Status Report on Eastern Market Metro Plaza Development

Former Project Manager Cassidy Mullen addresses the Eastern Market Metro Park Advisory Committee last Wednesday.

This is the design concept distributed at last Wednesday’s advisory committee meetings. Comments in red on the image reflect advice from the Urban Forestry Division of DDOT. (click to enlarge) 

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.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Status Report on Eastern Market Metro Plaza Development

  1. Rick

    Why is the DGS committed to cutting down the mature trees along 7th Street SE? There is no reason to kill mature trees that have taken decades to grow in an adverse location. Any trees they plant to compensate for the destruction will take 40 years to get to the same size if they survive the lack of watering and maintenance we can expect despite pledges to the contrary. The Advisory committee should put as much effort into protecting these trees as they do for traffic issues.

  2. Wendy Blair

    When asked why he says that he favors an entertainment pavilion — which residents strongly reject — Council Member Allen says, “The Library wants it”. DC Public Library Policy makers do not live near the Metro Park Plaza. The thought of a quiet “Story Hour” or other daytime library activity on the space defies common sense. At Library Friends meetings, DCPL President Reyes-Gavilan has been very careful to state that he “Makes no requests” of the Park, and wishes to contribute no suggestion or input.
    At every meeting I have attended about wishes for Parcel 4, residents strongly, urgently, forcefully, loudly and mightily say they do not want any entertainment pavilion.

  3. kandc

    Why? WHY??? do they want to block the access to the plaza from the northwest corner (Seventh and Penn)??? Flow should be the priority.

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