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Three planning principles for better transportation projects - Mobility Lab

Washington, DC’s Southwest and Capitol Riverfront neighborhoods are changing. According to Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID, this area of DC is rapidly developing into a sort of “new downtown”—the number of residents is expected to double in the next 10 years, and planned development projects range from commercial real estate to hospitality and performance venues.

The neighborhoods have complicated histories. Before the 1950s, Southwest DC was a vibrant black working-class community, while the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood was largely a commercial and industrial site for the Navy. Construction of the interstate 395/695 and urban “renewal” projects in the 50s displaced residents of Southwest DC, and the decline of industry left the Capitol Riverfront abandoned by developers. Currently, the neighborhoods are populated largely by black and white middle-class residents, but the population of higher-income white residents is increasing.

But getting to the area from the rest of the city is difficult. Interstate 395/695 runs through the neighborhoods, causing North-South mobility issues. Sports, nightlife, and performance venues bring in large amounts of traffic. Transit options are plentiful, but must be improved and increased to adapt to the area’s rapid development.

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