New pedestrian bridge will connect Kennedy Center to Potomac, Georgetown

Bridge brings increased access to Potomac, local parks, and monuments

An artistic rendering of the pedestrian bridge that will extend from the kennedy center to the potomac river.

An artistic rendering of the pedestrian bridge that will extend from the kennedy center to the potomac river.


It's been a long time coming, but runners, bikers, and paddlers will soon have easy access to one of the District's most notoriously isolated buildings: the Kennedy Center. 

As part of an ongoing $175 million dollar expansion project a new pedestrian bridge will connect the Kennedy Center to Rock Creek Trail, which runs along the Potomac River, connecting the National Mall to Georgetown, Rock Creek Park, and the C&O Canal.

It's the first major expansion project at the Kennedy Center since it opened 45 years ago. 

The bridge will be constructed over Rock Creek Parkway and will offer increased access not only to the main Kennedy Center building, but also the three new pavilions and green space that the expansion will encompass. 

Approved by the US Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) this summer, the final design does not include the floating Potomac River pavilion that was part of the original plans. 

That idea was ultimately nixed, in part due to concerns of the boating community and the impact the structure could have on the river. 

Despite the change, increased access to and a connection with the river are still critical components of the design. 

“It is really an incredible result that we wind up with something that is in many ways a better design,” NCPC Commissioner Peter May told the Washington Post. “Its relationship to the river is different and, in some ways, enhanced.”

Both Thompson Boat Center and Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown will be only a short walk away from the Kennedy Center campus. And taking a romantic stroll along the Potomac after a show will no longer involve convoluted crosswalks and dodgy traffic. It's a win-win for romantics and river lovers alike.

The expansion is expected to open September 2018. 


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