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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: February 2010
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13 Blog Posts

* The Douglass Bridge (South Capitol Street) will be closed on Sunday morning for its swing span test, from 4 am to approximately 9 am, weather permitting.
* Tickets went on sale this morning at 10 am for the Dave Matthews concert at Nationals Park on July 23--looks like good seats are still available.
* There's been some press over the past few days about the new DDOT web site, especially the "Transportation Access Portal" that gives detailed information about projects around the city, but I was kind of underwhelmed until I found out that the projects of most interest to Near Southeast are under an "Anacostia Waterfront Initiative" tab rather than in the Ward 6 section. There you can find all sorts of project-management details (cost, schedule) for the 11th Street Bridges, the new Douglass Bridge (coming in 2018!), and even the RFK ramp demolition.
*And, in the gosh-why-would-you-think-I-was-killing-time-on-a-Friday-afternoon department, a shot of what the 1000 block of K THIRD Street SE would look like if it were in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood (see large version):
* Plus, I think I have some cool items on the way next week. Fingers crossed.
* UPDATE: Shoot, I knew there was something else I meant to include: Minutes and materials from the last Lower 8th Street visioning session. A report will be submitted to the Office of Planning.
 

The snowblown February ANC 6D meeting finally went off tonight, and here's the Near Southeast-related bullet points:
* The Bullpen will be back in action this season, in its same spot on the northwest corner of Half and N across from the ballpark. There were two requested changes to the voluntary agreement between the ANC and the owner: that the bar be allowed to operate until 1:30 am (with alcohol sales ending at 1:00), and that liquor in non-frozen form be allowed alongside the already approved beer, wine, and frozen drinks, both of which are already allowed under the liquor license. The discussion was more contentious about process than it was about content (with commissioner David Sobelsohn arguing strongly that the motion should be tabled until the next meeting, which none of the other commissioners were interested in), but in the end the commission voted 6-1 to approve the extended hours, and that mixed drinks could be served during private events. There were some concerns from commissioner Rhonda Hamilton about the noise at the bar on weeknights, but owner Bo Blair said that live music will always be cut off by midnight.
* There is a move afoot by commission Bob Siegel to carve out some of the curb space in front of Capper Seniors #1 at 900 Fifth Street (which it must be noted is also across the street from his house). The street, which is one way in the block in question (between K and Virginia) gets clogged on a regular basis thanks to shuttle buses, vans, trucks, and other vehicles double-parking while at the building, and the residents want a portion of the curb cut out to allow vehicles to pull out of the traffic lane (like the one in front of the Courtyard by Marriott entrance). DDOT initially rejected the request because it was called a "curb cut," which means something different in traffic parlance, but DDOT's Ward 6 planner Jamie Henson was in attendance and pledged to help the ANC work with the engineering side of DDOT to see what could be done without taking away the sidewalk or the ADA ramps to the building.
* There was supposed to be an update from the Nationals, but no reps from the team were there; ANC chair Ron McBee did report that April 23 will be "Neighborhood Night" at the ballpark, with the first pitch and national anthem being performed by nearby residents and other goodies as well. (I imagine discount tickets will be part of the deal, but nothing was said. The game is against the Dodgers.) McBee also said that the ANC has requested a meeting with DDOT about the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan for this season, to check on how it's all going, but no specific concerns were mentioned. (With the Nats Express no longer shuttling fans to and from parking at RFK, there probably will be a noticeable uptick in traffic this year, even if attendance remains steady.)
* The next 6D meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, and it'll be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, so if you've been dying to go to a meeting but haven't felt like venturing across South Capitol, you'll get your chance. It's also worth mentioning that ANC 6B's meeting the next night includes an update by CSX on the Virginia Avenue project on its agenda.
 

