11th and Monroe Park Final Design


From an email:

“On Wednesday, March 31, DPR held a third community planning meeting to discuss improvements to the 11th and Monroe Street Park (aka Columbia Heights Park). The nearly final concept is posted on DPR’s website. We hope to make a presentation at an upcoming ANC 1A meeting.

Please send comments to me directly as I’m on several list serves: ([email protected])”

17 Comment

  • I looked at the map and am unable to locate the designated vagrant loitering and drinking area

  • But where will people go to drunkenly pee?

  • Nice, but the chess/checker tables need to go. They only encourage loitering. Visit the chess tables in Dupont Circle, used only for gambling/betting. It’s like putting a playground in the middle of a casino.

    • Good Lord, Let them have something

      • No. They’ve proven that they can’t be trusted with it. Just last week, I had to haul my two-year-old out of there because of the vomiting. Yes. Drunk guy happily puking ON A PLAYGROUND.

  • The drunk peeing is to be done in the water fountain and childrens play area.

  • Shame. I would have liked to see breathalyzer-controlled entry gates.

    At the very least, I would like any and all seating removed from the play area. I would rather stand while my child plays than have the drunks napping on those benches.

    Captcha: easy nibblers

  • What happened to the tennis court? 🙁

  • Ummm, what tennis court?

    First, one quick note, the rear alley entrance will almost surely be eliminated, and that space will likely instead provide some additional playground space. Second, the benches in the play area will be designed, as per the standard now, with a piece of metal in the middle to prevent folks from laying out and sleeping on them.

    I believe this park is a MASSIVE upgrade and I love the design. It should be much more attractive, the sight-lines will be MUCH improved (the entire park surface is going to be raised to eliminate the sunken feeling, the fencing will be much less obstrusive, and a few other aspects of the redesign are geared towards making the park much more visible to street life). I also have a feeling criminality will REALLY decrease. The play area should attract a ton of parents and young kids, which in an of itself will scare away a lot of drinking and bad behavior. Folks have discussed forming a friends of the park group which should be able to work with police to quickly report any instance of public drinking or urination. The park will still be closed off in evening hours. yes, there will still be a few game tables (a nearly unanimous request from people who attended the park meetings, by the way) but it is not like the current design, where the park feels cut off from the street and there are two whole corners of the park that are basically geared towards problematic behaviors. Now, a full half the park will be a gorgeous, much more inviting playground, and the rest will be centered around a single circular middle and won’t really lend itself to attractive places to feel hidden from view / safe from the scrutiny of parents and/or passing law enforcement. IF folks take ownership of this park and continually use it for positive activties, get engaged via a friends of the park group, and IF law enforcement follows through on its pledge to be vigilant in patrolling the redesigned park, especially at the outset to establish a firm no-tolerance tone, I think that this will be a VERY successful redesign and that most of the problematic behaviors will cease. At the very least, it will look a HECK of a lot nicer.

  • Presumably there are some people who will always use my alley to urinate, just like they always have. And try to drink in the park and generally be unwelcome presences. But even if these problems persist, I think the redesign has the potential to be a positive change for three reasons:

    1. The drainage issues will get fixed. Hooray! No more disgusting puddles on the play space.

    2. There will be a line of sight to the street so passing police cars and pedestrians with cell phones will be able to more easily spot and report issues. Moving the “adult” space of the park from around the edges to the front and center will also presumably help.

    3. If (and I know it’s a big if) the homeless guys and loiterers stay more or less off the equipment, the play space will automatically be more inviting for parents and kids simply by virtue of not being right in the middle of so many different groups. There are often homeless men or unsavory characters at many of the parks we go to, but they mostly stay out of our way. However, when I have my kids at 11th & Monroe, usually there aren’t inappropriate people on the equipment (though not always, sadly), but it’s like we’re in a big round fishbowl surrounded by bored, sometimes surly homeless guys who have nothing better to do than eyeball us. This design separates those two spaces (there’s even a low fence in between them).

    I think getting people with kids to use the park is key. Making the space less of a fishbowl for the drunks is one step. I also think getting really excellent equipment is important. What’s there now is fine (worn out and often dirty, but in basically good shape) but it’s not innovative or in any way a draw. I keep imagining what if something really different or cool was there for kids – so that instead of walking from this neighborhood to get to another park, kids from surrounding neighborhoods would want to walk over here to use it. Probably a pipe dream, but a mom can wish.

  • i surprisingly don’t hate this. Even sort of like it!

    i’m been critical of the park as a dad who uses it regularly, but criticizing the renovations as a waste of money. It’s gross because most of the need for communal space in the neighborhood is gross need. THAT is not going to change. Our neighborhood is our neighborhood. But moving all seating east and away from the play space (instead of surrounding) will better insulate, and taking out the raised bed of the mature trees on the park road side will expose the loitering spaces to more visibility.

    It will be interesting to see how the two primary user social groups interact when the stoop and table areas are merged together.

    Sad to cut mature trees, but that raised bed kills the energy flow…

    I so hope they keep the alley-side mature trees.

    But bottom line, spending money alone isn’t what will make the park \nice.\. Nor will environmental design considering person-environment psychology. *Staffing* it (paid or volunteer)–the human element–is key. Trash removal and park cleaning needs to be more frequent. Building deliberate relationships with park users and earning their trust and partnership…

  • Two things:

    (1) How about an outdoor hand-washing station by the “storage” staffed with park-provided soap? If hygiene is an issue, let’s confront it! (Or why not a toilet?)

    (2). Please urge DPR to use native flowering trees for their ornamental arc!

  • Oh, and adding a tree space on the NE corner!

  • @DB. There will not be a toilet. No money for upkeep/cleaning. The toilets that 14th and Girard have been a disaster. Plus, enclosed toilet spaces are just too much of a temptation for predators in areas where there are likely to be unsupervised children (you might supervise yours, but lots parents in this neighborhood let their 8, 9, 10 year olds go out alone — like we used to when we were kids). Toilets also allow enclosed space for other illegal activities.

    Mature trees to the west will be kept. I think only 2 of the mature trees will be removed. Sad, but necessary for park design.

  • The space behind the Tivoli box office is already a toilet -people can just go there.

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