Tuesday, October 30, 2007

on the red line, new battles for old freeway fighters

WHAT'S UP THE PIKE: ICC study underestimates air pollution; Shops, condos and labs for science complex on Cherry Hill Road; Poetry review eulogizes businesses in Downtown Silver Spring.

Takoma Park residents are protesting Bethesda-based developer EYA's plans to build townhomes, like these shown at Forest Glen Seminary, on WMATA-owned land at the Takoma Metro.

What happens when a Metro stop suddenly makes your neighborhood hot property? Since the Red Line first opened in 1976, transit-oriented development has been turning ignored corners of MoCo into cash cows, and residents on the ever-expanding frontiers of Metro accessibility are increasingly skittish.

On the listservs, Silver Spring residents have been anxiously watching the Sacks community in Downtown Bethesda, where a developer has offered some $200 million to buy out the neighborhood and replace it with office and condo towers. It's a move that echoes the sale of a subdivision adjacent to the Vienna Metro last year for a controversial, high-density project called MetroWest.

The possibility that fat-pocketed developers could snatch up an entire neighborhood is becoming a major concern in East Silver Spring if the Purple Line is built there. Audience behavior at recent focus groups for the proposed transitway illustrate just how wary neighbors have become of transit-oriented development.

so much more AFTER THE JUMP . . .

A conceptual plan from 2005 shows how the Takoma Metro site would be used for housing, a small park, and a bus turnaround. Graphic courtesy of EYA.

Meanwhile in Takoma Park, the potential sale of land at the Takoma Metro for townhouses
is stirring up controversy in the most liberal of MoCo's crunchy enclaves. Gilbert of the Takoma Voice's Granola Park blog is calling for a revival of the bulldozer-blocking activism that so-called "Parkies" were known for in the 1960's to stop the development from going forward.

If you've ever driven down University Boulevard east of Takoma Park, you'll see the huge swath of land where the North Central Freeway were originally slated to cut across inside-the-Beltway Montgomery and Prince George's counties. In an ironic twist, plans for the proposed freeways - which would have followed the current Red Line - would have incorporated housing at a transit station located where the Takoma Metro is now.

Plans by EYA - the same developer whose projects helped to jumpstart Silver Spring's and Wheaton's revitalizations - for the Takoma Metro site
wouldn't involve the razing of an established neighborhood as has already happened in Vienna or could happen in Bethesda or even parts of Silver Spring, Long Branch and Langley Park if the Purple Line is built. Forty years ago, "freeway fighters" like future mayor Sam Abbott used the chant of "White Men's Roads Through Black Men's Homes" to protest freeway construction through working-class and minority neighborhoods; today, the heft of their words can't be applied to this project. Takoma Park claims there'll be a loss of parkland; to the naked eye, it's only a parking lot.

The Takoma/Takoma Park commercial center, which straddles the D.C./Maryland line, is characterized by low-rise buildings like these apartments on Carroll Avenue.

Never mind, of course, that the Takoma Metro site is in the District. It may be contiguous with the City of Takoma Park, but it's not in their jurisdiction. Known as "the Azalea City," Takoma Park has every right to watch out for green space within its limits - but this isn't exactly wilderness. And it's not like EYA is proposing something out of character with the low-rise development currently along Carroll Avenue. Nonetheless, "Parkies" do have a tradition to uphold.

Freeways tear communities apart. Transit-oriented development can, theoretically, bring people together - even if in protest of it. In the end, it seems like TOD is doing its job.

24 comments:

David said...

Seems like a spot like that should have _higher_ desity, rather than townhomes. Some moderately priced condos or 4-6 story apartments, maybe even mixed use, would be just right. I suspect the protesters would prefer the cute townhouses, given these alternatives, but you never know.

rtsind said...

It appears that the one question that never crops up during disussion of development in or around the Metro and the concept of "Smart Growth"-- is "What about the families"?

Condos and apts, are geared toward single or one child families-- what ever happend to houses with back yards.

The Purple Line and the ICC will destroy backyards parks and open fields.

Smart Growth calls for dense development in or around tansportation hubs-- meanwhile big familes have to move out further.

Springvale Roader said...

Plenty of New Yorkers manage to raise families in apartments. You can't complain about sprawl and the destruction of farmlands and forests and at the same time oppose high density housing in urban settings, particularly near transit hubs.

