The Zoning Commission has dispatched the University of the District of Columbia’s campus plan, is almost through hearings on Georgetown and American University’s plans, and will soon take up Howard‘s. Next up after that: Catholic University, which is now in the early stages of planning what it might look like a decade from now.
It’s an exciting stage, actually, when a school can think about all the ways in which its physical layout might be improved. Catholic, for example, has iconic buildings that are largely surrounded by roads and parking. Transportation networks are rife with vehicle-pedestrian conflicts. Planned before the arrival of metro, the campus isn’t particularly well oriented towards the station, failing to take advantage of one of its biggest assets.
And now, a huge project is scheduled to start soon across the street, meaning that Catholic ought to think about how its largely inward-looking buildings on Michigan Avenue will relate to a new residential and retail campus.
Catholic’s planners laid out a few of their objectives at a meeting last week. First, they’re looking to strengthen some of the campus’ main view axes, creating those iconic viewsheds that look so pretty on admissions brochures. Second, they plan to separate car and foot traffic with more pedestrian-only paths, structured parking instead of huge lots, and a new vehicular access road from North Capitol street into West Campus. Third, they want to pack more capacity into the corner of campus that’s closest to Metro, welcoming people as they walk across the bridge instead of repelling them.
Which means that, in a decade, the campus could be a lot more logical place than it is now.
Full presentation here: [scribd id=62663239 key=key-9ahub7i2vxks8mlo9d6 mode=slideshow]