Pennsylvania Avenue, America’s Main Street, is known globally as an iconic boulevard and backdrop for some of America’s most consequential places and events from inaugurations to civic protests. However, Penn Ave is more than what is seen on TV. Penn Ave West, the focus of this project, stretches from the White House to Washington Circle and is an international hub of finance and humanitarian Organizations (International Monetary Fund, World Bank, United Nations, and others). While Penn Ave East from the White House to the Capitol is recognized worldwide, Penn Ave West lacks a defining character.
Working as a collaborative team, urban designers, landscape architects, horticulturalists, and engineers built a vision for the corridor that re-imagines the public realm to support all users. The redesigned corridor provides six-foot-wide protected bike lanes and an enhanced tree canopy and was regraded to provide the greatest ADA accessibility possible. The streetscape is lined with amenities like bike racks, benches, café seating, and sculpture pads to provide gathering areas. The design reclaims acres of roadway and impervious surface and returns those uses to foster sustainability, an enriched civic life, and enhanced mobility and safety. With significant public input, this project highlights how changes to infrastructure can result in changes to quality of life.