(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the NoMA Business Improvement District (BID), and community members kicked off the transformation of “Dave Thomas Circle.” This long-awaited infrastructure project will significantly improve the Florida Avenue and New York Avenue NE intersection. Once completed, the project will provide better safety for all who travel through the corridor and create new public spaces for residents and visitors.
“This day has been a long time coming, but we are finally saying goodbye to the chaotic and dangerous intersection known as Dave Thomas Circle,” said Mayor Bowser. “There are so many fantastic things to do and see in the neighborhoods surrounding this intersection, and we want it to be a safer, less frustrating experience for everyone who comes this way. When this project is done, we will deliver a much safer and better-connected corridor, with more green space, for the thousands of people who travel through this intersection every day.”
The Florida Avenue and New York Avenue NE intersection is positioned between some of DC’s busiest neighborhoods, including Eckington, NoMa, Union Market, and Shaw. The construction phase for the infrastructure project will begin this month and continue through December 2024. Once complete, the redesigned intersection will:
- Realign and add two-way traffic to First Street NE;
- Restore two-way traffic on Florida Avenue NE;
- Include protected bicycle lanes; and
- Include three new public park spaces.
“Under Mayor Bowser’s leadership, DDOT continues our focus on keeping residents and visitors across the District moving safely and efficiently using all modes of transportation,” said DDOT Director Everett Lott. “Today’s demolition reflects years of planning with residents and stakeholders to design a roadway that supports all modes of transportations, create safe spaces for pedestrians, and add three new green spaces to the District’s portfolio.”
This is a $41 million infrastructure project that moved forward in recent years when the title for the property at the center of the intersection of New York Avenue NE, Florida Avenue NE, and First Street NE – formerly a Wendy’s restaurant – was transferred to the District by eminent domain.
The NoMa BID and NoMa Parks Foundation partnered with DDOT and worked to hire a landscape architecture firm to design thoughtful, innovative public spaces at the intersection. The NoMa BID invites community members to participate in naming the new public spaces to reflect the Northeast DC community and the vibrant, historically-rich neighborhoods surrounding the intersection. This spring, the NoMa BID held the first round in the naming process, which resulted in more than 1,200 nominations from community members.
“We were overwhelmed by the community’s enthusiasm for this naming process. The fact that we received more than 1,200 nominations reflects the community’s excitement for this project, which will significantly improve the experience for everyone who travels through the space,” said NoMa President and CEO Maura Brophy. “We hope to have an equally robust turnout for the final vote.”
All submissions were reviewed by a diverse panel of community stakeholders that included residents and businesses in NoMa and Eckington. The panel considered the ways each suggestion helped to memorialize people, places, and symbols significant to the District. The NoMa BID then presented the results to DDOT for their approval. The public now has the opportunity to vote for their favorite name, from the following selections:
- Douglass Crossing, which emphasizes the important contributions of social reformer and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who was a District resident.
- Mamie “Peanut” Johnson Plaza, which pays homage to the first woman to ever pitch in the Negro League. She was a longtime resident of Northeast DC, a graduate of Long Branch High School, and a youth sports advocate.
- People’s Plaza, which invokes the name of the adjacent, still-standing former warehouse for the DMV-headquartered People’s Drug Store, predecessor to CVS, and is also a double entendre, emphasizing the fact that this new public space belongs to the people of the District.
- Three Stars Plaza, which emphasizes the three stars prominent in the DC flag and reflects the three separate, green public spaces in the project.
- Tiber Gateway, which represents Tiber Creek, now diverted underground, which ran near First Street NE and was important to the early development of DC. Referencing the creek in this name would help connect DC back to the natural characteristics and resources that made its very existence possible.
The public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite of the five names above until Friday, August 25 at 11:59 pm. The NoMa BID will solicit votes through local pop-ups and postcard mailings, as well as online at NameThisNoMaSpace.org. Those without internet access can call (202) 289-0111 to request a ballot be sent in the mail. Returned ballots must be postmarked by August 25.
To learn more about the infrastructure project at Florida Avenue and New York Avenue NE, visit floridaavene-intersection.ddot.dc.gov.