Greater Greater Washington

Compare the Hine redevelopment proposals

On June 10th, four developers presented their plans for the now-closed Hine Junior High School site in Capitol Hill to a packed room of neighborhood residents and business owners. Three of the four proposals were refreshingly urban in their look, focused on place-making oriented toward people friendly, human scaled buildings. The other one had no hard plans, making it difficult to judge. All four of the presentations are online here.


National Leadership Campus concept (PDF).
National Leadership Campus: This one is the outlier of the four, as they intentionally presented a concept rather than a plan. The City Paper's Ruth Samuelson dubbed this the "green blobs" proposal. They hope that a specific design would come out of working with the community.

The concept is a non-profit leadership campus, a place where non-profits can get low cost office space, housing, training, conference facilities and leadership development programs. Retail and restaurant space would partly subsidize the nonprofits. The site would include community and open space, a green low-density walkable campus, the possibility of reopening C Street, and as many as 500 parking spaces.

This one probably has the longest odds, since it's harder to sell people on a concept. If the other proposals had been weak it might have won by default, but that wasn't the case. Furthermore, with so many parking spaces and an emphasis on low-density development it may be the least appropriate. The idea is good, but the design and site isn't.

The other three resemble each other more closely. They all envision reopening C Street, with some type of open space along it and placing cafes along 7th. The all treat the site as one with four fronts and build below ground parking where Eastern Market trucks could park. All would have retail along 7th, C and Pennsylvania and residential along 8th. None included a second entrance to the Metro.


Market Row proposal from Seven Penn Partners (PDF).
Market Row: Samuelson described this presentation by Seven Penn Partners as looking like Bethesda, and that is more accurate than SPP might hope. Their plan would move the flea market to C Street, closing the street to car traffic on the weekends. A below ground garage would contain 350 parking spaces, two-thirds for the public and one-third for residents. An alley offset to the south would break up the site, though it wouldn't line up with the alley between 8th and 9th. A pedestrian walk from the alley to C Street offset to the west. In addition to residences and retail, they would include office space, a park along C and a courtyard. The biggest weakness is that, unlike the other two, they didn't mention any explicit tenants (except St. Colleta's for crafts) which makes is hard for people to imagine themselves going there.

Kimpton Hotel Anchor: The proposal from DSF/Street Sense/Menkiti Group presented a high end set of proposals with more specifics. One key element was the inclusion of an 80-room Kimpton Hotel and Spa on the corner of 7th and Penn. They had more specific numbers than others: 235 residential units, 40,000 sf of retail, 15,000 sf of private open space (including for-rent rooftop space). They plan to add a 35 foot wide sidewalk along 7th and to move the flea market there. Unlike Market Row, the only way to traverse the site is on an L-shaped alley from C to 8th that does align with the alley between 8th and 9th. They plan fewer than 350 parking spaces, though they didn't give a number, and think they can do it by doing a shared space analysis.


DSF/Menkiti proposal (PDF).
They said they would spruce up the currently sad triangle of open space at the northwest corner of 8th and Pennsylvania. They have commitment letters from Yes! Organic Market about moving down the block for a larger location, and with Busboys and Poets, who would provide a community room. For an added touch of class, they're bringing in Robert Wiedmaier, 2009 Rammy Chef of the Year, to do the cooking at the Kimpton. They would build below the maximum allowable building height and FAR "to keep the development consistent with the existing neighborhood." Finally, they'd also build a small park along C Street.

It was a strong entry, and probably the one most in line with New Urbanist principles. The quality of its design and the strong list of partners they've added make this one of my two favorites.

Stanton/Eastbanc: This is the homer choice. With Amy Weinstein and her husband Philip Esocoff as the prime architects, they bring in a team who knows the area, knows the history, and knows the neighborhood (though every group brought someone who could tell a story of living on the Hill). They spent significantly longer than the others promoting their experience and knowledge of the history of the area. Weinstein designed the addition to the building across 7th Street, a building on 7th just north of the Hine site and is designing the proposed Capitol Hill Town Square just south of the site. Knowledge and experience is definitely a strong suit for this team.