Whatever happened to houses with backyards? Idyllic as that may be, the answer is overpopulation. There simply is not enough land to give every family a house with a big back yard, unless you can to develop the entire country into one big suburban bedroom community, in which case our food production and wildlife will be out of luck.

Dan Reed said...

Vancouver, Canada - whose downtown has been filling with residential towers in recent years - has a policy requiring a certain percentage of all new apartments to have at least three bedrooms. The result is that families with kids are moving back downtown. While apartments may not be ideal for all families, there's no reason why those that would like to live in a more urban setting couldn't be accomodated in one.

Anonymous said...

"Smart growth" has become a developer's dream -- make lots of money increasing congestion and cramming higher and higher density to the detriment of existing residents -- and do it in the name of good planning!

Anonymous said...

The same pot-smoking Takoma Park hippy NIMBYs that want to kill the ICC and develop overdensity around every other Metro station except the one that is in TAKOMA PARK need to support smart growth starting in their own community. That includes building high-rises around the Takoma Metro station and in old Takoma Park and rerouting the Purple Line along MD 410 instead of some bizarre route through East Silver Spring. They won't do that becauase they are NIMBY hipocrites

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Takoma Park folks should support the project around the Metro station. It would probably be better if it was denser, but the politically effective objections are coming from people who think it's too dense, not from people who think it's not dense enough. Anyone who objects on the ground it's not dense enough is just aiding the NIMBYs who want even less density.

But as for the Purple Line - MD410 is not the best route. The potential ridership is much greater through Langley Park. And that's the route that goes to the Maryland campus, which has the biggest potential ridership of all

mcknif said...

If the students of the University of Maryland are going to provide the largest group of passengers for the Purple Line, wouldn't it be cheaper to build a smaller campus in the Bethesda /Silver Spring area, instead of destroying valuable park land and homes?

colin said...

Er, no.

Segwayman said...

Wouldn't it be cheaper just to buy a Segway for every one of the planned 20K riders/day and build a Segway lane along the Beltway? Segways are the mode of transportation of the future. Buy one today. http://www.segway.com/

nancy said...

The development in question at Takoma Metro would reduce the space for buses. Bashing -- or banishing -- buses is a consistent theme in "smart" growth. Of course, the people who churn out these "smart" growth plans do not ride buses with those good 'ol common folk who would allegedly benefit from all that concrete.

rtsind said...

For those who have not visited Seminary place-- you should do so---You will notice how narrow the road is running through the development-one lane in each direction--no sidewalk.

There are no plans to widen the roads or add a sidewalk-- Seminary Place will be adding about 130 additional cars to the road- they are a bunch of over-priced condos and townhomes that do noy have anything to do with Smart Growth,

Anonymous said...

rtsind said...

It appears that the one question that never crops up during disussion of development in or around the Metro and the concept of "Smart Growth"-- is "What about the families"?

Condos and apts, are geared toward single or one child families-- what ever happend to houses with back yards.

The Purple Line and the ICC will destroy backyards parks and open fields.



RE: The Dulles Toll Road/Greenway, Fairfax/Prince William County Parkways, and the Springfield Interchange Destroyed SEVERAL Acres of Backyard Parks and Open Fields but that didn't stop you Maryland Hating Virginians from supporting it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The same pot-smoking Takoma Park hippy NIMBYs that want to kill the ICC and develop overdensity around every other Metro station except the one that is in TAKOMA PARK need to support smart growth starting in their own community. That includes building high-rises around the Takoma Metro station and in old Takoma Park and rerouting the Purple Line along MD 410 instead of some bizarre route through East Silver Spring. They won't do that becauase they are NIMBY hipocrites

October 30, 2007 6:28 PM

RE: NO!!!!!!!

They are a bunch of Maryland Discriminating Rednecks(Bitter from loosing their Blue Collar Coal Mining/Steel Jobs in Baltimore back in the 50's and 60's) from Va, NC/SC, and GA that disguise themselves as Left Wing Marylanders in determination to Corrupt the state with little to no source of Employment Growth, lack of sprawling Urban/Suburban Development, No Source of Limited Access Highways to get to their destination at a high rate speed, and increasing the Burdens of 3rd World Illegal Latino Immigrants in which it is why Northern Virginia wants to remove them from their region and force them to migrate to Maryland...........

Anonymous said...

Segwayman said...

