Greater Greater Washington

Afternoon links: Get on it, developers!


Photo from the City of Hyattsville.
Please build in PG: The Coalition for Smarter Growth has produced a report to show developers how to cash in on transit-oriented development opportunities in Prince George's County (Post, Scott, Cavan) ... Richard Layman argues that better civic involvement is more important to getting some good projects going.

Redo your strip mall: Ten steps for retrofitting your parking-doused strip mall into a livable, walkable neighborhood. (New Urban Network)

EFC plan analyzed: Arlington County Manager Michael Brown (different from DC's two Michael Browns) has released his analysis of the East Falls Church plan, including estimates of the development necessary to increase Metro ridership, the value of community benefits the county could get, and how much retail the area could support.

Women, ride your bikes: Revolution Cycles wants to get more women riding bikes, and is having a "ladies' night" in Clarendon tonight. Only 20% of DC cyclists are female. (TBD)

The New Yorkers are coming!: The Huffington Post is sponsoring a caravan of buses to haul New Yorkers to DC's upcoming Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally. We wonder if they might have been able charter a train instead. (We Love DC)

DC in the day: DC in the 1980s was more than crack, homicide, and Marion Barry. Check out these photos documenting downtown's grittier years. (Kinorama)

In power: It might actually be cheaper to manufacture electric car batteries in the U.S. (NYT) ... A bike-powered monorail just won a Google grant. (Planetizen)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
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. 
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. 

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That Flickr photoset is one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

by Nate on Sep 29, 2010 4:11 pm • linkreport

That photoset reminds me how much I appreciate how DC has changed!

by mch on Sep 29, 2010 4:49 pm • linkreport

That photo spread from Kinorama is incredible. Love it. The shots from 14th St. and U Street are priceless. Milton's Unisex Hairstyling sign is still there!

by Ward 1 Guy on Sep 29, 2010 4:52 pm • linkreport

Again, the new Arlington report does nothing to address maintaining the existing number of WMATA parking spaces at EFC. VDOT, which seems to own the land, isn't liking that.

by charlie on Sep 29, 2010 4:56 pm • linkreport

@charlie

The summary of the report addresses VDOT's concerns directly - it rejects them outright.

by Alex B. on Sep 29, 2010 5:09 pm • linkreport

@AlexB, I'm sure that attitude will win them points.

by charlie on Sep 29, 2010 5:18 pm • linkreport

Reading the "Women, ride your bikes" post got me wondering ... Do they still make those 'Ladies Bikes'? (i.e. the ones with the lower front bar so that a woman wearing a dress can ride it.) I don't think I've seen those around for a while.

by Lance on Sep 29, 2010 5:35 pm • linkreport

Breezer Uptown 7 and 8 ("ladies" version).

by Richard Layman on Sep 29, 2010 5:41 pm • linkreport

Capital Bikeshare bikes have ladies' frames.

by jimble on Sep 29, 2010 6:39 pm • linkreport

ditto the Flickr photoset ... the change has been transformational ... And we did it all without razing the buildings like some other cities might have done! I bet a lot of people new to the area probably think all the old buildings and all were 'just preserved'. Maybe this photoset will help them realize that 'resurrected' would be a better term. thanks for sharing it!

by Lance on Sep 29, 2010 6:42 pm • linkreport

Thanks Richard! Since I don't know how to upload a pic here, I'll just put the link:

http://i1.avlws.com/671/l243.png

nostalgic ... But I guess still in use?

by Lance on Sep 29, 2010 6:44 pm • linkreport

Instead of Falls Church, the (already cleared) land south of the Vienna/Fairfax Metro should be used NOW.

MetroWest was supposed to develop it in 2007, but it's been in a holding pattern. Use it FIRST before pressing on to EFC.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MetroWest_(Virginia)

http://metrowestva.com/about/index.html

by L. Fairfax on Sep 29, 2010 7:04 pm • linkreport

Are you seriously suggesting it's better to build further out from the city than closer to it? Why?

by J.D. Hammond on Sep 29, 2010 8:25 pm • linkreport

I have a women's bike for my city bike. Just today I asked the bike shop at 5th and I NW if they had skirtguards to keep your skirt out of the rear wheels. The 20-somethings male clerks politely laughed at me. Apparently such guards are not available in the aftermarket.

by Tour guide on Sep 29, 2010 8:48 pm • linkreport

@Tour guide, LOL ... Of course, I'm assuming the 20-something male clerk laughed because 'skirt guards' is not a request he'd heard before ... and not maybe because you're a man?

