January 07, 2010

Where is Truxton Circle?

Truxton Circle, Lincoln Road is at the top of the photo.

You’ve seen the streetpole banners on Florida Avenue designating the area around North Capitol Street as Truxton Circle.  But exactly where is the circle?  The circle, pictured above, used to sit right there at the convergence of North Capital Street, Florida Avenue, Q Street, and Lincoln Road.

Urban planning blogger Richard Layman spotted a diagram of the old circle posted on the wall at the offices of DDOT.

Truxton Circle Diagram, Source: Richard Layman

In 1940 the District removed the circle and replaced it with a traditional intersection that failed, and continues to fail, to match the elegance of the original circle pictured at the top of this post.

View Larger Map

A quick perusal of the DC Atlas, the District’s main online map product, reveals the circle’s imprint on the properties just north of Florida Avenue.  It seems that the property lines still accommodate the circle.

Great Truxton's ghost! Proptery lines still show outer limit of the old circle.

Perhaps DDOT will one day resurrect the circle after its seventy-year absence.  In 2006, DDOT restored downtown’s Thomas Circle to its original shape, eliminating the almond-shaped cut-through for Fourteenth Street.  In the 1980s the District similarly restored Logan Circle, eliminating the Thirteenth Street cut-through.  Here in LeDroit Park, Third Street bisected Anna J. Cooper Circle until the District in 1984 restored it to its original circular shape.

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20 Replies

  1. i like the idea of a circle, but i’d also be concerned about its practicality. its a much smaller diameter than most circles, except for those on residential streets. is there a comparable circle?
    the traffic going west on florida would have to take a wicked right hand turn to get into the circle. the upcoming streetcar line would have a tough time with that turn too, i assume.
    and it looks like it would make pedestrian crossing more difficult.

    It certainly did look beautiful though, and I would love to see that statue recovered and restored.

    north cap - January 7, 2010 @ 10:45 am
  2. The original photo had street car lines in the pavement that take the same sharp turns so that shoudlnt’ be an issue. the buildings NE of the circle still exist today so no residences should be affected.

    I would love to see this brought back. I live just a few blocks away.

    JohnDC - January 7, 2010 @ 11:14 pm
  3. johndc,
    the old streetcar line went along north capitol, not florida.
    that curve is far softer.

    north cap - January 8, 2010 @ 9:20 am
  4. […] Truxton Circle – Getting to the bottom of the where there actual cricle in Truxton Circle is? [Left for Ledroit] […]

    DC Metrocentric » Linked: Weekend Roundup - January 9, 2010 @ 8:12 am
  5. It looks to me as if through traffic on Florida continued on Florida, and did not need to go around the circle. The circle was offset, so only traffic going north to North Capital, Lincoln, or Q street would route around the circle.

    Keep Lincoln one-way and Q-street does not get much traffic. No expert, but I’d guess it would flow pretty well. Better than what we have now. I hate that intersection.

    Boris - January 9, 2010 @ 9:23 am
  6. My mother, now 86, grew up in Eckington on Quincy Place and later on R Street, NE, down the street from Truxton Circle. She said that it was beautiful, and North Capitol Street, completely tree-lined, was equally a pleasant. She has mentioned on more than one occasion how North Capitol Street was ruined by the road “improvements” in the 1940s. I would love to see the Circle replaced.
    — KJP

    Kevin Parker - January 9, 2010 @ 9:26 am
  7. i looks at the larger version of the phot and indeed, westbound florida ave traffic stayed on florida.

    so there would need to still be traffic lights.
    what advantages, besides beauty, would the circle have on traffic? it seems it wouldn’t change the dynamics at all. it would really only effect west bound quincy road travelers and north bound north cap drivers trying to get to florida.
    also, what advantages would it have for pedestrians? considering the amout of traffic, there would need to be crosswalks and signals to access the park. it would definitely have a cool ass view. otherwise, crossing the streets would not be safer or easier. i can’t think of one circle that is safer for pedestrians than a basic 4 way intersection.

    really, to make this intersection better, you have to look a bit to the north and to the south. fill the trenches.

    north cap - January 9, 2010 @ 11:47 am
  8. The District still has the old Fountain in Storage!!

    AWH - January 11, 2010 @ 11:49 am
  9. How would this effect the bus stops and the routes that travel along there; if the circle was restored would there be space for the 80, P6, 90 & 92 stops there this is a transfer stop between all of those buses and how would they be effected.

    How would this effect crossing the circle; when there was a circle the traffic of personal vechiles was probably lower so how will this effect people walking across T, North Cap. Streets or Florida Ave it seems like the distance would be doubled with no benefit to them.