Wouldn't it be cheaper just to buy a Segway for every one of the planned 20K riders/day and build a Segway lane along the Beltway? Segways are the mode of transportation of the future. Buy one today. http://www.segway.com/

October 31, 2007 12:35 PM

RE: Where is the Spam Blocker when ya need it...............

Anonymous said...

nancy said...

The development in question at Takoma Metro would reduce the space for buses. Bashing -- or banishing -- buses is a consistent theme in "smart" growth. Of course, the people who churn out these "smart" growth plans do not ride buses with those good 'ol common folk who would allegedly benefit from all that concrete.

RE: Again what makes you think that those people truely are Maryland citizens.....

For all we know they could be well paid rednecks from Roanoke, Va. pretending to be Maryland Citizens just to make Maryland look like a National Joke while Virginia is praised as the Suburban Upscale Model of the Nation.........

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
RE: NO!!!!!!!

They are a bunch of Maryland Discriminating Rednecks(Bitter from loosing their Blue Collar Coal Mining/Steel Jobs in Baltimore back in the 50's and 60's) from Va, NC/SC, and GA that disguise themselves as Left Wing Marylanders in determination to Corrupt the state with little to no source of Employment Growth, lack of sprawling Urban/Suburban Development, No Source of Limited Access Highways to get to their destination at a high rate speed, and increasing the Burdens of 3rd World Illegal Latino Immigrants in which it is why Northern Virginia wants to remove them from their region and force them to migrate to Maryland...........

November 02, 2007 12:08 AM

You Northern Virginia REDNECKS always trying to SABOTAGE Maryland with your CLOSET RACIST hating of spanish people and always putting down the MARYLAND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POWERHOUSE that has made MARYLAND the WEALTHIEST STATE IN AMERICA and Montgomery County the MOST EDUCATED COUNTY IN AMERICA. We don't need to hear your anti-Maryland neo-Nazi racist crap over here. Go back to your redneck friends in Northern Virginia.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
RE: NO!!!!!!!

They are a bunch of Maryland Discriminating Rednecks(Bitter from loosing their Blue Collar Coal Mining/Steel Jobs in Baltimore back in the 50's and 60's) from Va, NC/SC, and GA that disguise themselves as Left Wing Marylanders in determination to Corrupt the state with little to no source of Employment Growth, lack of sprawling Urban/Suburban Development, No Source of Limited Access Highways to get to their destination at a high rate speed, and increasing the Burdens of 3rd World Illegal Latino Immigrants in which it is why Northern Virginia wants to remove them from their region and force them to migrate to Maryland...........

November 02, 2007 12:08 AM

You Northern Virginia REDNECKS always trying to SABOTAGE Maryland with your CLOSET RACIST hating of spanish people and always putting down the MARYLAND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POWERHOUSE that has made MARYLAND the WEALTHIEST STATE IN AMERICA and Montgomery County the MOST EDUCATED COUNTY IN AMERICA. We don't need to hear your anti-Maryland neo-Nazi racist crap over here. Go back to your redneck friends in Northern Virginia.

November 02, 2007 10:07 AM

RE: Ol' Maryland hating Anti-Progressive CONfederate Flag Supporting Southern Redneck Country Hillbilly..........

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Ol' Maryland hating Anti-Progressive CONfederate Flag Supporting Southern Redneck Country Hillbilly..........

November 03, 2007 3:19 AM

RE: You REDNECK Neo-Nazi Racist Bigot AMERICAN-HATER KKK member Virginia-lover. Go Back to your redneck radical conservative state. Montgomery County is fine with its NEW MASSIVE DEVELOPMENT AROUND METRO STATIONS including SILVER SPRING AND WHITE FLINT while piece of garbage places like TYSONS remain STAGNANT FOR YEARS with NO MAJOR NEW CONSTRUCTION, HIGH VACANCY RATE, LIMITED PROPERTY VALUES and a new UGLY elevated rail line that will rip through along 10-lane highways and will not allow for any major urban development, meanwhile WHITE FLINT, BETHESDA, and SILVER SPRING EXPLODE with new high-rises with GROUND FLOOR RETAIL IN PEDESTRIAN FREINDLY ENVIRONMENTS. You STAGNANT Northern Virginians cannot compete with the MARYLAND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POWERHOUSE including THE LARGEST DEFENCE CONTRACTOR IN THE WORLD AND THE LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN IN THE WORLD.

rtsind said...

