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Thursday Tidbits: Keeping 'Em Short Edition
May 31, 2012 1:48 PM
Not quite up for anything other than short takes today:
* Yard Sale: Some Capitol Quarter neighbors are having a community yard sale on Saturday, June 2, on I Street between 4th and 5th, from 8 am to noon.
* Family Day
: Another Family Day
at the Fairgrounds on Sunday, June 3, from 11 am to 4 pm.
* Wednesday Music
: I never received any official announcements on this, but apparently the Wednesday Lunchtime Concert Series
started at the Fairgrounds on May 23, each week from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm through Sept. 5.
* Armed Robbery Attempt: From MPD: On Saturday, May 26, at approximately 4:10 am, "while in the 300 Block of K Street, SE, a complainant was approached by a suspect. The suspect brandished a handgun and demanded the complainant’s property. No property was obtained. The suspect is described as a black male, 20-25 years of age, wearing a light blue shirt and blue jeans. The suspect was last seen on fleeing on 3rd Place SE." If you have information, call 202-727-9099, or you can text 50411.
Details on New Mixed-Use Project Just North of Nationals Park
May 29, 2012 6:36 PM
Back in March I wrote that something was afoot
on the block just north
of Nationals Park
where Nats Parking Lot F resides, and new confirmation of that is a filing with the Zoning Commission for a review of a new mixed-use project that would bring office, hotel, residential, and retail spaces to 1st St. SE between M and N.
The applicant is listed only as "Ballpark Square LLC and SCD Acquisitions LLC," with a footnote mentioning that they are the "contract purchaser" of the 81,000-square-foot property, currently owned by a number of LLCs but generally described as controlled by Willco Companies
. My sources continue to tell me that the purchaser is McCaffery Interests
, the developer behind the Market Common
residential/retail project in Clarendon, Georgetown Centre
, the renovation of Mazza Gallerie
, the big Potomac Yard redevelopment
across the river, and other local developments, along with a number of big projects
in Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere.
The zoning filing lays out the design of the 1st Street project ("Ballpark Square", mayhaps?) as:
* a 224,500-square-foot office building at the corner of 1st and M;
* a 180-unit hotel just to the south of the office building, separated by a 30-foot-courtyard;
* a 292-unit residential project south of the hotel in two buildings, both parallel to 1st Street, with a courtyard between them and a glass bridge connecting them; and
* 43,000 square feet of retail, 36,000 sf of which will be in the office/hotel/residential buildings (called the "Main Parcel"), while the remaining 7,000 sf will be in a separate two-story retail-only building at the corner of 1st and N (on the "South Parcel"), with a design "inspired by the industrial character of the existing neighborhood."
(And there might be a juicy story behind the retail-only building, because apparently the Ballpark Square folks couldn't successfully acquire the 9,000 sq ft of lots owned by the Welch family in an L shape around the corner lots at 1st and N, necessitating the two separate parcels.)
The buildings will be 130 feet high, and there will be approximately 366 parking spaces, all beneath the main parcel (and there will be bike parking, too). The residential and hotel buildings are being designed by Hickok Cole
, and Gensler
is the architect for the office building.
The zoning filing describes the site as having "the opportunity to become a linchpin for the entertainment district that the Distrct has long envisioned in the Ballpark area," and that it will "attract people who attend baseball games, but also provide the everyday amenities essential to the residents living in the project and nearby." And, "[p]erhaps most importantly, this project will convert a vacant site to vibrant and active uses that contribute to the rejuvenation of the Capitol Riverfront by complementing the epicenter of this community, the Ballpark."
In addition to needing a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
for the plans, the developers are also needing some zoning relief, to be allowed to scrap four required parking spaces for the separate retail building on the south parcel along with variances for loading, rear yard, and open court requirements that I'm just not up to writing much about right now.
Goodies like renderings, elevations, and additional details (like a timeline!) will be coming (though the ANC commish tweeted a sneak peek
a few days ago), and this would be brought up before ANC 6D for its support before the Zoning Commission would vote on the review and variances.
