Loose Lips

Ahead of Hearings, Bowser Visits “Strikingly Isolated” Soccer Stadium Site

With two committee hearings planned this week on the proposed D.C. United soccer stadium, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser headed to Buzzard Point yesterday to tour the proposed site. Along for sherpa duty: Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, whose ward would include the soccer stadium (though he won't be representing it by the time it gets built, if it does).

Bowser won't start hearing from affected residents until a hearing tonight at Ward 1's Reeves Center, but her post-tour remarks suggested that the Democratic mayoral nominee isn't thrilled about the site. After seeing the distance between the stadium location and the Navy Yard and Waterfront Metro stations (roughly half a mile) Bowser said that the proposed site was "a good walk" from transit options.

While LL thinks the walk could do fans some good, Bowser accused Vince Gray's stadium-pushing administration of neglecting to consider how people would get to the site.

"Looking at it from this lens, it's strikingly isolated," Bowser said.

That's exactly what Wells would want to hear from his one-time primary foe. After the D.C. Council cut the budget for streetcar lines, including a potential track to Buzzard Point, Wells waffled on his own support for the project.

If Bowser sounded ambivalent about the prospect of fans walking half a mile to the stadium, though, she was even less thrilled by the Gray administration's proposal to swap the Reeves Center to developer Akridge in exchange for stadium land.

"It's the swap that's been most problematic for me," Bowser said.

Bowser's first hearing on the stadium starts tonight at 6 p.m. at the Reeves Center at 14th and U streets NW, with another hearing tomorrow starting at 7 p.m. at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs at 1100 4th Street SW.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Al

    This is a joke, right? 1/2 mile is too far to walk? Is she insane? The farragut north and dupont circle metros are about 1/2 mile apart. Would you protest walking that distance?

    She's infuriating. Who is running her campaign, god.

  • Brandon

    We should probably remove the National Zoo as well seeing how that's over a 1/2 mile walk from the metro.

  • sbc

    While half a mile isn't too far to walk, I'm more concerned that they assume people will walk in an orderly way across South Capitol, where DDOT is planning to build a giant traffic oval that will require pedestrians to cross a lot of different streets that are mostly designed for the fast transit of cars:

    http://www.anacostiawaterfront.org/awi-transportation-projects/south-capitol-street-corridor/?utm_source=shorturl&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl and http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/17260/formal-geometry-forces-awkward-south-capitol-design/ describe that problem with pictures.

  • NHAve

    We already walk .5 to get from Stadium armory to Lot 8 at RFK. The main entrance is somewhat closer - about .3 miles. I doubt anyone who lives 0.5 miles from a metro considers themselves "strikingly isolated"

  • Doris

    Vince Gray was a great mayor this lady will be Adrian Fenty pt. 2 !! What is she talking about ?!? she is ignorant .

  • Tight Lips

    If you compare it to the other active stadiums in DC, a half-mile is far.

    Wizards stadium, right next to Gallery Place
    Nats Stadium - right next to Metro.

    I personally don't have a problem with a half mile walk, but I could see where she is coming from.

    I am sure most Soccer fans wouldn't mind the walk either

  • shipsa01

    The other infuriating thing is that she completely dismisses buses in her analysis of "transit options." The 74 bus runs every 15 minutes from Convention Center / Gallery Place and stops 3 blocks away at 1/2 and O Streets, SW.

    This is from the person who represents DC on the WMATA Board of Directors, which has oversight over... Metrobuses. Sigh.(http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/board_of_directors/)

    And she's qualified to be our mayor... why?

  • ooohhh weee

    This our next mayor?? All she had to do was google current walking distance to RFK now from Stadium-Armory metro then she would realize how ignorant the distance argument is!

    Also she should understand as a native that next to Redskin fans (maybe Caps) one could argue that DC United fans are probably the most dedicated fan base and wouldn't mind the half mile march. See Seattle Sounders pregame march!!!

    "It is better to be thought of a fool than to speak and remove all doubt"
    She should be quiet until after the election. Damn.

  • rt

    This visionless, do-nothing hag will be the worst thing to happen to DC since SPK.

  • justsayin

    @rt: lol..while I laugh at your comment, the implications of a Bowser-led city are seriously concerning. She's getting deep into her feelings about the walking distance to the proposed stadium but just last week she gave the finger to the residents of Park Southern because she doesn't seem to have clean hands in her dealings, and has been a shift less and lazy committee Chair who couldn't be bothered about the squalid conditions of the property.

  • SEJerome

    Boo hoo. The stadium would likely spur additional development in between the metro stations and stadium making it a pleasant walk. Distance from these metro stations is not a barrier. I do agree with her that the financial deal is the biggest barrier.


    Someone from Muriel Bowser campaign office called me. All the woman had to say on the other end of the telephone, I am calling from Muriel Bowser's, I stated before she could complete her sentence, I am not voting for Muriel and hung up the telephone.

    16th Street Heights Resident

  • RR

    While I understand Bowser's concern in regards to the land swap, the walking distance issue is easily dealt with.

    I mean, look no further than the Nats Express! Fans used to park at RFK, and be shuttled down to Nats Park. Crisis averted! It's not that hard. You just have to remember to keep your head down while going under overpasses.

    I, as a DC United season ticket holder, would be fine with the walk. I could use it! If there was a rallying point near the Waterfront Metro, it could produce an opportunity to have a traditional "March to the Match", which could add another great feature to what is already the best fan experience in DC sports.

