- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Laura Bush and Nation's Top Highway Official Celebrate Completion of Pennsylvania Avenue Improvements
Mrs. Laura Bush and Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters today reopened to pedestrians the section of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, closed since January for scenic renovation and security improvements.
"Pennsylvania Avenue provides an inviting place to enjoy the historic scenery of Washington, DC," Mrs. Bush said. "Today, we welcome visitors back to the beautiful roadway that has witnessed more than two centuries of American history."
Thousands of Washington, D.C., tourists each year visit the pedestrian plaza located between the White House and Lafayette Park. FHWA engineers and architects renovated the area, including new "rustic pavement" technology and walkways, which recreate the historic look of 19th-century streets, and landscaping.
"We've completed a gracious, beautiful and secure public streetscape that all Americans can enjoy," said Administrator Peters.
Joining Mrs. Bush and Administrator Peters at the ceremony were Washington, D.C., Mayor Tony Williams, National Capital Planning Commission Chairman John V. Cogbill III and architect Michael Van Valkenburgh who designed the street's new look.
Van Valkenburgh's design for the plaza maintains the balance between pedestrian enjoyment and safety while recalling the European formality of Pierre Charles L'Enfant's original plan for the city, the natural beauty of Andrew Jackson Downing's Lafayette Park and the graceful White House grounds.
"NCPC envisioned a grand and beautiful civic space for America's Main Street, and we are so proud that a true avenue for the people is now a reality," said NCPC Chairman Cogbill.