This site is just to the east of Monument Realty's stalled Half Street project
, which has similar plans for hotel, residential, and retail to the south of its 55 M Street office building. And across from that is Akridge's Half Street
project, looking to bring office, residential, and retail to the west side of the street. In other words, there's a whole lot of mixed use on the boards just north of Nats Park. Who will get out of the blocks first?
Virginia Avenue Tunnel Meeting Presentation Slides, Boards
May 29, 2012 11:51 AM
I wasn't able to attend last week's public meeting on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, but the presentation slides
and display boards
are posted on the project's web site
This is the stage of the Environmental Impact study where the initial lineup of possible concepts
have been winnowed down to the four that will be evaluated for the final EIS:
* Concept 1 - "No Build" (i.e., leave as is);
* Concept 2
- Rebuild tunnel with a temporary track running in an open trench to the south of the existing tunnel;
* Concept 5
- "Permanent Twin Tunnels," with a new tunnel built via open trench to the south of the existing tunnel, which would be rebuilt as well;
* Concept 6
- "Rebuild Online," where the current tunnel would be rebuilt via open trench along the existing alignment, and trains would run in that same trench during construction.
Also contained in the slides
is information about how traffic would be routed with the closure of Virginia Avenue on the south side of the freeway between 2nd and 11th. As has always been stated, north/south traffic on the numbered streets would be maintained across Virginia, and temporary driveways/access are shown on 3rd and 4th Street for Capitol Quarter and the 200 I/225 Virginia loading dock. It's also shown that Virginia Avenue north of the freeway would become two-way between 6th and 8th streets, so that traffic exiting the Southeast Freeway at 6th would all be directed left under the freeway and then would be able to continue to 8th Street on Virginia.
There's also some slides
on the vibration and noise analyses being done, and how Virginia Avenue might be improved after construction is completed (with bike lanes being a possibility, which immediately warmed David Garber's heart
The draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released this fall, in which the design for construction will be identified; the entire process would be completed in spring, 2013. Comments can be submitted to email@example.com
or via the web site
11th Street Overnight Closures This Week for Old Ramp Demolition
May 28, 2012 10:48 AM
Late Friday, DDOT sent out word
that there will be overnight closures of 11th Street south of M this coming week to "perform demolition activities on the old outbound 11th Street Bridge." What I imagine this is referring to is the old ramp from N Street
to the outbound bridge, which needs to be removed in order to allow traffic to flow on the new 11th Street alignment to and from the 11th Street Local Bridge
that opened Thursday.
On May 29, 30, and 31, DDOT will close 11th Street SE from M to O starting at 7 pm through 5 am the following morning. Traffic heading for Anacostia from 11th Street will be detoured onto the new I-695 East ramp at 11th and M
, then to Howard Road SE to access Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. (It's left unsaid in the advisory, but it sounds like traffic inbound from Anacostia on the local bridge will still be allowed, since it uses 12th Street to get to M.)
11th St. Construction Photos: New Ramp, Almost Open Local Bridge
May 20, 2012 11:33 AM
I managed to drag myself over to 11th Street on Saturday with camera in hand to check out the new ramp that opened on Friday
from M Street up to the outbound freeway bridge (which I guess we'd all better start getting used to calling I-695 East). And of course I also then had to wander down to N Street, and then to O Street, to see the progress of the work on the 11th Street Local bridge, which apparently
will also be opening soon (see update
below), though I've heard it will be just a "partial" opening at first.
Here's a gallery of 11th Street photos
, including explanations of what's going on. The pictures also show the work underway to get the final demolition and clearing done so that 11th Street can become two-way all the way down to the new local bridge. (Though this can't happen completely until the ramp at N Street to the old outbound bridge is demolished, which is why I imagine the new bridge is only "partially" opening, enough to route outbound traffic onto it so that the final demolition can be completed.)
But there's also this view from O Street east of 11th, looking southward, which, in comparing November 2005 to now, shows one heck of a change:
Once the local bridge is open, the next big milestone will be the completion of the ramps from I-695 eastbound to DC-295 northbound, and from DC-295 southbound inbound across the freeway bridge, both of which are traffic movements that did not exist before this project. (No more dealing with the left turn on Pennsylvania Avenue, or taking New York Avenue outbound, to get to DC-295 from Near Southeast, Capitol Hill, and the Southeast Freeway.)
