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KALORAMA PARK

Presentation to ANC 1C
by
Belinda Reeder & Cynthia Pols
on the
Proposed DPR/DGS
Re-design of the Plaza
Dec. 3, 2014

DPR/DGSS PROPOSAL TO
DEMOLISH & REPLACE
KALORAMA PARKS PLAZA:
THE ORIGINAL NATIONAL PARK
SERVICE DESIGN & WHY IT SHOULD
BE PRESERVED
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THE NATIONAL PARK


SERVICES 1947 PLANS
FOR KALORAMA PARK

Overall Plans

Close-up of Plans for Plaza Area

THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE


CAREFULLY ADHERED TO THE 1947
PLANS AS IT BUILT THE PLAZA

SATELLITE VIEWS OF THE PLAZA OVER


THE YEARS SHOW THE SYMMETRY &
BALANCE OF THIS DESIGN & ITS
CONSISTENCY WITH THE 1947 PLANS
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1999 Satellite View of the Plaza Area

2005 Satellite View of the Plaza Area

2007 Satellite View of the Plaza Area

2010 Satellite View of the Plaza Area

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2010 Satellite View of the Plaza Area

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2012 Satellite View of the Plaza Area

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2013 Satellite View of the Plaza Area

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EXCEPT FOR THE INTERPLAY WITH


NATURE (THE LOSS OF TREES IN
THE PLAZA & THE ADDITION OF
TREES IN THE PLAYGROUND), THE
1947 DESIGN OF THE PLAZA & THE
OTHER ROOMS IN THE UPPER
AREA OF THE PARK HAS REMAINED
INTACT FOR SOME 50 - 60 YEARS
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WE SUDDENLY FIND OURSELVES FACED


WITH DPR/DGSS PROPOSAL TO
DEMOLISH THE PLAZA IN ITS ENTIRETY
& REPLACE IT WITH A NEW PLAZA
THAT WILL NOT HAVE THE STRUCTURE
& SYMMETRY OF THE EXISTING PLAZA
AS ESTABLISHED BY THE 1947 NPS
DESIGN
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DPR/DGS Final Redesign Plans (Nov


18, 2014)

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TO PUT THE DPR/DGS PROPOSED


CHANGES IN CONTEXT, IT IS HELPFUL
TO LOOK AT THE PLAZA IN VARIOUS
WEATHER CONDITIONS & SEASONS
NOTE THAT THE SYMMETRY &
BALANCE OF THE PLAZAS DESIGN
SHINE THROUGH REGARDLESS OF THE
CONDITIONS
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Aerial View of Plaza (winter of 2009)

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Aerial View of Plaza (2010)

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Aerial View of Plaza (early 2011)

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Aerial View of Plaza (spring of 2011)

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Aerial View of Plaza (summer of 2011)

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Aerial View of Plaza (July of 2014)

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IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN


MIND THAT THE PLAZA, IN ITS
CURRENT FORM, ACCOMMODATES A
WIDE RANGE OF USES & ACTIVITIES &
IS MUCH MORE THAN AN EXTENSION
OF THE NEARBY PLAYGROUND
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People Using the Plaza (2005)

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People in the Plaza (2008?)

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People in the Plaza (2009)

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People in the Plaza (2011)

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People in the Plaza (2011)

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People in the Plaza (2014)

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THE PLAZA, IN ITS CURRENT FORM,


PROVIDES A WONDERFUL PUBLIC
SPOT WHERE NATURE & DESIGN
COME TOGETHER IN HARMONY

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Hawthorn-Northeast Corner of Plaza


(fall of 1993)

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Hawthorn in Bloom in the Plaza


(undated)

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Hawthorn in Bloom in the Plaza


(undated)

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Eastern Side of Plaza (2008)

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Western Side of Plaza (p re-erosion)


(spring of 2003)

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Western Side of Plaza (pre-erosion)


(spring of 2003)

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View of Plaza from the Oval (2008?)

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View of Plaza in Winter (2009)


file:///.file/id=6571367.16file:///.file/id=6571
367.16042497041094

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DPR/DGS PROPOSAL FOR A


PERMEABLE PAVEMENT
SYSTEM FOR THE PLAZA:
QUESTIONS & CONCERNS ABOUT THE
VIABILITY OF THE PROPOSED SYSTEM

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The bad history of the 2009 anti-erosion


project requires extra vigilance
Following DPRs 2009 implementation of an antierosion project, erosion worsened
That 2009 project involved tearing apart the park
to install 3 bioswales, modify 3 catch basins,
install 1 new catch basin, remove 2 catch basins,
& install a new play area for children
Some 5 years later, the 2009 project remains
unfinished & caused damage to the park in many
areas
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The bad history of the 2009 anti-erosion


project requires extra vigilance
The 2009 anti-erosion project did not include
improvements or repairs to the trench drain
system in the plaza
The trench drain system had worked well for some 50
- 60 years
It was damaged in recent years either by DPR
contractors for the 2009 anti-erosion project or by
some other occurrence like root intrusion
It has not been repaired in spite of its central
importance
DGS confirmed in July of 2014 that the trench drains
main drain pipe was damaged
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The bad history of the 2009 anti-erosion


project requires extra vigilance
DPR commissioned a report in 2012 by an
engineering firm (Volkert) to assess the 2009 antierosion project
Volkert found numerous flaws in the
implementation of the 2009 anti-erosion project,
including that the 3 catch basins associated with
the bioswales were not working properly
DPR failed to develop proper contracts in 2009
for the anti-erosion project or to oversee the
contractors
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The bad history of the 2009 antierosion project requires extra vigilance
The fix proposed by DPR/DGS in 2014 for the
mess created by the 2009 anti-erosion project is a
complex, engineered permeable pavement
system
Based on history, it is not wise to automatically
assume that the planners have it right
Given history, it is reasonable to question
whether DPR/DGS will implement the aggressive
maintenance plan required to keep the proposed
system in operation
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How the proposed permeable


pavement system would work
It captures & temporarily stores water in a stone
reservoir directly below the pavements surface
The system is designed to collect water & return
it to the stormwater system or filter it into the
soil within 48 hours
If working properly, it provides some control of
water run-off
It can also slow down the speed at which surface
water is released into the stormwater system
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How the proposed permeable


pavement system would work

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What are key design issues as per


