Walking the 11th Street Bridge

September 9, 2013
welsh
A plaque honoring the memory of Kevin Welsh, a D.C. police officer who died trying to save a woman who had jumped into the Anacostia River from the 11th Street Bridge. A new span of the bridge to carry local traffic recently opened. (Photo: Lori Aratani, Washington Post)

The day was sunny and bright — a perfect day for a bike ride or a walk across the new 11th Street Bridge. This past weekend, D.C. officials celebrated the opening of the bridge (see my story here), which will enable drivers to get from Capitol Hill to Anacostia without having to hop on the freeway or weave through city streets.

The bridge won’t just carry cars. Its 14-foot sidewalks provide ample space for cyclists and pedestrians. Walkways that jut out over the river offer what officials hope will be spots for folks to rest and reflect slightly apart from the roar of cars.

Officials closed the bridge to automobile traffic to give people a chance to really see it up close. Visitors seemed to enjoy being able to walk, ride and even roller skate in a spot normally reserved for cars.

The day was also an occasion to remember Kevin Welsh, a D.C. police officer who died trying to save a woman who had jumped off the 11th Street Bridge.

Welsh’s family was on hand for the ceremony and dedication of a plaque in his honor. Those who attended included Welsh’s two sons, Kevin, Jr. and Joe, as well as his brother and his nephew, who are both D.C. police officers.  Kevin, Jr. noted that their mother, Welsh’s widow, Judy, died of cancer in 2005.

Welsh, who was 5 when his father, died thanked officials for remembering his sacrifice.

Some additional photos from Saturday’s festival and dedication:

The family of D.C. Police officer Kevin Welsh pose next to the plaque that will hang on the new 11th Street Bridge.
The family of D.C. police officer Kevin Welsh pose next to the plaque that will hang on the new 11th Street Bridge.

 

A vintage D.C. Police car honoring fallen officers was featured at the 11th Street Bridge opening celebration.
A vintage D.C. police car honoring fallen officers was featured at the 11th Street Bridge opening celebration.
Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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