Located approximately four miles north of Capitol Hill, the east-west oriented Kennedy Street became the site for a national design competition launched in April 2013 by DC Water. The Nitsch Team 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 overflows (CSOs).
The first phase of the competition challenged teams to develop innovative concepts for public or private spaces throughout the District. The Nitsch Team submitted an award-winning design integrating porous pavements, bioretention bump-outs and planters, subsurface storage, pedestrian boardwalks, and an engaging proposal for environmental art.
As a Phase I finalist, the Nitsch Team was 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.
The Nitsch Team’s design provides 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. These BMPs create a long, slow path for stormwater to travel, thereby managing (treating, detaining, and infiltrating) a much larger contributing drainage area instead of allowing it to rapidly discharge to the combined sewer. Additionally, the Nitsch Team incorporated a number of complete street 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.
Due to the innovative nature of the project, as well as its location within a public right-of-way, the Nitsch Team 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. We also led a thorough public education and outreach effort, developing project graphics and educational tools for use at two facilitated public meetings.