Hungry in LeDroit Park
Is LeDroit Park a “food desert”? The phrase refers to a neighborhood where the nearest grocery store is more than a mile away. First, this metric would classify many of the tony precincts of Bethesda, Potomac, and McLean as “food deserts”.
Despite that, the metric isn’t entirely useless. Distance does matter greatly to populations who, for whatever reason, do not have cars. Groceries are heavy, after all.
Even still, WAMU’s recent characterization of LeDroit Park as a food desert is incorrect. In fact, you can plug in directions from Anna J. Cooper Circle, the neighborhood’s center, to the Giant at 8th and P Streets NW.
The distance? Under a mile. That’s about 15 minutes by foot.
In fact, if you’d rather take a bus, which we frequently do with groceries, the G2 runs every 30 minutes from LeDroit Park and along P Street. It passes not only the aforementioned Giant, but also the Whole Foods on the 1400 block of P Street. If you return in under 2 hours, the round-trip bus cost is $1.50.
This grocery store is slated to close soon so a new Giant, along with housing, can be constructed on the site. After that happens, the 3-year-old Safeway at 5th and L Streets NW and the 6-month-old Harris Teeter in NoMA will vie for the title as nearest grocery store. Each is exactly 1 mile away.
Furthermore, once the Howard Town Center project takes flight, it will feature its own grocery store. The project is about a half-mile from Anna J. Cooper Circle.
So there you have it. Within 1 mile of LeDroit Park one will find a Giant, a Safeway, and a Harris Teeter. That hardly qualifies the neighborhood as a food desert.