How Would You Redesign Park Morton?

The redevelopment of Park Morton is both necessary and something that will have a positive impact on everyone who lives in the Park View community. Yet, at the first Park Morton Planning and Design Workshop held on December 1st only about 50 residents participated. The next Planning and Design Workshop is scheduled for Saturday, December 12th, from 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School.

At the first workshop, the unsettled questions surrounding the former Bruce Monroe School site related to scale, density, and park programming also proved to be more of a distraction for some groups than others, preventing them from focusing on areas of agreement which would help answer the build-first site questions.

So, in the interest of coming up with some concrete ideas to ensure that the new Park Morton is a success and inclusive of community participation, I’m encouraging people to think about how the current Park Morton site could be developed in a way that knits back into the surrounding community. These ideas can then be shared at the November 12th workshop.

Park Morton Existing(Park Morton as it exists today.)

Above is a plan of the current Park Morton site, and you can see how the streets and houses were arranged just prior to the creation of Park Morton here. The general plan from 2008 is below. As you can see, many of the buildings are far more dense than is allowed by the R-4 zoning. In short, massive buildings were considered in 2008 as there wasn’t enough land to accommodate the mixed income community that is planned.

Park Morton Plan 2008(Park Morton Plan from 2008.)

Below is an idea I came up with which, I believe, addresses many of the challenges to redesigning the site while complying with the sites current zoning much more than the 2008 plan did. It retains apartment buildings along Park Road, the west end of Morton Street, and the southeastern corner of Morton Street. The large central building on Park Road is sited away from the street to help provide some green space and convey an entrance to the community.

Morton Street is opened up to Warder Street, and alleys are extend through blocks eliminating dead ends and cul-de-sacs.

Rowhouses line the north side of Morton Street, and face a park on the south side of Morton Street.

Lastly, there is some open land behind the apartment building at the southeast end of the property which could also be programmed as either a playground or a community garden.

Park Morton Redesign 3(One possible layout for the Park Morton area.)

Solving the planning puzzle for the current Park Morton site will help answer the question of how many units will need to be in the build-first phase of the development, which also helps answer the question of density.

So given the size, shape, and zoning (which is R-4) of the current Park Morton site, how would you design it?

Explore posts in the same categories: Architecture, Development, Housing, Zoning

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18 Comments on “How Would You Redesign Park Morton?”

  1. Cliff Says:

    I think people aren’t participating because they already did this process in starting in 2004 and again in 2008. Very disappointed in our “leaders”, who choose to start from square one, instead of following through on campaign promises to get park Morton development moving again (which could very realistically have development beginning immediately).

    • K Says:

      Queue @gentrify-u, “tear the whole thing down and build a parking lot!”

      • Gentrify-u Says:

        Why would you want a parking lot? What we need are more buildings with more amenities, decent restaurants, and services that will impact our community positively.

      • K Says:

        I figured that would be your canned response but you surprised me especially with the use of the words ‘impact’, ‘community’ and ‘positively’ all in the same sentence 😉

    • jcm Says:

      It’s a rigged game. They must already have a plan, and they won’t show it to us. They ask us to come to meetings to help with the design, but they won’t show us any of the RFP responses. It’s a farce.

      As far as the plan goes, the very first thing they should do is acquire the Georgia Ave frontage. Trying to rebuild PM without that land is just silly, unless you are a developer who wants the city to give you the park down the street.

      • steve Says:

        “As far as the plan goes, the very first thing they should do is acquire the Georgia Ave frontage. Trying to rebuild PM without that land is just silly, unless you are a developer who wants the city to give you the park down the street.”

        Yes!

  2. mbk Says:

    this conflicts with the city wide “Ed Fest” so we won’t be participating which is unfortunate.

  3. jcm Says:

    “At the first workshop, the unsettled questions surrounding the former Bruce Monroe School site related to scale, density, and park programming also proved to be more of a distraction for some groups than others, preventing them from focusing on areas of agreement which would help answer the build-first site questions.”

    You are proposing to demolish a popular community park, and replace it with 200 units of new housing. Where on earth would that not be “a distraction”? It’s why I laugh whenever someone claims this is the fatsest way to get Park Morton moving. Picking a fight with a bunch of neighbors who previously supported your plan is stupid.

  4. raninicole Says:

    I feel like these “design meetings” will be wasted energy.–a charade to give the impression that the community was involved in the decision making for the development. The community has given its input on what they want to see on so many occasions and it has never been taken into account. Why would this be any different? Why can’t the Developers put together a design proposal based on past input and then present it to the community for input? I know affordable housing is needed, but there’s got to be a better and more transparent solution.

  5. Ben Says:

    I don’t think we need to be so negative. I believe there is true interest in community input. I actually think the first plan is pretty good starting point and one key request would be to retain reconnection of Morton street. But it could be a “shared space” as is becoming quite popular in the uk.morton should be a model in doc and the country for a green street with trees, play areas and so forth. Let’s make Morton street itself into a shared street that takes on many park-like attributes, even play space. Architects, See examples from the uk please such as this:
    IMG_1633

    • Gentrify-u Says:

      LOL sure, why not? You are missing the empty beer cans, 7-11 pizza boxes and chicken wings bones in that picture

      • Jim Slicio Says:

        You can’t forget blunt wrappers/guts, cigarette butts, empty dime bags, cardboard packages stolen from neighbors porches, house waste…the list goes on.

        Knowing what we have and don’t want is more valuable than what we want but can’t have.

  6. JM Says:

    I’m not an architect or urban planner, so I’d prefer to leave the design process to the experts. But my priorities for the site would be:

    * increased density to maximize the number of market rate units (while still preserving the “right to return” for current residents). I’m not clear why R4 is such a sacred cow on this parcel – if this is a city priority, couldn’t the zoning commission OK a couple of 4-5 story buildings on the site if they were set back? Regardless let’s get as many market rate units as possible into the mix.

    * strong connection to GA Avenue and Park Rd. I think it’s good urban design to have front porches, storefronts, and other “connections” to well trafficked streets.

    * No isolated, interior spaces. Very important to give police sight lines into the complex, so that isolated areas don’t become territory for drug dealers & street crews.

  7. JJ Says:

    I would like to see any development to restrict smoking (tobacco and weed) in all buildings and on any public space. This is an opportunity for DC to take a positive step forward.

  8. Anon Says:

    Don’t forget that in addition to the design meeting on Saturday there is a Park Morton steering committee meeting tonight at Park View Rec Center at 6:30pm

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