DCs Stormwater Management
Guidebook (SWMG)?
The depth of the stone reservoir typically in
the 2- 4 range is determined by several
factors, including:
-

Water flow into the reservoir from direct


precipitation on the surface
Water flow into the reservoir from adjacent
areas
Permeability of the soil beneath the reservoir
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What are key design issues as per


DCs Stormwater Management
Guidebook (SWMG)?
The below-surface drainage system for slowly
emptying the reservoir:
- This system may consist of: drainage pipes (over
& under drains typically 4 6 in diameter &
with 3/8 perforations); & the infiltration sump
or a second stone reservoir below the under drain
pipes
- Other factors: number of drainage pipes in the
reservoir; space between drainage pipes
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What are key design issues as per


DCs Stormwater Management
Guidebook (SWMG)?
Connections to the stormwater system to
drain the water out of the reservoir
Geotextile & other walls between the stone
reservoir & adjacent areas to prevent clogging
of the pavement & drainage system
Distance from nearby buildings and utility
lines (DCs SWMG recommends at least 10)
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Possible problems with permeable


pavement systems?
The reservoir has insufficient storage capacity
Due to design deficiencies, the water retained
below the pavement surface in the reservoir
cannot drain within the requisite 48 hours
Some or all of the drains in the reservoir
become clogged over time

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Possible problems with permeable


pavement systems?
The surface pavements clog up over time,
blocking water from filtering into the reservoir
The geotextiles used to create walls between
the reservoir & nearby landscaped areas break
down over time, allowing soil to migrate into
the reservoir

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Main problems with a permeable


pavement system in the plaza area?
The soil beneath the plaza has limited ability to
absorb water:
- A DGS subcontractor found the soil to be close to not
permeable it can absorb only about inch of water
in 48 hours (0.005 inches/hour)
- The subsurface reservoir must be engineered to both
retain virtually all the water & to gradually release it
into the stormwater system over 48 hours
- The stone reservoir must be deep (likely at least 4) &
equipped with multiple drains
- The system must be linked to the stormwater system
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Main problems with a permeable


pavement system in the plaza area?
DGS tested the water infiltration rate at 8 points in
the park in July of 2014
- The plaza testing points are shown on the map in
the next slide (B-2 is the main testing point for
the plaza; tests were also conducted at B-1)
- The results of the tests at all 8 points are shown
in the slide after that
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Main problems with a permeable


pavement system in the plaza area?

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Main problems with a permeable


pavement system in the plaza area?

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Main problems with a permeable


pavement system in the plaza area?
Nearby areas drain into the plaza area (the roof of the rec
center, the 2 playgrounds, & the Oval), compounding the
problems associated with the soils limited permeability:
- Additional issues are implicated by unformed plans to
reconstruct the adjacent playgrounds
- The surface of the adjacent playground already poses a threat to
a permeable pavement system it is 6 above the plaza &
consists of mulch & similar loose materials
- DPR/DGS plans to upgrade the playgrounds but does not plan to
install permeable surface (DGS Nov. 5 announcement)
- DPR/DGS plans to replace the existing surface with wood chips
(likely incompatible with the proposed permeable pavement
system as loose materials could clog the system)

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Main problems with a permeable


pavement system in the plaza area?
The plaza directly abuts the rec center under the
SWMG, the 10-foot strip in front of the rec center
should not be part of the permeable pavement system
DPR/DGS plans to plant new trees & landscaping in the
plaza (a source of loose materials)
Unanswered questions include who will vacuum &
maintain the permeable pavement system
This is a baseline question
DC does not have an established track record of
maintaining the park (trimming trees & hedges, repairing
the trench drain)
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THE BOTTOM LINE


A permeable pavement system is a complex,
engineered system, with numerous points of possible
failure, and requires regular, systematic maintenance
The plaza area has many features which are highly
problematic for a permeable pavement system (mulch,
organic materials, a building, trees, shrubs, grass)
Permeable pavement is best suited to less
environmentally complex areas (like parking lots with
limited vegetation)
Given the small surface area involved & the high cost, it
is an ineffective way to manage stormwater
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SUGGESTED APPROACH
Defer finalizing plans for plaza improvements until plans
for playground improvements are finalized
Restore & augment the trench drain system & remediate
erosion
In developing plans for plaza improvements, preserve the
1947 NPS plaza design by steps like replacing the
Hawthorn trees with similar trees, restoring the plazas
privets, & planting compatible bushes or plants in the 2
oblong planters
If it is conclusively determined that the permeable
pavement system is technically & environmentally superior
to the trench drain system & that maintenance questions
can be resolved, consider deployment of permeable
pavement in areas of the park where it will not require
modification of the existing plaza design
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