Welcome to the Palisades

The Palisades area is located in Northwest Washington along the Potomac River, between Key Bridge and Chain Bridge. Hugging the Potomac River with its high bluffs and breathtaking sunsets, the Palisades is a treasure of green spaces in the nation's capital.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Hakan Lonaeus)

Welcome to the Palisades

Our area is laced with winding parks where dappled light filters through canopies of old trees. It's filled with quiet streets and dotted with houses all of varying styles, from a loving home originally built as a late 19th century dance hall to detailed Victorian designs to the more modern homes.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Hakan Lonaeus)

Welcome to the Palisades

Ask anyone why we consider this a small town in a big city and you're likely to get the same answer: the people who live here. They are some of the friendliest in Washington.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Hakan Lonaeus)

Welcome to the Palisades

We're an eclectic mix of all ages and sizes, lots of families (and pets) and folks with wide-ranging interests and incomes. But we all care about our community and give a lot to make it special.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Hakan Lonaeus)

Welcome to the Palisades

Whether it's maintaining flower beds in the median lining MacArthur Boulevard, rebuilding the children's playground and landscaping at our local Recreation Center, or creating our own tax-exempt fund to support community projects, this is definitely a community of doers.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Hakan Lonaeus)

Welcome to the Palisades

Our annual July 4 parade, sponsored by local businesses and Palisades t-shirt sales, is a DC tradition after more than 45 years.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Hakan Lonaeus)

Welcome to the Palisades

And increasingly, we're becoming the choice location for a growing number of educational institutions, including our outstanding public Key Elementary School. Our merchants are friendly and our restaurants include some of the best in the city.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Hakan Lonaeus)

Welcome to the Palisades

We are fortunate to call the Palisades our home -- close to the vibrancy of the city yet surrounded by beautiful nature.

Community Announcements


Click here for the winter issue of The Conduit

Next PCA Town Hall - Tuesday, February 15, 2022 7:00pm

Updated December 22, 2021


New Schools at Foxhall and MacArthur - Update #1

Updated March 14, 2021

This is an update from PCA President Tricia Duncan on the two new schools DC is planning in Ward 3.

For background, Ward 3 public schools are very popular and successful. The projections for enrollment for the next 7 years have every school in Ward 3 and beyond at or over capacity. A 2019 report from a task force convened by the Deputy Mayor of Education’s office said Ward 3 will need two new elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school to accommodate all students within 7 years. The City is also very interested in equity in access to good schools. Mayor Bowser proposed a new school at Foxhall last May and in June the Council approved funding for it. Around the same time, CM Mary Cheh saw an opportunity to purchase the old GDS school and secured funding for this school.

DCPS has formed a Community Working Group (CWG) to discuss options for configuration of two new schools in our area, with discussions that are driven by data and enrollment projections. The CWG is made up of representatives from Ward 3 schools, DCPS, our community, and elected officials in the Wilson feeder pattern to review and provide feedback on site options. It is important to keep in mind the CWG along with DCPS is not deciding whether or not to build and open these new public schools, but rather what configuration of the two sites will best help the public school system.

The first site for a new school is called Foxhall ES. This site is at the Hardy Park at Foxhall and Q Street. The existing DCPS school on the site is currently leased by The Lab School of Washington and is used as their lower school campus. The City has just entered into a long term lease with Lab to extend their lease through 2038. DCPS now plans to build a separate, new school next to Lab. There are no set plans on where the school will be on the site. The CWG is focused on what type of school will be the best at addressing overcrowding. It is being considered for an elementary school or a middle school.

The second site for a new school is called the MacArthur Blvd School. This site is located at MacArthur Blvd near the intersection with Q, but is not visible from MacArthur Blvd. This is the school recently vacated by Georgetown Day School’s lower school. The City is in negotiations with the owner to purchase this property to use as a new public school. The CWG is looking at this school as a new high school or middle school. 

In April, DCPS will conduct broad engagement, including an online survey on proposed options, and conduct school and community based meetings. Summaries of the meetings and materials that have been given to participants are here: https://dcpsplanning.wordpress.com/category/wilson-feeder-pattern/ . 


Trammell Crow (TCC) Update

Updated October 15, 2020

Thank you so much for all the community engagement on the proposed Trammell Crow Company (TCC) project at the old Safeway site on Macarthur Blvd. 

The PCA Board of Directors and the PCA membership has overwhelmingly endorsed the proposed resolution and the Memorandum of Agreement.

