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In March 2011, I posted on the proposed 2012 tax assessments for the 900-plus tax parcels that I track as Near Southeast properties, which valued the neighborhood at just a teensy bit under $6 billion ($5.994B). But there's a reason those are just "proposed": property owners need a chance to prostrate themselves before the city to try to get their assessments revised. In addition, new properties come onto the rolls during the year as projects get completed.
So, I can now report that the 2012 tax assessment total for Near Southeast is: $6.06 billion. Since the final assessments for 2011 came in at about $5.81 billion, 2012's number is a $248 million increase for actual assessments year-over-year.
There were 15 properties that received reductions for their 2012 bills, totaling about $148 million. The big property owners managed a few hefty cuts, with JBG's US Department of Transportation building leading the way with a $47.7 million reduction to just under $615 million, followed by CSX's empty lots near the freeway north of I Street getting a $46.3 million haircut down to $66.2 million. Many of the other shiny new-ish buildings of the neighborhood also got their tallies reduced, such as apartment buildings 70/100 I and 909 New Jersey and office buildings 20 M, 55 M, 225 Virginia, and Maritime Plaza I and II.
But these reductions were offset by $216 million in upward revisions. Most of this is thanks to 1015 Half Street finally being completed, taking that parcel's assessment from last year's $41.1 million to just a hair under $144 million. Three other buildings (80 M, 100 M, and 300 M) received higher final assessments as well. Plus, 32 townhouses in Capitol Quarter came onto the rolls as completed buildings, bringing just under $14 million in new tax revenue. (Yes, yes, PILOT/payment in lieu of taxes--don't stop me when I'm on a roll.)
And, because people always want to know, the ballpark's assessment for 2012 remains the smidgiest smidge under $1 billion, unchanged from 2011, at $999,982,800.
Alas, I can't give good year-to-year comparison numbers on final assessments in previous years because I didn't really grasp this whole revision thing until last year (oops), but I can say that proposed assessments were just a mite over $6 billion in both 2010 and 2011, after having been at $4.47 billion in 2009. My March post has the year-by-year proposed assessed values for the neighborhood, if you want those numbers.
If you feel like digging deeper (since you don't pay me enough to just post all my numbers for you to use), here's the the current assessments database, which you can search yourself. Tune in this March to see what the city proposes for 2013 values, and then in January for what the values really end up being....
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More posts: assessments
 

The weekend is almost here, so it's probably worth a reminder that the Navy Yard Metro station will be closed this weekend, starting at 10 pm Friday through the system's closure time on Sunday night. Waterfront will be closed as well, so if you're hoofing it to another station, make it Capitol South or another Orange/Blue station.
But it's still a big weekend for events in the neighborhood, with the Ghost Ship Barry festivities at the Navy Yard and "Truckerboo" at Half and M on Friday. (Note that the Navy Yard's portion of the Riverwalk will be closed starting at noon on Friday, so you need to go to the entrance gates at 6th and M SE in order to get to the Ghost Ship.)
Saturday is the BID's Community Planting Day, from 9 am to noon, and they're looking for volunteers to help to plant thousands of daffodil bulbs throughout the neighborhood. (UPDATE: This has been moved to Sunday at noon, because of the weather forecast.) Also on Saturday, Justin's Cafe is having a Halloween Murder Mystery event starting at 9 pm, where individuals and teams get a storyline and a clue and work to solve the mystery while, ahem, drinking some beers.
Then, just when you think you've made it through the weekend, DDOT will be closing the ramp at 11th and O streets SE to the outbound 11th Street Bridge from 10 pm to 5 am Monday through Thursday (Oct. 31 through Nov. 3). It's so they can demolish the remaining retaining wall that runs along the east side of 11th. The detour is to use the on-ramp at 8th and VIrginia, SE.
 

