American Way: Sign of the Times — Washington D.C.’s NoMa is a pioneering neighborhood for the deaf community

… Along with outdoor outfitter REI, Red Bear is housed in a renovated 1940s ice arena. Outside the building, sidewalks provide “signing space”—room to walk and sign—and benches that face each other, allowing for “conversation circles,” both ASL design terms. A block away, the recently opened Swampoodle Park has “open sight lines,” says its designer Jeff Lee. The benches around the park are curved, another nod to the deaf community. READ MORE

Metropolitan Washington’s persistent urban challenges are frequently in the news. The concerns include ensuring public safety; providing quality public education; increasing the availability of affordable housing; promoting accessibility and quality of transportation; enhancing infrastructure reliability and durability; and caretaking of public parks and open space. Sustaining fiscal and economic health — especially jobs — also is high on the list.

Another urban challenge that tends to be overlooked is the need for beautification of visually unappealing and unsafe public places.

Examples of such places in the District are the dark, poorly lighted, ominous railway underpasses along K, L and M streets NE, and Florida Avenue NE, in the NoMa (North of Massachusetts Avenue) neighborhood. READ MORE

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NoMa Parks Foundation to Open Swampoodle Park on November 17

8,000-Square-Foot Space at 3rd and L Streets NE, the Neighborhood’s First New Park, Combines a Dedicated Dog Area, a Play Structure for Children, and Public Seating

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Calling all kids and their canine friends! The NoMa Parks Foundation will celebrate the completion of Swampoodle Park with an inaugural Wallholla climb and dog procession on the morning of Saturday, November 17, at 11:00 a.m. Located at the intersection of 3rd and L streets NE, the 8,000-plus-square-foot park — previously a vacant lot for which condominiums were once planned — offers a play structure for children, a dedicated space for dogs, and public seating, as well as trees and other plantings. Swampoodle Park was designed by District landscape architecture firm Lee and Associates, with substantial input from the NoMa community provided through multiple public meetings and surveys. (more…)

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NoMa Parks Foundation Opens Rain Installation in M Street NE Underpass

4,000 LED-powered light rods that evoke the sensation of falling rain will glow 24 hours a day and pulse in response to traffic flow beneath the elevated railway.

OCTOBER 25, 2018 / WASHINGTON, D.C.  — The NoMa Parks Foundation turned on the power today for Rain, a dynamic light installation in the M Street NE railway underpass. Comprising 4,000 LED-powered polycarbonate rods suspended above the underpass sidewalks, the artwork will illuminate the space 24 hours a day and pulse like gentle waves of rainfall in response to the flow of vehicular traffic beneath the elevated tracks. Rain is the first of the NoMa Parks Foundation’s four planned underpass “art parks” to open and was designed by Thurlow Small Architecture of Oakland, California, working in conjunction with Dutch firm NIO architecten in response to an international competition held by the Foundation. (more…)

The NoMa Parks Foundation is ready to officially turn on the 4,000 light rods hung in the M Street NE underpass on Thursday evening. Rain, designed by Thurlow Small Architecture + NIO architects, includes LED light rods hung from the ceiling of the underpass in a series of vaults. The lights will stay on around the clock and will respond to activity in the underpass. Read more.