Despite their "emphasis on people"they showed photos of Hill residents eating Al fresco and of the artistic bike rack on 7ththeir proposal is most donut-like, without an alley or walk to traverse the site. It also has the greatest density. A large amount of space is set aside for the Shakespeare Theatre, which has office space down 8th, a rehearsal space across the street from that, and a prop storage area in Mt. Rainier; they would love to combine these into one location.


Stanton/Eastbanc proposal streetscape plan (PDF).

The plan includes a piazza on C Street, where the Shakespeare Theatre could do free performances, a sunken courtyard in the middle, and over two acres of green roof and roof gardens. Like Market Row, they'd place the flea market on C Street and close it to car traffic on weekends (as well as during 'special events' in the piazza). Other than the Shakespeare Theatre, the only other specific user mentioned was International Relief and Development, which would move into a large block of office space along 7th. The garage would have parking for 390 cars. They would pursue a LEED platinum rating. This group seemed the most prepared and gave the most information about the site and their plans. With their connections to the Hill, the project is almost theirs to lose, and at this point it's probably a two-horse race between the last two groups.

Overall, I felt they were all better proposals than what I expected to see, with three very strong ones.

Followup from David A: A group of neighbors, called the Eastern Market Metro Community Association, laid out five principles in advance, including accommodating the flea market, keeping the neighborhood's residential character, working with the community, and designing for people and bicycles rather than cars, including avoiding excessive parking. According to EMMCA organizer Thomas Riehle, the Stanton and Street Sense groups have been aggressively reaching out to neighbors, particularly Street Sense. Riehle says that Bozzutto, the lead developer in the Seven Penn group, "was actively hostile" to neighbors' outreach efforts, limiting the number of attendees at a meeting to 12 and insisting they had to check with the Mayor's office before scheduling anything. NLC was "the hardest to reach," routing EMMCA's outreach efforts to an assistant.

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David Cranor is an operations engineer. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and former Texan (where he wrote for the Daily Texan), he's lived in the DC area since 1997. David is a cycling advocate who serves on the Bicycle Advisory Committee for DC.  

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Yes the last one is clearly the best presentation. If I lived there, I would be excited about the piazza, the possibility of Shakespeare, the market arrangement. Really, I'm rooting for that one. I always like to see anchor tenants that aren't retail and that give a place distinction. Also, the office space is nice because it adds to the mix. LEED Platinum? What's not to like here? Awesome.

by Josh on Jun 22, 2009 11:41 am • linkreport

I like the last two, but I hate the idea of an interior "courtyard." It will likely be inaccessible to the public, in essence. It would be better to move the open space/piazza up to the nothern corner of 7th St.

by SG on Jun 22, 2009 11:46 am • linkreport

the worst thing about all of this is not considering a second Metro entrance. Penn Avenue is a very hostile environment for people to cross, and there has been talk of making it even harder for people to cross mid -block, where it is a muddy shambles ,and there is no legal crosswalk. If they are not going to build a Metro entrance- which is a HUGE MISTAKE, then a nicely bricked crosswalk mid block on the north side of Penn should be added. Consideration for reusing the old streetcar right of way is also not mentioned at all. New streetcars or a dedicated bicycleway should be installed in this underutilized median strip.
I would also like to see corner towers instead of flat roofed & dull looking bland & lackluster development. A major city square should have distinctive skyline treatments on the 4 corners or principal streets of the squares. The same old flat roof crap is really tiring and will not age well.Why cannot the architects try to echo some of the grandeur of Adolf Cluss's now demolished Wallach School- and put in a lovely building with a tower or turrets and artistic looking roof? Why does it all have to look so faux- K street with only the facades being nice but putting all of the junky utilities on the rooflines? We can do better, should expect more.
I am also skeptical of an inner courtyard. These have a very bad history in DC. Inner courtyards ,unless they are provided with amenities,such as inner facing businesses and residences, public art & the likes, will have the potential to grow seedy. A hotel would be a nice addition to the area. Hotels can generate a lot of activity and too many restaurants is not what I would like to see on the Hill. We need much more of a variety of retail so that car-less people are not forced to go out to northern Virginia big box stores.

All in all, the last 2 plans are better. And getting that damn eyesore Hines out of the way is fantastic.

by w on Jun 22, 2009 12:11 pm • linkreport

If there's going to be below-ground parking, or below-ground anything for that matter, then the city really ought to require the construction of a second Metro entrance, even if it means putting up some city funds. A Metro entrance is never cheaper to do than when you're already digging underground right next to the station, after all.

by tom veil on Jun 22, 2009 12:31 pm • linkreport

It should be used for something the whole community can benefit from (not just another condo or office building) that will have no use to the community as a whole.

Since it is city land otherwise the money from the sale of the land should go to DC schools since it was a school building there.

How about upgrading the streets, sidewalk and do something with the grass areas within the area that are city property or either get rid of them because most of them are empty patches of where grass use to be.

Does it really need a second entrance to the station is it right across the street; it isnt that crowded are people just to damn lazy to walk across the street to get there.

btw does anyone know where the next closest junior high school to the area is.

by KK on Jun 22, 2009 12:35 pm • linkreport

I still don't see the economic case for another Metro entrance. It would be extraordinarily expensive. You'd have to reconfigure the entire mezzanine, and quite frankly the ridership at Eastern Market does not justify an additional entrance. Yes, it would bring benefits, but I fail to see how it would bring those benefits in a cost-effective manner.

Improving the crosswalks on Penn at both 7th and 8th will be much cheaper and something that should be done anyway. That's where the focus should lie, not on the pipe dream of another Metro entrance.

by Alex B. on Jun 22, 2009 12:37 pm • linkreport

The plan includes a piazza on C Street, where the Shakespeare Theatre could do free performances

That sounds like a nice idea, but it also sounds like the type of idea conjured up by an architect without every actually reaching out to the theater and asking whether they have any interest in doing this or whether the proposed space is even suitable for it. You could probably fill up a coffee table book with photos of amphitheaters, piazzas, stages, etc. that looked great to the architect designing it, but which are never used.

by Reid on Jun 22, 2009 12:44 pm • linkreport

it is clear that neither KK not Alex B have known anyone who has been struck and killed by cars on Penn Avenue. It also sounds like you two do not live in the area, and have no idea how dangerous it is to try to cross Pa Avenue- especially during rush hour. At the VERY LEAST, traffic calming and a mid block crossing should be put in at the north side of Pa Avenue where pedestrians presently walk thru a muddy median strip.A mid block crossing light would be a good idea. Discouraging pedestrians and cyclists is absurd and backwards thinking.

by w on Jun 22, 2009 12:53 pm • linkreport

w,

I appreciate your enthusiasm in these discussions, both here and on Richard's blog, but your habit of using incendiary tone doesn't help things.

You're conflating two very different issues - 1, the need to improve pedestrian crossings of PA, and 2, demand for another entrance to Metro. The two are only mildly related.

Building another station entrance has nothing to do with people that are already at grade. It will only serve to help people getting into or out of the station. Even if you had another entrance, you'd still need to improve the crosswalks around the area. Conflating these two very different issues does a disservice to both of them.

My experience tells me that the Eastern Market station is not nearly busy enough to justify a second entrance to the station. Given that such an entrance isn't justified, it's also true that such an entrance wouldn't help the pedestrian environment.

Oh, and for the record - I do live in the area and I cross Penn on foot several times a day.

by Alex B. on Jun 22, 2009 1:11 pm • linkreport

@w

Actually I have crossed Penn Ave many times I used to work around there and I always go to the intersection; if people decide to go across other than at the intersection they are tempting fate and so be it, it is a cause and effect problem if I cross here I could get hit more likely than at the crosswalk because I'm to damn lazy to walk there.