Be it resolved that the Palisades Community Association supports Trammell Crow Company's (TCC) development project at 4865 Macarthur submitted to the the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA), on condition that the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) governing the development is executed by ANC3D and TCC, including a Construction Management Agreement, prior to the November 4, 2020 BZA hearing. Furthermore, the PCA expressly asks ANC3D to enter into the MOA. Here is the latest draft Memorandum of Agreement.

Here is some background information:

TCC very much wants our community’s approval for this project and has been negotiating in good faith in spite of the compressed process. Without further ado, here are the updates:

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that the PCA and ANC are jointly working on stipulates a ~5,500 SF grocer tenant. TCC is engaged in negotiations with Streets Market. TCC has re-worked their site plan to move the grocer space to the 48th Place and MacArthur Blvd corner, which is more in the core of our retail hub. This grocer space was previously shown on the corner of U Street across from the CVS. Unfortunately, it does not seem likely that Streets will sign a lease prior to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) hearing in November, and there is always a chance the deal will not happen at all. The MOA requires TCC to find a qualified grocer tenant. If no grocer tenant can be secured within 24 months of the senior living facility opening, then TCC would have the right to look for other retail options, and the ANC would need to approve any non-grocer concept for their retail space.

TCC aims to have a parking neutral project, meaning all their parking needs will be met within the parking structure they plan to build. The PCA hired a parking & traffic consultant who produced a report indicating TCC’s senior living facility will not be parking neutral with the 52 parking spaces they originally planned, and that is before addressing the potential grocer’s parking needs. As a result, TCC expanded the underground parking to 65 spaces, and TCC will build a surface lot for the grocer tenant with an additional 16 spaces. This surface lot will be accessed off V Street with a walkway. TCC has also agreed to performance standards so the community has remedies in the event their parking needs exceed the parking garage. Exact language can be found in the Memorandum of Agreement. Here is a link to the PCA parking study.

The site plan and landscaping plan can be viewed here. It will also be displayed at our tent at the Farmer’s Market and at the PCA’s virtual Town Hall. The landscaping plan includes accommodating the expansion of the Market and includes other public space enhancements. Due to the recent changes these are being refined by TCC but this gives you a good idea of what is planned. Click here to view the site plan. Click here to view the latest landscaping plan.

Demolition has already started on this project and it is a given there will be disruptions to the parking and traffic during construction of this project. You will notice the no parking signs along 48th Place. DDOT requires these because the debris is being hauled off through the 48th Place entrance, and they consider this to be a safety issue. Short term parking along 48th Place after construction hours is another matter. Our wonderful library is also still closed and the parking spaces behind that building could help alleviate the congestion in the neighborhood. If you are able, consider walking when possible.

The construction will be a major impact on the community. The PCA and ANC are working on a Construction Management Agreement and will post as soon as we have it.

Our ANC 3D is negotiating with TCC on a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), and the PCA is deeply involved in that process. The agreement covers a grocer tenant, parking performance standards, and much more. You can read the agreement here The intention is for the MOA to be in place and approved by the PCA membership and by ANC 3D prior to TCC’s BZA hearing on November 4th. The PCA will file as an interested party for the BZA hearing, but our approval is not required for TCC to build this project. In addition, and this is not certain, TCC could seek approval from the BZA without ANC or PCA support, or they could default back to their by-right design without any retail at all. The bar is not high for their special exception request to build in the back parcel of the site. All parties agree, however, that community support is preferred if an agreement can be reached.

Finally, it may appear that this process feels rushed. The full background is that TCC came to the ANC a few weeks ago saying they would like to delay their BZA hearing to December or January to allow more time to accommodate the open requests. This was welcome news as we agreed with their assessment. Unfortunately, TCC subsequently learned that if they miss the November 4th BZA hearing date that they would not be able to present again until February at the earliest due to a pandemic-related backlog of applications. TCC has said this timeline does not work for them, and a delay could push them to do a by-right building where they would not include any retail, expanded parking, or other community concessions. Consequently, the PCA Board and the ANC have been working hard and quickly to reach a compromise agreement before the BZA hearing.

Following our Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, October 6th, the PCA will be holding an online vote regarding the draft MOA between the ANC and TCC. In accordance with our bylaws, voting will take place via an online form that will run from October 13-18. All submitted ballots will be counted in accordance with the bylaws. This means you must be a member of the PCA for one month prior to the vote. Members must be in good standing meaning that you will need to be up to date on your membership dues ($25 per adult or $40 per family).

