Friday, May 27, 2011

"all the people I know saved their money to go buy houses in suburbia"

On Monday, I wrote about former Councilmember Rose Crenca, who was quoted by the Examiner as saying that people who don't want to live in a suburb should leave Montgomery County. The other day, a friend of JUTP (who wished to remain anonymous) suggested we watch her testimony at a recent County Council hearing on the CR (Commercial-Residential) Zone, where she first made the comment, and this exchange afterwards between her and sitting Councilmember George Leventhal:

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Councilmember Leventhal: This [question] is for my neighbor Rose Crenca. You've given so much to the county over the years, but I wanted to make sure I understood you correctly. Did you say that people who disagree with you on a zoning issue should please leave the county?

Rose Crenca: (Laughs.) Did I- Did I disagree with what?

Leventhal: (He repeats the question.)

Crenca: Only if they want to live in an urban area. Montgomery County is defined as suburban. All the people I know saved their money to go buy houses in suburbia, the perfect suburbia, Montgomery County. Now somebody's decided we're not suburbia anymore, we're gonna be urbia. And I'm saying no, we're gonna be suburbia. If you want to live in urbia, there are plenty of those places around. And there's some good ones. Go.

Leventhal: You're part of the tradition and history of this county, but civility and respect for people's opinions is also part of the tradition and history of this county.

Crenca: True. But I'm talking about is change - changing what is here. And I'm saying that we din't have any process to vote on changing what is here. This being a democracy I thought there'd have been a plebiscite or something. I don't recall that and I've been here since 1949.

Councilmember Nancy Floreen: (Interrupts.) I think Mrs. Crenca was using her pulpit to make a point, and she made a point.

It's kind of tragic to hear this woman lament a world that doesn't really exist anymore. I always wonder if, after a certain age, people lose their capacity to accept new information in their lives and just revert back to whenever they decided they were happiest.

"Parking Space," Silver Spring Advertiser, Nov. 1952
Downtown Silver Spring has been an urban center for over a century, drawing people for shopping and jobs since before Rose Crenca was born.

In the 1940's, when much of Montgomery County was farmland, some people were probably upset to see their communities transition from rural to suburban. Others might have been excited at the prospect of new amenities, new neighbors, and the county's emerging reputation as an affluent bedroom community. But no one really voted for that change to happen. It happened because of market demand for new housing, a lack of buildable land in Washington (and the declining status of the inner city), and a county government who, much like today, saw that people were coming and wanted to accommodate them appropriately.

Sixty years later, Montgomery County is a very different place. It's a majority-minority county now. The Post did a story just yesterday about the gigantic Asian community in Montgomery County. Though many of those Asian immigrants have settled in so-called "suburban" places like Rockville or Germantown, studies show (PDF!) that they're interested in a greater sense of community. For people who grew up in dense Asian cities, Montgomery County is the "perfect suburbia," but not in the same way that Rose Crenca describes it.

Not to mention, of course, that Rose Crenca is 85 and part of a growing population of senior citizens in Montgomery County and the region as a whole. Many of these retirees will want to stay in their homes and communities, but those who can't drive anymore are essentially trapped in the "perfect suburbia." That's one reason why retiring Baby Boomers are flocking to urban neighborhoods.

A Porch In Silver Spring
Suburban and urban, old and new. Why can't we have our cake and eat it too?

That raises a bigger question, though: if retirees are going to live in Montgomery County, how do we pay for the services they need? If they're not working, the county doesn't get their income tax revenue. And if we send away all the people who'd want to have an urban lifestyle in Montgomery County - young professionals, immigrants, retirees, and so on - then we're losing that money as well.

Montgomery County became the "perfect suburbia" because people were invited in. We could turn people away who don't look like us, who don't think like us, who want to live in apartments, who make less money than us or get around on foot or by bus. But we wouldn't suddenly go back to 1949 as a result. In fact, the county that would result would be far, far worse than what we have today.

Many people worry that plans to encourage urban development in Montgomery County is "imposing" a way of life on them. In fact, the opposite is true. Those, like Rose Crenca, who still cling to a "perfect suburbia" which may or may not have existed, are the ones telling other people how to live.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

other great squares could teach veterans plaza to loosen up

Friend of JUTP David Rotenstein, recently relocated to Decatur, Georgia, posted this video over the weekend comparing Decatur's town square to Silver Spring's Veterans Plaza.

