09 November 2010

One step forward for urbanism, one step back?

A suburban-style building is about to go up in the shadow of smart-growth development at the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station.

While construction has begun on Rhode Island Station, an mixed-use infill development that is replacing the former parking lot at the Metro station, a smaller, adjacent development has not received much attention.

In the parking lot of Rhode Island Place, a large strip mall that was plopped down on top of what used to be a city impoundment lot (and a cemetery before that), TD Bank is about to begin construction on a new branch. This was first reported by a commenter on the Rhode Island Ave NE Insider blog in March, but was not widely circulated.

Judging this is a tough call. On one hand, this land is a completely unused piece of asphalt. Look at the map here—the location is in the part of the parking lot furthest from both the Giant and the Home Depot. I never see any cars parked there, even during busy hours at the stores. The land will be better utilized than before, but it will still be a car-centric drive-to and -through location.

It's somewhat ironic that, while we are encouraging transit-oriented development on the old WMATA parking lot next door, we're moving further away from that goal at Rhode Island Place.

1 comment:

  1. I dunno if you can call it "moving further away" when you consider that it's apparently unoccupied parking lot that is being used for the bank branch...with no new asphalt area being added. True, it's not bona-fide "New Urbanism". But calling it "moving further away" IMO is a stretch.


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