Public Life Study at Florida and New York Avenues
Through on-site observation and analysis, recommendations from a public life study help lay the foundation for improvements to the public spaces around one of DC’s most chaotic and dangerous intersections.
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
Active Transportation & Mobility, Downtowns & Districts, Urban Design, Urban Environments, Urban Planning
The intersection of Florida and New York Avenues NE has long been a source of significant concern due to dangerous traffic patterns, poor urban design, and strained mobility. Yet it is in a neighborhood where numerous people live, work, and go to school; one that is experiencing significant growth and development, and one through which many people travel daily. Through a technical assistance program administered by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, SmithGroup assisted the DC Office of Planning in conducting a Public Life Study to better understand how people want and need to use this space now and in the future. Our collaborative team efforts made recommendations for the design of new public spaces in the area which will result from a future reconfiguration of the intersection underway by the District Department of Transportation, and public space activation led by the NoMa Business Improvement District.
Data included movement of people through the intersection, stationary activities like sitting and eating, and in-person intercept surveys over the course of each day. More than 500 responses were received to an online survey that was distributed to local residents, workers, and students.
The analysis resulted in recommendations and strategies for urban design, streetscape, multimodal connectivity, architectural form, and building programming to promote a vibrant public life for the future public spaces in and around the intersection. Together, these recommendations re-imagine how this area can become an inviting place for public social life that accommodates all ages and abilities, and all types of mobility, in attractive high-quality public spaces.