Washington Street Public Space Design Guidelines

Page updated on Apr 18, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Washington Street Public Space Design Guidelines

Washington St

The City of Alexandria has asked the community to participate in the development of design principles and guidelines to guide the future design of public space along Washington Street. For the purposes of this study, public space is meant to include building placement along the street, street furniture, bus shelters, site lighting, plantings and sidewalk design and treatment. A design approach and the location of public signage on Washington Street will be coordinated with the Citywide wayfinding sign program.

The Washington Street Task Force identified the need for standards to guide design of both the buildings and public space along the corridor. In 2000, City Council adopted the Washington Street Guidelines and Standards to provide guidance for buildings. This current process will develop standards to guide design of the public space. The public space guidelines, once adopted, will not apply to buildings or architectural standards for buildings, and the adopted Washington Street Guidelines and Standards will remain in effect.

Washington Street is unique in the City in that it has a dual identity. It is known both as Washington Street, a four lane urban arterial roadway within the City, as well as the George Washington Memorial Parkway, connecting the District of Columbia to Mount Vernon. Washington street functions as an important connection, providing vehicular and pedestrian access along its length, while also serving as an important gateway into and out of the City. Preserving its unique character is crucial to the maintenance and enhancement of its historic character and to the vibrancy of Old Town and the City overall.

The general goals of the public space guidelines are:

  • To preserve and enhance the historic character and pedestrian scale of Washington Street in concert with the established Washington Street Guidelines;

  • To enhance the role of Washington Street through Old Town as part of the historic George Washington Parkway corridor;

  • To establish guidelines and specifications for all public space elements;

  • To enhance the overall appearance of the public realm along this corridor; and

  • To establish recommendations for the preservation of important urban design elements and spaces.

A Community Meeting was held on February 20, 2007 to discuss concepts for the design guidelines. Another public meeting will be held in the coming months, to be followed by development of a design guidelines document with recommendations that will go before the Planning Commission and City Council for approval. If you would like to receive information about upcoming meetings, please sign up for eNews, the City’s free email news service.

Let us know what you think about the future design of public space on Washington Street by responding to our survey, soliciting feedback that will shape proposed guidelines. Please send your response to the Department of Planning and Zoning, 301 King Street, Room 2100, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Meetings, Presentations and Documents:

Contact Us:
For more information, or to get involved in the process, please call 703-746-4666 or send an email to P&Z Feedback.