You know-this rude name calling and personal attacks against the Virginians is just proof that the people in Maryland still have a large group of loud mouth redneck white trash- who instead of arguing the merits of the case resort to trashing the oppossition.

How about if you just ignored the comments of these anti-development N.Va people and deal with the issues.

After all Montgomery County is still the best educated County- lets demonstrate this in public

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Ol' Maryland hating Anti-Progressive CONfederate Flag Supporting Southern Redneck Country Hillbilly..........

November 03, 2007 3:19 AM

RE: You REDNECK Neo-Nazi Racist Bigot AMERICAN-HATER KKK member Virginia-lover. Go Back to your redneck radical conservative state. Montgomery County is fine with its NEW MASSIVE DEVELOPMENT AROUND METRO STATIONS including SILVER SPRING AND WHITE FLINT while piece of garbage places like TYSONS remain STAGNANT FOR YEARS with NO MAJOR NEW CONSTRUCTION, HIGH VACANCY RATE, LIMITED PROPERTY VALUES and a new UGLY elevated rail line that will rip through along 10-lane highways and will not allow for any major urban development, meanwhile WHITE FLINT, BETHESDA, and SILVER SPRING EXPLODE with new high-rises with GROUND FLOOR RETAIL IN PEDESTRIAN FREINDLY ENVIRONMENTS. You STAGNANT Northern Virginians cannot compete with the MARYLAND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POWERHOUSE including THE LARGEST DEFENCE CONTRACTOR IN THE WORLD AND THE LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN IN THE WORLD.

November 03, 2007 11:00 AM

RE: And the Oscar Winning Performance goes to the Maryland hating Virginia Troll playing the character of a disgruntled Maryland citizen that criticize Virginia for its Top Notch Upscale Development, High Paying Employment Growth, Mass Transit, and Highway Building..........

WashingtonGardener said...

Back to the actual issue - how is it a "controversy" when no one wnats it? where is the debate? I just think it is dumb growth - low-density housing with 2-car garages immediately next to a metro station! THAT should be criminal. Force the developer to build denser with NO parking amenities for the homeowners while ADDING bus bays and more future transit options - though I'd miss my cut-thru green patch, I'd certainly be willing to live with it then.
The Cameron Hills townhomes by the SS metro should be a LESSON to this one - almost exact same situation and now 10 years later ask the CH surrounding neighbors if that was really the best use of that prime land.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
RE: And the Oscar Winning
Performance goes to the Maryland hating Virginia Troll playing the character of a disgruntled Maryland citizen that criticize Virginia for its Top Notch Upscale Development, High Paying Employment Growth, Mass Transit, and Highway Building..........

November 05, 2007 12:53 PM

And the Country Music Award goes to that white trash Virginian who always seeks to inflame the achievements of his STAGNANT, regressive, eternally gridlocked, inferior quality of life hell hole and put down the center of Washington UPSCALE RETAIL AT THE COLLECTION AT CHEVY CHASE, plus our 20 story highrises going up in BETHESDA, SILVER SPRING, and WHITE FLINT while TYSONS CORNER has not seen any new development in YEARS. That redneck advacated Virginia's INFERIOR MASS TRANSIT SYSTEM with less Metro stations, and car-oriented development while Maryland is PIONEERS SMART GROWTH with its soaring skyscrapers in Baltimore that make Rosslyn's look like TOYS. And MARYLAND's CONSTRUCTION OF THE ICC, the first new highway in the region in DECADES while the VIRGINIA road network has not seen any major new highway in DECADES. GO back to you STAGNANT, SECOND-RATE, POOR STATE and leave MARYLAND ALONE TO BE the RICHEST and MOST HIGHLY EDUCATED STATE IN THE NATION with its POWERHOUSE ECONOMY, LOW UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, UPSCALE URBAN CENTERS, and TOP NOTCH UNIVERSITIES.

GOBK2VALex said...

Time to go Back to Va you redneck, anti-Spanish people, KKK member Virginian always putting down the MARYLAND ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE while your STAGNANT VIRGINIA sinks further and further in the state rankings. You are writing on Montgomery COunty Blogs, THE MOST EDUCATED COUNTY with the HIGHEST LIFE EXPECTANCY and the STATE WITH THE HIGHEST INCOME IN AMERICA. Go back to your STAGNANT VIRGINIA HELL-HOLE LEx. Go Back to VA Lex.