Friday, September 4, 2009

what's up the pike: sunrise, sunset

Amherst Avenue, Wheaton
- The fight over Downtown Wheaton's fate has spilled into the opinions page of the Gazette, with not one but two letters this week from residents "fed up" with those who say a CBD of chicken joints and nail places is cute and off-beat. "Look around-the entire eastern half of the metro region is a sea of quirky local flavor," one letter reads.

- A breast cancer awareness benefit/alleged naked party on the Georgian's rooftop is getting a load of backlash. On a comment thread at the Georgian Confidential, the executive director of the Capital Breast Care Center - which would've received proceeds from the charity event - says they were never informed about it and don't want to be associated with the benefit it at all.

- While the U.S. Postal Service has trimmed its list of potential branch closings, the Silver Spring Center post office on Colesville Road is still on the chopping block. Click here for a list of post offices across the country that could be shuttered.

- Look familiar? Columbia Heights has a brand-new plaza at 14th Street and Park Road NW across the street from the new DCUSA shopping mall. Unfortunately, jaded urbanite commenters on Prince of Petworth aren't too happy with it, though a few - taking cues from their counterparts in Silver Spring, no doubt - are wondering how good a skate spot it'll be.

- And in Columbia, Maryland, one group wants to see a light-rail line between there and Towson become the state's next transit priority. The Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, an organization that advocates for the Baltimore area's planned metro system, is pushing an extension of the Yellow Line from its existing segment between BWI and Camden Yards. For East County residents, the project would make it easier to reach Baltimore by transit, with a terminus and presumably a park-and-ride located in Columbia Town Center.


Thomas Hardman said...

Wow, those letters to the Gazette are almost hilarious.

Nothing like watching the "letters-to-editors" section of the local fishwrapper reduced to a billboard for a proxy war.

Those two letters are clearly from shills for the development and construction industries.

Has anyone noticed that the people of Wheaton -- and I mean the people who are from there, live there, and intend to live there -- are adamant in their resistance to and opposition for any efforts to further Tear Down Wheaton to replace it with even more faceless bland "urbanism" that would look great as "artist's concept" and will be nothing but a rat's nest in a decade?

Besides, the whole Tear Down Wheaton movement seems to mostly be about generating more jobs in a certain socioeconomic sector that has been massively disruptive to both the local social/cultural landscape and massively contributory to the Housing Bubble. We want neither another Housing/Development bubble nor even more money and sense of self-importance plugged into an economic sector that is supposed to operate at steady-state at the most.

The days of Manifest Destiny are over, there are no more 'wide open space', at least not near Wheaton, not unless you Tear Down Wheaton. But it's not like the Days of the Pioneers when there was nothing but prairies and an unfortunate few native-americans standing in the way of rapacious greed for money to be made in construction.

First, the proposal to tear down the library, so that friends of politicians can build more townhomes.

Next the proposal to tear down everything else, more or less, that isn't Westfield Wheaton.

You want new stores? More close-in housing? Add another story of retail to Westfield, and convert the Wheaton office building to residential use. It's not like they have a full load of professional leases and those seem about to depart.

There's all kinds of space available in Wheaton for expansion, without tearing down a single one of the shops that give the place its funky uniqueness and flavor of "home".

But if you want to tear down anything, how about flattening the crime-filled low-rents NE of the intersection of University Boulevard and Georgia Avenue.

Unknown said...

Hi, this is Richard Chu of the Ripplestone project. There has been a lot of misinformation propagated on this thread and I'd like to clear our name as it is the cause - early breast cancer detection - that had compelled myself, and our volunteering team of professional photographers, women profilees (including a terminal cancer patient from metastasized melomana, a woman who has survived breast cancer through early dectection, a lawyer working with the justice department, and a philantropist - none of them "models"), well-known DC artist such as DECOY, Randall Hollaway (work exhibited at the Smithsonian, and Anna U. Davis), and a media producer who is editing a behind-the-scene segment for airing on the "About Us" MzHNetworks cable TV show later this year

I am a IT professional and independent filmmaker whose three short films have been screened at festivals in the Mid-Atlantic area

This project came to fruition when I was looking for a way to honor the life and times of my sister whose valiant spirit, grace, and kindness still inspire me - the photobook is dedicated in memoriam to her

I have totally complied with her request to remove any reference to CBCC in our literatures and postings. Below is the e-mail thread between myself and Ms. Beth Beck to clarify this unfortunate matter

In trust and faith,

The Ripplestone Project


As best that I can ascertain, all references to CBCC have been removed from our literatures and online posting/ albums. I've apoligized to you for my not understanding how things work in the non-profit world and explained the matter to my team so I do hope that we can move on from here and do our good deeds our own ways as I think it'd be a detriment to the cause if this unfortunate misunderstanding is misconstrued and propagated that it's a fraudulent act on our part.

