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Old 03-20-2013, 08:12 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,816 posts, read 10,722,515 times
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Southern Towers, it would appear.

BeyondDC

Not in the NoVa region, but the entire greater Washington region (Logan Circle is the densest)

Southern Towers is of course very different from Logan Circle.

The contrast, IMO, illustrates some differences between density and "urbanism". ST, has quite usable bus service, of course, but not the level of transit service you'd expect given its density. It also has, I am pretty sure, a much smaller ratio of walking and biking trips than Logan (some of that is demographics I expect, but by no means all). The differences are that Logan is not merely dense, but laid out in ways friendly to non-auto modes, and is walkable to other centers of activity. ST is laid out for autos, is somewhat farther from other density, and the activity centers it is close to are not easy to access walking or biking.

Currently the City of Alexandria has a plan (the Beauregard Small Area Plan) that will attempt to improve walking, biking and transit, allow the high end market rate units that are in demand in the area, and preserve affordable housing.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:26 AM
 
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Ahhhh, Southern Towers....aka Sin City. All the hot government girls had, or shared a pad in Sin City back in the day.

If one was even a halfway acceptable 70's male....one ended up at Southern Towers....regularly.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:55 PM
 
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That's funny you say that because I used to live there in the mid 1990s. A guy I worked with at the time said when he was younger Southern Towers was full of stewardesses. I thought he was crazy because when I was living there it was about 75 percent low income immigrants. I guess there was a glory days for Southern Towers but it is long gone.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:33 PM
 
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This just highlights the problem with using census tracts for stats like this. Southern Towers is dense, but no more dense than any other towers-in-the-park-type complex in the area.

The reason the census tract is so dense is because it includes the apartment buildings, the parking lots, and nothing else. Compare this to the census tracts around Pentagon and Crystal Cities, for example. They have apartment buildings with similar densities but because the tracts there were drawn to include more land, the densities of the tracts are smaller than the Southern Towers tract.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:30 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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I work very near Southern Towers and walk around there regularly. Although the towers themselves are dense, the rest of the area consists of detached houses, a few nice townhouses (Seminary Park), and an old folks' home just north of Seminary. There is another tower north of ST that appears to be quite new and looks fairly upscale. Further down Beauregard, past the Winkler Preserve, is a somewhat shabby collection of 1950s-era garden apartments.*

The area is not easily walkable, despite the recent additions of barriers at the intersections. Crossing the slip lane that shunts cars from eastbound Seminary to southbound Beauregard is tough (crosswalk but no signal, obviously). I have to be absolutely alert when crossing any of those streets.

But this doesn't really bother me. There is nothing to walk to, really, and the area is designed for cars. I can't imagine that anyone in ST would voluntarily walk to get groceries. And there are buses that run along Seminary. So there isn't a whole lot of reason to walk there. (I have a couple of specific reasons for walking that are unique to me.)

*These old apartments (and ST too, I would guess) serve a population that can't afford a whole lot else nearby. And if there were rail transit nearby, this complex (and possibly ST as well) would be razed and replaced with more expensive housing, along with a smattering of subsidized "affordable" housing. At least, that's how it works in Arlington. This ends up screwing over the working almost-poor and the middle class. For the low-income working class, it means there are compartively fewer units they can afford. And when they get them, what is now nearby that they will want to patronize? How many low-income people who live in the subsizidzed housing in Clarendon want to shop at Whole Foods or sip vino at some pretentious wine bar?

The middle class loses because the new apartments and condos that accompany rail transit are invariably at the top end of the market. Again, to use Clarendon as an example, basic condos go for over $700K a month.

Rail-based gentrification also kills small businesses with high rents--which is why most of the ones on Lee Highway do well and why many of the ones that have recently sprung up along the R-B Corridor have gone out of business.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:49 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,816 posts, read 10,722,515 times
Reputation: 2523
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
I work very near Southern Towers and walk around there regularly. Although the towers themselves are dense, the rest of the area consists of detached houses, a few nice townhouses (Seminary Park), and an old folks' home just north of Seminary. There is another tower north of ST that appears to be quite new and looks fairly upscale. Further down Beauregard, past the Winkler Preserve, is a somewhat shabby collection of 1950s-era garden apartments.*

The area is not easily walkable, despite the recent additions of barriers at the intersections. Crossing the slip lane that shunts cars from eastbound Seminary to southbound Beauregard is tough (crosswalk but no signal, obviously). I have to be absolutely alert when crossing any of those streets.

But this doesn't really bother me. There is nothing to walk to, really, and the area is designed for cars. I can't imagine that anyone in ST would voluntarily walk to get groceries. And there are buses that run along Seminary. So there isn't a whole lot of reason to walk there. (I have a couple of specific reasons for walking that are unique to me.)

*These old apartments (and ST too, I would guess) serve a population that can't afford a whole lot else nearby. And if there were rail transit nearby, this complex (and possibly ST as well) would be razed and replaced with more expensive housing, along with a smattering of subsidized "affordable" housing. At least, that's how it works in Arlington. This ends up screwing over the working almost-poor and the middle class. For the low-income working class, it means there are compartively fewer units they can afford. And when they get them, what is now nearby that they will want to patronize? How many low-income people who live in the subsizidzed housing in Clarendon want to shop at Whole Foods or sip vino at some pretentious wine bar?

The middle class loses because the new apartments and condos that accompany rail transit are invariably at the top end of the market. Again, to use Clarendon as an example, basic condos go for over $700K a month.

Rail-based gentrification also kills small businesses with high rents--which is why most of the ones on Lee Highway do well and why many of the ones that have recently sprung up along the R-B Corridor have gone out of business.
The City expects the market rate affordable housing to disappear anyway, as the older units are renovated. Thats happened in a few places in the region, and the location of the DoD building nearby will accelerate that. Adding density will be the only way to keep any subsidized housing.

And the plan is to tear down and build density on the old garden complexes, not at ST itself. ST is too dense already for that to be economically viable. The plan for ST is to enable some building on the parking lots. There will be new transit, but for now City of Alex seems to be focusing on BRT in a transit dedicated lane on Beauregard. Some claim that can have as big an impact on development as a street car would. There is currently no plan I know of for a metro rail line in that area.

The high density combined with autocentrism, both adds to congestion, and helps to make the area less desirable. But I guess being less desirable does keep the rents down - offsetting the generally high regional rents which are driven in part by demand outstripping supply.
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