Pennsylvania Avenue Urban Design

Location

Washington, D.C.

Status

Design Completed 2016

Client

Golden Triangle BID

Cost

Engineers

Pennsylvania Avenue’s identity encompasses a diversity of conditions that transcend its symbolic presence.  For us, Pennsylvania Avenue serves as more than just the connection between the White House and the Capitol Building – it represents instead a living connection between the ‘Federal City’ and ‘The District’ where we live, work and play every day. West of the White House, it becomes something else altogether.  Connecting the Federal City to two of the oldest (pre-District) neighborhoods, the Avenue bridges the gap between the educational, institutional, government and private uses that have made DC one of the most vibrant cities in the country.  Saddled with these numerous roles to fill, and cut off from the White House since 1996, this portion of Pennsylvania Avenue has lost a clear sense of identity and failed to live up to its potential as both a local and tourist center of activity.

By reducing the number of travel lanes, adding a protected cycle track, and extending the streetscape, Pennsylvania Avenue will become a more welcoming pedestrian district that reflects the vibrancy of the city around it. Increasing the tree canopy and adding planters and raingardens will create consistent shade, reduce the heat-island effect, reduce runoff, and create pleasant spaces for tourists and local workers alike to pause and relax.  It will also create a green corridor to connect Rock Creek Park to the National Mall, activating Murrow and Monroe Parks along its path.

After a thorough analysis of the current conditions, including transportation and streetscape studies, KGP worked with various stakeholders including the Golden Triangle BID, DDOT, NPS, and NCPC to develop a design which created a greener, more pedestrian friendly avenue. Together, building owners, government representatives, members of the BID, and KGP developed concepts to help attract more activity and diversification of uses to Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House.

KGP worked closely with DDOT to ensure the inclusion of a safe cycle track to the south side of the avenue. At the time of construction, it will be the first cycle track in the District to be protected from automobile traffic by a tree-lined median. KGP, DDOT, and the BID interfaced with building owners and managers to develop a phasing system which will minimize construction disruption along the avenue and allow for alterations in later phases based on results from early project implementation.

KGP also proposed alterations to Murrow and Monroe Parks that would allow for greater neighborhood use. Some proposed activity included temporary art installations and pavilions, additional seating, and a much needed playground for local children.