Greater Greater Washington

Posts in category Public Spaces

The YMCA is closing its downtown branch, and our contributors have something to say about it

The DC YMCA recently decided to close its downtown National Capital location. Many community members are unhappy with the decision to sell the 37-year old location for redevelopment.

YMCA National Capital branch. Image from Google Streetview.

In fact, we received a letter from a reader expressing frustration (edited for clarity):
I'm sending this along as a Y community member distressed about the peremptory closure of the facility as of the end of this year...I learned about the closure Friday morning from a fellow swimmer... I am shocked at the lack of any public process whatsoever in the trade of a vital community facility for what [I] understand are condos. This seems par for course for DC... that there are no community programs or resources in downtown DC (see Franklin School) and a lack of fiduciary responsibility on the part of the Y Board. The YWCA downtown (where I swam previously) was also closed in a similar fashion to make way for the corporate office building that is there now. I hope the GGW will consider covering this matter.
As a member of the National Capital Y, I can certainly sympathize with this reader. Like others, I was also upset to learn that the branch is closing from Borderstan rather than directly from the organization, no less.

But is it really fair to characterize this as selling out to greedy developers? The YMCA's board made the decision to sell its 37-year-old building as part of an effort to both expand programming beyond the gym and do more for communities that need help.

Situations like these, along with ones like the controversy over plans to redevelop privately-owned church land at 18th and Church Streets nearby, are a reminder of one constant in neighborhoods: places change. When I moved into Dupont Circle about four years ago, many of my favorite businesses and places didn't even exist there yet. Change has not lessened my neighborhood; it's made for a net gain.

The pool at the closing YMCA National Capital. Photo by Esther Dyson on Flickr.

Here is what other Greater Greater Washington contributors have to say:

Dan Malouff talks about the situation in the context of city amenities:

The Y may not be a park exactly, but as a community space it sort of functions like one. And sure, obviously it sucks to lose a "park." But there are some important differences that make this a pretty understandable move for YMCA. The Y is a private organization, with private goals. It's not like the city, or some evil developer, is forcing them to leave the neighborhood. They want to sell because they think that's the best move for them. Why's that? Because YMCA's mission—their whole reason to exist—is to bring social services to underserved communities. And as much as Dupont residents may enjoy a cheap gym, they aren't the Y's target market. Duponters have other options. By selling their 17th Street building, YMCA will make boatloads of cash, which they can spend on improving services in parts of the city where they're more needed.
Owen Chaput builds on Dan's point that the Y is free to make this decision:
The YMCA's board is selling an extremely valuable property in a prosperous neighborhood to improve its services in other (perhaps less prosperous) neighborhoods. That sounds fiscally responsible to me, and anyways it's up to the board to decide how to use its limited resources to meet the organization's mission.

Regardless, it's ultimately at the discretion of the YMCA board to interpret their mission and use their assets as they see fit. If the public doesn't like it, they can not donate to the YMCA or encourage DC government to remove any public support it offers the YMCA. Absent a contract with DC stating otherwise or evidence of some illegal activity, I don't understand why government should have a say in whether a non-profit operates services at any particular address in DC.

Payton Chung talks about non-profits who have to make often difficult decisions:
A lot of private institutions hold land for the public purpose. But like any other business, even a non-profit will sometimes need to make decisions that might sometimes upset some of their customers or neighbors.

Ten years ago, a social services center that actually was in my backyard, in a fast-gentrifying Chicago neighborhood, sold its building for development. Unlike the people they served, or facilities in the many neighborhoods that didn't gentrify, that organization was able to sell its building, move services closer to the families that it served, and build an endowment for the future.

On 14th St. NW, several social service organizations have used surging real estate prices as an opportunity to further their missions. In some cases, where the clientele remains in the neighborhood, the organizations have done joint-venture deals to remain on the site while developing above—as with the Anthony Bowen YMCA or Whitman-Walker Health's Elizabeth Taylor building.

For the Central Union Mission and Martha's Table, though, 14th St. isn't a convenient location for their clientele. Both are using millions of dollars gained from selling their land to expand their services and to move to new locations that better serve their clients. Yet when these groups announced their plans to leave 14th St., there wasn't hue and cry on local blogs' message boards.

