Home » Uncategorized

Uncategorized

Update on #Capthegap_DC

We are excited to inform you that lots has been happening since the launch of our #CaptheGap_DC campaign. What started as a distant vision – to create a green park covering North Capitol street underpass – is inching closer to reality in terms of technical analysis, political will and funding. Specifically:

  • The North Capitol Deck Over Park (NCDOP) Steering Committee has been advocating for the project and providing technical feedback. You will have seen our yard signs, website, and petition. We also engaged our local residents, Civic Associations and DDOT and participated in D.C. Government Committee and Budget hearings. Thanks to you we now also have more than 500 petition signatures supporting the vision. See attached the North Capitol Deck Over Committee progress report for more detailed information.
  • DDOT established a 14-member Community Advisory Committee, of which we are a part of along with representatives from multiple areas and organizations along North Capitol Street. Currently we are waiting for a crucial report from the engineering consulting firm hired by DDOT to conduct the feasibility study in the next months.
  • In FY2022, the Mayor and DC Council approved $1 million in funding for a feasibility study to consider the deck over and, more broadly, the entire North Capitol Street Corridor. In FY2023, they approved $3 million in budget for the concept design phase towards a safer, more inclusive and welcoming North Capitol Street.
  • Most recently the North Capitol redesign project was officially submitted by DC Mayor for Federal funding in November 2022 under the Build Back Better bill that allocates $3 billion to DC. The transformation of North Capitol Street would be completed in 2030. Here is the Mayor’s BBB task force report, that includes reference to the projected timeline for and the potential for the North Capitol Deck Over Park:

We are excited to have contributed to raising attention to the issues and opportunities of North Capitol and to see that the deck over park idea is being considered as a visionary project for certain sections of North Capitol as well as 295 in the Mayors BBB infrastructure Task Force Report.

 The Deck Over Park is formally part of the bold, green thinking to improve the quality of life for DC residents.

We will keep you updated when key developments arise. In the meantime, we wanted to thank you all for your excitement of this vision and support thus far. We could not have done it without you! Please tell your neighbors and friends about the park vision, our website and our petition!

On behalf of the North Capitol Deck Over Park “CaptheGap_DC” Campaign 

PRESS RELEASE: DC City Council Approves a $1 Million Feasibility Study for North Capitol Deck

Initiative Given Major Endorsement in Vision to Bring Together Multiple Area
Neighborhoods, Improve Safety and Provide Urban Activated Green Space

Washington, DC – In a major boost to the North Capitol Deck Over Park (NCDOP) and
Streetscape Project, the DC City Council today approved a $1 million feasibility study to
move the plan forward. The plan calls for a deck over of the portions of the North
Capitol underpasses between V Street and Seaton Place and would create an at grade
park.

The proposed park would include a lawn, streetcar café, amphitheater and spray park,
and serve as a connector for the neighborhoods on either side of North Capitol, which
include Bloomingdale, Eckington, Stronghold, Truxton Circle and Edgewood. The study
will not only examine the feasibility of a deck over park, but more broadly study safety
improvements along the North Capitol corridor.

The monies, allocated in DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget, was
recommended by DC Ward 5 Councilman Kenyan McDuffie and the DC Committee on
Transportation and the Environment under its Streetscapes and Beautification project.

“l requested and secured $1 million in the FY22 budget for the North Capitol Deck Over
Park feasibility study. It has been a longstanding priority for Ward 5 residents in the
Bloomingdale, Eckington and Stronghold neighborhoods,” said Councilmember
McDuffie. “This analysis will help determine the best way to connect Word 5
neighborhoods, address traffic and safety concerns and improve the quality of life for
residents. I will continue to amplify the voices and concerns of residents on this issue.”

The reconnection of the neighborhoods to the east and west of communities along
North Capitol Street is also at the epicenter of African American history in the District.
The NCDO park project will help to address the social legacy of racism and deliver
much needed green space and park amenities for residents.

As the racial dividing line was moving eastward in the late 1940s, the new front line
between segregated white and African American residents was becoming North Capitol
Street, and this was the context for the planning of the highway underpass that
eventually cut through the neighborhoods of Eckington and Bloomingdale. The divide
not only created a chasm of separation and division between neighbors and
communities but transformed the street that once served local neighborhoods into a highway thoroughfare primarily in the service of suburban commuters, resulting in
significant neighborhood disinvestment. 

“Bloomingdale is an historic epicenter of African American resistance and legal
challenge to racial covenants in real estate contracts, starting with Harrison vs Smith in
1907 and concluding with the victorious Hurd vs Hodge case (Shelley vs Kramer) in
1948,” noted Paul Cerruti, chair of the North Capitol Deck Over Steering Committee.
“Consistent with neighborhood heritage, this project will help to right the racial divide
and blight due to the underpasses.”

Importantly, the North Capitol Deck Over Park (NCDOP) project will also serve as a way
to combat urban heat over a busy thoroughfare in the middle of a residential area and
address the lack of green spaces in the neighborhood.
“Reducing urban heat exposure is an equity issue as low-income communities and
communities of color are more likely to live in neighborhoods with more heat-retaining
surfaces,” noted Sandrine Boukerche, a NCDOP Steering Committee member.

“Conversely, wealthier neighborhoods tend to be greener with parks and green spaces.
Extreme heat can be a killer and access to green urban spaces will be critical for cities
to combat urban heat island risks and enhance equity across communities.”
In another significant move forward, a District Department of Transportation (DDOT)
project director designee has already been appointed to the NCDOP feasibility study
and recently met with members of the multi-neighborhood NCDOP Steering Committee
to discuss a preliminary timeline and proposed activities.

Later this month, members of the NCDOP Steering Committee will do a pre-scope site
visit and walk with DDOT to learn about the history, challenges, potential plans,
construction, amenities and benefits of the deck over park project.
“The ‘pre-scope’ walk will reflect the continuing development of a collaborative
relationship between DDOT and the NCDOP Steering Committee”, observes Bertha
Holliday, an ANC 5E Commissioner and NCDOP Steering Committee member.
“Getting to this point required strategic multi-community advocacy with elected and
appointed DC officials, their senior staff, and residents and organizations in
neighborhoods near the proposed deck over park. We have informed, educated,
listened, learned and built relationships.”   

The NCDO Steering Committee currently consists of residents of Bloomingdale,
Eckington, Bates/Truxton Circle, Hanover, and Stronghold, including designated
representatives of the civic associations of five of these neighborhoods. Holliday notes,
“If our multi-neighborhood advocacy and collaboration with DDOT is successful, it will
represent a new model for city use that promotes broader, deeper, and more
contextual discussion, collaboration and planning – especially in residential
neighborhoods — than does the prevalent ‘stakeholder’ model.” 

The North Capitol Deck Over Park and Streetscape project is part of the Bloomingdale
Civic Association’s (BCA) Bloomingdale Village Square (BVS) Initiative. The
Architectural plans were developed by Chris Somma of ZGF Architects LLP.