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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: April 2010
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Homewood Suites Hotel
1111 New Jersey
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1244 South Capitol
Florida Rock
Ballpark Square
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Southeast Blvd.
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Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
New Barracks
Akridge/Half St.
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250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
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225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
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1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
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909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
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70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
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Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
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From DDOT, some closures and road work this weekend that might be of interest:
* "DDOT is scheduled to close the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (aka South Capitol Street Bridge) for routine testing, from 4 am to approximately 9 am, on Sunday, May 2, 2010. During normal opening and closing operations, the swing span is lowered and then turned or "swung" around in order to allow water traffic to pass. Crews test the swing span each month to ensure it operates properly and make any necessary repairs. The bridge will be reopened to traffic as soon as the test opening and related repairs are completed. In most cases the work is completed ahead of schedule."
* "On Sunday, May 2, from 6 am to 4 pm, contractors for DDOT may stop traffic for five minutes at a time on the 11th Street Bridge, related ramps and portions of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, to install traffic counting devices in various locations for the 11th Street Bridge Project. The work involves temporarily installing tubing across the traffic lanes and count machines off the adjacent shoulder. Traffic may be briefly stopped with the aid of District Traffic Safety Officers as needed to protect contractors at each location." See the press release for the list of work zones tied to this.
There's also information on road work for the Case Bridge and the closure of Chain Bridge, but those are outside my jurisdiction!
 

From DCist: "A pedestrian was fatally struck this morning near the intersection of First and M streets SE, not far from the entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. D.C. police said the victim was an adult female, but have not released her identity. She was declared dead on the scene by emergency responders. The collision took place at about 10:30 a.m. this morning."
UPDATE: This WUSA story reports that the pedestrian was not a crosswalk when she was hit. Still waiting for MPD to put out a release about it. NBC4 aired a report as well.
UPDATE II: This statement from Tommy Wells's office: "The collision highlights the problems with M Street and is exactly why Tommy wants to push the complete street model -- slowing cars, reducing traffic and creating safer pedestrian and bicycle pathways. DDOT likely won't be able to move quickly with the ANC not in support and the pushback experienced at the recent meeting." (Here's my report on the Complete Streets meeting being referenced.)
UPDATE III: Here is a piece in the Washington Post on the victim, 42-year-old Amy Polk of Takoma Park, Md., who in addition to being a contractor at USDOT and a mother to two small boys had spent the past two years trying to open a birth center. And here is the official statement from MPD.
 

It's almost May, when a business improvement district's thoughts turn to.... programmed events! And the Capitol Riverfront BID is not disappointing. Here's what's coming over the next couple of weeks:
* The weekly farmer's market, now dubbed the Capitol Riverfront Market, is returning for another run, starting May 6 and running through Nov. 18. This year it'll be set up on the plaza on top of the Navy Yard Metro station at New Jersey and M, each Thursday from 3 pm to 7 pm, and will feature fresh produce, "specialty products," and locally prepared foods. Here's the flyer.
* Fitness in the Front is coming this Saturday, May 1, at Second and M from 9 am to noon. Classes are free, with no sign-up ahead of time, and feature boot camp, kickboxing, yoga, pilates, "Hoopnotica," and Zumba dance. There will also be information tables for Results the Gym and other groups. More details here. Along the same outdoor activity vein, the DC Pickup Frisbee League will be playing at Canal Park Tuesdays at 6 pm, and the resident-organized Front Run Club will be starting up again on May 6, meeting at 6 pm also at Canal Park.
* In a slightly more serious vein, the BID is organizing, along with the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership, an Anacostia River Business Summit on May 18, "to launch a historic effort to restore the river and its watershed." Here's the flyer with more information; registration is $30. You can also visit the restoration partnership web site for more background, including the newly released Anacostia River Watershed Restoration Plan.
Here's the link to the BID newsletter from whence this information came.
 