My decision to do my first-ever reader survey was really just a lightning quick notion while I was on vacation. I whipped up the questions without a lot of thought, tossed it on the site, and assumed it would be a somewhat interesting diversion, though I was nervous about the sort of feedback I'd get (or whether I'd get much at all, since goodness knows *I* hardly ever respond to these sorts of pleas for input).
So I'm happy that 428 readers took the time to click a few boxes and type a few words, giving me a bunch of great data to chew over. A few numbers surprised me, a few confirmed what I've always suspected, and others really helped to refocus me on how people use the site and what is and isn't important. Some bullet points:
* The response that I think might surprise others but which I've always assumed to be the case is that only 41 percent of JDLand readers currently live in Near Southeast. This means that there are two somewhat distinct readerships who have different levels of interest about various goings-on. This is why you'll see additional breakouts for some survey responses by Near Southeast Residents and Not Residents. And this is also why I don't always go as deep into the weeds on neighborhood news and events as some residents would probably like, because I know a lot of readers are looking for more of an overview.
* Not surprisingly, nonresidents are more interested than residents in before-and-after photos (69 percent to 49 percent), since nonresidents (like me!) don't see all the new stuff every day.
* Another shocker: Near Southeast residents are most interested in restaurant/retail news! (The question might be, who are the 2 percent of residents who aren't?)
* This is the one that stunned me: 82 percent of respondents said that the amount of blog posts is "Poifect." Only THREE people said there's too many posts? There were about 60 people who said that there are too few posts, or that information is being missed, with residents feeling that way more than non-residents. While some people recognized that this is more a statement on the lack of actual news instead of my coverage being underwhelming, one critique raised a few times in the "Other" field was the overloaded "Tidbits" posts, which I had recognized as a problem even before starting the survey. You're already seeing a larger number of smaller posts rather than fewer bulleted ones....
* My employer will be happy to know that 87 percent of readers say they get local news from the Washington Post. DCist was the second-highest choice (46 percent), with City Paper third at 35 percent. (This question probably would have benefitted from more options, and people added quite a few in the Other field. Oh well. Next time.)
* Twitter is used by only about 25 percent of respondents to get either my content or local news. This is an important data point for me, because if you spend as much time deep in the Twitterverse as I do, it's easy to overinflate its importance in the overall news delivery and consumption scheme. (I'd also suggest reading this AdWeek piece from a few weeks back on how Politico's bloggers are trying to adapt in a Twitter world, where being first and fast is a whole heck of a lot harder than it used to be. It's an article that really resonated with me.)
What stands out to you in the numbers?
There's a few parts of the survey I'd change if I had it to do over again (some demographic info, like gender and age, would have been good to know). And doing it after baseball season is over probably skews the results away from the Nationals fans who tend to come by to check out what's going on near the stadium. And of course I'm well aware that this isn't at all scientific, and that it's the most engaged readers who tend to make the effort to reply. Plus, the number of responses is a teensy percentage of what Google reports as my average monthly unique visitors, so a lot of visitors are no doubt unrepresented in these numbers. (And the people who think I'm excessively wordy or post too often or don't do a good job have probably already moved along.)
But, all of that said, I'm so glad I did this, because one thing I never ever expected was the huge number of positive comments (and almost complete lack of negative ones) in the optional feedback field. (I'm not going to post them publicly, because I can only imagine the grief I'd get for such a display of look-how-wonderful-people-think-I-am.) A lot of what I do can feel like "whistling into the wind," because you're never really sure how much people are reading and enjoying the site (page view statistics are nice, but don't tell the whole story), so to get message after message of encouragement was a wonderful surprise.
It's no secret that I go through phases of wondering whether I should really keep at it, and during my week in Florida I was seriously teetering on the edge of "it's time," with a lot of self-doubt about whether a "neighborhood blog" in the area of Facebook and Twitter is something people are still looking for. Most unexpectedly, this survey really ended up reinforcing for me that basically I've still got the right idea after all this time.
In other words, a big thanks to all who replied. You had a lot more impact on JDLand than you might have anticipated.
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Two weeks ago, while I was busy biking around Florida's Space Coast, DC Water (aka WASA) had the groundbreaking for its massive Clean Rivers Project. This is a 20-year, $2.6 billion initiative to control the city's "combined sewer overflows," which is what happens when the current system where wastewater and rainwater move in single pipes gets overwhelmed during "certain rainfall conditions", causing the diluted sewage mix to empty into local waterways before it can get to DC Plains to be treated.
This map gives a good overview of where the Clean Rivers work will be done along the Anacostia, and it should be no surprise that Near Southeast is on the docket for some of the construction zones, given that DC Water's main pumping station is that lovely 1905 Beaux Arts building nestled between Nationals Park and the Yards Park. There are two components of the project that will directly impact the neighborhood:
The first workzone ("Division E") will appear next spring, to allow for digging along M Street SE between 9th and 14th Streets, with the work expected to take about two years. Parking along M will be restricted between 8th and 9th streets and 12th and 13th streets, and M will be completely closed during the project at the not-quite-an-intersection with 14th Street and Water Street.
The second workzone ("Division I") will be in a more central location, and for a longer period of time, as 1,200 linear feet of combined sewers and other infrastructure needs will be installed on Tingey Street SE between 2nd and 5th streets. (For those of you not 100 percent familiar with the grid, Tingey is the street just behind the US Department of Transportation that runs through the Yards.) They are estimating this work will begin in the fall of 2013 and last until the summer of 2017. But no major hauling during stadium events, they say! There will be some lane closures along Tingey, and parking will be restricted along Tingey as well.
These two projects, along with the much larger Tunnel Project That Shall Not Be Named along Virginia Avenue, will no doubt try the patience of residents and office workers, but DC Water says they are working closely with all manner of stakeholders (including the Navy Yard, the BID, DDOT, the Nationals, CSX, WMATA, and the Maritime Plaza folks) and will be coordinating with ANCs as well. (They gave a presentation on the project at the October ANC 6D meeting, which I alas missed.)
The web site for the project has a lot of information if you want to know more--plus DC Water's chief George Hawkins has his own blog with links about the groundbreaking and more.
 

