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* The folks at the BID have passed along the news that the Circulator will be running its Union Station/Navy Yard route on Saturday (April 3) for the 4:05 pm Nats/Red Sox exhibition, even though it wasn't originally listed on their 2010 Baseball Extended Service schedule (it is now).
* Metro has just released its information on getting to and from the ballpark: "Expect standing room only to/from Nationals games."
* WTOP writes about the two new economy lots for stadium parking; you might want to check my Stadium Parking map for a graphic that's a little clearer, and that also shows non-official cash lots. One item in the piece that I'm checking on, though--it says that piers at the Yards Park and will allow private boats to be docked there starting in July. But everything I've seen up to now has said that the piers and marina are to be built in the park's third phase, which isn't expected to come online until after 2012. Am waiting for a response from Forest City for clarity.
UPDATE: Forest City confirms that the piers are not coming this summer, contrary to what the article reports; they are planned for later phases.
* WAMU had two short pieces on Near Southeast on Monday: "Ballpark Hits Old Reputation Out of Field," and "Population Near Nationals Park Doubles in One Year," which now seems to have disappeared from their web site.
* Be prepared for another slew of stadium-related news stories later today, with the annual ballpark media day on the agenda. And the weather's nice for once!
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More posts: circulator, parking, Nationals Park, The Yards, Yards Park
 

From the Nationals:
"President of the United States Barack Obama will throw the ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. prior to the 2010 season opener between the Washington Nationals and the defending National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, April 5 at 1:05 p.m.
"'Opening Day of the baseball season is a special event for our country and its importance has been reinforced by the 100-year history of Presidential participation,' said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, who will be in attendance for the historic First Pitch. 'I am proud that President Obama will continue the long Presidential tradition of throwing out the first pitch of Opening Day in Washington D.C.'
"Obama's appearance will mark the 100th anniversary of the first time a U.S. President threw an Opening Day first pitch and the 48th time a President has done so in Washington, D.C. On April 14, 1910, William Howard Taft began the tradition before the Washington Senators went on to defeat the Philadelphia Athletics 3-0 behind a one-hit, complete game shutout by Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson."
The game is already sold out, but there will be 400 day-of-game seats available for $5 starting at 10 am at the box office.
UPDATE: Here's the Nats' press release.
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I was going to wait through the weekend, but I wouldn't want it to seem like I was shirking. So here are today's entries for here's-the-latest-about-that-mysterious-neighborhood-near-Nationals-Park stories:
* The Post's Saturday real estate section has "People Flock to Live in DC's Capitol Riverfront Area Despite Commercial Stall," which focuses on the more than 1,700 new residents that have moved into Near Southeast since last year's Opening Day. It's a basic overview of the goings-on, but there is one tidbit of what I'd consider news: Forest City says that they are planning to restart the stalled Foundry Lofts residential renovation at the Yards next month, completing it in summer 2011. (No word on a start date for the retail renovation of the Boilermaker Shop across the street.) It's been mentioned before, but if you're not hanging on every word here at the blog, you might find the news of a redesign of 401 M Street from an office building to residential of interest, especially since that would speed the opening of a planned Harris Teeter on the ground floor. Elsewhere, the article also says that Velocity now has 75 units sold, although nowhere near that many have actually been closed on, according to land records (looks like around 30 as of early March).
* The Post's offspring publication the Express also published a piece today on the neighborhood, "From Frontier to Focal Point: Capitol Riverfront's Growth and Potential," which again focuses on the residents who have moved in despite the lack of retail. (The online version of the piece also has one whale of a coding error that suggests that the JDLand.com web empire is far more vast than I might have ever dreamed.) There's also an accompanying Capitol Riverfront Basics, laying out all the amenities that don't quite exist yet.
* And, while not really along the same lines as the other two, I should also point to the Post's feature today on the Trapeze School in its new home at the Yards.
I imagine there's more of these pieces to come over the next week. And really, I shouldn't be so cynical about them, since they do serve a purpose for the vast majority of the citizenry who don't pay much attention to the area; but I just think it's funny that this is now becoming such a standard late-March exercise for all media organizations. On the other hand, I sort of {ahem} did one myself last year, although it was more of a reaction to all the oh-my-God-there's-nothing-new-down-there thread that ran through the media coverage last time around, to show that there had been a lot of progress in the year since the ballpark opened. This year, as the stories are keying on, the progress is more inside the existing buildings than with any new developments.
 