;)

by Lance on Sep 29, 2010 9:23 pm • linkreport

Skirt guards are also quite useful if you are biking in a long coat, which men might be if they're biking to work... or a colonial reenactment, or ballroom dance programs.

by Neil Flanagan on Sep 29, 2010 10:36 pm • linkreport

The photos from 11th and F st are amazing. Compare them to Google Streetview today. Absolutely stunning how it has transformed.

by Tom on Sep 30, 2010 7:53 am • linkreport

I am the owner of the new shop near 5th and I called BicycleSPACE. We have been open about a month now, and initially we selected the products which we thought were best for urban riding from our experience of riding in the city year-round.

Our guiding philosophy is to support people who would like to ride a bicycle every step of the way, and to continue to educate and encourage cycling through rides and social events even after a bicycle has been selected, and locally we are exceptional in that regard. So far the response from women has been amazing, and a majority of participants on our four weekly group rides have been female.

After we opened quickly realized that people really like the European-styled bicycles, and have adjusted our product strategy on the fly to incorporate and retrofit more of this kind of technology. But there is a lag time between decision making and actualization and the full range of products has not yet arrived.

Our sales manager chuckled out loud in this case out of acknowledgment that it was the third time he had heard that request, we had adjusted our strategy, our major suppliers do not carry them, and we had not yet sourced the skirt guards. I can personally assure you that he was not laughing at the request, but rather because he is a jovial person and his reaction to frustration is to smile and to try to lighten the situation.

If "Tour Guide" will kindly pass on her contact information, we'd like to install a free skirt guard for her when they do arrive to hopefully compensate for the unintended discomfort.

Best regards,
Erik

by Erik Kugler on Sep 30, 2010 11:44 am • linkreport

@J.D. Hammond

Because the land has already been cleared -- why debate tearing down things or rezoning when the land and zoning has already been approved.

What I hate is seeing people in a rush to build the "next big thing" when there are opportunities already now. Not to mention that the closer you build in, the more expensive it will be. So strike a balance and build something that's actually affordable for the rest of us.

And third, part of the requirement at Vienna with the zoning is another park -- and there's already Nottaway Park in walking distance. While Clarendon's nice for the resturants, but the green space is absent. Same with Ballston.

Oh, and unlike EFC, you don't have VDOT (rightfully so) pointing out the traffic congestion problems you'll introduce.

Oh, and there's this place called Northrop Grumman that just moved their Corporate Headquarters to -- oh, that's right, not DC but VA! Hint: we're greatergreaterwashington for a reason, it includes other areas too :-)

by L. Fairfax on Sep 30, 2010 9:11 pm • linkreport

Increased traffic to a place that's immediately adjacent to Metro?

You realize that keeping East Falls at an artificially low density is immensely subsidizing riders in that neighborhood, right? How high are you willing to have your fares or taxes raised in order to get that revenue back?

by J.D. Hammond on Sep 30, 2010 9:33 pm • linkreport

@J.D. Hammond, until the Metro adds more cars the Orange Line and runs them more frequently, don't want a denser EFC ridership personally -- and I'm willing to pay more.

Moreover, maybe you should go out to Fairfax/Vienna and exit the southside to see all the trees that have been clearcut and are awaiting development.

You're discussing oranges (something that "might" happen) whereas I'm telling you apples (something that's ready NOW to happen and has been zoned as such). Again, it makes no sense to go for a bird in a bush when you've got one in hand.

by L. Fairfax on Oct 1, 2010 9:07 pm • linkreport

until the Metro adds more cars the Orange Line and runs them more frequently, don't want a denser EFC ridership personally -- and I'm willing to pay more.

But you're willing to have high-density development in Vienna, where trains are even less frequent?

by J.D. Hammond on Oct 1, 2010 9:47 pm • linkreport

J.D. -- you're clearly not reading what I'm saying. The land has been CLEARED at Vienna/Fairfax Metro already, trees have been cut down, and zoning is DONE. It's ready now.