This is how he described the video:

Decatur, Georgia, and Silver Spring, Maryland have much in common. While Silver Spring has lost much of its historic core to development, Decatur's has remained intact with new buildings cheek by jowl with historic ones. Where Silver Spring's civic space is micromanaged by Montgomery County and the Peterson Companies, Decatur's is organic. Families share the space with teens on bikes and skateboards; restaurants line the square; and, none of the street life is contrived or micromanaged. This is what Silver Spring could have been and what it tries to be but because of poor planning choices, it will never be.

I don't entirely agree with David's assessment of Silver Spring. There are still historic buildings, like the Perpetual Building, the Silver Theatre, which was of course incorporated into a new development, and others that can all be found on the Silver Spring Heritage Trail. Peterson Companies and the Regional Services Center host a number of concerts, festivals and markets in the downtown, but I wouldn't call the street life "contrived," as people have lots of other reasons to visit the area.

And though I've never been to Decatur before, I'd argue that their street life isn't as "organic" as Silver Spring's because their downtown is filled with parking lots and surrounded by spread-out, disconnected suburban neighborhoods, whereas Silver Spring has thousands of people living in apartments downtown and fairly dense, sort-of gridded neighborhoods around it. In other words, there are just more people in and around Silver Spring to populate the streets.

Three Kids On a Bench
Is Veterans Plaza overregulated?

But I do agree that Downtown Silver Spring is micromanaged. Photography was banned in 2007 (and later struck down). Street performers and food vendors have been kicked out in the past. And, of course, there's been an off-again, on-again ban on skateboarding in the area. If anything hurts Veterans Plaza, it's attempts to overregulate the space. I'm sure Peterson and the Regional Services Center do so with good intentions, but they come at the expense of creating a vital, credible urban space.

Decatur, meanwhile, seems to say, "Here. This is a public space, and you can use it, provided you don't inconvenience others and act up." There's a place for sidewalk dining. There's a place for skateboarding, behind the gazebo, which I assume is the place for performing. These agreements, often informal, are what makes urban spaces work. They show the community trusts the users of the space, which in turn allows the space's users (the public) to take ownership of it.

Lying In Copley Square, Watching Skaters
Hanging out and watching skaters in Copley Square.

David's video reminds me of when I went up to Boston for the American Planning Association conference last month and visited Copley Square, one of the country's oldest public spaces. Though Copley Square's located in one of Boston's most fashionable neighborhoods, there are street vendors and photography is always legal and skaters can even use the fountain when it's not running.

And it works! No one seems to mind the noise, because it's drowned out by all of the other sounds of the city. No one's complained about kids defiling the historic Trinity Church or Boston Public Library, both on the square. The skaters stay in the fountain. There weren't any signs I saw directing them to do so, but it wouldn't hurt if there were. Either way, skaters themselves say cops only show up when your parking meter runs out.

If a 150-year-old square in the middle of Boston can do it, and if a suburban town in Georgia can do it, Silver Spring can too. Veterans Plaza has the density, the activity and the people to be a truly great urban space. We just have to step back and let it happen.

Monday, May 23, 2011

dear older generation: montgomery county does not have a time machine

Even More Like A Big City, 2007
People who like living in downtown Silver Spring should move out of the county, says former Councilmember Rose Crenca.

From the Examiner:

Montgomery County is speeding up approvals for new types of mixed-use zoning to allow for a smoother redevelopment process in areas like Kensington, Wheaton and White Flint. But some longtime citizens say the changes are making the county too urban . . .

Rose Crenca, a Silver Spring resident and a 1980s County Council member, said she feared the mixed-use zones would encroach upon single-family neighborhoods and conflict with the suburban nature of the county.

"This is the tip of the iceberg and there is a movement afoot to change what we have here," she said. "Stop messing around with Montgomery County -- if you don't like a suburban county, move to where it is very urban."

After reading this, I did what anyone would do: I looked up Councilmember Crenca's address. She lives in Long Branch, a neighborhood with houses on small lots, townhouses and apartments, all in a tight street grid. That sounds kind of urban to me.

Wait, there's more! The Long Branch area is home to not one, not two, but THREE of the densest Census tracts in Montgomery County. One of those, just a few blocks from the former Councilmember's house, has over 19,000 people per square mile. If that neighborhood were its own town or city, it would be one of the most densely populated cities in the nation.