DDOT has just sent out a release
saying that the 11th Street Local Bridge will open "on or about Thursday, May 24." It is indeed a partial opening: "There will be 2 lanes for inbound traffic and 1 lane for outbound traffic towards Anacostia. There will also be a temporary 6-foot separated walkway for pedestrians and cyclists. (The local bridge is scheduled to be completed this fall with 4 travel lanes and a permanent shared pedestrian/bicycle path)." The release also says that the new ramp from southbound DC-295 to the inbound freeway bridge will open in about six weeks, and that the new ramp from 11th Street to the westbound SE Freeway will open by July 4. Click the two images for maps of the temporary routes and patterns.
Note that inbound traffic from the new bridge will be routed up 12th Street SE and then through the 11th and M intersection. The designs for the new bridge have always shown 11th Street becoming two-way, and the work up to M Street would seem to indicate that's still the plan, but the release doesn't say anything about the 12th Street routing being "temporary." Guess we'll have to see.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:
Nah, as I've been saying all along (such as in Saturday's photo gallery
), the 12th Street routing for inbound local bridge traffic is just temporary.
This Week: Virginia Ave. Tunnel, M St. Meetings, First Front Flick
May 20, 2012 11:30 AM
To allow you to properly plan your calendar for the week, I'm posting this nice and early:
And, speaking of the tunnel, the noise and vibration field studies required as part of the EIS will be happening this week
. (But no fair stomping on the ground and gunning your car's engines for hours at a time.)
* M Street SE/SW Transportation Study
: The meeting to update the public on the progress of the M Street SE/SW Transportation Study
is on Thursday, May 24, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm
at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St. SW. The study area covers
the stretch of M from 12th Street, SE to 14th Street, SW, along with the adjacent areas from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway south to the Anacostia River/Washington Channel. DDOT is looking at "how to integrate transit, bicycling and walking with motor vehicle traffic," while also trying to figure out how to balance residents' preferences for how M Street should be configured versus how visitors, workers, and commuters expect it to flow. The first meeting was in January
, and the final report is expected in the fall.
* Front Flicks
: If you are looking for something slightly more entertaining than either of the week's meetings, don't forget that the Capitol Riverfront BID's free Front Flicks Summer Outdoor Movie Series
begins this week on Thursday, with "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" leading off the lineup of treasure hunt-themed offerings. Movies start either at 8:45 pm/sundown at Tingey Plaza, just behind USDOT
at New Jersey and Tingey.
Alas, I won't be at any of these events, because first thing Tuesday I'm headed to the disabled list, to get some health issues dealt with that have been dragging me down for awhile now. There will be a few weeks of recovery time, so I ask all parties to please refrain from making any news before, say, mid-June, or at least make it something simple and/or something that won't require my attendance. (DDOT is already On Notice if they do indeed partially open the 11th Street Local bridge
when I can't document it.)
I imagine I'll reappear on Twitter
fairly quickly, since I know better than to think I can stay off the Internet while I'm doing little but laying around. But most likely the bulk of my narcotics-tinged/boredom-induced missives will be via my non-official @jacdupree
account, if you want the entertainment.
In the meantime, feel free to use this post's comments to discuss this week's meetings and as a general open thread, but I will be watching and popping in, so don't you kids think you can throw a wild party while Mom's not looking! And hopefully I'll be back to photo taking and other obsessive-compulsive pursuits before too long.
Ramp from M Street to Outbound 11th Street Freeway Opens Friday
May 17, 2012 2:23 PM
, news of another milestone in the 11th Street Bridges
"The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will open the newly constructed ramp
at the intersection of 11th Street and M Street, SE
to traffic on or about Friday, May 18. The new ramp will provide access from the M Street/Navy Yard area to the new outbound 11th Street Freeway Bridge and southbound I-295.
