Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Dupont Tree Plaza - Some Options

Restore Mass Ave champions the cause of transforming the bare old city sidewalk west of Dupont Circle into a delighted, shady space that serves the city and region.

We have achieved an engineered design that retrofits the above- and below-ground space for stormwater management. It has passed all major city approvals, with just a few to go.

So now there's discussion of how present users will be affected by a new space giving priority to trees and nature and to minimizing the bother of heat and rain. To help, our team drew some options. Below the slides is a list of  tradeoffs. But don't miss our main slideshow on our Dupont Tree Plaza project page.

Below the slides are notes on what they mean - the tradeoffs.
View presentation on SlideShare ›
  • Aerial perspective shows at left the bioretention area with native plants and the cypress tree at its center.  The double row of six additional trees are clearly shown. The greenspace down the center is also a bioretention area. Paving is pervious brick.
  • Bikeshare docking shows two Capital BikeShares lines which have 46 docks. Our present plan proposes two lines with 46 docks as now. Another option is one line only, of 28 docks facing the bank wall, so the allĂ©e is pedestrian-only.
  • Bike options plan calls for keeping all 46 bikes on the site. Or one or both lines could move to vacant sidewalks nearby.* **
  • FreshFarm farmers' market operates Sunday mornings along 20th Street adjacent to our site. Up to 12,000 people come and hang out, partly due to the shady row of oak trees RMA planted there in 2009. But:
    • One vendor uses the sidewalk that would be part of the bioretention area. That area is 18" below grade and filled with plants and the cypress tree. It's job is to "pond" in big storms, when rainfall will flow slowly to the city's main water-sewer pipe below there.
    • Option 2 would build a wooden deck across 2/3 of the bioretention area. This means planting the cypress tree in just 200 sg ft of open space and 400 sq ft less sunny soil for native plants and pollinators. Option 3 would put pervious paving over this 400 sq ft. But, per next-to-last slide, this catches less stormwater and the tree is constrained.
    • The farmer's market seeks to add stalls. It could add several tents along the bank wall- the north side of the Plaza - but only if no bikes were docked near the wall on Sundays.
  • Other public spaces could be used for bike stands and farmer's market expansion. The city plans a big renovation of the Connecticut Avenue streetscape from Dupont Circle north to California Street.  This would repurpose sidewalk and street space there and build a permanent "deck-over" where Connecticut Avenue exits from under Dupont Circle. The preliminary design is due in 2021.
All parties have said these programming issues should not hold up our Plaza Engineered Design moving to 95% complete.  RMA has been asked coninue consultations with stakeholders and the community. We will!

          Watch this space!      Comment on Twitter  #DupontTreePlaza  @RestoreMassAve.org

We thank the Chesapeake Bay Trust Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns program, funded by EPA, for the grant enabling us to commission a permit-ready plan for the Dupont Tree Plaza. The grant funded our Contract with team led by Designgreen LLC.

*Excerpts from Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B Resolution of support for the Plaza adopted 9-0 July 10. The full Resolution is on Our Pdfs page.

"•  Will continue to accommodate the significant pedestrian traffic at a prominent
intersection in the neighborhood, and
"• Ensures the same number or more Capital Bikeshare docks will continue to exist
in close proximity to the site if the bikeshare station needs to be reduced or
"...ANC 2B requests and expects that the Restore Mass Ave project team will continue to engage and consult with community stakeholders on the evolution, timeline, and development of the project."

** Excerpt from Dupont Circle Citizen's Association Board Letter of Support July 27.

 The full Letter is on Our Pdfs page.

"DCCA is in support of your plans with one exception: we think it is very important to maintain the current number of Capital Bikeshare docks at this location. This is a very popular station for bike commuters, access to the Sunday farmer’s market, and to serve tourists staying at the nearby hotels. Thus, we request that your final plans include the additional line of bike docks.
....It would also be acceptable if an alternative site can be found that is equally convenient, for some or all of the current bike docks."