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  #61  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2010, 2:08 PM
blockski blockski is offline
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Well, didn't see this coming.

John Catoe has resigned, effective in April.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...av=hcmoduletmv

Just prior to announcing his decision, he held a rather innovative blogger roundtable with DC bloggers (and bloggers only) with no subject off limits, and everything on the record.

Some recaps:

http://www.welovedc.com/2010/01/14/t...th-john-catoe/

http://www.movingmomentarily.com/201...toe-human.html

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=4613

http://www.wtfmetro.com/2010/01/q-with-john-catoe.html

http://unsuckdcmetro.blogspot.com/20...und-table.html

It's a bold move when the Metro GM invites the author of a blog called "Unsuck DC Metro" to talk, face to face.

With that in mind, despite his resignation it's a unique way to really reach out to the kinds of people that can both be your harshest critics but also your most passionate advocates.

Anyway, all of us in DC are still processing what all this means. Metro faces the largest crisis in its history, with both long and short term budget issues, safety concerns, serious capital improvement needs, and a system that is already straining against the theoretical capacity of the current infrastructure.
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  #62  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2010, 3:33 PM
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Push on for Wisconsin Ave. streetcars (Washington Examiner)

The Washington Examiner published an article today about the campaign of the Wisconsin Avenue Streetcar Coalition to build support for a streetcar route from the Friendship Heights and Tenley metro stations along Wisconsin Avenue to the the terminus of the Georgetown - Benning Road streetcar line. Here is the link for the Coalition's Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gi...2402429&ref=ts


Push on for Wisconsin Ave. streetcars

By: Kaitlin Schluter
Special to The Examiner
March 21, 2010

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/lo...-88598262.html


A group of D.C. residents along the Wisconsin Avenue corridor are clamoring to bring streetcars to their neighborhoods.

Project maps currently show a plan to build 37 miles of streetcar track in the D.C. area -- a hefty undertaking that began construction in Anacostia last year. On area maps, that proposed route is marked by dotted lines.

"We want more than a dotted arrow, we want some track on the ground," said Ben Thielen, head of the Wisconsin Avenue Streetcar Coalition and a Glover Park resident.

Thielen's group has asked the District Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of a route alignment along Wisconsin Avenue to provide places like Tenleytown more access. Thielen prefers an alignment where two lanes of streetcars would replace curbside parking. He says the change will relieve congestion in Georgetown as people will be more apt to ditch the car keys if another transit option is available.

According to DDOT spokesman John Lisle, the uncertain future of the line may be determined by community support.

"The dotted line represents the possibility of putting a line there if that's something the city and residents and businesses in Georgetown all agree is a good idea," Lisle said.

According to the DDOT's report in October 2005, the Friendship Heights to Georgetown corridor had received high ratings in terms of potential streetcar ridership, accessibility and minimal environment impact. However, the report states the area is "already highly developed and does not include any city economic development initiatives."

But support appears to be growing. The Coalition's Facebook page is up to 146 members, the D.C. chapter of the Sierra Club is endorsing streetcars along Wisconsin Avenue, and the organization is trying to line up backing from more commissioners with advisory neighborhood committees.

"If you look at the density and need for mass transit and connection [between neighborhoods] -- it's a no-brainer," said Brian Cohen, ANC commissioner for Glover Park and Cathedral Heights.

Not everyone wants streetcars in the neighborhoods. Glover Park resident Alan Carpien said they would add to congestion to the area, noting the streetcars were originally taken out of the area and should be kept that way.

"I can't think of anything that would ruin the neighborhood more than a streetcar line and, frankly, this is a bad idea," Carpien said.
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  #63  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2010, 4:39 PM
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High-rises planned near Alexandria's Eisenhower Metro station (Washington Examiner)

High-rises planned near Alexandria's Eisenhower Metro station

By: Bill Myers
Examiner Staff Writer
March 28, 2010

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/lo...-89295887.html


A private development company is set to announce a plan for a set of high-rise buildings that would transform Alexandria's skyline.

The Hoffman Co. is seeking approval to build three towers next to the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station. It would add more than 1.3 million square feet of residential space to the city, one of the region's tallest buildings and another 70,000 in retail, including a large Harris Teeter store, Alexandria development chief Gwen Wright said.

[IMG]http://media.washingtonexaminer.com/images/250*140/eisenhowertoned2.jpg[/IMG]
A rendering shows the view of the towers from the Beltway. (Courtesy Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning)

The proposal calls for 140,000 square feet more than called for in the city's original master plan, but Hoffman officials have promised to add 55 affordable condominiums or apartments into the mix — the largest affordable housing contribution by a developer in Alexandria, Wright said.

