Since this week WMATA published their intention to solicit contractors to submit plans to develop their land east of the Brookland CUA Metro Station, we have reached out to Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie to find out where he stands on this issue. We received the following statement:
“The WMATA plan to redevelop the Brookland metro station has been in the pipeline for a long time. I have spoken now twice to representatives of WMATA about their development plans, and have each time expressed my firm belief that any plan for the site should be community-driven and preserve the Brookland Green. I reiterated this concern in a meeting with WMATA just a few weeks ago. However, WMATA’s November 2013 Joint Development Solicitation clearly anticipates building over the Brookland Green between Newton and Otis Streets. I cannot support such a plan because there is limited community-accessible green space in the area. Furthermore, the development plan for the site should take into account, and be coordinated with, other large-scale projects in the immediate vicinity, including the Monroe Street Market and the 901 Monroe Street development. In the coming days, I will transmit a letter to WMATA, which I will share with the community, opposing the loss of the Brookland Green, and urging WMATA to solicit a development plan that respects the character and integrity of the Brookland neighborhood.”
We were told that the staff of CM McDuffie is in contact with WMATA to understand more about the details of this development project, among other aspects why the parcel of the bus turn around at the metro stop is not included in the area to be developed.
We also learned that Councilmember McDuffie pushed for some additional financial support to improve the Rhode Island Avenue streetscape, which includes efforts to improve pedestrian safety, appearance, adding tree boxes and planting trees:
This past spring, Councilmember McDuffie secured $2 million in District Department of Transportation (DDOT) infrastructure funds to implement the Rhode Island Avenue, NE Small Area Plan, which will be leveraged with additional federal highway funds. The funding will support streetscape design, improved sidewalks and pedestrian safety measures, tree planting and tree boxes, as well as other measures to make Rhode Island Avenue NE a more attractive and walkable corridor.
DDOT has completed the contracting process and received the final notice to proceed on the streetscape project. DDOT will be announcing shortly the selected consultants for the project as well as the members of the Citizen Advisory Panel (CAP), which will assist in soliciting feedback from the community. The selection process for CAP members is based on recommendations from DDOT and Councilmember McDuffie. In addition, a public notice will be made soon for an upcoming community meeting to introduce the consultants and the streetscaping project.
As exciting as it is that RI Avenue is getting some overdue attention, it is important that all neighbors, north and south of the Avenue, are involved in this process. Look out for community meeting announcements, engage with your ANCs, your Civic Associations and neighbors to assure smart, sensible and balanced improvements are being implemented.