Housing Complex

YIMBYs Reemerge in Ward 3

One of Ward 3's biggest battles. (StreetSense)

You know the real estate economy is back when groups that used to organize around new developments and subsequently went quiet—given that there were no viable projects to argue about anymore—start to come out of hibernation. Case in point: Ward3Vision, the "Yes-In-My-Back-Yard" smart growth advocacy group that formed back in 2005 to counter the strident upper Northwesters who oppose large buildings around Metro stations and more restrictions on parking.

The group's activities died down during the crash, as projects like 5220 Wisconsin lost momentum and discussion around the Tenley Library finished up. Lately, though, some of those polarizing developments are coming off the shelf, like Douglas Development's new condo building on Brandywine Street and the Tenleytown Safeway. And of course, the debate over the American University campus plan has been underway for a while now.

Next week, they're throwing a kickoff for the "Vibrant Neighborhoods 2012" campaign with Councilmember Mary Cheh to "plan for Ward 3’s future in a way that encourages the diverse restaurants, housing choices, and amenities that we associate with vibrant neighborhoods like Bethesda, the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, and others around our region." (I don't know what it says that their models for vibrant neighborhoods are in the suburbs—perhaps places like Dupont Circle and Barracks Row would be too threatening.)

In taking their activities up a notch, the group hopes to keep pushing back against the alphabet soup of neighborhood associations that tend to pop up when new developments are proposed and then fade back after voicing their opposition. Could other parts of the city use similar efforts?

  • Bob

    Between NIMBYs and YIMBYs are the far more numerous "YIYBYs" -- "Yes, in your back yard!" I'm thinking of a former W3 Vision director and current ANC chair who is all in favor of big "smart growth" development in the area yet fought vigorously (and even committed ANC funds) to oppose a developer's plan for two new houses in her single member district. Yes, in your back yard indeed.

  • DC Guy

    There need to be more community groups who have a positive vision for what they want their neighborhood to be like in the future. Too many times, the ad-hoc groups sprout up in opposition to investment proposals.

  • Cassie

    OMG, there's no hemp burgers being served in this thread yet, LOL!

  • http://www.justupthepike.com dan reed!

    Much of Ward 3 has a suburban character more comparable to parts of Bethesda or Arlington than 14th Street or Dupont Circle, so I don't see a problem with Ward 3 Vision using those places as a precedent. If it gets people on their side - even if Bethesda Row isn't hipster paradise, it's still a good place - then by all means, use them.

  • Eric

    Bethesda and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor all contain much taller buildings and square footage density than Dupont or Barracks Row so by all means if they want to use those areas as examples, I tip my hat to them.

  • Sarah

    If Ward 3 Vision's idea of vibrancy is Rosslyn, I say "yuck" and as a design model, I say "double yuck." At least I give them points for being candid about their agenda, and their apparent role as shills for the development community.

  • Transit-User

    Here is what another user said on the Tenley listserve. Sounds a lot like "Sarah" @ 5:20 PM. There is a group of maybe 10-15 people in Tenley who think Wisconsin Avenue should be some pastoral estate and that since there was a goat-path in Tenley 200 years ago, there shouldn't be any more development around the Tenley or Friendship Heights metro stations.

    Courtesy of the Tenley listserve:
    "If you didn't think that so-called "smart growth" advocates like ----- are basically shills for developers seeking to cut their costs and shift costs onto the public, all doubt should be erased by now. As --------- points out, there are various proposals up and down the Wisconsin corridor for dense development with no, or below-miminum off-street parking. That means that more and more vehicles will compete for ever scarcer street parking, and parking problems that are most acute today near Wisconsin Avenue will be shifted further and further into the side streets. And it means that one project shouldn't be considered in isolation, but rather (as the Comprehensive Plan states) should be considered in light of other project impacts."

  • DC Guy

    I think there are parts of DC that are better examples of good vibrant neighborhoods than the Ballston corridor. However, just about anything is better than what is there now, unless of course, you are one of the entitled class who feels that nothing should change since they are already there.

