One day, disjointed streets and lifeless blocks around L’Enfant Plaza could become a complete neighborhood with a connected street grid, park space, mixed-use buildings, a museum and more.
That’s the vision of the “Southwest Ecodistrict” plan from the National Capital Planning Commission and a companion plan focusing on Maryland Avenue SW by the D.C. Office of Planning.
It is one of DC’s greatest ironies that the name “L’Enfant Plaza” was given to an area where Pierre L’Enfant’s original street grid is least intact. The railroad took over parts of Maryland and Virginia Avenues before 1888, and later projects to grade-separate the rails created a patchwork of roadways at different levels that don’t connect to one another.
The federal government razed every building in the area as misguided urban renewal in the 1960s. The extension of 10th Street known as the L’Enfant Promenade was originally designed as a pedestrian mall for cultural buildings, but turned into a largely vehicular roadway between government office buildings. The “12th Street Expressway,” a set of off-ramps from I-395, also divides the blocks on either side.
Now, NCPC wants to fix these mistakes from its forerunner, the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and other federal agencies of the day. On Thursday, it released a draft of its plan for public comment.
[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.