M Street is getting a new look—well, at least, their underpass is! Crews are steadily working to create four separate underpass parks in the NoMa area. Read more.
Construction will start this year on a new look for a central underpass in NoMa: perpetual rain. In the winning proposal to enliven the M Street underpass in NoMa, rain made of light will shower over commuters’ heads as they walk through the space. Read more.
WASHINGTON, DC, November 21, 2014 — The NoMa Underpass Design Competition continues apace, now with thoughtful feedback from more than 350 people who took a survey launched in October.
“The NoMa Parks Foundation is thrilled at the amount of interest from the neighbors and other stakeholders,” said Robin-Eve Jasper, President of the NoMa Parks Foundation. “We are embarking on a number of transformational projects in NoMa using the same public/private partnership approach that has been the bedrock for the success of NoMa. As we work to create wonderful public spaces to delight residents and visitors, we will continue to look to the community for creative input and practical advice,” said Jasper. “We are excited at how engaged the neighborhood has already been in this process.”
The idea for the underpass improvements grew out of two community planning efforts sponsored by the NoMa BID, in 2011 and 2012. The objective of the underpass improvements is to fill the four connectors at Florida Avenue, L, M and K Streets, NE, with light and art, making them into beautiful and enjoyable spaces for passing through or lingering. The competition for designs for the underpasses launched in April 2014, garnered significant press and drew international attention. 248 designers from 14 countries submitted entries. The 248 original responses were narrowed to 13 qualified applicants and their concept designs.
The NoMa Parks Foundation sought feedback from the community and encouraged engagement through several outlets:
“We’d like to underscore that all 13 designs presented to the community were conceptual schemes, not construction plans. As we have been working continuously with city agencies, Amtrak and Metro on safety and other operating matters, we were particularly interested in the community’s input on aesthetics. There is much more work to be done, and the selected artists will incorporate agency and community feedback into their final designs,” Jasper said.
The Foundation hopes to select a finalist for at least one underpass by the end of the year, and start construction in 2015.
About The NoMa Parks Foundation
The NoMa Underpass Design Competition is led by the NoMa Parks Foundation, and is one of several projects that are proceeding concurrently to acquire land, improve existing sites, and execute the long-term vision set forth in the NoMa Public Realm Design Plan. The NoMa Parks Foundation was formed in 2012 and the following year received a $50 million commitment from the District government to acquire land, build parks and enhance public space in NoMa.
In the rapidly redeveloping NoMa neighborhood, one critical ingredient is missing: parks. More than 18,000 people live in greater NoMa, and the population is projected to double in the next 10 years; but currently NoMa contains no publicly accessible parks, playgrounds, or plazas. While the District of Columbia averages 12.9 acres of open space per 1,000 residents, none of these spaces exist in the NoMa neighborhood. They are urgently needed to serve the residents and more than 40,000 daytime employees and visitors to the neighborhood. Undeveloped land is becoming more scarce each year as development occurs on the remaining empty lots. The creation of refreshing, inviting parks and public spaces – before it is too late – will improve the lives of people in NoMa today and for generations to come. More about the NoMa Parks Foundation can be found at www.nomabid.org/parks.
NoMa is a vibrant, growing neighborhood nestled among Union Station, the U.S. Capitol, Shaw, and the H Street, NE corridor in Washington, D.C. Over the last several years, private developers have invested more than $5 billion in the 35-block area within the NoMa BID boundaries, and have plans to develop more than 16 million square feet of additional office, residential, hotel, and retail space. NoMa is home to more than 3,800 new apartments, and more than 40,000 people work in NoMa each day. With unparalleled transportation access via Amtrak, VRE, MARC, two Red Line Metro stops, and vehicular access to Interstate 395, visitors, workers and residents can easily travel throughout the region as well as to New York or anywhere on the East Coast. For more information about NoMa, visit www.nomabid.org and sign up for our bimonthly newsletter.
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