Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Tree Plaza Progress Reported by TheDCLine

      TheDCLine, an important local news service, reported on RMA's project for a new community space off Dupont Circle. Deborah Shapley, President of RMA was quoted on how the bare sidewalk by the bike stands can be transformed. With rows of trees and greenspace, it would highlight the site's historic and community importance and add beauty.

      Talk about busy! On weekdays 20,000 people use the Dupont Circle Metro station. Nine bus lines intersect within a few blocks. 25,000 vehicles pass, giving off pollution and noise. The Capital Bikeshare stand is one of the busiest in the city. Our Tree Plaza plan would keep the present number of  bike docks and add more of them a little bit away. 

Photo: Naomi Harris, TheDCLine

       “It is quite a crossing point for newcomers and visitors to DC — but nobody pays attention to it," Shapley explained in an interview with DCLine's Naomi Harris. "We are expecting and hoping that, through this project, the regular users and visitors in the community will discover it can be a real place." 

      The article reported that RMA had won a $30,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to design the plaza as a retrofit for stormwater.  RMA let a  contract for design to DesignGreen LLC, a woman-owned engineering firm. Rebecca Stack, the firm's principal, was quoted saying the new engineered design should be ready by May 15.

          Chris Huska of Huska Consulting will work with DC agencies to make a plan that meets stormwater and other environmental goals and city standards for walkways, bikes, etc. Huska Consulting is one of five firms on the Designgreen Plaza team.

    "Green infrastructure can soak up stormwater and decrease runoff that would otherwise enter the sewage system," the article said.  Designgreen did one such retrofit creating attractive green space at Duke Ellington Park, southwest of Dupont Circle.
        “The purpose of our whole project is to let DC residents and workers experience the calm and shade of the elegant old streetscapes,” Shapley said. “There is a very special atmosphere about being under rows of healthy, large trees, when you are in an urban setting.”

     The grant to RMA came from the “Green Streets, Green jobs, Green Towns” or G3 program. Students from School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens, which is nearby at 2425 N St. NW, will be involved, the article said.   It quoted the school’s principal, Richard Trogisch, saying the project “could be considered a junior ‘green jobs’ program, raising our students’ interest in green design careers.”

     “Nobody wants these projects that are dropped down from up high, and just stuck in a neighborhood or community,” Shapley said. “They are not going to be lasting and be maintained if the local community and the next generation is not involved or committed.”
      The DCLine was recently founded by publisher Chris Kain. Its mission is to "offer a first stop to residents to find the information they need to be active participants in hometown DC." 

       Reporter Harris' article appears in a section called  Built Environment

      The article's title was apt:  "Roots of Collaboration."