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Re: [columbia_heights] Parking fiasco on Monroe/Tivoli Area

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  • Chris G
    Don t worry bout sending a team. The term gentrifier is thrown about this listserv like other words that are generally not used in polite society, but by
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 31, 2005
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      Don't worry 'bout sending a team. The term "gentrifier" is thrown about
      this listserv like other words that are generally not used in polite
      society, but by racists and homophobes. When I arrived in Columbia Heights
      by way of Petworth, Capitol Hill, and Adams Morgan, I moved into a building
      that was an apartment building, and then condo-ized. I'm a white guy. I
      like the new Giant. These are the factors that cause me to call myself a
      "gentrifier." I use that term deliberately because I don't think the
      stereotypes that are thrown around about "gentrifers" - that they are rude,
      selfish, etc. - apply to me, or to my partner, or to many other
      "gentrifiers" who live in Columbia Heights. Speaking for myself, I always
      say "hi" to my neighbors and try to interact well; I believe the city needs
      to do more to encourage more low- and middle-income home-ownership; I
      celebrate the fact that my particular corner of the neighborhood has lots of
      long-term residents (in many cases, its generational) - more needs to be
      done to keep them here; and I think the city needs to do loads to develop a
      more sensible transportation plan. In short, I'm using that term in an
      effort to, as you put it, unplug so that the methology will die. I think
      people need to realize that the "gentrifiers" they see in the neighorhood
      don't all have horns. Maybe if I can persuade some of those people to have
      an attitude that says "he's a gentrifier, but ... ", progress will be made.


