10th Street Corridor

Comments on 10th Street Corridor

1. All analyses of the current failure of the Promenade, and the proposals for its rehabilitation, development and/or repurposing begin with the removal of at least the northern, east-west portion (“elephant on giraffe's legs”) of the Forrestal Building. If plans for the redevelopment of Virginia Avenue with a through view to the Washington Monument are realized, the whole building will need to be removed. Given the undistinguished character of the wings of Forrestal, its total removal is preferred. Absent its removal, it will be difficult to make any Promenade work.


2. The NCPC presentation drawings shows that with the Virginia Avenue development, the total removal of Forrestal produces an unusual shaped site on either side of 10th Street at Independence Avenue, almost triangular to the west and a right trapezoid to the east. The western block would be quite small. Given the desire to use this as the entrance to the new Promenade, what might be built on these two truncated blocks? The Norman style of the Smithsonian Castle and the interesing entrance structures for the Sackler and African Art Museum in front of the Castle suggest that any office building should be designed with care and/or that a symbolic structure indicating this location as an entrance to the Promenade would be appropriate. A 130x130 foot open building like the Grand Arche at La Defense would frame both the castle looking north and the Promenade going south, match the width of the Promenade, meet local height requirements, and provide an interesting view from on top in all directions.


3. From the original Pei design through the current proposals, the need to connect the Overlook to the Waterfront has been a priority, although it has never been met. The proposed grand stair is an exciting suggestion that should be pursued. Any cultural structure to be built on the Overlook lawn would have to be designed with the grand stairs in mind, as much an opportunity as a burden.


4. The substantial rise from Independence Ave to the Banneker Park overlook means that the view from Independence Avenue down the Promenade beyond the Overlook will see nothing unless special care is taken with the new buildings in Parcel 2, or the proposed City Pier of the Waterfront Development. A visual hint of the Waterfront beyond the Overlook that could be seen from Independence Ave would be effective. The Overlook Fountain could also be enlarged to make it more visible from both the Waterfront and Independence Ave. It is barely visible today.


5. Given the installation of a Grand Staircase connecting the Waterfront and the Overlook, and the possibility of Civic/Cultural Buildings being located on the terraces adjacent to the Overlook, it does not make sense to install a Intermodal Transportation Center/Parking Garage under Banneker Overlook until the issue of possible future Civic/Cultural Buildings is resolved.


6. Any future parking facility under the Overlook should be coordinated with plans for substantial amounts of parking under the new Waterfront Development and also after a new plan for parking needs in the DC area is developed. As an Ecodistrict, the project should make maximum use of improvements and innovations in energy efficiency for transportation. At a minimum, any proposed parking facility should have a people mover connecting it to the L'Enfant Plaza metro.


7. Any redesign of the Promenade will fail without a vibrant commercial life along it.



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Idea No. 23