Downtown: Built Up, but Not Yet Fully Built Out
D.C.'s downtown has come a long way from the days of vast surface parking lots, and with the big CityCenterDC project nearing completion, it might appear as if downtown is just about at capacity (barring a change to the Height Act, that is). But Rich Bradley, executive director of the Downtown Business Improvement District, says the next ten years could bring as much change to downtown as we've seen so far this millennium. According to his calculations, the coming decade will see $6 billion to $7 billion in new investment downtown.
And so the Downtown BID has put together an interactive timeline called Downtown 2020 to highlight the projects coming to the city's center. From the arrival of hotels and restaurants and theaters to the construction of new buildings and infrastructure improvements, the site serves as a one-stop shop for information on what's coming down the pike. (It's worth noting that the BID's core mission is to promote downtown as a place to do business, so its projections may serve that end.)
One thing that's likely coming is a streetcar with its own lane of traffic. As reported by Greater Greater Washington yesterday, the District Department of Transportation has settled on a proposal to build a streetcar on K Street NW that will be separated from car traffic by a median for most of its run between 10th and 21st streets. The streetcar line is still years off—even the initial H Street NE line, from which the K Street line will be extended, won't open until next year—but the Downtown BID has created a visualization that allows you to ride the line virtually:
Starting around 3:45, you can see the part of the route around Mt. Vernon Square. Here, Bradley says, the BID is considering a plan to extend the grassy square itself and run the streetcar tracks right on it, separated from traffic—much as you'd see in some European cities.
This is all still preliminary, but one thing is clear: Although downtown development has come a long way, it's not close to done yet.
Map via Downtown 2020