I assumed that a resume of winning design competitions, poster campaigns and scribbled CD covers would make me a shoo-in for two more years of architecture school, nevermind how ambivalent I was about it, or how poor my grades were in the classes that mattered - little things like, you know, Structures. But I was still surprised to receive six rejection letters, even from Maryland, which especially stung. (Robert Frost was wrong: I considered my alma mater home, but it was not a place where when I showed up, that they had to take me in. I also have a degree in English.)
And then a seventh showed up, in a big fat envelope from the University of Pennsylvania. You didn't get into our architecture program, it said, but we welcome you to PennPlanning. Much later I realized that, in filling out my application, I'd accidentally checked a box on the form saying I wanted to go to planning school.
I would've thought about planning school more seriously. It didn't help that I hated the two planning classes I took at Maryland. But in urban planning, they don't care if your building stands up. They care if the people living there are happy and get along and have access to good jobs and can easily take a train or a bike or a car to those jobs, which are all things I can get on board with.
So now I am moving to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania. I'm leaving at the end of the summer. This will be the first time I've been outside the state of Maryland for more than two weeks. It's certainly not a big move - you can make the trip in two-and-a-half hours without traffic - but one that will definitely change my life in more ways than one. It may also mean the end of this blog.
I say "may" because I love this community and I really want to come back and continue working to make it better. If there's a way I can do that from Philadelphia, I'd like to. Of course, I might have a new project waiting for me there.
Before I go, I'd like to have some kind of party or something to say goodbye to those of y'all I have or have not met but have supported me over the past four (!!!) years. And I'm also desperate to learn more about Philly, a city I've maybe visited five times my entire life, including Penn's open house last weekend. I've already learned that my beloved pollo a la brasa is almost impossible to get there. So I'm pretty worried about that. But this way you know I'll be coming back here, if only to load up with Peruvian chicken.
Anyway, I took some photos in Philadelphia over the weekend. Check them out.
I was afraid this was going to be your big announcement, but congratulations!
I'm sorry to hear that you're moving, but I know you're not leaving us. The work you have done, and continue to do, in this community has made a real impact. You are going to keep making waves no matter where you go, though, and you have a bright future.
Based on the work you've done with JUTP, you are a shoe-in for planning school. We get a bad rep a lot, but planning is supposed to be about what you do here.
You will be missed, Dan. But congratulations. You're making a big, important step, and I know you won't regret your decision. Thanks for all your hard work.
Wow. Big changes. Good news. Perhaps the name of your new blog will be Just Up the Blue Route.
Not sure what will happen with Just Up the Pike, but it is one of the first blogs that I read on a regular basis - and still do.
Congratulations! As a regular reader of your blog ever since we bought our home in Silver Spring a little over a year ago, "Planning" sounds like something just up your alley, even if it didn't quite seem like it was to you immediately. That's life though- full of the unexpected!
I'm sad that this will possibly lead to the end of this blog because it has been such a wealth of information for us as newbies to the area. Aside from fun information, you had your hand on the pulse of the important goings-on in the area and it will be missed! You had a vested interest in the success of projects and plans for Silver Spring and that added a whole new dimension to your posts.
However, let me tell you that you have nothing to fear about Philadelphia! I come from the area and while I have to agree that you might struggle to find your beloved Peruvian chicken as easily as you do in these parts, I'm sure you will find it (yelp.com is a great resource). In the meantime though you'll be surrounded by an overload of amazing food. There's lots to see and do in the city. It's a melting pot and each block can be so different from the one before it. You've got a great adventure ahead of you!
Congratulations! Well deserved. But we definitely will miss you -- for your fairness, and humor, and willingness to THINK!
Good luck up there. Keep the blog alive with an occasional post to tell us what you're learning that we can apply here.
Congrats, Dan! We will miss all your good work and wish you the best in Pennsylvania -- our loss is their gain.
Oh no! YAY! Boo hoo! Congrats! Such confusing mixed emotions!
I'm so sad you are moving away (and before I even got a chance to meet you in person!), but of course we are all SO happy for you. You are going to do great things, and I can only hope that someday you end up coming back here to do them. Whatever you end up doing, though, you should know that you have made a huge positive impact on our community and on me personally.
I will truly miss this blog, but I hope you will continue to blog in some form or another. Philadelphia can have you, but they need to share!
Love the idea of a going away party!
My knowledge of what's going on in the community will certainly suffer from the loss of (or limited scope of) this fantastic blog while you're in Philly. But hopefully some day you'll bring that fancy-schmancy, ivy-league planning degree back to the east side and make good use of it right here. You can go home again - you just have to make sure that you pick a home that doesn't have an admissions department. UMD's loss is Penn's gain. As others have noted, and speaking only as a loyal JUTP reader - you seem eminently well suited for planning. (Architecture degrees are a recipe for career frustration for %99 of recipients.) If you're lucky life is full of happy accidents. Hope this is one of those for you.
You will be missed in a big way. Thanks for everything you have done for this community with your blog. I hope you will come back for good when you finish graduate school.