"Access to Historic Anacostia will remain on the old outbound 11th Street Bridge, until the new local bridge opens in the coming days. Existing inbound traffic movements from northbound I-295 to the M Street/ Navy Yard area will also remain the same."
So, don't drive down 11th Street south of M anymore if you're wanting to get to I-295 southbound, because that old ramp at N Street will now only take you via the old bridge directly into Anacostia on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Will be interesting to see how this works, and of course it will be equally interesting to see the new 11th Street Local bridge in action, "in the coming days." UPDATE, 5/18:
Dr. Gridlock says today on his blog
that the 11th Street Local bridge will be opening on Wednesday (May 23).
Upcoming Events: South on South Capitol, Science, Ballpark, More
May 16, 2012 8:49 PM
A few new events and happenings to mention, along with some reminders:
* South on South Capitol
: The Fairgrounds folks are launching a "South on South Capitol
" southern rock concert series, featuring local and regional country and southern rock bands, along with mechanical bull rides (!), food trucks, and the Bullpen bar. The first one is scheduled
for May 25, then June 22, July 27, and Aug. 24. (They're all Fridays.) Admission is free.
And, speaking of Fairgrounds, there's a corrected list of dates for their Sunday Family Days
, which are just once a month (next one on June 3).
* Ladies Night
: The Nats' first Ladies Night
of the 2012 season is Thursday (May 17), and they're going with a "Pretty in Pink" theme along with a Majestic women's apparel fashion show, drink specials, games, prizes, music, and whatnot. VIP tickets are $40 and include access to the party tent at 1st and Potomac from 5 to 7 pm along with special group seating. If you can't make the tent happy hour, you can buy a $25 ticket and enjoy the Scoreboard Pavilion festivities. (The tickets
include a $10 concession credit.)
* Bike to Work
: Friday, May 18 is Bike to Work Day
, and the Yards Park is one of the pit stops, from 7 to 9 am. Alas, the free t-shirts for the first 11,000 registrants have already been snapped up, but you probably already own a t-shirt or two anyway.
* Battle of the Beltways
: Be forewarned that the right-near-first-place (!) Orioles are coming to Nats Park
for a Friday-Sunday interleague series
, and so all three games will probably bring a lot of fans and traffic.
Florida Rock Update at ANC 6D: Tweaked Designs, More Retail
May 16, 2012 7:56 AM
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, representatives of MRP Realty made a presentation showing the updates to the RiverFront on the Anacostia
project (aka Florida Rock) that they will be taking to the Zoning Commission later this year.
These designs are part of the quest to make changes to the original design approved by the commission in 2008
, chief of which is to switch the first phase of the 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project from an office building to a 300ish-unit apartment building at 1st Street and Potomac Avenue, along with a series of other changes that I've written about previously
. (Dear heavens, don't make me write it all again.)
Here are the slides that were presented by the developers
, which should be of interest even without the accompanying narration. The renderings are much more detailed and "showier" than those given to the Zoning Commission back in February, which was part of what the developers were tasked with providing in their next go-round with the ZC.
Most obviously, the developers appear to have gotten the "more retail!" message that had been delivered pretty clearly at the last two
zoning commission sessions on the new design, with 18,650 square feet of retail now covering most of the first floor of the Phase I residential building, bumped up from 12,520 sf in the previous version (some of which the developers had been wanting to mark off for "temporary resident uses" until the market for retail in the area could be proven). The entire site is now designed to have 48,360 sf of retail, but this is still down from the 64,200 sf that was in the plans approved by the Zoning Commission back in 2008
. (This increase in retail also means that the "four red doors" facing Potomac Avenue that sent zoning commissioner Michael Turnbull through the roof back in February
are now gone.)
There was also much time spent on the designs for the public spaces that span the 5.5-acre site. With large lawns, wetlands-type areas that would actually be bio-filtration mechanisms, quieter tree-covered spaces, and a marina that could potentially have 40-50 slips, the additions could be seen as echoing the Yards Park
a couple blocks to the east.. But there are also some "beach" areas where sand would be placed, and a large sculpture could be included in the "Riverfront Plaza" at the foot of 1st Street. The esplanade is still a major part of the design, but there is no longer a separate bike path--pedestrians and cyclists would share the boardwalk as it runs through the entire site, from South Capitol Street to Diamond Teague Park
. And there may even be locations where some of the concrete blocks from the old concrete plant site would be incorporated into the public spaces.