I certainly can't complain about the level of response to my quickie JDLand Reader Poll, but that doesn't mean I don't still want to hear from as many people as possible. I'm going to shut it down late Wednesday, so you've got about 24 hours to answer just a few questions to help me better understand who the heck out there is reading this stuff.
(It may seem like I'm giving an awful lot of advance warning for a Last Call, but that's for the folks who mainly read my posts via e-mail, which go out overnight.)
I'll write about the results and provide all sorts of tables and number-crunching later in the week.
UPDATE: Time's up! Poll is closed. Thanks for playing!
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If you're expecting to use the Navy Yard Metro station to get to and/or from your cavalcade of weekend Halloween events, be forewarned: as part of WMATA's continuing track work, the Navy Yard station (along with Waterfront, Anacostia, and Congress Heights on the Green Line) will be closed beginning at 10 pm on Friday, Oct. 28, through the system's closing time at midnight Sunday.
According to WMATA's press release, there will be shuttle buses running between L'Enfant Plaza and Southern Avenue, with stops at the closed stations. "Riders using the shuttles should allow 30 minutes of additional travel time"--which makes that 15-minute-or-so walk up to Capitol South sound not quite so bad.
(The Circulator that runs from the eastern entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station at New Jersey Avenue up to Eastern Market and then Union Station would be a fine alternative, except that it's now on its Winter Hours schedule of only running on weekdays from 6 am to 7 pm.)
The 10 pm Friday close might have a bit of an impact on the final hours of Truckerboo at Half and M, SE; residents might need to be prepared to see larger numbers of pedestrians than usual in the late hours hoofing it northward to Capitol South.
The Green Line isn't the only one seeing closures this weekend--read WMATA's press release for all the details.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA
 