  • Bob

    I think that Cheh may face a serious challenge in the next election. First, a lot of her constituents, particularly school parents, are pissed about her strong support of Vince Gray, who got what?, 20 percent of the Ward 3 vote in the primary. Now it's clear that she doesn't care about kicking a bunch of NW neighborhoods in the Ballstons, to impose her sweeping "smart growth" agenda. And the fact that she views representing her constituents as just a part-time job along with her professor position doesn't help her, either.

  • DC Guy

    I am not sure why one would assume she would run for a third term?

  • FongFong

    As a supporter of smart growth, I too must be a shill. Dear developers, please pay me in cash! What ridiculous name calling by Sarah.

  • Michael

    A case study in the book “NIMBY Wars” written by a strategy consultant hired by a local developer describes the role that Ward 3 Vision played in one of the projects listed on their web-page. The case study, “Offense Case Study 6: Bypassing the Neighborhood Advisory Committee,” starting at page 159, describes how the consultant strategists used this group to counteract what they described as “widespread opposition in the community” to the project.

  • Bob

    "As a supporter of smart growth, I too must be a shill. Dear developers, please pay me in cash! What ridiculous name calling by Sarah."

    That's no problem! Developers already contribute generously to city council races and have put ANC members on their payroll, too. Ask Ward 3 Vision to disclose its funding sources. Shills or if you prefer, whores, indeed.

  • Michael

    At a Zoning Commission hearing, the spokesman for Ward 3 Vision responded to a similar question by stating that the Coalition for Smarter Growth supports their group, and that they receive funds from a number of sources. He also said that he presumes that they have accepted funds from the developer of the project they were testifying in support of.

  • Transit-User

    @Bob? Put ANC members on their payroll? Do you have any evidence at all about this claim? I'm a member of Ward 3 Vision and I have not received one cent from any developer. It's pretty easy to make unsubstantiated claims on blogs like this.

  • Transit-User

    A quick look at the Coalition for Smarter Growth's partnerships shows they include the Sierra Club, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Clean Water Action, altogether a very nefarious and sinister collection of groups.

    There is a complete lack of transparency, on the other hand, with the Alliance for 'Rational' Development (which advocates for single-family homes directly next to the Tenley metro station) and the other alphabet-soup collection of anti-progress denialists. For all we know, they are front groups and hacks for wealthy residents who mistake Wisconsin Avenue for pastoral West Virginia and don't want new residents and families encroaching on their sweet deal they have here.

  • http://tsarchitect.nsflanagan.net/ цarьchitect

    "He also said that he presumes that they have accepted funds from the developer of the project they were testifying in support of."

    Which ANC meeting was this? Who was it? Why haven't I got my check yet?

    It is typical of the NIMBY attitude to develop speculative ad hominem arguments to distract from the lack of any data or logic to support their positions.

  • LazloZ

    @Transit User--

    You make it seem like folks have issues with a few more residences. I think what they are reacting to is this group Ward 3 Vision saying that their model is the "vibrancy" of downtown Bethesda or, incredibly, Rossyln in Tenleytown or upper Connecticut Avenue (Chevy Chase DC doesn't even have a Metro). That's stunning.

  • http://tsarchitect.nsflanagan.net/ цarьchitect

    Lazloz: The quote is: "Bethesda, the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor..." not "downtown Bethesda" and "Rosslyn." If you haven't been to those places recently, I'd go see them. They've made a lot of mistakes, but that's how we figure out how to build up without losing a sense of place.

    And yes, downtown areas are too threatening to the NIMBYs.