I could write more about the specifics, but since the project will be back in front of ANC 6D looking for a resolution of support in July, and then at the Zoning Commission on Sept. 20, I'd prefer to save some words for the presentations to come.
I've added some of the renderings from this presentation
to my Florida Rock project page
. And, when looking at all of this, remember that the western two buildings (phases 3 and 4, an office building and a hotel), are not be able to be built until the new South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge
is built a bit to the south of the current bridge, which now runs directly through the Florida Rock footprint. And there's as yet no timeline for that new bridge.
ANC 6D Recap 2: Canal Park, Community Center, CSX Letter
May 15, 2012 1:35 PM
Moving from the "P" portion of Monday's ANC 6D meeting (pylons and parking
) to the "C"s:
* Canal Park
: Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association gave an update on construction, the bottom line of which has not changed from what's been mentioned the past few months, that because of unexpected issues, the park's opening has been delayed until November. Unmapped utilities that required a redesign of the stormwater management system have been a big stumbling block, but Vanarsdale also mentioned the soil-related difficulties when building on the site of an old canal. Construction is now 60 percent complete, and the work on the pavilion is almost done. Here are the presentation slides
, and you can also check out the official web site
for more details (along with my project page
). Oh, and they're thinking about offering Zamboni driving lessons!
* Community Center
: The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for an extension for construction of the planned Capper Community Center
, which already received one extension back in 2010
that 6D supported
. DCHA has apparently requested that the Zoning Commission act within 30 days on the request, news of which the ANC received on Monday. So the commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter urging postponement of the zoning case so that the ANC can address the request and form a response with a vote at next month's meeting. Commissioners Litsky and McBee also both commented that the project shouldn't be getting another extension.
Here is the letter sent on behalf of DCHA
to the Zoning Commission asking for the extension: it would be for two years, requiring building permits by July 1, 2014 and construction underway by July 1, 2015.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel
: The commissioners voted 6-0-1 to send this letter
to the appropriate parties laying out the ANC's opinion on the plans to reconfigure the Virginia Avenue Tunnel
. After listing the various ways that the proposed construction "would put people, homes, businesses, and fragile historic resources at risk," the letter states: "[W]e strongly believe that the best options for our community are for CSX to either leave the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in its current state (Concept 1) -- with the suggestion that if this option were chosen that the tunnel would be fully maintained for the safety of both the trains below and the communities above, or to reroute additional train traffic outside the District of Columbia [...] instead of in an expanded Virginia Avenue Tunnel." But, if the construction does occur, "it is absolutely imperative that the health and safety of our many residents, the economic and physical well-being of our businesses, parks, religious institutions, homes, and historic buildings, and the north-south access for all existing modes of transportation be preserved and enhanced." A number of Capitol Quarter
residents in attendance also spoke in support of the ANC's support. The next public meeting
on the plans for the tunnel will be May 21 at 6:30 pm at Nats Park.
One more recap post to go, probably tomorrow.
ANC 6D Recap 1: Water Pylons, and Parking
May 15, 2012 9:49 AM
It was a busy ANC 6D meeting on Monday night for Near Southeast-related issues, so I'm going to put it all in a series of posts:
* New Jersey Avenue Underpass Art
: The Capitol Riverfront BID
gave an update on the "Water Pylons" art installation, which is now moving forward after being "dormant" for about a year. This is the project partially funded by a grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities
that will paint and light the pylons holding up the Southeast Freeway in a "modern representation of water that announces New Jersey Avenue, SE as a gateway to the Capitol Riverfront community." The reflective blue paint should go up in July, followed by light fixtures in August, and the installation should be dedicated in September, which will be right around the time that DCCAH moves into its new nearby digs at 225 Virginia/200 I
. Passers-by may note that new fences and LED overhead lighting have already been installed along New Jersey as part of the transformation of the underpass. The BID's presentation to the ANC, with more information about the project
, is here.
