Everything’s fine

Went to the Mondie meeting. Mondie poposed suitable changes. Face brick on the front and side with the vynl on the rear. The front will look like other Richardson Place buildings with flat roofs except these will be much taller. There were some parking changes and I think I heard blah-blah 3.5 ft easement so cars can get in and out of the alley and park. Some were concerned about the pre-fab (manufactured housing) bit, but really no big deal, remember Sears Craftman houses were pre-fab. Instead of split townhouses where there are two separate condo units in each building unit, each building will be one single family dwelling. There will still be a basement of sorts, but technically they will be “cellars”. This means they will not be legal living units. I have a cellar but I call it a “short people basement.” The cellars also mean that there will not be an entrance on the front to get to them, only the back. Mondie is hoping that it will take 3 months to get the townhomes built with the manuafactured housing stuff and hopes to sell each unit for well over 1/2 a mill (which doesn’t make me happy ’cause my taxes go up). It is still necessary to continue to pay special attention to how all this goes down. I believe I’ll still be attending the Zoning hearing.

Now for something else.
From Richard Layman’s Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space I came across the 16 Squares Most Dramatically in Need of Improvement and they had Dupont Circle at #13. Who the hell makes this list? Dupont is fine, but here is what they say:

Many think DuPont Circle is the best destination in Washington. We think it is performing at 30% of its potential. The city has undergone a metamorphosis in the past ten years, with many areas gradually becoming more vital. However, there seems to be a limit to this improvement: a rigid adherence to a master plan that keeps many areas from coalescing into real destinations. DuPont Circle needs to be freed from that mold. There are active parts of the Circle, but they are not connected. The Farmers Market is separate from the inner circle and from the active part of Massachusetts Avenue. The road around the Circle is two lanes too wide, and the connections from the interior park to the edges could be dramatically improved. With Connecticut Avenue running underneath the circle, there is no need to cater to heavy traffic. In fact, DuPont Circle could become a traffic-calmed, pedestrian friendly destination and quite possibly the core of a great urban district. Fulfilling this tremendous opportunity is essential if Washington is to become a world class city.

One, the Farmer’s Market is fine where it is. A portion is on the street and the other is in the bank parking lot. I like the easygoing nature of the market, I don’t know if it would have the same feel if it were thrust on to a typically busy road.
Two, “with Connecticut Avenue running underneath the circle, there is no need to cater to heavy traffic” ignores the fact that people also go east-west and not just north-south. Not everyone lives in Chevy Chase, some of us gotta get back to Shaw going on P Street.

6 thoughts on “Everything’s fine”

  1. I agree that Dupont is in good shape & doesn’t need to be messed with. The one critical point that I might agree with is that the sidewalks facing the Circle are kind of a dead zone. However, given the amount of traffic in that zone, both people and cars, and the way that the sidewalks around the Circle are cut into little pieces by all the intersecting streets, it’s hard to see how you can squeeze more into that space.

  2. If Mondie thinks he can get over $500k for a 14ft wide, prefab rowhouse, during a cooling real estate market, then he’s got some serious delusions. Those places will sit vacant for a long time at that asking price.

    – JM

  3. They may be 14ft wide, but they will be 3 stories plus the basement, & around 2400 sq ft. Using the money he saves going w/ the manufactured housing, he’s gonna pimp the inside…all jacuzzi tubs, smart home features, etc. Even in a cooling market, there will be people out there willing to pay 600-800k for something like that. Also, each one will have a parking space, & not be on a thru street. And keep in mind, the manufactured housing will probably be better than 80% of the illegal contractor flip & sell jobs so common in our area.

    I’m not saying its a done deal, but its possible.

  4. And some of us silly Washingtonians thought Dupont Circle was already the core of a “great urban district”. What do we locals know?

  5. Dupont Circle is indeed in need of a plan–but the Farmer’s Market is hardly part of that problem; its fine where it is.

    As a daily pedestrian commuter to Dupont Circle, I constantly see it as a death-trap waiting to happen. It is confusing for the “out of town drivers” and a glorified game of “Frogger” for us locals. Something should be done. But what? Therein lies the challenge.

  6. Check out the March archive of my blog (I think, or it could be April) and do a search on “Thomas Circle” for photos of that reconstruction.

    All I can say is, like what I say about my positive feelings about the buses, that maybe I have low expectations, that even Dupont Circle has room for improvement. A part of the problem is that under NPS jurisdication very much is not allowed.

    Anyway, poke through the PPS website and you’ll learn an awful lot, and DC will only benefit from your increased knowledge.

    As an aside, I hate prefabs at least the facades, which tend to suck. I hope at least they aren’t having a facade that looks like something out of Falls Church?

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