"Right size" development protest sign, Takoma Metro
It's also interesting because there is no question that the population that has been added to the area of the Metro in multiunit apartment and condo buildings is contributing to a retail renaissance of the Takoma commercial district (even if some businesses still have issues).
In the last few years, a hardware store opened (about 4 years ago), an affiliate of the Black Restaurant Group, Republic opened (late last year), as well as a great gelato shop (last year), and more including a Busboys and Poets restaurant space is coming. Plus there are still a soupcon of gift shops and service businesses like dry cleaners, even if they vary greatly in price (e.g., I took two pieces of clothing to be mended and one dry cleaner wanted close to $50 to do it, while the other charged less than $15).
As a resident within walking distance of this area (it's about three-quarters of a mile), it's great. We were satisfied having a pharmacy (CVS), a couple of restaurants, especially Middle East Kitchen, and some gift shops that we shop at every so often. All the new stuff is a bonus.
And the Metro project is interesting for me because it has clarified some points about how planners communicate inadequately about planning principles and objectives, and how residents often apply the wrong frames--mostly they act to treat land at a transit station and multiunit buildings the same as their single family house and blocks.
I wrote about some of that here, "Urbanism (and smart growth) as a pejorative." But I guess my other points have mostly been made in the neighborhood listserv and in some related comments in another blog.
Years ago, I suggested to OP that the Nashville Community Character Manual is a good model or framework that could (should) have been used to frame DC's zoning rewrite. They did consider and research the concept, but ultimately it was rejected, in the belief that it was too radical.
This graphic from the Nashville Community Character Manual is for "transect zone 4" (T4), which is the density scale of my greater neighborhood. It has 8 sub-zones, and the plan sets "community character priorities" which are set at the neighborhood/block levels and are defined through the "intent" category. The manual defines three different intents, which can be used in various combinations:
- preserve -- keep pretty much as is
- enhance -- improve quality of life/improve areas on an as needed basis and in response to new conditions
- create -- construct new buildings and complete places
The area of the Metro station and commercial district would be defined as a center, and the land along the railroad track a "corridor".
Plus, it clarified to me that those 20-22 blocks (center and corridor) need to be judged on the conditions and expectations of the relevant land use goals and objectives for those blocks (enhance and create), not the land use goals and objectives (preserve and enhance) for the other 184 blocks which are specifically residential neighborhoods, not centers-corridors.
Note that Nashville-Davidson County doesn't have high capacity fixed rail transit, which limits the applicability of their process to ours, because transit stations are best complemented by mixed use density, especially in center cities.
There is nothing new about that. For example, in the early days of streetcar development, it was typical for neighborhood centers, mixed use and higher density, to develop around major streetcar lines--at intersections and along corridors--with a dropping of density as you moved away from the centers and corridors.
-- Trans-Formation: Recreating Transit-Oriented Neighborhood Centers in DC: Design Handbook
Plus, a DC categorization would need an additional corridor zone for railroad corridors.