The 17th Street Campaign

   Creating a people-oriented central square for Dupont



The 17th Street Campaign is a grass-roots community organization dedicated to creating a pedestrian

promenade at the core of the Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington DC.


Washington DC has some magnificent public places, but very few of them are located in areas adjacent

to restaurants and shops, which allow them to become destinations within the community—not just for tourists. 


Pedestrian promenades of this kind are essential elements of the character and economic development of

cities all over Europe, and in cities like Charlottesville and Boulder in the United States.



The Pedestrian mall in Charlottesville, Virginia



17th Street, between Massachusetts and New Hampshire is the ideal location for a pedestrian promenade

in Washington due to several factors:


·        The vast majority of people arriving at the businesses in the neighborhood already arrive on foot, not by car

·        The area is dominated by independent restaurants and small shops, which would benefit by increased

 pedestrian traffic and the ability to use parts of the promenade for additional seating and space.

·        The area is bounded on one end by residential areas and the other by dense office buildings, insuring

 use of the promenade for both lunchtime and evening/weekend activities.

·        Minimal traffic and no metrobus routes currently exist on 17th Street, and traffic could easily be

 diverted to New Hampshire, 16th and 18th Streets with minimal disruption.


The proposed pedestrian promenade would follow 17th Street from Massachusetts Ave (at the campus of Johns

Hopkins SAIS) to the pocket park at 17th Street and New Hampshire. 


Proposed location of pedestrian promenade



The existing businesses on the 17th Street Corridor—restaurants, shops, and hotels would benefit  tremendously from the pedestrian corridor.





The District of Colombia Government has already allocated funds for the upgrading of sidewalks and lighting along

17th Street, and awarded a contract to the landscape architecture firm of Rhodeside-Harwell to hold public

meetings, design, and build the project. The 17th Street Campaign plans to mobilize citizens and businesses to propose

that this project take the more effective step of using these funds to design and create the pedestrian promenade

and has already begun engage the City Council and district government on the subject. 



Activities planned for the near future include:

  • Surveying local businesses and residents to identify specific beneficiaries and supporters
  • Working with the District Department of Transportation and Fire Department to identify options to divert

traffic while allowing access for deliveries and emergencies.

  • Identifying options for replacing on-street parking which may be lost.
  • Mobilizing stakeholders who will benefit from the pedestrian promenade, including local businesses,

local residents, pedestrian friendly organizations such as Zipcar, Flexcar, and metro.

 the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street program (which is headquartered right in our


  • Identifying methods of financing the project that do not place a burden on the city’s finances, such as

concessions of space in the promenade for sidewalk cafes.


If you are interested in taking part in the 17th Street Campaign, please contact campaign coordinator Eric Reading on or community outreach coordinator Jennifer Langford on


Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado is one of the best known pedestrian promenades in the United States.



                                                                                                                                                                                Updated April 1, 2007 by Eric Reading