If a car were blocking a major intersection, it would be towed within minutes. Yet this telephone pole gets a free pass despite being directly in front of the Silver Spring Police Station.
Walk around Silver Spring and you’re likely to notice the numerous light poles, parking meters, and electrical boxes inconveniently placed in the middle of sidewalks and curb ramps.
Through a comprehensive set of sidewalk and street improvements, we can restore equal access while promoting healthy walkable communities.
Planners and traffic engineers are spreading the gospel of complete streets – streets that provide equal access to bicycle, pedestrian, transit, or car users regardless of age or ability. Complete streets … Continue reading
Whether it’s the Boundary Bridge that straddles Rock Creek right outside Silver Spring or the Cabin John Bridge nestled into Glen Echo, I love the bridges our region boasts. I’m no gephyrophobiac, bridges don’t scare me one bit. But there is one bridge that makes me uneasy–and no, it’s not the Tacoma Narrows— it’s the Downtown Silver Spring Library bridge. Despite the fact the Planning Board voted 8-1 against the bridge, it has once again become part of our local discourse. Here’s why I hope thisbridge wobbles into oblivion.
It’s been argued that the proposed bridge is the best and most economic way of achieving accessibility for all. Silver Spring already has a skywalk: the bridge that … Continue reading
Transportation planners talk about mode share, trip mitigation, and relative arterial mobility all displayed in charts and graphs. But there is a human element to using transit. Why would you shower, dress, and walk down the hill to stand here while your neighbors whip past in their BMWs, warm, dry, singing along to Norah Jones, and a swigging a latte?
Montgomery County has a great local bus system, the Ride Ons, which course through neighborhoods connecting to central business districts, Metro, and regional buses. They are clean, relatively prompt, and reasonably priced. Seniors and students get a price break, increasing access, and some of the fleet is running on compressed natural gas, encouraging good green behavior.
Sure, part of the reason we don’t use Metro is because it’s a long walk from home or you’ve got to pick up the kids after school or you’re just not that interested in the cell phone social life of your seatmate. But wouldn’t mass transit be a little more appealing if it felt like your commute was a scene from a very cool Japanese spy movie?
And Maryland made the New York Times this week as a community that has taken interesting steps toward being green. I can’t believe that DC beat us to taxing shopping bags, this seems like a natural for Montgomery County and isn’t everyone in the habit of traveling with a folded up bag … Continue reading
Throughout the country, suburban planners are grappling with how to handle pressures to adapt to demographic shifts, changing housing preferences, and growing infrastructure costs – all while making their communities more sustainable.
Be part of the solution! Join planners and smart growth experts by presenting at Makeover Montgomery: Innovative Strategies for Rethinking America’s Suburbs on April 14-16, 2011. Submit a proposal to present at the conference. (Deadline November 5)
Locating the conference in Silver Spring, with its rejuvenated, nationally recognized center, will focus attention on successful planning and policy tools and strategies.
Consider a presentation that ties into one of our conference themes, including: • Redesigning the suburbs • Suburban building typologies • Zoning for … Continue reading
The food truck phenomenon has reached Silver Spring, enlivening a paved corner of the downtown’s 100 percent intersection with the flavors of West Africa.
In previous posts, we talked about how cities are using the food truck movement to contribute street life to parking lots and to create low investment, diverse businesses. Chez Dikel, parked at the gas station at the corner of Colesville and Georgia, is dishing up delicious home cooking from Mali to repeat customers from the Discovery Building and other workers in the CBD (including the planning department).
The peppery Yassa Chicken is a special Malian dish, the spicy ginger water will cure the worst cold, and the homemade hot sauce will take care of any … Continue reading
When it comes to the built environment, the Washington region has long been one of the proving grounds for Planning.
From the first-ever National Planning Conference in 1909 to the demonstration of New Urbanism at Kentlands, Washington has benefited from planning ideas that often seemed far-fetched at the time.
Greenbelt, Maryland is no exception. It’s the best-preserved example of New Deal-era utopian town planning in the United States, and has been named a National Planning Landmark. This Saturday, I’m leading a bike tour of the community (details below). I hope you can make it.
About Greenbelt: Faced with housing shortages, a decimated economy, and deteriorating conditions in cities, the Roosevelt Administration, as a part of the New Deal, set … Continue reading
You’ve heard it before, and probably from us: Montgomery County is becoming increasingly diverse. What do you think when you hear the word “diversity?”
Tell us at our upcoming Pecha Kucha contest, where you can demonstrate your vision of diversity in 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each. Anyone can join, and the winner – judged using on-site polling – will be featured on our Montgomery Plans cable show. Winning a Pecha Kucha contest could be a great resumé line!
Walk the sidewalks of Rockville, Silver Spring and any of the county’s downtowns and you’ll see a wide array of people. My kids’ class lists read like an assembly at the United Nations.
Seattle’s Downtown Transit Tunnel was designed as a collaborative project between the project consultant (Parson Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas Inc.), the architecture subconsultant (TRA), and 25 artists. The team created what they have termed a distinct “art-itecture” for each station representative of the neighborhood it serves.
The result is a fantastic model for the stations along the proposed Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway.
Even after just a couple days riding the light-rail or buses through Seattle’s stations, a quick glance out the window provides a distinct impression that tells, or shows, where you are. The collaboration is obvious in the integration of artistic details and the creation of a place. You … Continue reading
This past weekend, the Capitol Riverfront area celebrated the grand opening of the Yards Park.
The new park is located along the Anacostia River between 3rd Street SE and the Navy Yard. It was built as a public-private partnership between the developer of the Yards, the government of the District of Columbia, and the General Services Administration. It’s managed by the Capitol Riverfront BID.
A festival marked the opening this weekend. It included bands, artists, vendors, and more. I had the opportunity to stop by, and I snapped some photos. The park is very well designed, and I can only hope it is an example of future waterfront parks in the area.