GRANOLAPARK: Junction progress

IMAGE: The TPSS Co-op at Takoma Junction, July, 2016. Photo by Bill Brown.


Dear Readers,

The city council’s Takoma Junction update October 12 was mostly reassuring.

In our last exciting Takoma Junction Redevelopment installment, the Takoma Park Silver Spring Food Co-op and Neighborhood Development Company agreed to negotiate a Letter of Intent by late November.

The LOI will have a mutual agreement about issues key to the Co-op: guaranteed customer access to their store during redevelopment construction on the lot next door to them, and an acceptable truck unloading configuration in the finished new-building design.


The shortest city council meeting this fall, the Oct. 12 session started at 7:30 p.m. and ended around 8:45 p.m. Photo by Bill Brown.

The Oct 12 city council work session discussion revealed that the developer and the co-op have met three times, and no blood was shed! Mayor Kate Stewart and deputy city manager Jason Damweber sat in on the last meeting. They said there was a LOT of paper – in other words, many plans, ideas, sketches, and so forth. They took this as a good sign.

They were enthusiastic about the new architect NDC has hired – Streetsense. Streetsense specializes in environmentally-friendly urban and retail design.

The Takoma Junction Community Consultation Process Advisory Committee has put itself on pause until that LOI is worked out. The council agreed this was wise. They also agreed, again, that the committee needs a new name.


There was one voting item at the Oct. 12 meeting, and it quickly passed unanimously. It was a resolution in support of the county funding a paramedic at the Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department. Takoma Park’s is one of only two fire stations in the county with no paid paramedic.

It may be a “city” fire station, and the volunteer force is local, but it is all part of the county fire department, and is not operated by the city. That’s why the funding for this position would come from the county, not the city.

Hot-button parking

Despite the bosom-heaving passion residents feel about parking fewer than 20 of them have turned out for two public meetings Oct. 4 and 6. And none of them had any new, surprising issues or questions about it, according to city planner Erkin Ozberk,

Here’s a slide show of the “boards” displayed at the meetings.

City literature says that Takoma Park is studying city-wide parking issues including meters, handicap parking, commercial vehicle parking, residential parking permit (RPP) zones, enforcement, city code and regulations, and parking “hot spots.”

This, says the city, is “a comprehensive and interdepartmental effort aimed at modernizing and streamlining existing programs while preparing for ongoing developments and technological changes that affect how and where people are going in Takoma Park.”

Some Day of The Future you will be able to pay with your credit card or phone. They will take out the parking space dividing lines so more cars can fit. Instead of meters, there will be one pay box at the corner.

None of that is in the code amendment. Mostly the amendment removes a lot of detail such as exactly where the parking areas are. Wisely, it delegates all the parking decisions to the city manager and staff. That way the council doesn’t have to amend the code every time they want to adjust the parking regulations.


Make no mistake, this is a hot-button issue. Though it is a city wide parking management study, the focus in on Old Takoma and permit zones. So, start paying attention, Dear Readers.

Here are the city’s three key questions.

“What other parking issues or “parking hotspots” should City staff be thinking about? What’s missing from the conversation so far?

“What do you think about the list of “What’s Under Consideration” (Board 4)? What would be your top priority as a resident, shopper, business owner, etc.?

“On-street parking is a public space asset managed by the City – what guiding principles should the Takoma Park City Council consider for parking management? The Takoma Park City Council set priorities centered on livability, environmental and fiscal sustainability, engaged and responsible government, and economic development.”

The city also has an online parking survey you can participate in.

A fine situation

There was also a work session on vacant and foreclosed property registration. The county is proposing such a registration list – with $1000 a day fines for property owners who don’t comply.

The city just passed its own registration law, but it is in some ways stricter.

So, the issue was whether to opt out of the county law or not. The city’s version is better tailored to the city – and the city gets the fine revenue. So, the council seemed to favor opting out.

There was some revenue-envy expressed by some councilmembers, however. They liked the county’s grand-a-day fine – which they could add to the city’s code so the money went here instead of to the county. The mayor said that would help fill the city’s affordable housing program fund.

There was no official vote on the matter, as is usual at work sessions.

– Gilbert


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About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.