Federal Commission Proposes Comprehensive Security Design Plan for the Nation's Capital

Federal Commission Proposes Comprehensive Security Design Plan for the Nation's Capital

National Capital Planning Commission

The National Capital Planning Commission has recommended that Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House remain closed to normal city traffic, but be opened to a Circulator--a new transit system being planned for downtown Washington, DC. The new Circulator would permit limited use of this portion of the Avenue that has been closed as a security precaution since 1995.

The recommendation was just one of the proposals approved by the Commission and outlined in an interagency Task Force Report, "Designing for Security in the Nation's Capital." Established by the Commission in March 2001, the Task Force has examined closely the full range of planning issues and security needs for the Nation's Capital. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the need intensified for a comprehensive urban design plan that provides adequate security while preserving the historic beauty of Washington's Monumental Core.

In approving the work of the Task Force, the Commission members indicated that they recognized that security has become a necessary and fundamental requirement of daily life in Washington. At the same time, however, they expressed concern about the effect of closed streets, hastily erected jersey barriers, concrete planters, and guard huts on Washington's historic streetscapes. "These installations communicate fear and retrenchment and undermine the basic premises of a democratic society," said Richard Friedman, a Presidentially appointed member of the Commission and Chairman of the Task Force.

Among the other Commission recommendations are:

*Preparation of a comprehensive Urban Design and Security Plan that will identify permanent security and streetscape improvements.

*Traffic improvements to relieve congestion in Downtown Washington.

*Redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House as a beautiful, landscaped civic space.

*Consideration of a tunnel to replace the east/west transportation capacity lost by the closure of Pennsylvania Avenue.

*Federal funding of these security design improvements.

Related Link: Designing for Security in the Nation's Capital

For more information contact:

Elizabeth Miller
National Capital Planning Commission
401 9th Street, NW, Suite 500
DC 20576

Phone: 202-482-7200
Fax: 202-482-7272
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.ncpc.gov

Posted November 20, 2001

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