The YMCA, too, has seen its clientele leave from Scott Circle. Its membership has dropped by 70%, despite spending millions of dollars to upgrade the facilities. A decline of that magnitude would put just about anything else out of business, and it's honestly surprising that the Y held on so long there.

Plenty of other smaller things bothered me about this letter. I once owned a condominium, and resent when the term "condos" is bandied about as if places for human beings to live are somehow a bad thing.

David Alpert says this might be the right move for more people than first meets the eye:
On a slightly different tack there is a general urbanism/planning question that comes up about whether "the market" takes care of things like recreation. Certainly we don't let education be based on the market need; cities put public schools in rich and poor neighborhoods. They also put in parks and playgrounds.

The market often doesn't seem to meet the need for things like parks. We're seeing that with NoMa, where because of a mistake when the area was upzoned, there's no place set aside for a park and a strong economic disincentive for any property owner to put one in. Plans like the one for White Flint are trying to deal with some of this by tying maximum density to provision of one of a number of public services the area needs.

In the case of indoor recreation, the market isn't really providing fitness opportunities in low-income areas that well, which is why nonprofits like the YMCA are playing a needed role, but in the wealthier areas the market actually seems to be doing okay. There are a lot of private fitness facilities in new buildings in the downtown area. They cost more to use than the YMCA, for sure, but while I don't know the economic circumstances of this letter writer, financial hardship might not be the reason she uses the YMCA.

For all we know, Akridge is already thinking about putting a fitness club in some of the building they plan to build.

So, personally, while I'm super-bummed to be losing my YMCA (especially that glorious pool!), I also recognize that it might well serve the YMCA's mission to close the branch. And with YMCA Anthony Bowen a mile away, and at least four other gyms/fitness centers (to say nothing of city-owned rec facilities) as close a walk from my place as the closing Y branch, this too shall pass.

A net loss for me? Sure. A net win for the Y's mission of serving underserved populations? Yes.

What do you think about the YMCA's decision? Let us know in the comments.

What if we developed the space in front of Union Station?

Columbus Circle, which sits in front of Union Station, is one of DC's most-traversed public spaces. It's up against some unique challenges to development because it's so close to the Capitol grounds, but with the right plan Columbus Circle could be DC's next great neighborhood..

Columbus Circle as it is today (left) and as it could be with the right plan (right). Image by the author unless otherwise noted.

Bordered by a sprawling Massachusetts Avenue lined with parking lots and open spaces, Columbus Circle functions primarily as a glorified traffic circle despite the beautiful views of the Capitol Dome directly to the south. Every day, thousands of commuters hurry across its treeless expanse relieved only by a few patches of grass and the historic Columbus fountain.

Columbus Circle and the surrounding neighborhood. Base image from Google Maps.

What would the city gain if the area between Union Station and the Capitol grounds were developed? I propose a new mixed use neighborhood centered around a public space for people to enjoy. This new neighborhood would add much needed housing near transit while also linking Downtown to Capitol Hill.

Columbus Circle was intended to be developed

In 1901, an effort to commemorate DC's 100-year birthday yielded the McMillan Commission, which produced a plan for future development in the District. Based on Pierre L'Enfant's original plan and the existing ideals of the City Beautiful Movement, the commissioners sought to "prepare for the city of Washington such a plan as shall enable future development to proceed along the lines originally planned—namely, the treatment of the city as a work of art…"

Image from the NCPC.

Union Station, designed by D.H. Burnham & Company in 1907, was designed to anchor a grand civic space in the manner intended by L'Enfant. Senator McMillan envisioned the train station and its surrounding buildings "be treated in a monumental manner, as they will become the vestibule of the city of Washington, and as they will be in close proximity to the Capitol itself..." Although the federal government purchased twelve blocks southwest of the station soon after the plan was unveiled, this vision was never completed.

Here's what Columbus Circle could look like

The rendered site plan below illustrates my proposal for a built-out Columbus Circle centered on the historic Columbus Fountain ensemble. While retaining the existing number of car and bike lanes, Massachusetts Avenue would receive a road diet, enabling the extension of the existing green spaces outward into more usable parcels.

The green spaces would be lined with trees and benches helping to break down the plaza's expanse into more humanely scaled and pedestrian friendly spaces similar to Dupont Circle.

