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Tidbits: Five Guys; Gump; 295 Lane Closures; SoS
Jun 10, 2010 1:12 PM
* There's been discussion on Twitter about this, but I guess it needs to be elevated to the blog--last week a sign went up at Five Guys on Second Street saying that it would be closed for maintenance from June 4 - 14. It certainly looks like they're doing work in there, and I doubt that if it were closing for good they would have given a timeframe, but I know people are nervous, given the dearth of other choices. I don't know any additional details, so feel free to post in the comments if you have any scuttlebutt to add.
* The BID's summer outdoor movie season continues tonight (Thursday) with Forrest Gump. Festivities start at Second and M streets, SE, at 7:30 pm, though the movie itself doesn't begin until after sundown. (I'm already making plans for the July 8 showing of Star Wars--if anyone wants to hang out with me, I can regale you young whippersnappers with tales of seeing it at the Uptown in the summer of 1977, and how my mother almost made us leave because she couldn't quite get hip to robots walking around in sand dunes.) Aak! They've taken it off the list, and replaced it with Legally Blonde! Waah!
* From DDOT, a notice about some lane closures this weekend on DC-295, which are technically outside my iron-clad boundaries but which do have to do with the 11th Street Bridges project: "From 9 pm on Friday, June 11 into the evening of Sunday, June 13, DDOT contractors will close one travel lane in each direction of DC 295 between the 11th Street Bridge and Pennsylvania Avenue. The work is part of the 11th Street Bridge Project. In addition, there will be single lane closures Saturday on both the northbound and southbound sides of Kenilworth Avenue (DC 295) at Eastern Avenue. This work if related to the replacement of the Eastern Avenue Bridge." They warn that there could be backups of two miles or more.
* I didn't really blog about Wednesday's phenomenal debut of Stephen Strasburg (though I was at the game and Tweeted here and there) because I figured that there might be one or two other outlets where you could get the latest. But it will be interesting to watch the impact on the neighborhood if he continues to pitch like an alien being--will all of his games bring huge crowds? Will attendance start to lift at games when he isn't playing? Will game-day traffic and transit issues that haven't really been at the forefront become a sore point if more people come to games more often? And will restaurants and bars (and retailers and office tenants and residents) start thinking a little more about being near the ballpark? The Summer of Strasburg (SoS) could get quite interesting....
QUICK ADD: From the Nats: "The Washington Nationals will host their annual blood drive, in partnership with Inova Blood Donor Services, this Saturday, June 12 in the Nationals Park Conference Center from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In addition to helping save a life, blood donors will receive two tickets to a future Nationals game, a limited edition Build-A-Bear Workshop bloodhound and the opportunity to take an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Nationals Park." There will be a second drive on Aug. 28, from 8 am to 2 pm.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Capitol Riverfront BID, Restaurants/Nightlife

Road and Lane Closures For Work Above N Street SE
Jun 4, 2010 5:46 PM
Over the next few weeks, weather permitting, workers will be demolishing bridge spans that runs above N Street, SE (that little connector road between 12th Street and the Navy Yard gate on 11th). This is part of the 11th Street Bridges project, and is the continuation of the demolition of the no-longer-needed ramps to and from RFK. (Note that the spans that still carry 11th Street Bridge traffic aren't coming down!) Here's the specifics on time-frames and lane closures:
""Sunday through Thursday from June 6 through July 1, weather permitting, contractors for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) will perform bridge demolition work above N Street SE requiring overnight closures of the street between the 12th Street SE and the gate of the Navy Yard on 11th Street SE. The closures will occur each night from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next morning with a signed detour provided.
"Also during this timeframe, the following lane closures will be instituted for related bridge demolition activities:
"* The left lane will be closed on the ramp from Southeast/Southwest Freeway to I-295 South/Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue continuing across the outbound 11th Street bridge and ending prior to merge area with I-295.
"* The left lane will be closed across the inbound 11th Street bridge beginning on I-295 north near Howard Road and ending past the M Street/12th Street exit ramp.
"All of these closures may be subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen conditions."
Here's a zoom in on the Google Maps satellite view if you need some visualization assistance. It's the first and third (from the left) of the four "spans" above N Street are the ones that go to and from RFK. I also wonder if this means that the big embankment that runs along 11th Street between M and N is coming down--I would think so, since it's now an unused stub.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Navy Yard

New Photos. Lots of Them. (1015 Half, 11th Street Bridges, Yards Park, Etc.)
May 31, 2010 4:56 PM
There have been a lot of photos I've been needing to take recently, and the stars finally aligned today for me to go get them. (I sure could use some Gatorade about now, though.) Here's a run-through:
I made my first visit to the 11th Street Bridges site, and now that all 63 river piles have been driven, it's kind of an interesting tableau. You can see my new photos, as well as background on the project if you need some orientation on what exactly you're seeing. I also got some "final" before-and-after photos of the view at 12th and M now that the RFK ramps are mostly gone.
I also wandered over to 1015 Half Street, now that I've been convinced that they're truly working on the building again. The main project page has an overview, but if you can't get enough before-and-afters, the Expanded 1015 Photo Archive shows even more angles (though you Nation fans might find them bittersweet).
I know I just unleased a big pile of Yards Park photos a few days ago, but the big hole in the lineup has been a lack of shots from across the Anacostia River, at Poplar Point. So I got over there today, and while they aren't as exciting as you might imagine (though you can see that they're doing some priming or test painting on the pedestrian bridge), I've still added some to my Yards Park page, denoted with the icon. I also finally got my official "after" photos from Poplar Point for Diamond Teague Piers, which you can see on the project page and also here. And, for the fun of it, you can also "watch" the stadium go up from that spot.
If you want to see all the "intersection" shots I took today (all 131 of them!), they're here, on three pages, and you can then click on the icon to see the historical images. (I had a lot of spots that needed updating. Yeesh!)
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More posts: 1015 Half, 11th Street Bridges, square 697, The Yards, Yards Park

11th Street Bridge River Piles Completed
May 20, 2010 4:49 PM
From DDOT: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today announced the completion of the 11th Street Bridge Project's first major construction milestone: all 63 river piles for the three new bridges have been driven in the Anacostia River. The 110-foot-long concrete piles that will form the core of the new bridges' foundations were pounded into the river bed since construction began in December. [...]
"The new bridges will continue to take shape in the months ahead as contractors form four piers for each bridge by building struts and caps on the piles then begin erecting structural steel for the bridge decks this fall. Additional work with landside pile driving is also underway to improve connections to the Anacostia Freeway (I-295/DC-295) and the Southeast-Southwest Freeway."
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges

11th Street Bridge-Related Lane Closures Coming
May 14, 2010 2:46 PM
From the 11th Street Bridge project folks:
"From Monday, May 17 to Friday, June 18, contractors for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) will conduct a variety of work for the 11th Street Bridge Project requiring off-peak-hour weekday lane closures on the 11th Street Bridge and related portions of DC 295/I-295 and the Southeast-Southwest Freeway.
"From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday closures will include:
"* One lane and the shoulder in each direction to and from the Southeast-Southwest Freeway to I-295/DC295 across the 11th Street Bridge for lane striping, barrier installation, surveying and lane realignment work.
"Closures may be subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen conditions."
They also say that closures will be suspended over Memorial Day weekend and immediately before and after Nationals games.
I also hear that the last of the piles being driven into the river will be completed soon, and the big crane on site will start being dismantled and moved out.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges

Weekend Road Work/Closures of Note
Apr 29, 2010 1:34 PM
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!
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Recent Tidbits (Cap Quarter Sold Out, Akridge in 2011, Va. Ave. Dog Park?, Photos of 11th Street Bridge Work)
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."