  • Michael

    @Transit-User at 12:19: The Coalition for Smarter Growth is closely associated with the Smart Growth Alliance, as is the local Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association, in their July/August 2008 edition of Building in Maryland and Washington, DC, did a profile of the Smart Growth Alliance. According to the M-NCBIA, the Smart Growth Alliance was founded by a partner of Holland & Knight (one of the major land use law practices in DC). The Holland & Knight partner was made the first director. According to the article, they partnered with groups like the Coalition for Smarter Growth to advance the main purpose of the organization: to secure approvals for projects that had substantial increases in density and faced neighborhood opposition. One of their first projects was to set up an awards program, which could be used by the developers in zoning hearings. The only objective criteria for the award was that the project was somewhere near transit, had a substantial increase in density and faced credible opposition. The groups like Coalition for Smarter Growth were frequently tapped to testify at the zoning hearing that the project won a Smart Growth Alliance award.

    @Цarьchitect at 1:36: Go back and reread what I wrote. Not an ANC meeting, but sworn testimony before the Zoning Commission (available on-line). The spokesman was and is a member of the Ward 3 Vision steering committee. And the check was not to the Ward 3 Vision members but to CSG, an organization that supports Ward 3 Vision.

  • http://alexblock.net Alex B.

    Isn't it possible that people might just like the project? That they might just like additional density? That they might think it would improve the neighborhood?

    Seems to me that if you can't win on the merits of your argument, you'd naturally try to discredit your opponent.

  • Bob

    If you love Rosslyn and Ballston, there's nothing preventing you from moving there. It's a free country (and you'll get a lower tax bill). But they're not a template for every other place.

  • Transit-user

    @Bob:

    Nobody is saying there should be buildings like Rosslyn. What's being discussed most recently is moving American University's law school from it's quasi-suburban location to a walkable location next to the Tenley metro station, which would involve-- at most-- a four story building, and the proposed 6-story Babe's Billiards redevelopment. This certainly not the Manhattanization of Tenley nor is it even anything closely resembling Rosslyn.,

    You're right, it is a free country. If you think Wisconsin Avenue--a corridor within a major CITY-- should be a pastoral estate and if you think Tenley still has country roads, as suggested on the list-serve, perhaps you should move to West Virginia.

  • http://tsarchitect.nsflanagan.net/ цarьchitect

    Hold up, now.

    Michael: Which zoning commission meeting? Is there a link? If it's sworn, then surely they have the fellow's name. Can you relate it to me? Produce the check, or stop pretending like you've seen it.

    Bob: Who's telling who to do what now? If this were a free real estate market, we could have Rosslyn everywhere. We have laws that dramatically restrict what you can do on and with your property. It is precisely because of zoning, a restriction, that we have current form of Tenleytown. It is the opponents that have to justify why it should not look more like Bethesda than Leesburg.

    As Transit-user said, if you don't like living in a city, you can move to a place where the populace and economy does not support density.

  • Bob

    @so-called architect:

    Central Bethesda and Ballston are more uban than parts of Northwest DC and that has nothing to do with being in a "city". Gaithersburg is a "city.: I'm sure the residents of the small-scale Chevy Chase DC along upper Connecticut Avenue, Paliades with its small-time feel and Cleveland Park, the quintessential "village in the city" have no desire to emulate Rosslyn, Ballston or even Bethesda. But there's lots of choice, it Rosslyn is your thing.

  • Michael

    @Transit-user: Your simple description of the current Babes proposal as a 6-story building misses the point. There was an approved PUD for a six-story building. That PUD was supported by the neighborhood organizations. That PUD included off-street parking and had 60% lot occupancy, rather than the nearly 100% currently proposed. The developer let that approval lapse and is now applying for something much larger and with no off-street parking.

    @so-called architect: Demanding a link is simply demonstrates laziness. The short list of steering committee members is publicly available, so if you are a member, you can ask them, or since you are posting from far outside the DC area, you can quickly locate the appropriate transcript on the Office of Zoning web-site. Yes, “the fellow’s name” and his role in Ward 3 Vision are in the transcript. You can also read on-line the background on the Smart Growth Alliance in the Building Industry Association trade publication and the excerpt from the book NIMBY Wars, which includes the description of how the consulting strategist used the local “smart growth” group, Ward 3 Vision, to attempt to demonstrate support for a project which they recognized was opposed by more than 90% of the local residents.

