May 7, 2009

Potomac Park Levee Improvements, National Mall
17th Street near Constitution Ave, NW, Washington D.C.
(File Number 6865)

The National Capital Planning Commission approved the preliminary and final site development plans for Phase 1 and commented favorably on the concept design for Phase 2 of the Potomac Park levee system.

The levee protects downtown Washington from Potomac River flooding. It extends from 23rd Street NW, north of the Lincoln Memorial, across 17th Street NW, to the Washington Monument grounds. The current levee requires the construction of temporary closures—sandbags, Jersey barriers, and an earthen dam—across 23rd and 17th Streets when flood conditions are imminent.

The project will provide a more secure temporary closure system across 17th Street, consisting of a post-and-panel barrier connected to masonry walls and earthen berms. It also includes an on-site below ground storage vault for the post and panel elements when they are not in use. The construction boundaries of the proposed project include portions of West Potomac Park and the Washington Monument grounds adjacent to 17th Street, south of Constitution Avenue.

Construction during Phase 1 will complete the work necessary to provide flood protection in accordance with an agreement between the District of Columbia and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Phase 2 will include measures to enhance the visual character of the improvements consistent with their location on the National Mall. The concept design proposes stone cladding for the masonry walls and a landscape plan. Final approval of Phase 2 will be sought before construction of these elements.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


National Mall and East Potomac Park Pedestrian Guide Pylons and Map Kiosks
(File Number 6910)

The Commission also approved preliminary and final site development plans for the installation of a UniGuide sign system for NPS facility identification signs, and rules and regulation signs, as a part of an overall Wayfinding and Sign program on the National Mall. The approval is contingent upon the National Park Service’s consultation with NCPC staff and the DC State Historic Preservation Officer to determine the final placement and number of signs proposed in the vicinity of memorials.

The Commission commended the National Park Service for replacing existing uncoordinated signs with a more cohesively designed sign system. Existing signs will be removed as the new sign program is installed. The Commission will review the additional components of the sign system; the wayfinding and memorial identification signs, at a later date.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Department of Homeland Security, St. Elizabeths Campus
Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE, Washington DC – United States Coast Guard Headquarters
(File Number 6929)

The Commission commented favorably on the concept design for the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters and parking garage as Phase 1a of the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters at the St. Elizabeths West Campus.

Recommendations for the project include:

• Further study of building façades, with particular attention to the northern façade, to provide a level of depth and detail that will reduce the potential for monotony.
• Retention of the variety and size of plants shown in the concept for the landscape design.
• Additional Section 106 consultation to evaluate the feasibility of placing the cemetery inside the secure perimeter of the West Campus. This issue must be resolved before the security fence is submitted for approval.

The Commission also strongly encouraged the General Services Administration to build additional levels of the West Ravine parking garage underground to reduce its height and bulk.

The Commission reminded the applicant that approval of the Final Master Plan for the campus is contingent upon the ability to construct an access road connecting Firth Sterling Avenue, SE to the modified Malcolm X Avenue, SE/I-295 Interchange, through the Shepherd Parkway.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Consent Calendar: The Commission voted on Consent Calendar items without staff presentations or public testimony.

Delegated Decisions: Projects for which the Commission delegated decision-making authority to the Chairman, Executive Committee, or Executive Director.