Links Roundup (Barracks Meeting Handouts, PSA 105, City Paper 'Best of DC' Nods)
Mar 25, 2010 6:02 PM
* The Marines have posted the slides and handouts from this week's workshops on potential sites for their new barracks. If you didn't see my update, here's Norm Metzger's additional take on Tuesday night's meeting.
* MPD's PSA 105 is having its monthly meeting on Saturday (March 27) at 10 am at the 1D substation at 500 E Street, SE.
* The Washington City Paper's annual "Best Of DC" issue is out, and Near Southeast gets a couple of nods: Cornercopia was given a Staff Pick for Best New Bodega, Capitol Quarter is the Readers' Pick for Best Designed Residential Development, and the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction gets a Staff Pick for Best Construction Project. Alas, this also means that now my year-long reign as Second Best Local Web Site (and "favorite nasty local blogger") has come to an end.
* The Washington Project for the Arts is holding its "WPArade" in Near Southeast, on June 5 at 12 pm along Half Street from M to N. This parade, modeled after similar events in other cities, "is an extravaganza of artists connecting with community to create a moving visual spectacle of art and culture." They've got a call for participants out, and it notes that "participants can traverse the route in any manner that is non-motorized (wagons, bicycles, walking, etc. are acceptable)." It'll culminate with a party at the Bullpen until 3 pm. Who will be the first to enter a giant papier-mache Stephen Strasburg?
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Barracks, Capper, Capitol Quarter, cornercopia, meetings, Retail

Links Roundup: 11th Street Bridges, Bullpen, Wells Challenger, Council Tickets, Freeway Signs
Mar 14, 2010 2:54 PM
Some items of interest I've tweeted over the past few days:
* Barry Farm (Re)Mixed shames me by posting recent photos of the 11th Street Bridges construction.
* The Bullpen opens for the 2010 season on April 3, when the Red Sox come to town for an exhibition.
* Capitol Hill Tower board member (and, I assume, resident) James DeMartino has announced he's running against Tommy Wells for the Ward 6 council seat. DeMartino is running as a Republican. (Here's a WashPost brief on the item.)
* Mayor Fenty has given the city council its ballpark suite tickets for the 2010 season, leaving reporters across the city bereft at the thought of not having the on-going tiff to cover.
* Technically off-topic, but: I've been grumbling for more than seven years now about the poorly placed sign on the SW Freeway for the C Street SW exit, which points drivers to a left-side lane but then requires them to move two lanes to the right within a quarter-mile to get to their ramp, So I finally took some photos to explain the issue and tweeted them to blow off some steam. Soon after, @ajfroggie posted two great images of how to replace the signage along that stretch to fix not only my complaint but some general problems with all of the signs.

Some Quick Friday Afternoon Links
Feb 26, 2010 6:00 PM
* The Douglass Bridge (South Capitol Street) will be closed on Sunday morning for its swing span test, from 4 am to approximately 9 am, weather permitting.
* Tickets went on sale this morning at 10 am for the Dave Matthews concert at Nationals Park on July 23--looks like good seats are still available.
* There's been some press over the past few days about the new DDOT web site, especially the "Transportation Access Portal" that gives detailed information about projects around the city, but I was kind of underwhelmed until I found out that the projects of most interest to Near Southeast are under an "Anacostia Waterfront Initiative" tab rather than in the Ward 6 section. There you can find all sorts of project-management details (cost, schedule) for the 11th Street Bridges, the new Douglass Bridge (coming in 2018!), and even the RFK ramp demolition.
*And, in the gosh-why-would-you-think-I-was-killing-time-on-a-Friday-afternoon department, a shot of what the 1000 block of K THIRD Street SE would look like if it were in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood (see large version):
* Plus, I think I have some cool items on the way next week. Fingers crossed.
* UPDATE: Shoot, I knew there was something else I meant to include: Minutes and materials from the last Lower 8th Street visioning session. A report will be submitted to the Office of Planning.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, Traffic Issues