* Parking Parking Parking
: There was a discussion about issues with game-day parking
in the neighborhood, specifically the prohibition of parking along K and L streets, as well as other restrictions that have made residents unhappy. Damon Harvey of DDOT says that the agency is "reassessing" the current configuration, to figure out how to provide better access to residents while not allowing stadium-goers to then hog all the parking. He expects that changes will be announced in a month or so that will allow for "greater residential protection during games." One other non-game day change for residents has already gone into effect: meters are now turned off at 6:30 pm (but still 10 pm on game days).
However, those who came to the meeting hoping to hear about changes in the Residential Parking Permit system that would allow residents in the high-rise buildings west of Canal Park to park on the street throughout Ward 6 were disappointed, as DDOT continues to hold that large residential buildings in mixed-use neighborhoods will not qualify for RPP. (Harvey used the Ellington on U Street as a specific example of this being the case elsewhere in the city, but there are more buildings in this situation than just that one and the Near Southeast ones.)
Also, in somewhat related news the ANC unanimously passed a resolution protesting the plan in the mayor's new budget to redirect most performance parking
proceeds to other areas, such as Metro, rather than their being used as originally intended, to fund non-automotive transportation improvements in the neighborhood.
ANC 6D Monthly Meeting Comes to Near Southeast May 14 (Updated)
May 14, 2012 11:14 AM
For its May 14 business meeting, ANC 6D is venturing east of South Capitol Street, holding the session at the Courtyard by Marriott
at 140 L St., SE, starting at 7 pm. The full agenda isn't posted
yet, but a flyer sent around by chair Andy Litsky includes the following items: ANC 6D CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel
letter, Update on Canal Park
Construction, Discussion of Game Day Parking Issues, and New Jersey Avenue Public Art Piers (which I assume is the "Water Pylons
" project that the BID received a grant for a while back).
I bumped this to the top of the page as a reminder, since the meeting is tonight. The agenda has been posted
, and now includes an update on the Florida Rock/RiverFront
plans, in addition to the items mentioned above along with some issues of importance in Southwest and various races and events that want approval to come through the neighborhood(s).
Judging from a new case filed with the Office of Zoning, it looks like the Florida Rock folks are asking for a one-year time extension on their previously approved PUD, but I imagine that will all be discussed this evening.
UPDATE II: Should clarify that the original PUD extension was through June 27, 2012, which was going to be pretty hard to meet with their filings from earlier this year to change the first phase from office to residential still working through the process. This new request would give them until June of 2013 to either get their requested modifications approved, or revert back to the original approved plans.
Weekend Events: Truckeroo, Concert, Street Arts, Family Day
May 10, 2012 12:20 PM
Not much going on, so let's do a pre-weekend roundup, one day early to give you plenty of time to plan your schedule:
* Friday brings the first Truckeroo food truck festival
of 2012, from 11 am to 11 pm at the Fairgrounds at Half and M SE. Its Facebook page today
listed the truck lineup as including BBQ Bus, Big Cheese, Cajunators, Cap Mac, Chef Driven, Curbside Cupcakes, DC Empanadas, DC Slides, Doug the Food Dude, Hot People, Hula Girl, Tapas, Pleasant Pops, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Sinplicity, Sweetz Cheesecake, and Takorean.
* If you want to walk off some calories, you can also head to the Yards Park
for the Friday Evening Concert
, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. US Navy Band The Cruisers
will be the music act this week, and food will be by Red Apron Butchery, Buzz Bakery, and Luke's Lobster, with beverages by ChurchKey.
* On Sunday, the Fairgrounds will be celebrating Mother's Day with its first Family Day
, from 11 am to 4 pm, with "carnival games and prizes, inflatable and mechanical rides, children's entertainers and live musicians," plus food trucks.
And then the neighbors who live in that big building on South Capitol Street
will be returning to town on Monday, for a series against the Padres that includes a 1:05 pm game on Tuesday (which is also Weather Day
!), and then a weekend series against the Orioles, which should make for big crowds.
