Washington D.C. sees a park where a bridge once stood

A video illustrating the general concept behind the elevated park. (Courtesy The 11th Street Bridge Park Design Competition)

Washington D.C. is using the rebuilding of a local bridge as an opportunity to create a new 900-foot elevated park across the Anacostia River. Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC and the D.C. Office of Planning are hosting a competition for the design of this developing project. Participants are invited to think of the initiative as a blank slate sitting upon the extant structural piers, the only holdovers from the old bridge that will be preserved.

A community design charette held on December 7, 2013 to discuss the park. (Courtesy The 11th Street Bridge Park Design Competition)

Organizers have laid out four goals for the new design: “connect two diverse communities, re-engage residents with the Anacostia River, improve public health, and become an anchor for economic development.” The communities in question are the historic districts of Anacostia and Capital Hill. Efforts have been made to incorporate local opinions into the park’s design. Over 200 meetings have been conducted with public figures and residents in the surrounding area. An environmental education center, a performance area, urban agricultural facilities, a cafe, and kayak and canoe launches are some of the suggestions that have emerged from these consultations.

park

11th Street Park rendering (Courtesy Ed Estes / D.C. Office of Planning)

University of Washington public health scholar Dr. Howard Frumkin, Carol Mayer Reed of landscape firm Mayer/Reed, and Howard G. Robinson III, Professor of Urban Design and Dean Emeritus at Howard University will be members of the jury deciding upon the winning design this coming fall. Backers are expecting the park to cost in the range of $25 million, $500,000 of which has been raised already.

Mira Lee bridge park

Bridge park design by Mira Lee – UMd graduate student in landscape architecture. (Courtesy The 11th Street Bridge Park Design Competition)

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