Category Archives: Roads

Infrastructure & Good Neighbors

“Infrastructure,” says Goldhagen, summing it all up, “is where architecture and politics merge.”

So architectural historian Sarah Goldhagen wraps up a recent and provocative interview with the Boston Globe that is essential reading if you care about infrastructure. And, we know you do.

Goldhagen says to think of it as a detective story. A bridge collapses in Minnesota. A steam pipe explodes in New York. Water in some cities is found to contain lead…Schools have boarded-up windows but don’t have books…It’s like an Agatha Christie mystery.

But this is much scarier than anything Christie wrote. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, our nation’s infrastructure is barely making the grade, and is mediocre at best.

What, exactly, is infrastructure? For Goldhagen, it’s everything we build that is meant to serve the public: highways, streets, bridges, tunnels, sidewalks, transit systems, utilities of all kinds, parks, soccer fields, even public schools and colleges.

She says we need to think of it all as one integrated whole, and then ask who’s taking care of it. No one, it turns out.

That last sentence is why the Route 1 Growth working group came together. Infrastructure is not sexy, it costs a lot and is, if things are working well, invisible. But it is critical to our quality of life.

We are way behind the curve, probably about ten years and that may be a conservative estimate–and that’s before the 7,600 new residential units. Let’s look at schools. The need is identified, put into the funding cycle (or not), then a site needs to be identified and purchased, the plans prepared, and the project bid and constructed. Roads and transit are similar. Continue reading

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Filed under Cities and Towns, Elected Offcials, Infrastructure, Public Transit, Retail, Roads

Shopping List for the Cafritz Property

The following are my thoughts and some background on the Cafritz property that I’ve put together and may or may not represent the situation. We will learn more on Saturday but this will give those interested a little briefing on the property and some of the issues before the meeting.

Background
The original property was a little less than 50 acres. There was a residence in the center of the property and temporary housing was built during WW II. All this has been removed.

The property is bordered to the north by Albion, to the east by the rail line to the south by the National Guard and postal facility (a leg extends around the back between the postal facility and the rails) and finally on the west by Route 1. Thirteen acres along Albion were bought by Metro to build the tunnel which runs under this edge and comes out to grade at the northeast corner.

It is safe to assume the thirteen acre Metro parcel will be repurchased by Cafritz so the development rights can be used even if parts of the property could not be built on.

The underlying zoning for all the property is single family residential. It could be developed by right with housing on lots that would look much like University Park. This would yield somewhere between 170 and 220 single family houses depending on whether the WMATA property could be built on.

The Cafritz team has signaled that they are looking at a development program that would be different from the by-right option and thus would go through a public review as part of the County approval process. Continue reading

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Filed under Cafritz Property, Calvert Hills, Developers, Growth, Riverdale Park, Roads, Schools, University Park