WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Black Lives Matter Plaza has officially been completed as a permanent installation in the District of Columbia on 16th Street between K Street and H Street Northwest.
The project started in June of 2020, just four days after people protesting police brutality and racial injustice were met with violence and tear gas between Lafayette Park and St. John’s Church. The art installation leads to the White House and transformed the portion of 16th Street from a roadway that motorists take to a pedestrian-only space.
As a permanent installation, the project includes a portion of the roadway for vehicular traffic as well as a safe gathering space for pedestrians. The following now makes up the area:
- One vehicular lane in each direction of 16th Street NW (northbound and southbound) providing access to area properties (hotel, church, offices, etc.)
- Colored pavers used for the roadway surface instead of traditional asphalt
- A bright yellow “BLACK LIVES MATTER” mural with durable, yellow thermoplastic paint on top of a bonded concrete
- 14’ Center Pedestrian Plaza
- Cobble stone pavement, lighted bollards, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-accessible push buttons for traffic signal, and refreshed crosswalk markings
“When we created Black Lives Matter Plaza in June 2020, we sent a strong message that Black Lives Matter, and that power has always been and always will be with well-meaning people. Today, we have transformed the mural into a monument,” said Mayor Bowser. “One of my proudest memories of Black Lives Matter Plaza is when, in his final days, Congressman John Lewis came to see it for himself. He recognized Black Lives Matter Plaza as good trouble, and we know it will remain a gathering place for reflection, planning and action, as we work toward a more perfect union.”
The original mural was created overnight by the Department of Public Works and the MuralsDC team. The efforts were supported by Mayor Bowser and the District Department of Transportation. The area was officially renamed as Black Lives Matter Plaza Northwest and approved of by the D.C. Council in October of 2020.
Overall, more than $7.8 million will be spent on creating the installation and maintaining the sidewalks, benches, lighting and signage in the vicinity.