DC uses eminent domain to acquire notorious intersection 'Dave Thomas Circle'; plans major redesign project

D.C. has used eminent domain to acquire a local landmark as part of a redesign project they say aims to make one of the city's most notorious intersections safer.

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Mayor Muriel Bowser and the District's Department of Transportation say they have acquired the title for the property at the center of the intersection of New York Avenue, NE, Florida Avenue, NE, and First Street, NE -- currently occupied by a Wendy's restaurant -- and commonly referred to by locals as ‘Dave Thomas Circle.'

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

The redesign project will be in support of Bowser's Vision Zero initiative to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities on D.C. roadways.


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Official say, once completed, the intersection will realign and add two-way traffic to First Street, restore two-way traffic on Florida Avenue, add protected bicycle lanes, create three new public park spaces and make other safety improvements.

"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," Bowser continued.

Construction is expected to start in 2022.