Tonight ANC 6D held a community meeting to get a status report on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan. The session was facilitated by councilmember Wells, and also included representatives of DDOT and the Nationals. (DPW was not present, much to the consternation of many attendees, since they are the ones responsible for ticket-writing and towing.)
The session started off with an update on the (few) changes to parking and traffic flow in the new season. Some are already well known, such as the two new Nats economy lots replacing the RFK shuttle service; otherwise, there have been some slight modifications to signal timing at South Capitol and Potomac and to pedestrian flow on M at First and South Capitol. Plus, DDOT says they have corrected the lack of signs/meters in the Half/Van/L area.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nats said that there are about 125 more cars parking in each of the two economy lots this season, and that the Nats are happy that neither lot is particularly accessible through any residential neighborhoods. He also mentioned that only 30 percent of fans drive to the games, with the rest taking transit or arriving other ways, such as by foot/bike/water taxi/parachute/personal jetpack/teleportation. (I'm paraphrasing.)
McCarthy did acknowledge that, while traffic flow generally works well when game attendance is under 25,000, there is "significant congestion" when there's more tickets sold, and specifically mentioned First and M as a chokepoint where cars need to be moved faster through their right turn to the various parking lots. He also said that the team needs to do a better job getting the taxi stand working, to get taxis to actually line up there for customers and to get them to use it as a drop-off point. (What? You didn't know there's a taxi stand? Why, yes, there is, on Half Street next to 20 M.)
The rest of the meeting was taken up with questions and complaints from the audience, all of which related to issues in the residential neighborhoods of Southwest. (There wasn't a single resident of Southeast in attendance, unless you count ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel. And Tommy. And me.) There were complaints about stadium workers parking just to the west of South Capitol Street and using Ward 6 visitor parking permits to do so, and about what the residents see as a distinct lack of ticketing and towing, which is why people were very unhappy that DPW was not at the meeting, despite having been invited. Tommy promised to help get some action, saying that enforcement should be very heavy at the beginning of the season, to send a message. (He also noted that, yes, this meeting should have been held *before* Opening Day.)
If you have any issues with gameday parking that you think need to be addressed, you can contact Tommy's office through his web site--if you can assemble any sort of illustrative materials that might be helpful (photos, tag numbers of offending vehicles, etc.), Tommy said that would be appreciated.
UPDATE: For more specifics on the SW concerns, see SWill's blog.
 

This morning Mayor Fenty officially opened Diamond Teague Park, cutting the ribbon alongside the parents of the park's namesake, the Earth Conservation Corps volunteer who was murdered in October 2003. The piers at the park, located just across the street from the baseball stadium, have been operating sporadically since last September, and now host both a water taxi service to and from Alexandria for baseball games and a river cruise company that began service earlier this month. Another outfit is hoping to launch a separate water taxi service this summer.
The park includes two piers, a 250-foot commercial pier and a 200-foot pier for non-motorized vessels, like kayaks and canoes, as well as sustainable elements like floating wetlands and shoreline plantings. A portion of the $8 million cost of the park ($800,000) was paid by Florida Rock next door as part of its zoning agreements for its new development, and funding has also come from the USDOT HQ Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) fund. (Someday the area next to Teague on the Florida Rock site will be a large public plaza that will in effect expand the size of the park considerably. And eventually there is supposed to be a floating bridge connecting Teague's boardwalk with the Park at the Yards, though there's no timeline on that.)
Alas, I was unable to be at the event today, so no photos. But here's the press release from the mayor's office. And you can check out my Teague page to see before-and-after photos, like the ones above.
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More posts: Teague Park, zoning
 

First, two event notices/reminders for Tuesday (April 27):
*At 10:45 am, Mayor Fenty and others will be participating in a ribbon-cutting at Diamond Teague Park and Piers. I won't be able to be there, so go see for yourself if you're interested!
* At 6:30 pm is the ANC 6D meeting on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, at Westminster Church at Fourth and I streets, SW.
Now, on another subject.
I admit it--I've become very lazy when it comes to blogging about stories/links/events that might be of interest but that don't really have any *news,* especially as the volume of them has increased along with the interest in Near Southeast. Twitter is the perfect outlet for those sorts of items--it's easy to post them immediately (since I'm all about the speed), and I'm only responsible for 100 or so characters, then the URL, then I'm done. (Or, even better, I get to just retweet stuff from other Twitterers.) Plus it allows me to save my time and energy for more fascinating {ahem} material, like the Marine Barracks site search or the latest CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel stuff.
But, if you're only reading my posts by RSS feed or e-mail subscription, then you're missing out. How to get this additional material? If you don't have a Twitter account, you can come to the JDLand home page and check out the Twitter box at upper right every so often. Or you can visit my Twitter page on your rounds, or you can "like" JDLand on Facebook and have the Tweets show up in your news feed. Or you can subscribe to my Tweet RSS feed if immediacy isn't of paramount importance.
I've actually posted similar mea culpas to this one before (the last one not even a month ago--oops!), but let's consider this time the official notification of the change in my approach. Of course the blog will always have big news, new photos, and whatnot. But as I try to find ways to keep going after more than seven years, I'm going to stop feeling quite so guilty about using only Twitter for these FYI links, even if it makes the blog itself less of the all-encompassing repository it's been up to now.
Thank you, drive through.
 