  • Low Headways

    @shipsa01 While I appreciate the wide variety of transit options that exist, a bus with 15-minute headways is hardly adequate to carry the crowds to/from a major sporting event. It's already insane that WMATA insists on maintaining its 12-minute headways on the Green Line even when thousands of people are heading to and from Nationals Park; imagine the same crowds but waiting for a tiny bus that comes even less often.

    (This is a knock purely against WMATA, I should add. If they were to dramatically increase headways I would drop this line of objection. But they won't because they don't understand what makes transit actually useful to people.)

  • ooohhh weee

    Yo Low Headways I believe Metro has a few express trains from Gallery on game nights

  • Corky

    I agree with her on the proposed give away of the Reeves Center to some deep pocket developer. That's just plain stupid and fiscally unsound. If the city really wants to give away one of it's most important assets, maybe it should at least insist that the billionaire developers build the city a new municipal building in exchange. Otherwise, tell them to stuff it. The tax payers shouldn't have to foot the cost of a new municipal center for a stupid stadium. That's so ridiculous, I can't even imagine what the hell the Mayor and his crew were thinking.

  • sbc

    @ ooohhh weee I have NEVER seen a train running express to Nats Park with passengers on and I live at Waterfront and commuted on the Green Line through Gallery Place for years. I have seen trains running empty through GP to pick folks up at Navy Yard after games, but that doesn't solve the problem of getting folks to Buzzard Point.

    With the South Capitol redevelopment, I think they do have to expect that people will walk from Waterfront, and figure out a route that doesn't mess up traffic on M Street or really shut off people who live south of M.

  • Mama

    I walked a mile from Foggy Bottom to the Lincoln Memorial. Where was my trolley car? What is this nonsense? A half a mile?? Does she understand how little distance that is? So ridiculous.

  • Tight Lips

    @sbc I agree but also, if they decide to fix RFK or do something else with that land, those shuttles wouldn't work.

    I think we should swap DC United for the Redskins and fix RFK Stadium

  • drez

    It's a long walk for parents with young children- an important DC United demographic.

  • Steph

    Did you see our politicians at the Trump ground breaking today? Funny as hell.. I love Donald Trump. He is the ultimate example of how a white man "should" really live. He can file bankruptcy "twice" and still get control of a magnificent piece of real estate downtown Washington DC. Call "our" "current" President every name in the book and still have black politicians falling all over themselves to take pictures with him...
    DT, you are the ultimate pimp!

  • W Jordan

    The swap is the best part of the deal once the valuations are settled. The District needs to save its borrowing cap for other more profitable so to speak investments. Bowser should put her stamp on the deal, by focusing on a development vision for that 0.5mile gap space. The solution is not a light-rail boondoggle.

  • ooohhh weee

    Then maybe you should go to some Nats games???

  • cminus

    @sbc, I also live in Waterfront, and I have seen extra trains to the stadium before Nationals games. During rush hour, on game days I sometimes see listings for two consecutive Green Line trains heading south from Gallery Place, with one of them only going as far as Anacostia. I suppose these aren't technically "express" trains, because that's impossible to do without multiple tracks in each direction, but there is some expanded train service.

    That said, I'm hoping that this doesn't go forward. As stadium deals go this one's not that bad, but stadium deals are usually terrible for cities so that doesn't say much. While the proposed stadium arrangement would probably be an improvement over the status quo, economically speaking, that's ignoring a huge opportunity cost -- the city could do a lot better by just selling the Reeves Center, moving the offices somewhere cheaper, and calling it a deal. Soccer doesn't need to enter into it.

  • Taylor Harper

    You know what else is a half mile walk? The walk from the Stadium-Armory Metro station to the RFK Stadium box office. That doesn't include walking to Lot 8 or around the stadium to our seats.

  • itsjustamess

    Did Bowser take a tour of Park Southern before she concluded no hearings were necessary?

  • W Jordan

    Nats' Games should be congested, because development design execution was/is incomplete. That so many people rush home after a game is consistent with commercial under development in the area, otherwise enough people would stay and enjoy after the game festivities to mitigate demand on Metro. A light-rail is not the primary investment needed. We don't want people to easily get home.

    People love to walk/stroll Old Town and Georgetown live off of this dynamic. For the sake of the city, we have to help Bowser to develop a vision. Something beyond the current pseudo Start Growth BS, Light-Rail and condos.

  • DCShadyBoots

    She'll call a hearing over the stadium but not over a crony contractor that owes the city back rent and is a slum lord.

  • JC

    Bowser - is there a metro station in DC that has the land available to support the stadium in closer proximity and doesn't have an active development plan already in motion?

    The point of the stadium is to spur development of as yet non-existent services (a.k.a. tax revenue) in the area of buzzard point. Build it closer to a metro station and you'll be displacing existing residential development instead of a cement factory and pepco substation. Good luck selling that.

  • And This Our Future Mayor

    This is a microcosm of the absolute ignorance of Muriel Bowser.
    What in the world is she talking about?
    This statement from her is coming from someone who not only sits on the Metro Board (WMAT) but is also the Chair of Economic Development Committee.

    She is an idiot!

    The people in her Ward who know her best have been saying it all along which is why she barely won her own Ward in the primary.

    Vince Gray and Jack Evans have been saying all along she is the dullest knife in the drawer, and every time she opens her mouth it becomes more evident.

    It's no wonder that she refuses to engage a sharp intellectual such as David Catania b/c she is way out of her league and will get embarrassingly exposed for her lack of intellect.

    Lord help us if she is elected... DC is gonna be sorry they traded Mayor Vince Gray for know nothing Bowser.