Believe it or not, the first game of the third season of play at Nationals Park is just over a week away (the 4:05 pm exhibition on Saturday, April 3, against the Red Sox) with the home opener on Monday, April 5 at 1:05 pm against the Phillies. So, let the onslaught of ballpark-related news begin! (I'll be saving up the latest general let's-look-at-the-ballpark-neighborhood links for a group post probably on Monday, though will tweet them as they come out.) Today's tidbits:
* I've updated my map of parking options around the ballpark with the information on official Nats lots (locations and prices) for the 2010 season. I've left the information from last year on unofficial lots on the map, though won't know if it carries through until the first game.
* Here's the gameday schedules of Circulator service between the Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard Metro stations. (Remember, this line's normal service hours are only on weekdays from 6 am to 7 pm, so they need special service for most ballpark events.) Thanks to DDOT for passing the schedule along.
* There's some chatter apparently going around the neighborhood that, because there will be no shuttles to and from RFK, buses bringing fans to games will now be allowed to park on neighborhood streets. The Nats' web site shows that bus parking is available at Lot W (Seventh and L, SE) for $50, but it's not clear whether that's a requirement, or how many buses can park there. DDOT tells me that they are still working on the Transportation Operations and Parking Plans for this season, and so at this point no decisions have been made.
UPDATE, 3/31: For more ballpark transporation tidbits (including Metro's plans for big big crowds), see today's entry.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park
 

(I've just gotten back from a week traipsing around Arizona, so apologies for light/slow posting, including this one) It was announced today that the Eagles, with special guests the Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban, will be playing at Nationals Park on Tuesday, June 15, with tickets going on sale at tickets.com on March 29 at 10 am. This is the second concert scheduled for the stadium this summer, with the Dave Matthews Band playing on July 23.
Astute readers might remember all sorts of rumors back in 2008 that the Eagles were going to play the first-ever concert at the ballpark, an honor which eventually went to Billy Joel and Elton John, last year (unless you want to count the Pope).
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More posts: Nationals Park, Stadium Events
 

Some items of interest I've tweeted over the past few days:
* Barry Farm (Re)Mixed shames me by posting recent photos of the 11th Street Bridges construction.
* The Bullpen opens for the 2010 season on April 3, when the Red Sox come to town for an exhibition.
* Capitol Hill Tower board member (and, I assume, resident) James DeMartino has announced he's running against Tommy Wells for the Ward 6 council seat. DeMartino is running as a Republican. (Here's a WashPost brief on the item.)
* Mayor Fenty has given the city council its ballpark suite tickets for the 2010 season, leaving reporters across the city bereft at the thought of not having the on-going tiff to cover.
* Technically off-topic, but: I've been grumbling for more than seven years now about the poorly placed sign on the SW Freeway for the C Street SW exit, which points drivers to a left-side lane but then requires them to move two lanes to the right within a quarter-mile to get to their ramp, So I finally took some photos to explain the issue and tweeted them to blow off some steam. Soon after, @ajfroggie posted two great images of how to replace the signage along that stretch to fix not only my complaint but some general problems with all of the signs.
 

There was almost no Near Southeast news at tonight's ANC 6D meeting, even though it was held at the Courtyard at New Jersey and L, SE. There was no update from the Nationals as had been initially on the agenda, and ANC chair Ron McBee said that he doesn't yet have a date for a community meeting on the Traffic Operations and Parking plans for the ballpark for this season, which he wants to have with the team and DDOT especially in light of the Nats' decision to stop the RFK parking shuttle for this season.
(As an aside, in comparing the Nats parking map for this season with mine from last year, it looks like the only change in lots is that the underground garage at 300 M is no longer an official Nats lot. The pricing structure hasn't changed a whole lot, except for lot HH and W now becoming "economy" lots at $5 and $10 per game, respectively. I'll update my page soon.)
Most of the meeting was taken up with all the doings in Southwest surrounding the impending opening of the new Safeway at Waterfront, and the transition period when the old one will be closed on April 6, eight days before the new one opens with a ribbon-cutting and preview on April 15 before opening "for real" on April 16. There was also the news that some restaurants look to be closing deals soon for spaces in Waterfront. SWDC Blog has the details on all this.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, Nationals Park
 

