Thursday, April 29, 2010

NCPC To Hold Web Forum on Park Plan


On Thursday at 1pm, DCMud will host a live web dialogue with the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) to discuss CapitalSpace, a partnership between the District, National Park Service, and NCPC to improve access to and the quality of DC's many local parks.

After a public comment period, NCPC adopted the CapitalSpace final plan on April 1st, and Commission staff is now working to implement the recommendations. NCPC's web panelist will be Julia Koster, Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for NCPC and former development coordinator for the Governor's Office of Smart Growth in Maryland. DC's park system, uniquely challenged by overlapping governing bodies and high tourist traffic, not to mention neglect, now has plans for the first revamp in 40 years spearheaded by NCPC, the planning body for the federal region that oversees development on or near federal land and coordinates the area's capital improvement plan.

CapitalSpace sets out "six big ideas" that, in short, seek to better connect the parks with each other by "weaving a greenway" through the neighborhoods from park to park, improve the parks, and connect the parks with DC's underutilized rivers.

1. Linking the Fort Circle Parks: Creating a walkable green space with historic significance by connecting the series of defensive forts built to encircle DC during the Civil War - a function of the McMillan Commission of 1901 that set out to establish "Fort Drive," a green beltway around downtown DC. Only small sections of the green roadway were ever established.

2. Enhancing Center City Parks: With 30 percent of the city’s future housing growth and 70 percent of job growth likely to occur downtown and along the Anacostia River, downtown parks add vibrancy, but place high demand for active uses.

3. Transforming Small Parks: Of the city's parks, 67% are small - less than one acre. NCPC plans to refurbish small spaces greater recreation and for "cultural and historic commemoration."

4. Enhancing Urban Natural Area: On top of providing recreational areas, the parks serve an ecological function as well - providing "pathways for wildlife" to move around the city.

5. Improving Playfields: DC's various athletic fields, of which there are more than 1,000 throughout DC, will be accorded "the highest level of planning and upkeep." Designs include better lighting, synthetic turf, and an online system of registering and reserving fields.

6. Improving Public School Yards: A plan to improve the 30% of the District's playgrounds, fields and courts that are run by the DC Public Schools (DCPS).

Factors that influence regeneration of the parks: Some 68% of parkland in DC is controlled by the National Park Service; 35% of DC children between 10 and 17 are obese; DC has 12.9 acres of park per 1000 residents (7617 acres) - one of the highest in the nation; DC has .217 athletic fields per 1,000 residents - one of the lowest ratios on the east coast; the District Department of Transportation manages about 250 small parks in DC; Washington DC is expected to increase from in population from 600,000 to 700,000 by 2025.

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea for NPS and Co: Pick up litter at existing parks, especially Fort Stevens!

Anonymous said...

Improving access to the river is great, but you need something to go to at the river; right now the river is mostly blocked off. I would LOVE to see bike trails connecting the parks, or foot trails along the rivers.

Anonymous said...

A small park can be a little jewel in a neighborhood, but only if the role of the park is clear and the park is well maintained.

The role of the park should be determined within the context of the community, current and future. It needs to support and promote positive energy.

Good maintenance is essential and requires a concerted and coordinated effort among the corresponding departments (DPR, DPW, MPD), business owners, and residents.

CCCA Prez on Apr 30, 2010, 12:39:00 AM said...

Looks like another great plan. DC paid a lot of money for great plans that are now city on "shelves and collecting dust." Let's get the plan implemented with the appropriate funding.

 

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