Despite the snows of February putting a bit of a crimp in their schedule, the Trapeze School New York's Washington outpost has gotten all of its permits and is holding its first classes on Friday in its new home on Fourth Street south of Tingey in The Yards. They were nice enough to invite me down for a sneek peek, so here's a few shots from inside their tent (which I will always think of as Ice Station Zebra) as they finish up preparations. Once spring finally, um, springs, they'll be running classes outside as well, on the open lot next to the tent.
There's also one bonus photo, which shows a nice bit of movement at the Yards Park--the terra cotta corrigated tin skin on the old Lumber Shed is being removed, for what eventually will be glass walls on a retail pavilion:
 

From Tommy Wells's blog:
"The Nationals and their food service partner Levy Restaurants, are hiring this weekend for various part-time positions for the upcoming baseball season.
"They are looking for concessions managers, concession supervisors, cashiers, stand workers, grill cooks , bartenders and servers for their food operations and restaurants at the stadium. These are ideal jobs for entry level job experience, for seniors and retired persons seeking additional income and others who would enjoy working at the stadium games and events.
"The recruitment fairs are scheduled on:
Saturday, February 27, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sunday, February 28, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Monday, March 1, 3:00pm -7:00pm.
"The Job Fair will take place at Nationals Park. Enter at the Center Field Main Gate Entrance. Please bring a resume with you. Help with resume preparation and tips on completing the required application, and other assistance will be available during a two hour job preparation sessions to be provided by staff of the Southwest Family Enhancement Career Center, located at 203 N St. SW on Wednesday and Thursday February 24th and 25th, starting promptly at 2:00 pm on a first come basis."
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A few items on the agenda this week, should you choose to accept any or all of these missions:
* The Lower 8th Street Visioning Process is having its final public meetings on Tuesday (Feb. 23) at 8:30 am and 7 pm at the People's Church, 535 8th St., SE. In case you haven't been following along, here's a good description by Barracks Row Main Street of what the process has been and hopes to achieve (via The Hill is Home): "The Lower 8th Street SE Visioning Process Advisory Committee has coordinated a vision process with property owners, other community stakeholders, and Barracks Row Main Street along the Lower 8th Street, SE corridor. Sponsored by the Capitol Riverfront BID, this process is an attempt to gain consensus on a vision for the area and to address issues of height, density, mix of uses, parking and access, as well as what should be the character of a redesigned Virginia Avenue Park as an amenity or community benefit for the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood and Capitol Hill. If consensus can be reached on the vision, it could serve as the basis for asking the Office of Planning to develop a small area neighborhood plan that could then be used as justification for any agreed upon zoning or density changes. This final meeting will attempt to synthesize a community consensus on the vision of Lower 8th Street." (A lot of qualified statements in there.)
* Alas, at the same time as the 8th Street evening session is the rescheduled ANC 6B monthly meeting, at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.
* Also via The Hill is Home, news that the first community workshop on the Marines' "Community Integrated Master Plan" as they look for a new location for their barracks and other facility needs is scheduled for Wednesday (Feb. 24) from 6 to 8 pm at the Van Ness Elementary School at 5th and M, SE. This first workshop "will focus on the goals and objectives" of the CIMP, according to the project's web site.
* On Thursday, Feb. 25, ANC 6D is having its snow-postponed monthly meeting, at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M, SW, at 7 pm.
* The Trapeze School posted on its Facebook page this afternoon that they're getting their inspections on Tuesday, and are hoping to have their first classes in their new home at Fourth and Tingey at the Yards on Thursday.
 

As I tweeted last night, a New England blog called hockeyjournal.com posted yesterday that the Capitals are a favorite to host the NHL's 2011 Winter Classic, the game played outdoors on New Year's Day, and that "if approved, the game will be held at Nationals Park," with perhaps the Penguins being the chosen opponent. Nothing confirmed by the NHL yet, but certainly an interesting rumor....
 