A few articles I've recently pointed to from my Twitter feed that might be of interest but aren't necessarily "news":
* The Examiner says the city spent $115,000 to house snow plow drivers at the Courtyard on New Jersey Avenue during the record February snowstorms--what we always refer to as the "trash transfer station" is also the city's snow plow yard, and so the drivers were being put up close by. (Lots of money was spent at McDonald's, too, presumably the one within walking distance on I Street.)
* The Nats' Stan Kasten speaks to the DC Sports Bog on the rumors of the NHL Winter Classic coming to town. ("I think it's a fun rumor, it's a fascinating rumor, [but] I really do think you're jumping a little bit ahead.... I think it would be great for our city, and great for our ballpark, and together we'd do a hell of a job.")
* In Senate testimony, US DOT secretary Ray LaHood used "the area around the ballpark" as an example of "livability" during a sharp exchange with Sen. Kit Bond. You can see the video here (skip to the 92-minute mark), or read the story about LaHood's testimony on Streetsblog.
* Three Nats games -- April 3, 7, and 8 -- have been deemed "official events" in the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (via the Nats)
* The ANC 6D meeting tonight is at the Courtyard in Near SE, but SWDC Blog posted photos of the commission's new digs in the about-to-open Waterfront development.
* WashCycle thinks that the 10-block temporary tunnel CSX says it will build on Virginia Avenue when reconstructing the existing tunnel ought to be kept for bike/pedestrian use ("lighting would have to be a must", they say).
 

The lineup. all front-loaded on Monday and Tuesday:
* Monday has the ANC 6D meeting (didn't we just do this?), at 7 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda is now posted, and includes updates on the Nats and the ballpark's Transportation and Parking Plan.
* Tuesday has Tommy Wells's public meeting on improvements to M Street, from 6-7:30 pm at the MPD First District station at 101 M St., SW.
* Tuesday is also ANC 6B's meeting, in its new home at 535 8th St., SE, at 7 pm. The update from CSX on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project originally slated for this meeting has been moved to the April meeting.
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More posts: ANC News, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, M Street, parking, Nationals Park
 

Taking a stand for hockey fans all across the DC Metro area, Ward 4 council member Muriel Bowser introduced at Tuesday's council meeting PR18-0761, "Sense of the Council that the District Of Columbia Should Host the 4th Annual NHL Winter Classic Resolution of 2010." The resolution, which garnered the support of all 13 council members, was in response to the rumors that started flying last month that the NHL is poised to name Washington as the location of the 2011 edition of the now-traditional game played outdoors on New Year's Day.
You can read it here, to see that the council has determined that DC is "the best city to host the Winter Classic, because it is our nation's capital, a world renowned city, a historic city, and a city with a strong hockey fan base" and that the city "can accommodate the largest crowd in the history of the Winter Classic," with Nationals Park holding 41,888 and RFK holding 46,000. There's about 16 other reasons listed, with my favorite being "This Winter shows that the District of Columbia has a winter climate that compares with any other city in the Northeast." (By the way, section 2.i, which is cut off in the PDF, says "The Washington Capitals are regarded as one of the league's most popular and profitable franchises.")
There could be quite a melee to get tickets if the game does come to DC--307,000 people applied for tickets to the 2010 edition at Fenway, and the Capitals now have the highest attendance rating in the NHL--which, for someone who used to traipse out to the Cap Centre in the 1980s to see the Capitals flounder around in front of a few thousand people, is still rather astonishing. UPDATE: Though some commentators are questioning the council's "highest attendance rating" claim.
No word on when the NHL will announce the city and teams chosen for the game.
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More posts: Nationals Park, winterclassic
 

