Overview of AWI
Initiated in 2000, the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (AWI) is transforming the shores of the Anacostia River into a world-class waterfront. Led by the District of Columbia government and embraced by 19 regional and federal agency partners, the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative area straddles the Anacostia River and weaves through District Wards 5, 6, 7 and 8, stretching from the Tidal Basin to the District’s northeast border with Maryland. AWI promises a clean river environment, new parks and other recreational facilities, more job-creating commercial centers, revitalized residential neighborhoods, and multi-modal transportation options.
In 2003, the Anacostia Waterfront Framework Plan (AWI Plan) put forth a visionary and ambitious agenda for the revitalization of the Anacostia waterfront as a world-class destination and the center of 21st century Washington, DC. The AWI Plan set in motion the implementation of a comprehensive blueprint for transformation including new mixed-income neighborhoods, environmental restoration, transportation infrastructure, enhanced public access, new connected parks, and cultural destinations. The AWI Plan was updated in 2014 and is being updated again with a revised plan and refreshed website due for release in Spring of 2024.
This website documents several AWI infrastructure projects by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) that serve as the foundation for the transformation of the Anacostia waterfront. These projects aim to improve mobility for pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and drivers, ultimately reconnecting communities on both sides to the river and to each other.
Key Elements of AWI
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is following the Anacostia Waterfront Transportation Master Plan to revamp its transportation infrastructure network in the Anacostia Waterfront area. The goal is to facilitate safe, efficient, multi-modal travel in the Anacostia Waterfront area, while also promoting environmental sustainability, economic growth, better residential services, improved access to recreational sites, and reconnecting communities on both sides of the river.
An important aspect of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (AWI) is to turn the Anacostia River, which is currently one of the most polluted rivers in the country, into a prime location for environmental education, sustainability, and recreational activities. This restoration project also involves several initiatives led by the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) to minimize developmental impacts and enhance the overall watershed.
A revitalized Anacostia Waterfront requires substantial financial investment to create sustained economic development to continue to build and maintain its vibrancy. Every new project or development brings new opportunities for job creation, businesses and economic growth. The Deputy Mayor's Office for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) is responsible for managing these opportunities and creating new ones for the District.
Despite over 50,000 District residents living within a 10-minute walk from the Anacostia River, very few consider themselves to be part of a waterfront community. The District of Columbia's Office of Planning (OP) is spearheading efforts to rejuvenate and reconnect existing communities with the river in more sustainable ways. Meanwhile, DMPED is collaborating with multiple private entities to establish new neighborhood projects.
Through AWI, the District is creating a “RiverPark” system of interconnecting waterfront parks that will ultimately be linked by the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. As of 2010, more than $100 million had been invested in the designing and constructing the RiverPark system. Additionally, Nationals Park, RFK Stadium, the DC Armory, Langston Golf Course, Arena Stage, Yards Park, and various portions of the Southwest Waterfront, among others, offer additional recreational opportunities.