My plan for Columbus Circle could preserve Historic Senate Park and its fountain while building up the northern and western edges with new government buildings (shown in red below). Designed by Bennett, Parsons, and Frost in 1929, Senate Park is framed to the south by the Capitol and to the east by the stately Cannon Office building. Preserving the park would ensure a secure perimeter around the Capitol grounds while creating a well defined park for the southern edge of this new neighborhood.

The McMillan commissioners were greatly influenced by the City Beautiful Movement, which espoused harmony in urban ensembles. For Columbus Circle they envisioned buildings of a uniform building height aligned with Union Station and in keeping with its monumental character. The neighboring eight-story office buildings in downtown's East End align with the top of Union Station's main façade. This plan would extend the existing eight story height to the new infill buildings (shown in orange above) around Columbus Circle.

Like the Navy Memorial's relationship with the National Archives Building, the two blocks directly opposite Union Station could pick up on the station's architectural language as illustrated above.

The sidewalk in front of the two blocks would be layered with a green buffer and outdoor dining spaces allowing pedestrians to circulate through a two story arcade similar to Union Station.

Columbus Circle's challenges

Despite the potential for a new neighborhood, this area presents many challenges, least of all regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles. Currently, the area below Columbus Circle is zoned as part of the National Mall and Capitol grounds, and as such would need to be re-zoned. Any plan would have to be done in consultation with the National Capitol Planning Commision, the Architect of the Capitol, the Commission of Fine Arts, the Historic Preservation Review Board, and the National Park Service.

As the guide for future development in DC, the National Capital Planning Commission just released the Federal Elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital, which states that new urban design elements should "express the dignity befitting the national capital's image." The plan calls for creating "a sense of arrival to the nation's capital through prominent gateways."

Beyond the regulatory labyrinth and the need to maintain a secure perimeter around the Capitol grounds, the most difficult challenge is the subjective one: how best to build next to prominent historical landmarks.

Today it's common for infill buildings to contrast with their historical surroundings, to be "of our time." Rather than prioritize novelty, the commissioners sought "elements that give pleasure from generation to generation and from century to century." In fact, the plan's commissioners went on a seven week European tour to study "what arrangement of park area best adapts them to the uses of the people."

Washington DC's current renaissance is breathing new life into many once quiet neighborhoods. All over town developers are trying to keep up with the demand for walkable, transit oriented neighborhoods. This has prompted lively debates over how to best increase the housing supply and the subsequent impact this growth will have on the character of our city.

Pierre L'Enfant and the McMillan Commission left us a legacy that is still relevant today as we continue to grow. Columbus Circle offers an opportunity to add another vibrant neighborhood to downtown and finally have an appropriate entry to the capital of the free world.

The Mount Vernon Trail is getting some TLC near National airport

Changes are coming to the part of the Mount Vernon Trail that runs alongside Washington National airport. While trail users will have to use a temporary path for during construction, the MVT will be safer and straighter in the future.

The Mount Vernon Trail detour under the Route 233 bridge. All photos by the author.

There are three major things happening to the trail: it's moving away from the George Washington Parkway where it passes under the Route 233 bridge, it's getting a new barrier wall under the Metro bridge that carries the Yellow and Blue lines into the airport, and it's moving around a large tree that forces a quick S curve.

"The goal of the project is to improve visitor safety while ensuring we protect the natural resources along the trail," says Aaron LaRocca, chief of staff for the GW Parkway at the NPS, on the planned work that is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2016.

The trail work is part of a larger effort to rebuild some of the entrances to National airport.

Trail users should expect detours

People on foot and bike will have to detour onto temporary mulch pathways during construction. The detour under the Route 233 bridge opened this week and will be used for two to three weeks, says LaRocca.

Overview of work planned to the Mount Vernon Trail. Image from the FHA.

Cycling over the mulch is challenging, with many riders dismounting and walking their bike through the detour during the morning commute on Wednesday. The temporary path is also narrower than the MVT, which could create a chokepoint for cyclists and pedestrians during busy times.

"When considering construction projects, the park strives to minimize impacts to the visitors," says LaRocca. "Unfortunately, there is little space for wider detours because the area is congested with car and trail traffic. [GW Parkway] doesn't use grass or paved detours because they create long term impacts for a short-term closure. In the past, mulch detours were used successfully along the MVT."