Perhaps if Rose Crenca doesn't like an urban county, SHE should move. Or, better yet, she should accept that Montgomery County can have suburban parts, urban parts and even rural parts all at once, giving everyone the ability to live how they please. Older community leaders like her seem to be stuck in the thinking that Montgomery County looks like it did decades ago: white, suburban and homogeneous. Or, if they realize that it's not that way anymore, they want to fight it. Hopefully, the people running the show today know better.

Friday, May 20, 2011

BRT proposal could get MoCo on the bus (for real this time)

Two weeks ago, Montgomery County released a study saying that a proposed Bus Rapid Transit system could drastically improve local commutes. However, the plan doesn’t go far enough to change the way people live and travel throughout the county.

14th Floor Gallery Looking South on Rockville Pike
BRT routes serving Route 355, shown here in White Flint, would get nearly 65,000 riders a day.

Councilmember Marc Elrich first proposed creating a countywide Bus Rapid Transit network in 2008. On May 4, planning consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff presented their report on the concept to the County Council and identified what they saw as the best places for BRT in Montgomery County.

The consultants outline a 148-mile BRT system that goes farther than earlier proposals by Metro, with 16 routes and 150 stations. The system would cost around $2.5 billion to build excluding right-of-way acquisition costs. It would take between $144 million and $173 million a year to operate.

According to their findings, the network would carry between 210,000 and 270,000 riders a day in 2040. (By comparison, an average of 717,000 people rode the entire Metro system on an average weekday last February.) 85,000 riders would switch to BRT from other modes of transportation, and 65,000 riders would come from just two routes, serving Route 355 between Clarksburg and Rockville and between Rockville and Bethesda.

Parsons Brinckerhoff looked to successful BRT systems in places like Cleveland, Los Angeles and Eugene, Oregon for inspiration. The study assumed that two-thirds of the system would run buses either along dedicated guideways or special lanes separated from other vehicles, while the rest would run in mixed traffic. In addition, hundreds of intersections would get improvements like Transit Signal Priority or queue jumpers, which would help speed buses through.

Unlike existing bus services in the county, which can stop as often as every block, the proposed system would place stations a half-mile to a mile apart. Stations would be substantial, with places for riders to wait and ticket machines, so drivers don't have to collect fares. Additionally, they would be located to accommodate people who arrived on foot, transferred from other buses or the Metro, or drove there.

Montgomery County BRT Proposal
Parsons Brinckerhoff's proposal for BRT in Montgomery County.

According to the study, BRT on major roads like Rockville Pike and Connecticut Avenue would be as fast as, and in some cases faster, than driving. A trip between Clarksburg and Rockville, which currently takes over an hour, would be only 45 minutes long. Meanwhile, the 55-minute trip between Burtonsville and Silver Spring would drop to only 38 minutes.

Sixteen BRT corridors proposed by Parsons Brinckerhoff:
Veirs Mill Road between Rockville Town Center and downtown Wheaton
Georgia Avenue between Wheaton and Montgomery General Hospital in Olney
Georgia Avenue between downtown Silver Spring and downtown Wheaton
A line between Rockville Town Center and the Life Sciences Center in Gaithersburg
Muddy Branch Road between Lakeforest Mall and the Life Sciences Center, both in Gaithersburg
Connecticut Avenue between Aspen Hill and Medical Center in Bethesda
Rockville Pike (MD 355) between downtown Bethesda and Rockville Town Center
Frederick Road (MD 355) between Rockville Town Center and Clarksburg
New Hampshire Avenue between White Oak and Fort Totten
Old Georgetown Road between downtown Bethesda and Montgomery Mall
Randolph Road between White Flint and Glenmont
University Boulevard between Wheaton and Langley Park
Colesville Road/Columbia Pike (US 29) between downtown Silver Spring and Burtonsville
The InterCounty Connector between the Life Sciences Center and Briggs Chaney
The North Bethesda Transitway between Montgomery Mall and Grosvenor
Midcounty Highway between Shady Grove and Clarksburg

In order for the system to work, the study says, BRT has to have special branding, distinct from the current Ride On service, so riders know that it’s special. Los Angeles’ Metro Rapid system, which uses special colors and signage to denote different kinds of bus routes, is a good example of that. The study also recommends that Montgomery County encourage higher-density, mixed-use development around BRT stations, so people can walk to transit and other amenities, thus reducing traffic.

Elrich BRT Map
Councilmember Elrich's BRT plan from 2008.

There are a lot of great ideas in Parsons Brinckerhoff’s report, but the discussion of land use actually raises one of the biggest issues with their proposal. Councilmember Elrich’s BRT plan, which came out three years ago, brought fast, frequent transit to all parts of Montgomery County, including on the east side. A number of places targeted for new development or job growth, like Kensington or White Oak, would be served by multiple BRT lines. Yet the new proposal focuses on the Upcounty, and on just delivering BRT passengers to Metro stations, without considering where people are coming from and where they want to go.

In the study, five lines serve the I-270 corridor north of Rockville, which is where most new development in Montgomery County will take place in the coming decades. But there are limited connections between that area and the rest of the county, particularly the east side. The only direct, east-west connection in the plan, outside of the Purple Line, is a line along the InterCounty Connector, which will most likely produce park-and-ride lots, not walkable neighborhoods.

Other east-west lines stop short of important destinations, like a Randolph Road line that only runs between White Flint and Glenmont. That line should continue to White Oak, home to the new Food and Drug Administration campus, a new Washington Adventist Hospital and the massive proposed LifeSci Village development. Likewise, a line along University Boulevard between Langley Park and Wheaton should continue west to Kensington, where it could meet the proposed Connecticut Avenue line while serving a redeveloped town center there.

Metro Orange Line At Warner Center
BRT in Los Angeles. Photo by Metro Transportation Library and Archive on Flickr.

The BRT system should be designed to reinforce existing activity centers as well. Many of the lines simply end at a Metro station, forcing riders to transfer to get to more significant destinations. For instance, the Connecticut Avenue line runs only between Aspen Hill and the Medical Center Metro station. While some riders will only want to go that far, others who want to go to Bethesda would have to transfer to the Red Line, possibly discouraging them from using the service. In addition, the North Bethesda Transitway, which has been on the books for decades, would connect Montgomery Mall and the job-heavy Rock Spring Park area with Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro via Tuckerman Lane. But riders going to the rapidly-growing White Flint area, already a bigger draw than Strathmore, would also have to transfer.

Councilmember Elrich’s Bus Rapid Transit plan promises to be a triple threat: it’ll beat congestion, provide new opportunities for development and do so without breaking the bank. Nonetheless, the plan needs refining if it’s going to have a lasting impact on the way we live, work and get around. With a few improvements, we’ll be well on our way to making Montgomery County one of the most progressive and innovative communities in the country.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

the newest addition to downtown silver spring . . .

On Google Maps, at least. Google Map Maker is a service that lets you make additions or edits to Google Maps. You can draw buildings or change the location of an address to make it more accurate. In college, I asked to have the address of our apartment building, 4250 Knox Road, shifted to reflect that the building actually wasn't on Knox Road.

So yesterday I was looking at Google Map Maker and I thought, I'd like to draw a building on it. So I added the Silver Spring Civic Building and, this morning, I got an e-mail saying it's been added.

This is about as far from "actual news" as we could get, but I figure if I'm going to get back into blogging regularly, this is a good start.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

new restaurant brings guyanese-jamaican fusion to DC

When I was little, I spent afternoons in Kamla’s Variety, a grocery store at Georgia Avenue and Ingraham Street in Petworth owned by my aunt, Pauline Jagdeo. I used to turn up my nose at the Indian and Caribbean foods sold there, preferring to eat McDonald’s hamburgers instead. As I grew older, I learned to appreciate the rich flavors of Caribbean food. By middle school, I’d show off my aunt’s roti and curry chicken to my bewildered white friends.

Li'l GT Cafe - Sign
Li'l GT Café, a new Guyanese-Jamaican restaurant in Petworth.

Today, my aunt’s sharing that food with the world. After years of renovations and red tape, she’s transformed the market – and the auto repair shop my uncles ran from the basement - into Li’l GT Café, DC's first "Jayanese" restaurant, mixing Guyanese and Jamaican cooking. My cousin Navendra Jagdeo, who helped start the eatery with a small staff of family and friends, wants to have "the best West Indian restaurant in the city serving authentic, home-cooked Sunday dinner meals."

When asked why she started a restaurant, Aunt Pauline is characteristically modest. “I eat food, so I figured if I had to eat food, I could feed other people,” she says. Her son, Navendra, says his inspiration came from somewhere deeper. After the untimely deaths of his father and brother, he felt obligated to “step up” and take care of his grieving mother. “The best way that I found to do it was through my love of food. And to feed people. I learned that from my grandmother,” he says.