Tidbits From the Past Few Days (Foreclosure, Marines, WMATA Cuts, 11th Street Bridges, 1015 Half)
Jan 21, 2010 10:35 AM
Rounding up some new and Tweeted tidbits, now that I've recovered from cranking out the State of the Hood:
* (h/t "reader X") The second foreclosure sale held yesterday for the boarded-up apartment building and surrounding lots at Potomac, Ninth and L brought no bids above the $2 million starting point, so the properties will now return to the lender. An earlier auction back in October had brought a $2.461 million winning bid, but that deal fell through. The properties were originally bought by ICP Partners in 2006, along with the gray building at Eighth and Potomac, for $9 million.
* Via ANC 6B03 commissioner Norm Metzger, the Marines have created a web site for their "Community Integrated Master Plan." The site describes this planning process as evaluating "community-military development partnering options" because "[t]here are unmet facility needs and security requirements at Marine Barracks Washington and a potential to meet common community and military needs through the process" and that their goal is "to use a coordinated planning process to create a win-win in meeting the development needs of the local community and Marine Corps." Now that that's cleared up, you can go to the open house they're having on Jan. 27 from 5 to 8 pm in the North Hall of Eastern Market, to "assist the planning team in identifying issues, concerns, and potential opportunities for military-community development partnering."
* One of many service reductions proposed by WMATA to help close their FY2010 budget gap is to shut down one of the two entrances to the Navy Yard metro station on weekends. (They don't say which one.) The public hearing on their various proposals is Jan. 27 at 5:30 pm. UPDATE: From Michael Perkins, in the comments, it would be the west entrance, at Half and M. I wonder if this would only be when there are no stadium events?
* Via the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce's Twitter feed, there will apparently be one more Lower 8th Street visioning session, on February 22. After this final session, the group will forward its recommendations to the Office of Planning on what sort of development should be emphasized for these blocks south of the freeway.
* In Sunday's Post, Dr. Gridlock took a look at the 11th Street Bridges project, telling drivers what to expect as the construction unfolds, and that the "new bridges will forge a link between Maryland, the District and Virginia that has been missing since the original highway plan for the District was abandoned decades ago. And it will create a new link between neighborhoods on both sides of the Anacostia while relieving them of some of the commuter traffic that spills onto local streets."
* As part of the start of work on the bridges, a raze permit application has been filed to demolish the old red brick buildings between the current bridges that housed the Anacostia Community Boathouse, whose operations are now moving up-river to a temporary (maybe permanent) home at the Anacostia Marina.
* A little time spent trolling through public records shows that within the past month a bunch of the liens brought against Opus East when they liquidated and stopped work on 1015 Half Street have been settled. No indications from the new owner (Douglas Wilson Companies) as to when construction might restart, despite their statements back in October that it would be happening soon.

Reminder: Lane Closures on SE Freeway
Jan 14, 2010 3:42 PM
From DDOT:
"The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is scheduled to temporarily close lanes on the eastbound side of the Southeast Freeway this weekend to complete the demolition of two RFK access ramps. The ramps cross over the freeway.
"Last Saturday, crews demolished the concrete on the ramps; this weekend they will remove the steel structure. The work is scheduled to take place from 5 am to 10 pm on Saturday, January 16. There could be additional closures on Sunday, January 17, but only if the work is not completed on Saturday.
"The left lane and shoulder will be closed just prior to the I-295 South and Pennsylvania Avenue split. That means all traffic approaching the split will have to take the I-295 exit. There will be no access to RFK Stadium or Pennsylvania Avenue from the SE Freeway."
They haven't posted the new advisory yet, but here's the link to last weekend's, with the graphics for detours and whatnot. Expect delays on the freeway.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges

Temporary Lane Closures for RFK Ramp Demolition
Jan 5, 2010 4:36 PM
Just out from DDOT (link to come), official announcement of the upcoming road work that was initially "previewed" in the poorly written "Freeway to be Closed" flashing sign at the Sixth Street exit on the Southeast Freeway:
"The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is scheduled to temporarily close lanes on the eastbound side of the Southeast Freeway over the next two weekends for the demolition of two RFK access ramps. The ramps cross over the freeway.
"On the weekend of January 9 and 10, and again on January 16 and 17, the left lane and shoulder will be closed just prior to the I-295 South and Pennsylvania Avenue split. That means all traffic approaching the split will have to take the I-295 exit. There will be no access to RFK Stadium or Pennsylvania Avenue from the SE Freeway."
If you want to get to Pennsylvania Avenue from the freeway during those two weekends, the DDOT-approved detour is to go across the 11th Street Bridges, get off at MLK, turn left at Good Hope, then left at Minnesota, which will take you to Pennsylvania. But I wouldn't be surprised to see the traffic increase at the Sixth Street exit during these closures.
In a similar (though technically outside my boundaries) vein, starting tomorrow (Jan. 6), there will be lane closures on the east side of the 11th Street Bridges and on I-295 so that crews can place "construction access points, concrete barriers, attenuators and other traffic controls related to the start of 11th Street Bridge Project construction."
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges

Construction Underway on New 11th Street Bridges
Dec 29, 2009 11:40 AM
On a chilly morning (with winds high enough to scuttle the planned boat tour), DDOT announced that work is officially underway on the new 11th Street Bridges, the $300 million four-year project to build three new spans across the Anacostia River to provide both expanded freeway access between I-295 and the SE/SW Freeway and a new local-traffic bridge connecting Anacostia and Near Southeast.
Pile driving in the river is expected to start within the next day or two (it was supposed to start today, but the winds scuttled that, too). Engineers said it should be at least 18 months before there are any changes to the traffic flow on either side of the river.
The biggest changes in the configuration of the bridges will be the new ramps allowing for access from southbound I-295 to the bridges and from the bridges to northbound DC295, meaning that much of the neighborhood cut-through traffic and bad flow on Pennsylvania Avenue should be mitigated, though residents who oppose the expansion of the bridges' capacity--such as the Capitol Hill Restoration Society--differ with DDOT on the benefits of the project.
The third span--a "local street that happens to cross a river," in the words of DDOT's Bart Clark--will be built with streetcar tracks included in the two curb lanes, and will also include wide pedestrian/cycling paths, bulb-out bridge overlooks (where you can stop and look at the view without impeding the flow), and even osprey nest perches down by the water. This span, allowing local traffic to cross the river without having to mix with high-speed freeway traffic as it currently does, will reach street level at O Street on the west side of the river, which will also make for an easy connection to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. And all new bridges will be built with shoulders, to help lessen backups when there are accidents.
One additional change in all of this is that the Anacostia Community Boathouse operations, which are currently nestled between the existing spans, will be permanently moved northeast, to the Anacostia marina, and the old red brick buildings will be demolished. (A temporary structure is being built to get their operations moved by spring.)
For the next few months, pile driving and some off-roadway clearing and minor lane shifts on DC-295 will be the extent of the construction, but by late spring or early summer there will begin to be work underway on both O Street and M Street
I've added new graphics to my 11th Street Bridges page that show the plans for the new bridges. It will be an interesting project to watch over the next few years.
In addition, demolition work on the existing ramps to and from RFK has perked back up again, and there will be lane closures on the portion of the freeway that connects to Pennsylvania Avenue within the next few weeks. (If you saw the variable message sign at the Sixth Street SE exit that said "Freeway to be closed on or about 1/9/2010," it was a bit of a verbiage boo-boo that was meant to alert drivers to the coming lane closures, and is being fixed.)
There was a decent amount of press at the briefing (both Dr. Gridlock and Bob Marbourg were in the house, so you know it was serious), and I'll be updating this entry as stories come online, most of which will no doubt give more focus to the changes coming to the east side of the river than I have here (though I have posted some enlarged graphics that show both sides of the river). Here's the DDOT press release, fact sheet, and FAQ.
UPDATE: Links to Dr. Gridlock, WTOP, and City Paper. And WUSA. (I won't bother with pieces written right off the press release.)
UPDATE II: A bike-centric look at the plans from WashCycle.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row

