WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Pennsylvania Ave. Makes List Of 'Endangered Landscapes'

Play associated audio
A national nonprofit has named Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. as one of the country's 10 most endangered landmarks.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/biodork/6912762034/
A national nonprofit has named Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. as one of the country's 10 most endangered landmarks.

D.C.'s historic Pennsylvania Avenue is now listed among the nation's most endangered landscapes, and a preservation group blames the problem on neglect and maintenance issues.

From a vantage point on Pennsylvania Avenue near 3rd Street NW, the United States Capitol looms over a grand avenue leading all the way to the gates of the White House. 

But a closer look reveals an aging infrastructure complete with park benches falling apart, water fountains that don't work and landscaping in desperate need of some TLC.

Well that's what the the Cultural Landscape Foundation sees, anyway. The nonprofit has released its annual report of the 12 most "at-risk" historic sites in the nation, and this year D.C.'s Pennsylvania Avenue is on the list. 

"Think about this the next time you walk there. I've never seen square pavers like that that are that deep brown," says Charles Birnbaum, the foundation's founder as he walks down the sidewalk of the storied street. "And then the benches the tree gates, the water fountains — all of those things remind you of French boulevards, but yet they are modern. So you have all of these features, which have been slowly and incrementally declining."

The maintenance issues started in 1996, the foundation says, when Congress cut funding for the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation. Also a concern: the security features added after 9/11 that the foundation says were added without regard for the historic significance of the street.

"The other thing that's happened is sort of the plop and drop of all of these planters over time," Birnbaum says.

The National Park Service, which has jurisdiction over the avenue, is working with a variety of stakeholders on the preservation of the avenue and welcomes the interest of the foundation, the parks superintendent says.

NPR

Lisa Lucas Takes The Reins At The National Book Foundation

Lucas is the third executive director in the history of the foundation, which runs the National Book Awards. Her priority? Inclusivity: "Everyone is either a reader or a potential reader," she says.
NPR

The Shocking Truth About America's Ethanol Law: It Doesn't Matter (For Now)

Ted Cruz doesn't like the law that requires the use of ethanol in gasoline. So what would happen if it was abolished? The surprising answer: not much, probably.
WAMU 88.5

The Latest on the Military, Political and Humanitarian Crises in Syria

Russia continues airstrikes in Syria. Secretary Kerry meets with world leaders in an attempt to resolve the country’s five-year civil war. A panel joins Diane to discuss the latest on the military, political and humanitarian crises facing Syria.

NPR

Should India's Internet Be Free Of Charge, Or Free Of Control?

Facebook's free Internet service was banned in India on the basis of net neutrality this week. Internet providers, regulators say, should not be allowed "to shape the users' Internet experience."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.