Second Park Morton Planning & Design Workshop Successful and Engaging

Map showing 1/4 radius from the existing Park Morton site.

Map showing 1/4 radius from the existing Park Morton site.

The second of the Planning and Design Workshops for the redesign of the Park Morton housing complex was one of the more successful opportunities organized for community engagement to date. It consisted of an introductory presentation that was followed by some hands-on planning workshops. The workshop focused on four key areas — 1) Housing Types; 2) Community Services, Amenity and Retail; 3) Open Space and Parks; and, 4) Design and Program.

The presentation (see PDF of slide deck here) was broken down into two main sections. The first half listed comments/feedback that the planners have heard from the community to date along with how the development team is responding to that feedback.  To assist with the design and program portion of the day, several design schemes were presented as a jumping off point to help show how the two sites needed to work together.

The Workshops

Three of the four workshops consisted of boards showing some of the options that have been discussed to date along with some of the possibilities that could be included. These workshops were for housing types; community services, amenities, and retail; and open space and parks. Participants were given post-it notes and colored dots to indicate what they liked and what they didn’t like. This worked reasonably well. For example, in the housing workstation, the photos were divided by density with each board representing larger or smaller building types. Overall, a comment I heard from a few residents was a like for more traditional architecture using red brick.

IMG_9807(A portion of one of the boards in the housing workshop.)

Board showing types of indoor recreational activities.

Board showing types of indoor recreational activities.

The Community Service, Amenities and Retail workshop contained a strong positive feedback for educational activities, job training activities, and indoor recreational activities. Similarly, the station on open space and parks contained some interesting feedback, with open space designed for community movie nights and other recreational activities.

One ideas that I was able to discuss with residents was that that while the park space will be split between the two sites the end result should be the same amount of park space as that which currently exists. Also, the park space needs to be large enough to be usable space … not a series of small spaces that don’t support recreational activities.

With regards to parking, there is no doubt that parking can be difficult on Columbia Road and Irving Street … especially during rush hour and on street cleaning days. There is a strong feeling that parking for the new development needs to be underground. With the topography of the Bruce Monroe site, the parking garage entrances could be set back to the west of the property so that the entrance to the underground parking is at grade (and under) the property above. It is also a large site, so one possible community amenity could be to build a large enough garage to provided residents who have Zone 1 RPP stickers to have the option to also park in the garage as part of the RPP program. This would greatly address the parking concerns in the immediate area.

IMG_9810(Some of the comments posted related to parking.)

The workstation that was the most fun was the Design and Programming station. This was actually a 3-D map with blocks representing different building types and densities for residents to try their hand at making it work. This led to some interesting results as the issue of zoning wasn’t really addressed. Below are two examples showing some of the extremes that were explored.

Planning model exercise 1(In this photo, the Park Morton site contains large, dense buildings that are around 50-60′ in height. The area is currently zoned R-4 allowing 35-40′ buildings.)

Park Morton model(In the above scenario, the three yellow buildings are 5-story buildings, the red building is a four story building, the other buildings are 4-story rowhouse structures, and Morton Street has a large park. This design could house 174 families.)

This workstation was a hive of activity and, sadly, I didn’t get an opportunity to see how to plan the temporary park space on Columbia Road relevant to Morton Street. Hopefully there will be another opportunity.

IMG_9805(The 3-D planning map proved to be of interest to most of the participants at the workshop.)

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

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2 Comments on “Second Park Morton Planning & Design Workshop Successful and Engaging”

  1. Jarrett Jacobs Says:

    I would like to see the architects incorporate the Queen Anne style of architure that embodies our community when designing. Something like the 1445 New York Ave NW could be nice if it is determined a building of that size would be needed for this project.


  2. […] up on the Park Morton development workshops, I’ve begun to look at other mixed income developments to see what has worked, and what […]


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