This week the Marines held a third community workshop as part of their quest to find a new location for their Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ), to replace the aged and un-secure "Building 20" at Eighth and I, SE. This session centered on visions/possible layouts of the five locations that the Marines are zeroing in on, all of which are in Near Southeast, now that Tyler Elementary has been knocked off the list. The people running this planning process deserve a lot of props for being very good about posting their meeting materials online, mostly because it obviates the need for me to go on and on trying to describe them. (Yay!)
While the presentation slides are good for an overview of the process, the real meat to chew on is the new "Regions Forums." (Though, a hint to the folks running the web site: I'd turn off the "Interactive Map" scroll that is the link to these Options slides, and maybe rename the link, because it's easy to miss and contains such important information.) This is a series of very detailed drawings of possible layouts (and pros and cons) for the locations they're studying, which include four that have been previously discussed (the current Barracks site on Virginia Avenue between Fifth and Seventh, DCHA's Square 882 just to the south on L between Fifth and Seventh, the Exxon/Virginia Avenue Park site at 11th and M, and inside the walls of the Navy Yard), and a new location (Squares 929/930), which are the blocks between Eighth and Ninth and Virginia Avenue and M Street.
The 929/930 site seemed to get some interest from the sparse number of community members who attended the Wednesday night session I was at (I don't know about the response at Thursday's session), even though it would close L between Eighth and Ninth and would take a big bite of the Virginia Avenue Park (requiring the move of the community garden closer to the freeway). A representative of Madison Marquette--owners of the "Blue Castle" right across the street--said that they are very much in favor of this option, saying that it would help to "animate" lower Eighth Street. There was also some talk that perhaps the Navy Yard, in its quest for more space of its own, might then look at the Exxon site at 11th and M as an attractive location to expand to, giving that big stretch from Eighth to 11th south of the freeway a very military feel. There is of course a stretch of private homes along Potomac between Ninth and 10th where the homeowners might not be quite so interested in having military installations on three sides, and the Spay/Neuter Clinic at 10th and L might also end up needing to relocate. It would appear that the businesses along the east side of Eighth would get to stay (Port Cafe, Quizno's, Chicken Tortilla), but Dogma at Ninth and Virginia might lose out under this proposal.
As for Square 882, the Marines said that DCHA has said the location can remain on the "options" list even though the agency is actively working to secure funding for the apartment building they're planning for the site. It must be said that there does seem to continue to be a bit of a disconnect between how the Marines are characterizing the availability of this lot compared to what DCHA is indicating; also, Ward 6 planner Melissa Bird spoke up to say that the city continues to be very much opposed to Square 882 as a location for the Barracks.
But, blah blah blah, these few points are just a bit of atmosphere. Anyone who's interested in what the neighborhood may look like in a few years should be looking at all of the location options, as well as the "Potential Shared Community Projects" that the Marines see as what they can give back to the community in return for the land they will occupy. Readers should also make use of the "Comments" options that are available on each option page of the CIMP web site, as the Marines continue to stress that they truly have no plan at this point, and need the input of the community to help guide their final decisions. The next workshop, on "Consensus Elements," is scheduled for Saturday, May 22.
 

From today's Washington Business Journal, for subscribers only right now, "Capitol Riverfront builders turn to HUD in hard times," which talks about Forest City's previously reported dealings with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to back bonds for the affordable housing component of the stalled Foundry Lofts project. Forest City's Ramsey Meiser is quoted as saying, "We are at a stage now where we are going back and forth. We have submitted paperwork. They have replied with questions. Hopefully, we will be back on track no later than this summer." (This is a little different than some recent breathless reporting that said that the project "could" restart this month.) It would then take about a year to finish the 170-unit apartment building that will also have ground-floor retail space.
WBJ also says that Monument Realty is "mulling" Section 220 FHA mortgage insurance to help get the residential part of their Half Street project restarted. But the 220 option, which has been used elsewhere in DC (Yale Steam Laundry and Rhode Island Station), doesn't sound real close--"Monument Realty has not yet applied for the Section 220 program but says it has been investigating the possibility since last summer. Russell Hines, the company's president, said the program's per-unit cost limit is a challenge," although there is federal legislation pending that would increase the per-unit statute.
(And, one correction for WBJ--this sentence could use a little love: "The Forest City and Monument Realty housing projects are just a portion of a four-building development planned at Half Street." The Foundry Lofts building, part of the Yards, is four blocks away from Half Street. UPDATE: It's been corrected.)
 

