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There's some new information on the Canal Park front today, starting with the news that Olin has been chosen from a group of seven invited applicants to create a new design for the park. They are the firm behind the National Gallery's sculpture garden and the Air Force Memorial (on the hill above the Pentagon), and are currently working on the new levee system at 17th and Constitution.
The new design will still focus heavily on low-impact design features and stormwater management abilities, with hopes that the park could be a "zero net energy" project through the placement of solar panels on lightpoles and perhaps even neighboring buildings. (I asked if there were going to be 30-foot-tall windmills, but the answer was no.) The stormwater management aspects could extend to future neighboring buildings as well, perhaps by capturing the HVAC condensation and/or stormwater runoff. There's also likely to be a new pavilion and cafe that weren't in the original design, as well as the possibility of building a fountain that could also be an ice skating rink in the winter.
The schedule to completion, though, is not a short one--preliminary designs were not part of the RFP process, and it's expected that the design and permitting process could take between 10 months and a year, which would put the start of construction in early 2010. Because of the extensive infrastructure work that needs to be done beneath the park site (for not only the park but the eventual surrounding Capper apartment buildings), the estimated length of construction would be about a year, putting the opening date in 2011.
But, for now, all anyone wants to know at this point is when the school buses will be gone, right? Construction on the new lot out at DC Village is apparently nearly complete, with "April" now being offered as the date when the buses can move to their new home, but will it happen? Perhaps there ought to be a Farewell to the Buses Pool--put your guess for the date when the buses drive off for good in the comments, and we'll see who comes closest. (And maybe we'll also have the first official JDLand reader gathering on the day the buses leave, so everyone can stand on the corner and sing "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Goodbye" while waving them down the road.)
On the bright side, permits are already in the works so that, once the buses are gone, the three blocks will be cleared, graded, and sodded, to allow for use as a park while the design process is underway.
My Canal Park page is pretty moldy right now (I've been on strike from updating it), but you can check it out to see how little it's changed in the last six years.
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Mark says: (3/9/09 6:40 PM)
JD -

Thanks for the info, we'll be there to join you with streamers and trumpets on the day the buses head north!


MJM says: (3/9/09 7:03 PM)
Lets start a Bus pool like you said - 17 Jun


IMGoph says: (3/9/09 8:24 PM)
put me down for september 3rd on the bus pool


G says: (3/9/09 8:56 PM)
Thanks for your update. I find it ridiculous the city has taken this long to identify a new design firm at the expense of plans developed over two years ago. For those who invested time attending design meetings and offering input throughout the process early on, this newly implemented route seems to lack input from the community. The design by GGF out of Seattle was to be truly amazing - let's see if this new design will provide similar appeal. With a "pavilion" I have doubts. In my view this is mismanagement by the Fenty Administration or just disdain for the now defunct Anacostia Waterfront Corporation. I too will cheer the departure of the buses - cheers.


drewstewartr says: (3/9/09 10:09 PM)
Let's everyone come to their senses:
The school buses will NEVER depart the Canal Park site.
NEVER!
Any contrary news is strictly urban myth!


Jon Fitch says: (3/10/09 9:49 AM)
Do you know (or do you know how to find out) who were the other six firms invited to submit for the re-design of Canal Park? Also, has anything been published about how process of building the original, competition-winning design was derailed? If not, does anyone know that history?


Justin says: (3/10/09 9:56 AM)
What happened to the old design? Why was it scrapped?


JD says: (3/10/09 10:23 AM)
I don't know who the other firms were--a group of DC officials (DMPED, OP, Parks and Recreation) were involved with the Canal Park Development Assn. to make the choice. This was originally an Anacostia Waterfront Corp. project, and I think when it came back into city hands when the mayor dissolved the AWC, there was unhappiness with the design--too passive.


G says: (3/10/09 1:01 PM)
Too passive? No, I don't believe this is the reason. Recent comments by the Deputy mayor's office were that the "old" design was basically too expensive and difficult to upkeep. They are spinning that the new park will be equally "iconic" but with a significantly lesser price tag. I can't fault them for wanting to save money but the lack of transparency, public input opportunities and frankly time spent on redesign makes me wonder how much is being saved.


Sophia says: (3/10/09 2:20 PM)
So when the buses do move and there is no park, can we call it "Canal Patch"?


BC says: (3/10/09 4:33 PM)
I am glad that they are redesigning the park. I really don't care what the reason is. The original design is very pretty, I do admit that. However, I think that is wastes a lot of precious space and it sure does look expensive to maintain. There is no place to gather without trampling the grass. The design seems to say "keep moving until you exit the other side!" I would like to see some feature in the center block with a big circle of benches (some with tables) surrounding it. A pavilion does sound like an item that the community could use. I would like to see a park that people could eat lunch at on a nice day. I would like to see a park where I can stop and talk to a friend without being in the way of people trying to walk passed. This original design does have nice water features and trees, but the designers seem to have forgotten to add space for people to stop and relax. Hopefully, the new designers will take a fieldtrip to duPont Circle. That circle has a great amount of bench space for people to sit and eat as well as some tables for people to play chess. It also has an open and inviting center. The only open space on this orginal park design requires you to either walk on water or trample the grass (soon to be mud) to enjoy it.


DLH Southwest says: (3/10/09 6:26 PM)
Put me down for July 3 for the buses leaving.


G says: (3/10/09 9:50 PM)
Concerns about design (we all have different tastes) are missing the point about solicitation of community input. The original design is a product of input collected from a series of public meetings, design professionals and a a board of voters.

On original design, it attempted a balance of invoking the look of the old canal, included an entire block of grass for recreation and the southernmost block for events. We don't need a pavilion or rows of park benches in this part of the neighborhood when one block away between the DOT and river will exist a multi-acre green space with all of the above. I do think an ice skating rink sounds sweet - but I don't know that classy execution of such a feature will be any easier to build than the original design.

Put me down for a late April bus move - finally getting optimistic this will finally happen.


Justin says: (3/17/09 4:30 PM)
August 27, 2009.


MM says: (3/19/09 7:45 PM)
I'm going to be glad not to have the bus fumes to deal with once they're gone--sometimes drivers fire buses up & let them run 2 hrs before actual departure. Seems like a bad environmental and fiscal move. Who's in charge there anyhow?

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