On Wednesday the US Department of Transportation announced its TIGER grant awardees, and while the massive National Gateway rail project did receive $98 million, it was for a stretch of rail in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and not for the projects planned in DC, including the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, which would result in a multiyear closure of the street in order to add a second track and lower the track bed to allow for double-height cars.
ANC 6B03 commissioner Norm Metzger received a statement from CSX that says: "The Virginia Avenue tunnel piece is a 2-3 year project that we would like to have finished in time for the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015. Our original intent was to pursue funding through the transportation authorization bill, and this will continue as will seeking other funding opportunities." (I'm trying to find out more about this authorization bill they're talking about, using my best source for what's going on in Congress, but don't have anything just yet, other than the fact that there isn't an actual authorization bill currently written or under debate.)
In other words, as of now there's still no indication of when this project will start, which may or may not be good news for the people who have put down deposits for the row of Capitol Quarter townhomes along Virginia between Third and Fourth, since the lack of impending construction may be offset by the uncertainly of when the hammer might finally drop. For more on the project, read my various past entries, and also the documents that CSX submitted last year to the National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board for some additional details.
 

Some small items I've tweeted (or just forgotten to post) recently:
* Construction delays related to last week's epic snows have put the kabosh on the trapeze school's planned opening today--they may open for business on Friday, Feb. 19, but are still in need of their certificate of occupancy. Check their web site or Facebook group for updates.
* ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger is following CSX's plans for expanding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel pretty closely, and has recently passed along a link to a new "National Gateway Project Updates" web site, including this page on the Virginia Avenue portion. CSX still isn't really giving any details about how the construction will impact the area, but they are certainly touting all the public meetings they've been to! In a similar vein, Norm also posted a link to a new blog, "Capitol Hill Against Railroad Tunnel Expansion," by folks who are unhappy with the plans.
* Look for ANC 6D's monthly meeting to be rescheduled to some day this week--they didn't send out any announcements as their attempts to hold the meeting last week were postponed, so checking their web site for the new date will be necessary. ANC 6B has rescheduled its meeting to Feb. 23.
* WBJ reports that the city used $10 million in surplus receipts from the ballpark tax to "shore up its fiscal 2010 budget," instead of paying off the ballpark debt early, which was what businesses who pay the tax expected to happen in the event of surpluses. And they're not happy.
 