      >From: William Jordan <whj@...>
      >To: columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: Re: [columbia_heights] Parking fiasco on Monroe/Tivoli Area
      >Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2005 10:57:37 -0400
      >
      >I would humbly suggest you see your self not as a gentrifier, but as a
      >neighbor, maybe even one day a friend. Although, gentrifier as the
      >appeal of less it less responsibility, but then neighbor, even friend
      >has more benefits and long term payoff.
      >
      >Hopefully, we can send a team to rescue you from the Gentrification
      >Matrix, but being unplugged means the methology will die. But let me
      >know and I'll send a team in.
      >
      >William
      >
      >Chris G wrote:
      >
      > > I agree with what you say about equitable development making the lives
      > > of everybody better, and I hope that nothing I wrote implied
      > > otherwise. A good parallel, it seems to me, is how the quality of
      > > public schools has a huge impact on everybody, not just those who have
      > > (or are) kids in public schools.
      > > I live too far north from the main center of development in Columbia
      > > Heights, so my contribution to the parking and gridlock problem is
      > > probably ineffective for the "center" of the problem, but, for what
      > > it's worth, this particular gentrifier rides his bike to and from work
      > > every day (and takes the bus when he's too lazy to get on the bike).
      > > We still have a car in our household, but, hey, at least it's one less
      > > car!
      > >
      > >
      > >> From: William Jordan <whj@...>
      > >> To: columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com
      > >> Subject: Re: [columbia_heights] Parking fiasco on Monroe/Tivoli Area
      > >> Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2005 10:26:25 -0400
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> Equitable Development does not solve all problems, but it offers a
      > >> context of planning and coordinated effort that enhances the odds of
      > >> equitable and comprehensive solutions. Equitable Development, yes
      > >> makes the lives of low and middle-income residents important, but
      > >> also the lives of upper-middle residents. It is sad that many
      > >> believe quality of life for lower/middle income families is mutually
      > >> exclusive to that of the upper middle income/more wealthy. The fault
      > >> likely lives with those of us who push for Equitable Development, we
      > >> have failed to sell the idea and its longer term benefits in
      > >> comparison to the quick fixes offered by the gentrification mythology.
      > >>
      > >> Gentrification as it is being manifested today in CH discourages and
      > >> undermines the context for planning and coordinated efforts needed to
      > >> solve most problems. So the word and attitude of gentrification has
      > >> become an "excuse", to avoid the collaboration and hard work
      > >> necessary to solve or at least minimize the adverse impacts. As a
      > >> coach once said to me, "I don't always expect you to win, but I do
      > >> always to expect you to do your very best". Unfortunately,
      > >> gentrification is used as in excuse not to do our best.
      > >>
      > >> I can almost guarantee you at if we redirected most of the energy
      > >> spent promoting, propping up and subsidizing the gentrification
      > >> mythology and its efficacy for CH, we would have long ago structured
      > >> a reasonable and more equitable solutions to the challenges of
      > >> parking and more. Unfortunately, do to poor leadership, we must
      > >> spend energy justifying and rationalizing the lowering of
      > >> re/development standards in CH that comes when gentrification becomes
      > >> public policy. In the main it is not many of the people that come
      > >> with gentrification that is the problem, it is the gentrification
      > >> attitude that needs to be dampened. I am in the main suggesting
      > >> that we should not allow gentrification to lower the standards that
      > >> were set for the re/development of this community.
      > >>
      > >> William
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> Chris G wrote:
      > >>
      > >>> I appreciate the concerns about gentrification, and I'm all for
      > >>> equitable development, which I assume means efforts to assure that,
      > >>> when new housing is constructed, that there are ample opportunities
      > >>> to low-income folks (in, the the case of real estate development in
      > >>> DC with its insane prices, low- and middle-income folks!). But,
      > >>> while equitable development is a great idea, my view is that I doubt
      > >>> that it would - by itself - solve the parking problems. It seems to
      > >>> me that a construction site is a construction site, and while things
      > >>> are under construction, parking tends to be lost - one only needs to
      > >>> look at the various tenant conversions (which are not as many as
      > >>> there should be, but are still around) to see that. I suppose it's
      > >>> true that if the gentrification didn't occur, there wouldn't be a
      > >>> push for tenant conversions too, but I'm not sure a status quo of
      > >>> poor housing is good tradeoff for plenty of parking spaces.
      > >>>
      > >>> On a related topic, it's interesting to me to observe the concerns
      > >>> about parking in the neigbhorhood pulling in very different
      > >>> directions. One side seems to suggest that building parking garages
      > >>> will solve the problem; the side seems to feel that parking garages
      > >>> merely invite more cars. I think both sides have a point, although
      > >>> my experience in another neighborhood in DC (Adams Morgan) tells me
      > >>> that not building parking garages doesn't necessarily mean more cars
      > >>> won't come.
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>> From: William Jordan <whj@...>
      > >>>> To: Columbia List Serv <columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com>
      > >>>> Subject: Re: [columbia_heights] Parking fiasco on Monroe/Tivoli Area
      > >>>> Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2005 08:34:07 -0400
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>> DDOT has primary responsibility for managing and controlling these
      > >>>> spaces. ANC 1A and the Council Member's office should be working
      > >>>> together with stakeholders to minimize the adverse impacts that
      > >>>> development has on parking, traffic and etc..
      > >>>>
      > >>>> Gentrification comes in because public policy is to give priority
      > >>>> to the interests of new development and future residents over the
      > >>>> interests of current residents as a whole. The comprehensive
      > >>>> approach most associated with equitable development was abandoned
      > >>>> for Columbia Heights a couple of years ago, when the real estate
      > >>>> market took off. The reason gentrification often comes up is that
      > >>>> the shift in public policy for CH to classic gentrification from
      > >>>> equitable development, combined with the petty politics of Ward 1
      > >>>> is at the root of these fiascos. It's amazing that with the amount
      > >>>> of redevelopment in CH there is no well planned approach to
      > >>>> anything, everything is handled piece meal via crisis management.
      > >>>> Although, the same issues pop us over and over again, I guess you
      > >>>> get more political credit for putting out unecessary fires than
      > >>>> overseeing well integrated redevelopment.
      > >>>>
      > >>>> Contact DDOT leadership and ask them to allow the line people to do
      > >>>> their jobs professionally and take a conprehensive approach to CH
      > >>>> versus being pawns of petty politics. At least for the next year on
      > >>>> two. DDOT director will be at this event talking about this very
      > >>>> issue, maybe that would be a good time to bring up your issue. See
      > >>>> below
      > >>>>
      > >>>> William
      > >>>>
      > >>>> The Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities is holding
      > >>>> a forum titled, "Planning DC's Transportation Future Transit,
      > >>>> Streets, Traffic and Parking for a Livable City" with Dan
      > >>>> Tangherlini, Director, DC Department of Transportation, Wednesday.
      > >>>> The forum is to be held on September 7, 6:00 p.m., refreshments;
      > >>>> 6:30 p.m., program, at the National Capital Planning Commission
      > >>>> (NCPC), 401 9th Street, NW, North Lobby, Suite 500. RSVP
      > >>>> (attendance only) to WRN, 244-1105, or Email
      > >>>> staff@.... This event is free of charge. NCPC is
      > >>>> located on 9th Streets between E and D Streets; Metro Stations:
      > >>>> Gallery Place, Metro Center, Archives, Federal Triangle. Please
      > >>>> arrive before 7 p.m. and bring photo ID. For more information see
      > >>>> http://www.washingtonregion.net/events/
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>> Wendy Acosta wrote:
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>>> Hi neighbors,
      > >>>>> Parking on Monroe between Holmead and 13th is an absolute nightmare!
      > >>>>> They are redoing a new building on 13th and Monroe and the
      > >>>>> contractor pickup trucks take up to four spots a day....and then
      > >>>>> around the corner you have the Tivoli Townhouse contractors.
      > >>>>> Picture this: Monroe (between 14th and 13th) is a two way street
      > >>>>> with onlyl ONE side that is able to be used for parking. On the
      > >>>>> block between Holmead and 13th both sides of the street are not
      > >>>>> allowing parking tomorrow during the day (have no idea why) . Well
      > >>>>> you turn around the corner to Holmead and the construction wont
      > >>>>> allow parking until Sept 2nd.
      > >>>>> Does anyone know what the course of action one can take against
      > >>>>> this -- ? How does one get parking enforced on construction
      > >>>>> vehicles? in our neighborhood, there is plenty of parking for
      > >>>>> those trucks at the Giant. The building on the corner of 13th and
      > >>>>> Monroe for example wont be done for another 6 months.
      > >>>>> I appreciate any good suggestions. And while everyone is entitled
      > >>>>> to their opinion, please dont write back blaming the evil
      > >>>>> corporation or Gentrification. I'm not asking for a solution for
      > >>>>> those ...i simply want to get ideas on how to force contractors to
      > >>>>> park in the garage at Tivoli.
      > >>>>> Thanks all.
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>>
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    • William Jordan
      Richard, In good conscience, I can no longer extend the-benefit-of-the-doubt on these issues to most politicians, policy makers and officials, especially as it
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 1, 2005
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        Richard,

