Our Grand Avenue

Dupont Tree Plaza

Tree canopy urgently needed

Restore Mass Ave is leading a project to shade the last bare stretch of Embassy Row. The big sidewalk by the Dupont Circle Branch of PNC Bank has been a no-man’s land for decades. We’re enlisting partners and city agencies to transform it into an inviting community space.

Why here? Why now?

The corner of Massachusetts Avenue on the west side of Dupont Circle is one of the District’s most prominent, busy nodes:

  • Thousands of workers, tourists, residents, embassy staff and others pass there 24/7;
  • 10,500 people use the Red Line Metro entrance at Q Street each weekday;
  • 25,000 vehicles every day clog four lanes of unshaded roadway;
  • The Capital BikeShares stand is 2nd-largest in the system;
  • xx WMATA MetroBus stops are within 100 yards of the site. (lines?)
  • 12,000 people visit FreshFarm Market there on Sundays.

Yet a few feet away, RMA’s program of tree plantings and partner tree care has expanded tree canopy by 73% in ten years, according to satellite data. Today thousands of people enjoy the emerging tree alleés, which start in the lawn by the Colonial Parking lot entrance on Mass Ave

Why not Dupont? Other District sidewalks are sprouting “retrofits” with trees and grasses for bioretention and civic amenities.

Why Restore Mass Ave? Besides our great record adding canopy, the Plaza site is where Embassy Row begins! A huge private castle was built in 1873, on on the site of the present bank, which set off the trend for imposing residences running west.   We need a kick-off point for an historical sign and ecotours.  Shouldn’t thousands who use the space enjoy being there and learn about a new District landmark – our greened Grand Avenue?

Partners in our Tree Plaza campaign

Designgreen LLC, a  green engineering firm, has been invaluable preparing for RMA, as the community’s representative, to get funding for designing and building the Plaza with public and/or private funds.

“This is a wonderful location to showcase a sustainable green retrofit,” says Rebecca C. Stack, the Designgreen principal.

We’re honored that the Leo A Daly international architecture firm is making preliminary site plans, working with city officials and private parties to figure how trees, bikes and pedestrians can share the space.

“Our Tree Plaza vision shows what everybody says they want for Washington: making it again the City of Trees,” says Deborah Shapley, RMA President. “We welcome Designgreen and Leo Daly as catalysts who can help realize this vision.”

PNC Bank, Dupont Circle, Leo A Daly, DesignGreen, bioretention, Deborah Shapley

Core team: Marty Scherr, David Zelig, Jess Kim, Lindsey Larson, Deborah Shapley and Rebecca Stack meet at the Plaza site in December 2017.

What they’re saying

“We at PNC Bank enthusiastically support RMA’s vision to create a green multi-use community space adjacent to our Dupont Circle branch….The Dupont Tree Plaza will transform a problem area on our doorstep and benefit local environment, community and business.” – Richard K. Bynum,  President, PNC Greater Washington

Dupont Circle Citizens Association supports RMA’s leadership in redesigning this site as a green community space. Construction … will address long standing problems our neighborhood has had there.” – DCCA Members’ Resolution, November 6, 2017

School Without Walls at Francis Stevens…would be delighted to be a partner … because this project will engage our students how cement sidewalks can be “greened” to lower stormwater pollution and raise air quality….The workshops could be considered a small, junior ‘green jobs’ program, raising  our students’ interest in green design careers.” – Richard Trogisch, Principal, SWW@FS

Casey Trees is excited about the initiative[‘s] …  potential to demonstrate best practices that integrate stormwater runoff and trees….We are particularly pleased with the proposed location because of its high visibility.” – Jim Woodworth, Director of Tree Planting, Casey Trees

For more on our concept vision see our Tree Plaza Press Release (2015).