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Friday Question of the Day – Should Rock Creek Parkway be Rerouted?

by Prince Of Petworth March 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm 82 Comments

Dear PoPville,

I am interested in the city and region getting better use out of their waterfront assets. The city is slowly starting with improvements in Georgetown, Navy Yard, and SW Waterfront, but I think there is more they can do. To help, I think the city should to reroute the Rock Creek Parkway from in front of the Kennedy Center onto existing roads. The existing roads in the area could handle the traffic with a few fairly simple upgrades to the intersections. Then the area north of the Lincoln Memorial and West of the Kennedy Center currently used by Rock Creek Parkway could be converted into parkland for everyone to enjoy. The area under the Kennedy Center overhang could even be used for some creative recreation or retail. I believe this would actually simplify traffic by removing some of the web of confusing roads in this area. I’ve attached a simplified picture showing how the road could be rerouted (pretty straightforward).

I know that there are people that will complain that this cuts off the Kennedy Center even more, but the fact is that Kennedy Center is already cut off. This proposal would do nothing to make that better or worse. Covering the road east of the Kennedy Center to integrate it better with Foggy Bottom could be a longer term goal, but it is expensive and would not happen for may years. This proposal could be done relatively simply and relatively quickly.

Actually, the National Park Service is already working on a plan:

Kennedy Center/Potomac River Pedestrian Access Improvement Project. Under this proposal, FHWA would provide pedestrian access between the Kennedy Center River Terrace and the Potomac Riverfront in Washington, DC; providing a direct link between the Kennedy Center and the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway Trail, which is administered by the NPS. The purpose of the project is to improve access between the Kennedy Center River Terrace to the Potomac Riverfront. The action is needed because physical barriers and safety concerns currently discourage pedestrian traffic between these two resources.

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the NPS and FHWA are preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) to identify alternatives and assess the potential impacts of the proposal. Concurrently, the agencies will conduct consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

So for the FQotD – do you think this will actually happen? If so, when do you think it’ll actually be implemented? Do you think there are other “waterfront assets” that should be improved upon?

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