From ANC 6D, an invitation to a Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) meeting, on Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 pm, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St., SW. Expected participants include Tommy Wells, DDOT, DPW, MPD, and the Nationals. This is the neighborhood's opportunity to discuss any parking or traffic issues; if you want to come armed with information on the original TOPP created for the opening of the ballpark in 2008, here 'tis, along with my page on Stadium Parking and Transportation.
 

A few items for your calendar over the next three days:
* (Via Streetcars 4 DC) "Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 20 at 6:30 pm, at a meeting hosted by Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 5B, 6A and 6C, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Gabe Klein and Streetcar Project Manager Scott Kubly will appear at a community meeting to update D.C. residents on DDOT's progress toward bringing streetcars to the District. [...] The meeting will be at Wheatley Elementary School, which is located at 1299 Neal Street NE."
* The "Community Integrated Master Plan" project--better known as the process the Marines are undergoing to find a location for a new barracks--is holding two sessions of its third public workshop, on Wednesday (April 21) from 6 to 8 pm at Van Ness Elementary and from 8:30 to 10:30 am on Thursday (April 22) in the North Hall of Eastern Market. And each session will also now have an open house beginning a half-hour earlier to allow participants to look at materials and ask questions. The agenda for both meetings is now posted, and this session will be focusing on "Alternatives." For background on what's happened with this project up to now, read my prior posts (don't feel like summarizing it all right now!).
* It should be considered a very unofficial and low-key happening, but I am planning to be at Justin's on Thursday starting at around 5:30 pm, and would love to have any and all interested parties come hang out for Happy Hour, not only so I can meet the readers who make JDLand what it is but so that you guys can meet each other. (No fistfights over CSX plans, barracks possibilities, or dog parks, please!) The Nats will be playing the Rockies starting at 4:35 pm (oops), so hopefully we'll be socializing until the game's over for those folks who want to swing by after the game. I hope you'll be there!
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From DCist: "Live Nation just announced that the June 15 concert at Nationals Stadium featuring the Eagles, with guests Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban, has been canceled due to scheduling conflicts. If you purchased through Tickets.com, your ticket and parking will be automatically refunded the week of May 3; otherwise, contact your point of sale for a refund." [Hmm. Scheduling conflicts?]
 

The word yesterday from the BID is that Justin's Cafe is opening today, and, if so, that means the neighborhood gets its first new restaurant in a long LONG time and what might be considered its first "real" bar. (For a new restaurant, you have to go back to the opening of Five Guys in 2005, if you're not counting the 2007 opening of Starbucks or the arrival of the restaurant and bar at the Courtyard by Marriott in 2007 or the Bullpen.) If you get there for some food or drinks, post your thoughts in the comments.
I'm thinking of maybe next Thursday, April 22, as an unofficial little JDLand Happy Hour? (In other words, I'll go have a drink or two, and see if anyone else comes along. :-) )
Also opening today is the new and improved Safeway at Fourth and M, SW. If you shop there, pass along what you see.
 

On Saturday, the BID took a couple hundred of the neighborhood's residents (and one interloping blogger--thanks for inviting me!) on a "cherry blossom boat cruise" along the Southeast and Southwest waterfronts. (They ran three chartered trips, and still had a waiting list.) As might be expected, I brought along my camera, and took a few photos. Of course, none of the many people who were actually on the boat rides probably need to see these, but maybe there's one or two others who might still be interested. And maybe someday I can find a trip *up* the Anacostia, instead of just down!
And now I think I'll take a bit of a respite for the next few days. It's been a busy month....
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More posts: Teague Park
 

A reader who might have seen this got in touch today about a document on the Donohoe web site saying that their planned 200,000-sq-ft office building at 1111 New Jersey was about to start construction. Being well aware of the current state of the commercial real estate market, and also knowing that not a single building permit for the project has even been filed, I took the unheard of step of actually contacting Donohoe, who replied that the document was in error, and while they are hoping to see "positive signs" over the next year to eighteen months, they're not forseeing a start on the building until after 2011.
 

