New Plan for National Mall Online

Park Service vision includes more seating, restrooms

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    At least 15 million tourists visit the National Mall each year. With them, we ponder the gallantry of the nation’s war dead, reflect on the wisdom of our forefathers, inaugurate our new presidents, and glory in some of the world’s finest memorials and monuments.

    It takes a toll. And money doesn’t fall from cherry trees.
     
    Now the Department of the Interior is trying to figure out how to come up with about $650 million for some much needed improvements.
     
    After a long planning period that involved 20 federal and local agencies, 23 days of workshops, 12 public meetings and tours, more than 30,000 written comments, and presentations to dozens of community organizations, the National Park Service has released its final vision for the National Mall.
     
    Plans include a new multi-purpose facility on the Washington Monument grounds, as well as additional seating at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and a redesign of the pedestrian and parking areas near the Tidal Basin, but the proposal goes far beyond that.
     
    The National Park Service said key elements of the National Mall plan include the need for:
    • Flexible, multi-purpose venues with appropriate backdrops and utility connections for stages, tents, and other activities.
    • Surfaces for jogging and walking, separate bicycle lanes, improved fields for softball, soccer, kickball, and other sports, improved conditions for passive recreation like picnicking, and locating restrooms convenient to recreation.
    • Improvements to general condition and appearance, additional services such as restrooms, water, information, and refreshments, spaces for cultural activities, and for capturing iconic photographic images.
    • Highest standards of accessibility and universal design with conveniently located seating and facilities.      
    • Areas where groups can regroup, find shelter, sit, or gather for education or eating without impacting general visitation, and enhanced tour bus drop-off and parking.
    • Highest standards of recycling and waste management, design for maintenance and efficiency, use special skills teams (turf and irrigation, water features, events management), model sustainable approaches (maximize LEED rating and Sustainable Sites Initiative); improve operational access to all areas; reduce use of potable water; improve monitoring and adaptive management.

    The Final National Mall Plan and Environmental Impact Statement is available online.