Southeast residents agreed last week to oppose a proposed $43.8 million Metro bus garage at New Jersey and I streets, saying the facility would reduce growth and increase noise, air pollution and traffic in their area.
About 60 residents, members of ANC 6B02, took their stand after meeting with Metro Officials. ANC 6B will vote on the issue at a meeting July 21 in the 6B office, 931 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
The proposed site is only about two blocks from the old garage at Half and M streets SE, but residents said the new garage would adversely affect their neighborhoods.
"The main thing is the adverse impact on the park, the school, the residential character of the neighborhood, the increase in bus traffic and noise, air pollution, and the traffic of the employes gettin to work," said Donald Dinan, ANC commissioner for single member district 6B02, which borders the proposed site.
Dinan was chairman of the meeting at St. Peter's Catholic Church at Second and C streets SE. W. Lloyd Reeves, chairman of ANC 2D, which also borders the proposed site, attended the meeting.
Dinan reported that two local landowners, Tim Temple and David Schwartz, told the meeting that the area was "the new area for high growth."
"They said that a nationally known development firm had purchased land and was planning on building office buildings there," Dinan said, adding that the two men did not reveal the name of the firm.
Metro officials want to use the eight-acre New Jersey Avenue site to replace the aging M Street garage, which they say is too small, ill-equipped and in need of renovation.
The old garage also sits in the lap of the District's Capitol Gateway redevelopment project. The project embraces the Navy Yard stop on the subway system's Green Line to Anacostia, scheduled to open in 1986. Metro officials said that developments geared to subway riders should surround the subway station -- their reason for wanting to relocate the garage. Such development could include housing, commercial or business establishments.
Metro officials also said that the proposed garage site is cut off from residential areas of the neighborhood by the Southeast freeway, as well as a municipal trash collection plant and the Capitol Power plant, none of which are expected to be moved.
"I understand that they (the neighbors) are concerned about anything that they feel will diminish their neighborhood," said Tad Weigle, assistant general manager for transit operations, "but I didn't feel that many of their arguments were meritorious. This particular parcel was well isolated. I didn't find any direct visual relationship between that site and the areas of Capitol Hill that they were worried about."
Most of the New Jersey Avenue site was owned by the Penn Central Railroad, and contains unused railroad tracks and a few crumbling storage shacks. Metro favors the site because of its proximity to the routes served by buses.
Metro officials still plan to recommend the site, despite the neighborhood's opposition. Albert Roohr, Metro's senior urban planner, said, "We looked all over the area. . . . (It's the one recommended by the District and the one we're recommending."