Pennsylvania Avenue

Penn West: Where Washington Meets the World

While Pennsylvania Avenue east of the White House embodies the national role of Washington, D.C., Penn West has the potential to become a global destination highlighting the international status of the nation’s capital. Penn West should be the city’s hub of global activity and cultural celebration, and the model for urban sustainability and innovation.

Before: Penn Ave West of the White House

After: The Penn West Vision

What’s Happening

The District Department of Transportation began developing the construction plans in late 2018 for the total redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 17th Street to Washington Circle. The plans build on the vision below that was created by a collaboration of public and private stakeholders brought together by the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District. The group included federal, local, and private sector officials representing 17 organizations. The success of Penn West will depend on the continued support of all of our partners.

The Vision

Hub of Smart, Safe Transportation

  • A half-mile of median-protected bike lanes extending the city’s bicycle network
  • Sensors to help officials respond to real-time traffic conditions
  • Sidewalks designed to attract visitors and encourage activity
  • A full range of transportation options and close proximity to Metro stations

Future of Urban Sustainability

  • An acre of new green space reducing surface runoff
  • Bioretention cells capable of filtering 100,000 gallons of rainwater during a storm
  • An expanded tree canopy featuring 60 new trees
  • Environmental sensors to detect and help mitigate energy use and COemissions

Streets Connected by Technology

Center for Culture and Global Events

  • Expanded parks for sculptures, public gardens, and special events
  • Spaces that can transform into venues for café seating, international events, and festivals

Project Area
Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 17th Street to Washington Circle

map updated3

Global Institutions Nearby

  • White House
  • World Bank
  • International Monetary Fund
  • International Finance Corporation
  • The George Washington University
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Embassies

Technology Update

As part of the SmarterDC initiative, the city installed public Wi-Fi on nine blocks around Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House. While the public element of the project is free public Wi-Fi, the internet will also be used to connect a variety of sensors: air quality, smart lighting, environmental, soil, and trash can sensors. The upgrade will help improve the BID’s efficiency. This first-generation installation of sensors will set the stage for a grand transformation of Pennsylvania Avenue.