Friday, September 14, 2012

A Few Quick Items About Southwest: Safety, Design, and Development

- Last week in The Washington Post, there was an article about how MPD has involved themselves in the design of new developments in the city from a safety standpoint.  There was a focus on The Wharf and its security needs.  From the article:
Last month, [Police Chief] Lanier; Daniel P. Hickson, commander of the department’s First District; and developers met at the future site of the Wharf to pore over a scale model and discuss surveillance cameras and sight lines. Hickson called the model “very impressive” even as he contemplated finding a contingent of officers to patrol an area that, at present, requires relatively little attention.
There will not be a police substation on-site at The Wharf as offered by Hoffman Madison Waterfront because Commander Hickson would prefer that officers patrol the area and not sit in an office. Some differences between MPD and HMW design-wise include curbs and lighting. HMW doesn't want curbs along the Wharf promenade, but MPD has concerns that a runaway car could hit pedestrians on the sidewalk. Ultimately, it was decided that the curbs won't be used, which will make the area easier to patrol by bicycle. While HMW is looking to eliminate dark nooks around the development, MPD wants the proposed lighting to be brighter throughout. HMW wants restauranteurs to have the opportunity to have romantic street lighting.  

Rendering courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront 

-  Last month, the Washington City Paper wrote a feature story on Bing Thom and his influence on design for new development in Southwest. Thom designed the new Arena Stage and will design the Randall School project on I Street.  Several topics were covered in the article, including urban renewal, preservation of existing buildings, reopening the street grid, community benefits agreements, The Wharf, and the SW Ecodistrict. It is definitely worth a read.

- August must have been the month to discuss development in Southwest. In Atlantic Cities, there was an article about how DC can lead the way to a 21st century waterfront and of course, The Wharf development was featured, among other waterfronts around the world that are being re-imagined. From the article:
Looming water-level questions notwithstanding, the question for the 21st-century waterfront is economic: How do planners restore the once-industrial character of the waterfront? Washington’s Southwest waterfront poses one answer: take the zone out of the question altogether, and make it another neighborhood like you’d find anywhere.
"You can’t just do this kind of dense mixed-use urban waterfront everywhere," [EE&K's senior principal Stan] Eckstut says. "It has to be at the center of the city, at the downtown—at the core."
Rendering courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

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