How should Takoma Junction be developed?
I think if the Junction were properly designed, it would allow for Co-op expansion and therefore better selection as well as creating space for and attracting additional businesses for the residents of Wards 1, 2, and 3. It is my opinion that a roundabout would be the best way to go. The problem is that there really is not space to build it without encroaching on private property.
I think if the city were able to reforest other areas, then the hillside behind the Co-op could be filled to create level ground and along with the empty parking lots between the Co-op and the firehouse could be used to create a large roundabout with the Co-op, and maybe the Junction in the center.
I have addressed this question above in broad terms and would encourage those interested to read the Takoma Junction Task Force report. The development of Takoma Junction, surrounded as it is by established neighborhoods, and given its restrictions in terms of traffic flow and parking, must be fine-tuned and carried out in a manner that is highly responsive to community input. There is no cookie-cutter or Bethesda-style development that will work here. We must think of the entire Takoma Park context, both now and in the future, in devising how best to make this commercial district from the dawn of the automobile era into a thriving cultural and economic node in a greener future.
To that end, we must think of how the Junction connects with and complements not only with the rest of Old Takoma but also with the Civic Center/Maple Avenue area and with what we eventually hope to see at the Ethan Allen Gateway area, at the Washington Adventist hospital and university campuses, and the Purple Line station areas in Ward 5/Long Branch and at Takoma-Langley Crossroads. Personally, I would like to see a key cultural attraction at the Junction along with a greater array of neighborhood-scale goods and services, anchored by the TP-SS Co-op and including perhaps a dance hall which would build upon our community’s love for traditional music as well as international music. Whatever happens at the Junction must be very attentive to parking and traffic impacts.
The existing lot meets demand for parking at peak times, but residents in Manor Circle particularly are impacted by overflow parking. If a new development is constructed on the City-owned lot, I feel that it must handle any increased parking demand while also continuing to serve the existing parking needs of businesses on both sides of Carroll Avenue. I am also very concerned that a buffer be maintained between any new development and Columbia Avenue. I also feel that any development should mitigate, rather than intensify, congestion at the Sycamore Avenue traffic signal.
I am in favor of revitalization of B.Y. Morrison Park and would be open to repurposing some part of the park to allow for, say, a coffee or sandwich vendor which would draw people into the park. In an era of fast-paced, impersonal transactions, I would like the Junction to feel like a truly slowed-down, quiet, human-scale commercial district – a place where one can find a sense of respite from the accelerated and stress-inducing feel of much of DC. To that end, it would be great to brand the Junction, and Old Takoma in general, as an exemplary place to receive personalized and friendly customer service.
Finally, pedestrians and bikers should find the Junction a safe and convenient place to visit. In addition to the long-sought-after direct crossing of Carroll Avenue at Grant, I would like to ensure that additional crosswalks are installed at a minimum of two additional places on Carroll Avenue as one heads toward Sligo Creek (e.g. at Lee Avenue and at Boyd Avenue). By the way, I am going to propose that the crosswalk at Grant be installed with bricks, perhaps using a combination of white and rainbow-colored stripes, and that it be dedicated as “Kay’s Crossing” in memory of Kay Daniels Cohen.
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