Letter to the Editor: Superfresh redevelopment would be out of scale

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The former grocery store at 48th and Yuma streets NW is slated for redevelopment. (Brian Kapur/The Current/December 2015)

I would like to respond to Michael Kent’s July 12 letter to the editor, “Superfresh parcel needs redevelopment.”

Most residents of American University Park and Spring Valley we know have moved to those neighborhoods to enjoy the peace and quiet of those spaces, and did not expect or want a lifestyle akin to Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle or U Street. If one wants to live in a more happening part of town, please feel free to go. It appears that Mr. Kent may wish to move to a neighborhood that offers more action and access. We enjoy walking to our neighborhood markets such as Wagshal’s, Giant and Whole Foods in Tenleytown. Considering the loss of the Safeway, a Wegmans market would be a welcome addition to Wisconsin Avenue, where such stores belong.

While a local grocery store may be welcome, the current scale of the Superfresh project would overload the streets and literally cast shadows on the surrounding neighborhood. It would further congest the small surrounding streets as well as Massachusetts Avenue. It would infringe on children’s ability to play safely outside. It is already a trial to navigate the intersection of 49th Street and Massachusetts almost any time of day.

It is disconcerting that developers seem so intent on building newer, bigger and taller buildings to make every part of the District more densely populated — and to ignore the character and scale of existing structures and neighborhoods. It would be a mistake to paint all of the city with the same brush. This beautiful, nationally and internationally significant city offers many different neighborhoods for us to enjoy. Pick your preferred vibe. Please don’t try to transform every inch of Washington into the highest payoff to the promoters of development run amok. I am not alone in the value I place on peace, quiet and quality of life that is near downtown and world-class museums, architecture, restaurants and more.

Finally, please avoid the mistake of destroying the beauty of space, and respect the options to live in neighborhoods that offer individuals and families different lifestyles in which to live, simply to pay developers for their grand ideas to extend downtown to the outer limits. Look around and breathe. There is no reason to duplicate Bethesda.

Deborah Barry, Spring Valley