Apr 12, 2010 5:53 PM
I was invited to a little briefing today by CSX for a few bloggers, so the company could give a bit of a status update on the expansion plans for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. They explained the background of the project (which is already available on their National Gateway web site), and emphasized the more than two dozen community meetings they've attended; they'll be going to both ANC 6D tonight and ANC 6B on Tuesday to report on the results of a draft traffic study they commissioned to show the impacts of closing Virginia Avenue between Second and 11th streets, SE, for two to three years, and also some renderings of some improvements they are offering to undertake to the various freeway underpasses and along Virginia Avenue to help beautify the stretch once the work is completed.
I arrived armed with a lot of questions from readers (thanks everyone!), but alas most of them had to do with specifics of the construction process, which CSX says it will not be able to address until they begin the design/build phase of the project.
They did pass along a few basics--they will be building a second/parallel track, in an open trench, to allow for train movement while they work to widen and deepen the existing track to allow for two tracks and double-height rail cars. (The tunnel originally had two tracks, but as equipment grew wider the second track was taken out of commission. So they will be adding about four feet of tunnel space on each side to bring back double tracking.) The temporary parallel track trench will be filled back in once construction is finished.
They will build temporary bridges across the open Virginia Avenue trench at the cross streets, which will necessitate each street being closed for three to five days. Construction would mostly run from 7 am to 7 pm, but trains would go through the open trench at all hours, though mostly at night. They "will work to mitigate" noise issues and construction dust and debris, and used the existing houses at Garfield Park as an example of how people already live very close to open rail trenches without an undue amount of difficulty. (The Garfield Park houses are a bit farther away from the train tracks than the new EYA houses on Virginia Avenue, of course.)
They did say that it's *possible* that some of the trench in the 300 block of Virginia Avenue could be decked over in order to preserve "access" to the new EYA houses in that block, and that they are working closely with EYA to make sure those concerns are addressed.
As for traffic impacts (which weren't discussed too much in today's group), ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger in a blog post on Friday gave a few specifics in regards to the Sixth Street freeway exit ramp: "The 6th street exit ramp will remain open, but traffic must turn left on 6th street[.] Traffic trying to get to, say, M Street, SE, will have execute a several blocks U-turn, using 6th, I, and then 4th streets. There will be inevitably be problems, not least trying to anticipate the flow of 'local' traffic from the re-designed 11th street bridges. i.e. commuters may still be tempted to use. There is considerable skepticism by some (including me) of DDOT's estimate of how much commuter traffic that is supposed to use the SE/SW Freeway to get to downtown will actually stay off local streets."
There is still no timeline for when construction would start--they are continuing to "look at many possible sources" of funding, from a hoped-for federal transportation reauthorization bill that isn't as yet showing much movement to a new USDOT Tiger II grant program to other possibilities. They also need to go through an environmental impact study, which they didn't have a timeline for but which won't start before June and could take six months to a year. As has been said, they are very much wanting to get this tunnel done by 2015, and they consider this tunnel a supreme bottleneck in their entire east coast operations.
They also say that "the community" has told them that they want this project done sooner rather than later, preferring a lot of hassle for a shorter period of time compared to a medium amount of hassle for a longer period of time. And CSX also feels there's interest in seeing this project get finished before any additional development starts cropping up along the Virginia Avenue corridor.
Hopefully some of the renderings and other documents they showed today will be posted online somewhere soon. But CSX considers this to be a project still in its very early stages, and clearly believes that the amount of neighborhood outreach they are doing to be a strong indication of how they want to work with the community to lessen the impacts of the coming construction, much in the same way that the Marines are pointing to their Community Intregated Master Plan project for the new barracks site and its many neighborhood meetings as a "new way of doing things."
UPDATE: This post at GGW gives an overview (which I've long since stopped bothering with ;-) ) on why CSX is undertaking the project.
UPDATE II: For the point of view from a resident with a group that is definitely not in favor of CSX's plans, read these notes from the meeting.
UPDATE III: Here is the rendering they passed out showing possible improvements CSX could undertake to Virginia Avenue and underpasses after the construction is completed.
 

