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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.

It has many features which help to … Continue reading

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Though staff has been enjoying and sharing produce all summer long, this seemed like a good time for an official harvest, so at lunch today, gardeners presented a Lunch, Learn and Taste session to their colleagues.

We talked about how the garden was a way to make our own building more green, the volunteers that helped us (not only the gardeners, but our building crew who helped with watering, our parks crew who started us off by turning the beds, and American Plant Food, who generously donated seed and supplies), and how we plan to winter over the garden (soils amendments and some hardy crops like cabbage).

But the real point of the garden party was to harvest and we had … Continue reading

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New York continues to open its streets to all users, rethinking its infrastrcutre in a way that makes the city enjoyable for more people, and a bit greener.

There is hardly a more iconic street than Broadway and if you’re a cyclist, it’s where your dreams might in fact come true. After testing lane closures to make squares and bike routes, the city is making the closures official.

Two quotes in the article caught my eye: “You do these things incrementally, and over time they build.” and “I think it was their strategy to introduce this piecemeal, see if it worked, and then go further.”

These comments remind me of what Richard Layman said in our Rethink Montgomery speakers … Continue reading

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The recently approved Germantown Sector Plan recommends greenways along Observation Drive and Crystal Rock Drive that would connect Black Hill Regional Park to the Town Center. It’s a good fit on streets that already have wide sidewalks, buffers, and stormwater management facilities.

Sounds like a great feature, one that creates a distinctive roadscape, creates a desirable recreation feature that also works for bicycle and pedestrian transportation, and can be implemented at the same time road and site improvements are made.

Fitting recreation into existing infrastructure and making that infrastructure do double duty is a sensible approach, given not only public sector’s fiscal limits, but our increasing interest in sustainability. Just google greenways and you’ll find lots of communities pursuing … Continue reading

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It’s a cool morning, the first in a long time, and the frayed leaves are starting to look less lush, but there’s still time to think about Summer Streets, New York City’s program to create a temporary 6.9 mile car-free route to encourage bicycling in the city.

Free bike rentals and repairs, free skate rental, rest stops, maps, and yes–you can cool off in a dumpster pool!–remove barriers and excuses.

I like the idea of temporarily rethinking the city. Trying out parks and bike routes is not only a physical test of infrastructure, but a test of how we function as individuals in our environment. Certain things are hard–biking, recycling, walking–not because they are inherently difficult, but because the infrastructure isn’t set up … Continue reading

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guest blogger: Michael Brown

Imagine, in an effort to reduce spending, Montgomery County Public Schools has decided to reduce the number of students they will bus to school. As a consequence, more children will be forced to walk to school or more parents will be forced to drive them.

This is the reality of parents in Clayton County, Georgia, a suburban community south of downtown Atlanta. Just days before the new school year started, the school system announced that itwill no longer provide bus transportation to 4,600 students living within a mile and half of their schools.

After hearing this news my first thought was TRAFFIC!   As a reviewer of mandatory referral applications for school projects in Montgomery County, … Continue reading

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DC has taken an early step in becoming a more bike-friendly community (a la Montreal). See the press release below:

Sign Up Today for Capital Bikeshare

Discount Memberships Now Available at

Become a Founding Member

(Washington, D.C.) – Cyclists in the Washington area can now sign up in advance for Capital Bikeshare, the regional bikesharing network that is scheduled to start service in September in the District and Arlington, Virginia. The program’s website is now live at and by signing up online now individuals can take advantage of a special introductory offer.

Here are the details:

For a limited time, Capital Bikeshare is offering annual memberships for $50. That is $25 off the regular annual price. In … Continue reading

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Bixi is Montreal’s homegrown rental bike system. Designed to serve tourists and residents with more than 5,000 bikes distributed through the city, the program is a real commitment to urban biking. Price and convenience contribute to their use and the system is well-managed to local habits—bikes are trucked around the city to ensure their even distribution after rush hour trips downtown.

But I think the real reason people bike in Montreal is the 502 kilometers of bike lanes and bike routes. Some are painted on the street, some run through parks, and some are separated by curbs, but all are well-respected and well-used.

Yes, even in the winter, though not without challenges. The commitment to bike infrastrucutre has created a bike … Continue reading

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When we think about urban environments we picture tall buildings, noisy traffic, and hard surfaces. But the real point of urban environments is people, lots of them, bouncing off each other—eating lunch in the square, going to the theater, crowding around a street performer, sharing a sidewalk. Cities bring people together.

Food also brings people together and one could think of urban spaces as giant family tables. After all, Napoleon didn’t describe Venice’s Piazza San Marco as “the finest drawing room in Europe” for nothing. A $15.00 lemonade at one of its cafés is worth every penny if you make good use of your plaza-side table.

Community spaces and tables are prevailing in private spaces as well. Metropolis Magazine … Continue reading

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This Thursday, the Planning Board will review the County’s DHCA plans to upgrade the 25-year old streetscaping along Georgia Avenue between Selim Street and Silver Spring Avenue. The goals are to meet ADA standards and to install new soil panels that will help street trees reach full maturity.

But it’s more than a matter of setting in a few bricks and new trees. The design of the sidewalk space and its elements has to mediate among the needs of all users. Business owners want trees that don’t obscure their storefronts and signs. Curb edges and varied paving materials can hold up wheelchair users but can help blind pedestrians navigate. Agencies undertaking the work, trying to make the most out of … Continue reading