Greater Greater Washington

Development


Why all the wailing over the Union Station railyard project?

The Committee of 100, Capitol Hill Restoration Society, and other groups which habitually oppose things in DC have been fighting the project over the Union Station railyards on the grounds that you will be able to see the building over historic Union Station.


Photo by marlambie on Flickr.

Lydia DePillis was at the recent Zoning Commission hearing. She quotes CHRS/C100 member Monte Edwards calling Union Station "the equivalent of a medieval castle." Edwards was arguing that the developer shouldn't be able to measure from the H Street bridge instead of the ground and thereby recapture some of the space it loses from having trains running along the ground.

I suspect when a lot of people think about the idea of seeing a building "towering over Union Station" or something similar, they're thinking of the MetLife building behind Grand Central Terminal.

That 808-foot tower is over 6 times the height of Grand Central's 130 feet; ironically, 130 feet is the maximum allowed in dense areas of DC for all buildings, meaning if someone proposed building Grand Central in any area outside downtown today, someone would probably say it's too tall.

Personally, I don't find the MetLife building to detract from Grand Central; it actually provides a great backdrop that emphasizes the historic station even more. But we're not talking about something 6 times the height of Union Station. C100 and CHRS came up with their own renderings about how much the proposed development will "loom" over Union Station:


Potential development shown in light blue. Image from the Committee of 100.

You can barely see the building here. What's the big deal?

On the comments on the City Paper article, Alex Block notes that the C100 renderings also take out all the trees. Standing at ground level, the trees definitely do obstruct the view of Union Station. A building would irrevocably mar the view, but a bunch of trees don't (unless you live in the Watergate)?

Ultimately, these debates aren't so much about individual projects as about general values: do you think the city should have more buildings, or fewer? More stores or fewer? More parking lots or fewer? Does a new building that barely peeks over an old one create "prominent vertical scars," as the C100 press release argues, or enhance the existing fabric of the city?

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. 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 loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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Wait, the light blue is what we're supposed to care about?

Is there another view where this is more visible?

by Michael Perkins on Jan 24, 2011 3:44 pm • linkreport

Rationale appears to have fallen victim to agenda on this one.

by Dave Murphy on Jan 24, 2011 3:44 pm • linkreport

Wow. What an awful backdrop. It could be worse, though. It could have a pantograph on top.

by Matt Johnson on Jan 24, 2011 3:56 pm • linkreport

I think the C100 PDF actually backfires in that it shoes how little the proposed building affects thew view of Union Station. Alex Block is right, the trees are more of a distraction from the view. If there's anything that doesn't fit in the picture it's the union station parking garage. Maybe something built across H street with "soften" the view of the parking garage.

by NOMA Resident on Jan 24, 2011 4:02 pm • linkreport

Committee of 100 and CHRS would not be opposed if we were talking about another parking garage.........they love parking.

by rg on Jan 24, 2011 4:04 pm • linkreport

Apparently the C100 hasn't heard of Google Earth..

by Phil on Jan 24, 2011 4:05 pm • linkreport

If it hides the parking garage, I'm all for it.

And, seriously. It's really difficult to oppose the new development (which will likely be a handsome high-end brick or granite building), while supporting the continued existence of that hideously ugly, and mostly pointless parking structure.

The crowning irony of the parking garage was that it would have been a fairly easy building to hide. They could've made it shorter, wider, and/or wrapped an office building around it, all of which would have obscured it from view without reducing its (dubious) function. (They also could have done *something* to integrate it into the design of the rail/metro station, but that's a rant for another day)

by andrew on Jan 24, 2011 4:06 pm • linkreport

(That all said, I do think that developments in this neighborhood such as Senate Square and the Loree Grand stick out like a sore thumb. The NoMa zoning should have had the tall buildings taper off toward the edges of the neighborhood, or had the tall ones bounded by the Delaware Ave viaduct. This may become less of an issue as the western portion of H St NE is built up, but for now it's kind of weird. The new buildings on 2nd St do a much better job of fitting in, without seeming like towering monstrosities)

by andrew on Jan 24, 2011 4:09 pm • linkreport

The existing parking deck over the train platforms is much more visible and much more of an eyesore. I'd like to know the C100 position on whether or not that parking deck should be removed.

by BeyondDC on Jan 24, 2011 4:15 pm • linkreport

What? No C100 representative weighing in on GGW? I'm expecting a stirring stem-winding comment, weaving the threads of America's low-height culture that was integral to L'Enfant's immaculate future vision of a squat, wireless, bike-free Nation's Capital. Anyway, I thought we already discussed this topic here on GGW, and everyone decided this monstrosity should never be allowed to be built?

Is the Committee of 100 some sort of elaborate Andy Kaufmann-esque performance art concept, or are they on the up-and-up? Has anyone confirmed this?

by oboe on Jan 24, 2011 4:19 pm • linkreport

@oboe: I've long suspected that "Lance" is David's Mr. Hyde. They both deny this, but they would even know it themeselves, would they?

by TimK on Jan 24, 2011 4:22 pm • linkreport

Just to put things in perspective, here's the same perspective from Google Street View:

http://goo.gl/maps/ygyy

by oboe on Jan 24, 2011 4:37 pm • linkreport

By measuring from top of the Hopscotch Bridge, won't the people who live/work north of Union Station be staring at some really (comparatively) tall buildings?

It'd be useful to have side and back perspectives, as well as front ones.

by Fritz on Jan 24, 2011 4:43 pm • linkreport

As someone who will be working north of Union Station in one of the new NoMA office buildings, I say please build this. It will be relatively tall, but so are the office buildings back there. I doubt we'll have a great view in that direction from our roof deck anyways. And those who have window offices will primarily have north-facing viewsheds towards ATF or west-facing down a relatively bleak section of K Street. More density in the neighborhood means that we will likely end up with more lunch options (some of which are already shaping up deliciously - yum!)

by anon on Jan 24, 2011 4:50 pm • linkreport

I echo NOMA's comments - I'm astonished that the OPPONENTS to the project came up with that pdf.

by dcd on Jan 24, 2011 4:52 pm • linkreport

I would normally agree with Fritz here, except that the Burnham Wall is the only distinguishing or important feature from the side or rear. Otherwise, all a new structure is doing is hiding the parking structure.

by William on Jan 24, 2011 4:53 pm • linkreport

@William, what is the "Burnham Wall"? Are you just referring to one of the outer walls of the station?

by Joey on Jan 24, 2011 5:00 pm • linkreport

Ultimately, these debates aren't so much about individual projects as about general values: do you think the city should have more buildings, or fewer? More stores or fewer? More parking lots or fewer?

I think David makes a great point here. We have people newly arrived to Washington who don't like Washington for what Washington is. They can't appreciate its beauty as a laid back, spread out, open sky city with only monuments (including Union Station) and nature's clouds and blue sky hovering over us. They want to see Washington become another Manhattan, another New York City ... just like every wanna-be city in the country is trying to do. They can't appreciate that we've got something better going for us here. We've got a city where you don't need to live in a cramped box stacked high like rabbit cages, where you don't need to ride in cramped transporatation modes like they do in backwards Eastern European countries, where you don't need to depend on a bicyle for your everyday transporation like the citizens of poor nations must do. They don't understand how good we have it here ... how special this city already is.

by Lance on Jan 24, 2011 5:10 pm • linkreport

We have people newly arrived to Washington who don't like Washington for what Washington is. They can't appreciate its beauty as a laid back, spread out, open sky city with only monuments (including Union Station) and nature's clouds and blue sky hovering over us...you don't need to live in a cramped box stacked high like rabbit cages, where you don't need to ride in cramped transporatation modes like they do in backwards Eastern European countries, where you don't need to depend on a bicyle for your everyday transporation like the citizens of poor nations must do...

[wiping a single tear]

Still the master...

by oboe on Jan 24, 2011 5:17 pm • linkreport

you don't need to depend on a bicyle for your everyday transporation like the citizens of poor nations must do.

Wait, the Netherlands is poor?

by David C on Jan 24, 2011 5:23 pm • linkreport

@oboe: Of utter BS, but yes, he gives a very impressive Matthew Harrison Brady. Unfortunately, I always preferred Henry Drummond.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inherit_the_Wind_%281960_film%29

by John on Jan 24, 2011 5:24 pm • linkreport

Apparently Copenhagen is also poor.

by SJE on Jan 24, 2011 5:28 pm • linkreport

I suppose European cities are also high rise like Manhattan. Strange, I don't remember that.

by SJE on Jan 24, 2011 5:31 pm • linkreport

I told you, Oboe! It's got to be him!!!

by TimK on Jan 24, 2011 5:34 pm • linkreport

A whopper of ignant-cy. Lance, I tip my cap to you.

by NikolasM on Jan 24, 2011 5:39 pm • linkreport

@Joey, the Burnham wall is the wall that runs up First Street NE and in places on 2nd on the outside edges of the rail tracks, interrupted in a few places by the tunnels under the tracks, like on K and L streets.

A view at H Street: http://bit.ly/i3xEVH

by Steve D on Jan 24, 2011 5:41 pm • linkreport

@Steve D: Oh, that bloody blank wall with no internal visibility, which made that area a mugger's paradise back in the day?