Apr 11, 2010 6:14 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now available, with a few items of Near Southeast interest. There will be an update on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, a presentation by the owner of American River Taxi (the company working toward water taxi service between Georgetown, the SW Waterfront, Diamond Teague Park, and other spots), and a liquor license application for the Patriot II, which is the boat run by the new DC Harbor Cruises outfit that just began running river tours from Teague. There's also the usual gamut of road races and other items, along with I'm sure the latest on the opening this week of the new SW Safeway.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church, Sixth and M streets, SW. (This *might* be the last time the ANC meets at this location, with its new space at the Waterfront building at Fourth and M being close to its debut.)
If you're interested in the CSX stuff and can't make the Monday meeting, remember that there's also an update being given the next night at ANC 6B's meeting.
 

Apr 11, 2010 10:25 AM
It's not online that I can see, but here are some items from the most recent "FRONT Page News" e-mail newsletter from the BID:
* "Capitol Riverfront neighborhood day at Nationals Park will be Wednesday, April 21st with ticket discounts available to residents, employees, and friends of the BID." The on-street supervisor of the BID's Clean and Safe Team will be singing the National Anthem. [I think, though, that Southwest is going to be part of this "neighborhood day" as well, even though it's not in the BID. This was mentioned at an ANC 6D meeting a few weeks ago.]
* There will be a "Fitness in the Front" event at Canal Park on May 1, with free classes offered by local instructors and information tables (and freebies!). See the link for the lineup and additional info.
* Residential update: "The residential population in the Front is estimated to have reached 3,030 as of the first quarter of 2010. Rental properties including the Onyx, Axiom, Jefferson and 909 are 95% leased. For sale units including Capitol Quarter, Capitol Hill Tower and Velocity are 71% sold. The residential population is predicted to reach 3,500 by the end of 2010."
* And Justin's opens on April 16, but you knew that already. :-)
 

Apr 9, 2010 3:08 PM
I've been invited to a press/blogger briefing being held on Monday by Stephen Flippin, who handles federal affairs for CSX. It's to give an update on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, with a look at some renderings and other materials that CSX will have available.
What questions would you folks like to have asked? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I'll see what I can do about getting responses. (Don't worry, I'll be sure to get the basics, like a timeline.)
Also, Flippin is scheduled to update ANC 6B at their Tuesday night meeting, if you'd prefer not to get your information through the SLANTED JDLAND MEDIA FILTER!
 

Apr 9, 2010 9:59 AM
With the opening of the 2010 season at the ballpark and lots of other interesting news of late, my blogging time and focus has been geared toward these bigger items. But there's a fair amount of little stuff that I point to every day on my Twitter feed (also available on Facebook), mainly news stories that might be of interest but that aren't really important or newsy enough to devote much more than 140 characters to. I may eventually transition to leaving those completely to Twitter, but I still feel guilty enough for now to round them up here on the blog every so often. But if you're wanting all news items at warp speed, best to start reading the Tweets.
* EYA has passed the news to me that all Capitol Quarter Phase I townhouse units are now sold. They are gearing up to begin sales of the Phase II houses, which will start "soon." (Though I wouldn't take your tent down to their sales office just yet.) I imagine they will do the releases of these next houses in groups based on location, as they did with phase I. It's still expected that the entire townhouse development will be built out by the end of 2012.
* Last weekend Bisnow took a walk around the neighborhood with a camera (a novel idea!), and gave their readers an update on some of the projects. The only section that I've not seen reported before is Akridge now saying that construction for their 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use Half Street project is now pegged at "hopefully before next baseball season," likely meaning 2011. But, "once shovels hit the dirt, the one residential and two office buildings will likely go up at once," Bisnow quotes an Akridge rep as saying. It also says that Forest City is "hoping" to get started on the Boilermaker Shops retail renovation at the Yards before the end of this year. (Lots of "hoping" going on!) There's even a picture of the Pillsbury Doughboy that gazes out over the neighborhood from Capitol Hill Tower.
* Voice of the Hill says there's a possibility of a temporary dog park being installed at the Virginia Avenue Park (Ninth and Potomac, SE), at least until CSX starts on its tunnel construction project (more on CSX coming in another post later today). This is coming to the forefront because the principal of Tyler Elementary has now banned dogs from the school's playing field.
* Some neat overhead photos from DDOT showing the progress on the 11th Street Bridges construction. I'm hoping to get some ground-level images myself before too much longer.
* CNN reports on how Nationals Park has become a very hot venue for political fundraising, actively pursued and encouraged by the team. "[F]ederal candidates, major political parties, and political action committees have spent at least $432,000 on fundraising events either at Nationals games or at their facility, according to campaign finance documents filed with the Federal Election Commission."
 

