Dupont Circle (Hall of Shame)

Washington, DC

Contributed by Project for Public Spaces

Many think Dupont Circle is the best destination in Washington, but it is performing at just 30% of its potential.

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Why It Doesn't Work

Many think Dupont Circle is the best destination in Washington. We think it is performing at 30% of its potential. The city has undergone a metamorphosis in the past ten years, with many areas gradually becoming more vital. However, there seems to be a limit to this improvement: a rigid adherence to a master plan that keeps many areas from coalescing into real destinations. Dupont Circle needs to be freed from that mold.

There are active parts of the Circle, but they are not connected. The Farmers Market is separate from the inner circle and from the active part of Massachusetts Avenue. The road around the Circle is two lanes too wide, and the connections from the interior park to the edges could be dramatically improved. With Connecticut Avenue running underneath the circle, there is no need to cater to heavy traffic. In fact, Dupont Circle could become a traffic-calmed, pedestrian friendly destination and quite possibly the core of a great urban district. Fulfilling this tremendous opportunity is essential if Washington is to become a world class city.

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