DowntownDC Pedestrian Safety and Experience Study


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In the autumn of 2022, the DowntownDC BID partnered with Toole Design Group and initiated the Pedestrian Safety and Experience Study, a project with the goal of assessing and improving the overall safety and experience conditions for pedestrians in downtown and creating temporary interventions to demonstrate how a safe and vibrant pedestrian space beyond the sidewalk can be designed and supported. After months of community engagement and thoughtful design, we identified key pilot interventions to support a safe and vibrant pedestrian experience.

In the first phase of the pedestrian study, the BID collected qualitative data through a public survey that received more than 600 responses as well as two public meetings with the DowntownDC community. (You can find videos of the meetings further down on this page.) With this data, the BID selected two sites that could benefit from key design interventions:

  • 7th Street between F and G streets, to increase vibrancy, calm traffic, and contribute to recommendations in the BID’s Gallery Place–Chinatown Corridor Study, released in March 2023.
  • The streets around Chinatown Park, noted as a place of frequent vehicular accidents, to help calm traffic, celebrate the neighborhood’s cultural significance, and offer residentially oriented programming opportunities.

The interventions include multiple curbside extensions and immersive art within them to increase the visibility and safety of pedestrians by slowing down vehicle traffic. These design solutions were achieved through the District Department of Transportation’s Arts in the Right-of-Way (AROW) program.

Once the sites were selected, the BID hosted four public meetings to solicit feedback on preliminary designs, as well as a public art charrette to receive ideas and feedback for the art installations. The street art at both sites was developed over the course of several months in collaboration with art collective Chalk Riot and active neighborhood stakeholders:

The installation of the street art was managed by Chalk Riot and Pipkin Creative on these dates: September 25–29 for the Chinatown Park site, and October 9–13 for the 7th Street site.

Chinatown Park site plan by Chalk Riot and Pipkin Creative