It's part of an ambitious and widespread effort to move the suburbs up in the air. Planning chiefs believe that the future of city planning lies in densely packed, mixed-use high-rises, close to mass transit, where residents can walk to work, shop and play.

One of the planned towers would reach 370 feet, making it one of the tallest in the Washington area, Wright said.

If approved by the city council, the plan would require Alexandria and Metro officials to rework the nearby station, with a new bus loop and kiss n' ride. The statue of Dwight Eisenhower also would be moved from Holland Lane to the center of the three towers. The area will be called "Eisenhower Station Square," Wright said.

The work would cost taxpayers about $3 million, Wright said.

The plan is already getting a thumbs up from local development officials.

"It's something that's going to be a great statement for Alexandria's development," said Val Hawkins of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. "If you're coming along the Woodrow Wilson Bridge or coming up [Interstate] 495, it's going to be a really impressive skyline."

Wright stressed that, though the new tower would be among the tallest, it would be built in a valley, which means it would appear to be shorter than, say, the George Washington Masonic Memorial.

Hoffman officials didn't respond to requests for comment.

The plans are scheduled to be reviewed by the Alexandria planning committee on April 6 and the full city council on April 17.
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  #64  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2010, 6:25 PM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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The work would cost taxpayers about $3 million, Wright said.
So uh, the developer whose project is mandating these renovations is going to pay for this, right?

I'm all for stuff like this because it means integrating large buildings with the transportation system but you'd think they'd be the ones doing the modifications to the existing infrastructure.
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  #65  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2010, 2:02 AM
Jasonhouse Jasonhouse is offline
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^Agreed. No idea why the city would pay for the expenses a developer is incurring, especially when that developer is already breaking other rules and wanting a pass.
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  #66  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 4:49 AM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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Yeah. Still a cool project and I hope it happens.

I mean, look at this, in combination with neighboring projects I can't believe how mahoosive the Eisenhower Av District. of Alexandria is getting.

http://hoffmantowncenter.com/community_siteplans.html

Basically all of the blue shaded buildings are done or under construction, and half the orange shaded ones are done or a done deal, so it looks like it really will fill out like on the map.

Last edited by llamaorama; Apr 1, 2010 at 5:16 AM.
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  #67  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 11:06 AM
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^ Local governments in the DC region have done a decent job encouraging growth near metro stations but it is striking how much room there still is for growth around the stations. This development around the Eisenhower Ave. station is just one example. 2,200 homes were planned to be built around the Vienna station by Pulte, tremendous growth is already occurring and more is planned by the future Silver Line stations along the Dulles corridor. Montgomery Co. approved a great land-use plan for dense, walkable development around the White Flint station. The Rhode Island Ave station is going to be redeveloped.

There was a discussion the other day about the land-use surrounding Capitol South on the Orange/Blue line. The huge Congressional parking lot is there-- it holds much potential for development (though this is unlikely to occur any time soon). There is plenty of land around the Tenley station that can be developed. Similarly, there is 3-4 acres of empty space above L'Enfant Plaza, next to the CSX tracks that could be built into another block of office space.

We have this multi-billion dollar investment in metro. We should encourage as much development as possible around the stations, decreasing sprawl and helping to build ridership.
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  #68  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2010, 1:08 PM
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Metro woes may put federal funding for transit projects at risk

Quote:
The deterioration of Washington's Metro system could jeopardize federal funding for new transit projects in the area, including a Purple Line light-rail system in Maryland and streetcar networks in Arlington County and the District.

In awarding highly competitive funding for new projects, the Federal Transit Administration considers applicants' ability to maintain their current transit systems. Because governments in Maryland, the District and Northern Virginia are partially responsible for funding Metro, the FTA will weigh the safety and reliability of the Metro system before granting money for new transit lines, transportation planners said.

"The bottom line is, we'll have to solve the Metro problem in order to do new things," said Ronald F. Kirby, transportation planning director for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
Does anyone know whether Fenty's budget that was released yesterday included funding for Metro? Apparently Virginia is ready to provide local funding, but it will be contingent on DC and MD also providing local funding.
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  #69  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2010, 1:47 PM
novawolverine novawolverine is offline
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There's still a good amount of area around Hoffman/Eisenhower area to develop. It will look pretty interesting when complete, dramatically different from now, which is dramatically different from 15 yrs ago.