At Li'l GT Café, Aunt Pauline sought to recreate the feeling of Georgetown, the Guyanese capital and my family's hometown before settling here in the 1970's. Photos of friends and loved ones line the pastel-colored walls. In a nod to my family’s mixing of Hinduism and Christianity (the two dominant religions in Guyana), a shelf over the cash register holds statues of Shiva and the Virgin Mary. There are just a handful of tables, meaning the place can get crowded easily. By the doors, a stereo pumps out classic reggae; on a nice day when they’re open, the music mixes with the sounds of Georgia Avenue.

Li'l GT Cafe - Food
Food behind the counter. (It's been a busy afternoon.)

The menu’s short and changes daily, but it contains Caribbean standards like salt fish and curry chicken, and sides like roti, polouri, and fried plantains. Noting that a new organic restaurant’s opened up next door – it used to be a Trinidadian bakery – Navendra insists that I mention the veggie plate (“because some people don’t eat meat,” he says). The prices are affordable, with most meals costing less than $10. And everything’s made from scratch. Navendra takes me out back to the newly renovated patio, where my uncles once fixed cars. He gestures to a large grill with flames painted on it. "We have the original jerk chicken from the grill,” he says proudly.

Despite Greater Washington’s substantial West Indian population, there are only a few thousand Guyanese, concentrated mainly in the District and Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Aunt Pauline and Navendra can only think of two other Guyanese restaurants in the D.C. area: Taste of the Caribbean in Shepherd Park and the Caribbean Market in Takoma Park. As a result, the Guyanese and Jamaican communities tend to stick together. “Half the Jamaicans in DC, I know them,” says Navendra.

In the month since Li’l GT Café has opened, business has been steady. A steady stream of neighbors, friends and family come in during the rainy Saturday afternoon I’m there. If anyone working behind the counter recognizes someone walking by, they’ll run out, flag them down, and bring them in. “People are happy there's good, home-cooked meals" to be found, Navendra says, citing “strong support” from the neighborhood.

Li'l GT Cafe - Navendra and Aunt Pauline
My cousin Navendra and Aunt Pauline at Li'l GT Cafe.

That’s especially important on Georgia Avenue, which has long been the heart of D.C.’s West Indian community, home to the yearly Caribbean Carnival, which has been going on for nearly two decades. But a lot’s changed since my aunt bought Kamla’s Variety in 1986, including an influx of affluent, predominantly-white families and fears of gentrification. That’s compounded by Wal-Mart’s plans to build a store at Georgia and Missouri avenues, along with the city’s plan to run a streetcar down Georgia.

Nonetheless, Aunt Pauline and Navendra are hopeful about the future. "Georgia Avenue is the longest street in D.C. and it's been neglected for years,” he says. “It's finally getting the respect and attention it's due.”

Li'l GT Cafe is located at 5327 Georgia Avenue, NW (between Jefferson and Ingraham Sts.) in Petworth, just three miles from downtown Silver Spring. They don't have a website yet, but you can find more information on their Yelp page or call them at 202/722-1011.

Monday, May 16, 2011

community support grows for townhouses at former chelsea school

Local developer EYA wants to build townhouses across the street from downtown Silver Spring. Some say it’s just what the business district needs, while neighbors are afraid it’ll bring noise and traffic closer to their front doors. Next Thursday, the Planning Board will vote to approve a rezoning that could make the project a reality.

Clarendon Park Townhomes
Townhomes in Clarendon Park, an EYA development in Arlington.

EYA offered to buy a five-acre property on Ellsworth Drive currently owned by the Chelsea School, a private, special-needs school that announced last year that they would leave their campus in Silver Spring because most of their students commute from outside of Montgomery County. EYA would like to build 76 townhomes there, which would require changing the zoning of the property from R-60, which allows single-family, detached houses, to RT-15, which allows townhouses.

The development, dubbed Chelsea Court, would require demolishing most of the existing school buildings, save for the historic Riggs-Thompson House, which would be restored as a house. EYA would then create a new street parallel to Springvale Road. Homes would be located in six rows perpendicular to the street, creating intimate, shared courtyards between them. As a result, only six end houses will actually face Springvale. They’ll be disguised to look like single-family homes, helping them blend in with the existing houses across the street. The project, which is located across the street from Ellsworth Park, will also include two acres of public parkland.

