Pennsylvania Avenue in the Future:
Qualities Preferred by the Public

Over 500 people responded to an October 1995 survey, which asked people to identify those qualities they would prefer to see incorporated into a final design for Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House. The responses supported the following quaiities:

While not everyone responded to each group of qualities, some qualities elicited a stronger response than others, and often had related written comments.

Approaches Common to All Alternatives

Designs and detailing would the traditional, timeless, simple, and stately, using durable, high-quality materials in a consistent and coordinatcd fashion. Paving materials, signs, lighting, and site furnishings would all meet the design guidelines for President's Park.

Vistas through Lafayette Park would be improved by selectively pruning trees. A driveby view of their North side of the White House would be provided along H Street, which is a simililar distance to the north facade of the White House as E Street is from the south facade.

A consistent lighting plan would be developed to establish the importance of the area, emphasize focal points, identify buildings or site elements, and enhance safety.

A welcoming atmosphere would best be provided by creating public entryways outside a security perimeter. Public access would be improved by removing the existing concrete bollards on the North side of the White House, along with the gates at East Executive Park. Gatehouses, bollards, and vehicle barriers on Pennsylvania Avenue would all be movable to maintain a 60' width for inaugural parades.

Park areas would be made safer by pruning vegetation, in addition to providing more lighting. Elements to ensure safty would be reassuringly simple, at an appropriate scale, and designed to be compatible with historic elements on the site. When needed, temporary security measures (such as perimeter fencing) would be accommodated in a flexible, but dignified, manner and would be coordinated with permanent design elements.

Staff permit parking would be removed from Jackson Place, as proposed by alternatives being considered for the comprehensive design plan for the White Wouse (the ongoing master planning effort). Access to buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue, Jackson Place, and Madison Place would be improved. Deliveries, service and maintenance acccss would be improved.

Businesses would be encouraged to support the staffs activity and destination potential.

Opportunities for Today and Tomorrow

With a redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House, it is possible to take advantage of the following opportunities:

Desired Conditions for Pennsylvania Avenue

Any design for Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House should help achieve the following desired conditions for public use, executive office functions, the District of Columbia, historic preservation, and safety.

Public Use:

Executive Office:

District of Columbia:

Historic Preservation:


The Public Involvement Process

In October 1995 the National Park Service invited the public to become involved int he redesign for Pennsylvania Avenue. Open houses were held at the White House visitor center in Washington, D.C.; a newsletter was mailed out to over 5,000 people and made avilable on Internet; design suggestions were sought from professionals and students in architecture, landscape architecture, design, planning, preservation, and history; and various publications asked their readers to respond.

Over 700 individuals sent in ideas, responded to the newsletter survey, or videotaped their comments at the open houses. These ideas and comments were compiled and shared with prominent planning and design professionals from around the nation during a design workshop held December 11-15, 1995, in Washington, D.C. The ideas were also displayed publicly. The design workshop generated guiding principles and a portfolio of graphic sketches. From the numerous imaginative and varied ideas contributed by the public, it became clear how much citizens value this important site.

The preferred alternative was chosen in consultation with an Executive Committee consisting of representatives from each of the governmental entities having responsibilities inthe project area or oversight for proposed actions in this area.

Projected Costs

Implementing any high-quality design for Pennsylvania Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets must consider the special requirements of this site. The original funding for Washington, D.C., was shared by all the states, and the city was intentionally designed on a grand scale to represent the ideals ofthe new nation. Ideas have been suggested on how to creatively use private and public partnerships to fund this project and to maintain it for future generations.

The following projected costs are one means of comparing the alternatives:

Optional repaving of perimeter City streets to better unify the site would cost an addional $48 million.

The selected alternative could be implemented in phases so that costs could be spread over several years. For example, one of the first actions could be to replace the temporary concrete barriers with bollards of the same design throughout President's Park.

Pennsylvania Avenue Continued.

Pennsylvania Ave. Closure || Peace Park