    Also, you wrote that we have zoning and “It is the opponents that have to justify why it should not look more like Bethesda than Leesburg.” Aside from choosing areas that have no relevance to the question, you have it backwards. We have zoning, and it is the developers who want to exceed the current (very generous) zoning limits who have to justify why they should be allowed to do so. Zoning provides the residents and businesses that locate near Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenue with an expectation as to what type of development will be allowed. Those residents and businesses do not need to continually justify those limitations. It is the developers who want to change the limits that need to justify their proposals.

  • Anon

    Ward 3 Vision goes into remission when the developers don't need them and is resuscitated whenever they do. Classic astroturf organization.

    I agree with the YIYBYs characterization. None of these people walk the walk -- they all own cars and live farther from Metro than the people who will be directly affected by these projects. But it's not all shilling. Some are looking for power (ANC commissioners who want to be the go-to guys; PTA presidents who want to say they can get some $$ for the school). Others want to be leftier-than-thou without actually changing their suburbanite lifestyles. And a few are just looking for love in all the wrong places. My favorite is the guy who was interviewed for the Suburubia piece who said he couldn't find any friends in the area. Now he has W3V.

  • Andrew

    Actually, Ward 3 Vision has been active for the past several years, serving on different Task Forces and neighborhood dialogues, such as the Office of Planning Neighborhood Sustainability Indicator Pilot Project, Connecticut Avenue Pedestrian Action, working with UDC and American University towards smarter solutions for their campus plans, better transportation options in the Ward and a host of other issues. To suggest the group has been dormant since 2008 is an insult to the hundreds, if not thousands of hours of volunteer time the group has collectively spent helping to improve the quality of life in the ward, city and region.

    If "shilling" is suggesting that the District reap maximum benefit from its investment in the Metro, and advocating for a more environmentally responsible way of life for the 21st century (as compared to the auto-oriented, suburban dream envisioned by planners of a previous generation), then yes, if that is your definition, I guess it can be construed as "shilling". It is an odd use of the word however.

  • Transit-user

    @Anon/Michael/Bob:

    Do you have any evidence at all that Ward 3 Vision receives anything more than a couple of paperclips and a few envelopes from Coalition for Smarter Growth or any developer? Until you do, people are free to dismiss your entirely baseless claims.

    We can't even see who is a member of the Alliance for 'Rational' Development, the Tenley Neighbors Association or any of these other groups the anti-progress denialists use as a front group for the wealthy Tenley homeowners who think Wisconsin Avenue and its two metro stations are surrounded by country roads or goat paths or whatever ridiculous thing one of you NIMBYs on the Tenley list-serve claimed.

  • Michael

    The Coalition for Smarter Growth maintains the Ward 3 Vision web-site, provides Ward 3 Vision with access to a full time employee with office space, and provides the support and technology for point-and-click advocacy. That is a lot more than a couple paperclips and envelopes. And as the spokesman and steering committee member, in response to a question about Ward 3 Vision's funding, testified to the Zoning Commission: “Well, the Coalition for Smarter Growth supports our group.”

  • http://tsarchitect.nsflanagan.net/ цarьchitect

    Bob, Michael: As in life, the rules of the internet are that if you make a claim, you back it up. The audience of this discussion is the whole world, so show the evidence, please.

    Please also prove that that zoning is not a contingent, constructed instrument of government that was never meant to change.

    I'd also recommend getting a browser that supports Cyrillic characters.

  • Bob

    A few years ago, the head of Ward 3 Vision offered his expertise -- on a listserv site, no less -- in connection with a large development project between McLean Gardens and Cleveland Park. He said that W3 Vision had "a lot of experience in fighting neighbors" but suggested the creation of a pro-development group that had a local face, so it wouldn't appear that W3 Vision was steering the effort.

  • Michael

    so-called architect at 10:13 wrote: “Please also prove that that zoning is not a contingent, constructed instrument of government that was never meant to change.”