I never said that Ripplestone Project which hosts the party is in any way affiliated with CBCC, only that I intended the proceeds to "go to" your organization. Wow, one cannot just give money away to charity like that - who knew, I didn't

While my, and the volunteering profiled and production team, intention and integrity are absolutely in the rights on this charitable endeavor -- there's no monetary gain to be have whatsover for me or anyone else on our team --, I've realized that I need to learn that that is not enough to navigate the non-profit terrain

Sincerely, Richard

--- On Wed, 9/2/09, Richard C. wrote:

From: Richard C.
Subject: Re: Charity event for Capital Breast Care Center
To: "Beth Beck"
Date: Wednesday, September 2, 2009, 7:49 PM


Firstly, I will comply immediately with your request to remove any reference
to Capital Breast Care Center (CBCC) from all our materials, both in print and online

Please do accept my sincere apology for the trespass - I should have consulted
with you before designating CBCC as the beneficiary for the event.

dave in wheaton said...

I feel like I must respond to Mr Hardman's comments.

Those letters are "clearly from shills for the development and construction industries.” Really?

I don't think either letter is particularly eloquent, but no need to ascribe some ulterior, nefarious motive. Sounds to me like these letter writers don't like certain things about Wheaton and would like to see them change.

And then this comment about "people of Wheaton" being uniformly against redevelopment. Has the whiff of "real Americans" to me. Real "Wheatonians" - you know, "the ones who are from there", wink-wink. The letter writers, you imply, don't count. You assume they fall short of whatever your standard is for "People of Wheaton" I guess?

And redevelopment is about “generating more jobs in a certain socioeconomic sector”. Hmm, who do you have in mind? Why don’t you just come out and say it?

And moving the library is a secret plot to line the pockets of politicians. Has nothing to do with the fact that communities function better when public institutions like libraries are placed centrally, where they can serve the greatest number of citizens and serve as a focus for civic life in the community. Instead of in the middle of a parking lot on the edge of town. I guess the library where it is now serves you better - as you've written elsewhere - and that's reason enough to keep it where it is. And anyone who thinks it should be moved is clearly beholden to evil developers.

I guess those kind of things are just self evident to someone who sees the whole world in a certain way. Anyone who wants to see change in downtown Wheaton must either a) have some ulterior greedy motive or b) not posses some particular authenticity that allows them to participate in the discussion. Got it.

retgroclk said...

The last thing Wheaton needs is more housing.

There are too many cars on the road -If I were to take Gerogia Ave from my house to Wheaton Mall it would take almost 15-20 minutes(I live on Forest GlenRoad.

It is quicker for me to take the back roads to Kensington and head up University Blvd.

My bigest complaint about Wheaton is the same complaint I have about Silver Spring- it is not disabled friendly.

There are not enough parking spaces for the disabled and

when you suffer from heart and lung problems you can only walk so far.

I think Wheaton s fine the way it is- it has a certain old New York feel about it- small independent stores. not too many chainstores.

Something has to be done about the crime- but other than that- it is not a bad place.
Bob Fustero

Thomas Hardman said...

Dave, you write like someone who has never in their life been to Wheaton.

When you write frankly risable remarks such as "[...] moving the library
[to be] placed centrally, where they can serve the greatest number of citizens and serve as a focus for civic life in the community. Instead of in the middle of a parking lot on the edge of town" you are only flaunting your lack of actual knowledge. The only thing more comical is that you don't seem to be aware that you're doing it.

Wheaton effectively has no edge of town. Wheaton does have, however, massive traffic problems that center right around the proposed location for the new "central" library.

As it is, the large community all around the current site of the library enjoys being able to walk there, including from nearby Glenmont, where there are a lot of apartment complexes. Moving the library from the present site is strongly opposed by most of the people of Wheaton.

The letter writers to whom I refer may or may not be actually from Wheaton, from MoCo, from Maryland, or wherever. The fact is, they are on the wrong side of history as well as in the vast minority of the many people of Wheaton (of whatever origin) who want the existing library preserved as a library.

Many people, you would find, have no objection to some sort of library being built at the proposed location, but they want their own library left where it is, though there's no question the building needs renovation or replacement.

Yet moving a friendly local library out of a long-standing community, so as to place it in the middle of an intersection that is effectively inaccessible to any pedestrians who don't ride in on bus or train, that's a terrible idea and it's because that idea is so terrible that so many people oppose it.

In any case: the Housing Bubble collapsed, doing incalculable damage to the economy. Part of that cycle was a gross over-staffing of the Construction trades, and the fact is, in Wheaton, we do not need more housing. It is a glut on the market.

The people in the Construction trades, from top to bottom, are seriously sitting idled except for the construction of the ICC and related major infrastructure projects. The present activity of the Construction industry is about that of the steady-state years seen from roughly the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, and most people would agree that level is appropriate and a signal of steady economy, rather than an insupportable boom as seen in the last decade.

Scrambling to shill for projects nobody can afford now and that almost nobody wants, because that would mean more Construction jobs, that's pretty desperate.

When the construction boom of the early 1980s ended, like a lot of construction workers, I switched fields. I studied hard and got into computers. I didn't waste time writing letters trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. The construction industry isn't coming back to the recent levels anytime soon, hopefully never again, because that would be a symptom of an economic bubble and we do not want any more of those.

So, the era when the Construction trades could throw around influence right and left because they were making money hand over fist, those days are gone. Good riddance. It wrecked the economy and let's not have any more of that.