Here’s an interesting map created in 1967 by the National Capital Planning Commission (photo from Richard Layman’s flickr page). While some of the neighborhood areas are a bit off, others underscore decades of consistency.
Posted tagged ‘neighborhoods’
Well here’s one for the record books. What started out as a harmless and possibly interesting Tweet by Councilmember Jack Evans turned into a very strange journey attempting to find out where our neighborhood had disappeared to. At 4:44 p.m. yesterday (Feb. 24), Councilmember Evans posted the following Tweet:As someone who is interested in what’s going on in the neighborhood I clicked the link. I was especially interested because the profiles are produced by the Washington, DC Economic Partnership which, according to their Web site, ” is your first point of contact for development and business opportunities in the District of Columbia. [They] partner with all parties, public and private, interested in making DC a great place to do business.” Or, in other words, they market DC to businesses around the country with the goal of bringing new businesses to the District.
So I was completely shocked when I went to the Web site, looked at the neighborhoods, and no longer saw Petworth/Park View. For some reason, in 2012 Park View was completely erased from the profile and map — even though all surrounding neighborhoods have now been added to the map for the very first time. While the 2009 profile and map had its issues, it was correctly labeled with both neighborhoods. Similarly, the 2011 profile was also correctly labeled.
The accuracy of the neighborhood profiles is important since they are used to attract new businesses. The target economic zone of the Petworth/Park View map is the area 1/2 mile around the Georgia Avenue Metro station. Yet with no mention of Park View in the text and the use of only photographs showing businesses in Petworth, this neighborhood profile is clearly biased toward attracting new businesses north of the Metro Station at the expense of development south of the station.
In contacting the Washington, DC Economic Partnership and explaining the problem
I was quickly informed that the change was made due to a request made by Councilmember Muriel Bowser. When I questioned this the representative on the other end became less sure and stated they would look into it and get back to me. (See update below)
I assured them that I was happy to contact Councilmember Graham and have him give a call, at which point I was informed that the Washington, DC Economic Partnership is an apolitical organization. I quickly pointed out that an apolitical organization would not be removing facts or accurate details from a promotional brochure due to a request from a Councilmember.
Still, I did notice one ironic thing about the profile listing. When looking at the “Petworth” profile, I noticed that the associated URL still clearly includes Park View. See the following: http://wdcep.com/dc-profile/neighborhoods/petworthpark-view/
We’ll have to see how this shakes out, but from my point of view, the only correct course is to correct the information online and destroy any copies that may have been printed. You can voice your support of this action by contacting either Mr. Shuskey (WDCEP) or Councilmember Graham. Their contact information is below:
Chad Shuskey | Vice President, Research & Visual Communications
Email Chad Shuskey
Councilmember Jim Graham
Email Councilmember Graham
UPDATE (2/24/12 @ 8:50): According to WDCEP, the neighborhood names come from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. What would make them change what to call the corridor from past years is still a mystery.
UPDATE (2/24/12 @ 7 p.m.): In checking the Web site tonight — and after a phone conversation with WDCEP — the online profile for the half mile around the Metro has been changed to Petworth/Park View.
(Detail from a 1965 topographic map of northwest Washington)
For those of you who like maps, I was recently made aware of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) historical topographic map collection, many of which are online. In searching for maps of the D.C. area I was able to find two relatively recent maps showing neighborhood names. The detail above is from a 1965 map of Northwest. The other map was a 1971 update of the 1965 map.
Regardless of where one stands on the issue of existing Metro station names, there should be no argument on the need for accuracy in the station maps that are supposed to assist riders when they are unfamiliar with a station they don’t use frequently.
Being a frequent rider at the Georgia Ave.-Petworth station, and knowing the neighborhoods around the station well, I’ve passed by the maps for years without ever looking at them. That changed recently when I was using one of the illuminated station maps to give a fellow rider directions.
Imagine my surprise when I was looking at the map and saw that it listed some neighborhoods but not others. There is either 1) no rhyme or reason to which neighborhoods are included on the maps, or, 2) Metro considers some neighborhoods as being more important than others.
Regardless of how Metro creates its station maps, it seems clear to me that all neighborhoods surrounding a station should be listed if the map is to maximize its usefulness. In the case of the maps at the Georgia Ave.-Petworth station, the neighborhoods to the north and south of the station are Petworth (included on the map) and Park View (not included). Due to its proximity to the station, the inclusion of Columbia Heights on the maps is reasonable. However, I fail to see how Mt. Pleasant is helpful to anyone using the station as a terminus, though I will acknowledge that a rider can transfer to Metrobus and continue their commute there that way.
The bottom line is that Metro needs to do better with its signage. If they are going to include neighborhood names at all on their station maps they need to include all the neighborhoods in the immediate vicinity, not just the ones Metro deems significant.
Here’s something that may appeal to those of you interested in researching the history of your home and/or neighborhood. Coming up on the 23rd is a FREE class you can sign up for. All that is required is interest and time.
Space is limited, so if this is of interest to you and you are available on the evening of March 23rd, you might want to sign up sooner rather than later.
The full announcement for this, including how to register, is below:
Researching Neighborhood & House Histories March 23, 2010
Have you ever wanted to know more about your house than its age? Have you ever wanted to understand how your neighborhood came to take the shape it has?
Join local historian, Matthew Gilmore, for a hands-on workshop, in which he will show you how to utilize the resources of the Washingtoniana Division and other public records print and online to uncover the mysteries of your home’s past and the development of the city and your neighborhood.
Matthew Gilmore, co-editor, H-DC, will speak on the basic resources everyone needs to know for doing research on Washington DC buildings, places, institutions, and people. Materials will be available in the Division for research, though the discussion will cover materials also located at a wide variety of Washington DC institutions. A tour of the division will follow and a chance to work with some of the sources discussed.
Held in the Washingtoniana Division, DC Public Library, 901 G St NW, Room 307. (more…)
Among the things I did over the last week and a half to avoid cabin fever was update and expand the Park View entry in Wikipedia. To try to get a good feel on what a D.C. neighborhood page should look like I reviewed many of the pages for neighborhoods in the city, and found that many could use additional information. Which, to me, begs the question: “Are neighborhood descriptions on Wikipedia of value?” Have you found them useful in the past, found them lacking, or actually taken the time to add information to them?
One thing I discovered in putting the page together was the population of the neighborhood over time ( see graph below). While the population has been in decline since the 1950 census, I’m willing to bet that the 2010 census numbers will show the first increase in 60 years.
(Click on image for larger, clearer version. Sources: “DC Tract Profile, Tract 32″. NeighborhoodInfo DC. Retrieved 2010-02-12; “Census of Population and Housing”. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-02-12.)