Friday, June 18, 2010

WBJ report on development plans for upper 14th Street

Great news from Michael Niebauer of WBJ. Plans are underway to develop 14th Street between Spring and Madison:

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.

Area residents say the strip falls well short of its potential. There are too many liquor stores, carry-out joints, barber shops and hair salons, not enough sit-down restaurants or midsized retail stores, said Joseph Vaughan, a Ward 4 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and resident of nearby Shepherd Street. The strip needs better lighting, wider sidewalks — enhancements to make the corridor more inviting.

“The key is diversity of selection of goods and services to accommodate the broader community,” Vaughan said.

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