DC grabs ‘Dave Thomas Circle’ through eminent domain

A satellite view of “Dave Thomas Circle” at New York Avenue NE, Florida Avenue NE and First Street NE in NoMa. (Courtesy Google Street View)

In the pantheon of confusing and dangerous D.C. intersections, “Dave Thomas Circle” in Northeast certainly ranks high. But, perhaps, not for long.

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office late Monday said that the District acquired the Wendy’s-centric intersection of New York Avenue NE, Florida Avenue NE and First Street NE through eminent domain.

The plan now is to redesign the maligned spot to make it safer.

“Almost every Washingtonian has their own Dave Thomas Circle horror story. Now, we are taking the necessary actions to transform this confusing intersection into a multimodal project that supports the current and future needs of D.C. drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians,” Bowser said in a release.

“We are grateful to all of the input and advocacy from neighbors, local businesses and nonprofits, the Council, and federal partners, and know that more collaboration will be needed as we redesign and reimagine this important landmark.”

The District Department of Transportation will tackle the redesign.

According to a release, the redesigned intersection will include the following:

  • Realign and add two-way traffic to First Street NE;
  • Restore two-way traffic on Florida Avenue NE;
  • Add protected bicycle lanes;
  • Make other improvements benefitting safety and legibility for all modes of travel; and
  • Create three new public park spaces.

The District Department of Transportation said it will complete the final design plans in summer 2021 with the goal of starting construction in the first quarter of 2022.

“This is an important milestone in the Bowser Administration’s efforts to make this corridor safer for the thousands of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists who use it every day,” interim DDOT Director Everett Lott said.

“Over the coming months, we look forward to working with key community stakeholders to complete this process and the design of the new intersection at Florida Avenue and New York Avenue.”

Local, District, federal partners, the NoMa Parks Foundation and the NoMa Business Improvement District will collaborate on the public space design.

The news release did not disclose any dollar amounts.

More information about the project can be found at floridaaveproject.com.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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