Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hey Now, That's Our Urban Blight You're Talking About There

The Takoma/Langley Sector is the famously ugly strip-mall-plex blighting the intersection of University and New Hampshire Avenues. The southern half of that intersection is in Takoma park’s Ward 6 (Montgomery County). The other half is in unincorporated Prince George’s County. PG County and Montgomery County together (sort of) are developing the area.
"Sort of" would appear to be the operative phrasing.  The Voice also said that the area was "await[ing] massive redevelopment."

Still waiting.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Aldi Effect

The Aldi down the street from me is set to expand, and it might mean big bucks for me, if only I lived in Great Britain.
"The opening of a new Aldi supermarket could boost the value of local homes by £5,000, research by My Home Move, a conveyancing firm, has found.
It found the "Aldi effect" is pushing up the price of homes in locations up and down Britain, where new Aldi stores are popping up.
The change represents a 2.5pc rise in value on the average UK home, from £216,450 three months before the opening of a store, to £222,052 three months afterwards.
Despite Aldi once being seen as a dowdy and downmarket grocery outlet, it is now the UK’s sixth largest supermarket chain and is widely viewed as a haven for middle-class bargain hunters.
Of the eleven new stores which opened between February and April, nearly all locations saw an increase in property values, with prices in Chipping Norton, the then the constituency of former Prime Minister, David Cameron, rocketing by 133pc."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Wildwood Motor Speedway

I assume that the loud crashing sound that awoke me at 4:30 this morning, the almost immediate squeal of tires from a motorist leaving the scene, and the broken bumper, metal, and glass in front of a vehicle parked in front of my neighbor's house on Wildwood Drive are related.

I know that we're all supposed to be embracing the grid as a way to relieve traffic congestion, but unfortunately our neighborhood appears to have been laid out in the 1940s in a way that assumed that the streets would be used for quiet residential use AND that residents would drive everywhere and would want to get there as fast as possible.  As a result, we have wide residential streets that don't form a proper grid to go along with almost a dozen access points at New Hampshire Avenue, University Boulevard, and Carroll Avenue that encourage cut-through traffic at a high rate rate of speed.  Traffic calming efforts such as speed bumps and traffic circles don't seem to have much effect on those motorists who insist on driving over them at a full rate of speed and/or are intoxicated late at night.

Of course, the real solution is for people to embrace transit-oriented development and stop driving personal automobiles in our urban area, but that seems to be decades away at best.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Things Fall Apart

Sean Emerson of Around Four Corners provided some insight into the seemingly abandoned storefronts adjacent to New Hampshire Avenue in the shopping center surrounding our soon to open transit center.  It turns out that they were gutted by fire in July 2013.

More than three years later, the charred and decaying roof facade has finally been torn down, but the properties remain blocked off behind a chain link fence.

These types of conditions tend to contradict statements about how the Crossroads area is an economic powerhouse with high rents and occupancy rates.