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Worth noting that the DDOT/consultant folks said that the blue lines representing sidepaths were not accurate when it comes to placement - just that there could be something on whatever side of the right-of-way the lines are drawn on.

Also needs to be said - none of this is even close to finalized. As you noted, this was a "scoping meeting" in their parlance, so this was just to feel out what neighbors and other interested folks think about the area.

Good points. This is all still very much in the air. The concepts were there just to get people started. Everything is still on the table, and people were suggesting all kinds of things like no road at all, connecting 11th to L only, building a park from L to the river by decking over the railroad tracks.

At a table I was at for awhile they discussed turning the whole area into a park, selling it to developers for homes and building a highway-like road. Some of these were supported by the same people.

This circle design is a disaster. I think a good starting point for figuring out how it will be used is to ask "does it look like a highway?" The answer here is a resounding yes. It looks like a place where you wouldn't expect pedestrians or cyclists. The scale is way out of touch with walking and cycling speeds (the circle is wider than the adjacent city block). As such, drivers will drive on it like they're on a highway. Is that really the way we want to design our streets in a dense urban area?

Not to mention the fact that the design makes cyclists and pedestrians travel long distances out of their way to go straight. A solution involving tunnels is not a good idea either, as tunnels are creepy and discourage use even when they are well maintained and don't attract crime, which is seldom the case.

The drawing shows no way to cross the street, meaning that drivers will be able to maintain high speeds. The central space will be rendered unusable by people, which is truly a shame in a growing city with a scarcity of land. Ugh. I really can't say enough about how awful this design is. Really the only thing worse is a completely grade separated expressway, which happens to be what it is replacing--so technically this is better, but not by much.

That boulevard looks rather terrible. It's like a bad suburban arterial. And they way they've tied L St SE into if would make L St a frontage road, allowing for speeding and high traffic volumes.

Just because you state that something should be a 'grand urban boulevard' does not automatically make it so.

Instead, they should put that proposed boulevard on a road diet, push it as far south on the old Freeway ROW as possible, and then create several new blocks between the Blvd and L St - and develop those blocks with mixed use development. Extend the city towards the waterfront.

Any open space gained in this plan as shown is useless.

Pushing the road south was one of the other options, though developing the land north of it was not. That could be a good idea. The change in height of the land could be an issue.

Still, I wouldn't get too emotional about it yet. It's early.

@ Jacob: A circle design of some sort will be a feature of any plan. It's not up to DDOT or other area guidance. Our good friends at the CFA intend to replicate the monumental circles found on the west side of the District in all east side developments. (See also S. Cap bridge...)

@ Alex B.: Putting the SE Boulevard up against the CSX ROW was a suggested option, and one that makes a lot of sense. As long as those tracks remain (and they're over 100 years old already) they'll be the barrier disconnecting the waterside from the neighborhood. That still leaves open the question of what goes between L St. and the SE Boulevard - and how it can be connected to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.

@ DaveS: I have nothing against circles, but my question is what is the goal of creating the circle? If the goal is to create a great public space, then this vision fails horribly. Dupont Circle is a similar size, but is surrounded by sidewalk fronting retail, mostly pedestrian friendly sidewalks, and the streets allows you to walk directly across the circle in a straight line in roughly any direction (I think even this could be improved a lot, but that's another discussion).

The proposal for Barney Circle has none of these things. Ped access across or into the circle appears to be blocked, the alignment of the SE Blvd leave little room for development on 2/3rds of the space surrounding the circle, making it a dead zone anyway.

Let's make this plan look more like DC and less like Brasilia. To do so:
1) Plan for development surrounding the circle, including sidewalk-fronting retail
2) Prioritize pedestrian movement across, around, & through the circle.
3) Design the streets to slow vehicle speeds to be compatible with vibrant urban spaces. Fewer lanes, more intersections, more street trees, on-street parking, tighter turning radii, etc.
4) Plan for easy comfortable bicycle access from any point on the circle to any other. (This seems to be somewhat decently done at present, but there is no way to cross the SE blvd on the SW edge on the circle.
5) Create a destination in the center of the circle, maybe with a water feature or some other attraction. Also allow food trucks & vendors from the start.
6) Plan for links across the CSX tracks to M St & the rest of the SE.

Washcycle's post yesterday linked a Canadian study showing that circles were hazardous for cyclists.

I'm with @Jacob. If a circle is non-negotiable, it should be Logan Circle, not something out of a 1970s traffic engineer's wet dream.

Washcycle has the right idea, that this is a time for thinking broadly, not for getting too wound up about the specific lines on the plans.

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