As the city prepares to begin construction of a new garage at the 2nd District Police Headquarters, officials have revised their temporary parking plan that will reserve up to 248 spaces around the community for displaced personnel starting Nov. 13.
The garage will be located behind the police station at 3320 Idaho Ave. NW, and it will serve a new emergency family shelter while also alleviating existing parking pressures. However, the construction will take over much of the station’s existing on-site parking, prompting months of community discussion about where to fit the displaced cars.
The city presented the final iteration of plans at an Oct. 16 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3C (Cleveland Park, Massachusetts Avenue Heights, Woodley Park). In response to community feedback officials said they had reduced the spaces they would use along Wisconsin Avenue — no longer affecting metered spots relied upon by businesses — and redistributed them on more residential streets. The spaces reserved for police do not include areas with Zone 3 Residential Parking Permit restrictions.
Depending on the time and day, 161 to 248 parking spaces will be affected by new restrictions: 30 to 65 spaces in the Cathedral Commons parking garage, 52 on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue, 51 on the west side of Wisconsin Avenue, 30 on Idaho Avenue, 23 on Macomb Street and 27 on 39th Street.
ANC 3C member Angela Bradbery said she still has reservations about the scale of the garage and shelter, but she conceded that a larger parking facility will relieve the busy area once it opens. The new three-story garage will accommodate 59 more spaces than the current surface parking lot.
“It will be good to get the police off the streets,” Bradbery told The Current.
The 2nd District police station borders the Newark Street Community Garden. To disguise the parking garage, the side facing the garden will include a green screen with possible vertical horticulture, officials said. Part of the existing wall between the garden and the police station will be removed during the project, according to Newark Street Community Garden president Maureen Spagnolo, meaning 11 plots will require relocation. The city is slated to contact garden representatives this week and continue a dialogue until the garage is complete, D.C. Department of General Services officials told residents at the Oct. 16 presentation.
Construction on the parking garage is expected to wrap up in June next year. After the parking garage is finished, the city will break ground on the short-term family shelter planned for the police station site as part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s initiative to build smaller emergency housing facilities in all eight wards.
The Ward 3 shelter, intended to house families for 60 to 90 days before placing them in more permanent homes, has been met with some resistance among neighbors. Officials say the police station was selected by the D.C. Council because it sits on District land and is cost-effective. But some neighbors argue that the site was hastily chosen and that the shelter will impact the value of real estate, crowd public schools and be too tall for its surroundings.
Ward 3 D.C. Council member Mary Cheh, a proponent of the shelter, addressed complaints in an April letter. “This shelter will give Ward 3 a way to assist in the District-wide strategy to help families to transition out of homelessness and into permanent housing,” Cheh wrote. “It is critical that we remember that these are families in crisis.”