Dec 6, 2022 - News

These infrastructure proposals could transform D.C.

North Capitol could see changes thanks to federal funding. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pedestrian-friendly North Capitol, expanded broadband, and a recreational development along the Anacostia riverfront are just some of the proposals to use $3 billion in Build Back Better funds coming to D.C.

Why it matters: These proposals laid out in a recent wish list by a mayoral task force could help the city reach its pedestrian safety and environmental resilience goals.

Here are several proposals that caught our eye:

Anacostia riverfront

One proposal would expand Boathouse Row along the Anacostia River near the Sousa Bridge — rebuilding the existing boathouse and adding a wetland boardwalk, kayak rental, and food areas.

  • The project aims to connect the Anacostia waterfront from the 11th Street Bridge to the Anacostia Railroad Bridge.
  • D.C. is already developing the park by the 11th Street Bridge with outdoor playgrounds, performance spaces, and public art.

Broadband for underserved communities

Another proposal seeks to expand internet access in wards 7 and 8 (Congress Heights, Navy Yard, Hill East, Dupont Park, and Deanwood) as well as Ward 5 (Edgewood, Brentwood, and Brookland) — the areas where the highest proportion of residents lack internet access. The proposal would subsidize internet plans and expand the city's telecommunications and broadband network.

North Capitol Street, reimagined

Several proposals focus on public transit, protected bike lanes, and safer sidewalks, including along North Capitol.

  • The plan would transform four miles of the street to improve pedestrian and bike safety, as well as ease traffic.
  • This focus comes as fatal pedestrian-involved crashes are up in D.C. North Capitol was one location that had its speed limit lowered as part of the city's Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic deaths.

Connective tissue and jobs training

One proposal focuses on connecting majority Black neighborhoods — including Parkside, Eastland Gardens, and Kenilworth — that have been separated from other parts of the area by highways.

  • The proposal focuses on redesigning streets, such as by putting the highway underground, and increasing mobility and transit options. The project would take 27 months and cost $5 million.

Another proposal would create a Green Jobs Academy in wards 7 and 8 (e.g. Congress Heights, Anacostia, Deanwood, and Dupont Park) to train workers in HVAC maintenance, solar panel installation, transit design, and other environmental jobs.

What’s next: The mayor’s office says it has instructed agencies to begin planning to implement the proposals once it receives the Build Back Better funds.

  • The $3 billion is unlikely to foot the bill, though, so the task force would need to identify additional money.

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