Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, February 08, 2024

A Look At The Final Designs For DC's 11th Street Bridge Park

From DC Urban Turf.

I was on the design review committee for this initiative back in 2014--10 years ago!.  

I go back and forth with what I think about it.

-- "DC's 11th Street Bridge Park project," 2022

Obviously I'm into the High Line, the Bentway, 606, and the Promenade Plantée in Paris which predates the High Line by decades, parks that take advantage of infrastructure that's otherwise abandoned.   

OTOH, the old bridge couldn't be reused, even the abutments if I remember correctly.  So it's an over $125 million project.

There's lots of talk about how it will connect the two sides of the Anacostia, the black Anacostia neighborhood East of the River, and the white communities west of the river.  But I don't think so.  It's just not well positioned where people are.  People will have to make a special trip to go there.  Many will, but it won't connect the city.

Now I think better value could be had spending the money on other civic investments.

FWIW, I did write a bunch of great pieces thinking about the River as a network, and potential revitalization initiatives.

-- "The Anacostia River and considering the bridges as a unit and as a premier element of public art and civic architecture," 2014
-- "DC has a big "Garden Festival" opportunity in the Anacostia River"," 2014
-- "A world class water/environmental education center at Poplar Point as another opportunity for Anacostia River programming (+ move the Anacostia Community Museum next door)," 2014
-- "Saving the South Capitol Bridge as an exclusive pedestrian and and bicycle bridge," 2014

This entry predated my involvement in the review committee:

 -- "Wanted: A comprehensive plan for the "Anacostia River East" corridor," 2012

But after the design selection process was over, I was no longer involved 

-- "11th Street Bridge Park finalists," 2014


To be fair, I have a big hairy audacious concept too, which would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.  Next to Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City is I-80.  It happens that the freeway section abutting the park--which was part of the park before the freeway was built is about 40 acres.  So it could be a huge addition.  It would also eliminate the noise problem the freeway causes on the south side of the park.

Philadelphia project.

There are freeway deck parks in Dallas, Seattle and other cities. Boston's Big Dig undergrounding of I-95 is topped with the Rose Kennedy Greenway, which is 17 acres, but narrow, with a 1.5 mile length.

One is being built now in Philadelphia ("Philly’s other big I-95 project to start: A cap with an 11.5-acre waterfront park, South St. pedestrian bridge," Philadelphia Inquirer).  

But they are much smaller than 40 acres, which would (restore)/increase the size of the park by not quite 40%.

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