Unh...good thing it's historic...for the muggers.

by John on Jan 24, 2011 5:44 pm • linkreport

Lance is what Alpert will be in 30 years, more bitter and also a little wiser. Also even more out of touch.

I am pretty sure ZERO people are imagining a skyscraper over Union Station. I am sure a lot are picturing a repeat of that parking garage, which isn't pretty.

So we start with a straw man argument. And the main argument for increasing height is the developers will do interesting things with their design. That review (which is already in place, no?) will ensure that?

Exactly what part of you don't understand that developers are out to make money, not build nice urban environments.

by charlie on Jan 24, 2011 5:44 pm • linkreport

Exactly what part of you don't understand that developers are out to make money, not build nice urban environments.

I don't understand this sentence.

by David C on Jan 24, 2011 5:51 pm • linkreport

Lance's comment is really my favorite comment he has ever written. So clueless and ignorant, along with the provincialism-masquerading-as-cosmopolitanism that makes it all the more charming.

you don't need to ride in cramped transporatation modes like they do in backwards Eastern European countries

Brussels is in Eastern Europe?

by JustMe on Jan 24, 2011 6:03 pm • linkreport

Lance - a lot of what makes living in DC great today is that you don't have to sit in traffic for hours. You can get around on public transit, or on a bike, or even on foot.

We know that more people will be moving here. Lots more. Hundreds of thousands more. When they get here, they're going to need to get around, and actually, so are the rest of us who've been here forever. If everybody drives, congestion will be worse and worse. So we need alternatives. And we need to build more densely - not to Manhattanize the District, but to prevent sprawl that ruins what wilderness we have left and creates congestion by forcing people to drive everywhere.

Just like you, there are times when I'd love for things to stay the same and never change. But it just ain't the way it is. So let's accept that and enjoy the present while it's here. Meantime, we make the future the best we can. For us and the inevitable hordes of newcomers. (After a while, you just call them neighbors, but for now I'll go with hordes.)

by The AMT on Jan 24, 2011 6:17 pm • linkreport

To be fair to the Committee of 100, that projection is taken from a rough average "eye level" elevation for a standing person. Viewed from the front seat of their Lincoln Navigators, which is the only view that really matters to them, the office building might be slightly more obvious.

by cminus on Jan 24, 2011 6:17 pm • linkreport

@Lance

Have you ever driven thru the NE ? What kind of "laid back, spread out, open sky city" am I supposed to be enjoying? And what on earth would be destroyed by this new building when an already ugly parking garage is already shielding my view of Union Station?

I wish C100 would be logically consistent. Either be in favor of tearing down crap that keeps me from seeing Union Station, or be in favor of something proposed to cover up (sit in front of) a very ugly garage.

by Mike D on Jan 24, 2011 6:36 pm • linkreport

@Lance

"cramped transportation modes in Eastern Europe?" I was not aware the NYC subway was across the pond.

Just so you know, some of us like avoiding the 4-6pm traffic jam that is Washington DC. Furthermore are you advocating eliminating the METRO ??? Wouldn't that put hundreds of thousands of additional cars in downtown DC ?

by Mike D on Jan 24, 2011 6:42 pm • linkreport

I don't know why anyone would want to take away the historic feel of a historic city.

by MPC on Jan 24, 2011 6:53 pm • linkreport

@MPC - who is taking away the historic feel of anything? It's a building over a rail yard we're talking about. Nobody's knocking down Union Station or overshadowing anything other than an eyesore of a parking garage on its backside.

And if you want a historic city, look at London - literally centuries older than DC. It has buildings older than our country, and it has lots of new buildings, too. Paris. Rome. Amsterdam. Berlin. Cordoba. You pick it. There's room enough, even in historic cities, for old and new.

by The AMT on Jan 24, 2011 6:58 pm • linkreport

@MPC

No one here does, but what are you saying? The logical conclusion of your statement says nothing should ever be built. So Union Station itself would not exist.

What is being argued is what sort of building should be allowed. What does and what does not promote DC.

BTW: you should be very STRONGLY in favor of destroying the ugly parking garage.

by Mike D on Jan 24, 2011 7:07 pm • linkreport

Grand Central is kindof irrelevant. It's been surrounded by skyscrapers for decades. Before the PanAm/MetLife building, the view included the old Singer building in the background. The context for Union Station is completely different. The tall buildings nearby are fairly innocuous but don't exactly enhance the surroundings. I'd probably favor repealing the height limit except advocates seem to naively see it as a fix-all that it will never be. DC is full of dull to truly awful mid-century architecture. Most of the newer stuff is better, but none of it is very notable and most of it looks "good" only by comparison with the awful stuff that went up after WWII.

by Rich on Jan 24, 2011 7:10 pm • linkreport

Is there something wrong with Manhattan, Boston, and Philly's development? I sincerely mean this; is there something about the way American cities develop that offends preservationists?

And if so, what? And what cities *should* DC model itself after in terms of development?

by EJ on Jan 24, 2011 8:05 pm • linkreport

Wait, I thought cyclists in DC were supposed to be snobbish and wealthy know it alls. Now you're saying its a vehicle reserved for the poor?

Anyway, this is dumb, I wish I could've seen the capitol building when it still surrounded by normal homes and it would have been neat to see the canal that constitution ave. filled in. These things changed, at least today you can have pictures of what things used to look like.

I love what Washington is, and was, and what it will be too. Remember this website is about exploring how to make Washington greater. Enabling more residents and places for people to work and open buisnesses has to be a part of it. Putting a building where there was previous just railroad tracks (while keeping the tracks mind you) isn't the same as tearing down a building to put up a new one even. Should we be celebrating DC's vacant (not the same as open spaces) underused spaces or working to improve them?

by Canaan on Jan 24, 2011 8:08 pm • linkreport

The new development over the tracks behind Union Station could be transformative. In addition to anchoring Union Station as the multi-modal transportation heart of the city, the development will go a LONG way to bridging the city's East-West divide along H-street. The dreary, deserted hump-back (hop-scotch) bridge becomes a bustling main street with shop windows, attractions, and with a central plaza at the top of the bridge. This development will bring H-street right to downtown, ending its isolation on the "wrong side of the tracks."

If a few more floors make this project more financially feasible, bringing better planning, better architecture, and more thoughtful investment to the facility, then I think supporting the higher height limit is a no brainer. We don't need an uninspired, middling project in this location.

by Horace on Jan 24, 2011 8:15 pm • linkreport

@EJ And if so, what? And what cities *should* DC model itself after in terms of development?

"The commission was inspired by the original 1791 plan for the city by architect Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant, which had never been fully realized.[3] The members of the commission also sought to emulate the grandeur of European capitals such as Paris, London, and Rome."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMillan_Plan

by Lance on Jan 24, 2011 9:19 pm • linkreport

Regarding the Burnham Wall. I have been walking down that street a bit lately, and I think with the right lighting, the wall could look great. The right kind of a light wash would emphasis the depth, give shadow effects, and make it really dramatic. As far as the tunnels, some different lighting could improve them also, and they would be interesting opportunities for some kind of public art, or light as art.

by spookiness on Jan 24, 2011 9:35 pm • linkreport

The Burnham Wall shows up in the movie "In the Loop" btw.

by David C on Jan 24, 2011 9:53 pm • linkreport

@Lance,

Capital idea (if you will), we should immediately implement strategies to achieve the population density of Paris (53,890 /sq mi) or at least London (12,450/sq mi). Both are much higher than DC's current density (9,800/sq mi)

by Steve S. on Jan 24, 2011 9:53 pm • linkreport

http://www.walking-uk.com/images/tube_map.gif

For the record, Lance just endorsed expanding metro until it looks like the above.

by Lance<3Subway on Jan 24, 2011 10:30 pm • linkreport

@Steve

emulate the grandeur ... not the density. And actually, historically, Paris at least partially acheived its grandeur by specifically lowering its density. Whole neighborhoods were wiped out by Haussman's retro-fitting of grand avenues and the like into Paris. Even the Champs Elysee wasn't virgin territory. And look at old prints of the Isle de la Cite where Notre Dame is located ... and even there you'll see where density (lots of it) was removed.

by Lance on Jan 24, 2011 10:33 pm • linkreport

Not to mention two of the largest bike share programs in the world.

by Canaan on Jan 24, 2011 10:49 pm • linkreport

Why does the C100 have any power at all?

by JohnDC on Jan 24, 2011 10:56 pm • linkreport

actually, this location would be perfect for allowing a 30-or 40-story building. might look even better behind union station than the low-slung structure that is proposed...

especially when you look at the Google Maps view that oboe posted above:

http://goo.gl/maps/ygyy

a much taller building would frame the station's silhouette quite nicely... whereas the station might get "a bit lost" in front of the low building proposed today.

by nwdcguy on Jan 24, 2011 10:59 pm • linkreport

Lance, if you want someplace to look like Paris, it's going to have to have a lot of density, not be a small southern town where people are afraid of encroaching street cafes. Your personal model for our capital is not Paris but rather Brasilia or Canberra: sterile artificial creations that no one wants to live in or even visit.

