Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Owners of 'niche' shops are getting priced out of Downtown Silver Spring, according to the Gazette. Starbucks always seems to get picked on in these articles, as if there is going to be six straight blocks of them:

‘‘‘As much as I love Starbucks, does anyone get excited about them?” he said. ‘‘When you’re walking down the street, do you say, ‘Oh, a Starbucks — I haven’t seen one of those in five minutes’?”
Really though, if I had a business, I'd WANT a Starbucks next door. Like it or not, that will bring a lot of foot traffic to your area.

- Silver Spring Scene has photos of the new artwork at 8045 Newell. Here's an "Old School Silver Spring" style piece of art that also went up recently.

- There are discussions about a 'Rapid Bus' service down Georgia Ave/7th St. from Silver Spring to the National Archives:
As planned, the service would run between the Silver Spring Metrorail station or Eastern Avenue, NW, and the National Archives via Georgia Avenue and Seventh Street, NW. The existing Georgia Avenue/Seventh Street 70/71 Metrobus route transports 22,000 passengers daily between Silver Spring and Buzzards Point. Recent studies show passengers along this route would benefit from a service in addition to the regular route bus service. The service would feature distinctive, low-floor vehicles and provide faster service with fewer stops.
Is the Silver Spring Metro Station on Eastern Avenue??

- Inexplicably, most of Sligo Creek Parkway is closed off, even though the street itself doesn't seem to be damaged. The trail wasn't as lucky, and this blogger laments the recent storm damage to the Sligo Creek Trail.


urbannomad said...

It's unfortunate, but true, that the big chains bring in alot of customers and money. I hear a lot of people in Silver Spring complain about chains, but then when I talk to them about all the great local restaurants between Georgia and Fenton they've never heard of any of them. And that's the real problem, there are still plenty of local places but when people see a chain they just run into it without looking for the local place. I'm thinking of Kefa Cafe, Negril, Bombay Gaylord, Da Marco's, all great local DT SS places that most people have never even tried.

I think any thriving area needs a good mix of chains and local places. When an area is popular you can't keep chains out... it's a good thing. Just look at Dupont Cirlce, a place many in the region would say is a great urban neighborhood, but even there you will find on the circle a Starbucks, CVS, Cosi and other big name chains stores. People just need to make an effort in Silver Spring to go over to Kefa when they want coffee instead of Starbucks and our local place will do just fine.

Richard Layman said...

1. In my blog entry mentioned in the previous entry, I link to the UMD student studio final report on "minimizing small business displacement" in Silver Spring.

2. To understand the broad dynamics, I'd recommend reading something I wrote last year, "(Why Aren't People) Learning From Jane Jacobs".

It lays out the economic difference between revitalization and redevelopment, and undergirds my arguments about what is happening in Silver Spring.

The authenticity question is another, related issue.

Thanks for linking to the Gazette article. I don't look at it regularly.

Sligo said...

The thing is that there were plenty of independent shops & restaurants that went out of business prior to any redevelopment. There have been very few businesses lost that I have been upset to see go. (I do wish Bonanza Sports Cards was still around, but that was more a victim of the baseball card market than any local economics.) There are some places that probably deserve to lose their lease. Certain independent restaurants that predeate the DTSS area have TERRIBLE service and probably deserve to get kicked to the curb. I won't mention any names.

Nothing personal against any particular ones, but can we reduce the number of hair and/or nail places in SS? I swear there must be 100+ just in the downtown area.

groovything said...

I'm sad to hear that Roadhouse Oldies is probalby going to have to move to make way for some office building in a few years. That's a very unique and funky store in downtown and I want to see it remain somewhere in downtown. At the same time, as a consumer I don't buy records (though I'd like to be someone who did) and rarely buy cds anymore.

Richard Layman said...

The businesses closed before redevelopment because they couldn't hang on. These cycles of disinvestment and investment are decades long... It's tough. It was until about 10 years ago when sociologists studying cities conceded that the process of neighborhood birth, growth, and decline wasn't terminal, but could be cyclical, and that neighborhoods (and commercial districts) could rise again.

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