Sorry for the break between posts; the past few weeks have been pretty hectic, but there’s some good stuff coming down the pipeline. First off, let’s finish off the analysis of space and access. The subject now is the bicyclist.
Bicycling exists in a strange middle-area of the law. A bike is a vehicle in DC, but bikers can ride on the sidewalk and don’t have to register or undergo inspections. Culturally, cyclists travel in a more uncertain space, not all that welcome on the street or the sidewalk. A lack of any particular bicycle infrastructure means that there is no place of positive certainty anywhere near Tenleytown. I have to admit that judging conditions was more difficult here because of the more varying conditions cyclists find themselves subject to.
That’s reflected in the composite above; It’s really gray. And pretty dark.
To look at the way the image was composed follow down below.
I wrote in the last update that any analysis of the spatial relationships of a suburban-style city needs to consider the legal rules and social sentiments that coexist with physical boundaries. Of course the laws vary based on your “mode” of travel, with pedestrians getting a bit of leeway in terms of “travel.”
But let’s do pedestrians. How do they interact with space?
OK, so the color here is seriously off. I may have to redo some of these maps in a RGB color space. For now, enjoy the eye strain!
I haven’t discussed the role of bicycles in the T-T area, but here’s a map of suitability for bike access. Bear in mind that there are no facilities for bikes, only one designated routes.
Blue is the one designated bike route that passes near Fort Reno Park, and therefore gives bikers a little more respectability. Green is sidewalks and dark gray is alleys, both places where cyclists have to share the road with pedestrians as well as drivers. Light gray paths represent neighborhood streets with little traffic and generally no center dividing lines. Yellow indicates busier, possibly divided streets where bikers might have some problems with the cars. Red streets are arterials where biking is either dangerous or “disruptive” for automobiles.
Tenleytown: The armpit of the area, a former bank parking at 4501 Wisconsin Ave, has sprouted scaffolding. Developed by the Pedas Family, the site will become a one-story, 3,677sf retail site, although the developer has not listed a client. The Pedases are better known for their empire based around the Inner Circle cinema, but also for Circle Parking and Circle Management. Physically, their most distinctive building is the Michael Graves-designed International Finance Corporation building at Washington Circle. Always a good improvement to see an empty lot get filled.
Tenleytown: The Ward 3 Aquatic Center, or the Wilson Pool, as everyone will call it, will have a formal opening, complete with Fenty, on Monday, August Third, at 10:30 AM. The Hughes group have put together an inoffensive structure, but it supposedly boasts the capability for daylighting, natural ventilation, and water-loss mitigation, earning it a LEED Silver certification. The pool has been desperately needed since the shoddily built predecessor started falling apart at a more rapid rate in 2003.
Hawthorne, Palisades, Green Acres?: Opposition to sidewalks continues in the hinterlands of DC, where DDOT has been adding the badly needed infrastructure. This time, it’s over in Palisades, on Chain Bridge Road and University Terrace. Roger Lewis and Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh went on the Kojo Nnamdi show. Lewis shared some interesting history, but it was Cheh that laid down the law, insisting on sidewalks, but also demanding DDOT involve community members more. The two both agreed that the rational need for a network of sidewalks was a no-brainer. Callers disagreed, for some reason, mostly that “they’re not used” and they’ll “ruin the character of the neighborhood.” The panelists offered reasonable responses to the entitled views of opponents.
However, aside from the Cheh-Lewis lovefest, the two missed some important points, such as the dubious wisdom of low-density, limited-network streets in the middle of the city. One of the callers declared that residing in the area seemed like living in the country, but near the city. That’s just swell, but neither addressed whether having such low density a mere 4 miles from the center of town was a good idea. Also, Nnamdi and Lewis both guiltily admitted to driving on University Terrace routinely. Listen to the conversation, it’s worth some down time.