Help Us Assess Long-term Design Alternatives
for Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House
In May 1995 public vehicular traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue
between 15th and 17th Streets was restricted by the U.S.
Department of the Treasury for security reasons. Subsequently,
the National Park Service was asked to coordinate the development
of long-term plans to improve the appearance of this area. The
resulting design would need to
* restrict public vehicular traffic while maintaining access
for official government uses, such as motorcades and diplomatic
* accommodate inaugural parades, requiring a 60' width
Since October 1995 the National Park Service has been gathering
ideas for a redesign and working with other agencies and
interests to develop a range of design alternatives. The
alternatives, including the preferred alternative, are presented
in this newsletter. We invite you to review the alternatives and
to comment on them by using the enclosed response sheet. An
environmental assessment for the long-term design has also been
prepared to analyze the impacts of implementing the alternatives.
If you would like to receive a copy, fax your request to (202)
Following this review period, a final long-term design will be
selected and refined. The final design will be publicly
presented in July 1996.
A Timeless Design for Pennsylvania Avenue
The original design for the city of Washington was intended to
symbolize the linkages between the three branches of government,
as well as the connections between the stutes und the federal
government. That basic design, developed by Pierre L'Enfant over
200 years ago, has endured, with some minor refinements.
The White House is the center of the executive branch of
government. It is the place where citizens come to show an
emotional connection with rhe presidency, to gather in times of
crisis, and to petition the president to redress grievances, as
guaranteed by the First Amendment.
The Whlte House is the People's House. What we do here must be
timeless and adaptabie to a wide variety of uses. High-quality,
enduring materials and fine detailing must be used. You - the
public - have told us you expect no less.
The Range of Alternatives
The alternatives are based on more than 700 ideas, suggestions,
and survey responses from the public, design professionals, and
students. Ideas were also generated at a design workshop
attended by nationally recognized experts in planning and design
last December. Initially five alternatives - from a minor change
to a major redesign - were considered. One of the alternatives
was eliminated, and a preferred alternative was developed. The
preferred alternative incorporates elements from all the other
*Preferred Alternative - The design for Pennsylvania Avenue and
Lafayette Park would incorporate elements from earlier designs,
emphasizing L'Enfant's plan and returning a curved wall line
echoing Jefferson's era. Timeless, durable, and high-quality
materials would be used to reconnect and unify President's Park.
*Alternative A - Least Change: Minor changes would be made to
improve Pennsylvania Avenue, but the street appearance would be
*Alternative B - Limited Change: Pennsylvania Avenuye would be
paved with stone and brick to link Lafayette Park and the White
*Alternative C - Moderate Change: All areas of President's Park
would be unified by consistently using materials and design
elements, including special paving patterns.
*Alternative D - Most Change: Pennsylvania Avenue, Lafayette
Park, and the north grounds of the White House would be
redesigned to provide a new ceremonial entrance to the White
The alternatives are further explained beginning on page 3, and
the designs are shown on accompanying maps.