Mayor Walter E. Washington recently requested Congress to allow some new buildings in downtown Washington to go higher than 130 feet (about 13 stories) as stipulated by a 1910 law. Staff writer Maggie Locke and staff photographer Linda Wheeler went to the District's downtown retail center to find out what District residents thought aboout the city having taller buildings.
Oria Bello, 47, a seamstress who lives on Columbia Road NW: "Taller buildings would change Washington's atmosphere, which I like very much. I don't like New York City and that's just what it would be like here. Now Washington is beautiful. Why change it?
James Cunningham, 28, a public reference assistant for the Securities and Exchange Commission who lives in Fairfax Village SE: "Taller buildings would give me an impression of Washington as New York City. And in New York you have drive away from the city to see the sky. Washington has enough tall buildings as it is."
Sian Evans, 20, an administrative assistant to an oil company who lives in Northwest Washinton: "Washinton is built on a swamp and it's hot enough as it is in the summer. Taller buildings cause a "greenhouse" effect, where the hot polluted air practically has lid on it keeping it in the streets. I can't think of anything more repulsive than a hotter summer in Washington."
Andre Johnson, 16, a student at Rebaut Junior High School who lives on 7th Street NW: "This city is kind of special with its lower buildings and I'd hate to see it become anything different or lose its specialness with taller buildings. New York is kind of a ridiculous city, if you ask me. The Washington Monument is the tallest thing we need around here."
Doreen Moaning, 18, a secretary at the Drpartment of Agriculture who lives in Southeast Washington: "I don't think there would be enough space for taller buildings. Most of our streets are really small, and taller buildings will just make them seem smaller."
Victor Wong Sang, 57, a Catholic priest who lives at St. Anthoneys parish rectory in Northwest Washington: "I'd go for taller buildings because the city would get more business and also attract people who need residences. Both citizens and business would benefit. People don't want to use cars so much anymore and would live in the city."
Danny Pagden, 18, an office worker at the Pentagon who lives in Northwest Washington: "Taller buildings just cause more pollution and cause everything to be more congested and closed in. I don't think they belong in Washington."