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, August 09, 2012

Look ma, no (parks) plan!

The Georgetown Patch reports, in "Evans, Neighbors Lobby Behind the Scenes of West Heating Plant Disposition," that residents, with the support of local Councilmember Jack Evans, state that there should be a park use as part of the disposition by the Federal General Services Administration in their sale of the de-accessioned West Heating Plant at 29th and K Streets NW ("Mixed-Use Development Likely for West Heating Plant Site" from the Patch).

Maybe since there is a park there already, the C&O Canal, and one across the street, Rock Creek Park, and the Georgetown Waterfront Park a few blocks down on K Street, there should be more park space, maybe there shouldn't be.

At the BRT presentation last night in Silver Spring (Montgomery County, Maryland) one of the questions was about how the proposal is for county-run bus services, but most of the buslines would be on "state" roads under the control of the State Highway Administration, and they would have to agree to configuration changes that would be required to accommodate the special bus service.

I was talking with the Deputy Director of the MCDOT about this, and I said in my experience in Baltimore County, SHA pretty much agrees to follow the local plans, which provide guidance for usage of all the roads, regardless of who controls the roads. 

He countered, and I had to agree, because--especially if the local guidance is for a type of infrastructure that the agency doesn't normally construct, like cycletracks--it's more like setting the parameters for negotiation.

But at least in Maryland, local plans are reviewed-approved by the State Department of Planning and there is a process whereby those plans are supposed to be coordinated with the infrastructure investments by all the State Agencies, including SHA.

Anyway, getting back to DC, since there isn't a Parks and Recreation Master Plan for the city, there definitely isn't any guidance out there right now with regard to parks as it relates to the disposition of this property.

Probably adding park space on this site doesn't make sense, it might be an all park or nothing park situation.  No plan makes it that much harder to achieve a satisfying resolution.

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