People like Lance are essentially small-town folk whose impression of foreign cities comes from Epcot center and whose idea of walkable neighborhoods comes from Disney's Main Street USA, where they believe it belongs.

by Tyro on Jan 24, 2011 11:35 pm • linkreport

I think David makes a great point here. We have people newly arrived to Washington who don't like Washington for what Washington is. They can't appreciate its beauty as a laid back, spread out, open sky city with only monuments (including Union Station) and nature's clouds and blue sky hovering over us. They want to see Washington become another Manhattan, another New York City ... just like every wanna-be city in the country is trying to do. They can't appreciate that we've got something better going for us here. We've got a city where you don't need to live in a cramped box stacked high like rabbit cages, where you don't need to ride in cramped transporatation modes like they do in backwards Eastern European countries, where you don't need to depend on a bicyle for your everyday transporation like the citizens of poor nations must do. They don't understand how good we have it here ... how special this city already is.

I'm pretty sure that comments like these aren't the work of the original Lance, they are some comedian caricaturing Lance-like utterances, for our collective amusement.

Someone conjectured that Lance could be David Alpert's alter ego, but what if Alpert has been Lance all along, creating a comic foil to make his own postings seem more wise?

by David desJardins on Jan 24, 2011 11:52 pm • linkreport

"They can't appreciate its beauty as a laid back, spread out, open sky city with only monuments (including Union Station) and nature's clouds and blue sky hovering over us. They can't appreciate that we've got something better going for us here. We've got a city where you don't need to live in a cramped box stacked high like rabbit cages, where you don't need to ride in cramped transporatation modes like they do in backwards Eastern European countries, where you don't need to depend on a bicyle for your everyday transporation like the citizens of poor nations must do. They don't understand how good we have it here ... how special this city already"

----------

Do you live in Orlando or Washington, DC? While I appreciate not living in a concrete canyon, the entire reason this city is so popular now is because people don't need cars, can use those "cramped transportation modes", can realistically bike or walk, and tend to happily live either stacked in apartments or in townhouses. A recent study shows 88% of Generation Y wants to live in walkable, urban areas and that's what DC provides.

by tagurit on Jan 25, 2011 6:57 am • linkreport

@tagurit

I'm pretty sure it's safe to say whoever wrote that is not a member of Gen X let alone Gen Y.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 9:10 am • linkreport

Not that I have ever been but what is so terrible about Stockholm, Prague, Vienna, Budapest and Athens? All Eastern European cities, aren't they supposed to be beautiful?

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 9:24 am • linkreport

Folks, again...why do you engage Lance? I've said this in other threads. His arguments don't hold up to logic, and often contradict themselves between threads (see: here bikes are for the poor, elsewhere, they are upscale yuppies). Basically, his entire argument begins at his conclusions, then he adjusts his positions on everything else to support the conclusion, so there is absolutely zero point to a debate.

by John on Jan 25, 2011 10:11 am • linkreport

To be fair to the Committee of 100, that projection is taken from a rough average "eye level" elevation for a standing person. Viewed from the front seat of their Lincoln Navigators, which is the only view that really matters to them, the office building might be slightly more obvious.

Nothing really to add here, other than that this was fucking hilarious with a capital 'H'. (Pardon my French)

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 10:41 am • linkreport

I think less development, and more open spaces in cities is good because I'm pro-environment and you need fresh clean air in cities.

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 10:47 am • linkreport

I think less development, and more open spaces in cities is good because I'm pro-environment and you need fresh clean air in cities.

This is a bit like saying you're in favor of "abstinence-only" sex education because you want to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

"More open space in cities" is actually antithetical to "pro-environment". First because it promotes habitat-destroying sprawl at the edges of the exurbia; secondly because it promotes polluting modes of transportation within cities proper.

I'm sure someone else here can elaborate.ob

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 11:11 am • linkreport

I don't think I agree. Open space is good because it allows for more trees and parks and fresh air. Cities by nature are crowded and congested, and they do not allow enough parks for kids to play in.

I don't see how more trees and parks is anti-environment...

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 11:14 am • linkreport

With apologies to John above, I must point out to Lance that during the work of Baron Haussmann in Paris the population of the city proper increased by 313 thousand.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Paris

by Steve S. on Jan 25, 2011 11:15 am • linkreport

@MPC

Could you restate what it is you mean? It sounds like you saying you prefer farms and national parks to cities. That is all well and good, but people have to live somewhere, and the most green, most environmentally friendly place for those people to live is in a dense city.

Keep in mind the topic of this post, it is inconceivable anyone would create "open space" in the area we are talking about.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 11:32 am • linkreport

@MPC re: @oboe

He is saying, at some point the more trees and open space you put into a city, it no longer becomes a city but becomes instead a suburb.

Suburbs are deadly to the environment. There is a ton of literature on the subject, which shows why cities are more green.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 11:37 am • linkreport

Umm, I thought you guys were 'green'. Trees=green, last time I checked. More parks are better for the environment. Tall, dense buildings are definitely unnatural and thus bad for the environment.

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 11:40 am • linkreport

MPC, you are being a sophist and a pest. If you had anything valuable to add to the discussion, you should do that. Otherwise, you're just serving to annoy.

by JustMe on Jan 25, 2011 11:42 am • linkreport

@MPC

Are you being serious or are you 14?

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 11:42 am • linkreport

How on earth are trees bad for the environment??

How on earth are apartment buildings natural and good for the environment??

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 11:43 am • linkreport

I'm not sure why anybody is holding up the Met Life building as a paragon of architectural excellence. Perhaps the best thing that I can say about it, is that it's fairly unique, and provides a very firm anchor to Park Ave.

On the other hand, part of Grand Central was demolished to make way for it, which is pretty much an unforgivable architectural sin.

Also, despite my many quabbles with the people who use words like "viewshed," DC does offer a number of gorgeous vistas of the Capitol and Washington Monument from ground level (as opposed to NYC, which you need to be on top of a building or across the river to appreciate). I'd hate to see these be needlessly obstructed. Horace has absolutely the right idea.

(And, erm. It'd be extravagantly expensive, but lowering the railroad into a covered trench would really be the best option. That way, you can build more floors, and H St doesn't have an awkward hump in the middle.)

by andrew on Jan 25, 2011 11:45 am • linkreport

"More open space in cities" is actually antithetical to "pro-environment". First because it promotes habitat-destroying sprawl at the edges of the exurbia; secondly because it promotes polluting modes of transportation within cities proper.

Really? You're seriously claiming that Central Park is the reason for suburban sprawl around NYC? I really, really don't think so.

I think the desirable density of cities comes almost entirely from building higher and denser in the places where you do build, rather than from getting rid of every last green thing.

by David desJardins on Jan 25, 2011 11:47 am • linkreport

@MPC

Umm., like how are suburbs better than cities, and like um can you link to it in comic book form, cause that'd be really, really cool.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 11:48 am • linkreport

That's just nonsensical. Try to keep the discussion on target, Mike.

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 11:51 am • linkreport

David, there's a difference between having a bordered park and promoting "green space" by demanding set-backs and empty plazas. The former promotes efficient use of space and density, while the later promotes sprawl and dead space.

by JustMe on Jan 25, 2011 11:52 am • linkreport

@David

I did not take that to be oboe's point. MPC is railing against building over the hopscotch bridge and against apartment buildings and in favor of more trees. That pretty much mets the definition of the suburbs.

Oboe by contrast was saying the suburbs are not green because you don't have the density necessary to make public transit be effective and suburbs kill nature and parks by wasteful square miles of roads and parking lots.

By contrast a shared open space like Central Park and dense city living, is massively pro-environmental.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 11:54 am • linkreport

Manhattan has setbacks and plazas too, and I don't agree that those promote either sprawl or dead space. The former is just not reasonable (setbacks just don't add up to enough volume to significantly reduce development potential), and the latter all comes down to good design (there can be great public spaces and there can be crappy ones).

by David desJardins on Jan 25, 2011 11:56 am • linkreport

I'd be curious about MPC's opinions on fishing techniques.

Trolling, in particular.

by Alex B. on Jan 25, 2011 11:57 am • linkreport

@MPC

Actually I am on point. You need to restate your case because to everyone on this board you are making the case that the suburbs are preferable to cities. That is a fine opinion but not based on facts. Apartments and tall buildings are better for the environment.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 11:57 am • linkreport

I'd be curious about MPC's opinions on fishing techniques.

Trolling, in particular.

Are you accusing me of being a troll?

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 11:59 am • linkreport

Just making an observation, Pardner.

by Alex B. on Jan 25, 2011 12:01 pm • linkreport

also Central Park is contiguous open space, which is whats needed for an ecosystem and habitat. Suburbs break apart habitat/ecosystems and replace them with monocultures (grass) that may have some trees and shrubs in it, often not indigenous species that support animal life because they (trees/shrubs) were planted by people. The clearing of natural habitat/ecosystems also creates opportunities for harmful invasive species of trees and shrubs which further diminish the wildlife sustaining capability of the landscape. Its far better for ecosystems that support wildlife to have all the humans together rather than spread out and leave habitat undisturbed.

by Tina on Jan 25, 2011 12:06 pm • linkreport

@David

I'd even go further, I'd love it if DC had a Central Park equivalent, but there just isn't the population and infrastructure available to create it.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 12:07 pm • linkreport

Proponents of the DC Street Car programme need to learn here and now that this kind of foot-dragging will be the rule and not the exception for implementing the DCSC here.