    Once again, you misread what I wrote. I stated that “it is the developers who want to exceed the current (very generous) zoning limits who have to justify why they should be allowed to do so.” I don’t know how you got from that to “never meant to change.” But, those proposing changes in the zoning allowances have the burden of demonstrating that the zoning limits should be relaxed and that their project will not have a negative impact.

    You (and Ward 3 Vision) seem to assume that more density is always justified, and the neighbors bear the burden of proof in opposing massive increases in heights and densities. Yet, the “smart growth” advocates have not estimated how much development is already allowed: Their (rather naïve) position is always “we should increase the limits” especially if there is any transit within a half-mile.

  • FongFong

    Assuming that I was actually against smart development in the Wisconsin Avenue corridor, I'm relatively certain I would not wish to be associated with the mean spirited claims being posted by like minded opponents on the site. To paraphrase a favorite saying of many lawyers, if you don't have the facts, argue the law. If you don't have the law, argue the facts. If you have neither, call names, level untruths and sling mud. The actual saying end "cry justice," but that would be too high minded for The anti crew posting here.

    Is it impossible to believe there are people who live right alongside Wisconsin Avenue who welcome the Babe's project and the new Safeway that will be built. Is it possible these are the people who are members of W3V? It seems to me reasonable readers would believe such people exist. Sorry, but there are lot's of 'em. And they aren't going away. Sorry Michael and Bob. And be nicer, please

  • Anon

    Actually, it is hard to believe that there are lots of people in Tenleytown who want to live in a place like Rosslyn or Ballston. R&B are significantly cheaper places to live than Tenley, so why pay more to live in a place that's so different from the kind of environment you prefer? And none of the handful of people who identify themselves as part of W3V live the way they want others to or near the sites where they champion PUDs. There is one neighbor of Babe's who is vocally supportive of a no onsite parking + upzoning PUD, but everyone near the Safeway whom I've heard from would prefer a smaller matter-of-right project. And as someone pointed out already, the Akridge PUD was overwhelmingly opposed by the hundreds of people living closest to the site. W3V generally seems out of touch with and unrepresentative of the neighborhood.

    As I've already indicated, I don't think "shilling" really captures a more complex range of motivations, but I can certainly see why people raise the issue, especially when advocates don't practice what they preach, when they live elsewhere (e.g. Glover Park or Chevy Chase), and when we see what an industry (lawyers, PR guys, lobbyists) feeds off local RE development and how they promote their services.

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  • xfriendship

    Any one or group receiving paycheck or benefiting in a material way from dense development in the upper corridor of Wisconsin Ave, and actively engaged in promotion of said development, may be truly, objectively interested in the welfare of this community. However, that said, and reflective of basic human nature, the chances are higher and more understandable that the folks of W3V, Ms. Cheh, and CSG, are indeed 'shills', as defined. As a neighborhood resident of 30 years, I do not appreciate all of the nasty representations of my neighbors and me, made by these people/groups. We naturally appreciate rational development in the best interests of our neighborhood, city and environment.