DC Fire & EMS reported on their Twitter feed a few moments ago that the two-story apartment building at 1008 Third Street SE (one of the pre-redevelopment-era private residences in the neighborhood) has suffered a partial-roof collapse with cracks in the walls, and that an "evacuation zone" has been set up. Two folks over at 909 New Jersey and Capitol Hill Tower have passed along these pictures of the EMS response. I took this photo yesterday that shows the building, which is four three doors down from Cornercopia.
Another DCFireEMS tweet just sent gives additional details: "end of row unit appears to be separating - cracks, etc - 4 person evacuated so far - no injuries".
I will update here when I get more information, but follow my Twitter feed (also available on Facebook) for the fastest updates.
(PS: Just also want to pass along, not that it has anything to do with the above news, that tonight's scheduled ANC 6D meeting has been postponed until Wednesday.)
UPDATE: First off, my apologies, I had the wrong building, after getting confused by the phrase "apartment building." The house with the initial roof collapse is a little yellow rowhouse, the third one down from Cornercopia (now properly circled here and also seen a bit better in this 2004 photo). Unfortunately, an update from DC EMS says that the apartment building I had originally keyed on might have problems, too, with six residents there possibly to be evacuated. Third Street is closed between K and M.
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I was one of the 750,000 people wandering around DC with a camera today, and I trudged around a bit through Near Southeast to get photos of what it looked like the day after the Blizzard of 2010*, because it's always fun to go back during the next great snowstorm to compare how deep the drifts were. And because I needed the exercise before the Super Bowl Smorgasbord begins.
I'll eventually put the whole batch in the photo archive, but for now here's a Quick Gallery of my favorite images. I especially like the trapeze school tent, which looks like Ice Station Zebra. Also, you'll see a shot of the icicles along the roofline of 1100 New Jersey Avenue, which is posted more as a public service to remind people to watch out for falling debris. I almost got clocked when a chunk of ice fell off of 100 M, though I must admit it would have been poetic justice if I had met my maker thanks to the redevelopment of Near Southeast.
And, there's even a surprise contained in the gallery: my first photos of the "slinky" pedestrian bridge now under construction in the Park at the Yards. Let's give a big shout-out to the five-foot-high piles of snow in the parking lot just to the north of the bridge, which I climbed to be high enough to take photos over the fence:
See the gallery for these shots, and more. And, for people wondering, I can report that the surface parking lots in the Yards are pretty much clear of snow. Parking lot F at First and M hasn't been touched, and neither have lots T and U on Third Street. And Subway is open, but Five Guys isn't. Half Street hasn't been plowed, and K and L are pretty dicey. First, New Jersey, Third, and Fourth are plowed, but narrow and not down to the concrete. M isn't clear, but is mainly slushy. (Until tonight when it all freezes.)
(* Apologies, but I don't go in for all the silliness of hash tag titles for snowstorms. Call me old school. And cranky. You kids get off my lawn, while you're at it!)
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I don't intend to do much blogging over the next few days as the Blizzard of 2010 ramps up--there's only about 18,000 other places around the web where you can get all the general DC news, and I figure I don't need to repeat all of it here, though here's a Tommy Wells post with things residents might need to know. (I do operate under the assumption that this is not the only blog you folks read.) If there's some Near Southeast-related news, of course, I'll post.
But feel free to chat in the comments about what you're seeing. CVS running out of supplies? Traffic-be-damned sledding down the neighborhood's biggest hill (M from Seventh to Fifth)?
In the meantime, I'm in my own person Snow Tracking Center, living a weather geek's dream weekend.
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Voice of the Hill has just posted an informative article giving a lot more detail on the Marine Corps' plans to replace the aging barracks building "20" on the north side of the freeway at Eighth and I, along with their desire to build additional facilities, including a fire station, child development center, gym, pool, parking, meeting space, post office, basketball and tennis courts, an indoor parade field, and a new Marine Barracks Washington museum. All in all, the Marines are looking for 173,000 square feet of space, some of which would be accessible (they say) to Hill residents.
Possible locations they're looking at for the new barracks appear to be north of the freeway (and outside of my boundaries!), including the Potomac Gardens public housing project at 12th and G, SE, and the Tyler Elementary baseball field at 10th and I, SE, but they are also considering the Marine Corps Institute site within the Washington Navy Yard. Also shown on their maps as a possible site is Square 882 (across from the barracks annex built in 2004), currently Nats Parking lot W on the site of the old Capper Seniors building, but the Voice article says that the DC Housing Authority has taken that block off the table--I've been hearing that DCHA is close to securing financing for the mixed-income apartment building they intend to build on the north side of that block, and would possibly begin construction by the end of this year.
The article also says that the current owners of the Blue Castle, Madison Marquette, have expressed an interest in leasing space in the old trolley barn to the Marines.
The Marines' web site for the development project has been updated with the packet from last week's open house, an FAQ, and other materials. There apparently will be a series of community meetings, which are described by the FAQ thusly: "The current plan is for the first workshop (February) to focus on needs and goals, the second workshop (March) to focus on potential development sites, the third workshop (April) to focus on CIMP alternatives, and the fourth workshop (May) to focus on CIMP consensus elements. Additionally, a charrette focused on the CIMP way forward will be held in fall 2010." (If you're interested in these, you should plan to attend rather than waiting for a JDLand report--I tend to stay away from community meetings that are pure planning sessions, because, well, they drive me insane.)
And note that this is a *different* armed forces expansion plan from the one we heard about last week, where the Navy is looking for additional office space outside of the walls of the Navy Yard. Got to keep your service branches straight these days!
 

From the MPD-1D mailing list: "The Nationals will be conducting firework tests on Wednesday, February 3rd starting at 7pm. DCFD and MPD will be monitoring and there will be some street closures around the stadium during this event that should be temporary."
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