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Correction on 11th Street Bridges Entry
Oct 16, 2007 10:23 PM
I need to correct an error I made in my Oct. 5 post (which carried over to my Post column on Oct. 11) about the 11th Street Bridges Final Environmental Impact Statement. I incorrectly said that the total number of lanes in the preferred alternative design chosen for the bridges (12) would be unchanged from the current configuration, having misread the EIS wording that referred to the number of freeway lanes being unchanged. The two spans currently have eight freeway lanes; the new configuration, quoting from the EIS (page 5-13), will be "a new eightlane freeway bridge along the alignment of the existing 11th Street Bridge as well as a new, local four-lane bridge crossing on the current alignment of the Officer Welsh bridge." (The "Officer Welsh Bridge" is the official name of the downstream span and "11th Street Bridge" the official name of the upstream span of what is commonly referred to together as the "11th Street Bridges.")
I regret the error, and have docked my pay and put a warning in my file. If I do it again, I will fire myself and look to replace myself with a new me that I can trust.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges

Ballpark and Beyond This Week -- Bridge EIS, Capper Lots
Oct 11, 2007 6:25 PM
With DDOT having put out a press release in the past few hours alerting the media to the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the 11th Street Bridges, I can breathe a sigh of relief that I didn't screw up by having it be the focal point of my Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra. (It's easy to worry that you've done something wrong when news of a $465 million reconfiguration of one of the region's most important commuter routes hasn't been picked up by anyone else. Nice scoop for me, though!) No graphic went along with the column, though, so look at the images I posted here on Monday to understand the design alternative that's been chosen. Next steps would apparently be the actual design, although the EIS process took care of a lot of that, followed by construction.
My column also included the quick blurb about the bids being solicited to build the three temporary surface parking lots at Capper/Carrollsburg.
UPDATED to include link to press release.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Capper

More on the 11th Street Bridges Changes
Oct 8, 2007 12:34 PM

With no "real" news outlets yet uttering a peep about the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the 11th Street Bridges, I've had to continue to do my own analysis of what the chosen design alternative will look like. Friday's bleary-eyed discussion was a decent start, but I've looked at it a bit more closely today and have seen that there really will be a pretty large-scale change in how the Southeast Freeway works with the new plans.

If you look at this spiffy side-by-side graphic I've tossed together, showing the current freeway ramps and flyovers at 11th Street versus what the EIS depicts, you'll see that the bulk of the SE Freeway's lanes will turn toward the bridges at 11th Street, instead of just two smaller flyovers that currently exist. This is because the many lanes that now run from the freeway under 11th Street and over to Pennsylvania Avenue at Barney Circle will be taken out of the SE Freeway flow altogether. Instead, drivers on the SE Freeeway wishing to get to Barney Circle (and vice versa) will access the freeway and the new "Southeast Freeway Boulevard" (kind of a "Virginia Avenue Extended") via ramps at 11th Street, which appear to be able to be carved out of the existing smaller flyovers west of 11th. (And so the two flyovers coming from east of 11th to the sunken Pennsylvania Avenue access could be demolished altogether.) This means that the area north of M along 11th Street will be much more of a street grid rather than a series of flyovers and tunnels. Eventually.
And, for Navy Yard workers who use the 11th Street Bridges, note that you would no longer get to take that little turn onto N Street as you come off the bridge; you would arrive at M Street, turn right, turn right again on a newly two-way 12th Street, and then turn right at N. For other people, you'd be able to either turn left at M once you exit the upstream span of the bridge, or continue north on a new street and access the new Southeast Freeway Boulevard to continue either to Pennsylvania Avenue or 11th Street closer to I.
But it's really hard to clearly explain it all, so put on your concentration caps and spend some time comparing the befores-and-afters to see for yourself.

