Impressions from the Community Review of Georgia Avenue

Darren Jones and Sylvia Robinson getting the community review started

The day long community review of Georgia Avenue was this past Saturday (8/7/10). While it was not a capacity crowd, I found it refreshing to see so many residents turn out and devote an entire day networking to shape the future of Lower Georgia Avenue. It was also encouraging to see a much wider geographical representation than I’ve seen in the past. Official minutes of the event will be forthcoming, so I’ll focus on my impressions here.

The morning was set up giving participants three separate opportunities to focus on a particular topic relevant to the corridor. These were at 9:30 am, 10:45 am, and noon. Each time contained four different concurrent sessions, with a total of six topics:

  1. Living on Georgia Avenue;
  2. Shopping on Georgia Avenue;
  3. Entertainment;
  4. Getting around on Georgia Avenue;
  5. Environmental Issues; and,
  6. Economic Development/Education/Employment.

I chose to go to the Living, Shopping, and Getting around sessions.

The Living on Georgia Avenue discussion focused on housing and was led by Clarence Pearson of the Architectural Research Institute, University of the District of Columbia. A good deal of time was spent on the history of the Department of Housing’s efforts to make homes assessable to DC residents. There was also a discussion on the two main zoning classifications in play, R4 and C2A. Nancy Huvendick, of the 21st Century School fund, asked if anything could be done for newer developments to support families with school-age children rather than build condos that seem to support singles and couples without children. Another resident wanted to know what could be done to attract certain types of businesses to the street. The answer to both was that there is nothing in place that would mandate a developer build larger residential units or seek a particular business for their commercial space.

Part of the streetscape montage, where participants could leave comments and suggestions

The Shopping session was moderated by A.K. Adams of the GADGET Center. This session was more of an open forum. Some of the ideas that came out of it were that we need to think about professional services as well as shopping opportunities when a plan is developed for the goods and services that need to be attracted to the area. It seemed clear that many would like a hardware store, perhaps a fabric store, and more restaurants. I mentioned that I thought the area would benefit from a good animal hospital or just a basic veterinarian.

The Getting Around session was moderated by ANC 1A Commissioner William Jordan and focused on mobility and streetscape issues. Two main points to come out of it were that:

  1. Georgia Avenue is currently focused on car and bus traffic and as a U.S.  highway that is going to be difficult to change. Its main purpose is to encourage traffic to move through the community, not stop and interact with the community.
  2. There is a strong desire from the community for more park space, community space, public art, and culture along the corridor.

The problem with these two issues is that they seem to be at odds with each other.

After a 45 minute lunch, two hours of the afternoon were devoted to a general meeting where the moderators of the groups reported on their session’s discussions and then the floor was opened up to general questions.

One of the highlights for me was the photomontage of 7th Street/Georgia Avenue between the Shaw/Howard and Georgia Ave/Petworth Metros, displaying both the east and west sides of the thoroughfare. Those present were encouraged to leave comments on post-it notes or on sheets that were below each vacant/empty property.

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4 Comments on “Impressions from the Community Review of Georgia Avenue”

  1. Angry Parakeet Says:

    The streetscape montage was very good – will it travel to the next meeting? Is it in file form somewhere to download, I would like to look at it in much more detail.

  2. warderst Says:

    I was sorry to miss this meeting but I was out of town. Do you know if it will be podcast anywhere? Also, there is a good hardware store on Georgia and Quincy. It’s small but the owner is always very helpful and it’s packed full of stuff.

  3. ~~~mh Says:

    Very enjoyable & productive Workshop. Thanks to the organizers and sponsors.

    One target group I don’t recall being mentioned is employees @ the Washington Hospital Center. Think of ALL the potential customers just 3 blocks away from Georgia Avenue!


  4. […] In addition to Bruce Monroe, the GACDTF will discuss a set of draft recommendations for Lower Georgia Avenue based on previous meetings and the August 7, 2010, community review. […]


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