DC Office of Planning Projects Recognized As Outstanding Plans in DC Region

The DC Office of Planning (OP) announced today that the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association (NCAC-APA) selected three OP plans and projects among the winners of the 2014 Chapter Planning Awards. The awards recognize initiatives, public education efforts and individuals for leadership in planning in the DC region over the last two years.  NCAC-APA is a professional association dedicated to the promotion of sound planning and land use practices. Its members include city, town and county planners, related professions, elected officials and citizen planners in Washington, DC and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland.

“The District of Columbia prides itself on being a leader among our peer jurisdictions by utilizing creative approaches to address our residents’ needs and by developing innovative solutions,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “The NCAC-APA’s awards to our Office of Planning are a welcome recognition of our work.”

The three OP award-winning projects under the category of “Outstanding Plans and Projects” are:

  • Play DC – Parks and Recreation Master Plan, in partnership with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)—winner of the Award for an Outstanding Regional or Comprehensive Plan: The Play DC Plan is the District’s first-ever comprehensive master plan for the city’s parks and recreation system.  The plan evaluated parks and recreation needs citywide and sets a roadmap for investments over the next 10 to 15 years.  It lays out major policy moves that will drive tangible improvements in local neighborhoods and sets quantitative targets to measure results.
  • Mid City East Initiative, in partnership with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT)—winner of the Harold Foster Award for Distinction in Community Outreach and Engagement: The Mid City East study area is predominantly in Wards 5 and 6 with a portion in Ward 1 and is traversed by five major corridors: North Capitol Street, New York Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue, New Jersey Avenue, and Florida Avenue.  It includes the neighborhoods of Bloomingdale, Bates/Truxton Circle, Eckington, Hanover, LeDroit Park, and Sursum Corda, as well as portions of Edgewood and Stronghold.  The Mid City East Initiative comprises two components: the Mid City East Livability Study by DDOT and OP’s Mid City East Small Area Plan. The Small Area plan provides a vision to improve quality of life and enhance neighborhood amenities and character while supporting a community of culturally, economically, and generationally diverse residents and outlines strategies that will develop more mixed-use and walkable neighborhoods.  DDOT’s Livability Study is an in-depth companion study on transportation and the public realm to guide neighborhood-scale mobility improvements. Both studies are the product of OP’s and DDOT’s intense joint collaboration with approximately 2,200 community stakeholders as well as other District agencies.
  • DC Vibrant Retail Streets Toolkit Initiative—winner of the Current Topic Award for Innovative Smart Growth Initiative: The DC Vibrant Retail Streets Toolkit is an innovative approach towards retail analysis that enables neighborhoods and cities to assess their starting point on an eight-step ‘retail vibrancy scale’ and offers customized solutions for helping retail areas improve and progress on the scale. OP piloted the implementation of the Toolkit in 11 diverse neighborhoods across the District, focusing on improved management of emerging retail corridors, local capacity-building, and the fostering of retail streets that are safe, active, and walkable. The Toolkit has allowed OP to have a very different conversation with retail stakeholders that is grounded in a shared understanding about retail realities, championed by neighborhoods, and geared towards realistic implementation.

“I am very excited that OP’s exceptional work is being recognized among the region’s top notch planning initiatives,” said Ellen McCarthy, Acting Director of the DC Office of Planning. “OP strives to think out-of the box to address important issues, and to use creative approaches to public engagement.  Our work with DDOT on the Mid City East Initiative used everything from online crowd-sourcing to holding ‘office hours’ in the community to get the broadest cross-section of public opinion possible.”

NCAC-APA will present the 2014 Chapter Planning Awards on November 20th in Silver Spring.

For more information about OP’s award-winning projects, please visit the DC Office of Planning’s website at www.planning.dc.gov.