Ward 3 is a largely residential area located in the upper northwest quadrant of the city. In many ways, its neighborhoods are a series of villages clustered around local commercial centers. Some of these neighborhoods grew up along the Connecticut Avenue streetcar line that connected DC with Chevy Chase in suburban Maryland. Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, North Cleveland Park/Forest Hills and the DC-portion of Chevy Chase all follow a similar pattern of a commercial core with local shops and restaurants, surrounded by a cluster of dense apartment buildings and/or townhouses, and spreading out into single-family homes.
Tenleytown, Palisades and Spring Valley, straddling Wisconsin Avenue, MacArthur Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue respectively, follow a similar, though more single-family home-oriented, pattern. Friendship Heights also follows this pattern, but its commercial core has grown tremendously over the past ten years, and is now a regional draw with its high-end shops and restaurants.
Much of the remainder of the Ward consists of single-family homes set among tall trees and parks. Some are modest in size, while others are veritable mansions which include a large number of foreign ambassadorial residences. The character of these areas is more suburban in nature, with a greater concentration of cul-de-sacs than anywhere else in the city.
Planning in Ward 3
Neighborhood and corridor plans for Ward 3 include:
- Chevy Chase Small Area Plan: a Small Area Plan approved in 2022.
- Tenleytown Public Life Study: a public life study completed in 2019.
- Van Ness Commercial District Action Strategy: a Vision Framework completed in 2016.
- Shades of Green Infrastructure & Pavement Removal Strategy for Van Ness: a public space companion piece to the Van Ness Commercial District Action Strategy completed in 2016.
- Friendship Heights Retail Action Strategy: a SWOT analysis, retail demand analysis, and strategy compelted in 2010.
- Tenleytown Retail Action Strategy: a SWOT analysis, retail demand analysis, and strategy completed in 2010.
- Neighborhood Sustainability Indicators Pilot Project: a planning initiative to better define sustainability at the local level for a subsection of Ward 3, completed in 2009.
- Glover Park Commercial District Study: a study completed in 2006.