Thursday, October 8, 2009

wheaton walkway comes to fruition

New Path Through Former Barry's Magic Shop
Years in the making, a new pedestrian walkway connecting Georgia Avenue to Triangle Lane in downtown Wheaton looks like it could open any day now. It goes through the former location of Barry's Magic Shop, a local institution that went through a long, protracted fight to stay put but ended up moving to a [considerably higher-profile] location on Rockville Pike in White Flint.

Triangle Lane View, Wheaton Pedestrian Walkway

The $12 million project will improve circulation throughout the CBD and hopefully offer a nice place to sit and catch a breath as well, from the looks of those SketchUp trees in these renderings provided by the county. There are also some planters, tables and chairs, and of course ramps per ADA regulations. But look at this plan of the site and tell me this won't be an unpleasant place to roll through:

Plan, Wheaton Pedestrian Walkway

Those in wheelchairs, strollers (or of course skateboards) are forced to zig-zag across the walkway from one ramp to another, while their fully-abled friends can make a straightaway down the steps. Visually, the space looks nice - the staggered ramps help to visually and physically define each of the four terraces between Georgia and Triangle - but it favors those traveling on foot over everyone else, which is disappointing.

Nonetheless, I can't wait for the space to be completed, trees and all. It's a shame that Wheaton sacrificed a nationally-renowned magic shop to make this happen, but hopefully it'll be worth making that long-awaited first step in its revitalization.

1 comment:

Robert said...

You didn't mention one benefit of the new walkway. All the remaining buildings are set back from Georgia Avenue by a parking area. The building being replaced by the walkway was the only one built all the way out to the sidewalk. It looked really ugly sticking out like that. The whole block looks a lot better with it gone.