The District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) sought to engage the community one final time prior to the hearing on the NEPA Environmental Analysis (EA) process regarding the DC Streetcar program’s Anacostia Phase II line. The meeting took place Thursday, January 26, 2012 at Savoy Elementary School at 2400 Shannon Place, SE near the Anacostia Metro station and was the fourth public engagement meeting held on this portion of the streetcar program.
The meeting began with a welcome from DDOT representative, Circe Tourrellas who is leading the NEPA study for DDOT on this portion of the streetcar program. She was followed by Eric Nelson, Project Manager from engineering firm HDR, Inc. to give a general overview of the current review process and their current general findings. He explained to the crowd in attendance that the ten initial alternatives have been reduced to three based on each proposal’s potential impacts. The last alternative to be eliminated was an alternative that included one set of tracks on 13th Street, SE. The remaining alternatives include two dual track systems with one track along Martin L. King, Jr. Avenue, SE and returning tracks on Railroad Avenue or Shannon Place, SE. The final alternative has both tracks in CSX right of way.
To better explain to residents in attendance, DDOT facilitated four information stations to address specific areas of concern: 1) General Alignments and Engineering, 2) Traffic and Parking, 3) Noise and Vibration, and 4) Aesthetics, Section 106-Cultural Resources and Other Environmental Topics. These breakout sessions gave attendees the opportunity to ask questions, express concerns, and give general input on how to improve the current streetcar plan to make it the safest, most reliable and user-friendly source of transportation.
Public Outreach for the meeting included door-to-door flyer distribution reaching 4000 residences, over 1200 mailers were sent to multifamily units, thousands of emails went out with the assistance of ANC commissioners and community leaders, and 39 business owners displayed posters to advertise the meeting.
The meeting was well attended with over 60 members of the Anacostia residential and business communities near the intended service area, elected officials, ANC 8 commissioners and other Ward 8 community leaders. ANC 8 commissioners, Khadijah Watson, Sandra Seegars, Greta Fuller, and several Ward 8 community organization leaders were also in attendance. Members of the business community are excited about the streetcar and the opportunities it may bring to improve business along the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road business corridors, but remain cautious of traffic and parking impacts both during construction and during streetcar operation.
DDOT’s streetcar plan is to create a 37 mile streetcar network serving all eight wards as a part of the city’s capital improvement program in which Mayor Vincent Gray has included $99.3 million for the project.