“The Connecticut Overlook Ave pocket park will power its own lights with people’s footsteps”

people-powered
Photo via Golden Triangle BID

Well this is pretty freaking cool!

From DDOT:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) today announced the completion of the Connecticut Avenue Overlook, a pocket park at the tip of Connecticut Avenue on the south side of Dupont Circle.

The plaza includes a pilot project that features Pavegen pavers, a pioneering flooring technology that converts kinetic energy from people’s footsteps into electricity. The energy is stored in batteries that illuminate accent lights in the park from dusk to dawn. Made from recycled polymer and truck tires, the pavers are both durable and eco-friendly. The pilot project was funded by a $200,000 DC Office of Planning Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge grant.

“From streetlights to traffic signals and now pavers, DDOT is fully embracing sustainable technology,” said DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo. “The improvements at Connecticut Avenue Overlook are just the latest examples of our commitment to innovative infrastructure as we strive to make the District one of the nation’s premier cities for smart technology.”

DDOT and the Golden Triangle BID have been redesigning and revitalizing Connecticut Avenue through a successful partnership and this newest pocket park is part of that ongoing effort. From the construction of an artfully landscaped median to beautiful new sidewalk pavers and additional street furniture, Connecticut Avenue has been transformed into a grand avenue connecting Dupont Circle to K Street.

“The process of transforming a nondescript semicircle of blank concrete into an attractive and inviting oasis in a bustling metropolis is very exciting,” said Leona Agouridis, Executive Director of the Golden Triangle BID. “It is even better knowing that the space includes cutting-edge technology that dovetails so nicely with our ongoing technology infrastructure initiatives. Green space makes the Golden Triangle an attractive neighborhood and implementing green technology continues to position us as an incubator for creativity and innovation.”

Pavegen founder and CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook added, “Expanding into the US is one of the biggest steps Pavegen has taken, engaging people all over the world with renewable energy. We’ve created a product that can reshape the way people move in our cities, and with current digitization, our ability to connect physical and digital worlds through a single footstep places us at the forefront of the footfall energy-harvesting market.”

DDOT and the Golden Triangle BID will work together on the park’s maintenance. Urban designers from Zimmer, Gunsul, Frasca Architects donated their time and expertise to create the pocket park. Fort Myer Construction Corporation was the contractor on the project. DDOT also received support from Volkert Associates.”

9 Comment

  • Nice. Adds a cool factor

  • Cool, but does this little semi-circle really get that much foot traffic? You can’t get to it from any crosswalk (yeah, I know) and it’s isolated by the u-turn lane for vehicles approaching the circle. I feel like the million times I’ve walked across there I’ve either used the island (that the crosswalks connect to) or just walked in the u-turn lane (which I’ve rarely seen used by a vehicle.) I feel like they could have reconfigured that whole thing and gotten rid of the u-turn lane. Anyway, I do hope to see more cool stuff like this around the city.

    • They are also in the crosswalk median.
      As a neighbor who’s been crossing the dust and gravel in place here for 2+ years, it was infuriating to learn the hold-up was this gadget and its permitting and financing, and then live with barricades and cramped, dangerous conditions lately. A more interesting, forward-thinking thing DDOT might have done would be to create a ‘woonerf’ like space that makes the u-turn more of a pedestrian area that can only be crossed very slowly and carefully, giving the space back to people instead of cars.

  • Seriously, all that construction and headache and inconvenience for THIS?! They ain’t getting my energy! I shall burn excess walking around this. My FitBit challenges thank you, DDOT and Golden Triangle BID.

  • Wow. So much negativity! How can a space get no foot traffic *and* cause inconvenience when not available to foot traffic? It sounds very cool to me. I look forward to seeing it in action.

  • this is really dumb and gimmicky. it’s a waste of money and apparently time if it delayed construction. it also detracts from real sustainability efforts.

  • It’s an interesting way to get people to talk about renewable energy but as a park I can’t see it being very successful. Who actually wants to overlook Connecticut avenue and/or hang out in a u-turn island when dupont circle is right across the street? It would have been a better idea to remove the u-turn lane (people who want to make a u-turn can just use the traffic circle itself) and reclaim the area for peds with some sort of additional amenity to bring people to the space.

  • They spent $200,000 on that? I can think of a lot better ways to spend that money that would improve our existing transport system.