        In good conscience, I can no longer extend the-benefit-of-the-doubt on these issues to most politicians, policy makers and officials, especially as it relates to Columbia Heights.  A week or so ago, I had a chance to speak to Dr. Rivlin, I asked her if followup studies were being done to assess the impact of current public policies on Columbia Heights  and other areas that are on the early edges of current development policy impacts.  She said, "no", that she would like to do one, but there is no funding for such an effort.   In her writings/reports, just about every neighborhood development related legislation passed, and just about every neighborhood planning document drafted, Columbia Heights is listed as a targeted neighborhood.  To have no comprehensive effort in place to study impacts, proves to me that "good will" should no longer be liberally extended.   There is no way you can honestly, say you are building an "Inclusive City" and not measure in a coherent and transparent manner impacts to allow policy adjustments.  Any talk of developing diverse and and inclusive neighborhods with nocomprehensive and transparent mechanism to measure policy impacts is specious at best.  These type of communities are not sustainable by accident. Without numbers policy makers are attempting to afford themselves plausible deniablity.

        While, property taxes will eventually cause displacement this is likely not the primary cause, because the homestead act and legislative caps have held back this impact for now.  The  200%, 300%, 400% increases in property tax assessments in a couple of years primarily indicate how unstable and vulnerable neighborhoods are to the whims of the market.  Displacement is occuring do to buyouts, condo conversions and changes in public housing; while at the same time infrastructure that support stable neighborhoods such as schools, parks, employment, and public safety being destablized.   There is enough speculative money in the market combined with winks & nobs from policy & planning officials and harrassment that fuels the displacement mometum. 

        Your’re going to really have to unplug from the Matrix to honestly assess what is going on.  While, lower and moderate income people are feeling it sooner, solidly middle class even upper middle class will also be impacted.  For examble, resently we reviewed land use maps that were apart of the comprehensive planning process for our ANC area, green space had been totally eliminated along with several other public use areas.  My point is not that there is a conspiracy and against CH, but that the passive and theoritical approach that is so effective when connected to the Matrix, mean little in the real word with out forceful action to back them up.

        William





        Richard Layman wrote:
        My thought here is that it's unreasonable to attribute the faults of the current development paradigm to faulty communication on the part of those concerned about "equitable development."  Most of the city's development program has been focused on attracting higher-income residents.  There are reasons for that and I can't fault the desire to attract more [income tax] "revenue" to the city given the structural deficiencies in DC's ability to raise revenue.
         
