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Foggy Bottom: Home of the State Department, the Watergate, and…what else, really? The institutional-feeling neighborhood, carved up by freeways and uninspired green space, has some of the largest undeveloped chunks of land in the city.
Now, courtesy of the Catholic University Urban Institute Studio, there’s at least a vision for what it could become—Professor Iris Miller and her students, in collaboration with community members and city planners, have produced a fairly detailed redesign focusing on the area around 26th Street below K Street, Juarez Circle, Virginia Avenue, the Whitehurst Freeway, and Rock Creek Park. It’s inspired by visits to great European capitals, and doesn’t have a price tag or a time frame. But when the city gets around to thinking about how to revitalize the area, Miller’s team hopes their vision will guide the process. In the mean time, they’re touring the plan around to the different community entities, and will eventually present it to the Office of Planning as a blueprint for a Small Area Plan, which would be added to the District’s Comprehensive Plan.
“Every developer in town is salivating over the prospect of developing townhouses,” said Foggy Bottom Association president Asher Corson, at a recent meeting where Miller went over the designs. “I love this, because it’s us taking control of our future.”
Here are some of the main elements.
– A new entrance to the Foggy Bottom metro station at 27th Street.
– More trees and benches for Juarez Circle.
– For Heritage Park East, straddling the K Street bridge between 26th and 27th Streets: Lots and lots of trees, a couple new memorials, a dog park, gardens for rocks, water, contemplation, and a hedge maze.
– For Heritage Park West, bounded by 27th Street, Potomac Parkway, and Virginia Avenue: Lots of new seating, trees, winding walkways, parterre gardens, and a new square memorial with “cosmological references”
– In the bend of Rock Creek, a new cultural center to house artifacts from Native American peoples in the area and other historical displays.
– Two new pedestrian bridges over Rock Creek.
– Add a new, wide pedestrian and bike promenade to the Whitehurst freeway to take advantage of views and create a continuous loop across the Francis Scott Key Bridge across to Arlington and back across a new footbridge to Roosevelt Island.
– Reconstruct the old arched aqueduct near Georgetown’s boathouse with an elevated mezzanine, terrace garden, and cafe, inspired by New York’s High Line and Paris’ Viaduc.
– Create an “arcade” atmosphere on K Street, with better conditions for cafes and shops.
– Pack a lot of new residential buildings into the area east of the Kennedy Center, near 25th Street along E Street.
– Build a new performing arts building southeast of the Kennedy Center.