Advisory Service Panels – Rail Corridor, Washington DC

DCRailCover

Date: December 11 -13, 2006

Location: Washington, DC

Sponsors: District Department of Transportation, Parsons Brinckerhoff, National Capital Planning Commission

Chair: James M. DeFrancia

Subject Area: Downtown Revitalization, Public Infrastructure

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Summary of Recommendations:

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) invited the panel to provide a fresh perspective on the opportunities and challenges presented by the redevelopment of the rail corridor. The panel observed that the freight rail realignment would make it possible to reconnect neighborhoods, create access to key destinations, enhance view corridors, and contribute to the development of a world-class public waterfront.

Recommendations were made by the panel for four geographic segments within the study area. The panel believed that while each segment could have been developed separately, it was recommended that some sort of overarching policy and implementation strategy be created. For the Monumental Core, panel recommended that Maryland Avenue be decked over between 12th and 9th Street. This would create a grand boulevard with views of the Capitol. A major change in the Capitol Hill district would be the elimination of the Southeast Freeway. This would create another grand boulevard (Virginia Avenue) and allow mixed-use centers to be built up along the corridor. For the Anacostia Waterfront the panel recommended that the railroad land become additional park land, making it easier for people to get to the Anacostia River. To the east of the river, the panel recommended using the railroad abandonment to improve access to the Deanwood and Benning Road Metro stations from adjacent neighborhoods. The ‘Extending the Legacy’ plan and the ‘Anacostia Waterfront Initiative’ were good tools that should have helped guide public/private developers into making the area as vibrant as the rest of D.C.

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