    At the time of the FH Metro opening in the early '80's, there were retailers, restaurants, services, on Wisconsin Ave, many of them family-owned, that we and our neighbors utilized. The corridor felt like a community. But we did champion many of the changes that took place since then, even though many of the changes replaced family-owned businesses with national chains. This corridor today is a far-cry from that of 30 years ago, with good and bad changes. I benefited from lease of a small office in the Pavilion, and access to decent restaurants and hotels for business clients. But, unfortunately, and most importantly, Wisconsin Ave has become a center of activity for businesses and people that overwhelmingly come from outside the area, employees from VA, shoppers from Bethesda, high-end tourists, all looking for cheap parking, and commuting on the major thoroughfares. Of course, this brought money to big businesses. Great! Good for you. Along with the traffic, came the increase in crashes, and pedestrian accidents (we've witnessed all manner of horrific scenes on a regular basis. I had a frightening crash at Jenifer/Wisc, when a truck ran the light and totaled my car. My neighbor was killed, dragged by a Metrobus for many blocks. I could go on and on.) I no longer walk or drive to Wisc (less than 2 blks) for the businesses. In fact, I do everything possible to avoid it (going residential streets, alleys, anything to avoid the traffic). It takes me longer to get to River Road, than to make my commute on the beltway to VA at rush! My four children enjoyed having the Metro, however, they were never allowed to surface-cross Wisc Ave; they were required to take the underground Metro tunnel, for safety's sake. Most of us have no garage for parking cars, but have to struggle for parking on the street by our homes, because outsiders refuse to use and pay for parking lots on Wisc. This has built tremendous resentment. Suburban commuters do not adjust their speeds or attitudes when coming off of highways, onto residential streets. Many do not even show basic competence at ordering of right-of-way at stop signs! In many of these development battles, comprehensive traffic and parking planning are missing or given short-shrift. This is a serious problem for us. In addition, the idea that DC must compete with across-the-MD line Rodeo Drive concept of development is not remotely relevant to us. I know nobody who shops on the east side of Wisc past the MD line. This neighborhood has become a dangerous hodge-podge, with very little to offer residents of the area. I hear W3V arguing that if people move into the many condos in our neighborhood, they will not use cars. Not convincing. Prove it.

    My business goes to upper Connecticut Ave (where traffic is also a problem, but CC community does not have the same mandate from the Office of Planning). Parking is still workable, businesses are still family-owned and good, and building heights are in keeping with livable-scale.

    So dear developers, W3V folks, etc., when your interests and pocketbooks are directly or in any stealth manner affected by your shilling actions (and particularly when wrapped in self-righteous ranting about NIMBYs, goat paths, and 'green' arguments), you must understand that we, who live here, are sensitive to, and have a special relevancy in these development decisions. Our objectives are slightly more salient than your need for billings. Would you not agree? Think about how you, yourself, benefit from gutting zoning law for dense development, be honest with yourselves, and stop the name-calling. We have a great place to live, and we'd like to make real and rational progress in our neighborhood, with or without you.

  • Luke

    The idea that unvested residents of Ward 3 don't understand the environmental, health, sustainability and economic benefits good transit-oriented development and "smart growth" is an insult.

    It is great that Friendship Heights (and Bethesda) were once-upon-a-time low-rise mom and pop communities. Guess what? Once upon a time, it was a native-American trail from the Potomac River to points north and west. Things change, and at this point in our society and in our region, things may have to change again.

    We are expecting hundreds of thousands of new residents and a million new jobs in the coming decades. We can either choose to plow up farmland to accommodate all of them, or, we can reap the benefits of of the regional investment in Metro and put this new growth in areas planned to handle it. Some it will be in other parts of the region, near train stations and other metro stops. Some of it will be along light rail and streetcar lines (sch as Columbia Pike, around the Purple Line, Silver Line and Georgia Avenue) and yes, where there are underutilized locations in Ward 3, perhaps some here too!

    The point is, where there is potential for growth (or change) in Ward 3, that change should be proactive and managed in such a way to encourage the best possible results: engagement with the street, certain types of vibrancy-inducing retail, good design, sustainable architecture. Some of these things cost money, so perhaps it is better to work with the property owners to achieve the best results for the community, rather than fight them and have that money go to lawyers and down the black-hole because of the time and effort that goes into fighting development.

    Case in point: NIMBYs fought the 5220 Wisconsin Avenue PUD and delayed it into the economic bubble years. Now I have heard rumors that a new property owner has taken control. The end result will not, as I have heard, do anything for amenities or economic development for the community or region. It will be, potentially, a blight at a location 50 yards from the Metro entrance.

    Is that a positive development for the neighborhood? It is something those who delayed the PUD proposal can take ownership of. I hope they embrace it. They deserve all the credit in the world for it.

