January 24, 2018
Jonathan D. Rogers
Planning and Sustainability Administration
District Department of Transportation
55 M Street SE, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20003
RE: Southeast Boulevard and Barney Circle Public Meeting #2
Dear Jonathan Rogers:
Casey Trees is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit with a mission “to restore, enhance, and protect the tree canopy of the nation’s capital.” To fulfill this mission, we plant trees; monitor the city’s tree canopy; and work with city officials, developers, and residents to prioritize trees. We are committed to helping the District reach its 40 percent tree canopy goal by 2032. Therefore, we appreciate the opportunity to share our vision for a new Southeast Boulevard in Ward 6 – the ward with the lowest tree canopy in D.C. We look forward to working with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) during the design phase to incorporate new trees into a space where none exist today.
It is clear that transforming this empty space into a lush, green attraction is a priority. The planning study released by the D.C. Office of Planning (DCOP) in 2015 set increasing tree cover and vegetation as a project goal. As mentioned throughout the Southeast Boulevard and Barney Circle Environmental Assessment FAQ page, street trees and green infrastructure along this corridor are necessary and will have beneficial impacts on the surrounding community, pedestrians, cyclists, and commuters.
We believe Sketch 2 is the best design as it includes a center median ranging from 8-28 feet wide with a sufficient amount of plantable space to grow trees in a continuous planting strip. We recommend selecting Sketch 2 and planting small, urban hearty shade trees at least 10 feet apart to ensure at least 1,000 cubic feet of soil per tree. For suggestions of appropriate tree species to use in this setting, review Casey Trees’ Urban Tree Selection Guide.
The 4.7 acres of public right-of-way space shown in DDOT’s proposed sketches present a rare opportunity to establish a new forested green space along the boulevard. We recommend that at least 50% of this space be designated as a new tree-filled park. With this set-aside, DDOT can create an attractive, locally cherished public space similar in size to the 2.2 acres of green space available at nearby Yards Park. Such a park would have innumerable benefits by not only growing tree canopy and improving aesthetics, but also by helping the city reach its environmental goals, supporting a more connected citywide ecosystem, and reducing the volume of polluted stormwater entering the Anacostia River.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Casey Trees would be happy to work with you to provide further tree-related analyses for Southeast Boulevard. If you have any questions about these recommendations, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.