This was the fourth month in a row that GDS presented before the ANC to share with the community the evolution of our designs and planning. At each ANC meeting, and in our many other meetings with neighbors and neighborhood groups, GDS has received valuable input that has informed our project, and we are very grateful for that.
Our intention with this project is to change our school and Tenleytown communities for the better. For our school, one campus will strengthen our program, our sense of community, and our finances and operations. For Tenleytown, we believe that this project will inject new vibrancy, new retail, new gathering places, and streets that are safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. We are acutely aware of the fact that not everyone will be happy with all elements of our project—while that would be nice, it is not a realistic goal. All we can do is to honestly put forth what we believe is a positive plan that serves our school and our neighborhood. We have, and we will continue to listen to and respond to the constructive comments we hear from our parents, staff, and neighbors.
The PUD Process
GDS had initially planned to file the PUD application to the Zoning Commission in late summer. We have heard from the ANC and from others in the community that it would be helpful to delay our filing so that we can come before the ANC again in September and work together on some of the key elements of our project after the ANC’s August break.
So we have adjusted our schedule and are now committed to waiting until late September or October to file our application. We will continue to engage the community, refine our design and work with our parents, staff, neighbors, and the ANC to create the best possible project. In recent community discussions, we’ve also heard an interest in understanding the process to come over the next year. Please find the document in the sidebar which outlines the PUD process. GDS understands that submitting a PUD application is an early step in what will be an ongoing process, and we are committed to continuing conversations post-PUD submission.
Draft Traffic Management Plan for GDS
This draft plan supports the shared principals between the ANC and GDS:
The overarching strategies we will be considering to fulfill these principles include:
Take advantage of the site’s proximity to Metro and bus transit.
Develop walking/cycling programs and incentives.
Increase number of persons per car.
Introduce shuttle bus to campus from multiple locations.
Work with DDOT’s Safe Routes to School program.
We have incorporated a good deal of education on sustainability and the importance of minimizing car trips into our draft strategies. We have years before the school consolidation actually happens, and we intend to make use this time to change the culture of driving at GDS
Draft Traffic Management Planfor Retail/Residential Buildings
We have also given a good deal of thought to minimizing the impact of traffic from the retail/residential buildings.
Since our last presentation before the ANC in June, our team of architects and landscape designers has been hard at work developing the design and massing of the buildings. What you will see in the slides we presented in July is not complete, as we continue to incorporate feedback from our school community, our neighbors, and the District agencies that oversee planning and traffic. The “skin” of the buildings has not been decided, but what we have here, gives a sense of what the buildings might look like, and how they will relate to the Tenleytown neighborhood.
Q & A about the GDS Plan
Q:What kind of access will the Tenleytown community have to GDS?
A:There are many ways that we envision opening up GDS to the community. These include:
Use of the field by local athletic leagues.
Use of the gym by local leagues.
Rental of the gym for parties, community events.
Space at GDS to host community meetings.
Access to our outdoor play spaces during non-school hours.
Use of exterior GDS space for farmers’ market or other community activities.
There may be more ways we can open up the campus to the community, and we welcome your ideas.
Q:Will the GDS shuttle bus mentioned in the draft traffic management plan be available for community use if we want a ride to the Metro?
A:We are considering that as a community amenity, but we are still researching how we can manage that from a liability perspective.
Q:When will we see images of GDS playground or outdoor play spaces?
A:There will definitely be a playground and other outdoor play spaces on the GDS campus. We haven’t shared them with any constituencies yet, as our staff will be working with our landscape architect, Christian Lemon, when they return in August, to help envision and plan these spaces.
Q:I understand that DDOT has asked for automobile traffic on the portion of Davenport Street in place of the planned “Tenley Steps” that you have designed. Is this true?
A:DDOT has asked GDS to study the implications of opening that to vehicular traffic. While we would much prefer the pedestrian-only plan that we have designed, we are exploring a vehicular connection at DDOT’s request.
Q:How tall are the retail/residential buildings that you have designed? What is the dimension of the “Tenley Steps” that are between the buildings?
A:The two buildings measure 90 feet from Wisconsin Avenue, allowing for retail on the ground floors and eight stories of residential above. The Tenley Steps are roughly 50 feet wide.
Q:How many feet will your buildings extend into public space?
A:The southern building will not extend into public space at all. The northern building will extend 20 feet into the public space, in order to provide a large enough footprint for a market and more retail on 42nd Street. Without the extension into the public space, the footprint of the building would be too small for any substantial retail. However, as our renderings show, we will build a new sidewalk there, with plenty of room for tree boxes and seating outside the market.
If you have more questions that we have not answered here, or if you have any comments to share, please send us an email