The M Street underpass, outside the NoMa Metro station, is going to be an outdoor art project. LED lights will illuminate the sidewalk, hopefully turning a dreary scene into a park-like gathering spot.

Photo by NoMa BID DC on Flickr.

Called “Rain,” the installation’s lights will hang inside tubes along the underpass’ ceiling, creating a drizzling effect when people walk by.

The M Street project is the first of four underpasses that the NoMa Parks Foundation hopes to fill with art. The others are at Florida Avenue and L, and K Streets, NE.

Though it’s not green space, the project will be a welcome addition to a part of town relatively devoid of parks. Protected from (actual) rain, snow, and summer heat, it should make the underpass a more inviting place.

“Our tunnel proposal for NoMa does what all good urban parks do: it offers a moment of openness, a space to breathe, and a place where thoughts can drift away,” read a Parks Foundation press release.

The Parks Foundation selected Thurlow Small Architecture + NIO architects as the project’s designers.

The firm’s submission was part of an initial pool of nearly 250, and it was selected from a group of 10 finalists. The designers and construction team will be on-hand for a community meeting next Monday evening at the Lobby Project.

Jonathan Neeley was Greater Greater Washington's staff editor from 2014-2017. He gets most everywhere by bike (or Metro when it's super nasty out), thinks the way planning decisions shape our lives is fascinating, and plays a whole lot of ultimate. He lives in Brookland.