Interesting piece on the neighborhood in DC North, featuring lots of face time with Richard Layman. I tend to think that Brookland is going to handle growth and development pretty well. It’s likely to be more of a gradual process than has been seen in Columbia Heights, for instance, or that likely will be experienced around the Rhode Island Avenue metro station, and this will give local businesses time to invest in themselves, upgrade, and respond to changing neighborhood demand.
I do think that density and layout areÂ a slight problem, particularly for the 12th Street corridor. One large aspect of this is nearly all the land to the east of 12th Street is very low density residential; there just aren’t that many people living within two or three blocks of 12th to the east. Once you’re past 14th, you’re much more likely to hop in the car and drive to the Brentwood Giant than to walk down to Yes! or elsewhere on 12th. The land to the west of 12th is more dense, but those folks (including me) don’t have to cross 12th to get to the Metro station. This equates to a large loss of foot traffic; I imagine that future improvements in 10th Street retail will benefit substantially from a position between residents and transit.
I know there is a vocal minority in the area that’s very wary of new construction around the station. Hopefully, they’ll use their powers for good and not for evil as the neighborhood grows. I’d hate, for example, to have them go to the mat to protect the little grassy spot just south of the Michigan Avenue bridge; something useful, either residences or retail or both, should go there. I’d be all for them using their influence to save some of the buildings in the little 10th Street industrial area, however. I’d much rather have them redone than razed to make way for cookie-cutter lofts.
I’m excited about the changes coming to 12th. Upgrades around Brookland are slow in coming, but I have to say I prefer that to kind of change that’s taking place around the Columbia Heights metro station.