Sunday, January 25, 2009

poor urban design coming to first street?

it was first noted by scott roberts on both the bloomingdale and eckington listservs on saturday:

Your moderator notes that there is a curb cut request on the agenda of this Tuesday's, 1/27/2009, ANC 5C meeting. Prior ANC 5C commissions handed out requested curb cuts like cotton candy. Will the 2009 ANC 5C commission do the same?

1817 1st street, a house that had been vacant and crumbling since before i moved into the neighborhood, was sold recently. i was very excited to see that this old house might finally be getting some attention. more eyes on the street, more neighbors to say hello to, one less eyesore, and another beautiful house to add to the many that line 1st street northwest down the spine of our neighborhood.

the house, which had at times been listed near $600,000, finally sold for $310,000 to a mr. thomas d. crowley, as noted in the real estate transaction notice listed below:

Address: 1817 1ST ST NW
SSL: 3106 0089
Neighborhood: ECKINGTON
Homestead Status: ** Not receiving the Homestead Deduction
Mailing Address: 1817 1ST ST NW; WASHINGTON DC20001-1069
Sale Price: $310,000
Sale Date: 11/13/2008

1817 is the second house south of the intersection of 1st and seaton, and can be seen in the picture above. here's a straight-on picture of the house (i apologize for the shadows, the picture was taken close to sunset):

there have been many posts at greater greater washington regarding curb cuts. to summarize, curb cuts are generally a negative thing here in the city. they lead to automobile vs. pedestrian conflicts, they take away public parking spaces, and, in the case of this one, a tree (located in front of 1815 1st street in the picture above) would likely be required to be cut down.

i am not certain why a curb cut is being requested for this house, but the only logical reason would be to put a garage in in the first floor of this home (the house does not have alley access in the rear). the only way that could be accomplished would be to tear the stoop out and radically redo the house's fa├žade. while the property owner has the right to do what they wish with their house, i strongly feel that this outcome, if true, would be a negative for the neighborhood.

there are no residential curb cuts on 1st street NW between the mcmillan reservoir and florida avenue—the entire length of our neighborhood. this would set a terrible precedent if it were approved.

anc5c will be meeting this tuesday, january 27th, at 7:00 p.m. at the first new hope baptist church, which is located at the corner of 3rd and seaton NE, in the eckington neighborhood, to hear the petition for this curb cut. if i understand correctly, ddot will then rule on whether or not to grant this petition.

i will be attending this meeting, hoping to hear the details regarding this curb cut request. i hope to have the opportunity to convince the commissioners to turn the request down, and keep the neighborhood from being irreparably damaged. if you feel as strongly about this as i do, i urge you to attend this meeting. perhaps the owner can be convinced that this is not the right choice for a vibrant urban neighborhood.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to clear up some misinformation regarding this curb cut. The request is actually for a curb cut at 1819 1st St NW on the corner of first and seaton. The moderator incorrectly posted 1817 1st St as the location. The proposed curb cut is actually going to be placed on seaton st. for access to the backyard of 1819 1st st. The curb cut will yield two additional parking spaces while only taking away one street space and no trees will be taken down. I just wanted to clarify things before the meeting.

Anonymous said...

gee, i feel bad for any of your neighbors who use wheelchairs. fyi, curb cuts are also for accessibility.

IMGoph said...

eli: we're not talking about the ramps you see on every corner. we're talking about the wide cuts for driveways.

tim: thanks for chiming in! can i assume that you're the owner of 1817? i'm very glad to hear that my concerns are pretty much unfounded. i still am not a big fan of the idea of a curb cut on seaton, but that would be far superior to anything on first street.

Anonymous said...

get your facts straight IMGoph

IMGoph said...

wow, anon, gutsy of you to post something like that and not leave a name. the first commenter corrected things, and i thanked him, acknowledged that. what more could i do?

Anonymous said...

IMGoph, URDouche.

IMGoph said...

i don't cotton insults here. if i don't get an apology, i'm going to wipe these comments.

Anonymous said...

On the contrary, you have insulted 1) everyone with a different philosophy on urban design than that which you espouse, and 2) every English and grammar teacher in the school systems who teach us to use capital letters in our prose. Sorry if I offended your pompous ass.

IMGoph said...


first, it's a personal blog. if you don't like my opinion, stop reading and go write your own. i don't owe anyone any apologies for feeling the way i do on things.

second, a different opinion from mine on curb cuts isn't an opinion on urban's anti-urban from the start.

third (which ties back into the first), it's a personal blog. that's my style. if you don't like it, that's just too bad.

if you'd like to discuss this further, why don't we take it to email so as to not bother everyone else in the world?