Tag Archives: neighborhood

Glover Park, Part 2: Pedestrian Capable

Over the last year since moving to DC I have been living without a car (for the first time), in turn learning how to live as a pedestrian.  Despite its pre-suburban influenced density Glover Park remains of the best pedestrian accessible neighborhoods in DC.

Although the neighborhood is not serviced by it’s own Metrorail stop, a handful of reliable WMATA buses run through this neighborhood that offer routes to Van Ness/UDC and Dupont Circle metro stations on the Red Line. Additional access is available on the 30–series WMATA buses running along Wisconsin Ave, with service running from Tenleytown/AU (red line) and beyond through GWU/Foggy Bottom (Blue/Orange line) and onward through downtown DC.  A short walk downhill along Wisconsin Ave. to Georgetown offers access to the Circulator Buses, which connect DC through some of the most popular routes for visitors and DC-lovers alike.

Indeed Glover Park is proudly multi-modal in its transportation infrastructure, even displaying a good balance between automobile transit and pedestrian access to most essential services within walking distance.  Because of the residential layout inside of the neighborhood, street parking is quite common (if not always plentiful), offering a safe buffer for pedestrians between the sidewalk and moving traffic.  Street-tree lined sidewalks line virtually every street, providing easy access to the business corridor along Wisconsin Ave and also allowing parents and children to walk to neighborhood school!

While Glover Park is not best known for it’s public transit, it is probably one of the safest neighborhoods for pedestrians and cyclists as I have experienced in DC.  Even drivers find themselves becoming pedestrians when they’re walking around the neighborhood, especially with the easy access to nearby businesses along Wisconsin Ave (which I’ll detail in the next blog post).  Glover Park has everything a resident could ask for: grocery stores, restaurants, park, schools, and is within walking distance (about a mile) to both Georgetown and American University (my alma mater); it’s easy to see what attracted me and many others to live in this neighborhood.

An Introduction to Glover Park

Glover Park is a neighborhood in Northwest DC which is sometimes referred to as part of Northern or Upper Georgetown, although it is historically (if no longer socio-economically) distinct as a neighborhood of its own. The neighborhood is roughly bounded by Glover-Archibold Nat’l Park on it’s west and the Vice President’s Mansion (connected to Rock Creek Park) on the East, roughly bordered by Georgetown to the south and Cathedral Heights on the north. Personally I have been happy to call Glover Park my home for the last year, so I wanted to introduce this neighborhood to the uninitiated, at least before I move at the end of this month.

This area is characterized by it’s narrow, tree-lined streets which sometimes deviate from the DC street grid to accommodate beautiful brick row-houses and garden-style apartment complexes in this mostly residential neighborhood. The architecture mirrors the aspirations of a growing middle-class in DC near the beginning of the 20th century, yearning to build breathing space for young families from the crowded and pollution dense urban cores that characterized cities at the time.

beginning construction of homes following the first World War, Glover Park has continued its growth with more modern apartment complexes and shopping centers built alongside the beautiful brownstones buildings and parks for which it is better known. Current residents of Glover Park continue this middle-class aspiration of home ownership, with many homes having small front or back yards and even a few garages, although at a considerable cost to potential owners in this highly desirable neighborhood.

Like many other neighborhoods in the District of Columbia, Glover Park is filled with young professionals, growing families, and students (like myself). These diverse populations require multi-modal transit to facilitate their professional lives as well as the personal pleasures that lead so many idealistic and adventurous individuals to Washington DC. In the coming days I’ll discuss how these pedestrians get to and from their homes in Glover Park, and a few more reasons for you to visit this great neighborhood.

Geo-Local, Internet

Sometimes I wonder how people used word-of-mouth recommendations for restaurants and stores before the web. Sure we had great newspapers (and with the Washington Post we still do), but when you’re transplanted into a strange town where you don’t know anyone word-of-mouth just doesn’t happen.

I ended up in Glover Park not just for the rent, but probably because Wikipedia gave me the clues that the location was right. Google Maps helped me find an apartment within walking distance to the grocery store. This move would not have worked so well for me only 10 years ago.

Once I moved in, I could use HopStop to find the right Bus/Rail times.  Later I found the WMATA’s site worked a little better.  I found out the sort of places other locals would like using Brightkite.  I traded in for an iPhone with GPS at the end of my contract.  I use Brightkite even more.  Yelp is still pretty invaluable for me.

And since I know that I could live here for another several years and still not find everything, I’m glad we have the right tools through the Geo-local internet.  Wired is right; GPS+internet is changing how we take part in a community.

Columbia Heats (up)

Unlike last week’s mistaken evacuation of Columbia Heights station, all the hype you’ve been hearing about Columbia Heights Day is not full of hot air.  But like our displaced artic friends, you might notice the block heating up with live music and hot food.

Beginning tonight (9/23) with a “Taste of Columbia Heights“, the neighborhood works together to raise money for the big party on Saturday October 4th. Only in it’s second year, it’s comparable to the well established Adams Morgan Day which recently celebrated their 30th block party.  In addition to the local eats and live music, expect a few welcome should you make a trip to Columbia Heights station.

Pedestrians Welcome

As I recent transplant from the Midwest, I was ready to fully embrace urban life in DC.  I sold my car and traded it in for a SmarTrip card, downgrading from a 2-bedroom home to a 1-bedroom apartment that was literally half the space for twice the rent.  I would live close to work, school, and all the nightlife a bus transfer could afford; it was time to live in a truly walkable community.

I settled on an apartment in Glover Park, where I am never more than half an hour from anywhere and only a 5 minute walk to groceries, the bank, hardware, a pharmacy, dining establishments, watering holes, and most importantly the MetroBus.  This neighborhood has been changing (and quickly), like so many others doubtlessly have over the last decade, reflecting the national trends towards reestablishing our urban centers.

Everyday I found myself spending more time in this place, giving me a true sense of belonging to a community.  But I am also determined to discover the community outside my neighborhood.

To help give order to these adventures around Washington DC is Pedestrian Capable, a blog which will reinterpret what many longtime residents may instantly recognize as fixtures in their neighborhoods.  In my previous residence I helped organize an online magazine/blog with multiple contributors who were likewise discovering their own community for the first time; an endeavor I would like continue in the DC community.  Think of this as an opportunity to discover DC through the lens of the observer and a chance for us to talk about those places and people in DC so well established that other local media would hardly have a news angle to cover.

They say the best way to explore a city is on foot, where neighborhoods rise and fall as blocks, leaving behind clues to their history like watermarks on the shore.  You can miss a lot of DC moving around the beltway, and find so much more on foot.  And that is exactly what we will find together in those areas that are Pedestrian Capable in DC.