Housing Complex

Morning Links

anacostiaSouthwest neighbors grow frustrated over lack of community benefits in soccer stadium plan. [Post]

A new ban on sidewalk biking? [City Desk]

Tickets for sidewalk biking tend to hit minorities hardest. [Streetsblog]

Armed Forces Retirement Home developer could be chosen by next summer. [WBJ]

Deputy mayor: Post columnist got the facts wrong on affordable housing. [Post]

Metro sees a spike in indecent exposure. [City Desk]

It'd cost over $19,000 to get around by Uber for a year. [DCist]

After years of fighting, a stretch of Klingle Road will become a trail. [WBJ]

Today on the market: Anacostia 2BR condo—$79,898

Angry New York Union Skewers D.C. Building’s Pitch to Millennials


New York labor politics fall well outside the purview of this blog—until, that is, the battles lead to video spoofs of D.C. housing developments.

The Service Employees International Union's Local 32BJ, comprising doormen, janitors, and other building workers, has picked a fight with residential developer AvalonBay Communities, whose employees it's hoping to organize. In the process, it recently produced a parody video poking fun at AvalonBay's over-the-top attempts to appeal to millennial renters with its new line of apartment buildings, branded AVA.

One of these new developments is in the District. Located at 318 I St. NE, it's unsurprisingly branded AVA H Street. Studios start at $1,750. And AvalonBay's clear demographic target is millennials.

AvalonBay, based in Arlington, put out a promotional video intended to lure millennials to the building. The YouTube description accompanying the video itself reads like parody; it manages to fit the word "chill" three times into two sentences:

AVA is a new living space steps from the energy of H Street—where bars and clubs converge with galleries and restaurants, where sushi meets tacos, and music collides with performing arts. Oh yeah, and we're just blocks from Union Station Metro and Capitol Hill. At AVA H Street, the studio, 1 & 2 bedroom apartments, and a few over-the-top penthouses, feature urban-inspired design that extends beyond your walls to social spaces to connect, chill and play. There's the Loft and outdoor chill space with iPod hookups, flat screens and comfy seating for hanging out with friends or chilling alone, an awesome fitness center and lots of underground parking and bike storage. Dive in and make it yours.

Here's AvalonBay's video:

Read more Angry New York Union Skewers D.C. Building’s Pitch to Millennials

City Outlines First Steps for Implementing 25-Year Transportation Plan

A map of D.C.'s major transit networks, part of the MoveDC plan.

A map of D.C.'s major transit networks, part of the MoveDC plan.

Two hundred miles of new bike lanes and trails. Seventy additional miles of "high-capacity transit" routes for streetcars and buses. Congestion pricing downtown, and water taxis on the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. Sidewalks on every street. The city's 25-year MoveDC transportation plan released in May wasn't lacking in ambition. The question was how the District would go about hitting these audacious targets.

Today, Mayor Vince Gray provided a partial answer by releasing a two-year "action plan" that lays out the first steps in tackling the broader quarter-century initiative.

The 36 action items described in today's plan tackle a broad array of challenges. There are public transit improvements, like dedicated bus lanes on a stretch of Georgia Avenue NW, traffic-light priority for 16th Street NW buses, and real-time arrival information in bus shelters across the city. There are cycling boosts, like 15 miles of new or upgraded bike lanes, completion of segments of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and the Metropolitan Branch Trail, and a study of bike infrastructure improvements for the east side of downtown. There are major road construction projects, like starting construction on a new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge and working on replacing other structurally deficient bridges. And there are pedestrian benefits, including at least 25 blocks of new sidewalks and safety measures at intersections.

In addition, the District Department of Transportation released the final version of the full MoveDC plan. Today's releases mark the end of an 18-month planning process, which will now transition to implementation.

Map via MoveDC

In a Changing Washington, Lots of Stuff


As it does nearly every year, the New York Times discovered D.C. dining yesterday. The conceit of the story was the same as all the others: High-quality restaurants are—magically, mysteriously—materializing in heretofore wastelands like "once-dicey Adams Morgan," "the emerging neighborhood of Bloomingdale just blocks from a public-housing project," and "the once highly shady Logan Circle." To spare you the trouble of continuing to read these Groundhog Day-like accounts of D.C.'s remarkable transformation, here's an amalgamation of every such Times story, past and future.

The corner of 10th and F streets NW in Washington, D.C., is best known for a horrific murder that once occurred there, in which a crazed gunman opened fire inside Ford's Theatre.

These days, the historically troubled intersection has begun to show signs of a rebirth. Two trendy European fashion boutiques, Zara and H&M, have set up shop at the northwest corner, enticing well-heeled young professionals with edgy music projected onto the street. So has Madame Tussaud's, a popular tourist attraction that seeks to preserve in wax the former faces of a fast-changing city.

Welcome to the new Washington. The capital's reputation for fusty steakhouses and musty suits and dusty lobby shops is going the way of the boaters who have recently drowned in the Potomac River, lured by the city's newfound sense of adventure.

In Mount Pleasant, a neighborhood known for its legacy of racial strife and located just blocks from a massive public housing complex, mothers can sometimes be seen pushing strollers without any apparent sense of fear for their safety. In Anacostia, famous in earlier times for its bucolic rolling hills, people now live in houses and apartments and shop in stores. Exclusive Reston, long an isolated enclave of the fortunate, is now accessible to wide-eyed Washingtonians via the new Silver Line subway.

