Thursday, November 5, 2009

Agenda for Nov 17th Community-wide Input Meetings

Following is the Agenda for the second set of Community-wide Input Meetings that we will be holding on November 17th, 2009. Those people that attended the first round of meetings on October 20th will be interested in attending again as the conversation around a vision for Lower 8th Street will progress to reviewing Existing Conditions/Proposed Development by Right and Future Form Determinants before moving on to a Summary of Needs and Opportunities for a Community Vision of the area and what we hope will be a lively Q & A. We encourage you to tell interested colleagues and friends to attend as well.

For those that were unable to attend the first round of meetings, we will bring you up to speed by summarizing the key inputs and learnings right off the top of the upcoming meetings. You may also download the Minutes and Presentations from the first round of meetings right here from the DOWNLOAD section on the right hand side of this blog.

Lower 8th Street Vision Process
2nd Community Meeting
November 17, 2009 – 8:30 a.m. or 7:00 p.m.
The People's Church
535 8th Street, SE


I. Welcome & Introductions

II. Summary of 1st Round of Community Meetings
A. Vision for Area – what did we hear?
B. Issues & Impediments
C. Future Form Determinants
D. Opportunities

III. Existing Conditions/Allowed Development by Right
A. SQ 906: Miles Glass Site
B. SQ 929: 801 Virginia Avenue, SE – the Admiral
C. SQ 907: Blue Castle
D. SQ 930: Quizno’s, Port CafĂ©, etc.
E. SQ 952: Virginia Avenue Park
F. SQ 952S: 901 M Street, SE – Domino’s, other retail bays
G. SQ 976: Former Exxon site
H. Development Totals for Study Area

IV. Future Form Determinants
A. CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project
B. Marine Barracks Campus Master Plan
C. Proposed Street Car Lines

V. Community Vision – Summary of Needs & Opportunities
A. Housing
B. Neighborhood Support Retail
C. Restaurants
D. Hotel & Meeting Facilities
E. Office Space
F. Parks, Street Trees & Connecting Sidewalks
G. Underpass Connectivity & Treatment

VI. Questions & Answers


  1. Would love to see this small stretch take off but you have two inherent problems: A street gets its identity from its anchors, and this stretch is anchored by the Latrobe Gate and the overpass. The Latrobe Gate fails as an anchor because the public is not allowed in. The most you can do is illuminate it at night. Perhaps in the future the Navy Yard's museum could be moved to the gate.

    The sidewalks under the overpass are so dark, and the passage is so long, you don't even see that you are next to Barracks Row. The row of streetlamps stuck there have that annoying super-bright security-blast lighting, not very pleasant. The lighting can surely be improved.

    And just to get people to think about that space, I would suggest you pick a warm night to have a party in the space under the highway, where the parking is. If you light up the columns with colored lights and throw up some giant curtains, the space could be super-awesome, if only for one night.

    The next most likely anchor is the Blue Castle. The current uses do not invite the general public, and the facade doesn't interact with passers-by. A Trader Joe's would be absolutely perfect here.

  2. I attended the meeting the other night, and it was a great forum to hear about the potential plans for the area, including some constructive brainstorming about the potential of the neighborhood. I definitely encourage others in the neighborhood to attend the meeting in December. In addition to some of the stated goals for the area, I think the development of the neighborhood should focus on creating a sustainable community. The best way of doing this is to ensure or encourage the growth of locally owned businesses that will serve the needs of actual residents who live in the area. Local services should focus on the needs of area residents, and not commuters or tourists. Only once these sustainable and locally owned businesses are set up, we can then focus on other amenities such as a hotels etc. Time and time again, it has been noted that locally owned businesses anchor a community and provide much more than services, but also solid jobs which root a community and create an inclusive culture. Cities such as Portland and Brooklyn are thriving because of locally owned businesses - these business ensure that residents are invested, and stay in the area, which is ultimately what we should be doing in our neighborhood. That being said, I strongly believe that national chain stores should be discouraged, as they ultimately retard development. One way of encouraging local businesses to start up in the area, would be to hold a business plan competition, where winners are provided grants or subsidies from the city to set up operations. Proposals can be submitted to the community, and the best ideas receive funding. Another way of encouraging sustainability would be to focus on restoring historic structures, improving pedestrian walkways, street lighting, bicycle lanes and an emphasis on mass transit. Parking should also be kept to an absolute minimum. I look forward to attending the next meeting, and bringing a number of new people from the community to participate.

    -Cinar Akcin