Friday, February 05, 2016

Latest Demolition Special Townhouses Now Named "Brookland Station"

(Info to use to negotiate a lower sales price for any of these 16 new townhouse dwellings!)

Logical transportation corridor land irresponsibly sold by WMATA to developers for short term profit without regard to long term highway and railway transport needs.

1971 report with I-95 along eastern side of RR buried

1966 report with I-95 along eastern side of RR, 
consistent with 1962 JFK Administration Report I-95 B&O Route concept 
that would be subverted starting with severe route deviations with official proposal published in October 1964

About that recent new development along the sliver of land along the east side of the B&O Metropolitan Branch RR of demolition special - teardown special townhouses that I reported about in November 2015

As reported in the blog "The Brookland Bridge", these townhouses have been given a name -
"Brookland Station"

According to that blog article:
We have been following the ins and outs of the development along 9th Street NE near the Brookland Metro for a while now. We recently learned that the 16 townhome development has a name, Brookland Station, and the units are now available. Each home will have two levels with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The top units will come with roof decks. The website describes them as luxury homes with hardwood floors, marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, and 9 foot ceilings.

The sales team created a video about Brookland, which you can check out here, and the website is peppered with phrases like:
book a spot now before they open a whole foods around here.
book a spot now before the northwest residents hear about it.
The addresses of the homes are 3300 – 3314 9th St NE. The development will have 8 parking spots and the price of the units starts in the upper 500’s.
Here's the address of the project's web site:
The comments at the Brookland Bridge blog article suggest a degree of local misunderstanding whether these were to be rentals or available for purchase: 

I had thought these were supposed to be rentals, not for purchase. Oh well, another developer who lied his way through application processes.

At least at the meetings I went to, the developer always claimed these would be for purchase.
Whatever may be the case, anyone considering purchasing any of these "Brookland Station" units should be aware of the area's transportation significance, as these are among a series of recent constructed projects irresponsible situated upon the most logical transport corridor within northern Washington, D.C. regarding the un-built I-95 link from the downtown I-395 Center Leg truncated at 4th Street and New York Avenue, and the interchange at the Capital Beltway next to the 250 foot wide PEPCO corridor.

That un-built highway link would have one of the greatest positive effects upon the area road network, with the least impacts.  It would have a housing displacement comparable to the recently constructed Inter County Connector project in Maryland prior to the recently constructed "The Hampshires" townhouse project upon the traditionally open Masonic Eastern Star field for the connecting segment between the B&O RR and the PEPCO corridor.  And it would and should be done in a more unobtrusive fashion in the more built up areas as Brookland, encased in box tunnel segments with new parkland atop.

It would be canceled during the late 1960s-early 1970s, with a good deal of emotion about what were being termed "white mans roads through black mans homes", though as the result of a scuttling amist the political confusion following the JFK assassination.

The B&O Route concept for the I-95 North Central Freeway was actually relatively UN-controversial with and following its endorsement by the Kennedy Administration, in a comprehensive transportation report dated November 1, 1962.
The freeway was politically subverted by the planning shenanigans of the betrayal of the JFK B&O Route vision, with the highway tightly aligned along the RR, and perhaps even partially enclosed within park covered box tunnels (if the 1963-1965 planning for the Inner Belt freeway in JFK's home area of Boston was any indication).

That betrayal, starting with the failure to release an engineering report during 1963, and the subsequent October 1964 release of an engineering report with routes all over the map, and a "recommended route" partially along the B&O RR, but with serious route deviations in Brookland and especially in Takoma Park, Maryland,  created most of the widespread opposition.

The subsequent engineering report released in November 1966 was far more faithful to the JFK plan, with the North Central Freeway mainline strictly aligned along the B&O RR corridor.  (However, it introduced a new route deviation where I-95 would have left the RR, with the connection ramps swerve westward into Fort Totten Park before turning northeasterly between Gallatan and Galloway Streets within D.C., and then in Maryland via Northwest Branch park, to the existing stubbs just inside the Capital Beltway).