* The Douglass Bridge (South Capitol Street) will be closed on Sunday morning for its swing span test, from 4 am to approximately 9 am, weather permitting.
* Tickets went on sale this morning at 10 am for the Dave Matthews concert at Nationals Park on July 23--looks like good seats are still available.
* There's been some press over the past few days about the new DDOT web site, especially the "Transportation Access Portal" that gives detailed information about projects around the city, but I was kind of underwhelmed until I found out that the projects of most interest to Near Southeast are under an "Anacostia Waterfront Initiative" tab rather than in the Ward 6 section. There you can find all sorts of project-management details (cost, schedule) for the 11th Street Bridges, the new Douglass Bridge (coming in 2018!), and even the RFK ramp demolition.
*And, in the gosh-why-would-you-think-I-was-killing-time-on-a-Friday-afternoon department, a shot of what the 1000 block of K THIRD Street SE would look like if it were in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood (see large version):
* Plus, I think I have some cool items on the way next week. Fingers crossed.
* UPDATE: Shoot, I knew there was something else I meant to include: Minutes and materials from the last Lower 8th Street visioning session. A report will be submitted to the Office of Planning.
 

The snowblown February ANC 6D meeting finally went off tonight, and here's the Near Southeast-related bullet points:
* The Bullpen will be back in action this season, in its same spot on the northwest corner of Half and N across from the ballpark. There were two requested changes to the voluntary agreement between the ANC and the owner: that the bar be allowed to operate until 1:30 am (with alcohol sales ending at 1:00), and that liquor in non-frozen form be allowed alongside the already approved beer, wine, and frozen drinks, both of which are already allowed under the liquor license. The discussion was more contentious about process than it was about content (with commissioner David Sobelsohn arguing strongly that the motion should be tabled until the next meeting, which none of the other commissioners were interested in), but in the end the commission voted 6-1 to approve the extended hours, and that mixed drinks could be served during private events. There were some concerns from commissioner Rhonda Hamilton about the noise at the bar on weeknights, but owner Bo Blair said that live music will always be cut off by midnight.
* There is a move afoot by commission Bob Siegel to carve out some of the curb space in front of Capper Seniors #1 at 900 Fifth Street (which it must be noted is also across the street from his house). The street, which is one way in the block in question (between K and Virginia) gets clogged on a regular basis thanks to shuttle buses, vans, trucks, and other vehicles double-parking while at the building, and the residents want a portion of the curb cut out to allow vehicles to pull out of the traffic lane (like the one in front of the Courtyard by Marriott entrance). DDOT initially rejected the request because it was called a "curb cut," which means something different in traffic parlance, but DDOT's Ward 6 planner Jamie Henson was in attendance and pledged to help the ANC work with the engineering side of DDOT to see what could be done without taking away the sidewalk or the ADA ramps to the building.
* There was supposed to be an update from the Nationals, but no reps from the team were there; ANC chair Ron McBee did report that April 23 will be "Neighborhood Night" at the ballpark, with the first pitch and national anthem being performed by nearby residents and other goodies as well. (I imagine discount tickets will be part of the deal, but nothing was said. The game is against the Dodgers.) McBee also said that the ANC has requested a meeting with DDOT about the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan for this season, to check on how it's all going, but no specific concerns were mentioned. (With the Nats Express no longer shuttling fans to and from parking at RFK, there probably will be a noticeable uptick in traffic this year, even if attendance remains steady.)
* The next 6D meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, and it'll be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, so if you've been dying to go to a meeting but haven't felt like venturing across South Capitol, you'll get your chance. It's also worth mentioning that ANC 6B's meeting the next night includes an update by CSX on the Virginia Avenue project on its agenda.
 