I and another co-worker wrote a white paper advocating something close to what is in the DCSC OVER 22 YEARS AGO and you see how long it has taken for the City to catch up to what two mid-grade transportation planning staffers saw as blatantly obvious for the future of public\mass transportation in this Town over two decades ago.

The same will be true for issues like this railyard. This is all ice-breaking for a lot of establishment elements in this Town that have to get their minds 'round the changes that the DCSC will eventually bring about in the City.

And, frankly, it should not surprise anyone that the Committee of 100 for the Federal City in particular would be out in the hall trying to kill or at least drastically curtail the DCSC with the Death of A Thousand Media Cuts.

The only cure for this kind of thing, according to Winston Churchill, is letting loose the forces of democracy, dangerous and messy though that usually is.

Harold Foster; AAG-ProfGeog, AICP
Acting Exec Office
The Amériçás Institute
Petworth

by Harold Foster on Jan 25, 2011 12:09 pm • linkreport

@Mike D -Rock Creek park? lined with tall apartments on Connecticut Ave and by dense 16th St and Adams Morgan on the east

by Tina on Jan 25, 2011 12:10 pm • linkreport

Apartments and tall buildings are better for the environment.

Are you thinking straight? How is development like that good for the environment?

How on earth do buildings help the environment?

Do you mean to say that dense, low energy-intensive lifestyles are good for the environment?

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 12:10 pm • linkreport

@Tina

That would probably do it, but getting a couple of blocks of apartments and most importantly a METRO line that runs along side the park is the hard park. Central park by contrast has a subway line running N-S on the west side of the park AND the east side of the park, making it super accessible.

@the rest of you, somebody hit me before I spend my entire lunch hour brining MPC up to speed on the absolute rock bottom basics

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 12:16 pm • linkreport

@Mike D-agree about the subway access. The other part: don't waste your time.

by Tina on Jan 25, 2011 12:18 pm • linkreport

@MPC

Some ground rules. If we killed every person south of the Panama canal or limited every 1,000 households to 1 child, I'm sure the natural environment of South America would improve. No? Good. Ok where to place the population, that is the question.

If we increased DC's population density to Manhattan's average, we could empty the entire state of Maryland excepting Montgomery and Baltimore counties. Imagine Maryland with no roads, no houses just a vast natural park. The Bay would be pristine!

That is how apartments and tall buildings help the environment.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 12:45 pm • linkreport

@David desJ:

Really? You're seriously claiming that Central Park is the reason for suburban sprawl around NYC? I really, really don't think so.

Ah, come now; no I'm not arguing that Central Park created suburban sprawl. Obviously you need to provide amenities in the city so folks don't go insane. But we don't keep spaces like Lincoln Park open for "environmental" reasons. They're part of any healthy urban environment, but surely we can agree that they come with a cost. The difficulty is in getting the mix right.

Here's a thought-experiment: Which is better for the enivironment? A sprawling Reston-like model for DC? Or one in which DC is composed exclusively of 50-story Cabrini Green -style apartment blocks, and in which everyone in the greater Washington area lives in tiny one-bedroom apartments within the city limits of the District?

The problem with the "greenspace equals environmentally-friendly" argument is that it's inevitably used to push lower density in urban places.

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 12:46 pm • linkreport

Apartment buildings are just buildings. They don't do anything for the environment at all. Low-energy lifestyles do. You can live dense without monstrosities like this one.

"greenspace equals environmentally-friendly"

It's called the GREEN movement for a reason, not the GREY movement. How you can claim to help the environment when all you're endorsing is building more and more, taller and taller, less natural and less natural?

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 12:50 pm • linkreport

@ MPC: A 300-unit apartment building, sitting empty, is bad for the environment. A 300-unit apartment building that houses 300 households, however, is good for the environment.

What has a bigger carbon footprint? One building with 300 families in it, or 300 single family, suburban homes?

by JS on Jan 25, 2011 12:50 pm • linkreport

@MPC

Ok, how? You have a link or something?

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 12:52 pm • linkreport

Wouldn't sprawl in the suburbs be good, since it takes pressure off of housing in the city, and thus allow more green space in the city?

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 12:52 pm • linkreport

Wouldn't sprawl in the suburbs be good, since it takes pressure off of housing in the city, and thus allow more green space in the city?

In a word, "no." For the reasons Mike D described.

On a personal note, you need to decide if you want to be the shouty guy in the back of the bus, or the thoughtful iconoclast. You're giving me psychic whiplash what with all the alternating between tantrums and Socratic dialogue.

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 12:56 pm • linkreport

I don't know what you're talking about, oboe. All I know is that deforestation is one of the biggest problems in the world, and you guys are for some reason against mass reforestation.

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 1:00 pm • linkreport

"More open space in cities" is actually antithetical to "pro-environment". First because it promotes habitat-destroying sprawl at the edges of the exurbia; secondly because it promotes polluting modes of transportation within cities proper."
-------------

You're talking about degrees. The biggest mistake "smart growth" advocates make today is to plow concrete buildings up to every sidewalk and call it good simply because it's dense, leaving nature to be far away somewhere. I'm not talking about suburban setbacks, but the most livable parts of DC are those areas where the townhomes are setback a little or apartments are built against lush parks.

Never forget that DC has the most park and green space in a major city, and it's that openness mixed with density that makes this city so wonderful to live in. Manhattan certainly wouldn't be thriving today without Central Park.

by tagurit on Jan 25, 2011 1:07 pm • linkreport

Thanks to green roofs, "building" and "green space" need no longer be mutually exclusive.

MPC, I'll go one farther. If green space is better for the environment than buildings, let's bulldoze 80% of the buildings in DC and return them to green space. Surely that would be good for the environment right?

by David C on Jan 25, 2011 1:08 pm • linkreport

On a personal note, you need to decide if you want to be the shouty guy in the back of the bus, or the thoughtful iconoclast.

In my experience, those who fancy themselves the latter are in fact more like the former. People like Lance you can write off as simply ignorant and provincial. MPC is just an obnoxious sophist here to annoy.

by JustMe on Jan 25, 2011 1:10 pm • linkreport

Surely that would be good for the environment right?

Yes. They can live in cottages.

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 1:16 pm • linkreport

@MPC

"Wouldn't sprawl in the suburbs be good, since it takes pressure off of housing in the city, and thus allow more green space in the city?"

You are admiting to either being a troll, too lazy to read what we write or too dumb to understand it or possibly all three.

In an apartment building you have 300 households living on 1 acre of land and have 300 acres of woods in a national park. Have you ever been to the suburbs? Driveways cut down more trees than the houses do, and roads take up more space than driveways.

Your genius idea would clear cut those 300 acres to place roads and single family homes. Mass reforestation? Have you ever, even once been to the suburbs?

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 1:22 pm • linkreport

@Mike D, if that's even your real name:

First, I don't appreciate the sarcasm, and second, as I said, we can move people in either cottages or bungalows.

Have you ever been to the suburbs? Yes and I see a lot more green stuff than in cities.

What's so bad about mass reforestation?

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 1:25 pm • linkreport

@JustMe,

And yet, his Theaetetus-like questioning has led us to the rich topic of whether urban greenspace is truly "eco-friendly". Strange how those acorns turn up!

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 1:37 pm • linkreport

@ Rich -

The Singer Building was never behind Grand Central Terminal. It was located downtown at the corner of Broadway and Liberty Street, where One Liberty Plaza stands today.

The building previously visible behind Grand Central prior to the construction of the (hideous) Pan Am building was actually the railroad's New York Central Building (now called the Helmsley Building) - constructed 21 years after the Singer Building.

Either way, I don't think any new developments behind Union Station will begin to compare to that monstrosity of a parking deck... That thing has to go (at least partially).

by Josh C. on Jan 25, 2011 1:43 pm • linkreport

MPC, I'll go one farther. If green space is better for the environment than buildings, let's bulldoze 80% of the buildings in DC and return them to green space. Surely that would be good for the environment right?

You've brushed against the true outline of MPC's plan, but you're missing the crucial step on which the whole thing pivots: You need to kill off about 90% of the current population of the Greater Metropolitan area. Then we can house the remaining few in either "cottages or bungalows." Hobbit houses, if you will.

Of course, if we decide *not* to kill nine out of every ten citizens--for reasons of political expediency, for example--the plan would be completely unworkable.

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 1:45 pm • linkreport

@MPC

Yeah I picked Mike D at random to hide my ID, and I used my work email with my name spelled out as well. Ask David.

Do the math, and count the trees. My 299 acres fully forested + 1 acre apartment beats your 250 suburban wooded acres + 50 acres of roads any day of the week. Heck I'll even let you cheat and give you 300 suburban acres, I still win.

Give it up, it's by now obvious you love your suburban home and will do anything to self-justify it. Including making yourself look ridiculous.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 1:48 pm • linkreport

@oboe

Hobbit houses ! love it, this must be exactly what MPC has in mind, yeah suburbs look exactly like the Shire last I checked.

And, best part, as I recall the Peter Jackson masterpiece the Shire was nearly devoid of trees.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 1:51 pm • linkreport

I can't even have a serious discussion with you guys. I come up with an idea and you start citing British mythology.

Cottages and bungalows are simply smaller houses, which, if employed properly, could house most people currently within the District AND allow a policy of mass reforestation.

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 1:56 pm • linkreport

@MPC - even assuming you are correct that housing people in tiny bungalows and cottages would be at all feasible, that many people in any kind of reasonable living space would have to be spread quite far apart, necessitating cars and roads to connect them. Not to mention places for parking. This is not low-energy intensive. It's quite the opposite. Moreover, it won't lead to massive reforestation because of all the roads and cottages everywhere.

Reforestation is not the only way to benefit the environment. Life in cities has been shown time and time again to be less energy-intensive than life in lower densities. This is true for myriad reasons, among them the lower transportation needs of city-dwellers and the lower amount of space each person takes up.

by The AMT on Jan 25, 2011 2:02 pm • linkreport

Everyone seems to have missed an important issue about how large land tracts get developed in DC. It works like this...

1) Buy small parcels,
2) consolidate,
3) rezone (either through a map amendment or PUD),
4) flip the property or build a much bigger building that what the original zoning allowed for
5) profit handsomely.

In this case, Akridge testified at an earlier Zoning Commission hearing that they were happy with the measuring point being from the track beds. They purchased the air rights with that understanding.

But because this is DC, Akridge stands to gain a windfall even without developing the land because it will be much more valuable with the rezoning.

Folks, this is about money and getting something for nothing (except lawyer fees). Akridge stands to gain millions of dollars from this rezoning. If I had enough money to be a big time developer, I would play this game too.

by DR on Jan 25, 2011 2:09 pm • linkreport

that many people in any kind of reasonable living space would have to be spread quite far apart

Oh, but stacking people on top of one another in an apartment is fine??? Geez, that's blatantly hypocritical.

If we put everyone in bungalows (cottages for the wealthier), we wouldn't need roads because we could grow our own food, which is less energy intensive than bringing it up 6 flights on an apartment. Plus, that would keep the rent from getting too damn high.

Mass reforestation has to be to centerpiece of any plan to fix the environment. If we get rid of all the apartments and roads and put in bungalows instead, we could walk everywhere and not have to worry about roads, leaving room for mass reforestation.

Additionally, mass reforestation would be a natural barrier against Soviet reconnaissance satellites, because the lush and voluptuous foliage would be a cheap and green way to improve our denial & deception capabilities against Soviet Military Intelligence, both the GRU and the KGB.

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 2:09 pm • linkreport

@MPC

You are the one not being serious. It's all about the math.

Go ahead, magically mandate everyone live in these http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/ and place ALL 300 literally shoulder to shoulder.

You are describing life identical to tent camping at a large camping facility. PS. Ricketts Glen in PA is awesome.

Your 300 acres STILL has fewer trees than my example. Because of the roads and driveways. Sorry dude. AND in real life people will want large houses and 3 car garages not tiny cottages. This only makes the math worse.

You have yet to provide a real world link, paper, picture or anything that resembles reality, thus you open yourself to Lord of the Rings comparisons, which was LOL funnyl

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 2:12 pm • linkreport

Your 300 acres STILL has fewer trees

No, because I prefer small trees, which you can get more of per area of land.

by MPC on Jan 25, 2011 2:14 pm • linkreport

Additionally, mass reforestation would be a natural barrier against Soviet reconnaissance satellites, because the lush and voluptuous foliage would be a cheap and green way to improve our denial & deception capabilities against Soviet Military Intelligence, both the GRU and the KGB.

Okay, see you guys later. I'm finished.

by The AMT on Jan 25, 2011 2:14 pm • linkreport

@all

OMG: So sorry I wasted your time responding to MPC, his latest post shows how nuts he's willing to go. That is seriously straight to the Shire.

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 2:15 pm • linkreport

LOL

Because small trees create such luch and voluptuous foliage.

At least we know what MPC stands for. TROLL

by Mike D on Jan 25, 2011 2:18 pm • linkreport

At the hearing before both the Zoning Commission and the National Capital Planning Commission I testified that the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS) is generally supportive of the proposal to develop the area above the railroad tracks north of Union Station. However, CHRS explained that the proposal will not reconnect the L'Enfant street grid, as claimed by the Office of Planning
CHRS agrees that the development south of H Street would likely provide a better connection between Union Station and the H Street Bridge than is now provided by the Union Station garage. The development north of H Street will be located between 1st and 2nd Streets, NE, but will not front on 2nd Street (separated by the Railway Express building and transformer structure) or 1st Street (separated by the Metro tracks). Thus, the northern part of the development will not connect to the existing street grid and it will be located on a platform, 30-feet above the existing track, which in places are already 20 feet above the streets. The result will be the equivalent of a walled city, not unlike a medieval castle, with its entrance or “gate” located on the H Street Bridge.

by Monte Edwards on Jan 25, 2011 2:21 pm • linkreport

I think this was tried already. I believe the policy was eventually abandoned as unworkable.

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 2:22 pm • linkreport

Akridge stands to gain millions of dollars from this rezoning.

How is that pertinent to the issue of whether the building itself should be built? Whether Akridge makes money because of the rezoning is more or less irrelevant to whether the project worthwhile.

by JustMe on Jan 25, 2011 2:25 pm • linkreport

Sorry, my previous (and last) comment on this topic was a response to the idea of converting DC into an agrarian Utopia. EOM.

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 2:25 pm • linkreport

I actually this this view is more accurate in comparison to the rendering above:

http://goo.gl/qLBgv

Either way, the Committee of 100 (or 50, or however many are still alive), should maybe concentrate their efforts on the ridiculously ugly surface parking lot and middle-of-the-street parking in the view, rather than the nondescript buildings that will be built behind the station.

by Eric on Jan 25, 2011 2:51 pm • linkreport

@Eric,

...the Committee of 100 (or 50, or however many are still alive), should maybe concentrate their efforts on the ridiculously ugly surface parking lot and middle-of-the-street parking in the view, rather than the nondescript buildings that will be built behind the station.

No, see now you're being irrational. C100 is all about protecting the ineluctable beauty of L'Enfant's Plan at all costs--except any cost whatsoever to the greater human goal of Ample Parking. After all, what is the City of L'Enfant if not a celebration of American Freedom. And what is American Freedom if not operating a personal motor vehicle.

Ah, I'm waxing poetic...Lance can explain it better than I can... :)

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 2:56 pm • linkreport

The problem with the "greenspace equals environmentally-friendly" argument is that it's inevitably used to push lower density in urban places.

I don't have to agree with that argument to disagree with yours. Your claim is that putting more open space in cities is bad because it necessarily makes them less dense. That's just not true. It doesn't do any good to refute the flawed arguments of the MPCs of the world by making flawed arguments of your own.

by David desJardins on Jan 25, 2011 3:19 pm • linkreport

Instead of fighting for parking parking parking perhaps the CHRS could spend their money and ample gobs of pro bono lawyer time preventing the demolition of real historic buildings that lie within their own historic district. Why has the CHRS not put time into trying to change the Districts amazingly backwards laws surrounding abandoned properties? An abandoned house on 9th and C streets s.e. was recently torn down- smack in the middle of the historic district. This is a more important problem than trying to restrict new construction [ what does new constrcution have to do with "restoration" anyway?] CHRS seems to be mostly about
restricting density, fighting new transit[ street cars ] fighting bike share programs , putting limits on small businesses so that their friends in Northern Virginia can profit by DC consumers shopping outside of the city, and insisting upon massive parking underneath a re-developed Hines?
Are all of these concerns part of the CHRS charter?
Since when does a "restoration society" concern itself with all of these peripheral issues? If they are so concerned about restoration and stopping demolition why have they not been successful with stopping the Architect of the US Capitol from destroying many close in historic buildings?
Are the board members of CHRS publicly elected ?
If these people are so important- maybe the CHRS offices SHOULD be opened up to a public vote- especially since they have so much power and say over so many aspects of life in the neighborhood that HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH PRESERVATION OF EXISTING HISTORIC STRUCTURES !!!!!

by zztops on Jan 25, 2011 3:20 pm • linkreport

Your claim is that putting more open space in cities is bad because it necessarily makes them less dense. That's just not true.

I'm not sure what we're disagreeing about. After all, we both agree that putting more open space in cities makes them less dense, right? That was my claim. I didn't claim that "putting more open space in cities is bad", only that there's a cost associated with it; in other words, at a certain point, it is bad. This was in response to MPC's notion that "the more parks in a city, the more environmentally friendly it is!"

I think there should be open space in cities--but we do this for the benefit of human beings, not Gaia, right?

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 3:31 pm • linkreport

oboe: Please stop. I almost sprayed coffee on my screen. ;)

by John on Jan 25, 2011 3:32 pm • linkreport

After all, we both agree that putting more open space in cities makes them less dense, right?

No, we disagree about that, because it depends what else you are doing at the same time. Manhattan has a huge amount of open space, and yet it's also denser than other US cities.

I think it's quixotic and wrong to think that the way to increase density in cities is to reduce open space. The density that you build, where you build, is much much much more important than the parks and plazas that provide a bit of greenery.

I understand that you made your comment in response to MPC, but just because he was wrong doesn't mean you can't also be wrong.

by David desJardins on Jan 25, 2011 3:35 pm • linkreport

Just to clarify, when I said...

Here's a thought-experiment: Which is better for the enivironment? A sprawling Reston-like model for DC? Or one in which DC is composed exclusively of 50-story Cabrini Green -style apartment blocks, and in which everyone in the greater Washington area lives in tiny one-bedroom apartments within the city limits of the District?

