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District Uses Eminent Domain to Acquire Property at 'Dave Thomas Circle' in Next Step of Major Intersection Redesign

Monday, February 1, 2021

(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) achieved a major milestone in making one of the District’s most notorious intersections safer. The title for the property at the center of the intersection of New York Avenue, NE, Florida Avenue, NE, and First Street, NE – currently occupied by a Wendy’s restaurant – was transferred to the District by eminent domain.

“Almost every Washingtonian has their own Dave Thomas Circle horror story. Now, we are taking the necessary actions to transform this confusing intersection into a multimodal project that supports the current and future needs of DC drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are grateful to all of the input and advocacy from neighbors, local businesses and nonprofits, the Council, and federal partners, and know that more collaboration will be needed as we redesign and reimagine this important landmark.”

DDOT is redesigning the intersection, often referred to as “Dave Thomas Circle” or the “Virtual Circle,” to make it safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers in support of Mayor Bowser’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities on the District’s roadways. Once complete, the redesigned intersection will:

  • Realign and add two-way traffic to First Street, NE;
  • Restore two-way traffic on Florida Avenue, NE;
  • Add protected bicycle lanes;
  • Make other improvements benefitting safety and legibility for all modes of travel; and
  • Create three new public park spaces.

DDOT will complete the final design plans in Summer 2021 with plans to begin construction in the first quarter of 2022.

“This is an important milestone in the Bowser Administration’s efforts to make this corridor safer for the thousands of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists who use it every day,” said Interim DDOT Director Everett Lott. “Over the coming months, we look forward to working with key community stakeholders to complete this process and the design of the new intersection at Florida Avenue and New York Avenue.”

DDOT is working with the occupant of the acquired property to provide relocation assistance per the Federal Uniform Relocation and Real Property Acquisition Act and the agency’s Right of Way Manual.

The public space design process is a collaboration of local, District and federal partners. DDOT partnered with the NoMa Business Improvement District (BID) and NoMa Parks Foundation, which hired a landscape architecture firm to design thoughtful, innovative public spaces. The Foundation led community outreach in May 2020, including a virtual public meeting, to seek feedback on public space concepts. The concept design was approved in 2020 to move forward by three federal entities – the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the State Historic Preservation Office. The public space design will be incorporated into the design of the final intersection.

DDOT will advertise the entire construction project for solicitation later this year. DDOT plans to host additional public meetings in Spring 2021.

For more information about the project, please visit floridaaveproject.com.

 

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