The Nationals have just announced that tickets are on sale for "America's Night of Hope," the large stadium event held by the Joel Osteen Ministries. It will be on April 28, 2012 at Nationals Park, with tickets priced at $15. In its three previous years, the national version of this event was held at Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, and most recently at US Cellular Field (home of the Chicago White Sox) in August.
(There are smaller "Night of Hope" events held across the country as well, but apparently this is the big national version.)
This is all a little bit out of my realms of expertise, so as more information becomes available, I'll pass it along. But here's how Osteen's web site describes it:
"On April 28, 2012, people from across America will gather at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals, in Washington D.C. to pray for this great nation. Come and experience this unprecedented America's Night of Hope with special guests, great music and hosts, Joel and Victoria Osteen. It will be a night you don't want to miss.
"Joel will be sharing a powerful message of HOPE that will inspire you to become all that God wants you to be. Make plans now to attend this exciting event and discover God's best for your life!"
 

October may be my favorite month for taking photos of Near Southeast--if you can get a bright clear day, the just-starting-to-change trees give a nice additional color pallette, plus the sun still gets high enough in the sky to (mostly) allow for southward-facing photos. It was eight years ago I first found this out, as you can see in this October 2003 gallery--there's still a lot of shots where clearly I hadn't found my routine yet (and you can see my dirty windshield here and there!), but there is still something special about the light in them. And looking at how different things look is kind of cool, too.
There isn't really all that much to take photos of in the neighborhood right now, especially since I did a full set back in September, but I did take a quick walk through Capitol Quarter and over to 225 Virginia/200 I to get updated images:
The old Post Plant monolith ain't quite so monolith-y anymore, is it?
You can browse the expanded photo archives for 225 Virginia and Capitol Quarter Phase 2 for lots and lots of images (with today's shots marked by the icon, as always), or visit the Capitol Quarter and 225 Virginia/200 I project pages for a more "narrated" tour.
There's apparently been some concern by Capitol Quarter residents about the 200 I construction, but representatives of Stonebridge gave an update to them saying that "base building work" (i.e., outside stuff) will be completed in the next four months, which seems pretty much on the schedule announced when work began back in February. Interior work will begin in December, with DC agencies expected to begin moving in around June 2012. But 3rd and I streets will probably be a bit of a mess as utility work and the construction of the single-deck parking garage continue. My post from March on the parking garage configuration may also be of interest, if you haven't been following along, as might all of my 225 Virginia/200 I posts, going back many years....
And, once you're finished wandering through these shots, how about filling out my Reader Survey? (I PROMISE that this link actually works!) It's only going to be up for a few more days....
 

My post on Wednesday about the rumors of a not-quite-yet-signed tenant for the ground-floor restaurant space at 100 M Street SE shook loose quite a few mouths, and it is unanimous amongst those gabbers that the newcomer in negotiations is Gordon Biersch, the brewery/restaurant that already has a location at 9th and F Streets NW, not too far from the Verizon Center. With 100 M being within sight of Nationals Park, it would seem a plausible destination, assuming the final papers get signed (which does not appear to be imminent). It'll be interesting to see their timeline, especially vis-a-vis the baseball season (getting it done by Opening Day, 5 1/2 months from now, would seem to be a bit optimistic, I think?).
On a 100 percent unrelated note (I really do hate teeny tiny posts, so felt the need to combine these), the Capitol Riverfront BID's latest newsletter is out, and they're asking for respondents for their annual "online perception surveys" for both the BID itself and for the Yards Park.
But don't you dare click on either of those survey links if you haven't yet filled out my readership survey--my feelings will be terribly hurt! (Argh! I'm snakebitten with the dang survey. This link was a bad one until about 9 am on Friday. Sorry! Please try again!)
The BID also is co-hosting a Community Planting Day on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 9 am to noon, along with the US Green Building Council National Capital Region. They're going to plant thousands of daffodil bulbs throughout the neighborhood.
The rest of the newsletter is here.
 