...I wasn't proposing a DC composed exclusively of 50-story Cabrini Green -style apartment blocks.

Obviously the "best" thing for the environment would be for every human being on Planet Earth to just lie down and stop breathing, but you must compromise in these things.

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 3:36 pm • linkreport

I think it's quixotic and wrong to think that the way to increase density in cities is to reduce open space.

Don't know that I disagree. And yet...one way to increase density in cities is undeniably to reduce open space. It depends on how much open space currently exists, doesn't it.

The density that you build, where you build, is much much much more important than the parks and plazas that provide a bit of greenery.

Speaking of agreement, I agree with this completely.

Anyway, I think we've got a "descriptive-prescriptive impedance mismatch" (for lack of a better phrase) going on here, so I'll bow out gracefully.

by oboe on Jan 25, 2011 3:48 pm • linkreport

@David deJ: You ignore one crucial component. NYC doesn't have a silly heights law. So they can build upwards in Manhattan, while still having large parks and other green space and maintain high density. As long as DC has a blanket heights law, it will have green space pressures.

To wit, this is like the consultant's triangle of good, cheap, and fast. You can only have two of the three. Likewise, here we have blanket heights restrictions, open space, and density. You only get two of the three.

That doesn't mean you open the entire city to giant buildings. In fact, I would exclude downtown, much like they did in the major European cities...effectively have an "old downtown" (in this case "federal downtown") and a central business district of high rises well outside of there.

by John on Jan 25, 2011 4:00 pm • linkreport

As long as DC has a blanket heights law, it will have green space pressures.

It's an issue, but not that much of an issue, because DC also has a tremendous amount of land available for redevelopment that isn't any kind of "open space" now. In Manhattan, you can literally run out of places to build, although even there it's an exaggeration. DC can enormously increase its density without building over the height limit at all.

by David desJardins on Jan 25, 2011 4:21 pm • linkreport

You mean like the basic of this entire thread, where "no dveelopment ever, anywhere" Lance and his C100 NIMBYs are screaming? Where is all of this land for redevelopment, that isn't owned by the Fed and off limits?

by John on Jan 25, 2011 4:33 pm • linkreport

Where is all of this land for redevelopment, that isn't owned by the Fed and off limits?

Population density of Washington, DC (2000) = 9316.4.

Population density of Manhattan (2000) = 66,940.1.

That's a lot more than just height limits.

As for Lance and others screaming, I don't understand why people are wasting time arguing with them. That's your mistake. But, as I said before, your arguments don't get stronger just because your opponents' are weaker.

by David desJardins on Jan 25, 2011 4:37 pm • linkreport

? How does that define all this land you mention that isn't owned by the Feds and off limits? Or are you talking about plowing over residential neighborhoods?

by John on Jan 25, 2011 4:50 pm • linkreport

Or are you talking about plowing over residential neighborhoods?

Don't you mean "building up in residential neighborhoods"?

If you plowed over the residential neighborhood, then you would reduce density, because it would become a parking lot.

by David desJardins on Jan 25, 2011 4:56 pm • linkreport

Clever. You have to plow before you build, but you knew what I was saying. Again the problem being the people who live in the neighborhood just might object to being "built up", unless you are planning on doing eminent domain?

by John on Jan 25, 2011 5:23 pm • linkreport

The original article contained only one of five architectural renderings of what the proposed Union Station air right zoning envelope would look like. To view the entire set of 5:

1. Go to: www.committeeof100.net/Media/c100-encourages-zoning-commission-to-establish-lower-measuring-point-for-union-station-north-zone.html
2. Click on Graphics - UNION STATION NORTH (5.05 MB).

View 5 provides elevation views of the relative heights of the Capitol, Union Station and the proposed air rights zoning envelope.

Monte

by Monte Edwards on Jan 25, 2011 5:40 pm • linkreport

It's simple, John. It's the owner's property to develop. Nobody else has a personal right to decide what is built on his property. You do not own the neighborhood.

For health, safety, and aesthetic reasons, of the city, there are laws that restrict property rights, and certain panels to navigate gray areas. But these are small panels and not plebiscites because it's illiberal to grant ownership rights to a few meddling neighbors.

In fact, it's probably more true that owners do not force density on neighborhoods, but rather that neighborhoods and governments force owners to not build up. With fewer options.

by Neil Flanagan on Jan 25, 2011 5:43 pm • linkreport

@Monte

The relative heights aren't much help in determining whether the view would be significantly affected - it's more just to get a "look it's big!" reaction. The rendered views - especially the current photos - show that the views are already obstructed by trees and, even if they weren't, wouldn't be significantly altered by using the lower measuring point to determine the height of the new buildings. Can you see some of the new building? Sure, but it IMO it doesn't make the view any less grand than it is now. Isn't that the end that the Restoration/Preservationists claim to be pursuing?

by The AMT on Jan 25, 2011 6:17 pm • linkreport

More big bland boxes in DC?

Obviously the goal is to make DC look more like Bethesda, Rosslyn and Cleveland because it looks so much like those horrid cities of Paris and Berlin. That goal is being accomplished faster than anytime since the 50's/60's.

Offices are a necessity but just as you put your toilet out of plain view, it's good to put these ugly necessities on the fringe. We're fast becoming a city of expensive but ugly human file cabinets and concrete canyon streets.

The intellectual dishonesty of measuring height from an overpass is like measuring a person's height from the ankles or knees. The truth is supporters' real goal to to keep building height and concrete coverage going up by any excuse however ridiculous.

The same crowd in the 60's was demanding in the name of progress that DC be covered in freeways. Today's version is that "smart" people know we have to be covered in concrete cubes or we'll miss out economically.

DC's problem with density has to do with poor planning and development, not height. Whole sections of the city still look like Dresden 1945.

Save the bitterness and jealousy against the C100. Unlike the NCPC, the C100's only power is it's prestige as an extraordinary volunteer group of extremely educated renowned urban planners. I doubt any have Navigators, unlike the Bethesda developers. The C100 fought the freeways and won when the self-proclaimed "smart" people then wanted mo' concrete, mo' concrete. They fought that hideous Union Station garage when "smart" people knew we had to have more parking (and forced it to be cut to half it's proposed size).

There is plenty of room for discussion of how we get density in DC greater while still preserving the very human aspects of the center. This mo' concrete, mo' height is just a sophomoric mantra that was a transparent shill for developers in the 50's, 60's, and now. There's nothing "smart" about it.

by Tom Coumaris on Jan 25, 2011 11:03 pm • linkreport

Unlike the NCPC, the C100's only power is it's prestige as an extraordinary volunteer group of extremely educated renowned urban planners.

That hurt. I almost bust a gut laughing.

Weren't we talking about just the volume of the proposed building; i.e., the envelope it could fill? That has nothing to do with whether it's attractive or not. If you want it to be smaller, that's unrelated to wanting it to be more attractive.

by David desJardins on Jan 26, 2011 12:03 am • linkreport

@Mike D If we increased DC's population density to Manhattan's average, we could empty the entire state of Maryland excepting Montgomery and Baltimore counties. Imagine Maryland with no roads, no houses just a vast natural park. The Bay would be pristine!

That is how apartments and tall buildings help the environment.

So, you're putting the environment over the people it's supposed to support? I.e., Take all the folks out of their comfortable homes and stick them in stacked rabbit cages in the middle of the city ... so that 'nature' (i.e., the animals) are free to romp and play and enjoy the now 'natural state' environment of what was Maryland? ...

That's not a goal to move to even if you could ... and I going to repeat and emphasize the even if you could part. 'Cause you see, you couldn't. Once you'd emptied the state of its pesky people, market forces would intervene and some along the way some 'smart' people (really smart people this time) would make the case that we're letting natural resources go to waste ... Natural resources that could be used to make lives ... i.e., HUMAN lives ... better ... Just like what happened post-WWII with the advent of the suburbs ... And then we'd be back where we started. But in the meantime, the damage to the city would have been done ... until the cycle of 'depopulation' began once again.

by Lance on Jan 26, 2011 1:02 am • linkreport

This blog is like cow's cud -- chew, swallow, bring it back up and chew some more. Your cud is nasty. At the end of the day you've proven nothing except you can chew.

Time to spend some time learning about the topic instead of chewing on it and those who might know something.

It's called respect.

Karl

by karl jeremy on Jan 26, 2011 1:48 am • linkreport

"I think there should be open space in cities--but we do this for the benefit of human beings, not Gaia, right?"
---------------

Not actually true. Green infrastructure is a major component of urban planning, for not only human quality of life but also such services as air and water quality, stormwater mitigation, and wildlife habitat. LID bioswales, green roofs, urban tree canopy, et al are very valuable. New York City isn't planting 1 million trees just because they look pretty.

It just takes looking at cities as functioning ecosystems with buildings mixed in rather than the other way around.

by tagurit on Jan 26, 2011 8:38 am • linkreport

I think part of this disagreement about green space comes from the fact that it is a nebulous term. Are we talking about park space, green infrastructure, nature preserves?

I, as usual, agree with oboe that cities need parks and green infrastructure (like green roofs, street trees and bioswales, or even flood-fighting bayous like you find along the Gulf coast) but putting a nature preserve in the middle of the city pushes development farther away and causes sprawl. That is not to say that nature preserves are inappropriate, but they come with an environmental cost that may outweigh the benefit, so we should be choosy about which places we set aside in this way.