Trail users are warned of the detour well ahead of the split.

The detour around the Metro bridge will likely be the most onerous of the three for cyclists. Trail users will have to climb a mulch path up to the exit road from National airport to the GW Parkway.

Looking down the hill from the National airport exit road towards the MVT.

Trail users will then have to cross the road where cyclists will have to hop the curb on both sides of the street.

MVT Metro bridge detour crossing the National airport exit road.

They will then have to descend a narrow sidewalk back to the MVT.

The sidewalk MVT users will have to use to return to the trail.

The detour around the Metro bridge will be used for three months, says LaRocca. The agency has not determined when the detour will begin, he adds.

The detour to straighten the Mount Vernon Trail past the large tree at the southern end of the project area will only be used for two days, says LaRocca.

The southern detour to straighten the Mount Vernon Trail past the large tree in the center of the image.

This is going to make the trail better

The Mount Vernon Trail is a popular and critical piece of the region's trail network. Despite its popularity, the facility dates to the 1970s and includes a number of blind or difficult turns—including the one around the large tree near the southern end of National airport—that can prove difficult for cyclists.

In addition, the trail does not include the separation between cyclists and pedestrians and joggers that is common on newer trails around the world.

The bike trail and pedestrian walkway are separated in the new Gantry Plaza State Park in New York City.

There are lots of other ways to make the Mount Vernon Trail better. Ideas include straightening the sections just north of Daingerfield Island where the trail swings around a clump of trees and separating cyclists from pedestrians through Gravelly Point where there is a lot of congestion.

However, all of these ideas cost money that has yet to materialize in regional or federal trail funding plans.

It might be small, but the work the NPS is doing at the south end of National airport is great for the MVT.

Five bus lines everyone in DC should know, love, and use

Metrorail's six lines are so easy to remember that most Washingtonians have memorized them. Here are five convenient bus lines that everyone in town should know just as well.

Simple map of five main DC bus lines. Map by the author. Original base map from Google.

These five lines are among Metro's most convenient and popular. Buses on them come every few minutes, and follow easy-to-remember routes along major streets.

For the sort of Washingtonian who's comfortable with Metrorail but hasn't taken the leap to the bus, these five lines are a great place to start. Unlike some minor buses that only come once every half hour, you can treat these five lines the way you'd treat a rail line, or a DC Circulator: They're always there, and it's never a long wait before the next bus.

If you can memorize Metrorail's Red and Orange Lines, you can memorize these streets:

Wisconsin / Pennsylvania (30 series): If you want a bus on Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, just remember to catch anything with a number in the 30s. Nine bus routes cover this line, each of them with slightly different details, but a similar overall path: The 30N, 30S, 31, 33, 32, 34, 36, and the express 37 and 39. Collectively they're called the "30 series."

The other four lines are similar. Each has multiple routes with slightly different details combining to form a family, or series. Within each series some individual routes may come at different times of day, or continue farther beyond the lines this map shows. But the key is to remember the series name.

16th Street (S series): Four routes, each beginning with the letter S: The S1, S2, S4, and the express S9.

14th Street (50 series): Three routes, each in the 50s: The 52, 53, and 54.

Georgia Avenue (70 series): Two routes, in the 70s: The local 70 and the express 79.

H Street (X series): Two routes, starting with X: The local X2 and the express X9. When it eventually opens (knock on wood), the DC Streetcar will beef up this same corridor.

For the Metrobus veterans among you, this is old news. About 80,000 people per day ride these five lines, so they're hardly secrets. But if you're not a frequent bus rider, give these a try.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

DC is committing to cheaper, renewable energy

People in DC can expect both lower utility bills and more sources for clean energy in the near future. This is because the DC government is shifting its environmental focus toward renewable energy.

Photo by Dept of Energy Solar Decathlon on Flickr.

Last month, Mayor Muriel Bowser re-branded the District Department of the Environment to the District Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE). Beyond the name change, the department announced new subsidies for solar panels and that it would start buying electricity from a wind farm rather than Pepco, which largely uses coal.

At the press conference announcing the change, Bowser reaffirmed the city's commitment to renewable energy and vowed to make the District a national leader in the effort to tackle the effects of climate change. She also pledged to ensure that residents of all eight wards will be able to afford clean, renewable energy.

