Status Report on Eastern Market Metro Park Development
By Larry Janezich
Last Wednesday, the Eastern Market Park Advisory Committee met at Southeast Library where the Department of General Services reported on the status of the $15 million plan to re-do the Metro Plaza and turn it into a community gathering space – activate it as a “town square.” The session was directed by DGS former project manager Cassidy Mullen. The meetings are held monthly to brief the committee on progress and to receive feedback.
In summary, the community stakeholders comprising the committee, as well as residents who attended the meeting, learned:
- Construction will proceed in two phases, with phase 1 (playground and preliminary work around the metro entrance on Parcel 4) starting in the winter of 2020 and ending by Memorial Day 2020. Phase 2 will launch in October of 2020, with completion forecast for April of 2021. The final design is not complete, but that should have no impact on the construction schedule.
- The project design was presented to the DDOT Public Space Committee last week for preliminary review and will be back for a final review in late October.
- “Big George,” the landmark evergreen on Parcel 4 which commemorates the community contributions of George Didden of National Capital Bank, is on life support and will need to be replaced.
- An entertainment pavilion, fought for by the advisory committee, is in the plan for Parcel 4 (Metro entrance) but has not yet been designed.
- The Commission on Fine Arts has ok’d a shade structure as part of the playground on Parcel 1.
- DDOT has not yet approved a traffic study, but when it does, a Notice of Intent (NOI) will have to be issued, followed by a period for public comment.
- Project Manager Cassidy Mullen is turning over the project to a new manager, Diego Martinez, as Mullen takes on greater responsibilities in managing DGS’ project portfolio.
Advisory Committee member Commissioner Jerry Sroufe, who represents ANC6B on the committee, distributed copies of a letter to city officials detailing ANC6B’s concerns on behalf of the community. Chief among these are 1) the lack of a finalized traffic study 2) the refusal of DGS to engage directly with the residents most affected by the reversal of traffic flow on D Street on the north side of the plaza, and 3) DDOT’s refusal to relocate the Starbucks’ bus stop to the eastern edge of Parcel 4 (Metro entrance). Other concerns listed included the need to relocate the WMATA bike lockers currently at the northwest corner of Parcel 4, and implementing a photo metric study prior to finalizing the lighting plans in conjunction with reevaluating lighting plans for parcels 1, 3, and 4.