Pennsylvania avenue initiative tgas advisors

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The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), the General Services Administration (GSA), the National Park Service (NPS), and the District of Columbia Government formed an Executive Committee and launched the Pennsylvania Avenue Initiative to consider near- and long-term improvements to the Avenue.

Pennsylvania Avenue is one of Washington’s–and the world’s–most recognized streets, physically and symbolically connecting the U.S. Capitol with the White House. As a home to federal headquarters, businesses, museums, residents, civic activities, and lively downtown events, it plays a significant economic and cultural role in the capital city. A major redevelopment effort led by the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC) from the 1970s to the 1990s shaped the design and character of the street and surrounding neighborhood.

Today, the Avenue retains a strong civic identity and character, but does not provide a consistently engaging experience. With public input and the guidance of the Executive Committee, the Initiative will improve the Pennsylvania Avenue experience.

Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the world’s historic thoroughfares, physically and symbolically connecting the U.S. Capitol with the White House. Every four years, it hosts the nation’s celebration for its democratic and peaceful transfer of power. As a home to federal headquarters, businesses, museums, residents, civic activities, and lively downtown events, the Avenue plays a significant economic and cultural role in the capital city. Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the nation’s most captivating representations of stability, democracy, and power.

While the Avenue continues to evolve, current planning and development guidance for the Avenue is over 40 years old. Its civic identity and character remains strong, and it’s well-served by multiple modes of transportation, but it also faces many challenges:

With new uses and development revitalizing the Avenue, including the Trump Hotel, and a new National World War I Memorial at Pershing Park, now is the time to improve the Avenue. To keep pace with these rapid changes and challenges, the Initiative brings stakeholders together to shape a vision for Pennsylvania Avenue. This work ensures the Avenue’s public realm and adjacent land uses promote an economically thriving, well-connected destination for the capital city.

Development on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 15th Streets, NW is governed by PADC’s 1974 Plan, as amended, in addition to local zoning. The 1974 Plan is supplemented by General and Square Guidelines, which further regulate most of the parcels along this stretch of the Avenue. Square Guidelines identify the size and shape of the building, and provide guidance on general land use, circulation, and other urban design components. NCPC, GSA, and NPS have authority to propose changes to the 1974 Plan and develop and/or amend Square Guidelines.

A recent amendment occurred on January 5, 2017, when the Commission unanimously approved the final square guidelines for Squares 378 and 379 on Pennsylvania Avenue, which is currently occupied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) J. Edgar Hoover Building. Unlike other squares in this area, the 1974 Plan did not include guidelines for Squares 378 and 379 because the current FBI Headquarters building was under construction during the Plan’s development. NCPC worked with agency stakeholders and the public to develop these Square Guidelines for more than a year prior to the approval and transmission to GSA. Read the about the FBI Square Guidelines on our dedicated resource page above.