Visions of Washington’s Future From 1985

In preparation for Washingtonian‘s 20th-anniversary issue in 1985, the magazine “asked interesting people to offer ideas for making Washington a better place to live,” Larry Van Dyne wrote.

Among the ideas: “‘old downtown’ east of 15th Street filled with shops, restaurants, theaters, and clubs that would keep people there after dark.” A “monorail linking Dulles Airport with the city.” The “return of that symbol of big-league status–a baseball team.”

Washingtonian illustrated some of the ideas.

1) A fast train to Baltimore

Illustration by Elizabeth Wolf

“You could take Metro to Union Station, hop aboard the bullet train for a fifteen-minute trip to Harborplace, and step out onto a new subway being planned in Baltimore.”

2) A car-free Georgetown

Illustration by Ron Tomasso

“Let’s divert the traffic into a tunnel under the street…and let people rule the street itself. Add a few trees, benches, and other amenities, and M Street could become one of the world’s nicest promenades.”

3) A daily competitor for the Washington Post

Illustration by Donald Gates

“What Washington needs is a spunky tabloid that features splashy headlines, big pictures, irreverent writing, and coverage of the city’s grittier side. Just like New Yorkers, we then could enjoy the latest scandal.”

4) A theme park in Glen Echo

Illustration by Mark Stutzman/Eloqui

“Given its location near the nation’s capital, they could come up with something like ‘Libertyland,’ which would draw its inspiration from American history.”

5) Republicans in District politics

Illustration by James Yang

“Although American politics has thrived on the two-party system, you’d never know it from the District of Columbia’s local elections….A stronger and more imaginative DC Republican party would do all the city some good.”

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.