Changes Planned for Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool

National Mall may get an upgrade

The area around the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool could be in for a fancy new facelift.

The National Capital Planning Commission on Thursday approved a preliminary plan for a rehab project that could spruce up a portion of the National Mall that often looks beat down and worn during tourist season.

Twelve-foot-wide paths would be added around the Reflecting Pool, replacing those worn-out dirt paths that lead to mud-caked shoes any time it rains or snows. The Elm Walks, which run parallel to the Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial, would also be refurbished with new lighting, benches and trash cans.

The Lincoln Memorial itself would also get an upgrade around its famous steps. Two ADA-accessible curved paths would connect Lincoln Memorial Circle with the Reflecting Pool, making it easier for people to get around.

And (of course) more security features would be added to the grounds, such as bollards and landscaping to prevent vehicles from entering the area.

The plan, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was reviewed Thursday afternoon, and the NCPC gave a unanimous approval.

The NCPC also was asked to comment on concept designs for replacement of the 11th Street bridges, which could improve connections between I-695 and I-295, increase traffic safety, and provide alternative emergency routes.

DDOT wants to construct two new bridges, one for freeway traffic and one for local traffic, over the Anacostia River. The low-speed local bridge would include a 14-foot-wide separated and elevated path for pedestrians and bicycles. As part of the proposed plan, the National Park Service wants to transfer 1.5 acres in Anacostia Park to the District to be used for bridge access ramps.

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