If you vote, and your membership dues are not current, you will be notified and given a chance to update your membership status to have your vote count. Residents will be able to check their membership by emailing palisadesdc@hotmail.com. You can pay your membership dues online at this link 

Note that the ANC is holding a special meeting of their own to vote on the MOA on October 21st. There will be an opportunity for community input as well. 


After Four Years, Canal Road Study Now Available

Updated February 18, 2020

Complaints about various aspects of Canal Road are a common theme on Palisades list serve and our everyday conversations. Justifiably so. The road suffers from poor drainage, unsafe sightlines, periodically falling boulders, and truly terrible traffic patterns at Fletchers Boathouse and at the Georgetown/Whitehurst approach.

Given this vexing reality we all face, you may be surprised to learn that the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) conducted a comprehensive multi-year study of Canal Road without ever publishing the results – seemingly for the sole reason that the organizer of the study at DDOT retired just as the report was finalized in 2016.

With the assistance of Councilmember Cheh’s office, the results of the Canal Road Study have finally come to light – nearly four years after its completion. The full document is online, and it is worthy of our attention.

For those of you who followed the study process during the first half of the 2010’s, the “headline fear” in our neighborhood was DDOT’s consideration of supersizing Canal Road into a 3- or 4-lane highway with toll collection and grade separation. There was a concept for a flyover on-ramp at the bottom of Arizona Avenue and even talk of a far-fetched new entrance to Canal Road from Norton Street to provide a more direct connection for Dalecarlia drivers.

In reality, none of the more exotic ideas made it into the final study. Instead, the report details a series of (what I consider to be) pragmatic recommendations that could substantially improve the conditions of Canal Road for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists – without changing its essential character.

It’s worth reading the study (or at least the executive summary) closely. The study affirms that Canal Road is not up to Federal or District road standards and that there are multiple “serious safety concerns.” I’ll attempt to summarize the more impactful recommendations in plain English:


  • Upgrade traffic signals, signage, lighting and road markings
  • Address roadway drainage issues and stabilize the rockfaces most adjacent to the road
  • Modify the orientation of the road to improve sightlines and overall visibility
  • Add shoulders and/or emergency turnouts west of Foxhall Road
  • Create an access ramp from Arizona Avenue to Canal Road (heading towards Georgetown), which would allow Palisades residents (and other drivers) to have unimpeded access to Canal Road at all hours
  • Reorient the bottom of Reservoir Road to form a 90-degree intersection at Fletcher’s Boathouse
  • Expand the entrance to Canal Road (heading west) from the Foxhall Road intersection with a third lane that will end in a merge to the existing two lanes
  • Add a dedicated lane to Whitehurst Freeway that is cantilevered over the C&O Canal
  • Allow for alternating rush hour expansion lanes between Foxhall Road and Georgetown (within the existing four lanes)
  • Add a safety barrier (guardrail) and add Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) features


  • Add a pedestrian bridge over Canal Road at Fletcher’s Boathouse
  • Add sidewalk and bicycle lanes between Arizona Avenue and Chain Bridge
  • Upgrade the existing tunnel located east of Foxhall to the Capital Crescent Trail
  • Upgrade the existing stairway access to Capital Crescent Trail at Whitehurst Freeway
  • Provide a protected pedestrian and cyclist path along the north side of Canal Road between Foxhall Road and Whitehurst Freeway

The Canal Road Study opens many possibilities to improve the functioning of this transportation corridor, and potentially even reduce the strain on Macarthur Boulevard as a result. Some of the proposed changes could be easily implemented. Other proposed changes will involve environmental and historic preservation disruptions. Either way, DDOT’s study deserves proper attention and consideration, and I hope that by making the study public that we as the Palisades community can help reignite a conversation about Canal Road’s future.


Airplane Noise

Updated February 29, 2020

To learn about potential noise reduction from FAA proposed changes to aircraft flight paths, click here.

To file a noise complaint, click here.

To file a noise complaint using a mobile app, click here.

To learn more about the Airnoise Button, click here.

To read DC releases aircraft noise study showing adverse impacts - click here

To read Detrimental effect of aircraft noise on student learning - click here


Palisades Farmers Market

The Palisades Farmers market is thriving! Please visit on Sundays, 9:00 - 1:00pm on 48th Place. It's open all year round. Visit their website for more details! Check out this short promotional video by Chelsey Gabrielson.

Hillcrest Neighborhood

Find out what is new in the Palisades’ sister neighborhood, Hillcrest!