We will miss you, but that certainly seems like the logical next step for you in your life, so Congratulations!
Congratulations, but too bad for us and GGW (that's Greater Greater Washington, not Girls Gone Wild!) and I guess MoCo council too, losing a clear head and excellent communicator on these issues. Come back in a couple of years, I don't think we'll have solved our planning problems by then.
Way to go! And Ohilly is an easy bus/train ride away so don't be a stranger.
That little mistake of accidentally checking the planning box may have been your subconscious knowing something your conscious mind didn't yet.
You'll do great up there.
Congratulations Dan! I've been a big fan of your blog, and I hope you'll keep on blogging about planning issues.
I went to Penn, but that was back in the 1980s and things have probably changed a wee bit since then. The button in front of the Van Pelt library is probably still draped with drunk freshmen every night, though...
Instead of being Just Up the Pike, I guess you'll be Way Up the Pike...:o) Congrats!
Congratulations best wishes--
Will miss your writings.
Dan -- best of luck to you and congratulations on the prestigious acceptance! I've always enjoyed your blog and it's opened my eyes to a lot of local businesses right under our noses.
I often forget that you're a young person and that this was a temporary gig. I wish you the best but I selfishly wish someone could pick up where you're leaving off.
Have a great time, Philadelphia should be a blast!
Congratulations! Maybe the recession played a part in the rejection letters. Either way, Penn is a great school and Philadelphia a beautiful city, just beware of Edmond Bacon!
Are you going to keep covering our area? I read your blog every day and have sometimes used your content on my own blog about Montgomery County: http://montgomerycountydaily.blogspot.com/
Dan, We haven't met, but I am an avid reader of your blog. You have made a big contribution to the community...thank you!
Congratulations! I agree that the work you have done on this blog make you an ideal candidate for planning school.
You are going to love Penn (and Philadelphia)! Absolutely great city. The DC area could learn a lot from Philly - and vice versa. Best of luck to you. If you're ever feeling homesick, head to the Green Line Cafe, just off of clark park (42nd and Baltimore Ave). Always felt like DC to me
You and this blog will surely be missed. The both of you play an important role in the community.
As I mentioned to you on the phone last week, no matter where you go and what you do you will always play an important role in your community because that is just who Dan Reed is.
I've been silently reading your blog everyday for months now. I just wanted to come out and let you know that I think it is fantastic. Planning seems like a great fit for you. I'd like all the silent readers to leave a short message just to show our support. Good luck in your endeavours. I hope that you someday end up back in Silver Spring in the "fortress of planning."
Congratulations, Dan. I know you'll have a wonderful adventure in the City of Brotherly Love.
Thank you for writing JUTP and sharing your insights on MoCo life -- along with your good-natured bragging about East County.
And as others have said, I expect to see you back in the area after you finish graduate school. We can certainly use your help at 8787 Georgia Avenue.
I want to congratulate you on this exciting next step and add my voice to the chorus of those who will miss this great resource of a blog.
Leaving Maryland might be a loss for everyone here, but Philly will get you new perspectives. Do they let planners leave the studio?
Congratulations! This is one of the few blogs I actually read, it will be missed!
Congratulations! I've loved your blog- hope you keep up blogging in some capacity. The community you've built on here is pretty amazing. Best of luck!
I think you will enjoy Penn in particular and Philadelphia in general. IMO, Penn's planning program is well regarded. A colleague of mine graduated from Penn's planning program decades ago (yes, I am old).
Bowie Mike, I suggest Dan use the name "Just up I-95" or "Just up the JFK Highway" if he desires a new blog name.
Congratulations, enjoy the Philadelphia scenery. As a native of the City of Brotherly Love, but a full time Baltimore resident know, I know that you will have a lot to blog about up there!
Be sure to get on SEPTA about reopening the Route 23 Trolley to Germantown!
Dan, you have helped usher in a new era in Montgomery County civic life. You created a community here through this blog, and helped advance many important ideas with great intelligence and insight. Thank you!
Congrats! I will miss your posts! Truly a great blog
Great choice - I visited the planning school with a prof who was a protoge of Ian McHarg long ago - a great program.
Dan, as someone who attended Penn Law School, I could show you around Philly. Let me know! Robin Ficker
Dan, I was saddened and excited to hear your news! Saddened selfishly for our loss but excited of course for your gain. As a resident of Burtonsville, I have loved coming to your site and reading the latest news of the area. Your insight, humor, and knowledge will be sorely missed. I wish you the best in your next chapter of life! Thanks for your dedication and enthusiasm for our area. I guess I will have to find a new blog to obsess over. Your blog has inspired me to get involved in my community and has ignited a passion I didn't even know I had. So, even though I have never met you, thanks for being an inspiration.
Congratulations, Dan, belatedly. Gonna miss your writing. JUTP has become an indispensable part of my quality of life in East MOCO/Burtonsville.
Best of luck to you, and keep us posted on any new writing and blogs of yours up in Philly.
Meanwhile, I hope you keep JUTP online while you're away.
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