Is This the Coolest Parking Garage Ever?

Posted by & filed under Design.

Well, at a cost of more than $100,000 per space, it had better be. High design–using Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron–costs and the New York Times takes a shot at figuring how the numbers work. But never mind the numbers, the structure is a location scout’s dream. Look for it soon on an episode of CSI Miami.

Miami Beach is actually developing a reputation for cool parking garages, using design than relies on more than just a tropical climate that can soften and structure with palm trees and cushions of impatiens.

Okay, this one is palmed and cushiony, but it also has a strong retail base, a car entrance that is as narrow as possible on the … Continue reading

End of the Week Links: February 26th

Posted by & filed under Design.

LOCAL

A Visit To Velatis Silver Spring Singular

SSS samples the caramels from Velatis, which recently opened on Georgia Avenue in a building previously occupied by trees. Mouth watering images included.

 

 

 

Lessons from a South American Bus Rapid Transit system Greater Greater Washington

Councilmember George Leventhal traveled to Curitiba, Brazil to test out their BRT system. He shares his thoughts with GGW.

 

 

 

 

It’s Worse Than You Thought… but maybe better too Friends of White Flint

An interesting recap of where Montgomery County is strong, and where it needs to improve relative to the Washington region.

 

 

 

 

How Silver Spring Park could be a good neighbor Greater Greater Washington / … Continue reading

Peter Calthorpe on Transit-Oriented Development

Posted by & filed under Design.

Via Fast Company

Portland has long been one of the most celebrated cities in terms of planning and sustainability. Peter Calthorpe is one of the original pioneers of transit-oriented development. In this video, Calthorpe does a nice job of succinctly laying out the principles of transit-oriented development, namely walkability and diversity of population and land use.

What Walkscore Reveals about Montgomery County

Posted by & filed under Design.

Earlier this winter, the New York Times ran an article on a CEO’s for Cities study revealing a substantial premium on home sale prices in areas with an above average Walkscore, the informative, if simplistic online measurement tool that ranks neighborhood “walkability” based on proximity to community services and amenities. According to the study, for every additional Walkscore point a neighborhood earns, home prices increase by $700 and $3,000. On average, highly walkable homes sold for $4,000 to $38,000 more than their auto-centric competition.

This past weekend, I attempted to use Walkscore in conjunction with Zillow.com to (at least loosely) confirm the study’s findings for Montgomery County. While zip-code data gave a soft nod in the affirmative, I couldn’t find data … Continue reading

Food Truck Update

Posted by & filed under Planning.

Los Angeles continues to encourage a street food scene with a street food fest. And though conflicts are bound to arise, there are ways to deal with them.

Broadway Pedestrian Boulevard Made Permanent

Posted by & filed under Design.

After months of study and deliberation, New York City has decided to make its pedestrian-priority spaces a permanent fixture on sections of Broadway around Times and Herald Squares. The decision to keep the revised street plan, which had been operating under trial review since last summer, came despite vehicle travel times falling short of projected improvements. The plan was originally sold on the basis that it would improve vehicle flow by 17%. It improved 7%.

More importantly, the roadway enhancements vastly improved pedestrian and motorist safety. According the City’s Department of Transportation, pedestrian injuries are down 35% while motorist and passenger injuries decreased 63%. And 80% fewer pedestrians are walking in the streets despite increased usage of Times and Herald Squares, ostensibly due to … Continue reading

Project Profile: The Burnside Rocket

Posted by & filed under Architecture.

Tacking onto Elza’s post on Silver Spring’s future form, I came across this building a few weeks ago and couldn’t help but think of Fenton Village. It’s cheerful, gritty, and almost certainly would feel at home in a neighborhood that already boasts an array of colors, from the similarly red Pyramid Atlantic to the tastefully pink Jackie’s Restaurant.

And while the Burnside Rocket may seem to offer little in the way of architectural distinction other than a few eccentric shutters painted by local artists (which I think are quite neat), between its crimson painted walls is a powerhouse at work. The LEED-Platinum certified structure is built both to last, approximately 300 years according to the project’s website, and operate … Continue reading

Suburban Food Trucks

Posted by & filed under Planning.

Mohamed Elrafal is a native of Egypt and a former antiques dealer who runs the Ali Baba Falafel cart at the Bethesda Farm Women’s Market. By allowing a complementary use to lease space, the market gains income to stay viable in the midst of redevelopment (the market is zoned CBD-1).

Elrafal serves falafel, gyro, and his mother’s recipe for ful medames, a traditional Egyptian street food of stewed fava beans that is so good, it will make you rethink your relationship to legumes. The guy is really cooking. His falafel is spiced with whole cardamom seeds and accompanied by distinctly seasoned red cabbage, banana peppers, and vinegary lettuce. It’s wrapped in a thinner pita than the gyros, which get … Continue reading

When public art isn’t public enough, who does it benefit?

Posted by & filed under Design.

One of the most fascinating pieces of public art in Silver Spring is “Coastline,” a sculpted water feature by Jim Sanborn, which is tucked into the plaza near the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at 1301 East-West Highway. For those who know it is there – mostly office workers from the surrounding complex – it is a wonderful place to relax during lunch or coffee breaks. And the lucky kids who come across the piece are transfixed by the threat and prospect of being hit by the spray of the surf.

The sculpture: A large, pneumatically activated pool that sends waves crashing into stacked, sculpted red granite, creating an intense sound and sense of dynamism to which most water … Continue reading