Monday, May 25, 2009

what's up the pike: flags and cars

Hopefully you're not reading this, because it's Memorial Day and you should be outside, hovering over a barbeque, making sure those burgers (or gardenburgers) come out just right. I'm more the kind of guy who stands next to the barbeque, patiently waiting for the burgers to be done so I can have first dibs. Anyway, here's a look at what's happening in East County:

- The Post tracks the money from the repaving of New Hampshire Avenue in White Oak, officially the first road project under President Obama's stimulus package. The $1.8 million contract starts with a construction company based in Pennsylvania and bounces between companies largely in the Baltimore area.

While I'm not sure if this was the package's intention, I'm wondering if it would've had a bigger impact locally if the dollars went to firms closer to the project site. On the other hand, a map of stimulus projects in the region shows few in Maryland to begin with. (Strangely enough, the New Hampshire Avenue repaving doesn't show up on the Post's map.)

- East County hasn't lost any car dealerships yet, but with one of the area's largest auto parks, we may get our share of fallout from the automotive industry's collapse, leaving us with a lot of vacant properties to deal with. The Daily Green blog lists a number of possible uses for former car dealerships, from flea markets to redevelopment as a town center. If you've been down to Hyattsville, you may have seen the Lustine Center, an old showroom-turned-gallery in the Arts District development.

- If you missed them last week, check out our stories on the Christian Coalition's attempt to bring same-sex marriage into the District 4 election; a proposed "high-density" development at Georgia Avenue and the ICC; and an Arby's that looks like it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

PHOTO: An American flag over the Montgomery Auto Park on Briggs Chaney Road.


Thomas Hardman said...

Well, I find that this blog now constrains me to less than 4K responses -- now that's a fine way to dumb-down a blog! -- and so I must be brief.

What do you folks think will happen to the looming Commercial Real Estate crisis nationwide -- and locally -- when the increasing number of small storefront failures combines with a sudden flood of square footage from closed car dealerships, and their dependent business storefronts?

I'd give you a more intelligent comment but with only 4K allowed, there's no point in trying to say anything complex.

Robert said...

The photo for Memorial Day illustrates a pet peeve of mine -- car dealers and other businesses that fly huge American flags. They aren't being patriotic; rather they are using the flag to identify and promote their business. It would undoubtedly be illegal for them to put up billboards that size or to fly "Ford" or "Chevrolet" or "Toyota" flags that size, so they mis-use the American flag. Our veterans fought and died to preserve freedom, not to sell cars. It's offensive.

Thomas Hardman said...

Man, people sure do change the subject quickly when I bring up the 80,000 pound rabid gorilla about to go on a rampage in the room... and beyond.

Far beyond.

Feel free to ignore me, everyone always does, although I am in no case actually wrong, and am in most cases actually right... long before anyone else had heard the questions to which I have most unpleasant -- and unfortunately non-advisory -- answers.

But I do give advice in this situation: regardless of whether you pretend to be offended by the US flag flying over dealers of the sad relic products of our former industrial primacy... if you have cash to deal, take it and get the best deal on the most efficient product of American engineering you can find.

Or maybe get caught dead driving a new Nissan or Toyota or Honda about 18 months from now.