Plus why would someone be crossing in the middle where there is nothing on the other side. Either you are coming from along 8th street or 7th street which both have cross walks so why would you be in the middle since you would have to pass either crosswalk.

Building another station entrance will not stop people crossing the street everybody is not going to the station.

Some people just want to get from one end to the other adding a station does not help them.

i never said anything about mid block crossing for your info I said i was against another station entrance which has nothing to do with a crossing.

If you want a crossing there how about one for everyblock along there from the capitol to the Anacostia than.

Since your on the position of add new station entrance will stop pedestrian problems how does it go for Van Ness, Cleveland Park, Tenleytown I don't see no one using those entrances to go across the street they use them to get into the metrorail and nothing else.

by kk on Jun 22, 2009 1:25 pm • linkreport

Penn can be a tough intersection but a making a new entrance is a stretch. I like the last two. I wish a combination of the two are possible. I like the small rendering of the Street Sense one and I love that they're adding a hotel. But I don't like what seems to be a lack of emphasis on public use for non-profits or theatrical organizations or whatever. All they give is square footage and some other vague ideas. I still think I like this Street Sense proposal the best b/c of the hotel and what looks to be an interesting look. At least it seems like we'll end up with something that's useful and good looking.

by Vik on Jun 22, 2009 1:59 pm • linkreport

David,
Lots has happened since I wrote you about this last week.

1. EMMCA was out in force at the open house Stanton-Eastbanc held. One member had a long and productive conversation with the developer and designer about ways to improve treatement of the 8th and Penn corner to further protect the residential tenor of 8th Street. This plan clearly goes big at the corner of 7th and Pennsylvania, and as you note, presents an unyielding donut around the Pennsylvania Ave side and up 7th and 8th, but has a very nice piazza for a town square/flea market at the north end, near Eastern Market. Lots of parking, one entrance to parking on 7th Street. As you note, this is the group most linked with established organizations in the community, with many previous projects in the Eastern Market neighborhood to point to as the familiar distinctive Stanton style or that of their designer on this project, Amy Weinstein. What makes this a hard case is that many of the organizations that are close to Stanton are also the driving force behind the controversial Capitol Hill Town Square--there are NOT ANY DIRECT LINKS BETWEEN THE PROJECTS, but a Stanton principal is on the Town Square board and Weinstein is the Town Square designer. That would be no big deal except the tone-deaf Town Square leadership chose the Friday after the presentations to announce they were going forward with a final community presentation of the Town Square plan July 1, stuffing the Town Square controversy smack in the middle of Hine consideration, to the detriment of Stanton.

2. We did have a very warm and friendly meeting with the Bozzutto team, whose vision begins with the sense that the neighborhood around Eastern Market suffered when Safeway closed a store across from the market. Therefore, they anchor their plan with a Trader Joe's directly on Pennsylvania (parking entrance behind). Their commercial mass wraps around the corner of 8th and Pennsylvania and up 8th Street for a stretch. On the 7th Street side, they bring in a retail designer with experience going back to his time at Rouse on the Baltimore waterfront, up through DC Union Stations and NYC Grand Central Station, and he envisions small, independent retailers on 7th Street south of the C Street piazza with shops that spill out onto the very wide front yards on 7th between the shops and the sidewalks. They are all about parking for residential tenants, convenient short-term parking for retail customers, and not interested in special accomodations for the community such as Shakespeare Theater or Tiger Woods Foundation. Their main local developer and their designer have deep roots in the Eastern Market community; like Stanton, that's mostly good with some bad baggage. The Chairman of that tone-deaf Town Square task force, Tip Tipton, is a longtime business partner of the main local developer, Drew Scallon.

