WASHINGTON -- One of The District’s fastest growing neighborhoods has the hottest commodity developers are looking for — a Metro station. But there’s one problem. Two, actually. The station entrances at NoMa-Gallaudet Metro are on only one side of the tracks.
“For the past hundred years the railroad tracks have been a barrier in the neighborhood,” said Tony Goodman, who lives around the corner from the NoMa station.
Those coming from Gallaudet University, the popular Union Market, and the Trinidad neighborhood have to walk a circuitous maze of narrow sidewalks and underpasses to get to Metro entrances on the west side of the tracks.
But this week, D.C. Council approved a plan to build a new station entrance by digging a tunnel underneath the tracks.
“Having an actual, physical connection between the sides is going to help stitch the neighborhood together,” said Goodman, who once represented the neighborhood as ANC commissioner and is now chief of staff for Councilmember At-Large David Grosso.
“N Street is going to lead right into our new Metro entrance,” Goodman explained.
Council earmarked $23 million for the tunnel, which is now an overgrown grass slope next to Third Street Northeast.
It is money well spent for DC Council, who insists this will better connect the station to popular Union Market and high-rise apartment buildings, still under construction.
Goodman said NoMa counted zero residents during the 2010 Census and now there are more than 7,000 people living there.
Next to the new tunnel, a private developer will build a high-rise of more than 600 apartments and condos, as well as a 200-room hotel. The ground floor features an opening that leads straight to the new Metro entrance.
“We have a lot of new residents coming,” said Goodman. “The best thing we can do is make sure those people are not driving here.”
Work is not slated to begin until 2023.