to ANY school in the nation." Sounds like a bargain to me.

The Walter Reed issue I think is an example of a larger pattern of government agencies--particular from DOD--moving farther and farther out into sprawlville, mainly due to the BRAC's stupid recommendations of consolidating multiple hidden-in-plain-sight would-be terrorism targets into huge, obvious targets (e.g., Ft. Belvoir).

Example: Former National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (and before that, Defense Mapping Agency) facility off Sangamore Road in Bethesda. Beautiful campus--and yet those folks are moving to Springfield, along with those at the building near the ballpark with the fake windows.

There are many other publicly acknowledged DOD facilities in the same boat. Not to mention Social Security Administration (now somewhere north of Baltimore, I think) and probably other agencies--but it seems like most are DoD or intel.

by JB on Jun 4, 2010 4:17 pm • linkreport

@nookie, your statement is so full of misinformation and negative prejudice and just plain ignorance its difficult to fathom. Shall I list all the people I know who graduated from UDC with bachelors and masters degrees? Do you have kids who go to a pediatrician? Lets start with the people i know who went to UDC and went on to med school, two of whom practice pediatrics in DC now. Have you ever been hospitalized in the area? Did you ask your nurses where they went to school? Good chance they went to UDC. I could go on and on. You plainly have no idea what you're talking about and are just spouting misinformation and hateful prejudice. As an accredited four year degree awarding public institution UDC fills an important niche.

by Bianchi on Jun 4, 2010 4:17 pm • linkreport

@nookie

DC should rather try and fix problems instead of push people away and damn sure not to another jurisdiction.

There is no major city in that does not have a state/city public university

This can be said for all DC agencies see Davis Uhl's comment

"I also like the idea of providing housing for people in transition (S.O.M.E's idea in particular) because of how much the Fenty administration has displaced services for those with mental illness, addiction, or struggling with homelessness."

I like your idea about DC paying full tuition but that not gonna happen under any circumstances. The fund would be broke within the first month of taking applications and the majority would not go to a local school if cost is not a factor.

You would get people going to schools all over the 50 states and the territories.

Why not have the Walter Reed site just residential or 80 % residential the site is in an part of the city which is primarily residential east and south of the site.

How about a rebuilt Coolidge plus a rec center and DC govt. offices that are rarely visited by the public.

Does DC still lease office space out in Maryland ? If so bring all those offices there.

I support the Metro Garage there unless someone has another place thats in DC close to NW ones.

by kk on Jun 4, 2010 4:18 pm • linkreport

Ok MLD, I was wrong about full reciprocity for people just seeking random degrees, but both NOVA and UMUC, both "community colleges" and both far more regarded than UDC have out of state tuitions at 6K and 7K respectively. We could still be fully finding these folks and still saving money

by nookie on Jun 4, 2010 4:23 pm • linkreport

@jB and nookie, I went to UDC. I was a non-trad undergrad and for my academic goals I needed to go to a four year school. I went on to earn a grad degree at GW and have been working in my field since.

Mongomery Coll/NOVA would not have filled my need. I needed a 4 year sch. I couldn't move out of state. I had a job, family, obligations in DC. I was not a teenager. Plus I had very little money. UDC was great for me and many other people I know. You clearly have no idea about the students at UDC and the importance of this 4 year public school.

Here's a little story: I have a friend who was a non-trad undergrad at UMASS when I was at UDC. We took Chem I and II the same semesters. My lecture was taught by a PhD with years of experience to a class of ~25. My friend was with 125 others and lectures were given by a TA. My friend never met the professor and office hours for questions were extremely limited. I had ample access to my PhD with years of experience and made good use of it. My lab had a gas chromatograph that I learned how to use. UMASS had one too but only graduate students were allowed to use it.

My experience was better than my friends' and my friend freely admits it.

i can go on and on. I have so many success stories I can related about the students I met at UDC and the great experiences I had with professors. (Dr. Khatri I will always be grateful!!) hey not all of them. I had a dud prof for a lower level biology class. But again, it was a small class and had advantages for that reason. Several PhD researchers from NIH had teaching gigs at UDC when I was there, in the depeatments in which I was taking classes. That was great exposure as an undergrad. The Profs in the upper level classes all were very good to excellent, as were the students.

UDC fills an important niche and provides an important opportunity, you're hateful prejudice and gross misunderstanding notwithstanding.

by Bianchi on Jun 4, 2010 4:46 pm • linkreport

OK, let's all take a breath and a step back here on the UDC thing.

Bianchi: I have to admit your story does make me reconsider. Evidently you're an example of someone for whom UDC was a good stepping stone. So maybe I have hastily and unfairly generalized. Sorry.

At the same time, you were a nontraditional student. Nontrads at any school are, as a group, more motivated and "together" than traditionals. If Nookie's facts are true, it sure sounds like that for *many* undergrads, going to UDC is a way to burn money and not get a degree. Now is that the fault of UDC or just a result of having an undergrad population that's mostly from poor parts of DC? So that they'd have not gotten their degree no matter where they went?

That's another question for another blog.

by JB on Jun 4, 2010 4:54 pm • linkreport

PS: I know what they should do with Walter Reed!

Outlet mall with huge parking lots. They could call it Walter Mills. It'd be perfect.

by JB on Jun 4, 2010 4:57 pm • linkreport

Wow,it really is the orthodoxy: "Connect the grid!" (x 5).

But why take a perfectly nice pedestrian-and-bike-friendly environment, one which is served by transit and bounded by two major transportation corridors, and slice a commuter cut-through into it?

Walter Reed's campus does an excellent job of assuring that auto traffic in Shepherd Park is limited to the "boulevards" of 16th st. and Georgia avenue and doesn't impinge on the secondary streets. This is a good model ans should be preserved.

Any new development should assure that the streets in and around the Walter Reed campus conform to a rational hierarchical urban plan, with the guiding principle being that the highest connectivity should be assured for pedestrians and bicycles, with auto traffic shunted to major transportation axes.

by egk on Jun 4, 2010 5:07 pm • linkreport

@JB apology accepted. Thank you for listening and reconsidering. I am not the only one for whom UDC was a good stepping stone. There are thousands. Yes the poor graduation rate has to do with the fact that a) everyone w/ a HS diploma/GDE(whatever its called) is accepted at UDC. All comers are welcome. That's part of its mission and gives rise to the large proportion of students in the lower level undergrad classes who drop out.

Nookie is misinformed about UDC. UDC recently developed plans to create two seperate schools: a 2 year school focused on granting associates degrees and on getting students ready for college who aren't, and a seperate 4 year school with higher tuition.

I support this plan. The two year school will stay very cheap and fill a need. The four year school, though more expensive, will also fill a need. It will of course have a higher graduation rate too. And of course this plan will not affect the graduate programs. UDC grants graduate degrees too.

And back to the topic; maybe UDC can expand to Walter Reed. I'm for it. Just as long as the horrible brutulistic architechture style isn't repreated.

by Bianchi on Jun 4, 2010 5:15 pm • linkreport

Since academia seems to be the preferred topic, why not sell the land jointly to AU, GW, Georgetown, Howard, UDC and whomever is interested (CUA, Gadaullet, etc) for dorm expansion? The first three are struggling with their respective NIMBY neighborhoods about space. The otherscan use more space as well.

The universities would buy the ground on the condition that they use it to house students in an urban student friendly environment under joint management. This will allow for flexibility and good contacts between the universities, both on an institutional and student level. Students can use the Takoma metro and the future street car line to get to their respective campuses.

At the same time, DC can get good money for the ground as well as get some more focus as a good student town. And we all know, we could use that.

by Jasper on Jun 4, 2010 9:05 pm • linkreport

As for "reconnecting" the street grid: I don't think there was a street grid where the Walter Reed campus is now back in 1909. (I'm having a hard time finding a contemporary map that shows the area that far north.) It would be inventing a new street grid, and I see no particular value in it. It's not like the World Trade Center site in New York, which wiped out an existing street grid. Should we insist on connecting the street grid through Rock Creek Park?

by Herschel on Jun 4, 2010 9:55 pm • linkreport

I live just south of the Walter Reed Campus/Base. I read through the proposed uses and watched most of the video of the proposers.

I would like to see the Howard Univ. Medical Campus move there to maintain the overall feel. I would also like to see a significant mixed use development along Georgia Avenue, with a 80/20 or 90/10 split of market rate/affordable housing. the eventual street car line to the Takoma Metro can help with traffic abatement. I think all the charter schools should be accommodated since they need only a little space. Even the DDOT facility and the WMATA bus barn should be considered as part of the larger development to make it economically diverse. I agree with most that some amount of the street grid should be added (at least have more entrances).

Of interest is that many of the current area residents are clamoring for more stores and restaurants. They fail to realize that with the amount of housing currently there they can't support more stores. So we need greater density of people who have money to spend.

by LeeinDC on Jun 4, 2010 10:32 pm • linkreport

Its a firm grasp of the obvious to note that Georgia Ave does not attract quality retail or restaurant operations. The surrounding demograhics are part of the problem (as defined by national retailers/rrestaurants) but the real barrier is the size/depth of the typical lot facing Georgia--too small/narrow for modern retail and food service. The normal operations of the land assembly marketplace can't solve this problem. But a public-private partnership using the land at Walter Reed that abuts Georgia Ave could create buildable/leasable retail parcels that would attract quality developers. I have lived in the Walter Reed neighborhood for nearly 30 years and would welcome walkable eating and shopping opportunities.