A first stab at this effort will be the city's purchase of wind power that will provide the District's municipal buildings with 35 percent of the power they need to operate, saving District taxpayers an estimated $45 million dollars over the next 20 years . This power will come through a power purchasing agreement with Iberdrola Renewables, who operate a wind farm in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Get ready to see more solar panels all across the city

But that's just the first step. Both the mayor and DOEE Director Tommy Wells have pledged to move beyond government buildings and make renewable energy options available to all District residents and businesses. They hope to install solar panels across the city, paid for through a mix of District funds from the initial energy savings from the Iberdrola deal and private investment from local banks.

Photo by Mr.TinDC on Flickr.

The first of these programs, DC PACE, provides 100 percent up-front financing for businesses to install clean energy upgrades in the form of solar panels, and is open to all businesses in the District. Since energy costs will be cheaper for businesses, the program could spur new development. New projects could offset a portion of construction and startup costs and existing businesses could be incentivized to expand with the savings realized by the installation of solar panels through this program.

All District residents should have access to clean energy

Of particular concern is making sure renters and low-income residents are able to access clean power and lower their utility costs in turn. DOEE plans to invest some of the savings on the government side into solar energy production.

The District plans to provide low-income homeowners with solar roofs and put another $6 million worth of panels on government buildings to generate community solar credits that residents can purchase. Every single District resident would have access to these credits, and the more panels that go up, the cheaper these credits will be for residents to purchase.

Besides a reduced reliance on energy derived from fossil fuels, these investments will lead to direct economic benefits for ratepayers because of the reduced transmission costs associated with local solar power generation.

Photo by Jim Girardi on Flickr.

Needless to say, an investment of this size can buy a lot of solar panels. If everything goes according to plan, we will begin to see more and more solar arrays pop up on the roofs of homes and businesses across DC.

If we can reduce the District's overall dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate the effects of climate change by making this slight alteration to our built environment, we can also work towards improving public health and spurring local economic development in the District at the same time.

Park(ing) Day highlights the value of green, public space

On September 18th, the region celebrated Park(ing) Day with 33 pop-up parklets in DC, plus more in Maryland and Virginia. The annual event showcases alternative, human-friendly uses for urban parking spaces and is a reminder of the value of public land, no matter how small.

Photo by American Public Health Association on Twitter.

Park(ing) Day creatively humanizes the concrete jungle for a day, converting single parking spaces into concepts of what could be. It is celebrated on the third Friday in September.

Organizers define Park(ing) Day as an "annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into 'PARK(ing)' spaces: temporary public places.

"The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, Park(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world."

Photo by the author.

According to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), 2015 was DC's "biggest #parkingday ever," with 33 officially permitted parklets. DDOT even tweeted an advance warning to "start planning your route (and your excuse for calling in 'sick' on Friday)."

Here are our favorite shots from the parklets we visited in DC:

Making a tasteful political statement, activists blended bike-powered smoothies at the Project for Public Spaces parklet.

Photo by the author.

Photo by the author.

For an interactive version, see Jeff Miller's "smoothie operator" Vine on Twitter.

Prime real estate in front of the John A. Wilson Building became populated with people, politicians, parks, plants, and pedal power. Councilmembers Charles Allen and Elissa Silverman held meetings in the parcel, and bikes replaced cars in the parking spaces.

Photo of Councilmember Charles Allen by Councilmember Brianne Nadeau on Twitter.

Photo by the author.

Photo by the author.

Island Press built an urbanist library at M and 20th NW.

Photo by Abigail Zenner.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy envisioned a grassy trail parallel to the New Hampshire Avenue bike lane in Dupont Circle.

Photo by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy on Twitter.

There was a game theme at K NW, near 19th. Photo by Abigail Zenner.

Visitors played chess at Baked&Wired in Georgetown...

Photo by the Georgetown BID on Twitter.

...and learned about multimodal options at Metro Center.

Photo by the author.

Multitasking empowerment in the 600 block of I Street NW.

Photo by the author.

DoTankDC conducted a Vision Zero exercise with legos and sticky notes in NoMa.

Photo by the author.

The Mayor's Office on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs created a multilingual classroom.

Photo by the author.