8th Street Exit Ramp from Southeast Freeway Closing May 10
May 9, 2012 12:37 PM
DDOT is announcing
that the the 8th Street exit ramp from the westbound Southeast/Southwest freeway is closing permanently on May 10 at approximately 10 am.
This is the ramp that drivers use coming from Pennsylvania Avenue and Barney Circle, not
the one used for 8th Street when coming inbound from the 11th Street Bridge
The closure is happening because the new flyover for traffic coming westbound from from the 11th Street freeway bridge will be bringing traffic onto the westbound freeway via a ramp that runs right across the 8th Street exit site (this photo of the ramp
as seen from 11th Street from back in January shows on the far left where the 8th Street exit is and why it's having to be closed).
The Marines can't be too unhappy about this closure, since the ramp runs right between the two halves of Building 20, which isn't exactly a prime security configuration.
In the press release, DDOT also says that it expects the new ramp connecting Southbound DC-295 (on the east side of the river) with the inbound 11th Street Freeway Bridge (I-695) to open by July 4, and that this "will have a direct connection to I Street at 10th Street, SE" (which is where the current ramp from the inbound 11th Street Bridges is).
As to when/how the other new ramp
that will bring traffic up to 11th Street from the Pennsylvania Avenue/Southeast Freeway connector will open, I don't know. There are a lot of traffic flow changes are coming to 11th Street between I and O over the next few months--the new ramp to the outbound freeway bridge from M just east of 11th is looking closer to completion, as is the 11th Street Local bridge. If only someone would get over there to take some photos of the progress! (Well, I did take *one
One of DDOT's spiffy videos detailing all the new movements sure would be handy about now.
The Wallflowers Playing NatsLive Post-Game Concert July 21
May 8, 2012 12:34 PM
The Nats have created "NatsLive
" this year, a series of three post-game concerts that are free to any ticketholders to that day's game. The June 2 concert with Dierks Bentley
had already been announced, but today the news is bopping around Twitter that The Wallflowers
will be playing the second concert, on July 21st. (Both games are versus the Atlanta Braves.) No act yet announced for the third date, Aug. 18 against the Mets. Game tickets for all three dates are already on sale
M Street SE/SW Transportation Study Public Meeting May 24
May 8, 2012 9:08 AM
The study area covers
the stretch of M from 12th Street, SE to 14th Street, SW, along with the adjacent areas from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway south to the Anacostia River/Washington Channel. DDOT is looking at "how to integrate transit, bicycling and walking with motor vehicle traffic," while also trying to figure out how to balance residents' preferences for how M Street should be configured versus how visitors, workers, and commuters expect it to flow.
The first meeting, back in January
, included an introduction to the study before attendees broke up into small groups to give feedback about the issues they feel need addressing.
According to the web site
, a draft study report is expected this summer, with the final report and a final public meeting coming in the fall.
Weekend of Natitude, OurPark, Metropocalypse, Etc.
May 4, 2012 9:28 AM
It's official! The city has declared May 4-6 to be Natitude Weekend
, and the Nats have even festooned the Center Field Gate with a new Natitude Park sign
. All of this to work at Taking Back the Park from the hordes of Phillies fans that will, despite best efforts
, be once again descending on the neighborhood. (Though perhaps they should remember the spankings their team got the last time the teams played, during the final few games of the 2011 season.)
So, residents should be aware that there will be a whole lot more people in the area than for any game since the home opener. The schedule:
* Tonight (Friday, May 4), 7:05 pm.
* Saturday, 1:05 pm.
* Sunday, 8:05 pm. (A rare Sunday night game time, since ESPN has chosen the game for Sunday Night Baseball.)
And, as if getting to and from the neighborhood won't be congested enough, Metro has decided to go forward with a weekend of heavy track work
, despite pleas
from riders groups concerned about not only the Nats/Phillies game but also the Caps/Flyers game at the Verizon Center at 12:30 pm Saturday. For the Green Line, Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville stations will be closed, and buses will replace trains between Greenbelt and Fort Totten, but there's work on all the other lines
If you're coming to the neighborhood for the first time, my Visiting Nats Park page
will help you with information on parking, transportation, food options, and things to do outside the park.
