Georgetown Business Improvement District

Modular Sidewalks for Social Distancing
February 10, 2021
Credit: BBB

BBB's pro bono work expanded sidewalks with modular components for social distancing in Washington, DC's Georgetown, the neighborhood we have called home for the last twenty years.

With the rise of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 and the subsequent restrictions on commercial operations and interior gathering in Washington, DC, BBB recognized that urban vibrancy in the city, and the Georgetown neighborhood where we work each day, would be threatened. As architects and urban designers, we wanted to use our expertise to give back to our community and help reconceive the urban realm for a new socially distanced context.

We reached out to our long-term client at the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) to offer a helping hand in designing a vision for a semi-permanent expanded sidewalk, allowing businesses to maintain operations and a continuity of civic life. We have been collaborating closely with the BID's public space staff, as well as some of our long-time consultant partners: Silman, Langan, HITT, and Davis.


Through this quick design charrette, we developed design options for platforms to reclaim portions of M Street NW and Wisconsin Avenue NW with modular components that can be rapidly installed and remain mobile for access to roadway infrastructure or reconfiguring. These designs were prototyped to adapt to local street conditions and are now being piloted as test in multiple locations. Once approved by DDOT and OGB they will proceed to production and widespread installation this spring and be in place through the end of the year.

We are excited to contribute to the neighborhood that BBB has called home for the last 20 years and ensure that these historic public spaces can adapt and remain vibrant for its businesses, residents, and visitors.