Photo by the author.
A suburban-style building is about to go up in the shadow of smart-growth development at the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station.
While construction has begun on Rhode Island Station, an mixed-use infill development that is replacing the former parking lot at the Metro station, a smaller, adjacent development has not received much attention.
In the parking lot of Rhode Island Place, a large strip mall that was plopped down on top of what used to be a city impoundment lot (and a cemetery before that), TD Bank is about to begin construction on a new branch. This was first reported by a commenter on the Rhode Island Ave NE Insider blog in March, but was not widely circulated.
On the one hand, this land is a completely unused piece of asphalt. Look at the map here—the location is in the part of the parking lot furthest from both the Giant and the Home Depot. I never see any cars parked there, even during busy hours at the stores. The land will be better utilized than before, but it will still be a car-centric drive-to and -through location.
A sidewalk to the Metro station runs alongside this site. When the bank is completed, there will be more complex traffic movements at the point where the sidewalk meets the parking lot. It will be worth paying attention to pedestrian safety at this location when the construction is finished.
It’s somewhat ironic that, while we are encouraging transit-oriented development on the old WMATA parking lot next door, we’re moving further away from that goal at Rhode Island Place.