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The Two Options for Re-Imagining One of DC’s Most Notorious Intersections

by Nena Perry-Brown

Two concepts have been presented to re-envision what is one of DC's most notorious intersections. 

A year after the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) shared the city's plans to redesign "Dave Thomas Circle", more detailed proposals are on the table for the open space around the Florida and New York Avenue NE (map) intersection. 

Following a request for proposals, landscape architect SWA/Balsley has been selected to design the three open spaces. Below are the two concepts presented during a meeting hosted by the NoMa Parks Foundation on Monday night.

Concept A, southeast from New York Avenue. Click to enlarge.
Concept B, southeast from New York Avenue. Click to enlarge.

SWA/Balsley envisions Parcel 1, west of Florida Avenue and First Street, as a "Plaza" that serves as neighborhood event space with kiosks and food. Wendy's Parcel 2 would be a "Destination", with public art, seating, and a gateway element. Parcel 3, south of New York and Florida Avenues, would be a "Park", with seating, open space, and "adult play areas".

Concept A. Click to enlarge.
 Concept B. Click to enlarge.

The first concept references the "circle" through the geometry of spaces arranged in the three new open spaces, including seat-walls, screens, and berms. The second concept option references the natural topography of the sites, with more natural mounds, screen walls, and hillocks.

View of Concept A Parcel 1. Click to enlarge.
View of Concept B Parcel 1. Click to enlarge.

Geometry and landscaping aside, the "Destination" parcel at the center differentiates the two concepts the most. The focal point in Concept A's Parcel 2 could be a "light forest" with clusters of decorative light fixtures interspersed with sculptural seating. 

Around the same spot in Concept B, there could be a pavilion; light would be sourced from poles with multiple fixtures on each, and may also be integrated into furniture and amenities. Both concepts could also swap out the forest or pavilion for a "rotational sculpture".

View of Concept A Parcel 2. Click to enlarge.
View of Concept B Parcel 2. Click to enlarge.

DDOT is still working on purchasing the land beneath the Wendy's fast food restaurant (which inspired the colloquial name of the intersection). The agency has also received NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) approval for the environmental assessment of the planned redesign.

View of Concept A Parcel 3. Click to enlarge.
View of Concept B Parcel 3. Click to enlarge.

More detailed designs, including some that incorporate the cycletracks and other bicycle-related improvements, are expected to be released this summer.

Schematics for each parcel in both concepts are below.

Parcel 1, Concept A. Click to enlarge.
Parcel 1, Concept B. Click to enlarge.
Parcel 2, Concept A. Click to enlarge.
Parcel 2, Concept B. Click to enlarge.
Parcel 3, Concept A. Click to enlarge.
Parcel 3, Concept B. Click to enlarge.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the-two-options-for-reimagining-one-of-dcs-most-notorious-intersections/16854

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