I am all for each DC neighborhood accepting its fair share of affordable/subsidized housing; but the long list of non-profit groups proposing every variety of no/low-income housing is worrisome to me. It is not NIMBYism to request that the city be judicious in deciding how much subsiidized housing to concentrate at the Walter Reed site.

by bob on Jun 7, 2010 11:01 am • linkreport

This all makes me a little sad. My husband and I have been at Walter Reed for the past year as he recovers from injuries he received in Iraq. This is such a beautiful campus, not to mention that it has been a place where medicine has advanced tremendously over the 100 years of being in DC. I hate all of the ideas of commercializing it. I think that it should be turned into a center for homeless veterans. It could give them a place to live, they could be rehabilitated there, and be taught job skills. I know you will all say that that is what the VA hospital is for but how many homeless veterans live in the DC metro area and how much has the VA done to help them?

Also, i like the idea of moving Howard University's medical school. Might as well use the hospital. plus the grounds just have a nice college campus feel. Also, being that it is was an integral medical institution at one point- teaching the next generation of doctors there would be really awesome.

by ktb on Jun 24, 2010 4:04 pm • linkreport

One word to describe what the main Walter Reed Hospital building should be converted to: Superjail!

by Doc on Jul 30, 2010 11:07 am • linkreport

Two birds with one stone - Bus garage that allows the homeless to sleep on the buses overnight. Nobel Prize Please!

by David C on Jul 30, 2010 12:28 pm • linkreport

I was stationed at Walter Reed 1977-80. It was at that time that we moved into New WRAMC, which is called the Heaton Pavilion. I worked on ward 45[surgical ICU], and have great memories as a young medic and what turned out to be a long successful medical career. A special thank-you to the late Patricia A Dimeglio Col ANC, who was my friend and mentor. I would hope that they keep the original hospital intact and leave it as a Military Medical Historic site. We must honor the heroic past of this medical center always.

by Tony on Sep 17, 2010 8:59 pm • linkreport

Move UDC to this campus. DC needs a world class public university, and this campus would give space for that development. Also trade the 18 acre embassy site for the current 20 acre UDC site, which would put more embassies together for better protection and convenience. This would give UDC 80 acres for a real campus, and maybe eventually all 113 acres. Add an electric shuttle bus from the UDC Dahlia Campus to the Takoma/UDC Metro.

by Rob F. on Nov 6, 2010 10:51 pm • linkreport

Howard University College of Medicine

by Sophia on Nov 13, 2010 8:07 pm • linkreport

My late comment on about an unfinished project:

As a tax-payer, I would prefer not to support UDC in its current state, despite my heartfelt appreciation for its original goals. It would better serve its student population as a two-year, four year and vocational school.

The street grid: perhaps the real problem is actually Rock Creek Park in this northern section. DC as an urban area is both helped by that magnificent green space, and hindered by it...a common problem in cities built around big, impassable parks.

A much better, cleaner, more efficient public transit system is likely the answer rather than the street grid--and cleaner, more efficient transit system should probably outweigh any subsidies to UDC in importance, despite the value of education. (I value state-subsidized higher education extremely highly--but without addressing what we are doing to the air, the oceans and rivers, and the earth, there won't be any humans to educate, or parks to care about.)

A largely solar-powered electric street car system in DC (integrating both underground and above ground power supply for the time being) would help a lot. If you are not in a car, and the WR campus is open, you no longer care about that street grid. We should provide bike lanes, of course--street cars and bikes help to get people off of gas! (As does "walkability"!)

I think that the local residents can easily support better shopping and restaurant options--it is not just a matter of density, but of income (versus debt) and inclination.

Walkability is absolutely not a matter of density alone--just look at Del Ray in Alexandria (not at all dense, but highly walkable, with lots of restaurants and shops near to scads of single family homes.) Just look at neighborhoods in Seattle, Portland, or any settled college town in the U.S. That density argument is misleading--it is about inclination and financial resources.
Shepard Park, Crestwood and Brightwood are still food deserts--the frustrated potential customers are real, and they will readily come to eat, drink and buy if you offer what they want.

by Sandra on Jul 18, 2011 5:44 pm • linkreport

I would not like to see more retail or residential as is the overcrowded,over built noisy traffic jammed looks of Columbia Heights. I would not welcome a bus barn either I have relatives and friends who live near such a health hazzard on 14th street and that neighborhood is ridden with cancer victims from those toxic fumes given off by that place. I think anything that would benefit the veterans and their families would be great and anything educational would would be great. s.s in upper northwest

by 6700 blocl of 14th street nw on Sep 2, 2011 2:59 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
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.

or