Coming out of the escalator at Eastern Market, a visitor immediately arrives in the middle of a wide, open space filled with pretty much nothing. To get to most of the neighborhood, it’s necessary to cross busy Pennsyvania Avenue to another wide, open mostly-empty plaza before reaching the wonderful neighborhood blocks beyond.


Eastern Market Metro Plaza, from Live Maps.



It wasn’t supposed to be this way—L’Enfant intended a series of squares, some of which (like Stanton and Lincoln) became squares, while others (like Seward and this one) didn’t. Now, the Capitol Hill Town Square project is considering alternatives. On the conservative end, we could simply landscape the existing triangles better:


Earlier(?) concept for the plaza from Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, Inc.


Or, better yet, we could unify the green space, creating a central square that’s actually square (well, rectangular) and routing traffic around, like at Stanton or Mount Vernon Squares. Of course, some people oppose the idea; after all, what works well in the northern half of the neighborhood would obviously be a disaster in the southern half.

There will be a community meeting, tentatively planned for September 24th, which I’ll post on the calendar (in the right sidebar) when the time and place is announced. I’ll be out of the country, missing not only this but Park(ing) Day and Car-Free Day, but I hope many residents of the Capitol Hill area will go speak up for a true town square.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.