Next Virginia Avenue Tunnel Public Meeting May 21
May 4, 2012 9:06 AM
, just posted on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project web site
, announces that the next public meeting about the project will be on May 21 from 6 to 8 pm at Nationals Park
. "During this public meeting, the concepts to move forward in the EIS will be announced." Read my post from Wednesday
for more information on the whole EIS thing, and this one from the last meeting
to find out more about the initial concepts that were looked at, and that will form the basis for the ones chosen to be studied further.
Fairgrounds Announces Truckeroo Dates, Sunday Family Days
May 3, 2012 10:22 AM
As the Fairgrounds
prepares to begin its daily hours on May 4, the outdoor event space just north of Nationals Park
at Half and M is also starting to promote some of its non-gameday offerings:
* The Truckeroo
food truck festival will be back for another year, on five Fridays this summer
: May 11, June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, and Sept. 28, running from 11 am to 11 pm each time.
* There will also be a new "Family Day" event, with a promo flyer
describing it as having "carnival games and prizes, inflatable and mechanical rides, children's entertainers and live musicians," plus food trucks. Admission will be free, and scheduled dates so far are May 13, May 27, June 3, June 10, and June 24, from 11 am to 4 pm.
(Perhaps this is also good timing to finally link to this Housing Complex post
from last week showing what the site could look like if it ends up with advertising on the sides of the shipping containers, which WCP says Fairgrounds was soliciting.)
Study of Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project Switches to EIS Format
May 3, 2012 8:51 AM
Earlier this week the Federal Highway Administration and DDOT gave notice
that the in-process National Environmental Policy Act
study of CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel project will be switching mid-stream from an Environmental Assessment to a more detailed Environmental Impact Statement study.
Since the outcome of an EA is often the instigation of an EIS, this is probably serving mainly to speed up the process and get started on an EIS that most likely would have been needed anyway. The NEPA web site
mentions that "[i]f a federal agency anticipates that an undertaking may significantly impact the environment, or if a project is environmentally controversial, a federal agency may choose to prepare an EIS without having to first prepare an EA," both of which would certainly seem to be ways this project could be described.
already gathered and feedback
already garnered during the EA process will be incorporated into the EIS. CSX representatives tell me that they expect the switch to add about six months to the environmental review process, and the project's web site
now has a Spring 2013 date listed for the Final EIS/record of decision. CSX has always wanted the project to be done in 2015, to coincide with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, but that timeline is starting to look a bit dicey given that construction has been expected to take 2-3 years.
The public meeting to unveil the chosen "alternative" designs that the EIS is studying is currently being planned. You can read my write-up from the last meeting
to see more about the initial group of concept designs, which ranged from expanding the tunnel to building a separate parallel tunnel to leaving the tunnel untouched to
closing it and having CSX reroute all their traffic
rerouting the double-stack traffic and through traffic out of the city (UPDATED
to fix my mistake--there is no proposal that would close the tunnel altogether). (It probably isn't hard to guess which alternatives are preferred by the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association
, with CQ's homes on Virginia Avenue standing mere feet away from any construction.) UPDATE
: It's been requested that I mention that, while the CQ HoA letter above lists a group of possible signatories, at least three of them (ANC 6B, Barracks Row Main Street, and the Committee of 100) have all already voted against co-signing the letter.
For those blissfully unaware of this project (I wish!), CSX is needing to expand the 105-year-old tunnel that runs beneath Virginia Avenue between 2nd and 12th streets, SE so that a second track can be added and double-height cars can be accommodated. With initial plans calling for the extended closure of Virginia Avenue and a temporary track in an open trench to run trains through during construction, residents on both sides of the freeway have been greatly concerned about how the work will be designed and carried out, which then spurred DDOT to request a formal environmental review (despite this being a project being carried out by a private entity on a right-of-way that they own some of).
UPDATE: This flyer just posted
on the VirginiaAvenueTunnel.com web site says that the next public meeting, announcing which concepts will be looked at in the EIS, is scheduled for May 21 from 6 to 8 pm at Nationals Park.
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