The L Street Plaza is envisioned as NoMa’s “town square” and will be the main spot for community events like farmer’s markets and concerts, as well as larger regional events, such as fairs and festivals. Consistent with the Public Realm Design Plan and community feedback, preliminary design for the Plaza includes an open plaza, permanent and occasional seating, horizontal and vertical green spaces, water and artistic elements. The L Street Plaza is being planned to accommodate public gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
The site of the L Street Plaza is located in the public right-of-way L Street, NE adjacent to the recently demolished Greyhound Bus Station and to the east of First Street, NE. The location of the L Street Plaza, in the heart of NoMa and at the terminus of the Metropolitan Branch Trail, is ideal for NoMa’s town square. The Plaza will have traffic calming measures installed to allow for a curbless pedestrian experience and will have a special area for bicyclists and other Metropolitan Branch Trail users to gather and refresh before the next leg of their journey. Additionally, adjacent planned development at “Storey Park” includes a monumental stairway that faces onto the designated performance area of the Plaza, enlarging and further enlivening the gathering space.
The development of the L Street Plaza at a scale sufficient to serve large gatherings was enabled by a public-private partnership. The property owners to the south of the L Street right-of-way set back their building to provide more space for the Plaza. The addition of their grand public stair oriented to the L Street Plaza will make this one of NoMa’s “signature moments”.
The L Street Plaza is unique, not only as a public-private partnership, but given its location in a public right of way. Design challenges include: modification of an existing street to accommodate a great public space, avoidance of utility conflicts, and phasing of construction to ensure the least disruption to the public and transportation corridors.
L Street Plaza Massing Studies
AECOM created the preliminary conceptual design for the L Street Plaza during their work on the NoMa Public Realm Design Plan. The firm is currently working on more detailed schematic designs for the Plaza using the concepts in the Public Realm Design Plan and programmatic guidance derived from community input. Community input favored activities such as a farmer’s market, shopping, sitting in the shade, listening to music and watching movies. It was also suggested that the L Street Plaza be a flexible space and include ample trees and vegetation.
Summary of comments from the 2012 community meeting on potential uses for the L Street Plaza.
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