Update on Redesign of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza

Architect’s rendition of the redesigned Eastern Market Metro Plaza

Update on Redesign of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza

Councilmember Allen Asks Mayor for FY ‘18 Funding

by Larry Janezich

CM Charles Allen told CHC at his community office hours at Radicci on Friday morning, that he has asked Mayor Bowser for FY 2018 funding to initiate the redesign and development of Eastern Market Metro Plaza.

Allen said he expects the development will happen in phases, and acknowledged that Parcel 1 (where the children’s playground funded by community benefit funds from the Hine Project will be built) would be the easiest and least expensive place to start.  ANC6B Chair Chander Jayaraman told ANC commissioners recently that funding for the first year planning and development of Parcel 1 will cost $3 million.  CHC has previously reported that the plans for a children’s playground on Parcel 1 is moving forward here:  http://bit.ly/2n0M1g4

The redesign project will also include the expansion of the Southeast Library under 7th Street, with an above ground entrance on the Metro Plaza.  Funding for the initiation of the expansion reportedly has already been included in the FY ’18 budget.  Allen says that the first year of funding for the library would typically be devoted to planning, with funding for construction following in the subsequent fiscal year.

The City Council will hold hearings on the Mayor’s budget in April and May.  Allen said that if funds are included for work on the Eastern Market Metro Plaza, he will fight to keep them in – and if they are not, he will fight to include them.

The organization behind the redesign is Barracks Row Main Street, who used congressionally ear-marked funds to hire architect Amy Weinstein to create a plan to redesign the plaza about two years ago.  CHC reported on the June 16, 2014 meeting of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza Task Force to hear Weinstein describe the final plan here:  http://bit.ly/2mOFrHG

The redesign plan was referred to the Department of General Services (DGS) for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) some 18 months ago and appears to be in limbo.  DGS already knows a lot about the EIS for Metro Plaza, since a study was done for construction of the metro.  It is uncertain why the DGS has not made public the result of the EIS for the redesign; calls and emails to the DGS Office of Public Information were not returned.  Asked why he thought DGS had not reported out the EIS, Allen said, “Because they’re slow as molasses.”

Asked for comment on the status of the redesign, BRMS Executive Director Martin said:  “BRMS is fully committed to moving forward with the Eastern Market Metro Park project for this important L’Enfant-designed public space at the heart of Capitol Hill. Two years ago, we completed a year-long community input process that resulted in a world-class design that enjoys broad community support. We are continuing to brief city officials on the design and seeking support for the necessary funding to see it go from a concept to a reality. We are hopeful that the needed funds can be included in the city’s FY18 budget. In the meantime, BRMS has agreed to take the lead on utilizing the funds from the Stanton Eastbanc Community Benefits Agreement that were set aside for a playground and other improvements to construct an interim playground on the northeast parcel. This interim playground will provide Capitol Hill residents with a preview of the park’s potential while also providing a place for local children to play while the overall plan is being finalized and readied for construction.”

The community presentation of the final plan is here:  http://bit.ly/2nSxnFs


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6 responses to “Update on Redesign of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza

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  2. muskellunge

    Thanks Mr Janezich for this excellent report.

  3. Tom

    I didn’t attend any of the meetings, so my question may already have been answered. But here it is: in the treatment of parcel 1, the area north of Pennsylvania Ave, between 8th and 9th streets., there is a lot of greenery, shrubs and the like.

    What will be done to prevent the rat infestation, in the proposed greenery, that occurred a few years back in the shrubbery (now replaced by rock piles) just in front of the entrance to the Eastern Market Metro? Hopefully there is already an answer to that!

    • kandc

      This is again, one of the dumbest designs ever. There were over 100 comments made on this plan, and I don’t see a single one implemented. Just to begin with, the whole orientation following South Carolina Ave makes no sense. You can sit all day on the plaza(s) and not see anyone go all the way down that axis–so why is it there, Second, huge numbers of people go from Eighth street to the Metro. This design blocks their way (with a raised area), making them go around to Pennsylvania Ave instead of directly to the Metro–very unfriendly. Third, the passage to go past the Metro entrance and up to Pennsylvania Ave is even more congested between the Metro entrance, the elevator and the corner of Seventh and PA Ave. with the bike concession. I could go on, but just a casual look at all the comments submitted (over a year ago) will show the folly of this design. It needs to be totally reworked–and the comments should be reviewed as part of that.

      • Mac

        I find an SC avenue pedestrian axis to be very useful. Why should we always be walking at right angles when we don’t have to?

  4. tim

    I don’t think an area between a Metro and a bus stop on a major avenue like this will ever be safe for children or the kind of place that you’d want to lounge. It’s not the traffic as much as the kind of people who gather in these kinds of places who will be smoking on the corner, asking for money, and relieving themselves in the bushes. Even now that from South Carolina to the area in front of Starbucks and down 8th Street to the 7-Eleven is not an area you can stand around very long without being hounded by someone.This will never be a spot that’s safe like Lincoln Park or Marion Park in the more residential areas further away from mass transit. Will the police be able to keep away the people that you wouldn’t want hanging around children when they are technically just loitering the same way that the people with the children are hanging around?