Pennsylvania Avenue "Great Streets" project unveiled

Avenue improvements boost safety and commerce in southeastern D.C.

March 14, 2012

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez joined District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray on March 13 to unveil the Pennsylvania Avenue Great Streets project in southeast Washington, which will improve pedestrian safety, provide better access to businesses and help revitalize commerce.

"The Southeast D.C. Great Streets project is another example of how transportation helps the economy and creates jobs," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "President Obama talked about an America built to last, and the budget he recently proposed will fund critical transportation improvements like this while creating jobs, too."

The project creates more pedestrian-friendly shopping in a commercial area with two malls: Penn-Branch Shopping Center and Fairfax Village Shopping Center.

"Developing transportation systems in ways that strengthen businesses and communities is essential to our economic competitiveness," Mendez said. "Safe and reliable roads and sidewalks are key to supporting commerce and the people who live in the community."

The project involved the reconstruction and a variety of improvements on close to 2 miles of Pennsylvania Avenue from 27th Street SE to Southern Avenue, the DC-Maryland boundary. New sidewalks on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue boost pedestrian safety, and new street lighting improves visibility for motorists. Additional upgrades include a completely landscaped median that provides pedestrians a safer place to stand in the middle of an active avenue and improved traffic management.

This section of Pennsylvania Avenue is home to many historic neighborhoods, such as Fairlawn, Randall Highlands, Hillcrest and Fairfax Village, that are rich in cultural diversity.

FHWA provided $19.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds toward the total project cost of $35.7 million.

The District of Columbia's Great Streets Initiative is a multiyear, multiple-agency effort to transform underinvested corridors into thriving and inviting neighborhood centers.

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