Columbia Heights Public Realm Plan Finally to Kickoff?

It seems like ages since the beautification projects at 14th and Park have supposed to get started. Mayor Fenty had a press conference this morning and sent out the following press release. Do you think they’ll actually stick to this timetable? A public park and fountain does sound pretty sweet though, yeah?

“News Release for Immediate Release
July 16, 2008
Fenty Announces Implementation of Columbia Heights Public Realm Plan

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and city officials unveiled a plan to begin
preliminary work on the Columbia Heights Public Realm plan. The project,
developed by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), represents a
culmination of several years of community meetings that centered on a
framework of landscape and transportation improvements in public areas
surrounding recent neighborhood development. The plan will focus on
coordinating high-quality improvements to foster a unified community
identity for Columbia Heights.

We are extremely excited to finally begin work in Columbia Heights, said
Mayor Fenty. We recognize the vast amount of time the community has
invested in this project and we look forward to implementing the public
realm plan and our continued partnership with the community.

The project will be rolled out in two phases. Phase One will focus on the
area surrounding the intersection of 14th Street and Park Road, NW. The
centerpiece of Phase one involves the completion of a public park featuring
a unique fountain and public gathering venue.
(PoP’s emphasis) The plan also calls for
reconstruction and paving of roads and sidewalks, and the installation of
new lighting and street furniture. Phase two of the project will focus on
infrastructure and streetscape improvements on 14th Street, NW between
Columbia Road and Newton Street, NW. Release continues after the jump.

We are committed to continuing and completing the Columbia Heights Public
Realm Plan, said Director Emeka Moneme. DDOT will continue to meet with
the community on a regular basis throughout construction to discuss and
review schedules, construction and traffic plans.

Preliminary work on the Columbia Heights Public Realm project began on
Monday, July 14th, with site preparation at the triangle park located at
14th Street and Park Road NW. DDOT is scheduled to open invitation for bid
to contractors on August 6th. The Request for Proposals process will close
in September 2008. Development for the Columbia Heights Public Realm Project
is slated to be complete by August 2010.

This is more solid progress, the Mayor once again is really making a
difference, said Councilmember Jim Graham, Ward 1. I am glad to be working
Columbia Heights Public Realm Timeline

Phase 1: September 2008 to August 2009

” June 1 Project RFP Issued
” July 16th Pre-Bid Conference, Reeves Center, Community Room [2nd
” August 6th Bid Opening Date
” September 8th Notice to Proceed to selected contractor

Park and Fountain

” September 15th Demolition, excavation, curb extension, and field
layout at the park site
” By November 30th Design concept submission and approval
” By March 2009 Materials ordering and staging
” April to August 2009 Actual construction of fountain, electrical, and
special lighting system

Park Road Work

” September to December 2009 Utility relocation, and water-main
” January to July 2009 – Curb & gutter work, new sidewalks, streetlights,
and signals
” July to August 2009 Asphalt road paving

Phase 2: September 2009 to April 2010

” September 2009 to April 20010 Work on 14th St. NW between Columbia
Rd. & Newton Street
” Reconstruction
” Curb extensions
” Signals
” Electrical work

A final, and detailed, project schedule will be available upon selection of
a contractor, September 8, 2008. To obtain a final project schedule and
learn more about the Columbia Height project, visit,a,1250,q,645039.asp.”

8 Comment

  • The good news is, as opposed to past timetables which were simply ignored by the city, Fenty has now stuck his neck out with the very public press release and press conferece, so I imagine they will indeed adhere pretty close to this schedule (which is pretty generous in all events, I mean, over TWO YEARS? Did DCUSA even take that long to build?).

    Anyone know how much of Park Road will be recontructed with new lighting, etc.? It would be nice if they created a unified feel all the way from 16th through 11th streets, but I’d be surprised if this was that ambitious …

  • I would like it very much if they would finish repaving my block of 13th St before they started any more projects.

  • Ahem. In your post you said “A pubic park and fountain does sound…”

    I think you mean ‘public’ no?


    And, yes, it all sounds quite nice.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Ha! Thanks. Fixed it.

  • New2CH, I don’t think its quite that ambitious. However, the city is trying to e.g. use a couple/few different light fixtures througout the city, perhaps the same goes for benches etc. so that does provide some unity over time. See e.g. the light post in front of DC USA and Giant. You can see same/similar on parts of Georgia Ave already, and presumably they will spread throughout it all once the Great Streets project advances.

    Yeah, the schedule looks relaxed and at times slightly odd to me (I am sure there is a higher purpose to it which I don’t understand), e.g. why would they demo the park site and only build it almost a year later? I hope its because of the curb extensions and not they are going to tear out the trees and dig some holes etc and leave it like that for half a year..

    “Park and Fountain

    ” September 15th Demolition, excavation, curb extension, and field
    layout at the park site
    ” By November 30th Design concept submission and approval
    ” By March 2009 Materials ordering and staging
    ” April to August 2009 Actual construction of fountain, electrical, and
    special lighting system”

  • Yeah, I was hoping for the nice lighting when they re-did 11th street, but no such luck. It would be great to integrate Park Rd., 14th, N.H., Sherman, and Georgia, all of which are scheduled for construction in the relatively near future, into one cohesive pedestrian friendly and attractive network, but I’m not holding my breath …

    As for the schedule, I am guessing the gaps are to avoid major outdoor work during the winter; can’t think of any other reason.

    Could the new orange fencing around the trees be an indica they are planning to preserve those? In all events, can’t wait until that plaza is FINALLY in good shape (which really should have happened prior to LAST summer, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers).

  • The timetable does seem odd. I was excited to walk by that corner on Monday and see they had already swept up all those stupid little pebbles! But if it’s just going to sit there all ugly like that until April 2009, then perhaps I miss those little pebbles….

  • We definitely need more public art…

Comments are closed.