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Posted at 1:03 PM ET, 08/12/2010

Should urbanists be nervous about Vince Gray?

By David Alpert

This one is easy. On Smart Growth, Gray is on the right side.

Sorry, antis. It's true that many who oppose a growing city and think that a three-story townhouse is a skyscraper supported Vince Gray early, figuring he must be better than Mayor Fenty. However, they would be disappointed with a Gray mayoralty.

Gray recently walked along Wisconsin Avenue from Tenleytown to Friendship Heights with a group of residents of the area. They pointed out the many glaring flaws in Wisconsin's streetscape.

There's the CVS at Wisconsin and Brandywine, where the sidewalk becomes a sharply sloped ramp to a roof parking deck leaving a 2-foot space for pedestrians between fences and telephone poles.

Near the other end, there's the Western bus garage, a half-block blank wall right along Wisconsin and literally atop the Metro. And there are plenty of examples in between.

Gray nodded eagerly when residents and even his own campaign manager outlined their ideas for how Tenley Circle could feel more like a college town if more retail and housing accompanied American's plans to move the law school there. And his reaction bordered on incredulity when Friendship Heights residents told him that many people would oppose any new buildings on the site of the bus garage.

Gray is also very excited for the potential of "downtown Ward 7," the corner of Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road, to become a walkable hub for the surrounding neighborhoods (complete with streetcars!) His approach and that of Mayor Fenty may differ a bit only in implementation.

Continue reading this post by David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington here.

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By David Alpert  | August 12, 2010; 1:03 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Local blog network, development, housing  
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