Last week the NoMa Parks Foundation acquired another piece of the PEPCO land south of R Street between Harry Thomas Way and the MBT. In December, they bought 2 acres of PEPCO property for NoMa Green, but not the northernmost 2 acres needed to fix the MBT's Z-curve, but the purchase last week is just north of that and can be used to fix the Z-Curve (something it appears they plan to do).
Based on the image above, NoMa Green will remain, the trail will be made more in line with the original design (below) with green space in the corner, and the rest of the lot bought last week will be developed in the future.
The BID had an option to acquire the northern 1.8-acre portion of the vacant lot, but ran out of money. In stepped Foulger-Pratt
who provided a loan and who will develop most of the lot for a mixed-use project, likely 300-400 units over retail, while the BID will control 23,000 square feet of land to complete two important tasks — eliminate the Z-turn of the Metropolitan Branch Trail, and create another park space.
The Z-turn is dangerous stretch of trail with poor sight lines where crashes and crimes have occurred. Softening the acute curve was a key recommendation of a 2015 report on improving the trail. The report found that cyclists who slow down through the turns are vulnerable "should anyone be waiting there looking for an opportunity,” while cyclists who speed through “risk sliding on the gravel or other trail debris typically present around the curve.”
Straightening the trail would create a triangular open space between the trail, the railroad tracks and R Street, while the adjacent Foulger-Pratt development would activate the site, bring more people to the NoMa Green and put more eyes on the MBT.
"Adding this new land is so important to improving the MBT and assuring another fabulous park experience for the residents of the NoMa neighborhood and all of Northeast," Robin-Eve Jasper, president of the NoMa BID and the parks foundation, said in a statement. "We look forward to partnering with the community to plan this new green space."