3. We had a very informative meeting with National Leadership Campus. What was not presented previously was the presence on their team of Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk from Duany Plater Zyberk. Here's a list of their projects:
http://www.dpz.com/projects.aspx . That's important because they have "no plan," they will "build what the community wants." The Plater-Zyberk approach is kinda exciting and interesting--a week-long charrette, where people come and go and participate in an intense design brainstorming session, followed immediately by a concept. They also explained that the "green blobs" are not meaningless--they mean to convey that they will not build any solid walls of buildings or put up a fence--the lot will be open, with space between buildings to encourage people to traverse diagonally from 8th to Eastern Market, with the possibility that Eastern Market will be visible from the subway exit. As they've already indicated, their advantage is financial--someone investing $100 in one of the other projects might expect to get back $140 or $200 dollars. The cash investors of the first $50-$80 million in this project want to get back $0. That means more building finish and a greater ability to offer community amenities and green space than the others.

4. We met with Street Sense and attended an open house they held. We also learned more about them than what they originally presented. Street Sense surprised us and everyone when they said they'd already reached out a failed competitive bidder, the Tiger Woods Foundation (programs for Jr. High and HS kids to encourage them to go to college) to bring them in on their team, and that's important to many neighbors who are still unhappy that DCPS gave up this site at the expense of kids at Hine Jr. High. That creativity extends to their interpretation of "green building"--they go far beyond LEED and "green roofs" to really cutting edge efforts to capture and retain rainwater, use solar power generation, etc. They have also contacted Shakespeare, and identified areas at ground level and underground to accomodate a theater consolidation, important to some neighbors. Mostly, we like that they are smaller--no building higher than 4 stories, a lower proposed zoning than the others, much less parking, more encouragement for tenants to rely on mass transit or ZIP cars, an anchor tenant in Kimpton with less need for parking than a supermarket anchor, less built mass and more publicly-available greenspace than any other plan has detailed so far. They felt building out the max allowed, as Stanton and Bozzutto do, would be out of place in the neighborhood, but they think they can deliver a similar amount of revenue to the city with their proposal.

ANC-6B meets Tuesday June 23 to hear 10 minutes from each developer, then pepper them with questions.

ANC-6B meets again Tuesday June 30 to listen to public comments, and (it is hoped) come to an ANC-6B decision about which proposal to support.

Public comment (email your comments to dcbiz@dc.gov ) ends July 10.

by Thomas Riehle on Jun 22, 2009 2:11 pm • linkreport

Whichever one is chosen, the plans will change and the result will be an office building and maybe some condos. All of the other stuff will get dumped overboard when the developer can't get financing and they start whining that they just can't make any money unless they put up something that takes up the entire site.

Count on it.

by Ho Lynn on Jun 22, 2009 2:20 pm • linkreport

kk, you ask about the next-nearest Jr. High. It is the new combined Hine-Eliot, over a mile away behind Eastern High School, at RFK.

Kids at Hine really took it on the chin here, since they were a feeder school to Eastern, until DCPS decided in June last year to stop accepting new freshman at Eastern starting last September!

When someone like w mentions "Adolf Cluss's now demolished Wallach School" that preceeded Hine on this site, it really burns me. Wallach School was built during the Civil War, as the first school for African Americans. The site has been DCPS ever since. When Rhee and Councilmember Wells decided so high-handedly to close Hine, no one at DCPS thought we ought to memorialize how this decision closes such an important chapter in DC Black History? I guess not.

This part of Capitol Hill is now lousy with toddlers, strollers and candidates for 3-year-old programs in the public schools. So, six or seven years ago we are going to be in desperate need of Jr. High classrooms right here, not out at RFK.

With a little foresight, the DC Office of Planning recommendation to knock down Hine, build an appropriately-sized, better-looking Jr. High there, and develop the rest of the giant block would have been seen as the right way for the neighborhood to go. Wells & friends went another direction.

by Thomas Riehle on Jun 22, 2009 2:26 pm • linkreport

Ho Lynn,

Can't be condos. The city is not selling the land to the developer, only leasing it for 99 years. Therefore: Rental units, most likely.

