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

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

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.