The folks at the Washington Navy Yard are going into spooky mode again this year, offering the "Ghost Ship Barry" on October 28. Ages 12 and under are invited from 5 to 7 pm, with a slightly scarier version open to ages 13 and up from 8 to 10 pm. While RSVPs are not required, they are now instituting a timed ticket entry system, so all parties must check in at the US Navy Museum, where there will be additional children's activities. They're also discouraging costumes. Read the details.
Maybe DDOT can cover a Circulator bus in spiders and webbing to allow easy shuttling along M Street between the Ghost Ship and Truckerboo, being held at the same time.
Are there any other ghostly festivities on tap in the neighborhood? I imagine Capitol Quarter will have a record number of trick-or-treaters this year....
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More posts: Events, Navy Yard
 

Word is starting to bounce around that a tenant is close to being signed for the prime restaurant space in the ground floor of 100 M Street SE, on the northeast corner of 1st and M, one block north of Nationals Park.
As to who the tenant may be, I don't have confirmation, but rumors are mentioning a "semi-chain type place." (I'm trying to find out more, but since recent surveys indicate that 93 percent of all JDLand readers are interested in retail/restaurant news, I'm just going to go with what I've got.)
The location is advertised as 8,500 square feet, and I don't know if this rumored lease is for the entire space (though I imagine it is). One way or another, it will probably be a level of food and dining experience that's a step up from the last eating establishment on that corner, the old On Luck Cafeteria that was demolished five years ago.
I hope it goes without saying that as soon as I know more, I'll pass it along. And please remember that this is all still rumor territory, so until there's an official announcement, don't be skipping meals waiting for the new offering to arrive.
UPDATE: The rumor mill is strong that the not-yet-signed tenant is Gordon Biersch. But there's no official confirmation of that. But I've heard it from enough different places since yesterday to pass it along.
 

Oh, I really wanna know.
After nearly nine years of blindly stumbling along, curiosity has finally gotten the better of me, and I've crafted what is hopefully a quick and easy reader poll. Pretty please, with sugar on top, take a moment to answer some quick questions to help me better understand who's out there reading this stuff I'm still churning out. I want to know why you read, what you read, and how you read it. Your answers will help me as I continue to try to make all of this work be somewhat interesting and useful, given how much the world of a "just a neighborhood blogger" has changed since 2003.
Don't delay! Reply now! (And, oops, if you tried it in the first few minutes and didn't get a "Thanks" page, you ran into a boo-boo I've since fixed, so please try again? Sorry. Sorry.)
(Dang it, I had another half-hour blip between 12:45 and 1:15 where submittals weren't working. I've got to hire a better staff.)
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The folks at EYA have passed along that the fourth and final lottery for workforce-housing units at Capitol Quarter was completed on October 1, with 66 people entering for the 12 houses that were made available. (EYA also drew 24 names for a backup list in case any of the chosen 12 withdraw.)
I don't have any of the documents for this round of the lottery (didn't get any notification of it in advance this time around), but here's the information provided for the last lottery, back in March. At that time, household income needed to be under $119,025 in order to qualify, and there were scads of qualifications and requirements that potential lottery entrants needed to be certified as having passed in order to participate.
As for the rest of Capitol Quarter, it is nearing the finish line, with seven or eight market-rate homes left to sell on the second-to-last block (bounded by 3rd, 4th, K, and L), along with the 12 market-rate homes that will be available on the final block on the south side of L between 3rd and 4th (right behind the 300 M Street office building).
This portion of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment should be completed by next summer, with the two phases of the Capitol Quarter townhouse development bringing approximately 120 market-rate houses, 82 workforce-rate units, 25 Section 8 ownership units, and 86 subsidized rental units. This is in addition to the 162 subsidized senior housing units at 900 5th Street and 138 subsidized units at 400 M Street. This leaves five mixed-income apartment buildings and the 250 M and 600 M office buildings still to be built to complete the Hope VI plans that will replace the 707 units of public housing one-to-one, along with constructing an additional 1,000-plus market-rate and workforce-rate units. No timelines have been announced for the next phases.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

