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Posted at 11:38 AM ET, 03/29/2012

Making a ‘recreation bridge’ succeed

Would turning one of the old 11th Street bridges into a recreation destination work wonders for D.C. residents’ health or just create an empty spaces nobody uses? The difference might turn on the streetcar.

The Office of Planning and other D.C. agencies are pondering ways to reuse one of the two spans of the old 11th Street bridge. A $350 million project to build a new set of bridges between the old is almost complete, and the D.C. Department of Transportation is slated to then demolish the old bridges. But could these become an iconic public space for D.C. — D.C.’s version of New York’s “High Line”?

(D.C. Office of Planning)
At a community forum Wednesday night on this “recreation bridge” concept, planning director Harriet Tregoning listed a number of ideas for ways to reuse the bridge. It could have spaces for arts, including performing arts and sculpture. One community member suggested putting on a light show at a specified time on certain nights or every night.

“Active recreation,” like a climbing wall, zip line, and many activities for kids could improve health in a part of the city where many kids are not as healthy as they should be. Autumn Saxton-Ross from the Department of Health said that having spaces for play creates “whole children who develop into whole adults.”

The bridge could contain community gardens that grow food, a place for food trucks to hold festivals like Truckeroo, or even trees; an avid community gardener who lives in the area emphasized that last one, as it gets quite hot in the summer and a bridge is exposed to the elements.

Then there is the streetcar. Problems between DDOT and the U.S. Department of Transportation scuttled tracks on the new local bridge now under construction, at least for now, but perhaps that would open up a new opportunity to put the tracks on this “recreation bridge.”

[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By  |  11:38 AM ET, 03/29/2012

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