As for all the rest of your well-earned cynicism about developers--you may be right, but motivated residents can keep their feet to the fire and make them do what they promised.

by Thomas Riehle on Jun 22, 2009 2:29 pm • linkreport

3 generations of my father's family attended Wallach School.
They were German Americans ; the DC schools were segregeated. Actually most German Americans were quite liberal, but the fact remains, your information is flawed here.
I even have a report card from my Great Aunt when she was in school there around 1905.

Sounds like some of the newcomers to Capitol Hill/Navy Yard area are getting into some very serious historic revisionism. I do not know how long you have lived in this area, but you are evidently not very conversant with our local history.

by w on Jun 22, 2009 2:45 pm • linkreport

w, you are right, I didn't mean a seg academy for blacks, I meant a public school building where blacks were allowed as well as whites. Sorry for the confusion, here's all I know about it:

From Wikipedia:
"Wallach was a staunch opponent of both emancipation and suffrage for former slaves[3], but did act to encourage integration of Washington schools, intending to dispel the idea that only poor children attended public schools. The Wallach School on Capitol Hill was named in his honor in 1864."

and, from adolfcluss.org --

"The Wallach School (54)
Seventh and D Streets, SE
Constructed in 1864, demolished in 1950

Cluss promoted the quality of urban life by designing enduring, beautiful school buildings for Washington's students, both African-American and white. His public schools in Washington enabled all segments of society, regardless of wealth or race, to experience architectural beauty and style.

Before the construction of the Wallach School on D St. between 7th and 8th Streets, Southeast, in 1864, most public school classes in Washington were held in rented rooms and makeshift buildings. Mayor Richard Wallach envisioned a "school within the reach of every child" and yet a building whose beauty and elegance would instill pride and admiration in both students and citizens of DC.

Mayor Wallach sought to change the widespread notion that public schools were for paupers. Wallach School reflected the most modern features of its day, with scientific ventilation and heating systems, a large assembly hall and covered passages to the outhouses. Wallach operated as a school until 1949. It was razed in 1950 and replaced with Hine Junior High School."

by Thomas Riehle on Jun 22, 2009 3:00 pm • linkreport

Thomas,

I respect you very much for this comment.
Mayor Wallach was a complicated fellow. That he was against freeing the slaves went against the prevailing sentiments of most of those in his ethnic group.
His brother, if memory serves me , was a founder of the Washington Post, and the family were early Unitarians. The German Americans as a whole were very interested in helping the poor and also in ending slavery. Capitol Hill had a very large community of Germans , but this is not that well known. Probably as most were not immigrants , but came to the city after the 1850's , as my family did,to work in construction, printing, or the Navy Yard.

As for Wallach- he was over the top.

He was a card -carrying memebr of the Communist Party.

by w on Jun 22, 2009 3:14 pm • linkreport

sorry- I meant Cluss- he was the Communist ..

by w on Jun 22, 2009 3:16 pm • linkreport

If I were King of DC, I'd completely redesign Pennsylvania Avenue. But it's been shown time and again that there's a group of very vocal residents who are extremely against any changes to the layout of Penn around Eastern Market, even changes that would make it safer to walk across the street. (I take no stand as to whether that group speaks for the majority or the minority; I just point out that they are vocal.) Since the DC government has to take into account those voices, they may well find it easier to add a new exit to Eastern Market station, even if an engineering-only evaulation suggests it would be cheaper just to fix the crosswalks.

by tom veil on Jun 22, 2009 3:18 pm • linkreport

Wallach's brother was an owner of the Washington Star, not the Post;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Douglas_Wallach

by w on Jun 22, 2009 3:23 pm • linkreport

Do any of these plans include a much needed entrance to the Eastern Market metro from the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue?

by js on Jun 22, 2009 3:35 pm • linkreport

@js

No, they don't. But why do you say a north side entrance is "much needed"?