Look at Poplar Point. We could set it aside as a nature preserve. Or we could develop it and set aside an equally large nature preserve in Charles County. The amount of green space would be the same - but we'd move people closer to the city and reduce transportation-related pollution. That may or may not be the right choice, but those are the issues that must be balanced.

Again, I'll say that there is no reason why a building can not be green. If this building were constructed with a green roof and a gray-water system, it could actually reduce storm water runoff and heat island effects from the status quo.

by David C on Jan 26, 2011 8:59 am • linkreport

@tagurit,

You make an excellent point, but...you did perform a little ju-jitsu there by converting my "open space" to "green infrastructure".

by oboe on Jan 26, 2011 9:35 am • linkreport

"C100's only power is it's prestige as an extraordinary volunteer group of extremely educated renowned urban planners"

Uh...no. I personally know four members, of whom exactly "none" is educated or renowned as urban planners. They're the same fairly upscale local political gadflies that populate all the other volunteer groups in DC.

by John on Jan 26, 2011 10:20 am • linkreport

I, as usual, agree with oboe that cities need parks and green infrastructure (like green roofs, street trees and bioswales, or even flood-fighting bayous like you find along the Gulf coast) but putting a nature preserve in the middle of the city pushes development farther away and causes sprawl.

I still think that the position that Central Park causes sprawl (or Golden Gate Park, the National Mall, etc.) is totally unsupportable. If it's availability of land to build on that increases density and decreases sprawl, then how can it be that our densest US city is the one with natural barriers all around it and a huge swath of green space right in the middle?

by David desJardins on Jan 26, 2011 10:52 am • linkreport

If it's availability of land to build on that increases density and decreases sprawl, then how can it be that our densest US city is the one with natural barriers all around it and a huge swath of green space right in the middle?

The same way that, despite higher taxes on the rich, we still have rich people. No doubt Warren Buffet would be richer if we didn't tax him, just as NYC would be denser if we opened up Central Park to development.

From a science standpoint, NYC isn't really an example of anything with respect to green space and density. All cities have parks. If there were some cities without parks and low density, and then other cities with lots of parks and high density that would show us something. But as it is, you have no control group.

Still, if NYC sold Central Park to developers (and removed the weight limit on buildings in Manhattan) density would go up in Manhattan. That seems pretty apparent.

by David C on Jan 26, 2011 11:09 am • linkreport

@David des

I'm agreeing with David C and just giving the inverse example. If Central Park was the size of Montana then trying to keep NYC together with subway lines etc. wouldn't make any sense.

What oboe and others are saying, It's just a matter of degree, create too much green space and you are stretching too far to consolidate services. Keep in mind this is just a theoretical exercise, in reality no city comes anywhere near to this problem.

Well with perhaps the exception of Detroit and Youngstown, both cities are actively ripping up streets and getting smaller. But that is way off topic.

by Mike D on Jan 26, 2011 11:23 am • linkreport

@Lance

Sigh. I was just making a point, having too many Maryland sized national parks are not a pressing problem.

However the mess that is most of the NE is a problem which could be improved upon. That's kind of the point to this blog, we love DC, we all do, but parts of it could be better.

AND parts like the entire downtown and mall area are nearly perfect.

by Mike D on Jan 26, 2011 11:30 am • linkreport

Wow, a lot of inertia here. That's what I was trying to get across with my klunky "descriptive-prescriptive impedance mismatch".

One side is arguing that housing all humans in MD/DC/VA in a single, 100-block by 100-block, 150-story building (along with all commercial services) would be better for the environment than the status quo.

The other side--from what I can tell--agrees, but argues that this wouldn't be a very pleasant living situation.

And, finally, MPC appears to be waiting for our very own Pol Pot to emerge from the agricultural preserve of upper Montgomery County, march into the city, and usher in a new Golden Age of agrarian purity.

Did I miss anything?

by oboe on Jan 26, 2011 11:57 am • linkreport

@oboe: Heh, one would almost think people are taking thought experiment examples of a point, pretending they are literal suggestions, then arguing against the resulting straw man.

by John on Jan 26, 2011 1:23 pm • linkreport

Manhattan is dense because of its growth boundaries, including Central Park. Not despite them. I thought everyone understood that.

It's simply not true that if Central Park had never been built, then Manhattan would have more people in it now.

Oboe didn't say it is a "matter of degree", or that there is an appropriate balance of open space to developed space. He said less open space always means more density. That's the problem. It's not true.

by David desJardins on Jan 26, 2011 3:06 pm • linkreport

@David desJ

I disagree with you. There are plenty of cities which are dense dispite no growth boundaries. And Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn are all dense as well and they do not have growth boundaries.

I'd say it is impossible to know how many people Manhattan would or would not have. Without Central Park, I could easily make an argument in either direction.

Open Space does always mean less density, that is a truism. The National Mall has zero population. So it is true. However there are a lot of factors that go into that equation, so you can finesse it. i.e. Central Park makes living in Manhattan much more desirable so it attracts more people.

And on the other hand if you cut the Park in half and build apartment buildings, I'd be willing to bet a lot of money you'd increase the density of Manhattan. But again there are tipping points, pave over Central Park entirely and some people move away.

by Mike D on Jan 27, 2011 9:36 am • linkreport

Open Space does always mean less density, that is a truism. The National Mall has zero population. So it is true.

No, that does not make it a "truism", because you have to also calculate how much the existence of the open space affects the density of what is built on the rest of the land.

by David desJardins on Jan 27, 2011 10:38 am • linkreport

@David

? I think you are agreeing with me, isn't that exactly what I said in my 3rd and 4th paragraphs?

by Mike D on Jan 27, 2011 10:42 am • linkreport

Let me say it again, Open Space does always mean less density. Alaska is not very dense.

Urban open space is tremendously desirable and that is what raises the value (hence density if allowed) of the very near (walkable) populated area.

This open space can become even more valuable if its accesiblity is expanded via Subway / Bus. Again with Alaska as the example, it isn't very valuable to a New Yorker because it isn't accessible.

by Mike D on Jan 27, 2011 10:51 am • linkreport

I should have used Rock Creek as the example. As an urban open space it nearly has zero value, because of a severe lack of accessibility. The closest Metro is 0.8 miles away on the Red line and another line has a single stop about 1 mile away. Rock Creek is essentially a neighborhood park for the NW and something the rest of us might drive to. It is not an urban open space.

Central park by contrast has 24 subway access points, most are right on the park's fringe and of those 24 the furthest is 2 blocks away, a 10 minute walk. The 24 points are serviced by 15 different subway lines with access from Harlem (2 lines), Washington Heights (2), Bronx (6), Queens (3), Brooklyn (3) and all of them snaking up and down Manhattan. This makes the Park much more than a neighborhood walking destination, it is the average New Yorker's back yard.

by Mike D on Jan 27, 2011 12:54 pm • linkreport

@Mike D - 2 blocks north of the Cleveland Park metro stop on the east side of Conn Ave, across from Rodman St, is a trailhead for the Melvin-Hazen trail.

1 block south of the Woodley metro stop is a paved trail to a fitness trail (stops to push-ups etc.) and the paved RCtrail.

4 blocks from the Dupont Cir stop is the "P St. beach"

There are numerous access points to RCP from Mt. Pleasant.

A bus stops at Woodely and Klingle 1/2 a block from Klingle Valley.

These are just the access points I'm most familiar with.

i agree fully RCP is not nearly as accessible by foot or bike and/or via public transport as it should or could be but you apparently aren't aware of how to access it currently.

Fort Dupont Park in NE is accessible by public transport too.

by Tina on Jan 27, 2011 1:18 pm • linkreport

^Fort Dupont in SE

by Tina on Jan 27, 2011 1:30 pm • linkreport

@Monte: I don't see Union Station on the L'Enfant Plan map for the City of Washington. In fact, Union Station (not to mention the Amtrak rail tracks) seems at odds with the street network envisioned by L'Enfant. Shouldn't CHRS and Committee of 100 be advocating for the demolition of Union Station so you can be consistent with your bible, the L'Enfant Plan?

by Jason on Jan 27, 2011 1:35 pm • linkreport

@Tina

Thanks ! I’ve got max zoom on Conn and Rodman and can’t see the trailhead, but I’ll take your word for it. Even still that’s 0.3 miles to the trailhead and another 0.4 mile to the river and trail. 0.7 miles is about a 15 minute walk? Central Park’s Longest access point is 0.2 miles. So even comparing RCP’s shortest to CP longest, RCP loses by a wide margin. And obviously CP has many access points within 0 to 100 feet.

Woodley at best is 0.2 miles to the RCP trail. But at that point you are a lot closer to the entrance of Dumbarton Oaks Park. I hadn’t considered it as a Rock Creek entrance because the zoo is in the way and at this point RCP is tiny, you aren’t going to host 5,000 sitting to listen to Shakespeare in the park at this location. You’d have to walk another mile or two for a spot big enough for that.

Mt. Pleasant? Agreed but that only makes it a neighborhood park as I mentioned, I was attempting to show RCP’s access from the wider region via fast (subway) transit, to compare apples to apples.

