DC might join these two in commonality – along with a handful of leading cities worldwide that are engaged in creating large-scale sustainable urban areas, sometimes referred to as EcoDistricts – if it moves forward with a 110-acre redevelopment plan for a “21st century sustainable community” in Southwest D.C. known as the Southwest Ecodistrict Initiative.
Tonight, the National Capital Planning Commission, the driving force behind the initiative, will hold its third public meeting on the SW Ecodistrict from 6:30 to 8:30 at Waterfront Station in Southwest: 1100 4th Street SW (2nd Floor Conference Room, Complete details).
The initiative came onto the scene early last year under the name “10th Street Corridor Task Force” and the first public meeting was held in February of 2010.
NCPC’s initiative was in response to a federal mandate – Executive Order 13514: Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance – calling for the reduction of the fed’s greenhouse gas emissions, but also stemming from a desire to reinvigorate the concrete desert around L’Enfant Plaza, and turn 10th Street into a true corridor – connecting the National Mall (to the north) with Banneker Park (to the south) and creating pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, outdoor cafes, and tree coverings.
(Below: 10th Street now, versus what it hopes to become)
10th Street's possibilities as an attractive thoroughfare was clearly the inspiration behind the initiative’s original name; however, public feedback and market studies led NCPC to expand its vision, and notably to include the Maryland Avenue SW corridor. Potential SW Ecodistrict boundaries are now Independence Avenue SW and Maine Avenue SW (north to south) and 12th & 4th Streets SW (west to east).
The boundary for the SW Ecodistrict (shown in red, below) encircles a 15-block area south of the National Mall, and loops within it several monolith government agencies – GSA, FAA, Dept. of Energy and the Postal Service to name half –as well as several important sites: 12th Street Tunnel, Southwest Freeway, 10th Street Overlook/Banneker Park and L’Enfant Plaza.
The Office of Planning (OP) is currently in charge of a Maryland Avenue Plan and will finish a study of that corridor at the end of the summer. Along with NCPC and OP, the Ecodistrict is being mentally sculpted by a task force of 15 federal and local agencies, among them: the Architect of the Capitol, DDOT, GSA, the National Park Service and the Smithsonian Institution.
Public meetings, like the one tonight, continue to provide NCPC, OP, the greater task force, and all invested parties with important public feedback. Tonight’s meeting will focus on the plan’s visibility, connectivity and sustainability and will truly be a hands-on affair; according to Elizabeth Miller, senior urban planner at NCPC and project manager of the SW Ecodistrict Initiative, there will be three stations for attendees to rotate through, with the goal of critically assessing all alternatives to redevelopment in the 15-block area of Southwest.
Another public meeting will likely take place at the end of July, giving another chance to contribute to or critique the initiative’s plan before NCPC and OP take it to the Council, likely at the end of this year.
Washington D.C. real estate development news