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New York Avenue Metro Stop
June 17, 1999




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Press release Memorandum of understanding Feasibility study Map


SUITE 1100
(202) 727-6224
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Mayor Williams and City Landowners Sign Historic Partnership Agreement

Richard White, Metro NY Avenue announcementWashington, D.C. — Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the New York Avenue Metro Special Assessment District Subcommittee today signed an historic agreement that outlines a general public/private financing plan to jointly raise $25 million to help fund a new metro stop within the New York Avenue Corridor. The Subcommittee, which was formed at the request of the District's Department of Housing and Community Development, consists of city landowners and members of the development community.

The estimated cost of the new metro station is $75 million -- with a "good faith" pledge by Mayor Williams of an additional $5 million which will be used to fund an engineering study that represents the first step towards completion of the project. Financing for the station is anticipated to be $25 million each from the development community, the District's FY2001 through FY 2004 capital budgets, and the federal government.

"This historic partnership between the District and the private sector will pave the way for the first period of sustained economic development of the New York Avenue Corridor in 35 years," said Mayor Anthony A. Williams. "We are following through on our promise to create significant new opportunities for residents."

Mayor Williams and Subcommittee members were joined at the ceremony by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) officials in releasing the metro station feasibility study prepared by "Save New York Avenue, Inc." The study confirms the economic development potential for the area and the importance of investment in public transit facilities in the District.

Richard A. White, General Manager of WMATA spoke of the benefit communities gain from a metro stop: "Metro stations have been identified as the most important physical resource available to strengthen the economy of the District's neighborhoods. I want to commend the Mayor, the Council and the New York; Avenue stakeholders for their vision in creating an unprecedented public/private financing mechanism to build a new transit station in the Metrorail Red Line."

The Memorandum of Understanding calls for a special assessment to be levied on the properties directly benefited by the new Metro station, with the District and the Subcommittee working together to develop legislation for the implementation of the financing plan.

"We will work with the District to fund the development of the new Red Line metro stop between New York and Florida Avenues, N.E. The new metro stop will be located between the existing Union Station and Rhode Island Avenue stations", said Terry Peay, Chairman of the Subcommittee.

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THIS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (this "MOU") is entered into as of June _____, 1999 between the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, a municipal corporation (the "District") and the New York Avenue Metro Special Assessment District Subcommittee (the "Subcommittee").

WHEREAS, the Subcommittee was formed at the request of the District's Department of Housing and Community Development; and

WHEREAS, the District and the Subcommittee share a common goal to facilitate a new Red Line Metro station near the intersection of New York and Florida Avenues, N.E., between the existing Union Station and Rhode Island Avenue stations; and

WHEREAS, to meet such goal, the District and the Subcommittee must develop an innovative public/private financing vehicle that will produce approximately $25 million to pay part of the cost of developing the new station; and

WHEREAS, the District and the Subcommittee have agreed on and wish to set forth in this MOU the general outlines of a financing plan.

NOW, THEREFORE, the District and the Subcommittee agree as follows:

1. Common Understanding. The District and the Subcommittee are committed to working together in good faith to develop, refine and finalize an innovative public/private financing plan ("Financing Plan") to fund $25 million of the development costs of the new Red Line Metro station to be constructed near the intersection of New York and Florida Avenues, N.E.

2. Outline of Financing Plan. The basic concept of the Financing Plan is to levy a special assessment on the properties directly benefited by the new Metro station, and then use the proceeds of this special assessment to support a $25 million bond issue. The District and the Subcommittee will work together to develop legislation for the implementation of the Financing Plan, which will include the following components

  1. The New York Avenue Metro Special Assessment District ("NYA District") will be created within the zone that is benefited most by the arrival of the new Metro station.
  2. A new special assessment will be levied against all properties within the NYA District except for residential properties and properties that are currently exempt from real property tax.
  3. The special assessment amount for each property within the NYA District will be a certain percentage of the property's initial assessed value, and the percentage will be set at a level sufficient to generate enough revenue annually to support a bond issue of $25 million. The amount will be fixed for each affected property at the onset of the NYA District and will not fluctuate over time.
  4. The District and the Subcommittee will work together to explore innovative financing techniques, including, for example, techniques that draw elements from the District's existing tax increment financing legislation.
  5. The special assessment proceeds will fund principal and interest payments on tax- exempt bonds issued by the District, which will be backed solely by the special assessment revenue stream. The District's full faith and credit will not be pledged to support repayment of the bonds.
  6. The special assessment will automatically expire once the bonds have been fully paid off.
  7. The bonds will be sold to investors at the market interest rate for such tax-exempt financing. The proceeds of the sale of the bonds will fund a portion of the costs of the new Metro station.

