Friday, March 27, 2009

road closures around rhode island avenue ne?

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thanks to an email from debbie smith to the eckington listserv, i was made aware of information from the march 10th informational meeting of the THINK rhode island avenue great streets initiative.

you've probably heard about the district's great streets initiative, so i won't belabor the point by going too deeply into it here (you can click through and read more if you wish), but this is part of the city's plans to bring our commercial corridors back to live with new retail, housing, and transportation choices.

the rhode island avenue plan is in its infancy, so i just wanted to point out one interesting fact that caught my eye. part of the reimagining of parts of the street could lead to the closing of short block of surrounding streets. you can click on the link below the above map to open it up in a larger window.

this street closure doesn't strike me as a bad thing. some of these streets (like brentwood road) serve as little more than shortcuts that allow drivers to cut a few hundred feet off their trip through the area. they break some of these blocks up into small pieces of land hat are almost too small to build on.

some might argue that this could lead to the loss of green space along the corridor, as many of these small parcels are open land right now. there would be truth to this, but these parcels aren't serving as parks right now either...some are just weed-strewn empty lots, while others (like the northwest corner of 14th and rhode island) could be very nice parks if properly cared for.


цarьchitect said...

It sounds like you want to get rid of the road altogether, but here's an alternative idea: pedestrianize it the whole length, making it ripe for development as a quieter side-street, maybe with complementary bike paths.

Something sorta like the Arbat versus New Arbat, both of which are flush with pedestrian traffic, although one is also an arterial. This seems to have worked in a few other places, as well, and I really like the notion of keeping old roads around in transformed shapes.

Sean Hennessey said...

can you give a description of the benefits of closing the streets?

dual monitors said...


Anonymous said...

One benefit would be to reduce the sketchy behavior in the area which is especially prominent along Brentwood between Franklin and Rhode Island. Brentwood between Franklin and 14th is basically an alley way where I've seen a fair amount of illegal activity (drug deals, hookers being dropped off, people loitering/drunk etc.. - I live near Franklin and Brentwood). Between 14th and Rhode Island would be more difficult to close because that road serves several businesses along Brentwood. But, I wouldn't object to any of these road closures. Pedestrianizing them is an intersting idea, but I worry that the sketchy behavior will continue especially along strips of the road where it borders on commercial property. Perhaps they can give the land to the homeowners who's property is next to them (NB - i would not benefit directly from that), because i think it is accurate to say that some of these blocks are broken up in strange ways.

ShawnDC said...

I live near the intersection of Brentwood and Franklin and I would absolutely support closing down this street. My question is how exactly they would accomplish this? There are businesses on the stretch of Brentwood between 14th and Rhode Island Ave, and I wonder how they would get deliveries if the street was closed off. Perhaps they will just close off one end so that it is no longer a through street? I'm not sure that this would have much effect on the sketchiness of the park at 14th and Rhode Island, but it would be a step in the right direction!