East Side News

February 2019

273
The view of North Capitol Street to the Capitol. Photo: North Capitol Street Needs Assessment, NoMa BID.

Streets Comes to M Street
A new community store has come to NoMa, adding to the neighborhood’s increasing plethora of grocery choices. Streets Market and Cafe opened last month on M Street between First Street NE and North Capitol. The store is the third Streets in the District and has a presence also in Arlington, Alexandria and Baltimore.

The Streets model was an easy one to find a home in NoMa. Streets likes to use the first floor of multi-use buildings in retail-heavy areas. M Street is a perfect fit for this plan, even though the street does have a few grocery stores.

Streets maintains a smaller footprint designed for downtown city locations, similar to Yes! Or Mom’s Organic Market. “We like to call it a throwback to the old neighborhood grocery store of 50 to 60 years ago,” Streets Market Vice President of Development Campbell Burns told Bisnow. “Some shoppers like to get certain things that are organic and also pick up Diet Coke and Oreos. We’re trying to bring that under one roof.”

Streets plans to open at least three more stores in the District in the coming year, and is assessing neighborhoods for suitability to its type of grocery. Streets prides itself on the quality of the organic produce and meats, as well as its chef-driven, gourmet menu of grab & go prepared dishes, made fresh daily.

Easing the North Cap Flow
Anyone who has driven or walked on North Capitol Street toward the dome knows there is work to be done to improve that important transportation artery and keep the blood flowing, so to speak. The NoMa Business Improvement District (BID) and the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) recently completed a study of the stretch of road between R Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The report outlined a significant number of improvements that ought to be completed immediately, as well as plans for the street’s future.

The study took both community and fact-based approaches. The public engagement phase included three grass-tops community stakeholder meetings to solidify the goals and needs of the study and ask for personal recommendations for improving the quality of bike, foot and car transportation from NoMa to the Capitol. There was also a push for online public engagement through a community survey that garnered over 250 responses from local neighbors and stakeholders.

The second phase was an official traffic and transportation evaluation by sustainability consultant Nspiregreen. This study provided the significant amount of data that went into the report, including a detailed look at each intersection for all modes of transportation, as well as an in-depth accident report for the previous years.

Here are the top priority recommendations from the report:

  • Conduct a streetscape study. This would improve the efficiency of the streetscape, including consideration of installing a wide median with left-turn pockets by repurposing existing travel lanes.
  • Sidewalk improvements. Install additional permeable pavement around tree pits to provide a traversable pedestrian surface on side streets (P, M, L and K streets), and make spot improvements throughout the corridor. Repair curb ramps and install where missing.
  • Bicycle mobility. Pursue and design bicycle facilities along K Street. Implement a bike box with bike lanes in both directions on R Street within 50 feet of an intersection.
  • Pavement marking. Install “Do Not Block Intersection” pavement markings at all intersections. Repave guidelines on North Capital and corridor-wide. Convert all intersection crosswalks to high-visibility crossings. Install a crosswalk on the north leg of the Pierce Street intersection, as well as complementary stop bars to approaches on the un-signaled crossings.
  • Pedestrian/car signals. Implement leading pedestrian intervals. Repair and replace a large number of broken, damaged or vandalized signs.
  • Public space improvements. Install placemaking elements, such as temporary public art, large games or seating. Work with property owners and artists to install public art in the vacant parking lots.

As for next steps, that appears to be at the discretion of DDOT, after the completion of the streetscape study, which is in the works.

“The NoMa BID will work closely with DDOT on the implementation of various recommendations in the report,” explained Robin-Eve Jasper, NoMa BID president. “Our hope is that many issues raised in the study can be addressed in the course of regular DDOT operations, and this has already happened with some intersection work. Resolving many of the larger issues will depend on the funding and execution of a detailed North Capitol streetscape study, hopefully within the next year to 18 months.”

 

Taylor Barden Golden is a real estate agent with the Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates Inc. A former Hill staffer, Taylor lives in Brentwood with her husband, two dogs and a cat. She’s always on the lookout for new places to explore and ways to spend time outside. Get in touch: taylor@midcitydcnews.com; @rtaylorb.