Kennedy Street Green Infrastructure

Washington, DC
Key Elements
  • State-of-the-art green infrastructure strategies 
  • Complete Streets elements 
  • Complex public outreach and permitting processes 

Located approximately four miles north of Capitol Hill, Kennedy Street became the site for a national design competition launched in April 2013 by DC Water. Nitsch served as the Project Manager for the winning Kennedy|Greened competition entry, collaborating with a multi-disciplinary team to design a high-performance, urban residential streetscape retrofit that serves as a model for larger green infrastructure projects to help address the District’s combined sewer overflow. 

For the first phase of the competition, in which we were a finalist, Nitsch submitted an award-winning design integrating porous pavements, bioretention bump-outs and planters, subsurface storage, pedestrian boardwalks, and an engaging proposal for environmental art. We were then invited to enter the Phase II competition, which required preparing a 15% streetscape design for a more commercial section of Kennedy Street. We emerged from Phase II as the winning streetscape design and worked with DC Water to complete the design, permitting, and construction of the Kennedy Street Green Infrastructure Challenge Streetscape Project. 

Nitsch provided environmental, social, and economic benefits to Kennedy Street by incorporating increased landscaping into the streetscape that collects and infiltrates stormwater. The project includes 33 inter-connected green infrastructure Best Management Practices (BMPs), including bioretention curb extensions, landscape infiltration gaps, permeable pavers, and dry wells. We also incorporated a number of Complete Streets strategies into Kennedy Street, including roadway sharrows and stormwater curb extensions that serve as traffic calming measures. Seat walls with engraved art, new street furniture, and 35 additional street trees provide enhanced shading and improve the pedestrian experience. We guided the project through the complex permitting required by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), and various other permitting authorities, and led a thorough public education and outreach effort. 

Key Collaborators

Owner: DC Water Authority  
Environmental Art: Stacy Levy/Sere Ltd. 
Land Surveyor and Geotechnical Engineer: EBA Engineering, Inc.  
Community Engagement: Tina Boyd and Associates 
Landscape Architect: Urban Rain|Design 
Permitting: McKissack and McKissack 
Landscape Architect: Warner Larson, Inc.