Luster off Pennsylvania Avenue
WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania Avenue — sometimes called “America's Main Street” — is being listed among the nation's endangered landscapes because of neglect and deferred maintenance by the National Park Service.
The grand avenue connecting the Capitol and White House is slowly falling into disrepair, the nonprofit Cultural Landscape Foundation said on Wednesday. Water fountains rarely function, benches are broken, and some trees have been removed.
In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy called for a revitalization of Pennsylvania Avenue. Improvements included the creation of small parks designed by top landscape architects, including M. Paul Friedberg and Carol Johnson. But they haven't been maintained.
“There really is this kind of very slow downward spiral that is happening,” said Charles Birnbaum, the group's founding president.
Except for part of the road that was redesigned as a pedestrian plaza in 2004 for security in front of the White House, “the lion's share of the 1.2-mile stretch hasn't been renewed,” Birnbaum said.
National Mall Superintendent Robert Vogel said in an emailed statement that the park service is working on ways to preserve and restore Pennsylvania Avenue, though he did not elaborate.
“We welcome the interest and support of the Cultural Landscape Foundation and the attention they can bring to this effort,” he said.
The Washington-based foundation, created in 1998, aims to educate people about historic landscapes through training programs, partnering with local groups and publicity for at-risk spaces. It has a track record of saving threatened landscapes by raising awareness with its annual Landslide listing.
Eleven other sites are being added to the group's Landslide 2012 list, which will be announced on Thursday at an event with New York's Central Park Conservancy. They include Los Angeles' Hannah Carter Japanese Garden; Nasher Sculpture Garden in Dallas; and New York's Jones Beach, a public beach and park designed by Robert Moses in the 1920s that continues to draw 6 million to 8 million visitors each year.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Nevada speaker-elect steps down amid criticism
- Ohio dairy farmers cashing in on gas well boom
- Report: College judicial boards work secretively
- Boy with fake gun shot by officer dies
- 32 horses killed in stable fire near Chicago
- Vatican prosecutor did not report abusive Catholic priest
- Graham rejects GOP Benghazi report as ‘garbage’
- Tufts center study: It costs $2.6B to get drug to market
- Florida man who ambushed police held anti-government beliefs
- Tension, anxiety mount in Ferguson as grand jury ruling awaited
- Even before Ebola contained, U.S. looks to next health crisis