DDOT could put tour bus parking on Southeast Freeway
DC is having trouble finding a place for tour buses to park, but DDOT might have an answer: part of the Southeast Freeway east of the 11th Street Bridge, near 14th and L Streets, SE.
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has started a study to replace that last segment of the Southeast Freeway, which connects the 11th Street Bridge to Barney Circle, and redesign the circle itself.
The roadway was originally part of a larger project to build a new bridge over the Anacostia from Barney Circle to DC-295. It was canceled in 1996. Instead, as part of the 11th Street Bridge project, DC built new ramps between the bridge and the freeway east of the Anacostia River.
What should DDOT do with the extra land? At last Thursday evening's meeting at Payne Elementary School, DDOT showed one potential use of land on diagrams at the break-out tables: a new tour bus parking facility.
I was only able to get photos of two of the bus options. In the third one, the bus depot would be at grade, and the Southeast Boulevard would be placed in a tunnel beneath it. We've asked DDOT for the PDF files of all three proposals. Update: DDOT has sent along all 3 PDFs.
This was only the scoping meeting to start an environmental analysis, so these are just concept ideas, which the consultants will develop into formal alternatives as the study proceeds.
DC has had ongoing struggles with warehousing tour buses while they're waiting for groups to explore the sights downtown. Many tour buses once parked in the parking garage behind Union Station, but got kicked out to make room for intercity buses.
DC proposed using the Crummell School in Ivy City, but advocates have sued the city over that plan, arguing that it violates promises to create a community facility there and concentrating more polluting uses in a neighborhood already suffering from poor public health.
Councilmembers Vincent Orange and Jack Evans proposed legislation to move those buses to a vacant lot near Buzzard Point. A bus depot on the old Southeast Freeway land could be the executive branch's solution to the same problem.
The bus parking discussion was only part of last Thursday's meeting. We'll have more about the boulevard itself and the need for comprehensive planning for this area later this week.
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