  • Luke

    By the way, exfriendship, do you think, with the anticipated regional growth, there were be fewer cars, less traffic and less environmental impact in the future? Do you think there would be less traffic on Wisconsin Avenue today of the Pavillion, Mazza Gallery and Metro weren't there?

    The only way to reduce traffic is to build new development in a way that mitigates the need to drive, and to build or support mass transit in a way that encourages its use: to be reliable, clean and efficient.

    We have learned over the past 60 years that expanding roads and designing for the car is a losing proposition. We need to expand our housing and work options near the metro, invest in better bus service and strongly consider rebuilding the streetcar system (potentially powered by renewable energy) throughout the city and region.

  • concerned

    I've lived in friendship heights for nearly 30 years, between connecticut and wisconsin. I'm not confident or trusting of further development and feel the neighborhood is quite saturated already and that most of the residents I know are not looking for growth. We've already had a great deal of that and why shouldn't our preference to stop now be respected? I see what happened on wisconsin avenue as disappointing but instructive. It became a cold, harsh, extremely congested, impersonal, tasteless place, and the crassness of the stores repels me. The only store owners I know on Wisconsin Avenue now are at Rodmans and, my personal favorite, Booeys. Connecticut Avenue, in contrast, is joyful, vibrant, and the stores are individual rather than corporate. The scale is great, restaurants lovely and the people walking on Connecticut are clearly having a better time than those walking on Wisconsin. I've known some of the store owners on Connecticut Avenue for years. I don't see how it can be improved and I don't know anyone who's unhappy with how it is now. I do see that it could be damaged by development. As to the argument that people in high density buildings will only use mass transit, I'm doubtful. I think they will join the many in this area who already use their cars on weekends to quickly dispatch their errands and carry their packages. I'm from new york and prefer mass transit, but we often hesitate to use metro on weekends because the slower service is prone to breakdowns, delays and scheduled repairs and the cost keeps climbing, which adds up even more for families or couples. I think if this area gets developed further it will simply be congested. I doubt it will be vibrant. The vibrant spots I know are in tenley and upper connecticut avenue. To me they are vibrant because they have character and variety and warmth are not managed by some sterile master plan for the community. And yes I will vote based on my rejection of further development.

  • DC Guy

    Why not work to take the sterility and blandness of upper Wisconsin Avenue to make it better, rather than to advocate for the "rejection of further development"?

    It sounds like that is what Ward 3 Vision is suggesting.

  • Anon

    Because more of the same won't decrease the blandness on Wisconsin Avenue? And because, at this point, downzoning to the scale of the commercial strip in Chevy Chase is a non-starter? Just guessing, but those would be the logical reasons.

    And Ward 3 Vision may be suggesting that retail nirvana is always just another luxury condo project away, but that's just not credible in a context where retail space has already been overbuilt and where the market has achieved such a critical mass that even hundreds more households won't fundamentally change it.

    Not to mention that retail is changing in ways that are decreasing the need for storefronts. Borders went under. Filene's is headed into bankruptcy. Movie chains already consolidated and video rental and music stores are almost a thing of the past.

  • DC Guy

    OK so it sucks, and let's wash our hands of it because it can't be improved.

    There's the winning attitude!

  • Anon

    Not my attitude. I just think that what W3V is proposing is stupid and generally counterproductive. In that sense, doing nothing is a better alternative. But it's hardly the only alternative -- just the one that DC government and the development community seem to favor...

  • Paul

    Don't live in Tenley but gotta say that Wisconsin Ave from Fannie Mae up to Friendship Heights is one of the dreariest, ugliest areas in NW DC because little new development has been allowed. Don't know why anyone would want to keep it as it is.

    Strikes me that so many comments on topics like this revolve around people seeming to think that they are entitled to free & easy parking wherever they go. Their convenience isn't any more important than the quality of life of everyone who chooses not to pollute by driving a car everywhere...

    Robert Moses tried paving America - it didn't work. It just killed city after city. We're only now working ourselves out of the mess that the 20th century car-centric philosophy that he lived by got us into.

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