3. No Binding Effect. This MOU shall not create any binding obligations on the part of the District or the Subcommittee, but is intended to set forth the parties' general understanding and commitment with respect to the Financing Plan.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the District and the Subcommittee have executed this MOU as of the day and year first written above.


By: Anthony A. Williams
Its: Mayor


By: Terry Peay
Its: Representative

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New York Avenue Metrorail Station Feasibility Study
Save New York Avenue, Inc.
April 1999

Executive Summary

The New York Avenue Metrorail Station Feasibility Study is an initial step in the development of a new station on the Metrorail Red Line in the vicinity of New York and Florida Avenues in northeast Washington, D.C. A Metrorail station there will contribute to New York Avenue's redevelopment by increasing its accessibility to the rest of the region. The station will both improve the transportation system and create economic benefits.

The purpose of the study was to determine whether a station could be built between the Rhode Island Avenue station and Union Station at a reasonable cost. Location, design, construction techniques, and costs are the basic characteristics contributing to this determination. These characteristics were defined at a conceptual level to provide a basis for decision about station development and more detailed planning and engineering. The study also estimated the number of additional Metrorail riders who would use the station and reviewed potential funding sources.

The study found that a new station could be built on the Metrorail Red Line in the vicinity of New York Avenue at a reasonable cost. The New York Avenue station will function successfully, can comply with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail design standards, and will meet the objectives of the federal new starts program for investments in public transit facilities.

The station will significantly improve mobility in the New York Avenue corridor. The Red Line now runs through the communities in the area, but they do not have direct access to Metrorail service. The station will provide that access. The station's mobility improvements will not be limited to the New York Avenue corridor but will also benefit other parts of the region. Riders using the station will be coming from and going to Metrorail stations in other jurisdictions across the Washington area.

The environmental analysis in this study identified no major environmental impacts that would prevent development of the station but also concluded that additional analysis will be necessary as a part of more detailed planning and preliminary engineering. One of the primary environmental benefits of the station will be its contribution to efforts to reduce sprawl. New development in already-urbanized areas can take advantage of the infrastructure and services that are already in place, avoiding the environmental impacts of duplicating them elsewhere.

The station will be a cost-effective means of expanding the Metrorail market and increasing ridership because it will be built on an existing line. Unlike other potential projects to expand the Metrorail system, the station will not require the construction of a new Metrorail line to reach new markets. This will avoid the need to acquire large amounts of right-of-way, the time and expense of building a line, and the cost of expanding the fleet. As a result, the capital cost will be low compared to the number of riders that the station would attract to the Metrorail system. The fare revenues generated by riders to and from the New York Avenue station will substantially exceed the station operating cost, increasing the overall efficiency of operating the Metrorail system.

Land owners in the vicinity of the station have proposed the creation of a special tax assessment district to support station construction cost. This is a significant commitment to station construction. In addition, other funding sources exist that will allow the development of a stable and dependable funding plan. The federal funds necessary for the project are expected to be less than $25 million, which will simplify the project development process.

As a basis for analysis, six alternative station schemes were created to identify possible locations and configurations of the station, changes required to the Metrorail tracks and systems, and new and modified structures. Two of the alternative schemes, Schemes A and C, were found to be the most appropriate and were analyzed in the study. Scheme A would locate the station north of New York Avenue in the Metrorail Brentwood Yard. Scheme C would locate the station south of New York Avenue between M Street and Florida Avenue.

Scheme C is the preferred scheme. It would create a greater transportation system benefit than Scheme A because it would serve a higher number of riders. It would have a greater economic development benefit because it would be closer to more vacant parcels that could be developed quickly. These benefits offset the fact that Scheme C would have a higher capital cost.

The Scheme C station would be a center-platform station. The entrance to the station would be at the north end of the station near Florida Avenue. The entrance would provide direct access from Square 710, the present site of the District of Columbia Department of Public Works (DPW) facility at New York and Florida Avenues, and other developable sites in the vicinity. It would easily serve Gallaudet University and the Capital City Market by a short walk along Florida Avenue. A second entrance at M Street would serve the residential neighborhood east of the station and provide additional access to the developable sites near the station.

The proposed Metropolitan Branch Trail, which is planned to run generally parallel to the Red Line, would be an important means of access to the Scheme C station. It would provide a grade-separated link to the area north of New York Avenue, and could connect directly with the proposed development in the decks to be built over the railroad tracks that are described in the New York Avenue Development Report. This link would make the area north of New York Avenue, including Eckington and the retail establishments that would be built on the new deck, easily and safely accessible to the Scheme C station.

Because of the importance of access to the station from the area north of New York Avenue, the trail could be improved to create a more-appealing link for people walking to and from the station. The walkway portion of the trail could be covered to provide weather protection. The cover would extend north of New York Avenue, where it could link to the proposed deck over the railroad tracks. An even more dramatic improvement could be created by constructing a moving walkway over this same distance.