EFC is a pipedream presently. Nothing has been cleared or cut or razed yet. Explain to me how leaving something that has been cleared, already consumed time in getting zone to just sit is a GOOD thing to pursue a PIPEDREAM at EFC?

As said earlier, the old adage I believe is a "bird in the hand (Vienna's cleared zoning), is worth two in the bush"

I'm beginning to suspect your attitude is even if trees have been cut down and zoning approved, you don't care at all?

by L. Fairfax on Oct 2, 2010 11:48 am • linkreport

p.s. As in the other forum, you seem okay with spending 3+ billion dollars to change things. What I'm trying to do is "carpe diem" and seize what's here, ready to go and be improved today :-)

by L. Fairfax on Oct 2, 2010 11:50 am • linkreport

I am reading what you're saying - and what I'm seeing are moving goalposts. I'm not opposed to development at Vienna - by all means, they should do something at that site. But arguing that it's better to develop at Vienna because of "traffic" (where traffic is actually generally worse) or "rail capacity" (when Vienna sees approximately half the trains ETC does) is disingenuous.

And, um, where is this $3 billion number coming from, exactly? I'm talking about installing three wyes to connect existing lengths of track. Has someone already done a study on that? If so, I'd certainly like to see it.

by J.D. Hammond on Oct 3, 2010 1:30 am • linkreport

No, J.D. Hammond, again you misread. I was saying why do some hypothetical BEFORE you address the ACTUAL.

Doing something at EFC will take years and approval and hoops to jump. I agree with VDOT's concerns that it will add traffic. They had similar concerns about Vienna and SOLVED it by adding more lanes to the existing roads in preparation for the high-density housing. So I find that funny that someone would go for the mythical bird in the bush -- before addressing the bird in the hand. Vienna's ready to go now.

I do find that GGW as a whole tends to forget about the edges. The edges have the advantage of (1) cheaper costs of living, which is a reality for some of us who can't afford to live closer in, and (2) larger greenspaces. Clarendon's nice and all but the greenspaces are fairly limited, in fact quite small. So what I was pointing out is before we try for the mythical bird in the bush, PLEASE let's address the bird in the HAND FIRST.

If you don't get it after that explanation, may I suggest we just agree to disagree?

The $3b comes from needing to install switches and NEW track that allows the turns. I'm fairly sure no track currently exists allowing a turn southbound from Arlington before Pentagon onto L'Enfant, or a turn then from L'Enfant to somehow magically head East bound. The track needs switches and -- if you want the trains to come back the way they came -- need a space to turnaround and the other posters indicated that there aren't any nearby places for turnaround in that area.

But let's jump back to that forum if you have additional questions there...

Cheers.

by L. Fairfax on Oct 3, 2010 10:29 pm • linkreport

“This effort is a bit misdirected,” Richard says in referring to our just released report, “Invest Prince George’s” (http://www.smartergrowth.net/anx/index.cfm/0,229,html) discussed in the Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/28/AR2010092805239.html).

He rightly cites the need for residents and local governments to be engaged and to create the environment for private investment. ThatÂ’s our goal and fully part of our comprehensive, full-court press in Prince GeorgeÂ’s County. We have built partnerships with grassroots groups like PRISCM, Green Power, and Prince GeorgeÂ’s Advocates for Community Based transit (Prince GeorgeÂ’s ACT).

We offer public briefings on smart growth solutions and our ideas have been accepted and incorporated into the “Envision Prince George’s” plan. We issued a Smart Growth Platform with Prince George’s ACT and briefed the candidates. We are about to issue a set of proposals, with partners, to strengthen affordable housing policies.

Finally, we are closely collaborating with WMATAÂ’s Joint Development program and the State of MarylandÂ’s transit-oriented development initiatives. Our integrated approach combines policy recommendations with grassroots, media and online communications, and partnerships with civic leaders, business groups, and elected officials. Prince GeorgeÂ’s has a terrific opportunity to use its Metro station assets to revitalize inside the Beltway communities!

by Stewart Schwartz on Oct 5, 2010 1:14 pm • linkreport

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