I'm back from a week by the beach in Central Florida--yes, of course we went to Disney, and the Kennedy Space Center, along with logging more than 100 miles of biking along A1A. Here are some small items while I regain my blogging legs:
* The October instance of the Truckeroo food truck festival, appropriately dubbed "Truckerboo," is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28, from 11 am to midnight at Half and M Streets, SE. In addition to the usual lineup of trucks and the drinks flowing at the Das Bullpen bar, there will be "truck trick-or-treating" for kids from 3 to 5 pm, along with costume contests (kids, individuals, and groups). They're requesting a "one buckaroo" donation this time around, with all proceeds benefitting the King Greenleaf Recreation Center in Southwest. More info here.
* The bridge between Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park is close to finished, as you can see in this not-totally-fabulous cellphone pic. When it opens, visitors will be able to walk along the west bank of the Anacostia from 1st Street SE (at Nationals Park) all the way to 11th Street SE (as long as the Navy Yard's stretch of boardwalk is open).
* Awnings for Lot 38 Espresso have now gone up at the old Little Red Building site across from Canal Park (reader photo here), along with a "Coming Soon" sign. The owner, Yung Park, told me this afternoon that he's shooting for a Dec. 1 opening date.
* The Nationals have announced that they will be playing a home exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, April 3, 2012. The team's regular season gets underway on April 5 at Wrigley Field, with the home opener scheduled for April 12, against the Cincinnati Reds. No game times have been announced yet.
 

On Friday morning I was lucky enough to get a wonderfully wide-ranging tour of the 11th Street Bridges project, and of course made sure to have camera in hand to get a pile of photos of the current state of construction. I've put together a gallery of these photos, and will slowly work on adding them to my 11th Street Bridges project page over the next week or so. Some points of note:
* DDOT expects that the new bridges carrying inbound and outbound freeway traffic will open by the end of this year. There will still be plenty of work to do in terms of ramps and connections and other necessary work surrounding those bridges, but at least these new structures will be open fairly soon. (If you haven't been following closely, one of the big "adds" of this entire project is that when completed vehicles will be able to move between the freeway bridges and northbound/southbound DC295 in all directions, which isn't currently the case.)
* The new 11th Street Local bridge, carrying traffic between Anacostia and 11th Street SE by the Navy Yard, is expected to open by fall of next year. However, according to Greater Greater Washington and other outlets, this bridge apparently will not be having streetcar tracks built into it during this initial construction phase as originally designed, because of all manner of bureaucratic falderal I'm too lazy to bother trying to explain here. If this happens, portions of the deck of the bridge would have to be pulled up and redone with the streetcar tracks a few years from now. (On the other hand, the concrete hasn't been poured on this bridge yet, so maybe there's still a chance some folks could figure out a way to get it to happen now?)
* These graphics show the plans for the paths and landscaping under the bridges along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail (just east of the entrance to the Navy Yard's portion of the riverwalk). They appear to include an interesting little jut-out into the river, on what I imagine is the footprint of the existing downstream bridge.
* If you drive 11th Street north of M and see the big concrete piers popping up to the east, they are for the new flyover ramp that will connect inbound freeway bridge traffic to the Southeast Freeway. Work is also underway on a new ramp that will bring traffic from RFK and Pennsylvania Avenue up to a signalized interchange at 11th Street rather than continuing underneath 11th to the Southeast Freeway. There will then be a ramp from 11th to the westbound freeway, which means that folks who live on the eastern side of Capitol Hill or who work at the Navy Yard will be able to get on the freeway at 11th rather than zooming down Virginia Avenue all the way to 3rd Street.
It's a pretty big project, and I'm giving short shrift to much of the change that will be coming to the connections to the bridges on the east side of the Anacostia, but the new photo gallery should still be interesting, and my 11th Street Bridges Project page can probably help with additional details if you're in need.
The photo gallery also has this stitched-together panorama taken up on the new flyover bridge, but you'll probably want to look at a larger version, since it gives a pretty good look at a large swath of skyline alongside the Anacostia River:
If you missed my batch of photos from last week of the new Southbound 295 flyover bridge that opened over the weekend, here they are.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges
 

* On Saturday, Oct. 15, a group of neighbors together with Casey Trees is having a tree-planting event in the "triangle park" bounded by Virginia Avenue and 4th, 5th, and I streets, SE. No prior experience is required, and coffee and treats will be provided along with a post-planting lunch for volunteers. More information and how to volunteer here.
* WMATA staff has recommended that "Ballpark" be added to the Navy Yard Metro station name as one of its new "secondary" (subtitle) names, rather than the requested "Navy Yard-Ballpark." However, since there is not yet any organization that has committed to paying for the name change (which a DDOT rep said at a recent ANC meeting would be in the $100,000 range for a two-exit station), WMATA's board will not be voting on this name change at its meetings on Thursday. They will vote on whether to change the Waterfront-SEU station to just "Waterfront," having veteoed the city's request for "Waterfront-Arena Stage" as being over the 19-character length limit and also having a "commercial naming rights issue." (via GGW)
* The ANC 6D October agenda has been sent out (but isn't yet on the web site). In addition to the very important business of giving thumbs up or down to five different races/walks that want to use neighborhood streets, the commission will be getting updates on the 225 Virginia/200 I project and the big DC Water Clean Rivers Project that will be ripping up M Street SE for a number of years. (Won't that be fun if M Street is a construction zone at the same time as Virginia Avenue?)
* DCist spent some time pondering what Nationals Park could be used for during the baseball off-season. (On the other hand, at least baseball stadiums get used 81 times a year. How about FedEx Field, which gets used only eight times for Redskins games and maybe a concert here or there?)
 

Late tonight, DDOT will be opening the new southbound DC 295 flyover bridge, which is the first major phase of completed work on the 11th Street Bridges project. This will shift the flow of southbound traffic so that vehicles merging into 295 from the outbound 11th Street Bridge will be funneled into the left side of the freeway traffic, allowing thru 295 traffic to much more easily access the Howard Road exit without having to weave through the 11th Street Bridge merge flow.
Since this is on the east side of the Anacostia, it's not something I'd normally be writing much about, except that I got to visit the flyover bridge with camera in hand, hours before its opening, as part of a wide-ranging tour of the entire 11th Street Bridges project that DDOT was generous enough to arrange for me. In order to stay ahead of the news cycle, I've posted a quick gallery of images of the new flyover bridge,
But of course these are not the only photos I took, and so early next week look for another batch of images that I'll be posting of the work on the bridges themselves and the new approaches that are being put in place. Work began on the project in late 2009, and DDOT expects that the new inbound and outbound freeway bridges will be open by the end of this year. The new 11th Street Local bridge should open in the second half of next year, with the various new connector ramps being completed soon after. (There is one shot of the new bridges included in this batch that should whet your appetite.)
I'll hold off on the other big news of the project until then as well.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges
 

The DC approved building permits feed, now back online (thank you!), brings the news today that the raze permit filed in February for the concrete plant on the Florida Rock site across from Nationals Park has now been approved. With the move of the operations around the corner down South Capitol Street to Buzzard Point finished, demolition should be able to get underway fairly soon. (Though whether it actually WILL....)
As we found out a few months ago, site owner Florida Rock Properties has entered into a joint venture with MidAtlantic Realty Partners to move forward on the first phase of the 1.1-million-square-foot "RiverFront on the Anacostia" redevelopment of the site, which they are hoping will be a 200-unit apartment building on the eastern edge of the site (across from the Nationals Park grand staircase at First and Potomac, next to Diamond Teague Park) instead of the office building originally planned. The Zoning Commission will need to approve this change, and that process should be beginning soon. Apparently there will be a presentation on the new plans at the Oct. 17 ANC 6D meeting (though the agenda isn't out yet). Their hope is to begin construction in the spring of 2013.
 