More posts: 11th Street Bridges

Design for 11th Street Bridges Reconfiguration Chosen
Oct 5, 2007 6:10 PM
Here's some late Friday news for you: the 11th Street Bridges Environmental Impact Statement has been completed, and a preferred plan for the reconfiguration of the bridges has been chosen, at an estimated price of $465 million, taking an estimated five years to complete. No start date has been announced.
You can read the summary, check out the Preferred Alternative and the other alternatives, plow through the entire thing at once (36 MB), or pick and choose the sections you want to read. When even the summary is 24 pages long, it's hard to give a quick description of what is being recommended, but here's my best shot:
* There will be two new bridges built on exactly the alignments of the existing two bridges, allowing the use of the existing piers but requiring their widening to allow for wider bridges. Two new ramps will be built on the east side of the Anacostia River, providing access at last to the northbound Anacostia Freeway from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and to the freeway from the southbound Anacostia Freeway. One of the two bridges would be dedicated to freeway traffic, and the other to local traffic, with the total number of **freeway*** lanes unchanged, but with four new local lanes and with added paths for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as "accommodations for transit," such as the proposed light rail system.
As for what would happen to the interchange with the bridge in Near Southeast, it's hard to digest, but this is what I'm seeing by looking at the diagrams in the Alternatives section (here's a Google Maps satellite view of the current bridges, which you might need):
* The current on/off ramps at N Street would be moved to M Street (see page 15), with local traffic and paths to and from Anacostia being routed on the western of the two bridge spans (officially known as the Officer Welsh Bridge), and traffic bound for the Anacostia Freeway routed onto the 8-lane eastern span. This also means that the local traffic coming north from Anacostia would be routed along a newly two-way portion of 11th Street up to M.
* The exit ramp now between Ninth and 10th streets would be moved to Ninth Street.
* There would also be a new entrance to the westbound freeway from 11th Street (perhaps taking some of the pressure off the Third Street ramp?).
(In a separate project, the existing Southeast/Southwest freeway between 11th Street and Barney Circle is apparently going to be downgraded to a new Southeast Freeway Boulevard, which would be accessed by exiting the freeway and going across 11th Street at-grade. As part of this, the sneaky little route to Pennsylvania Avenue from 9th Street and Virginia Avenue would be removed, too.)
As for the impact of the reconfigured bridges on the boathouses nestled between them on the west side of the river, the EIS says that "it has been determined that construction of any of the build alternatives, including the Preferred Alternative, will not require the whole or partial demolition of either of the two ACBA buildings." Boathouse operations would have to be relocated during construction, but the documents state that DDOT is committed to maintaining the operations during this time, having agreed to provide temporary structures on a Washington Gas-owned space a few hundred yards to the north. (See Section 7.3 for more about the boathouse impact.)
Finally, the document states that the bridges project will not impact the Virginia Avenue Park at 9th and Virginia.
I doubt anyone is still reading at this point, so I'm going to quit while behind and hope that all sorts of media outlets give some real coverage, and take me off the hook. If you're at all interested in this, especially in the impacts east of the river that I haven't addressed, I suggest browsing the entire document. You'd be amazed how much detail is in there.
There's now a public comments period, through November 20. See the EIS web site for more about the entire study process.
If you're not real familiar with this area of Near Southeast, visit my East M Street page for photos and links.
UPDATE, 10/11: I erred in this above item when stating that the total number of lanes would be unchanged from the current configuration; having misread the EIS wording that referred to the number of freeway lanes being unchanged. The two spans currently have eight freeway lanes, which will be the case with the new bridge; but those eight lanes will be carried on a widened version of the upstream span, and the downstream span will carry four local lanes.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row, Traffic Issues

11th Street and Douglass Bridges 'Structurally Deficient'
Aug 5, 2007 10:09 AM
The surveys of DC-area bridges in the wake of the Minneapolis collapse continue, and today the Post reveals that both the South Capitol Street/Frederick Douglass Bridge and the 11th Street Bridges have been designated "structurally deficient", along with 13 other bridges in DC. But, before you panic: "It is a broad designation that covers major deterioration in a bridge's key components but is not a list of teetering bridges." And, of course, the Douglass Bridge is getting repaired now, with hopes for a new bridge in the coming years, and the 11th Street Bridges are scheduled for an overhaul in 2009. The Post also has another bridge-related piece on how construction of steel bridges has changed over the years, with the Douglass Bridge used as an example.
(For one more Douglass Bridge-related link, the Dr. Gridlock Get There blog entry from Thursday about the progress of the Extreme Makeover was excerpted in today's paper.)
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

