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Director, Real Estate Foundationand D.C. Government RelationsFred Weiner
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How will the university ensure that the development has sufficient parking, especially with the removal of the Sixth Street parking garage?
The development vision includes plans for constructing underground parking in parcels 2, 3 and 4, which will meet the long-term parking needs of the corridor. As for the interim period of construction, there will be a transition plan to accommodate the parking needs of the university community.
How soon will we see actual construction on the Sixth Street parcels?
Multiple steps must be accomplished before we break ground on Sixth Street. We are currently in negotiations with the JBG Companies to finalize the development agreement. Part of the process will also include gathering feedback from stakeholders within the Gallaudet community, which is intended to inform the development vision. With a complete development vision, JBG will then work with District government agencies to secure permits and ensure the development plans comply with zoning laws and building codes, a process that may take up to two years. We anticipate breaking ground on the first parcel in 2017.
How can Gallaudet University students, faculty, and staff, as well as other stakeholders, become involved in the Sixth Street Development process?
There are several ways you can get involved with the Sixth Street Development process. You can attend development update presentations open to the campus, where you will be given the opportunity to ask questions and submit comments. In the near future, the RFP team will host charrettes open to stakeholders intended to help finalize the Sixth Street development vision, from building design to space use.
You can also submit comments and suggestions as well as questions for the development vision online. To receive updates, please sign up for our e-mail distribution list.
Are there 6th Street traffic calming or infrastructure plans?
Several near-term and long-term strategies to calm traffic and improve the streetscape on 6th Street are being considered, including narrowing the width of the street, reducing vehicular lanes, installing cycle tracks, and adding parking spaces on the curb (you can read about these strategies in the RFQ). These plans are contingent on financing, feedback from community stakeholders, and discussions with the DC government.
However, the university is excited to announce that the Sixth Street traffic calming process has already begun: the University has partnered with the DC Office of Planning, the DC Department of Transportation, Sustainable DC, and the development company Edens to construct a permanent parklet, the first of its kind in DC, on Sixth Street. A dedicated bike lane is also being added to the street.
How will the university maintain a safe and secure environment within the Sixth Street Corridor?
The university is prioritizing the issue of safety and security in the Sixth Street development vision. When discussing the 'Public Realm' of the Sixth Street Corridor in the RFQ document, 'ground floor lobbies' and 'active spaces' are two concepts expected to instill a feeling of safety within the Corridor. Other improvements and changes, such as increased street/ sidewalk lighting and traffic calming strategies, should further contribute to the safety and security of the space.
In addition, the Department of Public Safety has been well-informed of the Sixth Street development, and will continue to be involved with the process. They are expected to play a pivotal role in maintaining a safe and secure environment: one idea is to install a security kiosk, manned by a DPS officer, at the gateway plaza.
Does the Sixth Street Development specify the removal of some sections of the fence surrounding the Gallaudet campus? Which parts?
There are no firm plans regarding the fence at this time. However, a major part of the Sixth Street Corridor transformation is the conversion of the Appleby site on the corner of Florida and Sixth into a pedestrian entrance to the campus. This will be the initial foray into physically tearing a section of the fence down and opening the campus to the surrounding community. Another part of the Corridor transformation that could lead to more changes of physical campus boundaries is the improvement of Sixth Street into a more pedestrian friendly, safe, and vibrant area that serves as a 'transition zone' between the campus and the Florida Avenue Market.
Will the property be developed for retail, offices, and/or residential?
Likely all of the above, with emphasis on retail and residential. The residential units will be available for leasing, and the retailers chosen will represent the uniqueness of the location, catering to the college atmosphere of Gallaudet while reflecting the gritty urbanism of the Florida Avenue Market. The goal is to establish the Sixth Street Corridor as a unique destination: a creative and cultural district that builds upon its current surroundings.
What will happen with the transportation department currently located in the Appleby building?
The University is currently evaluating multiple locations for the functions currently housed at the Appleby building. The University will remain steadfastly committed to meeting the service needs of the campus. We do not anticipate relocation needs for these functions to be a barrier to redevelopment of the parcel or to delay potential redevelopment timelines that may be proposed.
Will the development include affordable housing as well as university housing?
A portion of the residential units will be affordable, per DC Inclusionary Zoning requirements. Additionally, housing on the parcels east of Sixth Street will be geared more towards Gallaudet community members, including staff, faculty, and alumni.
How will Gallaudet ensure accessibility within the Sixth Street Corridor?
The development process includes multiple mechanisms to ensure that the Sixth Street Corridor will be accessible to all those who want to come and experience the space. Accessibility has been a strong point of emphasis in choosing a developer: one indication of the university's commitment to accessibility is the incorporation of DeafSpace guidelines into the RFQ and RFP documents.
An important factor in improving accessibility within the development vision is gathering feedback from our stakeholders. In our online comments and feedback form, a category named 'Accessibility/Safety/Parking' has been included. Please feel free to submit your concerns or suggestions. There will also be opportunities to share your accessibility recommendations in person at various stakeholder meetings in the near future. Keep an eye out for more information about these stakeholder meetings.
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