Proposed Park Designs for Franklin Square – Add Your Comment by March 14th


From the National Park Service:

“A range of concept design alternatives have been developed to respond to the project purpose, address the project need and study options that minimize impacts on natural, historic and cultural resources. In addition, the alternatives incorporate desired park uses and programs prioritized both from public comments submitted to NPS and feedback received at the Franklin Park Public Scoping Meeting.

We are interested in hearing your input on restoring and transforming Franklin Park, specifically your comments on the proposed concept designs alternatives.

Comment Period: 02/12/2014 – 03/14/2014

You can see all the proposals below:

Franklin Square Park Proposals (PDF)

14th and K Street, NW today

31 Comment

  • Looks nice and all but the homeless people are the main problem here. I only see one reference to that problem in the proposal and no solution listed. The homeless population needs to be addressed in order to take this project from being a short term fix into a long term fix.

    “Sanitation of the site is also compromised by the unmanaged charity missions that take place most weekends for
    homeless feedings and clothing donations”

    • +1

      They just need to plant some grass, get rid of the horrible rat problem, and address the homeless situation and it would be plenty nice as is. If only we could redirect the money that’s going to be spent on redoing the park to address these problems.

      • Agreed!! This park would actually be awesome if they’d figure out how to help the homeless population. It doesn’t help that they closed Central Union and the shelter that used to be in the Franklin School on the east side of the park.

        I can’t help but think if the NPS put any effort at all into maintaining the park, it’d be a great park space for the area.

        • Central Union didn’t close; it moved.

        • It would be good to install some cots so those who want to take a nap in the park can do so without taking up all of the benches which should be reserved for sitting, eating one’s lunch, etc.

      • I agree. The park doesn’t need to be redone, it just needs to be cleaned up and the homeless population needs to be given a place to go. Same with McPherson Sq, where I wouldn’t sit on a bench if you paid me. (Well…maybe if you paid me.)

    • So in other words, “I want to move all these smelly homeless people someplace else, so I can eat my lunch in the park.”

  • Kind of wish it showed the treed areas remaining. Right now it looks like it’s being clearcut, which obviously isn’t what’s going to happen.

  • No mention of making it easier for food trucks! They are the top users of the park as it stands. Everything is geared toward children and there aren’t even residences next to this park. I don’t understand any of these designs.

    • Within a 3 block radius of the park, there are nearly 15 apartment buildings. While the residence may not be “next to this park” they are very close by.

      The homelessness and food truck problems are major issues that the designs do not consider. This park has a lot of potential, but between the homeless, bus terminals, food trucks, and traffic around the park there are a lot of obstacles to overcome.

      With the redevelopment of the park and the Franklin School it looks like this neglected part of downtown may be finally be “up and coming”.

      • The designs very much consider these issues. But not all the drawings and ideas are on the website as this is very much a work in progress. At least the diagonal and the edge include charging stations for the food trucks, and there will be areas for eating from the food trucks. Plus bathrooms. As for the homeless, it is a more complicated issue, but they are working very closely with the area church that does the sanctioned feedings and trying to work with the unsanctioned groups to set ground rules so that the area will be more taken care of. There is no mechanism for NPS to just “fix it up and maintain.” That has been tried for years, and clearly isn’t good enough. It has to be activated such that the community embraces it, so that the downtown DC Bid can have a role in maintenance.

        Also, there is a shift towards more children downtown. And, Downtown DC is very much in need of a playground. Walk around manhattan and you will run into them everywhere. Here, not so much. Moreover there is a public elementary school a block away that has no playground at all. And, many tourists have children. The goal of this renovation is to make the park accessible to people of all ages, very similar to what is done in Bryant Park. In Bryant Park, they found that the same number of homeless remained but the issue was thoughtfully addresssed so that it was not problematic – i.e., less trash, less intrusive congregation. If you have any other suggestions as to how to accomplish this, please submit them or better yet, come to one of the public meetings, which always include public brainstorming sessions of ideas that have so far been largely incorporated into the designs.

        • There is not a children’s play structure in Bryant Park, they only have the Carousel. I agree that the park should be used for children to play, but both a “tot lot” and “children’s play structure” is a little overkill.

          Also, the proposals say that “13th Street is too steep for food trucks”. Plus, not that many food trucks are electric nor need electric charging stations. To me it sounds like the redevelopment of the park is trying to limit the food trucks.

          • But there are many more playgrounds all over NYC, so you don’t have as much need there are you do here. The need here is desperate. Did your preschool have a playground? How about your elementary school? My guess is yes, and these kids – many of whom, at least the ones in the elementary school, are of lower income and don’t have the opportunity to go elsewhere – need a place to play badly. And, anyone who has small kids – which I am pretty sure you do not – can tell you the importance of separating the tot lot from the area for the larger kids to play. Combining the day care children with the elementary children in the same play space is a recipe for frequent injury. It simply isn’t safe.

          • With regard to the food trucks, nobody is trying to force them away at all. They are highly desired, and the park designers are trying to think of better ways to incorporate them, including having easy to access seating. Food trucks bring people, which is exactly what they are looking for. The concession area is not going to be too competitive, and is absolutely necessary to provide bathrooms, which would help the food truck users too. The park is also being set up to host several types of events (movies, live music, workshops for the new museum…), so hopefully these will bring the food trucks even more frequently.

    • Yeah, I don’t understand the designs focusing on children, either. Most of the people in the surrounding neighborhoods (Logan/Thomas Circle, Convention Center, Shaw) are young professionals without children or elderly people. Maybe there’s some shift happening with young families that isn’t glaringly obvious yet.

      They could save a lot of money if they’d just maintain what the have– get rid of the rats and figure out ways to help the homeless population that was displaced when the shelters in the immediate area closed.

      The NPS has never bothered to maintain this park to begin with.

      • Just fixing up and maintaining as is will not solve the problem. Moreover, even doing that would be almost as expensive because of problems with the fountains and the trees that need to be addressed. I agree that NPS has not done a good job maintaining this park at all, but that is why these changes are necessary, so that we can make it a combined effort between NPS, DC and the Downtown DC Bid. If we activate the park enough, we will be able to support having a constant presense in the park, which would be helpful for everyone.

        And, yes, there are lots and lots of kids in the area. Just open your eyes and walk around. There are kids that live in the neighborhood, an elementary school without a playground, daycares without any outside areas, and lots of tourist kids. The reason you may not notice is that there is absolutely nowhere outside for them to play at the moment. This needs to be fixed.

      • There are lots of children in the area, you just don’t see them because there is no where for them to run around safely. Yes, there is a small park on 10th Street but that’s about it for the kiddos.

      • according to in 2010 there were 910 kids under 5 in the Shaw/Logan Circle cluster and 527 in the “Downtown, Chinatown, Penn Quarters, Mount Vernon Square, North Capitol Street” cluster. I would guess these numbers have increased since then since there has been more development in the area and the overall population has increased. Anywhere with that many little kids (and a bunch of slightly older ones, too, I’d guess) could use a playground. There are also a ton of day cares in the neighborhood that could use a place to play.

  • None of the options for redesigning the park really matter if the rat problem isn’t addressed.

  • Wish we could turn this into another Bryant Park like in NYC, putting a concessions feature in there. If cleaned up it could be a nice place to grab a drink and helps draw people in to experience the park. Also, with Bryant Park the concessions pay for the park’s upkeep.

    • Exactly. This is the plan in all but one of the first schemes, and the public meetings at least have not shown that anyone is interested in the scheme without concessions.

  • Actually most everything suggested above is being considered and incorporated (except the cots of course). Check out one of the public meetings if you are interested in the details. There have been two already, and there are more to come. Bryant Park is probably the clearest example that they are using, although the size makes it a bit different. Moreover, they are taking great strides to maintain as many of the healthy trees as possible. And they have many ideas for helping both the homeless and the food trucks while also having concessions. The point is to activate the park at all times so that it is easier to maintain and form coalitions with the neighborhood to help with that maintenance. Check out the next meeting; they have been great, informative and receptive.

    • I like the idea of concessions in the park (more than one little both across from the 5 Guys). But the food trucks will directly compete against the concessions. Either the concessions or food trucks stay, both cannot reasonably co-exist at the same location.

      • There is more than enough demand to support both. Think of how many restaurants are already within a block, this won’t change much. And, the concessions are necessary to provide bathrooms with appropriate oversight.

        • Glad to see that Anon, who works for the NPS and/or is heavily involved with the redesign process of the park, is trying to influence the community input provided in these postings.

          • I do not work for NPS or any of the participating organizations. I am simply a neighbor who cares about my community, goes to the meetings and is responding based on information that I have heard and seen. I’m not trying to influence as much as inform and get more participation.

  • They should just astroturf the whole thing and make it a dog run.

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