Dave Jamieson of TBDonFoot recently interviewed our Councilmember Tommy Wells. In the exchange Wells labeled the stretch of Mass Ave NW between the Convention Center and Union Station as “The Mediocre Mile”.
Look at the area from Union Station to the Convention Center. All those new apartment buildings and it’s one of the deadest pedestrian streets. You can’t even figure out where the CVS is. All the amenities are inside the buildings. We’ve created an unsafe street with shortsighted development. The kind of development I’m pushing for is what you see in Southwest, with the Safeway opening up onto the street. There’s first-floor retail. You’ve got to have people put tables outside and create a safe community that way.
I think that hits the nail on the head. Ultimately I believe Buddha Bar, Subway Cafe and Sixth Engine make the 400 block with the CVS an asset rather than one to be pointed to as a failure. But on our grand corridors, like Mass and K Street in our hood, we need to start consistently holding new hi-rise construction to a higher standard in terms of how they interact with the public space. No more semi-circle driveways like you have at the Merdian and 555 Mass. We also need more ground floor retail.