District Department of Transportation

Design Process

The Design Phase of the Oregon Avenue Project involves multiple submissions and public meetings. This allows DDOT to receive technical review comments and design feedback from many stakeholders. This context-sensitive design approach, or “thinking beyond the pavement process,” guides the work through the end of the design phase.

The design becomes a collaborative project for all interested parties and stakeholders, reflecting a shared vision and decision-making in the design process. Values such as safety, mobility, and preservation of the natural and human environment are addressed.

Final design is developed in three phases: 30%, 65%, and 90%. Public input is sought at each of these milestones. The information below describes what has been presented at each milestone to date in reverse chronological order and how that input has been used to move the design to the next phase.


Bioretention Planter Planting Design

The Reconstruction of Oregon Avenue will include stormwater management facilities that allow on-site infiltration through a series of bioretention planters. Some of these planters will be located in front of residential areas between the future sidewalk and the roadway. As part of the public outreach process, DDOT is requesting input from residents on the appearance of these facilities. Please click here to see the Bioretention Planters Address List to determine if the front area of your home has been identified as a location for one of the planters.

At the May 10 Public Meeting, DDOT provided displays allowing residents to select planting schemes and plant species for the bioretention planters in front of their homes. This informational material is available on the project’s public involvement webpage and your proposed design can be submitted to the Design Team. If you are not interested in designing the bioretention planter in front of your residence, please be assured that DDOT will create an overall planting plan considering aesthetics, diversity, and functionality.

Submit your design by May 30,2016 to comments@oregonaveddot.com.
Click here for information.

Public Meeting #4 – May 10, 2016

At the fourth public meeting, an overall corridor plan and plans showing impacts to individual properties were presented. Displays of the new bridge, pavement materials, and the roadway lighting were also presented. Attendees had the opportunity to provide input on planting designs of the bioretention planters. Please see the text above for further information regarding this process.

Walk-through of Nearby Low Impact Development Facilities – May 4, 2016


On May 4, 2016, DDOT and Volkert’s landscape architects took members of the Oregon Avenue community for a walk through portions of a recently completed DDOT green infrastructure project. The purpose of the walk-through was to explain the importance of low impact development (LID) facilities and help set expectations for aesthetics and maintenance. The design for the corridor includes a series of LID facilities along the 1.7 mile stretch of Oregon Avenue.


Lighting Demonstration #2

During this phase, DDOT evaluated lighting options for the corridor. As described in the Design Criteria, one of the project goals is preserving the character of the corridor while providing modern, sustainable lighting alternatives.

The results of the first online poll and the comments received during the third public meeting indicate that Lighting Demonstration #1, two lights near St. John’s College High School, was too bright and the color too white. In response, DDOT installed two additional lights near the intersection with Wise Road (see pictures and map below) for Lighting Demonstration #2. These lights were also LED lights, but a lower wattage.

The results of this second online poll indicate that Lighting Demonstration #2, two lights near the intersection with Wise Road, are as follows:

DDOT appreciates your continued feedback about these light fixtures as we proceed with the design.

First location.

Second location.

Location of two new lights.


Cultural Resource Survey – June 22 to July 3, 2015

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) conducted preliminary assessments for the reconstruction of Oregon Avenue. One component of developing any transportation project in the District is to investigate potential environmental impacts associated with the project.

Project coordination with regulatory and resource agencies requires DDOT to complete cultural resource surveys of the project area. DDOT employees or its consultants worked within the public Right of Way along Oregon Avenue and may have conducted archaeological shovel testing or other minimally invasive subsurface probing on a few properties for the purpose of the surveys. The property owners of the properties where testing was conducted were contacted in advance. This work took place in the area between approximately June 22 and July 3, 2015.

If you have any concerns regarding this matter please write us at: comments@oregonaveddot.com

We appreciate your assistance with our commitment to plan and design improved transportation facilities for your community and the citizens of the District.


Public Meeting #3 – February 25, 2015


At the third public meeting, corridor plans and impacts on individual properties were illustrated and presented. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in life-size demonstrations of the width of sidewalk needed to move people and objects such as strollers or wheelchairs. Attendees also observed a demonstration of the permeable pavement options and input was collected about the permeable roadway pavement options for the parking lanes. Materials from the third meeting can be found here.


The 65% Design Phase

Taking public input and a number of other factors into account the following choices have been made or are in progress during this phase.

Design and Materials Selection Process: Structures/Retaining Walls, Sidewalks, Roadway Parking Surface, Bridge Type and Sidewalk Width

Rock Creek Conservancy Letter of Support

Rock Creek Conservancy Letter of Support

From the outset, DDOT has been committed to preserving the rustic character of the corridor and minimizing the loss of trees. As design progresses, the team is considering taking this concept a step further and enriching the traveling experience through Oregon Avenue by introducing trees species native to Rock Creek Park on the residential side of the roadway.

One of the appealing aspects of Oregon Avenue is the presence of large mature trees. The dominant landscape feature is Rock Creek Park, which abuts the entire eastern side of the roadway. This woodland is preserved by the National Park Service to meet its mission, defined in the Organic Act of 1916, “… to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

There are several pockets of large tree stands that, combined with the trees in Rock Creek Park, create a cathedral-like effect of overhead canopies. These can be seen at the northern corner of St. John’s College High School, Knollwood Retirement Community, Chatsworth, and the Pinehurst Run Crossing. Additional large, individual trees set further from the road also contribute to creating the neighborhood’s rustic character.

While memorable when one travels through the landscape, these woodland conditions presently comprise only approximately one-quarter of the corridor. The remaining three-quarters consist of Rock Creek Park on the east side and residential lawn landscapes on the west side. Connecting these pockets of mature tree stands would create a memorable continuous woodland experience along Oregon Avenue and more closely recreate the pre-development condition that once dominated the landscape.

Adding trees along the residential side can only succeed with the property owners’ support. Homeowners along Oregon Avenue received a letter from DDOT’s Oregon Avenue Project to request their tree preferences. These trees will be installed as part of the reconstruction of Oregon Avenue Project.

For more information, please email Jack Pond, DDOT UFA Arborist, Ward 4 at john.pond@dc.gov.

American Beech
Black Gum
Black Oak
Chestnut Oak
Eastern Red Cedar

Red Oak
Tulip Tree
Pignut Hickory
White Oak


New tree plantings will vary in height. With proper care, these trees can grow fast and eventually become a presence in the landscape. Take a look at the pictures below and see how quickly the tree in the Nebraska Avenue/Oregon Avenue traffic island grew and how the landscaping within the traffic island has changed the area’s character. Now imagine multiplying this condition along Oregon Avenue several times between Western Avenue and Military Road. The result could be an urban roadway that feels like you are traveling through a park and a community that is part of the Rock Creek Park woodlands.



Lighting Demonstration #1

During this phase, DDOT evaluated lighting options for the corridor. As described in the Design Criteria, one of the project goals is preserving the character of the corridor while providing modern, sustainable lighting alternatives.

Two LED light fixtures had been installed along the corridor as demonstration projects. These light fixtures can still be found across the street from the St. John’s College High School athletic field (see pictures and map below). DDOT appreciates your feedback about these light fixtures as we continue with the design.

Approximate utility pole distance to the roadway is 2 feet.

Approximate utility pole distance to the roadway is 12 feet.

demonstration light

Close up of demonstration light fixture.


Location plan of the two demonstration lights.

On the night of January 10, 2015, we drove along Oregon Avenue and took a video of the lighting. The demonstration lights are the last two light fixtures shown in the video.


Public Meeting #2 – November 19, 2014


Impacts on individual properties were presented at the second public meeting. Materials from the second meeting can be found here. Life-size demonstrations of the width of sidewalk needed to move people and objects such as strollers, wheelchairs, or bicycles were provided. Input was collected from attendees about the preliminary design and permeable roadway pavement options for the parking lanes.

Input was collected from homeowners about the preliminary design 30% design submission and permeable pavement options.

St. John’s College High School to 5750 Oregon Avenue, N.W.
2501 Northampton Street, N.W. to 6310 Oregon Avenue, N.W.
Unicorn Lane, N.W. & Chatsworth to 6850 Oregon Avenue, N.W.
3001 Chestnut Street, N.W. to 7420 Western Avenue, N.W.


Pervious Pavement Options


Public Meeting #1 – September 17, 2014


Public input was solicited on design elements at the first public meeting. Materials from the first meeting can be found here. Public input collected at the first public meeting is shown below for the following areas:

Community Input – Pervious Pavement
Community Input – Pinehurst Crossing Bridge
Community Input – Retaining Walls
Community Input – Sidewalks


The 30% Design Phase

As development of the preliminary design continues, information is gathered from multiple sources and design decisions are made based on technical analysis and feedback from stakeholders.

Beginning in September, DDOT started the Context Sensitive Design approach by meeting stakeholders at various locations along the Oregon Avenue corridor to address site-specific concerns and develop an appropriate design for the corridor. These included face-to-face meetings with St. John’s College High School, the Chatsworth community, Neighbors United to Preserve Oregon Avenue and Rock Creek Park, the Oregon Knolls community, and Knollwood Retirement Community.

A poll was conducted on the website between late September and mid-November ranking the community’s top concerns so that the project design could be guided as much as possible by the community’s preferences. Additional input was received through the project website via emails using the comments feature. These multiple means of gathering information helped the team develop the design presented at the November 19th public meeting.

The process also included site-walks with the District Department of the Environment, the National Park Service, and the Urban Forestry Administration. On October 16, 2014, DDOT made a presentation to the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and received approval for the concept design. CFA made various recommendations that will be considered as part of the final design. Bridge alternatives were analyzed and a preferred selection was made based on technical merits and feedback received from the Commission of Fine Arts.

Website Poll

Bridge Alternatives Analysis

Commission of Fine Arts Letter


30% design submission was completed on November 6, 2014