Monday, February 04, 2008

Palisades Park Update

A recent announcement for an upcoming Palisades Citizens Association meeting mentioned as a primary discussion point the entrance to the Palisades Park:

This meeting will feature a discussion of design ideas for the Palisades Park entrance (and other neighborhood issues of concern) with Mayor Adrian Fenty, Council member Mary Cheh, and Department of Parks and Recreation Director Clark Ray.

Also, for those who have not received a copy of the newsletter, I am attaching a
link to the PCA website ( ), which features an excellent article by Mark Binsted on what can be done with the entrance to Palisades Park. In it, he updates everyone on DC¢s efforts to come up with a design, and discusses various options that have been discussed in the past as a way to jumpstart ideas and comment.

The post on the PCA Listserv prompted a few comments:

Now that we have more space why not have a one way u-shaped road going in and out of the parking area in a continuous loop and make room for more parking? Surely all this could be engineered with enough green space, planting, and built in traffic control to assure appropriate speed as well as lovely views, so that neighbors will not have to look at a parking lot. The temporary driveway built for the construction work shows the possibilities. There would seem to be plenty of room for better access, more parking, and some kind of square-like space.

I'm not sure I see the likely use of a basically empty, large green square on the Sherier Place side, since usually parents and grand parents want to be near where their children are, which will be up by the playground. Perhaps there is another group of park users who have been under-served by what we have now, who do not want to be near the play ground or the ball fields or the rec center, or out behind the rec center looking over to Virginia. It seems to be intended by the designers as a gathering place but I'm not sure there is a lot of demand for gathering there. The empty lot we have always had there (next to the torn down house) has always been used simply as a pass through to the recreational areas. If there is a group, perhaps older residents who do not want to go up the slight hill, perhaps the gathering space could be reduced somewhat so as to accommodate more other users of the park as well as improved traffic flow.

I can imagine that the large empty green squares so loved by the designer of the designs in the newsletter might be used, but I can also imagine that they wouldn't be used all that much, or wouldn't need to be quite so large to accommodate those who might use them. It's hard to know, but the parking would certainly be used, since the cars are already there most weekends.

Another option:

The main group of users that is actually underserved sometimes and potentially underserved at others is people wanting to use the park as recreational green space. While the improvements to the park are lovely, professional, and raise the standard of what constitutes a neighborhood park to new heights, one thing that is missing is space for general recreation. This might include children older than playground age playing soccer or football, but not in one of the leagues that seem to be able to and desire reserve the green space at a higher frequency than before. One of reasons parking has become an issue is that the park improvements have increased out of neighborhood traffic as our park is now a true city park, rather than a neighborhood park. It is desirable by all organized recreation groups and community use appears to be more difficult. While there are ways that the entrance can be improved to facilitate multiuse (benches on the sides, shrubbery to block parking, etc.,) it would be wonderful to increase the amount of open space that can be used on an adhoc basis. Has the idea of moving the parking lot closer to Sherrier, lining it with Leyland Cyprus (to hide it from residents), and then having the current parking used as open green space (two small for organized leagues, but just the right size for kids pickup) been considered?

Now that there is a wide open space in that area, it will be interesting what design and use ideas are floated and implemented.

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