I'm not sure what Fenty has appropriated to metro but I wouldn't get hopes up in this environment. It's going to be really tough squeezing anything else out of the budget and right now. There's a FairShare movement going on so people ask their representatives to get money to Metro.
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  #70  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2010, 2:34 PM
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Southwest neighborhood in D.C. takes a turn for the better (Washington Post)

Southwest neighborhood in D.C. takes a turn for the better

By Lisa Rein
Washington Post
Tuesday, April 27, 2010; B01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...?hpid=newswell

For 50 years, Southwest Washington was divided in half by a mall and an office complex that withered with age. Like the freeway that isolates the neighborhood from downtown, Waterside Mall left its community without a center.

Today, the mall is gone, two gleaming glass office towers with a splashy ground-floor Safeway supermarket have risen in its place and the road that was mothballed to build it is back, with wide sidewalks for pedestrians. Fourth Street might be a stretch of asphalt over two city blocks, but its reappearance in a neighborhood plagued by a generation of poor urban design is an important milestone in its revival.


Maya Tate, 9, waits for her grandfather to bring out her birthday cake from the Safeway supermarket that rose in place of the Waterside Mall in Southwest Washington. (Melina Mara - The Washington Post)

The new pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use project at the Metro's door, Waterfront Station, is the first of three legs of an $800 million redevelopment of 1.2 million square feet for offices, the same amount of residential space and at least 110,000 square feet devoted to shops and restaurants. A CVS and a Bank of America are moving back soon from temporary quarters. A Subway and another restaurant -- one with tablecloths run by the owners of Tunnicliff's Tavern on Capitol Hill -- have signed leases. Three District government agencies moved into the office space this month.




At Sixth Street and Maine Avenue two blocks away, Arena Stage will reopen this fall after a $125 million makeover, expanding its footprint with a new playhouse and rehearsal, office and public space.

"The bottom line is that Southwest is back," said Andrew Litsky, chairman of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for the area and a resident since 1977. "For everyone who was complaining there was a paucity of everything, they're wrong."

Southwest, in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, is a mix of federal workers, the elderly, professionals and public housing. It was targeted by the federal government for wholesale urban renewal in the 1950s, with blocks of brick rowhouses almost entirely torn down. Thousands of residents were displaced.

New modernist architecture replaced the old, with vast stretches of concrete, high-rises and minimal stores. It was the opposite of the style favored by today's city planners, who believe that Washington should be remade into walkable neighborhoods with dense development around Metro stations and first-floor retail.

Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), who represents Southwest, calls the Metro and the waterfront "built-in amenities" that will give urgency to redevelopment as soon as financing begins flowing. A water taxi is scheduled to launch this summer, serving the waterfront in Southwest and the Nationals' ballpark in Southeast, he said.

Wells is pushing for a narrow road along the waterfront for pedestrians and bicyclists.

"We essentially have a six-lane highway that goes through the neighborhood," he said. "How do we make it more animated, safer, more livable and walkable to de-emphasize the car?"

The revival was a long time coming.

Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant, walked out of a deal to be the anchor tenant in 2005, dashing hopes that the aging mall, empty since the Environmental Protection Agency moved out in the early 2000s, would be razed. But Forest City Enterprises found construction financing two years ago, just as credit markets were freezing.

On Third Street, the Bernstein Cos. have completed renovation of a 126-apartment building and gutted another the same size, creating condominiums instead.

Tight credit markets have put a bigger renaissance on hold. Forest City, which is developing Waterfront with Vornado/Charles E. Smith, is still trying to line up financing for the second phase. And a plan to transform 47 acres along the Washington Channel into an inviting stretch of housing, restaurants, shops and cultural attractions has not been started, for the same reason.

For now, the community's most notable new feature is the Safeway, a 54,100-square-foot store with underground parking that opened last week. The supermarket it replaced, also a Safeway, boarded up on a neighboring lot, was a poorly stocked eyesore that languished for years, angering residents.

The new one features a food court, deli, cheese bar, bakery, sit-down sushi bar and full-service deli, along with a Starbucks. The store has hired 40 local residents. On opening day, April 16, workers in chef's hats handed out sourdough bread slices with a balsamic-vinegar spread and other samples as shoppers scoured the eye-catching aisles.
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  #71  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2010, 4:27 PM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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Does anyone remember an article from about a year ago about the "plight" of some suckers who bought a spendy condo near Nationals Park who complained the area was a desert, and they had to order groceries online? Lol stupid people, that Safeway is like less than a mile away.

Anyways I wonder if any of the old 1960's stuff down there is worth saving?

I know its mostly horrible projects, but weren't there a few market-rate buildings which have aged better? I remember reading somewhere online a person's account of the area and looked at some photos. They had wandered into a private courtyard with lots of trees, and the buildings themselves were very fascinating examples of the architecture of the time.
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  #72  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2010, 7:17 PM
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"Less than a mile" is pretty far by urban standards. If you live by the ballpark and don't have a car, this Safeway is still too far to be of much use.

Anyway, big news today is that DDOT will be hauling out one of its streetcar LRVs for public tours next week:

More info here.



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  #73  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2010, 7:23 PM
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^
Quote:
"Less than a mile" is pretty far by urban standards. If you live by the ballpark and don't have a car, this Safeway is still too far to be of much use.
It might be too far too walk with bags of groceries but it is only one stop away on the Green line.

I went to this Safeway during lunch when it opened and it is a great store-- a definite improvement for the area. Now, we need to convince Safeway to build a mixed-use development that includes new residential units when they redevelop their Tenley store.
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  #74  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2010, 7:33 PM
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It is "far", but it will help a lot IMO as far as making that area more desirable in the future. I think most a lot of people do have a car that live in that area as it's not one of the most walkable, developed or safe areas of the city at this point.

There is some older stuff down there worth saving. Personally, I don't write off any architectural style completely; I think it depends on the implementation. So in that area, there are some courtyard style apt's w/ features from the 60s and 70s as well as some rowhouses and townhouses down there, some in rough shape, but could be saved.
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  #75  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2010, 8:52 PM
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Speaking of streetcars, the ANC 2E (Georgetown, Burleith) will be considering the proposals for streetcars on K Street and Wisconsin Avenue at the next meeting on May 3. This follows the success we had earlier this month getting the ANC 3C (Cathedral, Cleveland Park) to approve a resolution supporting the study of a Wisconsin Avenue streetcar route by a margin of 7-0. If anyone in the DC region is available next Monday, attendance at this meeting to support sustainable transportation on the busy Wisconsin Avenue corridor would be greatly appreciated. Here is the link for the ANC's monthly agenda: http://anc2e.com/agenda.html
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  #76  
Old Posted May 5, 2010, 6:24 PM
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I attended the Streetcar Open House and Mayor Fenty's press conference. It was a great event and Councilmembers Graham and Evans, as well as Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR) attended and also spoke. The streetcars are beautiful vehicles and will be a significant improvement over the WMATA and Circulator buses.

Someone from DDOT mentioned the new DC Transit Future System Plan, which was just published on their website. The 2005 Transit Alternatives Analysis has been very helpful in making the case for a Wisconsin Avenue streetcar. I will review this report and summarize my comments this week. Here is the link: http://ddot.dc.gov/DC/DDOT/About+DDO...Transit+Future.

I also spoke briefly with Gabe Klein, Director of DDOT, and told him this is a great 37-mile system but it would be an even better 42-mile network with connections to Tenley and Friendship Heights.

I will post photos from today's event on the Wisconsin Avenue Streetcar Coalition's Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gi...2402429&ref=ts ) and this forum later this evening.
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  #77  
Old Posted May 6, 2010, 3:04 AM
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I dropped by and took a bunch of pictures too. I don't want to steal your thunder though, so you go ahead and post your pics.
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  #78  
Old Posted May 6, 2010, 11:20 AM
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Mayor Adrian Fenty describing the passenger benefits of DC's planned 37-mile streetcar network.




Who wouldn't want to be behind the controls of this Czech beauty?



Wide doors to allow easy entry/exit of passengers, further saving travel time for passengers.



Everybody panic! There might be an overhead wire behind Councilmember Jack Evans somewhere.



In addition to the low floor, making boarding and exit easier for passengers, there is plenty of room inside the Skoda streetcars to ensure that passengers have a comfortable ride.
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  #79  
Old Posted May 6, 2010, 3:01 PM
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I really like the idea of a fareless square.
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  #80  
Old Posted May 6, 2010, 4:11 PM
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Here are some more excellent photos from yesterday's Open House: http://www.flickr.com/photos/3901754...086584/detail/ .

Next Thurs (May 13) the ANC 3E (Tenley) will discuss and possibly debate the whether to recommend DDOT study a streetcar route up Wisc Ave, connecting the terminus of the K Street/Benning Road station in Georgetown with the Tenley and Friendship Heights metro stations.


ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD
COMMISSION 3E
TENLEYTOWN • AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PARK • FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS
Meeting Notice
(subject to change)

Thursday May 13, 2010
7:30 pm
St. Mary's Church
Fessenden and 42nd Street, NW

Discussion and possible vote on a resolution urging that the City study the eventual extension of the proposed street car line on Wisconsin Avenue to Friendship Heights.
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