Apr 7, 2010 9:23 PM
From DDOT: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is advising drivers and pedestrians that the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (aka South Capitol Street Bridge) will be closed to traffic for up to 2 hours tomorrow morning, Thursday, April 8, 2010. At the request of the United States Coast Guard, DDOT will open the swing span of the bridge at 10 am, to allow for the safe passage of a vessel. It is anticipated the swing span will be closed again by 12 pm and the bridge will reopen to traffic.
"To avoid delays drivers should use an alternate river crossing, including the 11th Street, Sousa (Pennsylvania Avenue) and Whitney Young Memorial (East Capitol Street) bridges."
 

Apr 6, 2010 8:32 PM
I've just received the news from Justin Ross that he got his liquor license today, and that Justin's Cafe is on target for an April 16 opening. (Yes, I know I was skeptical of that date a while back, but now that I've heard it from the guy who's name is on the sign....)
If you haven't been following along, Justin's will be a restaurant with full bar serving pizzas, sandwiches, and salads, open seven days a week with regular "bar hours," just a few blocks up First Street from Nationals Park. Here's an electronic version of the menu.
We'll have to do a JDLand get-together there in late April.
 

Apr 6, 2010 12:11 PM
During yesterday's opener, I noticed a boat named the Patriot II docked at Diamond Teague Park, alongside the Potomac Riverboat Company's Miss Christin that runs from Alexandria for baseball games. A little research has uncovered that the Patriot II belongs to DC Harbor Cruises, which on April 1 began running sightseeing boat trips and private charters out of Teague. They are operating "Cherry Blossom Harbor Cruises" through April 11, as well as trips before and after Nationals' games and apparently plans for all sorts of specialty cruise options.
For some additional detail, you can see this report from last Friday by Fox5's Holly Morris on the company (and the BID and the Earth Conservation Corps). No prices are listed anywhere on the site yet, but you can call for reservations and apparently tickets can also be purchased at the dock as well as at Union Station and eventually online.
 

Apr 5, 2010 4:05 PM
Best not to speak of what happened on the field, or about the ratio of Phillies fans to Nats fans (at least the shared red-and-white team colors makes it a little less obvious), but despite all of that, it was a warm and sunny start to the Nationals' 2010 season, and I wandered and took some photos of the scene at and around the ballpark as the day got underway.
The big part of the pregame ceremonies, of course, was the throwing out of the first pitch by President Obama. I gave my camera's high-speed-shutter quite a workout to catch the action (though not the ball's trajectory to the plate--ahem), and so here's my Presidential First Pitch photo gallery as well.
And now we'll wait to hear how the arrivals and departures of 41,000 people went. Things didn't look too bad, with the stadium being mostly full at gametime, but there were no doubt problems with full parking lots, lengthy magnetometer lines, and the game letting out just as rush hour starts. Though I'm guessing that the stadium didn't exactly *stay* crowded, given the scoreline, allowing for a more evenly spaced departure crowd, rather than the entire throng being dumped onto Half Street at the end of a 3-2 thriller. But I'll update this entry with links to any media pieces on transportation nightmares.
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Apr 4, 2010 11:14 PM
It'll be an eventful day Monday as the Nats' 2010 season opens, both for folks skipping out on work to head to the ballpark and for neighborhood dwellers and workers who will have 41,000 guests popping in around late morning.
If you're going to the game, check my pages on parking options, taking Metro (including the JDLand Approved Walking Route from Capitol South), and general traffic restrictions. (Dr. Gridlock did a roundup today as well, if for some reason you might trust him more than me for this sort of info.)
If you're a resident/worker, remember that the west entrance of the Navy Yard station becomes one-way inbound after the game. (The New Jersey Avenue entrance remains two-way.)
As you've been warned repeatedly for the past few days, security will be heavy, so give yourself plenty of time to get into the stadium (gates open at 10 am for the 1:05 pm start). But that'll give you a chance to try out the new food options and see all the changes from last year, and there will also be all sorts of entertainment going on to help you pass the time.
The weather forecast looks good--certainly better than 2008, and warmer than last year. If you really want to stroll down memory lane, here's all my ballpark photo galleries, going back to the groundbreaking in May 2006.
I'll be roaming around with camera in hand (and perhaps also a serving of chicken and waffles), so feel free to say hello.
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