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Could the Dupont Underground Become a Subterranean Park?

by Lark Turner

Could the Dupont Underground Become a Subterranean Park?: Figure 1
A rendering of the finished Lowline.

Could this be the future of the Dupont Underground?

Plans for the Lowline, a project underway in New York City on the site of a former trolley terminal, could point a way forward for Dupont Circle's old trolley station.

The Lowline, envisioned as the underground version of the High Line, would use solar technology to bring light into the subterranean space, which is on Manhattan's Lower East Side and has been abandoned since 1948, when the trolleys stopped running. The light coming in would enable the first-ever underground "park," with live trees and plants growing beneath the surface alongside recreation space.

A Kickstarter to raise funds for the solar technology required for the space had raised about $75,000 as of Friday morning. The development team hopes to create "an extraordinary oasis underneath one of New York City's most crowded neighborhoods." The Lowline is ambitiously aiming to open to the public in 2018.

The Dupont Underground — vacant, except for a failed experiment in the 1990s, since 1963 — is in the process of being opened up to the public, too, though there aren't any solid plans just yet. A crowdfunding campaign to clean up the space and start using it for small events raised more than $50,000 last year. The Washington Post reported that a portion of the space would start hosting small events in July.

Could the Dupont Underground Become a Subterranean Park?: Figure 2
Another Lowline rendering.

The Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground (ACDU) has long-term plans for the space, but they're still just ideas. Most of them, though, involve generating a lot of revenue, from the plans for a micro-hotel to the plans for a high-end art storage facility.

For now, the ACDU just wants to raise awareness of the space to garner support for a new use of the old trolley station, Braulio Agnese, an ACDU board member, told UrbanTurf in March.

“It will pretty much be an open box,” he said. “The part the public will see most is the platform and a little bit of the tunnels. We need to bring that up to code, so that’s the construction we need to do, but then it’s not going to look a whole lot different than it does now.”

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/could_dupont_underground_be_an_underground_park/10025

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