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The Arcade Market in Columbia Heights: The First Commercial House to Establish a Parking Garage on Its Roof in 1927

On November 9th, 1927, John S. Blick, president of the Washington Arcade Co., presented plans to the District Commissioners to establish a parking garage on the roof of the Arcade Market in Columbia Heights. Read more to learn about this historic first in Washington, DC.
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Driving was still not the primary mode off transportation in the city with streetcars crisscrossing the city, but John Blick, head of the Arcade Market going up in Columbia Heights felt strongly enough about making as easy as possible to park as close to the Arcade as possible. Remember when we almost had a Whole Foods move in? … only to have those hopes dashed by a lack of parking.

Here’s an article in the Washington Post on November 9th, 1927, detailing the plan.

The first commercial house in Washington to establish a parking garage on its roof for the convenience of patrons, will be the new Arcade Market at Fourteenth and Kenyon streets northwest, if plans submitted yesterday by John S. Blick, president of the Washington Acrade Co. to the District Commissioners are adopted.

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The new market, which will be opened about November 23, has been built only one story high, and a ramp runs from the alley at the side of the new structure to the roof.

If the Commissioners approve of Mr. Blick’s plan, and he is able to gain the consent of adjacent property owners, he plans to allow motoring customers of the market to drive up the ramp and park their cars while shopping. Traffic in the vicinity of the market becomes very congested at certain times of the day, and Mr. Blick feels that the roof garage will be a great convenience to shoppers.

While some garages in the city have established roof garages on which to store cars which have been turned in and which are being held for resale, no other establishment in the city has established a parking garage on its roof. The idea has been carried out successfully by merchants in other cities, notably Chicago, and has been suggested here several times.

Hmm, traffic becomes very congested at certain times of the day? Things never change. Don’t drive anywhere near 14th St NW.

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