Friday, July 30, 2010

What's happening at 5915 Georgia Avenue?

I was riding past this great old art deco building near the corner of Georgia and Missouri and the door was wide open. Major restoration was going on inside. What's moving into this space? The building permit on the window said "Restaurant - A2"...I'm dying to know more...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Georgia Ave resident survey results released

The Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force has released the results of the survey that it distributed to residents, businesses, and others who have interest in developement along the Georgia Avenue corridor in the spring of 2010 (the survey focuses on Lower Georgia Ave) .

Reading through the survey results, I gathered that the majority of the respondents have similar feelings (which probably isn't surprising for long-time residents of the area): that Georgia Avenue has huge potential but at the moment is not nearly reaching it. Woefully underutilized commercial spaces, lack of cleanliness, lack of safety, and pedestrian and bike unfriendliness are some of the issues mentioned in the comments section. More businesses are highly desired, with grocery stores and sit-down restaurants topping people's wish lists. Cultural amenities are also desired, but for the most part sparsely available. Respondents stated that what makes them want to go to Georgia Ave is "proximity", but due to the aforementioned shortcomings, residents mostly travel to other parts of the city to meet many retail, cultural, and general quality-of-life needs.

One comment that interested me was the one that states that Georgia Ave is "the Fulton Street of DC", which made me think of the recent "Urbanism comes in many shapes and colors" discussion on Greater Greater Washington. Although Fulton Street's pedestrian mall area appears blighted, it's actually a very financially successful corridor. And yet:

There are other aspects of Fulton Mall that everyone agrees are problematic. For example, there are no benches, and many of the upper floors of the buildings are entirely vacant. Historic buildings have garish facades covering up their beautiful detailing. However, the street has many small, independent shops, good ground floor permeability, some street trees, and excellent transit.

(Sound familiar?)

We need to avoid the tendency to assume that good urbanism only looks like whatever we like. Good urbanism is about creating places that many people want to go, where they are safe, where there are activities, and where they don't have to travel long distances or be forced to use automobiles to satisfy life's everyday needs.

Daniel Nairn, author of Street Value: Shopping, Planning, and Politics at Fulton Mall, suggests that "the perpetual calls to 'revitalize' Fulton may be more situated in particular cultural values than anchored to actual numbers...the real motivation behind the various revitalization schemes has not been to create a more successful retail environment, but rather to create a public amenity attractive to the new affluent white residents moving in to the brownstones and condos around it."

I think these are important points, and I hope they are kept in mind as Georgia Avenue's future is planned.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Old Takoma Ace Hardware opens tomorrow!

I couldn't be happier. This will save me from having to go to Strosniders all the time (not that there's anything wrong with Strosniders, it's just a whole lot easier to get to Old Takoma from Brightwood). From a press release:

Old Takoma Ace Hardware Opens July 7, 2010
A Cool New Addition to Takoma Park

The transformation of Old Takoma continues with the opening of Old Takoma Ace Hardware at 7001 Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park. The store is a part of the group “A Few Cool Hardware Stores” with six other locations in DC and Baltimore, and operates as an independently owned retailer under the Ace Hardware cooperative. This new location has more than 7,500 square feet of retail space with ample parking in back as well as convenient metro accessibility (Takoma Metro Red Line).

Old Takoma Ace is the first suburban store for the group. “We chose Takoma Park for a variety of reasons,” co-owner Gina Schaefer explained. “We prefer vibrant urban locations with a lot of foot traffic. We thought that the residents of Takoma Park would appreciate and understand our business model.”

The store will offer a diverse inventory of more than 25,000 products that will include eco-friendly brands to cater to the green sensibility of the Takoma Park community like no-VOC Mythic paint, Mrs. Meyer’s and Seventh Generation cleaning products, and organic fertilizers from Jobe’s. Old Takoma Ace will also offer specialty services including key cutting, paint matching, glass and wood cutting, and screen repair, plus tool rentals and an enhanced lawn-and-garden section to help customers tackle those weekend projects. Indeed, the store endeavors to be not just a place to stock up on hammers and nails, but to become the community’s home-maintenance hub.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Youth Program taking requests for jobs around the neighborhood

The Coolidge High School base of the DDOE Summer Youth Program is taking requests from neighborhood residents for jobs that need to be done (i.e., picking up trash, landscaping, weeding, mulching, painting decks, planting flowers, transplanting, painting porches, etc) within a one mile radius of the school (an area that includes most of Brightwood, Takoma, and Manor Park).

All the services are free (you supply the materials) and can be scheduled by calling Jacklyn Ellison at (202) 439-5157.

From what I understand, they’re really looking to keep the kids busy, and nobody should hesitate to call with project requests.

I saw the kids this morning as I passed by Coolidge, wearing their reflective vests and armed with garbage bags and trash-picker-uppers. They split up into groups and headed in different directions to do some (much-needed, I must say) clean-up of the sidewalks and streets.

Summary of the first Walter Reed redevelopment community workshop is online

A summary of the first community forum, held on June 9, is available here, complete with plenty of comments from attendees regarding how they'd like to see the area develop, and what they don't want it to become.

(The second of four community workshops will be held on Saturday, July 10 at 10:00 am in Delano Hall on the Walter Reed campus.)