    Que - January 11, 2010 @ 1:36 pm
  10. I think it would be lovely to replace the circle. I grew up on a parkway in Buffalo, NY with 2 traffic circles and it works well and creates a great neighborhood feeling rather than a highway.

    Katie - January 11, 2010 @ 4:04 pm
  11. It seems that the traffic on Florida would navigate the circle quite nicely. I would be more concerned with N. Capitol. Perhaps an underpass like that at Dupont Cir? I do not hink the underpass at Dupont is too obtrusive, although the topography is different. Not an ideal solution to traffic but perhaps necessary. In turn, the underpasses at Rhode Island and New York Aves should be eliminated. Caveat: New York Ave’s underpass if the re-routing of I-395 away from the central area of downtown occurs. The one at Rhode Island to badly divides the neighborhood, whereas Bus stops could be moved to safer and new carve outs up/down N. Cap and Florida. In the very least, from a historical standpoint and in acknowledgment of the history of the area and of the contribution of Admiral Truxton (arguablly as significant as Admiral Dupont), the Circle deserves to be re-stationed. Why should Northwest get all the Le’Enfant-style circles?

    ChrisOnU - January 11, 2010 @ 4:52 pm
  12. I own three circa 1910 real-photo postcards views of Truxton Circle. The photogrgaphs were taken by Willard R. Ross (1860-1948) who lived at 39 Que Street, NE.

    If you contact me I’ll email the images to you for posting on this bolg entry.


    Jerry A. McCoy - January 11, 2010 @ 5:09 pm
  13. Has anyone proposed covering the NCS underpasses beneath RIA and NYA?

    IIRC there was a recent DC proposal for a NCS tunnel beneath a restored Truxton Circle.

    Douglas Willinger - January 13, 2010 @ 7:01 pm
  14. I’ve been living near this intersection for about 10 years now. Our civic association lobbied the city to re-evaluate the feasibility of returning the circle to the intersection. The consultants charged the city some $300K to say it wasn’t feasible because of the hardship it would put on the neighborhood in terms of traffic patterns. I think it was merely an expensive tactic for the city to move us along. We could have done a lot of good with that $300K and a simple “no can do” statement from DDOT. This was around 2003.

    Rynecki - May 20, 2010 @ 2:52 pm
  15. reference to the study is located here: http://ddot.washingtondc.gov/ddot/cwp/view,a,1408,q,640027,ddotNav_GID,1750,ddotNav,%7C34162%7C.asp

    The actual study can be requested from DDOT.

    Rynecki - May 20, 2010 @ 2:58 pm
  16. I am a new resident to the Bloomingdale neighborhood, and just came across this site. I agree with the comments of ChrisOnU. I love this neighborhood and in my search for a home here I have been paying close attention to its walk ability and aesthetic. I think that a smart restoration of the circle will definitely make strides towards further reclaiming the residential nature of that area in addition to helping our neighbor Eckington become more integrated with the other surrounding communities. So, I would be very much in support of re-addressing the feasibility of this with the DDOT. Although it seems they didn’t want to deal with it in 2003, perhaps persistence will pay off. If there are any movements to re-evaluate this circle these 8 years later, I would very much like to be involved and will keep an eye out.

    KMc - November 24, 2010 @ 11:00 am
  17. […] site also contains the rusting remains of the fountain that stood at Truxton Circle, which formed the intersection of North Capitol Street, Florida Avenue, Lincoln Road, and Q Street. […]

  18. […] Capitol street replaced Truxton Circle, which some hope will one day be restored as this neighborhood continues its dynamic rise like so […]

  19. Bring back the circle. To me, it will do a lot for the safety of that intersection. I’d imagine those driving in toward the Capitol on N. Cap would have to stop above the circle before negotiating it. Existing N/S Bus stops would remain just north of the circle or past Florida Avenue around the Subway shop to meet transferring needs to E/W Florida Avenue Bus Routes.

    Traffic would be forced to slow down when approaching the intersection making it a bit safer when crossing any of the crosswalks at N. Cap & Florida. I’ve witnessed too many cars building speed to run the yellow/red light on N Cap as it Crosses FL. It could also assist the street car route on Florida (when built) with the proposed stop at N. Capitol and Florida at the triangle median. Furthermore, it reduces the chance of a rail car being t-boned. However with the downsizing of that median/park, the loitering would move from there to the grassy area of the traffic circle if built to the original scale with nice grassy areas.

    MDC - February 1, 2012 @ 11:10 am
  20. […] the demographic changes now sweeping the neighborhood. They began in 1947, when the city demolished Truxton Circle and plowed the streets right on through, creating an open sore in the street grid and disrupting the […]

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