Request for Proposals: DowntownDC Parks Master Plan

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The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) seeks proposals for a consultant team to produce a community-driven parks master plan for DowntownDC.

Purpose:

The purpose of this project is to create a vision for new and enhanced park spaces that meet the needs of the DowntownDC community, now and for generations to come.

Project Boundaries:

The DowntownDC BID area (“DowntownDC” or “study area”) encompasses 138 blocks, stretching from the White House to Union Station, and the National Mall to Massachusetts Avenue. Specifically, these boundaries are 16th Street NW and the White House grounds to the west, North Capitol Street NW to the east, Constitution Avenue and Louisiana Avenue NW to the south, and Massachusetts Avenue NW to the north. Click here for a DowntownDC BID boundary map.

This project will involve the entire study area and provide clear direction on what enhancements can be made to open spaces that already exist and target sites for park expansion.

Project Challenge:

DowntownDC is a dense urban environment with few park assets. The park sites that exist have historically been under resourced, underutilized, and subject to DC and Federal government use restrictions. In this constrained environment there are limited options for the expansion of park space. Varying user groups seek to engage in different activities in park spaces. At a minimum the park spaces in DowntownDC should meet the needs of these varied groups. Ideally, park spaces in DowntownDC will invite people to the area; encourage those who are there to go outside to enjoy and explore a vast network of urban park spaces; and provide venues for events and activations.

The goals of this project are twofold, 1) to gain a clear understanding of the current and future park needs of the DowntownDC community, 2) create a vision for park spaces in DowntownDC that meet the those needs and drives new interest.

Scope of Work:

The scope of this project will first be to understand the public space needs of the existing community in DowntownDC (all who live, work, and visit the area). Once this is defined, thorough public engagement, documentation, and analysis, the selected consultant team will work to create a plan that meets those needs and effectively infuses the public realm in DowntownDC with world-class park spaces. The final deliverable will be a needs-based vision for interconnected and enhanced park spaces in DowntownDC. Where possible, near-term interventions that improve the park space offerings in DowntownDC will be implemented as part of the project.

The selected firm will work with the BID to conduct extensive outreach and community engagement; gather and analyze demographic, land use, transportation, and market data, trends, and past studies; document and review existing conditions, levels of service, and use trends in the public realm in DowntownDC; and propose and refine a parks master plan for the study area.

The project will kick-off in April 2021 and should take no longer than six months to be completed. A proposed scope of work is detailed below.

TASK 1 – Project Kick-off & Data Assessment: Existing Data and Studies

The selected firm will conduct a review of available data and studies related to the public realm in the DowntownDC. They will also compile a best practice report on exemplary urban park systems and parks master plans.

A project kick-off meeting will be held where these findings will be presented to the BID for feedback and input. At this meeting, agreed upon project goals, timeline, and scope of work (particularly including community engagement efforts) will be discussed. A reoccurring biweekly project check-in will be set for all team members, and attendance will be mandatory.

Data to be reviewed will include study area demographic information and trends; land use patterns and likely long-term changes; transportation use and demand observations (including pedestrian counts); Downtown BID and National Park Service permit and use data; tenant mix, leasing, sales, and other real estate-related market performance data to support future projections for use of the public realm in DowntownDC.

TASK 2 – Area Assessment: Existing Conditions Documentation

In task two, the consultant team will conduct an on the ground existing conditions documentation of the public realm in DowntownDC. The volume and quality of parks and open spaces, plantings, and other park like elements will be documented. A level of service analysis will be conducted for existing park spaces and high-volume pedestrian nodes. As part of this documentation, the existing public realm will also be reviewed to identify target sites for new park spaces.

TASK 3 – Community Engagement & Needs Assessment

A rigorous and thoughtful community engagement process is an essential part of this project. The selected consultant team will be expected to lead a series of external-facing activities to effectively engage key stakeholders and the general population in the planning for the DowntownDC Parks Master Plan.

A minimum of 3 public meetings should be held with broadly distributed notifications. Surveys, office hours, and other mediums for engaging stakeholders should also be pursued. At each meeting participants will be able to directly react to ideas and plans and share specific thoughts and reactions with the consultant team.

The selected consultant will take learnings from task one and two and feedback from the community engagement process to carry out a needs assessment conveying the requirements for park spaces in DowntownDC.

TASK 4 – Plan Draft

Once the needs assessment has been completed, the selected consultants will begin to draft the parks master plan. The plan will be a data- and community-driven document that clearly outlines improvements to be made to existing park spaces and target sites for new park spaces to meet the current and future needs of the community.

In drafting this plan, the consultant team will need to reference feedback and preference data gained from the community, future trends and growth projections found in the data assessment, existing conditions opportunities and failings, and all other relevant information gathered.

TASK 5 – Near-term Interventions

While carrying out tasks one through three, selected consultants should seek to identify near-term interventions that will improve the park space offerings in DowntownDC and be easily implemented. At this stage in the project, the consultant team will work with the BID and other key project stakeholders to implement a minimum of three near-term interventions. Vetted options will be reviewed for impact and ease of installation. Selected options must respond to community needs and address existing gaps in the park space offering in DowntownDC.

TASK 6 – Plan Redrafting and Finalization

The consultant team will present the BID with a draft outline for the parks master plan before completing all sections. The BID will review and approve the outline of the plan. Draft reports will be shared at regular project check ins, beginning in task three and continuing throughout the duration of the project.

Additionally, once a final draft of the DowntownDC Parks Master Plan is reviewed and approved by the BID it will be shared publicly for a final round of input. The final deliverable of the DowntownDC Parks Master Plan will be shared with the BID in Adobe PDF and InDesign (or another similar file format).

Considerations:

Many planning and transportations studies have been completed within the study area. The selected consultant team will be required to study and understand all past applicable studies related to this project. They will also be required to coordinate and engage key public and private sector stakeholders in the project. Effective participation by key public and private stakeholders will be essential to the success of this project.

Responses:

Responses to this request for proposals are due close of business on Friday, March 26, 2021 and should include the following:

  1. Letter of intent explaining how your work and qualifications are particularly well suited to this project
  2. Brief biography of firm(s)
  3. Summary of proposed team structure and staff roles for this engagement that clearly highlights day-to-day project management staff
  4. Three to five examples of related work that demonstrate capacity to fulfill the purpose of this project
  5. Proposal, project timeline, and budget
  6. Resumes of project team members (not to exceed two pages per team member)
  7. Three client references for similar public space projects led by the proposed project manager completed within the past five years

Proposals should be submitted electronically to Galin Brooks, galin@downtowndc.org. Questions can be sent to the same email.

Vendor Diversity:

The DowntownDC BID is committed to maintaining a diverse supplier and vendor base and building relationships with suppliers and vendors that reflect the diversity of the District of Columbia, DowntownDC BID, its clients and its communities. Vendors are required to demonstrate that ownership/leadership, and personnel working on this engagement reflect the BID’s diversity objectives especially racial and gender diversity.

Key Dates:
  • RFP Released: February 22, 2021
  • Deadline for Questions to the RFP: March 3, 2021
  • Answers to Questions Shared with Applicants: March 9, 2021
  • Proposals Due: March 19, 2021
  • Notification of Finalists Selected for Interview: March 26, 2021
  • Interviews of Finalists: March 31-April 2, 2021
  • Finalist Notified: April 8-9, 2021
  • Kick-off Meeting Held: Week of April 12, 2021