A New Plan For Bloomingdale, LeDroit Park and Truxton Circle

by Shilpi Paul

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Big Bear Cafe

On Saturday, representatives from the Office of Planning (OP) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) met with residents of Bloomingdale, Eckington, LeDroit Park, Truxton Circle/Bates Area and Sursum Corda to kick off the Mid-City East Small Area Plan and Livability study.

Essentially, the Small Area Plan involves a targeted study to determine how to direct commercial and residential development, public space planning, historic preservation in the area. For the next few months, the Office of Planning will be meeting with residents, business owners, and an advisory board to figure out what is going on and what is needed in the area, and will make a formal series of recommendations, to be approved by the City Council, early next year. DDOT is concurrently conducting a livability study to look at ease of transportation around the neighborhoods.

The aforementioned neighborhoods have been clumped together because they all abut a set of corridors that OP wants to focus on improving: Florida Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue, and North Capitol Street. As several residents pointed out, the neighborhoods, though centrally located, struggle with walkability and livability because they are zigzagged with these high-speed, commuter-serving roads.

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A few of the ideas generated on Saturday.

Attendees at Saturday’s meeting were flush with recommendations, which included:

  • Encouraging more neighborhood-serving retailers, like a doctor’s office, hardware store or salon.
  • Decking North Capitol Street in places to add green space and improve the connection between the east and the west sections of the avenue.
  • Preserving cultural diversity and affordable housing.
  • Curbing “pop-ups” and maintaining the architectural character of the area.
  • Making use of vacant homes and schools while monitoring the balance of social services and businesses.
  • Encouraging good neighborhood schools, and not just charter schools.
  • Finding large green space to serve all the neighborhoods.
  • Fixing the oft-clogged intersection at Florida Avenue and New York Avenue.

A contingent also made it clear that they didn’t want the area turning into Adams Morgan or U Street. “We don’t want all-night establishments in a bedroom community,” said one long-time resident.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/small_area_plan_kicks_off_for_bloomingdale_ledroit_park_and_truxton_circle/6993

8 Comments

  1. Michael said at 5:13 pm on Monday April 29, 2013:

    Fix the FL/N. Cap intersection?  Aside from the horribly timed lights you’re also going to have to fix the NY/N.Cap ramps.  During the morning rush the traffic backs all the way down to Rhode Island.

  1. Jimmy Shaw said at 8:37 pm on Monday April 29, 2013:

    Agree totally with retail mix. We need some shops that will get people out and walking in the neighborhood. I like a hardware store like Ace that has some housewares as well as traditional home repair items. We totally need a haircut joint. Galleries are cool as well has clothing stores. In the end, people like telling stories about their experiences (I bought this really cool thing at this place… There is cool shop that has all of these….. And they do….), so whatever retail lends itself to these stories is what we should have in our hood. I think a cinema draft house would be cool, too.

    The intersection at Fla and R needs some love.

    Lastly, BRING THE CIRCLE BACK!

  1. Alfredo said at 10:16 am on Tuesday April 30, 2013:

    For me it’s all about walkability and green spaces. I will leave it to the urban planning experts to figure out how to transform these busy corridors (North Cap, Rhode Island, Florida) into safely walkable areas.

  1. Matt said at 10:17 am on Tuesday April 30, 2013:

    I wouldn’t mind bringing Truxton Circle back, but if people are complaining about traffic jams now, there’s no possibly way it would get any better with a circle.

    A retail mix would be great, but it’s got to be value retail. A hardware store would have a tough time succeeding. Big box stores are coming in close by which is going to undercut small store selling power. I believe the stores that would work would have to be service oriented. The restaurants working now in Bloomingdale are doing well because they are so different from anywhere else in the city.

    I caution all to be careful saying they want certain things, but don’t want the people or congestion that goes along with it. You can’t have it both ways. Affordable housing is contingent on supply. Pop-ups create supply when split into condos or apartment rentals. Supply is also brought on by massive multi-floor structures going up in places like NoMA. Those buildings have brought in groceries, restaurants, and other retail like Petco. Yet across the street the affordable/subsidized housing is a beacon for drug trafficking and other violence. Mixed income housing would be more appropriate.

    Finally, I’m all for maintaining architectural character, but really, those tiny square and circular bump outs are wasted space. One time a year they work for a Christmas tree. Maximizing home efficiency and utilizing available square footage creates the best value. Modern designed buildings are more efficient and create character just like the Victorian row homes do, albeit a different character. Think Dali vs. Picasso. Everyone’s got their thing.

  1. Anon said at 11:12 am on Tuesday April 30, 2013:

    It would be fantastic if DC would cover North Capitol St.  It is probably pretty easy to just go from T Street to Rhode Island Avenue.  They wouldnt have to dig North Capitol down any further.  If they started at Seaton or ended further north, they’d probably have to redo the depth of the trench.

    How much would decking over North Capitol be for just 1 block??

  1. Rachel said at 11:09 pm on Tuesday April 30, 2013:

    Agree that more green space and improving the walkability of the neighborhood would be great. What about plans for the pepco land along the metropolitan branch trail being transformed into a park?

  1. Chuck Murphy said at 12:53 pm on Wednesday May 1, 2013:

    Would that neighborhood support a nice middle range family shoe store (kids, women, men, hard-to-fit sizes?) I’m interested in finding a local neighborhood area to grow with

  1. Kay said at 10:40 pm on Wednesday May 1, 2013:

    A couple ideas:
    —I think a neighborhood ice cream shop would attract all members of the community and get people walking around in the neighborhood

    —how about a Connector bus that makes a loop from o st market—shaw metro—Bloomingdale—eckington—noma—union station—mall—back up to o street?

    —even if we don’t bring the traffic circle back, there’s a huge lot at Florida and north capitol that could be used to bring back the fountain and some green space.

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