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Monday, March 1, 2010

Rhode Island Avenue NE/ Great Streets Initiative

I attended the Rhode Island Avenue NE/ Great Streets Initiative meeting tonight and wanted to share my thoughts/see what others' thoughts were on this topic.

Here is a link to the plan on the DC website if you have not read it yet:,A,1365,Q,608751.asp

To clarify this was not actually a meeting but a public hearing - something that I should have taken note of before I decided to attend. There were 16 people on the meeting agenda set to testify and quite a few of them were not there. The testimony that was given was typical of other DC development meetings that I have attended. There was a rather loud group of nay-sayers that seem to think that they are speaking for everyone.

One of the longtime residents testified that he felt that the process had not advertised enough and suggestions from the community had not been solicited. I admit that I chuckled when he stated that he wanted his architects from the neighborhood to look over the plan and then they would get back to them with what should be done. The response from the DC Great Streets crew was that they had advertised thru mailings and email all meetings and this was the 5th meeting to get public opinion. Then there were multiple large property owners who were there to testify mostly about zoning and how it would affect their property. I really wanted to ask them what their properties were now and what they were doing to improve them and the area. The next big group that testified were the ANC commissioner crew. Their opinions were widespread from the people don't want big box and the government should pay for the development to agreeing with the plan and the process and wanting to move forward. A representative from the church testified as well (as he listed all the properties that they own it seems to me to add up to several blocks of real estate) and they also seemed concerned with zoning. From what I gathered it seems that the church wants to expand in all directions and I am not sure how I feel about that since they are already such a dominating presence near the metro stop.

Personally, I am a big fan of the plan and cannot wait until it gets started. I would love more retail and restaurants near the metro and the retail areas that we have now really need the upgrades. I agree that locally owned and green business should be included in this plan, but I am also okay with some known retailers to anchor the developments. I truly think if we could get the Rhode Island Station development going that would be the catalyst for change!

1 comment:

  1. i would feel more comfortable supporting the church if they would do something like make a concerted effort to get parishoners to use the metro. the entire street is clogged up on sundays (and often other days of the week) by people who are driving to the church, when they could easily park elsewhere and ride to the metro station that is right there.

    granted, there is not a quick connection from the station to the church buildling (through the parking lot, under the bridge, across the road), but maybe if they could team with wmata and pony up a little bit of money to help improve things, it would be a win-win for both.