11th Street, SE at the Anacostia River
Dear Mr. Marootian:
In its meeting of 19 October, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept submission for a new public park to be built on the piers of the recently demolished 11th Street Bridge, spanning the Anacostia River at 11th Street, SE. Commending the project team for a strong design and a clear presentation, the Commission members present recommended approval of the concept with the following comments.
The Commission members found that the current effort to reduce the project’s scale has improved the design of the bridge park without compromising the original concept; as a result, specific elements have been refined, such as moving the play area from the river’s edge into the elevated park, incorporating the education center into the bridge abutment, and reconfiguring the amphitheater. They recommended that the cafe, its outdoor seating, and the adjacent sidewalk be designed to ensure unimpeded pedestrian movement around this concentration of commercial activity to avoid the impression of privatizing public space. They also advised careful attention to facilitating broad public access to the bridge park, including passenger and handicapped drop-off areas, the realistic accommodation of parking, and pedestrian connections to the existing neighborhoods and new developments on both sides of the river.
In addition to the bridge park’s strong ecological focus, the Commission members recommended considering how the park’s design and amenities could encourage increased physical activity for visitors. They advised selecting certain materials for their potential to improve human health, such as using charred bamboo screens to absorb particulate pollution from vehicle exhaust. They also suggested that the concept of native plants be broadened to include species that are adapted to this setting’s altered ecology.
The Commission encouraged further consultation with the staff and looks forward to the review of the bridge park design as it is developed. As a quorum was not present for the review of this submission, the recommendation for approval will be placed on the administrative agenda for confirmation at the Commission’s next meeting. As always, the staff is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Jeff Marootian, Acting Director
D.C. Department of Transportation
55 M Street, SE, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20003
cc: Scott Kratz, 11th Street Bridge Park
Hallie Boyce, OLIN
Jason Long, OMA