And yes, I am not very aware how to easily access RCP, that’s part of the my problem and RCP’s problem.

by Mike D on Jan 27, 2011 2:28 pm • linkreport

@Jason

Egads don't tempt Monte. They nearly torn down Union Station in 1958 as "The PRR and the B&O continued to offer their building around, considering proposals to replace it with an office block or to turn it into a museum or a shopping mall"

Also:
A report by an Interstate Commerce Commission examiner in 1958 stated:

"For more than a century the railroad passenger coach has occupied an interesting and useful place in American life, but at the present time the inescapable fact — and certainly to many people an unpleasant one — seems to be that in a decade or so this time-honored vehicle may take its place in the transportation museum along with the stagecoach, the side-wheeler and the steam locomotive. It is repetitious to add that this outcome will be due to the fact that the American public now is doing about 90 percent of its traveling by private automobile and prefers to do so."

That could be a C100 press release from today!

by Mike D on Jan 27, 2011 2:41 pm • linkreport

@ Mike D - you can see the brown sign that says "Melvin-Hazen..." on google maps street view. Thats the trailhead. The M-H trail is itself a destination.

There's no reason to count "getting to Rock Creek" as useless travel time or distance. The M-H trail is part of RCP and its beautiful. You're splitting hairs.

From the trail near Woodley you can get anywhere in RCP. True also from the trail access near Foggy Bottom. There is also access from 16th Street NW from Columbia Hgts to Silver Spring.

Again I agree RCP is not nearly as accessible by foot/bike as it should or could be. The reason for that is mostly NP policies. But its not as isolated or difficult to go for a woods walk or trail ride as you've described it either. I encourage everyone to spend more time picnicing, walking, hiking, running and riding in RCP.

by Tina on Jan 27, 2011 3:03 pm • linkreport

...5,000 sitting to listen to Shakespeare in the park at this location. get off the 16th St. bus at Carter Baron for this every September. Yeah RCP isn't Central park. Its bigger and wilder. Its beautiful. We're damn fortunate to have it. Access could be better but if you or anyone want to go you can. There are easy ways that don't require a car.

by Tina on Jan 27, 2011 3:08 pm • linkreport

@Tina

I'm 90% with you and you're making good points, but if getting to a walking trail is your definition of a park... Well, I can reach my local sidewalk in a minute.

My point has been, RCP is not an urban park where 100,000 can easily access it via a short walk and enjoy a week night evening in its confines and all 100,000 get home in 30 minutes. RCP is basically a huge neighborhood park and a very nice bike trail. Slap two Metro lines alongside it running up 16th and Oregon and RCP's value to DC rises by 100 times.

by Mike D on Jan 27, 2011 3:14 pm • linkreport

Yeah RCP isn't Central park. Its bigger and wilder. Its beautiful. We're damn fortunate to have it.

Agree 100%

by Mike D on Jan 27, 2011 3:17 pm • linkreport

if a walking trail is your definition of a park... Well, I can reach my local sidewalk in a minute. There is a world of difference just 20 feet onto the M-H from the sidewalk on Conn Ave. 50 yards in and you can't hear cars. If you don't recognize that difference then clearly you are not someone who values what RCP has to offer.

As for 100,000 people a day, the Carter Barron hosts 30,000. Whats the population diff between DC and NYC? Why are trying to set Central Park up as superior to RCP? They are very different parks with different histories and missions.

Again I agree NPS makes RCP too car centric/dependent but there is a subway along the west side of RCP and a major busline along the east. I think you just don't "get" what RCP has to offer. Its much more than what you describe it. I think you just haven't "discovered" RCP, and that you won't ever given that you equate your sidewalk with the M-H trail.

by Tina on Jan 27, 2011 3:34 pm • linkreport

The Appalacian Mountain Club lists the Melvin-Hazen trail (and the 8.5 mile RT hike from this trailhead two blocks from the metro) on its list of 7 best car-free public transport accessible hikes from Maine to DC.
http://www.outdoors.org/publications/outdoors/2009/getout/carless-hikes.cfm

by Tina on Jan 27, 2011 3:51 pm • linkreport

Responding to:@Monte: I don't see Union Station on the L'Enfant Plan map for the City of Washington. In fact, Union Station (not to mention the Amtrak rail tracks) seems at odds with the street network envisioned by L'Enfant. Shouldn't CHRS and Committee of 100 be advocating for the demolition of Union Station so you can be consistent with your bible, the L'Enfant Plan?
by Jason on Jan 27, 2011 1:35 pm

No, Jason. we are advocating celebration, not demolition, of Union Station.
The Committee of 100 is guided by the values inherited from the L’Enfant Plan and McMillan Commission, which give Washington its historic distinction and natural beauty, while responding to the special challenges of 21st century development. Our work advocates responsible planning and land use in Washington, D.C. that is consistent with those values. The 1910 Height Act implements those values and the application of the Height Act is at issue in the Union Station air rights case.
Railroads came to Washington well after the L'Enfant Plan and Union Station came to exist as result of the 1903 Union Station Act, to help fulfill a longstanding goal of residents, Congress, and many others to provide a gateway that proudly represents Washington and implements the principles of the McMillan Commission.
Union Station replaced two small railroad stations, one of which was located on the mall . When Union Station opened in 1907, increased capacity boosted the city’s economy and gave visitors, as one guidebook wrote, “a proper attitude towards the importance of Washington.”
William Wright testified before the Zoning Commission opposing the use of the bridge as the measuring point for the air rights development. Mr. Wright explained that architects Daniel Burnham and Company, railroad engineers, Congress, and city officials recognized Union Station was part of a neighborhood by: (1) limiting the station’s elevation to ensure it deferred to the Capitol and (2) establishing Columbus Plaza and extending the Capitol Grounds to allow impressive views between two landmarks.
Those are the principles that CHRS and the C100 seek to protect in this air rights case.
Monte

by Monte Edwards on Jan 27, 2011 4:46 pm • linkreport

@Monte Edwards:

You expressed a valid point about the goals and intentions of the Committee of 100 (and other historic societies). I totally agree that the city should impose some limits on development consistent with values and historic preservation. I have two questions:

1) At what cost? The Height Act has an economic cost. Should we be willing to bare it no matter what?

2) How should we measure and gauge the values implicit in the Height Act and similar restrictions? What if people feel differently now than they did during L'Efant's day? What if the consensus that led to height restrictions no longer exists?

As you can probably tell, I am against blanket height restrictions. They are hideously expensive--but largely invisible--costs. Blanket government mandates, like the Height Act, are the worst type of regulation.

I see the desire to preserve historic sections of the town as admirable. I don't see how this is an all-or-nothing debate, either. It would be possible to raise the cap all over the city, eliminate it in some places, or raise it in some and keep it constant in others. There should be compromise, at least theoretically.

I also tend to think concerns about historic buildings TEND to be overweighted at the margin. We want things to preserve in the future, and part of that is building new stuff.

I only wish I knew who to donate money to lobby on behalf of changes like these.

Like H.L. Mencken, I'm thankful I'm not a Republican. But deregulation like this should be right up their alley!

by WRD on Jan 27, 2011 5:11 pm • linkreport

What is it with C100 people mouthing empty platitudes in long elaborate stemwinders?

by John on Jan 27, 2011 6:08 pm • linkreport

Thank you John:
Merriam-Webste Definition of STEM-WINDER
1 a stem-winding watch
2 [from the superiority of the stem-winding watch over the older key-wound watch] : one that is first-rate of its kind; especially : a stirring speech

by Monte Edwards on Jan 27, 2011 8:54 pm • linkreport

If you consider "empty platitudes" complimentary, you're welcome.

by John on Jan 27, 2011 9:25 pm • linkreport

There are plenty of DC locations with subway stops outside the l'Enfant city that are appropriate for high rises. Upper Connecticut, Wisconsin, upper 14th/16th/Georgia, Benning Road, Anacostia, etc. They would no more to affect the old city than Crystal City and Rosslyn do now. Many are economically depressed now.

Incentives like avoiding the height limit would be appropriate in those areas. If Virginia and even PG County (with Port Washington) can plan these clusters so could DC. The lack of will is a result of not only NIMBY pressure but of total lack of imagination on part of DC planners and their equally unimaginative developer masters. These developers only want to keep thinking inside the (boring cube) box and increase size in areas that are already proven
financially successful.

This strains the old city too much. The l'Enfant city is already choking on pollution and congestion. Eventually making the old city all look like K Street is just not appealing.

by Tom Coumaris on Jan 28, 2011 11:01 am • linkreport

New urbainists seem to have a low standard of approving anything that is more desne, as long as it does not include any new grade seperated vehicluar roads. We all know that that RR corridor has far greater potential.

http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/2008/02/extending-legacy-with-grand-arc.html

The Committee of 100 likewise has falled well short of what they claim to support, notably their discraceful betrayal of the USNCPC Extending the Legacy un-named South Capitol Mall

http://continuingcounterreformation.blogspot.com/2010/11/freemasonry-lets-america-down.html (follow the links within)

We must have a lot of the type of people who hold a wet finger up to see which way the political winds blow rather then express much in the way of independent thought to allow such "planning."

I say the so-called Burnham plan is a demolition special!

by Douglas Willinger on Jan 31, 2011 5:24 pm • linkreport

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