Transforming the 11th Street Bridge Project

By Guest Blogger Scott Kratz, 11th St. Recreation Bridge Project Volunteer


Conceptual Image

Rivers have always been a place for gathering. Our earliest settlements were natural venues for the cities that would eventually spring to life along the riverbanks - think Paris, London, New York, and New Orleans. Unfortunately, industry and commerce brought pollution, too, and we turned our backs on once lush landscapes. We built highways along embankments, left once busy shipping piers to rot, and littered our shorelines with abandoned warehouses and rust.

But imagine what could be. Change is in the air as cities across the US are beginning to realize rivers can become assets, not merely polluted liabilities. For the last several decades, groups like the Anacostia Watershed Society have been working to restore local rivers and educate the public about resources often hidden in front of us, in plain sight.

In an effort to reengage DC residents with the river, the District government is exploring the feasibility of reusing part of the downstream span of the 11th Street Bridge – now a busy freeway – into a hub of recreation, environmental education, and the arts. The existing 11th Street Bridges over the Anacostia
River are being replaced by new local and commuter bridges that are currently under construction by the District Department of Transportation. Using the piers of the existing downstream bridge, a new thin bridge could be constructed to become a green ribbon above the river – a place of active recreation, kayak launches, environmental workshops and a safe place for families from both sides of the river to gather.

How can you help? We need your ideas and energy. The D.C. Office of Planning will be holding a series of public meetings this spring to solicit ideas, thoughts, and suggestions. Check out their website to find out more.

Come on out, and please bring your imagination!

 

 

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