Read more In a Changing Washington, Lots of Stuff

Morning Links

easternWill Sheridan Station live up to its promise? [GGW]

A large chunk of the Armed Forces Retirement Home is again up for development. [WBJ]

At "Yards West," Zoning Commission pushes for family-size units. [JDLand]

The landlord side of the affordable-housing equation [Post]

One of the ways landlords take advantage of poor tenants [Next City]

WMATA reassesses its entire Metrobus structure. [PlanItMetro]

JBG's Atlantic Plumbing condos hit the market for up to $2 million. [WBJ]

A 12-bedroom guest house in Woodley Park heads to auction. [UrbanTurf]

DDOT will reconfigure a dangerous stretch of Arkansas Avenue NW. [GGW]

Today on the market: Fixer-upper near the city's eastern tip—$189,500

Get Ready for the Hordes: D.C. Is Lonely Planet’s Top Tourist Site for 2015

lincolnThought the crush around the Tidal Basin during the Cherry Blossom Festival (or on the left side of the Metro escalator) was bad this year? Just wait till 2015. Lonely Planet has come out with its top 10 global destinations for the coming year, and the District is No. 1.

Credit the Smithsonian museums, new developments like CityCenterDC and The Yards, and restaurateur José Andrés for the top ranking, all cited by Lonely Planet in its glowing writeup of the District's offerings. And of course there's an anniversary peg, the sure-to-be-festive 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, which "will be marked with the kind of pomp you’d expect from a city whose official religion is national politics and whose history is etched into America’s foundation story," according to the Lonely Planet.

It's the first time D.C. has made Lonely Planet's list at all, according to the Washington Business Journal, which first reported the news.

D.C. beat out a list of famous and not-so-famous destinations for the No. 1 spot; it's followed in the rankings by El Chaltén, Argentina; Milan, Italy; Zermatt, Switzerland; Valletta, Malta; and Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Of course, there's always an element of arbitrariness in these types of rankings, which often go out of their way not to include previous picks. And so it's not clear that Lonely Planet's choices will truly bring a substantial tourism boost to the District—not an obscure destination to begin with—to eat at Jaleo and check out mementos of our 16th president's bloody death.

Read more Get Ready for the Hordes: D.C. Is Lonely Planet’s Top Tourist Site for 2015

Morning Links

benningWhat D.C. really needs: whimsical crosswalks. [Express]

A rundown of the development at and around Union Market [UrbanTurf]

Judges appear skeptical of argument for budget autonomy. [Post]

D.C.'s still attracting lots of college grads, but cities like Houston and Nashville are catching up. [NYT]

Georgetown gets wider sidewalks, temporarily. [Georgetown Metropolitan]

A preview tour of the Navy Yard Harris Teeter. [David Garber]

The case against an FBI headquarters in Landover [GGW]

Today on the market: Brick house in Benning Ridge—$449,950

High-Spending DCPS Lags in Funding for High-Poverty Schools

school spending

On the mayoral campaign trail, independent candidate David Catania takes every opportunity to tout his legislative record as chairman of the D.C. Council's Education Committee, often highlighting a bill he wrote and shepherded to passage last year that allocates more funds to schools with higher populations of at-risk students. But prior to this change, how has D.C. stacked up to the rest of the region when it comes to funding for high-poverty schools? According to a new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a D.C.-based economic policy think tank, not very well.

The District spends more per pupil, on average, than any other jurisdiction in the region. Yet in the 2011-12 school year—the one studied in the report—D.C.'s spending on high-poverty public schools landed it in the middle of the pack. According to the report, D.C.'s traditional public schools spent 21.2 percent extra for low-income students, while the city's charter schools gave low-income students just a 5.9 percent boost. Compare these figures to Arlington's 80.5 percent funding increase for low-income students, or Fairfax County's 34.1 percent, or Montgomery County's 31.7 percent.

Overall in that school year, Arlington County spent the most per student ($18,216) on high-poverty schools, those where at least three-quarters of students received free or reduced school lunches. D.C. charters came in next at $16,136, followed by Alexandria ($14,501) and D.C. public schools ($14,497). Prince George's County came in last place by both measures.

Among D.C.'s neighborhood high schools, Eastern High School spent the most per student, at $22,229—a somewhat misleading figure, because the school was in the process of reopening grade by grade, and so had just 303 students at the time. Woodrow Wilson High School spent the least, just $12,529 per student, which makes sense given its wealthier population and high enrollment (1,633 students that year).

Read more High-Spending DCPS Lags in Funding for High-Poverty Schools

Morning Links

forestWhere fatal bike crashes happen in the D.C. region. [WashCycle]

Can Scott Kratz pull off the 11th Street Bridge Park project? [CityLab]

Eisenhower Memorial could break ground next year. [WBJ]

The value of (real) neighborhood blogs. [DCist]

A photo tour of the Old Post Office building. [Post]

The revised Intelsat building: better, but not great. [GGW]

Today on the market: Forest Hills 1BR—$399,000

Morning Links

park viewD.C. doesn't build nearly as much housing as the suburbs, and it's Congress' fault. [CityLab]

Skyland's getting demolished, but there's still no Walmart lease. [WBJ]

The L Street cycletrack gets curbs. [WashCycle]

The D.C. General playground finally opens. [DCist]

Huge 401-unit development planned for NoMa. [UrbanTurf]

Lots of Silver Line commuters come from east of the Anacostia. [GGW]

Photos of a big fire in Anacostia. [CHOTR]

Today on the market: Semi-detached Park View house—$674,720