11th Street Bridges Rehab in 2009?
Aug 3, 2007 11:50 AM
In a Post article today surveying the state of DC-area bridges in the wake of the 35W Bridge collapse in Minneapolis, there is this little item of note: "For instance, there are plans for a major overhaul and redesign of the 11th Street Bridge beginning in 2009, according to [DDOT] spokesman Erik Linden." The Environmental Impact Study completed last year came up with a number of potential reconfigurations of the 11th Street Bridges to allow for traffic to exit and go northward on DC-295 (instead of having to cross the Anacostia on Pennsylvania Avenue and then make that hair-raising left turn). Visit the 11th Street Bridges EIS web site if you're interested in what the plans are, although we're still waiting for the official announcement of which configuration has been chosen.
And, of course, in the wake of Minneapolis, the two-month closure of the Douglass Bridge for not only the reconfiguration of its north end but also considerable work on its deck and undersides might be seen in a different light now....
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Media Briefing on Riverwalk - Update
May 7, 2007 2:49 PM
On Monday (May 7), DDOT is having a media briefing to announce that construction has begun on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. This is the first phase, and so doesn't actually include the planned portion of the trail through Near Southeast (from the 11th Street Bridges to the Frederick Douglass Bridge)--according to the AWC page and a meeting AWC held a few weeks back, I believe what's now being constructed is Phase I, the trail on the west side of the Anacostia from the Navy Yard to the National Arboretum. Phase 2 will be on the east side of the river, from Poplar Point to Pennsylvania Avenue, and Phase 3 (the Near Southeast portion) is probably looking at a 2010 date (when the Waterfront Park at the Yards is completed, and they can build the pedestrian bridge to link that park to Diamond Teague Park and Florida Rock.
UPDATE, May 7: A post-briefing press release says that the section of the Riverwalk now under construction is a two-mile stretch that will run from the Navy Yard east to Benning Road. There's also a link to a fact sheet on the trail (albeit from June 2006) that has a map of the planned trail and other information. And here's a WTOP piece on the new section.

14th Street Bridge Corridor EIS Underway - And Other Enthusiastic Boundaries
Feb 7, 2007 9:43 PM

You would think that a new Environmental Impact Statement of the 14th Street Bridge Corridor would be outside of my Near Southeast scope, but they managed to sneak the boundary area just past South Capitol Street. So, it becomes another study I will grudgingly pay attention to, along with the South Capitol Street EIS and the 11th Street Bridges EIS (both of which have gone reeeeeal quiet lately, with the 11th Street Bridges EIS having missed its release deadline of Fall 2006). See this flyer for information on the 14th Street Bridge Corridor public workshops, on Feb. 27 at Amidon Elementary in Southwest and Feb. 28 in Arlington.

And speaking of Boundary Creep, the Washington Business Journal reported last week that the Office of Planning has "has initiated a major effort to expand the boundaries of the traditional office and entertainment areas, creating a planning zone called Center City. The initiative more than doubles the area traditionally considered downtown by adding the North of Massachusetts Avenue area (NoMa) as well as the Southeast and Southwest waterfronts. Another objective is to provide better links to tie the traditional downtown zone with emerging business and entertainment districts, the waterfront and the National Mall. Center City will be promoted as a waterfront city with nearly half of its boundary defined by the Potomac and Anacostia rivers." You can see the OP's Center City page for more details about this project, which I am admittedly giving short shrift here (I figure there will be plenty more items to come). Who'd a thunk it--it turns out Near Southeast is DOWNTOWN, baby!

More posts: 11th Street Bridges, South Capitol St.

