Happy 2013 from Ward3Vision

It is the end of the year and since we have not sent out any announcements lately, we wanted to send an update out to our supporters to recap some of the happenings in 2012 as well as to preview what is coming up in 2013. Click the links below to learn about a particular item, or scroll down to read them all.

Looking Back on 2012:

Looking Forward to 2013:

Thank you again for your support and willingness to get involved this past year.  As always please encourage like minded neighbors to get on our email list and if you are interested in being more actively involved with the group please feel free to email us at info@ward3vision.org.

Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Happy Holidays and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year from Ward3Vision.

The Ward3Vision Steering Committee


American University Law School relocation to the Tenley Campus

Ward3Vision continues to be engaged with American University and is pressing the university to further refine the design of the law school front lawn at Capital Hall to enliven Wisconsin Avenue at Tenley Circle.  Nationally, many universities have created exciting public spaces in similar situations, building on the student population and enhancing both town and gown.

Babe’s/The Bond at Tenley

In this project located on Wisconsin Avenue a block and a half from Metro, the developer proposed a building with no parking for residents, some additional retail space, and significant improvements to the streetscape.  Ward3Vision supported the project because it is so close to Metro and included restrictions on Residential Parking Permits to protect nearby neighbors.

As Transit-Oriented Development increases the walkability throughout DC, and biking and car-sharing make it easier to live car-free or car-lite, we are not surprised to see the demand for parking near Metro diminish.  The results can be significant improvements in neighborhood quality of life – fewer cars, less traffic, more pedestrian activity on the sidewalks, more demand for nearby shops and restaurants, storefront improvements to better compete, on and on.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3E voted to support the proposed PUD at 4600 Wisconsin Avenue at its October meeting.   The Zoning Commission held public hearings on the case in November and Ward3Vision was a party in support at these hearings.   The Zoning Commission is expected to rule on the case in early 2013.

Capital Bikeshare

In December the District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced 78 new Capital Bikeshare (CABI) stations, including several along Wisconsin, Connecticut and Massachusetts Avenues in Ward 3.  Additionally Montgomery County will soon start participating in CABI and will likely install a station on the Maryland side in Friendship Heights.  Ward3Vision also participated in several meetings regarding expanded on-street bicycle facilities in Ward 3 with a focus on pressing DDOT to implement recommendations in the DC Bicycle Master Facilities Plan.

Davenport Street Safeway

Ward3Vision opposed the redevelopment of this store unless it was part of a mixed-use project befitting its transit-oriented development location and Safeway came back with a proposal for grocery store in a residential building.  Numerous meetings were held with neighbors, the ANC, Councilmember Cheh and the development team.  Although a consensus was reached on the appropriate type of development for this important site, the project is currently on hold and we hope to see it again this year.

Cleveland Park Giant/Cathedral Commons

After nearly 12 years of engagement, debate and discussion, Ward3Vision is excited that construction has finally begun on the new Giant and Cathedral Commons development in Cleveland Park.

Dialogues on Development

Ward3Vision is committed to the kind of open dialogue about Smart Growth that will dispel the misinformation that sometimes threatens to undermine the progressive goals of walkable urbanism we have for our neighborhoods.

In February, we hosted a discussion entitled Implementing Smart Growth in DC and Ward 3 featuring a high profile panel including:

  • Cheryl Cort, Policy Director at the Coalition for Smarter Growth
  • Chris Leinberger, professor at the George Washington University School of Business and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
  • Roger Lewis, architect and author of the Shaping the City column in the Post
  • Harriet Tregoning, Director of the DC Office of Planning

Ward3Vision sponsored two events in October.  First, In the Trenches – Advocating for Smart Growth with:

  • David Alpert, founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Greater Greater Washington blog
  • Jeff Davis, citizen turned activist and leader of AWARE, which advocated for Cathedral Commons
  • Ellen McCarthy, Director of Land Use and Planning at Arent Fox, and former Director of the DC Office of Planning

Later in October, Ward 3Vision joined the Coalition for Smarter Growth in sponsoring a very well-attended walking tour and discussion of the past failures, and future hopes for the Van Ness Metro neighborhood.  We stressed the point that density is not enough to create walkable urbanism absent thoughtful design choices.  The tour was led by:

  • Matt Bell, Principal at EEK Architects
  • Andrea Limauro, Ward 3 Neighborhood Coordinator, DC Office of Planning
  • Kelly Peterson, DC Department of Transportation
  • Erik L. Thompson, University of the District of Columbia

City Council Hearings

Members of Ward3Vision testified in 2012 before the City Council about the Zoning Re-write and proposed changes to the Residential Parking Permit program. Ward3Vision also testified in opposition to some components of the Historic Preservation Application for AU’s Tenley Campus when it came before the Historic Preservation Review Board.


Changes to the Zoning Ordinance

The DC Office of Planning (DCOP) will likely be submitting final recommendations for updating the District’s Zoning Ordinances to the Zoning Commission sometime this spring.   At this time DCOP is hosting a series of meetings across the city to introduce the draft proposals to the community – theWard 3 meeting will be held at Wilson High School on January 8th at 630PM and we encourage all supporters of Ward3Vision to attend.  Although the proposed changes are progressive and somewhat modest, much of the noise about and opposition to them has been coming from Ward 3 so it is important that pro smart growth members of the community be engaged in this process.  Ward3Vision anticipates testifying when the Zoning Commission votes on various components of the Zoning re-write.

Development in Ward 3

It is contemplated that there is upwards of a billion dollars being invested in the Wisconsin Avenue corridor.  This includes anticipated 2013 development proposals that will be unveiled for the Martens site at 4800 Wisconsin Avenue and theSafeway store across 42nd Street at Davenport Street and others.

Despite the progress of the past year promoting the environmental imperative of Smart Growth and the joys of urbanism we find there are still many who are skeptical and opposed to new proposals.  The owners of the vacant lot at Military Road and Connecticut Avenue are proposing an apartment building on their land, and some in the community are organizing in opposition, claiming this is an inappropriate site for residential density despite the fact that Connecticut Avenue is lined with historic buildings of similar heights and densities and has long been considered a successful mixed use corridor.  Even though this is a ‘matter-of-right’ building there will be meetings to discuss it.  Ward3Vision hopes we can help move the discussion from density to design, from quantity to quality, and to focus on ways the new structure can contribute to, rather than contrast with, the neighborhood.