Real Talk From Muriel Bowser on WalMart

With DC’s mayor Adrian Fenty on the way out, I’ve been wondering if Muriel Bowser who took over his old City Council seat and has been a key ally of his on the council is someone I should be looking to for good ideas in the future. These remarks on WalMart reported by Lydia DePillis seem very sensible to me:

“I don’t mean to offend anybody,” she said, “but we already have enough beer and wine licenses. Where can somebody go buy clothes, right now?” The room was silent. “Where? Nowhere?”

“I get your concern,” she continued, holding out her hands in an appeal. “But I need you to get my concern. I can’t go to my community and say, this is all you deserve. I can’t do that.”

Bowser also pointed out that the community had brought Walmart upon itself by refusing densification at key spots along Georgia Avenue, ignoring recommendations from the Great Streets program.

That all seems about right to me. If you allow for dense development, the tendency is to make suburban-style big box stores a not-so-optimal use of space. If you insist on low-density, then you get big box stores. If you insist on neither high density nor big box stores, you get . . . noplace to buy clothing.