From Tommy Wells's blog:
"The Nationals and their food service partner Levy Restaurants, are hiring this weekend for various part-time positions for the upcoming baseball season.
"They are looking for concessions managers, concession supervisors, cashiers, stand workers, grill cooks , bartenders and servers for their food operations and restaurants at the stadium. These are ideal jobs for entry level job experience, for seniors and retired persons seeking additional income and others who would enjoy working at the stadium games and events.
"The recruitment fairs are scheduled on:
Saturday, February 27, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sunday, February 28, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Monday, March 1, 3:00pm -7:00pm.
"The Job Fair will take place at Nationals Park. Enter at the Center Field Main Gate Entrance. Please bring a resume with you. Help with resume preparation and tips on completing the required application, and other assistance will be available during a two hour job preparation sessions to be provided by staff of the Southwest Family Enhancement Career Center, located at 203 N St. SW on Wednesday and Thursday February 24th and 25th, starting promptly at 2:00 pm on a first come basis."
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As I tweeted last night, a New England blog called hockeyjournal.com posted yesterday that the Capitals are a favorite to host the NHL's 2011 Winter Classic, the game played outdoors on New Year's Day, and that "if approved, the game will be held at Nationals Park," with perhaps the Penguins being the chosen opponent. Nothing confirmed by the NHL yet, but certainly an interesting rumor....
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More posts: Nationals Park, winterclassic
 

Some small items I've tweeted (or just forgotten to post) recently:
* Construction delays related to last week's epic snows have put the kabosh on the trapeze school's planned opening today--they may open for business on Friday, Feb. 19, but are still in need of their certificate of occupancy. Check their web site or Facebook group for updates.
* ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger is following CSX's plans for expanding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel pretty closely, and has recently passed along a link to a new "National Gateway Project Updates" web site, including this page on the Virginia Avenue portion. CSX still isn't really giving any details about how the construction will impact the area, but they are certainly touting all the public meetings they've been to! In a similar vein, Norm also posted a link to a new blog, "Capitol Hill Against Railroad Tunnel Expansion," by folks who are unhappy with the plans.
* Look for ANC 6D's monthly meeting to be rescheduled to some day this week--they didn't send out any announcements as their attempts to hold the meeting last week were postponed, so checking their web site for the new date will be necessary. ANC 6B has rescheduled its meeting to Feb. 23.
* WBJ reports that the city used $10 million in surplus receipts from the ballpark tax to "shore up its fiscal 2010 budget," instead of paying off the ballpark debt early, which was what businesses who pay the tax expected to happen in the event of surpluses. And they're not happy.
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More posts: ANC News, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Nationals Park, Yards/Parcel O
 

From the MPD-1D mailing list: "The Nationals will be conducting firework tests on Wednesday, February 3rd starting at 7pm. DCFD and MPD will be monitoring and there will be some street closures around the stadium during this event that should be temporary."
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From the Nationals: "Dave Matthews Band announced today they will perform at Nationals Park - the home of the Washington Nationals -- on Friday, July 23 with Zac Brown Band as support. This will be the ballpark's second-ever show, following Elton John and Billy Joel's sold-out show in July 2009. Tickets and parking will go on sale to the general public on Friday, February 26 at 10:00 a.m. online at www.tickets.com and by phone at 888-632-6287. The show will be held rain or shine and will be promoted by Live Nation."
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Some small recently-Tweeted items (which you can have delivered directly to your Facebook news feed if you become a "fan" of JDLand.com). Some of these probably deserved their own entry, but goodness, 140-character blogging sure makes me lazy!
* I wrote back in December about the DDOT public meeting that gave a lot of updated information about how the Performance Parking Pilot around the ballpark is going; DDOT has now posted a 21-page report with all the details, which is worth reading for anyone interested not only in how parking is being handled in the neighborhood, but about the non-automotive improvements that the meter income will be funding.
* The Third "Opera in the Outfield" at Nationals Park will be on September 11, a simulcast of the Washington National Opera's season premiere, Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera" ("A Masked Ball").
* The Lower 8th Street Visioning project has posted both the materials from its December sessions, and the agenda for the upcoming meetings on Jan. 19, which "will progress to looking at best mix of uses, breakout workshops on land use, density and parking, and closing with a Q&A."
* Peeking at the building permits feed, I noted the approved permit for the ballpark, described as "INTERIOR DEMOLITION AS PER PLANS TO SUIT TENANT 'PNC DIAMOND CLUB'." A Twitter follower indicated that they had seen the work on the Diamond Club already underway. No word from the Nationals on what exactly is coming.
* The Nats put out this "Nats in Your Neighborhood" newsletter, detailing good works around the city, including the work last month by the Dream Foundation on the United Southwest Health Center a few blocks from the ballpark, in Southwest.
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More posts: 8th Street, Nationals Park
 

