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Mayor Bowser and Downtown Leaders Announce Strategies to Support Revitalization of Downtown DC

Monday, February 26, 2024
District Leaders and the DowntownDC and Golden Triangle BIDs Unveil the Downtown Action Plan and Downtown Public Realm Plan

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser released two planning initiatives that will support and drive the revitalization of Downtown DC – the Downtown Action Plan and the Downtown Public Realm Plan. Together, these plans provide strategies to ensure the long-term success of Downtown DC’s commercial core and identify key investments in public spaces that will help attract residents, businesses, and visitors to Downtown DC.

“Downtown DC is unique – in part because it is home to dozens of monuments, museums, and federal spaces, but also because of the local businesses and attractions that that drive our economy and attract visitors from across the region. With the future of Downtown, we have a unique opportunity – and responsibility – to be bold, creative, and collaborative,” said Mayor Bowser. “These plans give us a roadmap for how our community can work together to deliver on the enormous potential of our beautiful Downtown DC.”

The Downtown Action Plan was developed by the DowntownDC and Golden Triangle Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) over an eight-month period, with support provided by the Federal City Council and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED). The plan identifies a set of targeted initiatives and a detailed roadmap for the reimagination of Downtown DC, focusing on five foundational elements: 1) Anchoring Downtown’s Comeback in Public Safety; 2) Creating a Place of Choice to Locate and Do Business; 3) Building a Residential Base; 4) Planning for Transportation as an Asset; and 5) Making It Happen. These elements are applied across five distinct areas, or nodes, within Downtown, ensuring a curated approach to the revitalization efforts.

“The Downtown Action Plan not only proposes actions needed to ensure Downtown’s overall repositioning, it also presents important value propositions that emphasize sustainability, inclusivity, and economic growth, which are among the District’s competitive advantages,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Nina Albert. “We look forward to continuing to work with the BIDs, residents, and community stakeholders to support a strong and vibrant Downtown.”

The Downtown Action Plan also identifies five distinct geographic nodes, recognizing and addressing the unique attributes of each area, ensuring a curated approach to the revitalization efforts. This approach underscores a commitment to creating a unique sense of place and character within downtown. The key nodes involve transformative interventions in: 1) Historic Green Triangle; 2) Downtown West; 3) the Penn West Equity, Innovation, and University District; 4) Penn Quarter/Chinatown; and 5) Downtown East.

The Downtown Action Plan map

“We’re eager to unveil the Downtown Action Plan that reimagines Downtown DC’s public realm and unlocks creative opportunities for the advancement of our dynamic city,” said Gerren Price, President and CEO of the DowntownDC BID. “DC is at a unique turning point, and we have a plan to reposition the city better than ever before. With key investments from our partners, we’ll be able to create safer streets, support new and existing businesses, welcome new residents, and offer a vibrant 24/7 community that attracts everyone to our district.”

“At its core, the action plan is about generating new demand for DC’s Downtown,” said Leona Agouridis, President and CEO of the Golden Triangle BID. “The plan recommends investments and actions to increase residents, draw in tourists, grow our tech ecosystem, establish cultural and entertainment corridors, attract universities and businesses, and cultivate an even more exciting and innovative place where people want to be.”

In a parallel effort, the District’s Office of Planning (OP) developed a Downtown Public Realm Plan with recommended urban design and public space improvements for Downtown’s streets, sidewalks, parks, and plazas. The strategies are designed to transform valuable outdoor space into a vibrant, safe, and active public realm that welcomes new residents and visitors and contributes to a healthy economic ecosystem.

“Downtown’s public realm uplifts the District’s history and culture and knits together residences and office buildings with our world-renowned museums, theatres, restaurants, and hotels,” said OP Director Anita Cozart. “The Downtown Public Realm Plan identifies catalytic projects to create engaging experiences that will draw people Downtown.”
The development of both plans included robust engagement with residents, Downtown stakeholders, and business and urban planning leaders to garner wide-ranging, visionary, and broad-based perspectives. The plans complement each other and will inform budgetary investments and planning activities over the short, medium, and long term. Efforts being undertaken by the Gallery Place/Chinatown Task Force will build upon the recommendations for the “Penn Quarter/Chinatown” node and develop a customized vision for that neighborhood, just as future planning efforts for the other nodes will do.

The Downtown Action Plan highlights summary is available today at reimaginedowntowndc.com and the full Action Plan will be available in Spring 2024. The Downtown Public Realm Plan is available at planning.dc.gov/DowntownPublicRealm.  

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