NW Kennedy Street Neighborhood Green Street
The NW Kennedy Green Infrastructure Streetscape Project is an excellent example of landscape architects leading the charge for innovative green infrastructure in the United States. Starting in 2013, Urban Rain Design, Inc. led a design team with Nitsch Engineering and the artistic talents of Stacy Levy to win the rigorous two-phase national DC Green Infrastructure Challenge Design Competition. The Kennedy Street project, located approximately five miles north of Capitol Hill, asked the design team to completely reimagine two blocks of NW Kennedy Street as a high-performance urban mixed-use complete streetscape retrofit that serves as a model for green infrastructure and to help address the District’s combined sewer overflow. The winning concept plan for NW Kennedy Street features multiple stormwater strategies along the street including stormwater curb extensions, new street trees, Landscape Infiltration Gaps (LIGs), pervious paving, boardwalk landscapes and sub-surface storage/infiltration. The design further promotes “complete street” concepts using curb bump-outs, sidewalk crossings, bike sharrows, and boardwalks to create a streetscape that is safe and comfortable for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.
The second phase of this project was participating in a public outreach process to gain neighborhood input on the concept design and producing construction documents for the ultimate implementation of the streetscape project. Urban Rain Design, Inc. participated in numerous neighborhood meetings and provided drawings to help support the outreach effort. Urban Rain Design, Inc. assisted Nitsch Engineering to complete the construction drawings during 2016-2017. Many of the green infrastructure design elements that Kevin Robert Perry created in the original concept plan were never tried before in the United States and required the landscape architect to work directly with DC Water staff to gain approval.
In 2018, the Bowser Administration celebrated a ribbon-cutting event for the completion of the NW Kennedy Green Infrastructure Streetscape Project; a highly collaborative effort that has improved pedestrian and traffic safety and increased use and awareness of green infrastructure. The project has since won the 2019 Engineering Excellence Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Metropolitan Washington (ACEC/MW). Kevin Robert Perry joined DC Water and Nitsch Engineering and presented the NW Kennedy Green Infrastructure Streetscape Project at the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego.