The Current’s July 19 issue included an article on the alarm over the decline in the Connecticut Avenue NW corridor between Macomb and Porter streets. Despite the presence of a Metrorail station, restaurants, a well-established commercial history, and such amenities as a movie theater and a library, the area is in decline. The message is that growing and maintaining an active, vibrant urban area is difficult and cannot be taken for granted. As the article describes, once the balance of success factors is lost, it is hard to find the way back.
In light of what has happened on Connecticut Avenue, the plan to sequester street parking for police use in the very successful Cathedral Commons area should be reconsidered. Starting around 1990, with the opening of Cactus Cantina, this area has grown organically to create a balanced ecosystem that includes street parking. While I don’t believe in promoting street parking as a solution for a commercial area, it is a fact that the growth of this area is commensurate with the current level of parking.
The city’s plan to take this essential parking resource from visitors to this area is a poisoned arrow aimed at the heart of this urban success story. It is the easy solution for the city’s planners as they pursue one particular objective, but, in the larger context, such a self-inflicted wound is not in the best interest of the city.
Larry Seftor, Spring Valley