CFA 19/JUN/03-1


Pennsylvania Avenue, between 15th and 17th Streets, NW, and Jackson and Madison Places
United States

Federal Highway Administration
National Capital Planning Commission
Landscape improvements, road resurfacing and security components
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Teikari:

During its meeting of 19 June, the Commission reviewed the Federal Highway Administration's submission for the modification and redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets, NW, in front of the White House, and the additional changes proposed for Madison and Jackson Places, NW, to the east and west of Lafayette Square. In March 2003, the Commission saw and approved a preliminary concept for this project that was submitted by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). At that time Mr. Van Valkenburgh acknowledged there were still many details to be worked out, and the members commented on the importance of the design of the bollards, along with a suggestion to incorporate into the design of the paving a special feature to recognize the 16th Street axis where it crosses the Avenue into the White House grounds.

Following an invitation made during NCPC's presentation in March and prior to the Commission's May meeting, the members visited the Avenue to inspect samples of paving materials for the roadbed and sidewalk. At that time, a mockup of the proposed bollard was displayed, as well as several variations of the design for the guard booths, which the members viewed favorably.

For this submission the members were pleased to see how the design has developed and that the overall project has kept the security items in the avenue to a minimum, preserving the openness of the street. After a lengthy discussion on the choice of paving materials, the Commission decided that the final selections and approvals should be completed on site with another, more accurate and perhaps more extensive, mockup. The desire to regrade the avenue, reducing the crown and pitch of the roadbed, should be carefully studied to prevent any chance of standing water. As for the guard booth design, there was a suggestion made to study the effect of replacing the small metal panels under the windows with opaque glass to give the appearance of a larger glazed area.

In addition, the members were concerned with the alignment of the eastern row of bollards and how it terminated at the entrance to Riggs Bank. If an adjustment can be made to the line of bollards to avoid the conflict with the bank's entrance, it would be encouraged. Otherwise, the project concept as a whole was well received and was approved unanimously. We look forward to the next submission of the final plans, details, and material selections.


David M. Childs, FAIA

Alan T. Teikari
Federal Highway Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division
21400 Ridgetop Circle
Sterling, VA 20166-6511

cc: Michael Van Valkenburgh, MVV Association, Inc.
Jack Van Dopp, FHW
Dan Tangerlini, DC DOT
John V. Cogbill, III, Chairman, NCPC
William Dowd, NCPC
Robert Baer,  USSS