Washingtonian Rudi Riet chronicled his 28-parklet marathon on Instagram.

Parklets sprung up in Virginia and Maryland, too:

In Silver Spring, MNCPPC hosted a parklet on Fenton Street.

DDOT loaned a bike corral for this Silver Spring parklet. Ten bikes fit into one car space! Photo from @MCBikePlan.

The head of MCDOT Parking, Jose Thommana, stopped by. Photo from @MCBikePlan.

A family waiting for a store to open chills in Silver Spring's newest park. Photo from @MCBikePlan.

A lesson from NoMa: It’s important to build parks early

NoMa has laid out an ambitious plan to invest $50 million into new parks in the booming neighborhood. But rapidly rising property prices are making it increasingly difficult to realize those plans.

Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.

NoMa's 2012 public realm design plan includes everything from brightening the underpasses at the heart of NoMa, to a "mid-block alley"—aka a meanderfrom New York Avenue to K Street NE, to a "Pepco Park" on an empty lot north of New York Avenue that the utility owns. Last year, DC granted the NoMa Business Improvement District (BID) $50 million to help make the plan happen.

NoMa's 2012 public realm design plan. Image from NoMa BID.

Some elements of the plan are moving forward. NoMa has selected designs for the underpasses on L Street and M Street NE and received commitments from developers to include the NoMa Meander in their plans from New York Avenue to Pierce Street.

The latest NoMa Meander plan. Image from NoMa BID.

"That's a place where the developers are providing privately-owned space, they're improving that space at their own cost — so there'll be kind of water features and everything in there and the city won't have to pay any money for it," said Robin Eve-Jasper, president of NoMa BID, on the meander in April.

NoMa is also finding creative uses for temporary public space. It has convinced developers to lend undeveloped land in the neighborhood for popular summer activites, including the NoMa Summer Screen and Wunter Garden.

Turning land into parks is expensive

Making space available for public use while it's waiting to be developed, however, is one thing; realizing plans for permanent parks is another. Ditto Residential, Sivan Properties, and Zusin Development recently outbid NoMa for an 8,720 square foot triangle plot bounded by Florida Avenue, 3rd and N Streets NE where they plan to build a new parking-free mixed-use building.

NoMa had hoped to build a new N Street Park on the plot. The proposed park would have served "the adjoining neighborhood, improve[d] pedestrian conditions along Florida Avenue and integrate[d] with development south of N Street," according to the design realm plan.

Proposed N Street Park. Rendering from NoMa BID.

Stacie West, director of parks projects for the NoMa Parks Foundation, says the BID submitted a "strong offer" for the property but that the owner accepted the offer from Ditto.

The loss of this plot, a small piece of NoMa's grand park plans, makes clear the need to set aside green space early when developing a neighborhood. You do not need to look far for a good example of this: Navy Yard.

DC has an example of how to do this right

Yards Park along the Anacostia River waterfront was planned early in Navy Yard's resurgence. The park opened in 2010, only two years after the opening of Nationals Park, which really sparked redevelopment in the neighborhood.

The park has become a focal point of Navy Yard. It has a wading pool popular with children, hosts a well-attended Friday night concert series and, as part of the Anacostia Riverwalk, is on the jogging routes of many runners.

Photo by Colton Brown on Flickr.

Development continues to go in around Yards Park. The Capital Riverfront BID estimated that only about 43% of the planned 11,981 residential units earmarked for the neighborhood were open or under construction at the end of 2014, its annual report shows.

Yards Park, and nearby Nationals Park, serve as the center of development in Navy Yard, even as most still-planned development will occur a few blocks in from the waterfront.

What can be done in NoMa now?

There is no way to roll back the development that has already gone into—or is planned for—NoMa. According to Eve-Jasper, the neighborhood is expected to become the densest in Washington DC when it is fully built out.

But moving forward, the District government should budget more money for parks to serve NoMa's existing and coming residents. This would allow the BID to make more competitive offers for land, like the plot that was to become the N Street Park and other green spaces in the neighborhood.

NoMa BID also should continue its efforts partnering with developers to create open space in NoMa, as it has with the meander.

Through a combination of these and other tactics, hopefully NoMa can achieve the vast majority of its public realm design plan. Creating public spaces that will benefit the neighborhood and the city for generations to come.

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