There's certainly not more need to get people from the platform to the surface and vice versa - the current entrance is sufficient for that.

If the perceived need is to get people across Pennsylvania, then improving the crosswalks will accomplish the same task. Furthermore, even if you were to build a new Metro entrance, you'd still need to improve those crosswalks, as nobody is going to go down into the Metro mezzanine just to cross the street.

by Alex B. on Jun 22, 2009 4:45 pm • linkreport

Since when did people lose the ability to cross a street?

Re-configuring Pennsylvania Avenue SE would cost tens of millions of dollars (and ruin the vista of the US Capitol). All that money spent because people can't cross the street? Bosh. Change the timing of the lights, and accomplish more for pedestrian safety at about 1/15,000ths of the cost of ripping up PA Ave SE.

People on the north side can't get across to the Metro entrance on the south side of PA Ave? Please.

The whole scarey thing is a horrible dangerous mess? Then why in all its voluminous reports on "pedestrian crases" has DDOT never found this to be so dangerous? The next person who posts in favor of re-configuring PA Ave SE at 7th-9th Street on the grounds of pedestrian safety must first go to DDOT and find one tiny scintilla of evidence that this has ever been a dangerous place to cross. There is no evidence there.

w implies that he knows people who have been struck and killed by cars on PA Ave, but DDOT data says that's extremely rare.

by Thomas Riehle on Jun 22, 2009 4:49 pm • linkreport

Thomas, thank you for all the great information you've added. It is true that these intersections on Penn don't rank among the 30 most dangerous for pedestrians, though 7th and Penn is one of the worst for car crashes.

As for a north side connection to the Metro, it is hard to say that it does not meet the cost/benefit since test, since no one that I know of knows (1) how much it would cost - though certainly less than the the tunnel from Gallery Place to Metro Center would cost (2) a measure of the benefit it would have - it would save time, be safer and make it easier for the disabled (2) what the threshold is for cost-to-benefit that defines build vs. no build. But I can appreciate someone's gut feeling that it won't measure up - I just wish someone would do an analysis (even if it was back of the envelope) on it so we can make a decision before the topping out ceremony.

I mean a connection at most would require digging out a staircase, building a short sub tunnel, punching a hole in the station wall, building a short walkway to the mezzanine, knocking out part of the wall of the mezzanine and adding two fare gates. Ideally it would also involve an elevator or ramp and a third wheelchair accessible faregate. The Hine project would do the first (and only the first) of these tasks.

by David C on Jun 22, 2009 7:27 pm • linkreport

+1 to your sentinment, "I just wish someone would do an analysis." The Town Square Task Force has blown through $2.3 million just for a study. The northside Metro entrance cost analysis should have been part of that study. You know what's really shameful? I don't believe the Town Square crowd is even going to bother to give us cost estimate comparisons for "Improved Existing" (leave PA AVE SE in its current configuration) vs. the two proposals that re-route PA AVE SE. On the back of my envelope, the difference is a factor of about 15,000 times more expensive to move the road bed. Don't do it!

But that's my last word on the silly Task Force scheme for now. I am interested to hear what people think of the four Hine proposals.

by Thomas Riehle on Jun 22, 2009 8:01 pm • linkreport

About accessing Eastern Market Metro station from the north: if you walk south on 8th Street, the station entrance comes into sight at D Street (which here is a single lane for cars turning right from 8th to Pennsylvania). You then have a choice between: 1) heading directly for the entrance and crossing Pennsylvania illegally in mid-block; or 2) walking _farther_ along the legal crosswalk to the southwest corner of 8th and Pennslyvania, then walking as far again along Pennsylvania to the station entrance. In short, legal option 2) is very visibly more than twice as far as illegal option 1). Consequently at least 90% of humans making this choice (and not just the lazy ones) head directly for the station. On weekday mornings they form a very substantial stream; in the afternoons and well into the evenings each train produces a big surge in the opposite direction, directly across Pennsylvania from the station entrance to the northwest corner of 8th and D.

