Local residents push WMATA to build second Metro exit

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Some local residents are pushing for a second Metro entrance at the Foggy Bottom station, but a spokesman for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said the plan is not yet on the books.

Steven Taubenkibel, a spokesman for Metro, said he didn’t have information about a potential second entrance, adding that WMATA is currently focusing on renovations on the current entrance to the Foggy Bottom station, which include new escalators and a canopy.

“[The renovations] are part of a larger rehabilitation contract also approved last summer,” he said, adding that the funds for that work are coming from a four-year, $177 million contract.

Rebecca Coder, chair of the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, asked a director in GW’s Office of Real Estate if the University was planning to aid WMATA with building a new entrance during construction of the Science and Engineering Complex, which is set to begin as early as 2011.

“Foggy Bottom Metro is top five [trafficked Metro station], it’s the only one with a single entrance,” Coder said. “As we do this, there’s parking, but that’s only going to get us so far. I mean these streets are so congested as it is.” She referenced the likely traffic increase Foggy Bottom will see in 2010 due to the opening of apartments and retail space at The Avenue – located on Square 54 across from the Metro station – and with the upcoming SEC construction.

Susi Cora, director of real estate planning and project management for GW, said a second entrance was contemplated during the development of Square 54 but WMATA decided against the plan.

“I don’t recall a reason why WMATA did not pursue it at that time,” Cora said.

Michael Akin, assistant vice president of the Office of Government, International and Community Relations, said GW’s commitments under the 2007 Foggy Bottom Campus Plan leave an area near the corner of I and 22nd streets vacant.

“The commitments we made under the campus plan [said] future development will not impede the installation of the Metro site, so we can’t develop the white townhouse area in such a way that we’d impede the development of the Metro site,” Akin said, referring to the Women’s Studies building across from the University Parking Garage.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said Friday that the D.C. Zoning Commission’s order approving the Square 54 project required a $100,000 “WMATA Design and Engineering Contribution” from Square 54 developer Boston Properties, as a “project amenity and public benefit.”

Sherrard said the contribution was made to assist with design and engineering fees associated with the potential second entrance at the Metro station.

The Zoning Commission said if no second entrance was planned, Boston Properties would need to contribute the $100,000 to the Housing Production Trust Fund, which was established to provide funds to build affordable housing in D.C.

Sherrard said this stipulation was made because the Zoning Commission recognized that Square 54 would likely be constructed before WMATA considered a second entrance.

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