Apr 7, 2023 - News
Three ways D.C. is reimagining Chinatown-Gallery Place
D.C. wants to rejuvenate Chinatown-Gallery Place, starting with creating more inviting spaces for pedestrians and accelerating office-to-residential conversions.
Why it matters: The neighborhood is a magnet for visitors, thanks to Capital One Arena, museums, and restaurants. But it has struggled since the pandemic with less foot traffic and some empty storefronts.
The big picture: Here is what Chinatown could look like if ideas shared in a Downtown DC BID report become reality:
7th Street NW
- This is the neighborhood’s main drag, and expanded sidewalks are envisioned to allow more outdoor dining, showcases of public art, and extra room for arena crowds.
- Interim improvements can be modeled on Georgetown’s use of streeteries.
- Limiting vehicle traffic with bus + bike + truck lanes, with pick-up and drop-off zones for cars.
F Street NW
- Expanding the plaza outside the National Portrait Gallery would create one giant plaza for concerts and gatherings.
- Narrowing the roadway and adding traffic calming measures — like a cobblestone street. It would create a woonerf, the Dutch concept for a “living street” that slows traffic down to better welcome pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
8th Street NW
- The above option would create a woonerf with widened sidewalks for a plaza and park space.
- The narrower roadway would maintain vehicular access for garages and buildings.
What’s next: The Downtown BID will work together with local businesses to advocate for the changes.
- Their first initiative is asking the mayor and D.C. Council to increase D.C. police and private security presence in the area to combat public safety concerns.
- The BID will seek funding from the District Department of Transportation for street improvements.
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