The addition of the Scheme C station would require modifications to a number of systems that support the operation of the Metrorail trains. Changes would be necessary to the DC traction power system that supplies electricity to the trains, the AC auxiliary power system, the corrosion protection system, the automatic train control system, and the communications systems.

Based upon available information, the Scheme C station would have no environmental impacts that would be expected to prevent the development of the station. However, the station would need to be appropriately designed to ensure architectural compatibility with the nearby Woodward and Lothrop warehouse historic site. Further investigation of the potential for hazardous wastes and the presence of archaeological resources would be necessary.

For Scheme A, a unique station design was developed using nonparallel side platforms. The Red Line tracks diverge and run on either side of the Brentwood Yard so a traditional station could not be built.

The Scheme A station entrance would be on the west side of the station at Harry Thomas Way and would be adjacent to the proposed Metropolitan Branch Trail. The entrance would provide direct accessibility to the commercial buildings north of New York and Florida Avenues that are being renovated and redeveloped as well as the residential neighborhoods in Eckington. A second entrance, a pedestrian bridge to New York Avenue, would provide more-direct access to the Capital City Market and Gallaudet University.

Scheme A would have many of the same characteristics as Scheme C. The system elements that would be necessary for Scheme A would be similar to the those for Scheme C, with some additional complexity because of the station's location in the Brentwood Yard. Based upon available information, the Scheme A station would also have no environmental impacts that would be expected to prevent the station's development. Here, too, further investigation of the potential for hazardous wastes and the presence of archaeological resources would be necessary.

Construction of any scheme would have to be carefully staged to minimize interference between Red Line operations and construction activities. The station design would comply with WMATA's current design standards, but could include a number of innovative construction methods that would lower its cost. Lower costs could be achieved in two ways, by reducing the schedule conflicts between construction and train operations, and by using simple materials that are capable of straightforward construction. One innovation that would reduce disruption is the use of precast concrete for the station platform. Other station elements could use simple designs and materials such as canopies fabricated from structural steel rather than concrete. Some station characteristics cannot deviate from the typical Metrorail station design practice, including any element that affects operating safety or provides accessibility for people with disabilities.

Innovative procurement practices could also reduce the cost of the station in either scheme. Existing stations are built using a conventional design-bid-build contract approach. A design-build approach could possibly reduce costs and produce other benefits. Design-build is a contracting approach in which one entity performs both design and construction work according to the design criteria and performance specifications provided by the project's owner. Design-build also would have some disadvantages and would introduce some risks. Further evaluation is necessary to determine whether design-build is appropriate for this station.

One benefit of the New York Avenue station will be the attraction of additional riders to the Metrorail system. The study included the estimation of the number of people who would use the station. Two types of ridership estimates were made, one using existing forecasts of development in the station area and another using additional development that could result from the station's influence. Both types of estimates were made for 2005, when the station will be complete but will have had limited opportunity to affect station-area development, and in 2015, when the effect on development will be more substantial. The forecasts using the additional development are shown in the summary table. The additional fare revenue that will be generated by the additional riders is also shown in the summary table. Scheme C's greater benefit is demonstrated by the higher ridership that it would attract.

Capital and operating cost estimates were developed at a conceptual level of detail for the Scheme A and Scheme C stations and are shown in the summary table. The capital costs shown for each scheme in the table are for a station with two entrances and the cost of adding an enclosed walkway with a moving sidewalk to the opposite side of New York Avenue. Scheme C would be more cost-effective than Scheme A. Although Scheme C would be more expensive, it would be more cost-effective than Scheme A because the Scheme C station would attract significantly more riders than the Scheme A station. The capital cost per rider in 2005 for Scheme C would be 20 percent less than the capital cost per rider for Scheme A, and that difference would grow to 27 percent less in 2015 because the increase in ridership would be larger at Scheme C.

The conceptual operating costs are the same for both schemes' as differences between the two cannot be defined in a conceptual study.

Substituting buses for the New York Avenue Metrorail station would cost less but would attract fewer riders and would not have economic development benefits. Substituting a light rail line would have some economic development benefits, but would be expensive because the line would duplicate the Red Line tracks that are already in place.

Summary Table

Station Characteristic Scheme C Scheme A
Daily Ridership
2005 14,600 9,300
2015 24,100 17,300
Fare Revenues
2005 $6,100,000 $3,900,000
2015 10,000,000 7,200,000
Capital Cost
Basic Station $54,700,000 $47,700,000
Second Entrance 7,000,000 7,100,000
Walkway Additions 5,000,000 5,000,000
Annual Operating Cost
Basic Station $1,150,000 $1,150,000
Second Entrance 550,000 550,000
Environmental Concerns
  • Need for further archaeological and hazardous materials testing
  • Architectural concern for Woodward and Lothrop Warehouse
Need for further archaeological and hazardous materials testing

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