Supporters of the project, dubbed Chelsea Court, say it would be a positive addition to the area, putting people within walking distance of the shops and amenities in downtown Silver Spring. Of twenty-seven letters sent to the Planning Board regarding the proposed development, twenty-one were in favor of it.

Many of the letters compared it to EYA’s previous projects in the area. “Based on EYA’s National Park Seminary,” located a mile away on Linden Lane, “I am convinced this new development will be attractive – just as attractive as our existing neighborhood and perhaps even more so,” writes Leslie Downey, who lives a few blocks away.

Chelsea Court Plan
Site plan courtesy of EYA.

Meanwhile, the Seven Oaks-Evanswood Citizens’ Association (SOECA) has come out in opposition to Chelsea Court, arguing that townhouses will destroy the separation between downtown Silver Spring and their neighborhood. “If EYA’s proposed change in zoning is approved . . . it creates a dangerous precedent that can be used to justify further zoning changes in our neighborhood,” resident Anne Spielberg told the group at a meeting in February.

Montgomery County Planning staff disagrees, recommending that the Planning Board approve Chelsea Court as it’ll provide a “transition” between the high-rises of downtown Silver Spring and the single-family homes in Seven Oaks-Evanswood. A map included in their report (PDF) shows the site bounded on one side by the Springvale Terrace retirement home and the twelve-story Colesville Towers apartment building on the other.

Aakash Thakkar, senior vice president of EYA, says that if people like the shops and restaurants in downtown Silver Spring, they should support new development that brings more customers to those businesses. “People always want [stores like] Cakelove in their neighborhood, but aren’t willing to have the density they need to survive,” he says.

Housing density in/near downtown Silver Spring
Map showing housing density in and around downtown Silver Spring. Courtesy of the Planning Department.

Thakkar argues that placing housing near the amenities in downtown Silver Spring means more people walking, not more traffic. The typical buyer of an EYA home, most of which are close to Metro, is one who frequents public transit. “Those who buy here will likely work in downtown Silver Spring or take the Metro,” he says. Estimates provided by EYA show that the number of car trips generated by Chelsea Court will be half that of the 88-student Chelsea School today. It would be one-sixth the amount of traffic created by a larger school, which could locate on the property without a zoning change.

However, Spielberg notes that homes at Chelsea Court will either have one- or two-car garages, encouraging buyers to drive and thus increasing traffic congestion. “Such an increase in density would result in three times more traffic, trash, waste water, noise and congestion than if the site remained zoned for single-family homes,” she says.

Montgomery County doesn’t require garages in new homes, but the market demands it, Thakkar says. Homes in Chelsea Court will likely sell for upwards of $600,000. At that price point, he says, “People want the option of having two cars, even if they don’t always use them.”

Pocket Park, Clarendon Park
A courtyard in Clarendon Park, an EYA development in Arlington.

Neighbors who support the project seem to agree. Many houses in Seven Oaks-Evanswood have garages, but they wrote to the Planning Board about the benefits of living in a walkable neighborhood. Alice Meyer lives in the neighborhood with her partner and is considering moving to a smaller house like those in Chelsea Court. “We love the proximity to all that is happening in downtown Silver Spring, especially the restaurants and movies,” she wrote in a letter to the Planning Board. “We would have to give that up if we were to downsize to somewhere else.”

I’ve written before about the benefits of well-designed, infill development in Silver Spring and other established communities. What’s especially exciting about the Chelsea Court proposal is that the neighbors see those benefits as well. With real estate trends increasingly favoring smaller, denser homes, we’d do well to encourage more projects like this.

For more information on Chelsea Court, visit EYA’s website for the proposal or read the Planning Department staff’s report. The Planning Board will hear testimony on the rezoning application at 11am Thursday, May 19 at the Park and Planning Commission, 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

we're back!

School is finally over and the presses are rolling again in earnest. Come back TOMORROW for the first of several new posts I'm working on for the summer.

Also, thanks to everyone who responded to my call for rooms for rent while I'm interning in DC this summer. If everything works out, I'll be living in Petworth this summer. Though that's in DC, not Silver Spring, it's actually closer to downtown Silver Spring than my parents' house in Calverton. At three miles, I could even bike there, though the thought of pedaling down Georgia Avenue scares the crap out of me.

Thanks for bearing with me! I'm looking forward to seeing y'all in the weeks and months to come.