Greater Greater Washington

DC ZooSA?

Commenters today raised some great ideas for DC USA's completely unused parking level. Alex B. suggested we convert it into roller hockey or an indoor skatepark. Along those lines, maybe mini golf?


A win-win for DC USA and the Zoo? Idea courtesy
of reader Bianchi. From Google Maps.

Bianchi had the cleverest idea of all: instead of building parking at the Zoo, let's use that garage and run a free shuttle (or aerial tram) the 0.8 miles to the zoo (which would have the added benefit of enabling visitors to use the Green Line in addition to the Red). I'm sure the shuttle would cost less than the parking (above-ground garages cost $25-30,000 per space and over $30 per space per month for maintenance).

Any better ideas for how to use the empty space?

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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Thats a great idea, however I'm just wondering who would be making money off of this besides DC USA this seems like a lose lose situation for the Zoo, They would be running a shuttle going back and forth, with the prices of gas and other things increasing, How does the zoo make money out of this there spending money with no gain unless they work something out with DC USA to get half of the parking fees.

by kk on May 29, 2008 6:22 pm • linkreport

Low-income housing for those displaced by gentrification?

by onlooker on May 29, 2008 6:24 pm • linkreport

my original suggestion had visitors using existing transit. However, as D.A. says, wouldn't running a bus be a money saving's compared to building parking?

Why does it have to be a zoo run bus? Why can't it be a DC mini bus like the one that runs between U St. and Woodley?

Bike-share can have pick-up/drop-off sites at both ends.

Aerial tram would be great!

by Bianchi on May 29, 2008 6:52 pm • linkreport

Brilliant! DC USA and the Zoo should be paying somebody for this kind of thinking!

by Arlen on May 29, 2008 8:03 pm • linkreport

For your mini-golf idea, David - you should check out this article on modern art mini golf at the Walker Art Museum back in my hometown of Minneapolis (click on my name for the url). They did this a few years back in their sculpture garden as a temporary exhibit when the museum itself was closed for renovations and additions. It's fun - any time you can get public art to be interactive like this, that's a good thing.

by Alex B. on May 30, 2008 9:34 am • linkreport

I wish people would leave that parking garage alone. This is an underground structure that does not remove one square inch of potential office/retail/residential space from the area around the shopping center. Until all the shops are open and we've been through a full annual cycle we won't know about utilization for its intended purpose, but to the extent that it is underutilized, it is drawing down the sort of congestion associated with people circling the blocks looking for parking spaces. The traffic patterns around the shopping center can be pretty fragile, and the garage is neighborhood friendly because it is cheap and does not penalize anyone who wants to visit other stores on 14th St.

While I'm talking about traffic patterns, it seems deeply silly to route cars away from Rock Creek Parkway and over to the commercial district of 14th St just to improve garage utilization. If you're dedicating a some kind of tram, why not run it from the massive surface lots at Carter-Barron? You could park a space-ship there.

by mark on May 30, 2008 12:14 pm • linkreport

I love love the idea of an aerial tram going from the zoo to DCUSA. If you bring it all the way up to Conn Ave, it would be a positive for Woodley/Cleve neighborhoods.

Alas, the cost. Portland has one, of course, but note that theirs cost some $57M - far more than even a mammoth parking garage.

by Jad on May 30, 2008 12:40 pm • linkreport

Let's juts make the zoo even more overcrowded with visitors than it already is and add more noise to Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant. Not very creative.

by Rich on Jun 1, 2008 9:51 am • linkreport

Rich: You do realize that the plan of adding more parking to the zoo will also make it more crowded, right? And Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights are urban neighborhoods. Having more people walking around shopping, eating, etc. is a good thing.

by David Alpert on Jun 1, 2008 10:00 am • linkreport

As a resident of Harvard St., near the rear entrance of the zoo, and as a parent who frequently walks his daughter from there to the Zoo, I'd love to see more foot traffic between the CH Green Line and the rear of the zoo: that's what our neighborhood is for, and the more feet on the street, against the number of wheels on the road, the better.

It would also be great to spur the DDOT to improve the crosswalk situation where Beach Dr. debouches onto Adams Mill Rd., which, in its current state, is a disaster for walkers, bicycles, and strollers. As I wrote to the DDOT in a service request (apologies in advance for the all caps):

THE BEACH DR. NW EXIT ONTO ADAMS MILL RD. NW AT THE INTERSECTION OF ADAMS MILL RD. NW AND HARVARD ST. NW NEEDS A CROSSWALK. IN ADDITION, THAT INTERSECTION NEEDS SIDEWALK CUTS AND CUTS ON THE ISLAND BETWEEN THE SIDEWALKS. THIS INTERSECTION IS NEAR THE REAR ENTRANCE OF THE NATIONAL ZOO. IT THEREFORE SEES MANY PEDESTRIANS CROSSING IT WITH CHILDREN IN STROLLERS. AS THE INTERSECTION EXISTS NOW, HOWEVER, WITH CARS SPEEDING OFF BEACH DR. AND WITH THE ABSENCE OF CURB CUTS AND CROSSWALK LINES, CROSSING IS A HAZARD. THIS IMPROVEMENT WOULD ASSIST PEDESTRIANS AND CHILDREN IN STROLLERS IMMEASURABLY. THANK YOU.

by Tony on Jun 3, 2008 9:21 pm • linkreport

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