Big Plans for 14th St, NW Development (Spring Rd to Madison)

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WBJ’s Michael Neibauer has a great report on 14th St development plans:

District planners are eyeing a 1.8-mile stretch of 14th Street NW for a makeover, one that may usher in a streetcar line, a redeveloped Metro bus garage and a more diverse commercial lineup along a corridor often overshadowed by Columbia Heights just to the south.

Running north from Spring Road to Madison Street, the Central 14th Street corridor drives through several middle-income communities, including Petworth, 16th Street Heights, Brightwood Park and Crestwood. Minority-owned storefronts, generally neighborhood-serving retail, dot the strip. A century-old Metro bus garage, which D.C. government planners deem “potentially historic,” comprises two blocks between 14th Street and Iowa Avenue.

Read the rest of the story here.

29 Comment

  • Shows what a yuppy I am- I always drive past that beautiful bus garage and think “man, that would make a great condo development”!

  • I bought a home 2 blocks from the bus barn, by 13th, the area needs something like what was done in Columbia Heights, and the bus barns takes space and doen’t create any trafic of shops and restaurants patrons.

    • I disagree. The CH metro area is way too dense for the area around the bus barn. It’s OK for right on top of the metro, but this neighborhood is still very residential (if you turn down any side street, you’ll see nice homes and tree-lined streets, as opposed to big condos and such).

      And yes, I know there are nice row houses on Kenyon, going towards 13th, but the CH metro area is *much* more business oriented.

      It would be a shame if they tried to duplicate that in the bus barn area. I say keep that beautiful building that is serving a much needed purpose (not some abandoned bldg) and develop small to medium business that knits nicely into the current neighborhood fabric.

      • There could be a middle ground, because there are lots of small busineses on 14th that have closed or are closing for lack of trafic. I agree with you that the barn stays as building but the buses should go and a creative investor do something better out of it.

  • Considering the hideous designs by current architects they need to leave the bus barn alone and just make it a streetcar turnaround. I find it ironic that they took about 25+ years to pull all of the streetcar tracks up and everyone rejoiced because it improved traffic flow and now they’re going to spend millions to rip up the street and put them all back down again. I can see the cars and buses lined up behind the streetcars cursing. God help us when there’s a power outtage on the line and a streetcar is stalled in the middle of the intersection and can’t be moved. Everyone thinks that it will improve traffic but it won’t. That’s why the tracks were pulled up in the first place. They will have to ban parking on both sides of the street to make it work. I can’t wait to hear the screaming on that one. The more things change the more they stay f-ed up the same.

    • MK, unless you live on the median of an interstate, “higher volume of cars” does not equal “improved traffic flow”. Certainly nobody intends to add streetcars as a way of INCREASING the number of cars that will pass through.

      I feel the same way about the bus barn though.

    • streetcar turnaround? streetcars from this century dont need turnarounds.
      also, no thats not why the tracks were pulled up.

    • Streetcars are a terrible substitute for improved bus service. The current trend in cities is to waste money on rail transit, which is unfortunate because there is no sensible reason, other than “trains are cool,” to shift from bus rapid transit to rail. Only places extremely dense like Manhattan can justify (subsurface) rail, as opposed to bus mass transit and making road improvements.

  • At night, the bus barn is pretty. The first time I saw it was while walking south on 16th. I could see all the lit arched areas but had no idea what it was at the time. Keep it! Even if it’s repurposed into an Eastern Market type area.

    • I like that Idea, making the bus barn a market, and develop new things in the surroundings.

    • I think that’s an awesome idea! I agree with Dux that the buses could go (not sure where, though. I’m sure they’d run into the NIMBY syndrome) and the building could be kept and turned into a medium-density retail/farmers’ market space.

      Since this is within walking distance of my house, I’d be sure to spend a lot of time and money there. I like Highlands (despite the incredibly slow service), but there’s not much else that draws me there.

  • Since when does 14th street cut through Petworth???

  • yeah 16th Street Heights!

  • Please (says the nearby resident). That whole run of 14th could become so much more intersting. But the Barn itself, it’s a great structure and I, personally, would love to see it opened up to (engage somehow?) with Arkansas on the backside.

  • Mark, I did not say that a higher volume of cars equals improved traffic flow. When I said “everyone thinks it will improve traffic but it won’t…” I meant that yes, people will have more transportation options which I don’t mind because quite frankly I loved riding the streetcar over a bus any day, but it’s not going to take more cars off of the roads any more than metro does. It will just add to the mix and be crazier than ever.

    I love the idea of the bus barn being a market. That would be wonderful.

  • Bus barn as a market with mid-rise residential on the other areas of the larger WMATA property on which it sits. Also mid-rise residential should be scattered along on 14th where greater denisity (and spending dollars) are necessary. And I agree that this are of 14th sould be much less developed and much less congested than Col. Heights. It could be an awesome part of the city.

  • TiNo STAND UP!

  • leave my neighborhood alone!!!!!!!

  • they should turn the bus barn into a big indoor miniature golf course

  • I LOVE the neighborhood. I love the quiet residential streets and agree the 14th street strip could be such an interesting, great area but right now suffers from a lack of interesting stores. The bus barn is pretty- it would be great if it became an interesting market area- NOT condos and NOT a USA mall. Streetcars would be great- had great experiences with them in Toronto.

  • We are less than a block from the bus barn and we need more food outlets. I think they should develop the bus barn modeled after Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market ( This is an indoor market, selling some prepared foods but also tons of fresh produce, dairy, butchers, bakers, etc. It would give local farmers and producers a place to sell, could maintain the beautful building, and would also support the District Government’s new focus on fighting obesity and desire to provide city residents with healthy food options. It would be nice, in addition to the formal solicitation to developers, if the city would put out a request for ideas from the residents. Anybody know how I could get this idea to the folks that are looking at ideas?

    • Yes, I love this idea! This is what my husband and I have been dreaming of going in there…we would support this!

  • one more comment… since the busbarn’s parking lot is undergoing renovation, the metro workers are all parking on our street. This is aggravating. Any development plan must include parking in the bus barn.

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