The Bike Estate - December 19, 2016

Poplar Point development
Image: Redbrick Partners 
The Bike Estate scours local blogs and government websites for information about bike facilities in new, recently opened, or planned residential or commercial buildings. The following is recently-filed development applications with the Zoning Commission.

Poplar Point
Poplar Point will finally see development after years of false starts, speculation, and legislative or environmental issues.

A five-building mixed-use development was submitted by Redbrick Partners at Poplar Point along Howard Road SE and in between Interstate 295, South Capitol Street SE and just south of the Anacostia River in Ward 8.  As reported by Urban Turf, the project will include five buildings totaling 680 to 700 residential units, 1.6 million square feet of office space, 45,300 square feet of of retail and over 600 bicycle parking spaces.

Poplar Point was considered as a location for as a potential location for a new FBI headquarters and an early location for the new DC United Soccer stadium, which eventually ended up near Buzzard Point. According to the Washington Business Journal and the National Park Service (NPS), many entities have owned pieces of Poplar Point and include the District's Lanham Tree Nursery, NPS, the Architect of the Capitol, and the Navy and Army Corps of Engineers.

Much of Poplar Point, especially the area to the southwest, was badly contaminated with toxic waist that includes metals, pesticides, and other harmful items in the soil, sediment and groundwater, limiting the opportunity for development. While much of the area is still in limbo, the portion closest to Howard Road is presumably clean and was acquired for $8.5 million in 2013 by District-based Redbrick Partners.

A protected 2-way bike lane appears in initial plans
Image: Redbrick Partners  

According to Redbrick's application, bicycle usage will also be integrated into the design of the project and include bicycle lanes on streets which connect into the overall District bike network.

The project will provide 541 long-term and 90 short-term bicycle parking spaces. The short-term spaces will be allocated mostly along Howard Road, with a few allocated along the service drive near the rear of the buildings near loading docks. The plan allocates a total of 930 underground vehicle parking spaces, a potentially high amount given the project's proximity to the Green line and several bus routes.

Protected bike lanes on Howard Road SE
Image: Redbrick Partners
Howard Road will be a bicycle focal point as plans suggest bicycle-related street scape improvements and include bicycle lanes along this street. While the project's Planned Unit Development (PUD) statement saying lanes, the proposed Howard Road cross section appears to include an approximately 9-foot-wide protected bike lane. The protected lane appears to also contain a 3-foot raised buffer to protect riders from being doored by vehicle passengers and a 4-foot tree box to separate cyclists from pedestrians.

Artist interpretation of Howard Road and protected bike lane.
Image: Redbrick Partners

The project plan also states that it will build a better integrated bike and pedestrian connection to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and the South Capitol / Fredrick Douglass bridge as well as make improvements to Anacostia Metrorail station entrance nearest the project. The current PUD does not address pedestrian or bicycle connections along the "rear" of the two buildings that abut Suitland Parkway or addresses connections along Howard Road below Interstate 295. Redbrick has contacted Wells+Associates to conduct a Comprehensive Transportation Review, which will project transportation use by residents and visitors.