Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

1987 report on Eastern Market, DC

At the December meeting of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (on which I sit), one of the committee members brought to the meeting to give back to EMCAC two decades of meeting minutes and other materials, materials that he had recently organized.

I thumbed through the massive bound volume of a report on Eastern Market that was produced under the Barry Administration in the late 1980s (close to two inches thick), after earlier efforts had been made to convert the Market into more of a food court.

I was shocked to learn that (1) preliminary recommendations had been made in the deliberations to close 7th Street SE in front of the Market on Saturdays (it wasn't until the early 1990s that the Market began opening on Sunday, after the success of the Sunday Craft and Flea Market) and (2) that the local ANC had conducted an inquiry on parking (I'd like to think of this more broadly as "transportation" related) in 1977,

It's amazing that it took 20-30 years for the street to be closed on the weekends.

Since I've been on the committee, I have agitated for the creation of a master plan for the Market and the area (now I call for a Capitol Hill destination development plan) as well as a consumer market study.

Again, while a master plan per se wasn't created for the Market in the 1987 deliberations, a pretty good market study was conducted, and excellent recommendations made concerning broadening the retail mix there.

Of course, as local food and agriculture has become more trendy, these findings would need to be updated, but again, I was saddened to see that an excellent market study had been conducted 20+ years ago and has mostly laid fallow ever since.
Eastern Market reopening, wtih a closed to traffic 7th Street SE, Saturday June 27th, 2009

7th Street, Eastern Market

Main aisle, Eastern Market, DC

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