The area around the Eastern Market Metro stop is about to get a big redesign. On the way are a new playground, an outdoor reading area for the nearby Southeast Neighborhood Library, more environmentally friendly landscaping, and new bus stops.
There are six separate pieces of land around the Metro stop, which sits at Pennsylvania Avenue and 7th Street SE. Two are south of Pennsylvania, two are in the median, and two are to the north.
Right now, the area is mostly brick walkways, grass, and trees, with no truly direct route from the corner of 9th and D Streets SE to Pennsylvania. The area around the Metro station entrance itself is mostly brick, with a tree and rock bed blocking part of the most direct route from the corner of 8th and D Streets SE to the entrance. The medians along Pennsylvania Avenue are just grass.
The plan, called Eastern Market Metro Park, is the result of a 2013 design study and transportation management plan commissioned by Barracks Row Main Street as part of its goal to improve public space in the area. The work is scheduled to coincide with renovations to the Southeast Library and will start in 2019.
One new amenity: a playground
A big piece of land between 8th and 9th Streets, D Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue SE will become a park with a playground.
The playground will include equipment like a tree house, jungle gym, swings, and a water pump. It will also be landscaped to include a ridge, rolling hills, a valley, and a small water area landscaped to look like a river.
The rest of this chunk of land will become an area of open grass for people to use. A pedestrian path will run through the park along the axis of South Carolina Avenue, giving people on foot straight access to the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 8th Street.
A new park will go above an expanded Southeast Library
On the Metro side of Pennsylvania Avenue, that pedestrian path will continue the line of South Carolina Avenue through another park. It will pass by a tree-covered “reading area” that will be part of upcoming renovations for Southeast Library, which sits just across from the plaza on 7th Street.
The library will be connected to the area through an entry pavilion attached to the reading area. The entryway will have stairs and an elevator that lead down to an underground portion of the library, to be constructed starting in 2019.
The park will also open up a more direct route through the reading area to the Metro stop for pedestrians coming from the corner of 8th and D Streets.
Bus stops and medians will also get new landscaping
Two smaller pieces of land in the project at the northwest and southeast corners of Pennsylvania Avenue and 8th Street NE will be landscaped to include trees and benches.
They will also feature gardens to catch storm water runoff. A northbound bus stop that is now located at 8th and D will go on the southeast corner of Pennsylvania and 8th, across from the Metro entrance.
The medians along Pennsylvania Avenue will get landscaping designed to capture runoff from the street when it rains. A wrought iron fence will surround the perimeter of the landscaping for pedestrian safety.
The project is set to receive $4.5 million in funding from the DC government. The current proposal was reached after project organizers held eight community meetings and received thousands of comments. The land in the blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets SE is publicly owned.
“This project is a big deal for Capitol Hill and for Ward 6, but also for the District. A green and thriving Eastern Market is the heartbeat of DC,” said Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen.