Could be Cool – 4 Railroad Underpasses in NoMa to transform “into stunning contemporary art installations”


From a press release:

“The NoMa Parks Foundation announces today an international design competition to transform four railroad underpasses in NoMa. The long hoped-for initiative will turn the underpasses at Florida Avenue, NE, and K, L and M Streets, NE, into stunning contemporary art installations, and further strengthen east-west connections in NoMa and to Capitol Hill.

Qualifications are due May 9, 2014 and will be followed by a formal RFP issued to qualified entrants. Neighborhood residents could begin to see installation start as early as 2015. Details about the competition can be found at

By transforming these thoroughfares with a series of interactive design solutions, NoMa will ensure these spaces are vibrant, safe, dynamic and inviting for vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic moving through the neighborhood. As the NoMa Parks Foundation and the NoMa BID begin to implement projects from the 2012 Public Realm Design Plan, we are closely following the community input that played a strong role in the decision to move this particular project forward.

The NoMa Parks Foundation seeks artists and designers who will envision bold, creative approaches to the underpasses. Finalists will receive stipends to refine their ideas prior to final selection. The selected artists/designers will be responsible for final design and oversight of installation.

This design competition is the first project to be funded by the $50 million grant from the District of Columbia government to improve parks and public spaces in the NoMa neighborhood.”

16 Comment

  • $50M of my tax dollars to fund public art in NoMA? No thanks!

    • Prince Of Petworth

      That’s the total park budget I think. If you click the link in the story above it says:

      “The total budget for this project is $1.75 million”

    • When I first read it that’s what I thought too but I think it’s saying it will be the first of many projects, so depending on how much this costs (would it really cost that much?) there will be lots of other projects completed with that money.

      I think i saw an article a few months ago how Mexico City put little pop up stands that sold food/beverages and had a few seats and tables. More than a cart, less than a food truck type deal. I thought it was a really interesting idea and hoped DC would do something similar.

      • Something like that would be really cool, but would it allow for enough sidewalk space for pedestrians to get through?

    • That’s like 10 minutes of what we spend on our Jobs Program™ in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m fine with this.

  • they are throwing a ton of money at this…
    hopefully it does these areas justice as i do feel like it will connect neighborhoods a little better

  • I hope they don’t paint the old dark stone walls.

  • A lot of homeless people hang out under these bridges. I think they are trying to get them to move.

  • I’m sure the homeless people who currently reside under these bridges will welcome the art installations with open arms, it will really class up their living areas.

    I hope the budget has money set aside for cleaning the urine off of the art once a week

  • I like the living sculptures they already have. Oh those are homeless people? Maybe $1.75 M would be better off helping them find homes then displacing them for a yarn bombing or some other fabricated crap designed to give the appearance of a soul in DC.

    • Why do you even live here?

    • I’m with you. I wish that a greater amount of this city’s creative energy was used towards actually helping people. There are non-profits doing amazing work with genuinely needy people who operate on budgets far smaller than what this art project will cost.

      • I think the city should be spending money on art AND on helping people. I don’t know why everyone thinks these things are mutually exclusive.

  • Maybe they should spend some of that money to help shelter the homeless that live under the bridge and get them back on their feet. Also, if this art looks anything like the art that is “Hopscotch Bridge,” they are wasting their money.

  • Also, there is a “NoMa Parks Foundation”…what? What parks? The only park there is Story Park and it’s going to be condos. Seriously though, the lack of parks in this neighborhood is a result of poor planning. Would have loved the green space next to the Mathematica building to be turned into a park, but it looks like another high rise is coming there. The green space next to the Loree Grand isn’t bad, but I’d love it if they actually turned it into a park.

  • I would like to see something like this done with the highway underpasses in Capitol Hill SE. If someone could come up with a way to make those pleasant to walk under it would completely transform the fabric of the neighborhood.

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