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Maybe NOMA bid should buy a property for a real park...instead of one more gargantuan building full of residents with no park to play in. #wheresthevision

I spoke with Galin Brooks at the NOMA BID a few weeks ago regarding this issue and she assured me that the ramp to L Street could co-exist with their plans, but that no longer seems to be the case. It sure would be nice if the BID and trail advocates could sit down to come up with a workable solution for all.

Greetings from the NoMa BID! Unfortunately, the gist of this post is completely inaccurate. The underpass competition maintains the bike widths in all underpasses; and the playable art program is meant to ENHANCE the MBT. The MBT extension to the new cycletrack along M Street has been a smart solution, worked out with community support and DDOT, to find a replacement for the L Street ramp, which turned out to be an unworkable solution (for reasons completely unrelated to the L Street Plaza planned by the NoMa BID and NoMa Parks Foundation). The NoMa BID is continually working with community leaders, the ANC and bike staff at DDOT on these issues, and remains one of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in the city. Our ambassadors patrol the MBT daily via bike; and we work with WABA's trail rangers and MPD on safety issues there. We have installed five free and public bike pumps throughout the neighborhood, and a new on-street bike repair station just went in, right off the MBT on M Street, earlier this week. We'd be happy to talk to the author of this post and any other concerned parties about the workable solutions that we have been advocating.

So it's not completely inaccurate. That the right-of-way that was reserved for the L Street ramp is being given to the NoMa bid for the purpose of making a playground (i.e. the most important point) is accurate. Which makes the post mostly accurate.

Why was the L Street ramp an "unworkable solution"?

NoMa BID here: That is not correct. The Playable Art site is between the trail and the railroad tracks. It does not take away from the trail or cover the trail. It is not being 'given' to NoMa BID, in any case: that is an Office of Planning project. The MBT will still run past the new playground.

The L Street ramp has proven to be an unworkable solution because the MBT is built on easements on private property; the property owner of the portion between L and M Streets, NE, has not come to an agreement with DDOT on how to let DDOT proceed on building the ramp. In the interim, ANC leaders and DDOT staff have started on another solution to use the M Street ramp and make an M Street connection to the cycle track. See Tony Goodman post on GreaterGreaterWashington: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/23088/next-up-for-noma-bicycling-fill-in-the-gaps/

Ali Shakeri, the Project Manger for the L Street Ramp project, told me a few months ago that DDOT may have to cancel the project because the property owner – Bristol Property – believes there may be a hazmat issue and does not want DDOT to take any soil borings. Without the property owners cooperation, he said that DDOT cannot move forward.

That does not mean that the project would have to be canceled permanently, just that DDOT may not be able to move forward right away. At some point this property will be developed, perhaps by a different owner, so the easement shouldn’t be given away for what might just be a temporary impediment.

The trail is immediately next to the railroad tracks. How is the Playable Art site between them?

When I look at the image on page 3 of this (http://www.nomabid.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/NoMaPublicRealm_Images.pdf) it looks like L Street gets widened to make space for the new plaza, and that some of the extra space comes from the L Street ramp right-of-way. To be clear I am not saying that these plans will take away from or cover the CURRENT trail. It is from the L street ROW that represents the planned trail that I see these things coming from.

Just because the current owner and DDOT have not decided how to build the ramp yet, does not mean it is unworkable. DC owns the ROW. Ramps can be built. It is workable.

The Playable Arts project in particular will be at the gravelly strip between the MBT & tracks. It doesn't impact the vision for a ramp to L.

Long term of course we still want ramp down to L & ramp *up* on top of Red Line into Burnham Place air rights project behind Union Station.

In the meantime, new protected cycletrack coming soon to M NE between existing trail ramp & 1st NE, which is also conveniently adjacent to 2 CaBi stations and lines up with master plan for M NW/NE cycletrack.

Gee, not sure where all this information is coming from, but there seem to be some misunderstandings that we'd like to correct. First, the NoMa BID is not planning to build on the L Street ramp easement. The Playable Art project is an Office of Planning project, led by OP, not the NoMa BID; and as previously stated, it will not block the trail or potential future ramp. Secondly, if the ramp could be built, DDOT would be building the ramp, not the NoMa BID. However, the property owner does not want to move forward with the ramp at this time or in the near future.

The description of the L Street Plaza in the NoMa Public Realm Design Plan is a preliminary conceptual document now two years old. The final plans will be the subject of community input and will be much more detailed and different.
Also, we look forward to collaborating with MBT advocates to make the trail more comfortable, safe and fully completed: we think it's very important to focus on the four miles that are still unbuilt, unprotected and indicated only by signage in the main roadbed to make the trail a much more meaningful connection for recreation and commuting.

If you have more follow-up questions, please contact me directly at rdavis (at) nomabid.org for more information and we'll be happy to have an in-depth discussion.

As a resident of NoMa, I wholeheartedly support all the efforts that NoMa BID and Tony Goodman are undertaking to create park space in the neighborhood. That's absolutely vital for those of us living there who are deciding if it's a place we can stay long term and raise kids. NoMa is already incredibly biker friendly and I'm confident it will continue to remain so but it doesn't help when folks misrepresents park development plans that can happily coexist with a 2nd bike ramp one block from an existing ramp. Keep up the good work NoMa BID and Tony G.

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