        While I don't have any or all of the solutions, I don't think that this strategy had to come fully at the expense of lower and middle-income residents.  One of the biggest drivers of displacement is rising property taxes for people of limited means.  There has to be a way to index such rates based on income rather than on an imputed value of the property.  Etc. 
         
        Maybe it would have been better for the variety of people and groups representing various points on the "equitable development" issue continuum to have come together and laid out an alternative paradigm, but even four years ago no one expected things to move as fast as they have in the past three years.  (Thank the lousy economy which generated abnormally low mortgage interest rates, which led to a boom in areas of attractive building stock and vital neighborhoods, combined with a marginal increase in demand for urban living.) 
         
        But I don't think it's "our fault" that an "equitable development" agenda hasn't moved forward in the way that it ought to have.  In part this is a function of the strong real estate market--other cities, even Boston, can be more innovative and flexible because of the relative weakness of their market.  And other cities like NYC, with a much stronger activist tradition, have been more purposive from the standpoint of "equitable development" in real estate decisions (requiring more affordable housing, providing bond funding to build affordable housing, providing "free" land from the portfolio to actually build affordable housing on it, etc.) compared to DC.
         
        "Growing an Inclusive City" in a market-based economy isn't easy, but pretty much leaving it to the market dooms people of limited means to displacement.  A development program needs to be tightly integrated to ensure that workforce development, residents-first job development, and expanding the housing stock to ensure affordability for people of a wide variety of incomes.
         
        I don't really see this all too often.  I do see plenty of missed opportunities.
         
        The Brentwood Center in NE is one example.  Most of the jobs are held by non-DC residents.  The design of the project is suburban and has little spillover benefit to the surrounding area.  The "air rights" above the properties have been squandered--they could have been developed in a mixed-use manner with housing, steps from a subway station, including a fair amount of affordable housing in the mix, since the land was provided at taxpayer expense, etc.  Instead we have what we have...
         
        BTW, I think that the words "gentrification" and "gentrifier" are frequently mis-used.  If it is to mean people oriented to pushing displacement than I guess it's correct, but new residents and new investment don't necessarily have to be zero sum or come at the expense of people of limited means.
         
        Too often people use these words when they mean investment or even change.  E.g., I've heard people refer to 8th Street SE as "gentrified" when really what happened is the investment of $8 million+ in new sidewalks, lighting, and road improvements (combined with the inauguration of cleaning services by the Capitol Hill BID) which drove change and attracted new retail investment.  Is this "gentrification" or merely "investment?"
         
        Anyway, I don't know how we can put the genie back in the bottle although we can impact issues on the margins...
         
        Richard Layman

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      • Brian McLaughlin
        William, I don t understand what you want them to study or what data you expect studies to collect when the plans, policies and the physical developments are
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 1, 2005
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          William,
           
          I don't understand what you want them to study or what data you expect studies to collect when the plans, policies and the physical developments are only in the beginning stages.  To assess impact takes years of data collection and analysis, in my opinion.  Are you looking for projections of impact? 
           
          Since there is no budget allocated for such studies at the current time, our aim should be having such funds included.  Use funds that would come from the "flawed" planning budget.  Dr. Rivlin supports doing a study.  Let's work with our ANC Commissioners to build support and take our ideas to Councilman Graham.  With a coalition established before the new budget cycle, we have the opportunity to get the funding needed to have studies done.  Let me know what I can do to help.
           
          Brian McLaughlin

          William Jordan <whj@...> wrote:

          Richard,

          In good conscience, I can no longer extend the-benefit-of-the-doubt on these issues to most politicians, policy makers and officials, especially as it relates to Columbia Heights.  A week or so ago, I had a chance to speak to Dr. Rivlin, I asked her if followup studies were being done to assess the impact of current public policies on Columbia Heights  and other areas that are on the early edges of current development policy impacts.  She said, "no", that she would like to do one, but there is no funding for such an effort.   In her writings/reports, just about every neighborhood development related legislation passed, and just about every neighborhood planning document drafted, Columbia Heights is listed as a targeted neighborhood.  To have no comprehensive effort in place to study impacts, proves to me that "good will" should no longer be liberally extended.   There is no way you can honestly, say you are building an "Inclusive City" and not measure in a coherent and transparent manner impacts to allow policy adjustments.  Any talk of developing diverse and and inclusive neighborhods with nocomprehensive and transparent mechanism to measure policy impacts is specious at best.  These type of communities are not sustainable by accident. Without numbers policy makers are attempting to afford themselves plausible deniablity.

