Work to brighten the otherwise-drab underpass on M Street NE is underway. Crews have begun installing “Rain,” the first of what will eventually be four underpass parks in NoMa.

Installation of “Rain” has begun in the underpass on M Street NE. Image by the author.

Rain is designed to make the underpass on M Street safer and brighter, as well as knit the neighborhood on either side of the throat tracks to Union Station together, lead designer Andrew Thurlow said in 2015. Thurlow is a partner at Thurlow Small Architecture, which partnered with NIO on the underpass.

The installation is made up of 4,000 LED light rods that will be hung from ceiling of the underpass in a series of vaults, and react to people moving through the space.

Rendering of Rain. Image by the NoMa BID.

Rain is just the first of four underpass parks NoMa plans for the K Street, L Street, M Street and Florida Avenue in the neighborhood. Work on “Lightweave,” a series of undulating, cloud-like lights hung from the ceiling in the L Street underpass, is also expected to begin later this year.

A rendering of Rain’s vaults. Image by NoMa BID.

NoMa Business Improvement District (BID) director of parks projects Stacie West says she expects Rain to be finished in November barring any delays from other construction projects.

One such delay could be WMATA’s SafeTrack work that is scheduled to close the Red Line between the NoMa-Gallaudet station and the Fort Totten station from October 29 to November 22.

Tagged: dc, noma, parks, safetrack

Edward Russell is an air transport reporter by day with a passion for all things transportation. He is a resident of Eckington and tweets frequently about planes, trains and bikes.