The 1966 plan greatly reduced the popular opposition, but would be soon subverted by the actions of the then newly established U.S. Federal Highway Authority in early 1967 announcing their lack of commitment to the 1966 plan via their intent to re-open the planning process to the options contained within the infamous October 1964 plan, ostensibly to save $22 million - perhaps a 5% construction cost savings - by using more residential rather than industrial properties and to avoid having to construct some vertical retaining walls that would be necessary to reduce the freeway's land requirements versus expansive sloped embankments.

According to this June 1967 letter from Takoma Park resident Duncan Wall to Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew:
"...The reduced, re-routed proposal was made public last year with endorsement of D.C. And Maryland highway authorities. The D.C. Portion was forced through the National Capital Planning Commission by votes of representatives of the D.C. Highway Department and of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads. From this we concluded, reasonably enough, that the highway authorities of the two jurisdictions (Maryland and D.C.) had reached a firm understanding with the Bureau of Public Roads.
Many of us were therefore astonished and aroused to preparations for renewed protests when Washington newspapers recently reported that the Bureau has acted to open it all up again. We have not found the Bureau forthcoming with candid information, but the press articles intimate an intention to force Maryland to accept modifications of route or design ostensibly “cheaper.”

The result is that the whole controversy, which had been somewhat quiescent, is beginning to agitate the communities again. I can assure you this is so, for although I recently resigned chairmanship of the Metropolitan Citizens Council for Rapid Transit and write this simply as an individual citizen who wishes your administration well, I do remain in close touch with neighborhood sentiment on transportation-related issues..."
Such planning manipulations led to the reversal of the long standing support for the freeway from the relevant bodies of the D.C. City Council and the U.S. National Planning Commission.
Interstate Traffic from the North

With respect to interstate traffic moving into the metropolitan area from the north on I-70S and I-95, vehicles with destinations beyond the District clearly should be diverted around the beltway. Interstate traffic with destinations within the District has options that are obviously as satisfactory as such traffic finds in any metropolitan system. The interstate system -- as a city to city system -- gives no assurance of freeway access to the heart of the central city. Both I-70S and I-95 traffic can move down the same arterial street network used by the commuters, and presumably a large part of this interstate traffic will be at non-peak hours.

I-95 traffic can be channeled over a short jog on the beltway to the Baltimore Washington Parkway for a penetration into the District over that route. Three options would be provided for this interstate traffic with downtown destinations -- via Kenilworth Freeway, via the proposed new Anacostia Parkway, and via New York Avenue (which is being improved as a major entrance into the Nation's capital from the east). Additional capacities to handle this I-95 traffic, of course, will of course be needed on the beltway and the Baltimore Washington Parkway. (An alternative would be a new highway in Maryland that would bring I-95 directly into the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at or near the Kenilworth interchange.)

The Commission believes that these facilities can adequately provide for interstate traffic from the north with central area destinations. The construction of a freeway to the north (in addition to the string of major surface streets) in order to accommodate interstate traffic would simply open up another arterial gateway for the suburban commuter. This the Commission rejects as both unnecessary and undesirable. (pp. 31-32)
That decision would leave a situation of no grade separated radial highway links inside the Capital Beltway from the George Washington Parkway in Virginia, to the Baltimore Washington Parkway in Maryland, and no such highways permitting trucks in the even greater arc from I-395 (I-95) in Virginia, to Route 50 from Maryland.  It would also place a disproportionate amount of the traffic burden within D.C. along the antiquated Anacostia Freeway in the area's poorest least affluent area- never-mind the political sloganeering of the time.

Asides from un-built I-95, the placement of these townhouses was irresponsible for denying space for later upgrading-expanding the RR, such as with extra tracks for higher speed passenger service.

ANYONE considering such a purchase of one of these 16 residential units upon a transportation corridor important for a great many people, particularly an important missing link highway scuttled under such circumstances that would be used by some 200,000+ people daily, should be conscious of that.

At the very least, they should make note of that, in order to negotiate a lower purchase price for any of these demolition special townhouses.

An Overview Upon The Assault Upon This Transport Corridor:

A Historical Overview:

1 comment:

Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

I've left this comment on The Brookland Bridge article but so far it does not appear:

Here's some historical and geographical information on how to negotiate a lower price on any of these units: