Friday, January 21, 2005

Trying to imagine the future

I was going to complain about ice on the southern side of the 500 block of R street, but no.

I've been thinking about development. There is big development going on on the other side of the North Cap, over by the NY Ave metro station and smaller, more residential development on our side, in Truxton Circle. I've been trying to imagine what a future North Capitol (NE & NW) would look like. I've tried thinking of it in terms of watching one of those time lapsed films where the changes that take over a year or two are seen in a matter of minutes. If I had a camera facing North Capitol what would unfold in front of the camera?

In my imagination I haven't gotten a full picture, but so far I came up with a little something. The green and white bakery (can't think of it's name) gets a paint job, big open windows, tables and opens itself to retail shoppers. Some large piece of government owned property off North Cap disintegrates and in is place arises a mixed retail building with paid underground parking for the public. Signs directing people to parking appear along North Cap. On the NE side more large holes are dug for more paid underground parking for the employees of XM and the other office buildings and their visitors appear. Along sides of these parking garages appears more retail for the employees and residents of Eckington, Bloomingdale, NoMa and Truxton Circle. In my vision I see the neon lights for a sit down Chinese restaurant, which a little later is followed by the lights of another restaurant and a small bookstore. Traffic patterns change a the intersection of FL and North Cap. Oh boy is it a mess! Busses are rerouted and the crowds waiting for the bus are forced elsewhere while the construction is done. The gas station, the KFC and the other corner of FL and N. Cap are all taken out for the building of a small traffic circle.

What shows up in your vision?


At 1/21/2005 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MM -- Have you heard of North Capitol Main Streets (

Its a program that has had success in many areas (14th St., Shaw).

Also what did you think of the article in the City Paper about the name 'Truxton Circle'?

At 1/21/2005 9:47 AM, Blogger Robbie said...

Marie, that sounds very close to what I've been picturing in that area. Think Chinatown with more residential.

At 1/21/2005 10:30 AM, Blogger Mari said...

Yes but in my notes I have very little b/c my Palm was acting up. My neighbor is somewhat involved with the Shaw Main Streets. So yes, I have heard of them.
I've been trying to think of what exactly are my wants. Trying to get a real view of them so I can communicate something more substantal and less vague than "better businesses." I am trying to imagine an actual type of business. Trying to see with my mind's eye a real business, taking up real space, on a real block and how it 'fits' in that space with the real traffic, and the real people and the real problems.
For example, I would LOVE a Barnes and Noble or like store to magically plop itself right smack dab on the 1800 block of North Cap like Dorothy's house on top of the Wicked Witch of the East. Yet there are several problems I can think of. One, there are houses & businesses right there and the amount of space one of these stores normally takes up would wipe out part of Quincy Street or other 100+ year old homes. Two, although there are several people in the neighborhood who would totally support the business, there are a good number of people in the area who would subtract from business by shoplifting, begging outside, being annoying inside taking away from the shopping experience. Three, despite the fact there is a LOT of traffic going up and down Florida and North Capitol, it is very hard to see how that traffic can stop around the area to engage in shopping. There doesn't seem to be enough parking for those who drive in and it is a bit of a hike (imagine walking in a cold driving rain) from either Shaw or NY Ave metros.
So when imagining any businesses that I want, I am trying to take in account what is there and what can be supported by the current residents, current traffic and transportation conditions, current negativities, and current businesses and offices in the area. I hope that makes sense.


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