Thomas Circle is a traffic circle in Northwest Washington, D.C., in the United States. It is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue NW, Vermont Avenue NW, 14th Street NW, and M Street NW. It is named for George Henry Thomas, a Union Army general in the American Civil War.
A horse-drawn railway installed around the Circle in the mid-1860s led to development to the north. Paved roads and sewers soon followed, and the area quickly attracted wealthy residents. Luther Place Memorial Church was built in 1874.
In December 1938, construction began on a $680,000 tunnel that would allow Massachusetts Avenue's through-traffic to pass under the circle. This underpass opened on March 14, 1940. North-south running through-traffic lanes cutting through the center of the circle were added to improve traffic flow.
In October 2006, the D.C. Department of Transportation completed a 2.5-year, $6 million reconstruction of the Thomas Circle. The project included the addition of bike lanes, pedestrian crosswalks mid-circle (which hadn't previously existed), new in-circle traffic lights, better street lighting, and new sidewalks and landscaping. The biggest change, however, came with the elimination of the 14th Street through-lanes. The circle was restored to its original design according to the L'Enfant Plan, which allowed for a larger landscaped area inside the circle. The rehabilitation of Thomas Circle won an Honorable Mention in the "Historic Preservation" category of the Federal Highway Administration's Excellence in Highway Design awards for 2006.
As of the start of the 21st century, Thomas Circle is adjacent to the southern boundary of the Greater 14th Street and Logan Circle Historic District. The circle marks the boundary between "downtown 14th Street" and the "uptown 14th Street", the latter of which is a rapidly gentrifying gay neighborhood within the city. D.C. city officials now consider Thomas Circle to be a "gateway" to the Logan Circle, Shaw, and U Street Corridor neighborhoods.
- District of Columbia Department of Transportation & June 2008, p. 47.
- Ford 2006, p. 177.
- Williams, Paul K. The Neighborhoods of Logan, Scott, and Thomas Circles. Arcadia Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 0738514047.
- Woodruff, William E. (November 27, 1938). "Expenditures May Reach $200,000,000". The Washington Post.
- DeVore, Robert (March 10, 1940). "Underpass At Thomas Circle Ready". The Washington Post.
- "DDOT Announces Thomas Circle Restoration Is Complete." Press release. District of Columbia Department of Transportation. October 24, 2006.
- "Excellence in Highway Design 2006". Focus. November 2006.
- District of Columbia Department of Transportation & June 2008, p. 18.
- District of Columbia Department of Transportation & June 2008, p. 15.
- Conneen, Mike (April 11, 2014). "Long-Delayed M Street Bike Lane Nearing Completion". WJLA-TV. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
- District of Columbia Department of Transportation (June 2008). Washington D.C., Multi-Modal Transportation and Streetscape Design Study (PDF) (Report). Washington, D.C.: District of Columbia Department of Transportation.
- Ford, Elise Hartman (2006). Night and Day D.C. San Francisco: Pulse Guides. ISBN 9780976601340.