          While, property taxes will eventually cause displacement this is likely not the primary cause, because the homestead act and legislative caps have held back this impact for now.  The  200%, 300%, 400% increases in property tax assessments in a couple of years primarily indicate how unstable and vulnerable neighborhoods are to the whims of the market.  Displacement is occuring do to buyouts, condo conversions and changes in public housing; while at the same time infrastructure that support stable neighborhoods such as schools, parks, employment, and public safety being destablized.   There is enough speculative money in the market combined with winks & nobs from policy & planning officials and harrassment that fuels the displacement mometum. 

          YourÂ’re going to really have to unplug from the Matrix to honestly assess what is going on.  While, lower and moderate income people are feeling it sooner, solidly middle class even upper middle class will also be impacted.  For examble, resently we reviewed land use maps that were apart of the comprehensive planning process for our ANC area, green space had been totally eliminated along with several other public use areas.  My point is not that there is a conspiracy and against CH, but that the passive and theoritical approach that is so effective when connected to the Matrix, mean little in the real word with out forceful action to back them up.

          William





          Richard Layman wrote:
          My thought here is that it's unreasonable to attribute the faults of the current development paradigm to faulty communication on the part of those concerned about "equitable development."  Most of the city's development program has been focused on attracting higher-income residents.  There are reasons for that and I can't fault the desire to attract more [income tax] "revenue" to the city given the structural deficiencies in DC's ability to raise revenue.
           
          While I don't have any or all of the solutions, I don't think that this strategy had to come fully at the expense of lower and middle-income residents.  One of the biggest drivers of displacement is rising property taxes for people of limited means.  There has to be a way to index such rates based on income rather than on an imputed value of the property.  Etc. 
           
          Maybe it would have been better for the variety of people and groups representing various points on the "equitable development" issue continuum to have come together and laid out an alternative paradigm, but even four years ago no one expected things to move as fast as they have in the past three years.  (Thank the lousy economy which generated abnormally low mortgage interest rates, which led to a boom in areas of attractive building stock and vital neighborhoods, combined with a marginal increase in demand for urban living.) 
           
          But I don't think it's "our fault" that an "equitable development" agenda hasn't moved forward in the way that it ought to have.  In part this is a function of the strong real estate market--other cities, even Boston, can be more innovative and flexible because of the relative weakness of their market.  And other cities like NYC, with a much stronger activist tradition, have been more purposive from the standpoint of "equitable development" in real estate decisions (requiring more affordable housing, providing bond funding to build affordable housing, providing "free" land from the portfolio to actually build affordable housing on it, etc.) compared to DC.
           
          "Growing an Inclusive City" in a market-based economy isn't easy, but pretty much leaving it to the market dooms people of limited means to displacement.  A development program needs to be tightly integrated to ensure that workforce development, residents-first job development, and expanding the housing stock to ensure affordability for people of a wide variety of incomes.
           
          I don't really see this all too often.  I do see plenty of missed opportunities.
           
          The Brentwood Center in NE is one example.  Most of the jobs are held by non-DC residents.  The design of the project is suburban and has little spillover benefit to the surrounding area.  The "air rights" above the properties have been squandered--they could have been developed in a mixed-use manner with housing, steps from a subway station, including a fair amount of affordable housing in the mix, since the land was provided at taxpayer expense, etc.  Instead we have what we have...
           
          BTW, I think that the words "gentrification" and "gentrifier" are frequently mis-used.  If it is to mean people oriented to pushing displacement than I guess it's correct, but new residents and new investment don't necessarily have to be zero sum or come at the expense of people of limited means.
           
          Too often people use these words when they mean investment or even change.  E.g., I've heard people refer to 8th Street SE as "gentrified" when really what happened is the investment of $8 million+ in new sidewalks, lighting, and road improvements (combined with the inauguration of cleaning services by the Capitol Hill BID) which drove change and attracted new retail investment.  Is this "gentrification" or merely "investment?"
           
          Anyway, I don't know how we can put the genie back in the bottle although we can impact issues on the margins...
           
          Richard Layman

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