Greater Greater Washington reports that DDOT has formally asked WMATA for four Metro station name changes, with "Navy Yard-Ballpark" being on the list. This seems to put to an end the attempt by the Nationals to add their Curly W to the station name, an idea which was supported by ANC 6D last month. (The BID's desire to have the station renamed "Capitol Riverfront-[Curly W]" also now would appear to have gone by the wayside.)
Also on the list is changing Waterfront-SEU to Waterfront-Arena Stage.
This is the last step in the city's process for requesting station name changes. Now it's up to WMATA to make the final decisions.
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Just sent out by DDOT: "Today the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced the start of land acquisition and preliminary design work for the South Capitol Street Project, which includes replacement of the current Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. [...] While the Record of Decision (ROD) is still pending, the Federal Highway Administration signed the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) following the requisite 30-day public comment period that ended in May."
I'm posting quickly, so I shall now crib unabashedly from my post on the Final EIS, from back in April:
If you are interested in this subject, there is more verbiage and documentation accompanying the plans than you could ever dream of. (Traffic studies! Environmental consequences! Technical reports!) And I've written a lot about the process, which began more than a decade ago with other studies before the EIS got underway. And I'm sure there will be posts on other blogs delving more specifically into portions of the plans. But, since most people probably want to know "what does this mean for me?", you can see this graphic (from the 224-MB chapter 2 of the FEIS) giving a quick overview of what changes are planned along South Capitol Street if the final EIS is signed off on (and, more importantly, if funding is secured). The short version, for the west side of the Anacostia:
* Add "pedestrian amenities" and enhance the streetcape along South Capitol north of I and along New Jersey Avenue SE north of the freeway.
* Replace the existing ramp to the freeway from South Capitol and I with an at-grade intersection. (This would be a left turn onto a ramp to the freeway from under the freeway, near the current Nats HH economy parking lot.)
* Bring New Jersey Avenue SE back to a 160-foot full right-of-way, and add streetscape enhancements.
* "Reconstruct South Capitol Street as an urban boulevard." This means bringing M Street up to an "at-grade" intersection (no more tunnel), and would include new signalized at-grade intersections to allow traffic to cross South Capitol on K and L streets. (M Street would also get reconstructed between the Halfs [SE and SW].) The section of South Capitol north of M would have the same streetscape that the south portion received during its 2007/08 makeover, with wide sidewalks and a tree-lined median.
* Build a traffic oval at South Capitol, Potomac, Q, as the gateway to a new arched bascule-design Douglass Bridge that would have wide "multi-use trails" (i.e., sidewalks!) in both directions. The existing bridge would be demolished, after the new bridge is built somewhat downriver of the current location.
The Executive Summary (220 MB PDF) gives a good overview of the FEIS and preferred alternative (as it should!), but I also suggest wandering through the Chapter 2: Alternatives section, especially if you came to the neighborhood or JDLand after 2008 and didn't get to follow along during the EIS process, or if you're interested in the additional plans for east of the river, which I'm going to leave to others to discuss. My previous posts on all of this may be of interest as well. If you're wanting to see some of the earlier studies referenced in the FEIS, there are links to them at the top of my South Capitol Street project page.
How much would this all cost? The preferred alternative is priced in this final EIS at $806 million in FY 2014 dollars. (New bridges are expensive, you know.) Note that nothing in today's statement from DDOT says anything about funding, or a construction timeline.
You can also check my South Capitol Street and South Capitol Street Bridge page for all the info about the plans, along with my scores of posts over the past few years.
 
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