To the editor:
An article in the AIA Northern Virginia news handed out Monday night at the Del Ray Citizens Association meeting poorly states the history of Del Ray, and I disagree with the direction of the neighborhoods new market square.
My study reflects that Del Ray was an escape, a suburb from the industry of the railroad industrial zone and the industrial waterfront of Old Town Alexandria. Located west of Potomac Yard, the railroad workers built homes and sought relief from the bang and crash of railroad cars, the smoke and smell of the steam engines and the fear if not actual occurrences of toxic spills from damaged shipments. Other Del Ray residents worked on King Street and in the railroad yards south and west of the city.
It is a mistake to import industrial design elements into the Del Ray market square. The covered walkway of the Camilo Lorens Bearman design looks industrial and from that standpoint unappealing and metallic. There are plenty of roofs to put solar panels on without creating a new one. Other alternatives may be to create a virtual site if the structural space is needed. Mt. Pleasant Co-op in D.C. has developed a way for solar panels to be affordable (mtpleasantsolarcoop.org). No need to repeat elements from the new building directly across the street.
The space in front of the farmers market should remain open for use by the public. This space can be used by the community to hold a variety of activities. Up to five activities should be able to function simultaneously along Mt. Vernon Avenue. Further, the illustrated street furniture seems in the way. The trees located on the site should also be taken in to consideration when redeveloping the space.
– Ed Ablard