This is not in fact as dangerous as some seem to think, because Pennsylvania is really two one-way streets on either side of its wide median and this block has stoplights at both ends.

Indeed, a mid-block crosswalk with signals coordinated with those at 7th and 8th is extremely feasible and would make an excellent substitute for the apparently too-expensive tunnel and northside station entrance.

by david on Jun 22, 2009 9:52 pm • linkreport

At the October community meeting, the Town Square's design team brought some transportation experts said that what you are suggesting is the obvious solution and one DDOT might go along with. Google Earth 8th and Pennsylvania Ave SE and you'll see the bare spot that cuts diagonally across the median on just the route you describe ("heading directly for the entrance and crossing Pennsylvania illegally in mid-block"). The transportation experts call that "a desire line." They say a midblock traffic light to accomodate people who want to follow the desire line could be installed. (I told them that was so cool, because I made that desire line, along with about 1000 friends who also jaywalked that way over the years).

This midblock desire line traffic light to allow this diagonal obviates the need for a Town Square, of course.

by Thomas Riehle on Jun 22, 2009 9:58 pm • linkreport

How is this property being disposed of by the government? Has it been declared as surplus?

by Jazzy on Jun 22, 2009 11:15 pm • linkreport

Both traffic calming , such as adding the same kinds of stones into the street as were put down in front of the Eastern Market, along PaAv from 8th all the way to 7th would slow traffic somewhat- this entire area should be considered a pedestrian priority area and car traffic should act accordingly. At the very least- it is not a budget buster or an aesthetic abomination to place some kind of mid-block crossing where people now cross the median strip. People will naturally take the path of least resistance, and this behavior should be augmented , not discouraged. I am also one of those people who believes that J - Walking should not be a crime.

People on Capitol Hill need to wake up and acknowledge that the entire population does not always drive cars, nor do we wish to .

And good folks like JS are absolutely right.
A new Metro entrance should be looked into - and the powers that be need to stop knee - jerking
[ and other kinds of jerking]
and look into the idea seriously - and spend as much money as it takes to do it right - especially if they are going to build a megalithic underground parking albatross that will not be used as much as they predict.

by w on Jun 23, 2009 12:47 pm • linkreport

+1, w. I like the idea of expanding the 7th Street stones onto PA Ave SE between 7th and 9th (with a midblock, desire line jay-walking accomodation between 7th and 8th!)

I also agree that, while Weinstein's Town Square task force team said "Flat no" to another subway entrance on the north side of PA Ave SE, they should be required to show their work--what's the physical impediment to blasting onto the mezzanine from that direction, and how much would it cost. (Although until then, I am skeptical about the need for a subway entrance on the north side of PA Ave SE, and I suppose if I were convinced of the need, I'd ask why not run a long hallway and put that new entrance closer to Eastern Market itself?)

by Thomas Riehle on Jun 23, 2009 4:44 pm • linkreport

Jazzy: Short answer, the city is not "disposing" of it, they are leasing it to the highest or best bidder with something like a 99 year lease. City still owns it.

by Thomas Riehle on Jun 23, 2009 4:46 pm • linkreport

I attended the ANC-6B meeting on this tonight. It was a huge win for Street Sense.

Stanton failed to win an endorsement from the local ANC-6B, which endorsed no one. That's incredible. Stanton was counting on support from the neighborhood realtor/developer/retailer establishment, while Street Sense was arguing it was time for new blood.

Ten residents spoke in favor of Stanton, 7 of them current or would-be future Stanton tenants, speaking in some cases as if under duress.

Ten residents spoke in favor of Street Sense, none of them with any connection to Street Sense--just civilians who did their homework and presented their views on why Street Sense is better.

It looks like Capitol Hill is ready for new ideas and new blood, not just more of the same old, same old from Stanton and their Establishment buddies.

by Thomas Riehle on Jul 1, 2009 12:19 am • linkreport

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