From the Nationals: "The Washington Nationals today announced the schedule for their 2010 Winter Caravan when members of the Washington Nationals will tour the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area from January 27 to Saturday, January 30, and conclude with the second annual NatsFest at Nationals Park on Sunday, January 31. [...] Baseball fun returns to Nationals Park on January 31 for the second annual NatsFest, which will conclude the Caravan festivities. Fans will have the opportunity to receive autographs and take photos with Nationals players, participate in question-and-answer sessions with Stan Kasten, Mike Rizzo, Jim Riggleman and The Washington Post columnist and Nationals Season Ticket Holder George Will, and hit in the Nationals batting cages for a $1 donation to the Nationals Dream Foundation. A behind-the-scenes look at the Nationals clubhouse will be available and fans may enter to win Nationals prizes and memorabilia. Nationals Season Ticket Holders may receive up to four complimentary tickets per account for the event and will receive an e-mail on how to claim their tickets."
This is part of their "Winter Caravan," which features "meet-and-greets, autograph signings, community appearances and the second annual Hot Stove Luncheon," scheduled for Friday Jan. 29 at the ballpark, hosted by David Gregory. The caravan will also include appearances in Landover (where the team and its Dream Foundation "will make an announcement regarding plans to partner with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's Department of Parks and Recreation") and at Ft. Belvoir (to make care packages for servicemen and women stationed overseas). There will also be autograph shows at the Build-a-Bear workshop in McLean, at White Flint Mall, and at the Hard Times Cafe in Arlington, along with other appearances.
Watch the Nats web site for details. UPDATE: Here's the press release.
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The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District held its annual meeting and luncheon on Thursday, on the ninth floor of 55 M Street. Stan Kasten of the Nationals opened the festivities with some brief but energetic remarks about how excited the Nationals are about the neighborhood's continuing development. He was followed by Tommy Wells, who is equally enthusastic about the neighborhood as a prime example of a "liveable, walkable community," saying that people are increasingly choosing "five-minute living." But, he added that if this area ends up looking like every other neighborhood, "then we've failed."
After making presentations and awards to the BID's Clean and Safe team members, BID executive director Michael Stevens presented his State of the Capitol Riverfront report, chock full of statistics, including my perennial favorite, the number of bags of trash collected during 2009 (7,526!). The BID estimates there are now about 2,500 residents in the area, with another 500 expected to arrive in 2010. He also spent some time comparing the size and scope of the plans for "the Front" to other waterfront redevelopment projects such as Battery Park City in New York and Mission Bay in San Francisco, and of course detailing the many ways the BID works to publicize and advocate for the neighborhood.
Stevens was followed by Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution, who discussed "The Structural Shift in Building." This area and DC as a whole, he said, are the model for the sort of development that cities want to emulate going forward, as he described the pendulum swing from the suburban model of the second half of the 20th century to the new "walkable urbanism," being driven mainly by the Millennial generation, empty-nested retirees, and the growth in the percentage of child-free households.
Leinberger's presentation slides are definitely worth paging through, and folks who are big fans of public transportation will especially appreciate his feeling that the slogan going forward should be "The Green Line is the New Red Line," since the biggest opportunities for development around transportation hubs exist near those stations, and that the BID should actually consider expanding its consulting and other offerings to the smaller emerging neighborhoods along the Green Line that need those types of services. (Perhaps this is what Michael Stevens was alluding to in his report, where a Green Line Research Project was mentioned. And, by the way, next year will mark the 20-year anniversary of the opening of the Navy Yard metro station.)
Finally, BID chairman Eric Siegel announced that the BID is planning an environmental summit in May 2010 (perhaps at Nationals Park), to focus on the cleanup of the Anacostia River and other environmental issues with the many public and private stakeholders along the river.
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Nationals Park
 
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