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Around the Corner

December 18, 2012
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Around the Corner today;

In-fighting between the State of Virginia and MWAA has led to $1.5 million in MWAA costs… over $15,000 in airline tickets. The real question becomes why the double standard? The Governor goes over seas as well. He paraded around the Country in support of Mitt Romney and called it an economic mission for the state. For Sean Connaughton, a former American Petroleum Institute leader, to take a stance against chronyism is laughable, likely the reason he didn’t provide a comment. (WAMU)

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Tysons 1st Stage Theater is closing out the year with the last weeks of Altar Boyz. We have talked about our neighborhood gem in previous stories and it looks like those around town are also starting to see this diamond in the rough. This kind of local art scene needs support from residents and patrons. So if you are looking for a great option for end of year donations, give a little to 1st Stage.

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The Governor has released his proposed budget for 2013, and it looks like the governor is showing 800 million dollars more in spending for transportation this year compared to 2012. There has been a lot of talk about the state gas tax, currently around 17 cents, and the fact it hasn’t changed since Bill Clinton took office. The increase in 800 million, from non-general fund sources, almost assures that the Governor will be leading a discussion in favor of the gas tax increase. Finally, something I can agree with the McDonnell administration about. Unfortunately, the increase in revenue will likely lead to more reckless spending as has been seen with the 460 project, Coalfields Expressway, and Charlottesville Bypass.

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Urbanism Concept of the Day

Night markets may seem odd for most Americans, but why? Over the past decade we have seen morning markets and farmer’s markets explode in availability and success. Does changing the dynamic from day to night suddenly throw off the ability to sell goods? Opponents might say that crime will become a problem but by that logic we should all shelter ourselves when the sun, and subsequently light levels, drop below the horizon.

In our recent visit to Taipei we were shocked by the number of malls, seemingly located in every highrise tower in town. More shocking was that even with all of that retail space night markets were still a popular location as well. Both are capable of remaining successful and for different reasons. All retail is not the same. Shopping at Target for a t-shirt is not the same as looking for an anniversary gift at Nordstrom, yet both serve a purpose and both have customers on any given day.

Additionally there is the role of active recreation and sight seeing. Malls and large stores are often for product specific shopping. You go there with an idea of what you want. Markets, however, are an activity and experience. You don’t necessarily head out on a Friday to buy a specific item from the night market, you are there to people watch, grab a quick bite, and see what’s available.

In Tysons we have so much space that serves only 10-hours of the day. Parking lots are ghost towns after 6pm, sodded open spaces make you feel anything but urban. Why not provide land owners the ability to use their property as a destination that might be a little more hip than heading to the mall, and have a special vendor permit which could also raise funds (much needed) for the County? All the while you provide a good outlet for innovation and specialization for retailers who can’t afford 1500 sf of retail space within the mall or around town.

Click me to enlarge

If Tysons wants to give itself a unique identity in the region, to set it apart from other urban plans, a simple and easy start would be a night market. Place it right at the door step of our new metro system (for instance the large parking lot right next to central Tysons) and it will be virtually assured as a success.

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One Response to Around the Corner

  1. Brian on December 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    This is a great idea – similar to the weekend markets at Reston Town Center, which draw large crowds, it could be very popular. The empty space surrounding the Metro will be very uninviting after dark, at best it would remain lifeless, and at worst could turn into a crime hot spot if left under-utilized.

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