Near Southeast Projects in the Long-Range Transportation Plan
Oct 23, 2006 10:22 AM
Monday's DC Examiner reports: "The Transportation Planning Board added more than $1 billion in projects for the District to the region's long-range transportation plan, according to officials. The stratagem, called the Constrained Long Range Plan, estimates about $4.5 billion will be available each year for the next 24 years to complete projects in Maryland, Virginia and the District. Projects can only be added to the board's long range plan if there is a solid funding mechanism in place. " Three of the DC projects will impact Near Southeast: the rehabilitation of South Capitol Street including transformation of the street into an at-grade boulvard from I Street to N Street and the construction of a new Frederick Douglass Bridge (costing $625 million and completed in 2015); the reconfiguration and reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges (costing $377 million and completed in 2011); and $3 million for the Anacostia Streetcar Study, which would run light rail across the 11th Street Bridges from Anacostia down M Street SE to South Capitol Street. (The first phase of actual construction of the Streetcar Project has been added to the CLRP as well.) Here's an explanation of the CLRP as well as the Transportation Improvement Plan, which describes the schedule for federal funds obligated to state and local projects.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, streetcars, Traffic Issues

Sierra Club Comments on 11th Street Bridges EIS
Sep 13, 2006 2:12 PM

Public comment has now closed on the 11th Street Bridges Draft Environmental Impact Statement; the Sierra Club has posted it's comments submitted to DDOT about the project (hat tip to Richard Layman). And the September Hill Rag has an article about the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association's attempt to save the boathouse buildings nestled between the two bridge spans. (See also my August 10 entry on this issue.)

More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row

Rowers Trying to Save Anacostia Boathouse
Aug 10, 2006 3:50 PM
The hot-off-the-presses Aug. 10 Voice of the Hill (PDF) has a front-page report about the efforts to save the 106-year-old Anacostia Community Boathouse, under threat because of the pending changes to the 11th Street Bridges. The boathouse is one of the two red-brick buildings that are on the Anacostia River shore, right in between the two bridge spans (the second building, which is not in danger of being demolished, was recently the recipient of a $300,000 grant from DDOT to help its renovation). The 11th Street Bridges Environmental Impact Study, currently underway, has ID'ed four different build options for the bridges (to better link them to the Anacostia Freeway), and three of those options impact the boathouse. Public comment on the EIS is being accepted until Aug. 28. UPDATE: Oops, should have included this link to the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association "Save the Boathouse" page.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row

11th Street Bridges Meetings Wednesday and Thursday
Jul 27, 2006 7:51 AM
Don't forget, the two public hearings on the 11th Street Bridges Draft Environmental Impact Statement are Wednesday and Thursday night--Wednesday's is at 1105 New Jersey Ave., SE (St. Matthew's Baptist Church), and Thursday's is at 2041 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. (Anacostia Professional Building). Both are from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. UPDATE: Here are the meeting packet, opening presentation, and display posters for the two meetings. And the entire Draft EIS is available, too. UPDATE II: Having just now really been able to take a look at these materials, I highly suggest taking a few minutes to look at the display posters. They do a great job of showing the four different build alternatives currently under consideration for the bridges, how they would impact both sides of the river, and more. Whichever one they choose, being able to have access to northbound I-295 from the SE Freeway (and vice versa), without having to go across Pennsylvania Avenue and make that left turn, has to be considered a vast improvement.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges

ANC 6B Endorses 11th Street Bridges Plan
Jul 19, 2006 10:42 AM
Voice of the Hill reports that ANC 6B "voted unanimously July 11 to support preliminary plans for a project that would connect the Southeast Freeway with the Anacostia Freeway." This is the 11th Street Bridges project, which "would allow southbound motorists on the Anacostia Freeway to access the 11th Street Bridges and motorists on the bridges to go north on the freeway, thereby creating a link between the Anacostia and Southeast freeways." There are public hearings on July 26 and 27 on the project's draft environmental impact statement, and public comment is being accepted until August 28.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, ANC News, Traffic Issues

11th Street Bridges Draft EIS Statement Released
Jun 27, 2006 11:48 PM
The 11th Street Bridges Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been released. Two public meetings have been scheduled, on July 26 and 27; the comment period extends until August 28, 2006.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges

ANC 6D March Meeting Agenda
Mar 9, 2006 9:05 AM
It hasn't been posted on their web site yet, but the agenda for Tuesday's ANC 6D meeting has a couple Near Southeast-related items: recommendations by Development Committee on Closing Of Public Alleys In Square 743N, a presentation by the DC Preservation League on a possible Historic Designation of Navy Yard Car Barn, i.e., the "Blue Castle" (the case is coming before the DC Historic Preservation Review Board on March 23); and a presentation of the 11th Street Bridges study. It's at 7 pm Tuesday, at 65 I Street SW. UPDATE: I've been told that additional items have been added, both of which are Near Southeast-related: a request for support by the Van Ness Elementary principal to keep the school open (I've heard in the past that it would be closing, but that it would be temporary, maybe things have changed?), and an update from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission about the new baseball stadium. Also, here are the minutes from the February meeting.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, ANC News, Blue Castle, Square 743N

South Capitol Street EIS Newsletter
Feb 24, 2006 10:11 AM
The South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement project has posted its Winter 2006 newsletter with the latest updates on the study. Two build alternatives have been identified and are briefly described--the less costly one would keep the South Capitol and M intersection in two levels, and would create a "traditional" intersection at Potomac Avenue. The second and more wide-ranging alternative would reconstruct South Capitol and M to be "at-grade", and would create a traffic circle interchange at Potomac Avenue (there are differences in the two plans for east side of the bridge as well). The various plans (the two build alternatives, plus a "Transportation System Management" alternative and a No-Build alternative) will be presented at public meetings later this winter, then there will be ANC meetings, environmental analyses, and finally the preparation of the draft EIS. In the meantime, DDOT will be discussing this project as part of its Feb. 25 Open House. Also, both the South Capitol Street EIS and the 11th Street Bridges EIS teams will present their pedestrian and bicycle concepts to a meeting of the Bicycle Advisory Council on March 8. See my South Capitol Street and South Capitol Street Bridge pages for more details, photos, links, etc.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Open House on Anacostia Transportation Issues
Feb 15, 2006 7:07 PM
DDOT and the Anacostia Coordinating Council are holding an "Anacostia Transportation and Development Projects Information Fair," on Saturday Feb. 25 from 9 am to 2 pm, at 2616 MLK Ave., SE. It will be providing details on the plans for the Anacostia area, which include 11th Street and South Capitol Street Bridges, the Anacostia Waterfront projects and Poplar Point, as well as other projects that aren't in my Near Southeast purview. There will be bus tours of the sites, and food will be provided. Pre-registration encouraged but not required.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge

New 11th Street Bridges EIS Newsletter
Jan 17, 2006 5:43 PM
The 11th Street Bridges Environmental Impact Statement project has released its January 2006 newsletter, with a summary of the issues raised during the December public meetings. Another public meeting is expected in spring, with the EIS scheduled to be delivered in summer 2006.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges

11th Street Bridges Project Overview
Nov 11, 2005 12:21 PM
The 11th Street Bridges EIS web site has posted a two-page Project Overview document explaining (briefly!) the scope of the project and the "aggressive" schedule (with a timetable showing construction of the improvements happening in the 2007-2010 timeframe). There will be two meetings to review the draft set of alternatives before they are selected for detailed study, on Dec. 13 and 14. The handouts from the October scoping meetings are a good place to get general information on what the project is trying to accomplish (mainly, to add additional ramps to allow better access between the 11th Street Bridges and the Anacostia Freeway).
More posts: 11th Street Bridges

New Page for East M Street Area
Nov 8, 2005 6:38 PM
I've added a new page for the East M Street Area, that triangle of land east of the 11th Street Bridges and south of the Southeast Freeway that makes up the very eastern portion of Near Southeast. The Maritime Plaza development is the most obvious occupant of this area, but rowers and the like have staked a claim to this site's water access as well. The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's plans should bring welcome changes to this stretch in the years to come. (The addition of this area to the main map on my home page is not particularly elegant, but I couldn't shrink the map any farther!) I've also renamed the former East End page, giving it its proper designation "8th Street Historic District." (Both these monikers come from the Near Southeast Urban Design Framework, which is worth a look if you've never seen it or haven't looked at it in a while, to see what the city had in mind back in 2003 for this neck of the woods--you know, before anyone was talking about a stadium!!)
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