The project improving the connection from Southeast’s Garfield Park to the area south of Interstate 295 took a step forward on Wednesday with a workshop in which the community provided input to the D.C. Department of Transportation and project managers.
Residents offered ideas on the project’s key challenge — creating a bike path running under the highway to First and F streets Southeast and onto Capitol Hill.
The impetus for the project is the construction of the three-block Washington Canal Park in the rectangle formed by Second, Third, I and M streets Southeast.
The idea is to provide an easy connection from the new park through Garfield Park and to the Capitol South Metro stop, according to Bob Wagner of Toole Design Group, the lead contractor for the project.
“This is about getting a linkage between two parks, as well as between Capitol Hill and the emerging waterfront,” said Chris Delfs, the DDOT planner supervising the project.
A staircase currently is the only way to get from the underpass to Garfield Park. There also are high curbs and a lack of crosswalks across Virginia Avenue, just south of the interstate.
Wagner said the bulk of the construction likely will be a ramp to make the underpass bike- and disability-accessible and the bike path snaking northwest through Garfield Park, as he said residents want bikers to avoid the Second Street sidewalk that passes between bocce ball courts and a playground.
The project will take its next step in December at a meeting of its 19-member advisory committee
Current plans call for final designs to be ready by July 2008.
The Web site for the project is tooledesign.com/projects/garfieldpark.
— Daniel Heim