11th Street Bridge Construction to Begin (Updated)
Dec 24, 2009 10:31 AM
A press release just out from DDOT (not yet posted online) alerts the city that construction is about to start on the new 11th Street Bridges:
"On or about Tuesday, December 29, 2009, contractors will begin 11th Street Bridge Project construction activities, which may be noticeable to area residents and businesses but ultimately result in a number of important benefits.
"Initial work will include pile driving in the Anacostia River to construct foundations for three new bridges - one for local and two for freeway traffic. Barrier placement, off-roadway clearing, and drainage work is also to begin adjacent to both directions of DC 295, later resulting in shoulder encroachments and minor lane shifts. Eventually, land-side pile driving on both sides of the river will be required to construct new connecting ramps and improve the highway. To minimize impacts, noise and vibration levels will be monitored at all times.
"The new bridges will be constructed between the existing bridges, which are projected to serve almost 180,000 vehicles per day by 2030, allowing contractors to maintain all existing travel movements and 12-foot travel lanes except during approved work in off-peak travel hours.
"In addition, contractors will practice good neighbor construction by establishing designated haul routes, having most materials delivered via the river or highway, controlling dust, and requiring that workers not park on neighborhood streets."
The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2013, and at last report would be costing $260 million (unless they've found more funding). In addition to more lanes for cars and improved vehicle flow, the bridges will have new wider paths for pedestrians and bicycles, as well as the rails for the new streetcars that will connect Anacostia and the west side of the river.
DDOT is having a press shindig on Tuesday to give more specifics about the project; you can see my 11th Street Bridges project page for additional information and graphics, and there's also this PDF from DDOT that gives an overview of what the new bridges and traffic flow will look like.
UPDATE: In wandering around, I found this document, a 69-page Final Environmental Impact Statement "Reevaluation" from July 2009, which details what the changes are in the design from the FEIS "preferred alternative" and what's going to actually be built (now called the "Phase 1 Alternative", and seen in the graphic referenced above):
* The bridges (three, rather than two) will be placed in between the existing bridges on new foundation/substructures, as mentioned above;
* Minor reconfigurations of the expressway interchanges on both sides of the river;
* Reconfiguration of the local access interchange on the east side of the river;
* Ending work on the Southeast Freeway east of the existing Seventh/Eighth Street bridges, without replacing these structures;
* Modifications to the pedestrian and bicycle connections.
The Reevaluation has plenty more details on the above bullet points if you're interested. It also explains that, for now, DDOT is only funding the "Phase 1 interim improvements," which "will include complete construction of the three new river crossings and completion of the interchange on the east side (Anacostia) of the river. On the west side of the river, the inbound movement will be completed from the river to the proposed connection to the Southeast Freeway at the existing bridge over 8th Street. Ramp[s] will also be constructed and the inbound Southeast Boulevard [the old below-grade connector to Pennsylvania Avenue] will be connected to 11th Street. 11th Street will be widened from the Southeast Freeway to O Street on the west side of the river, with widening to the ultimate width from M Street to O Street." It also says that, as additional funding is found, the "remaining elements of the project can move forward in the same design that was approved in the EIS."
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

Donate Coats at Nats Park; Buzzard Point Study; Other Tidbits; Meeting Reminders
Nov 17, 2009 2:06 PM
Today's tidbits:
* The Nationals are in the middle of the One Warm Coat Drive, which is collecting "clean, reuseable" coats and jackets that will be distributed to District adults and children free of charge by the Coalition for the Homeless. Coats may be taken to the Team Store on the southwest corner of Half and N streets, SE, which will be open at 11 am everyday between now and Dec. 11 (except for Thanksgiving), with the store staying open until 3 pm from now to Nov. 25, 6 pm on the 27th and 28th, and 4 pm from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
* Buzzard Point--the peninsula south of Potomac Avenue where the Anacostia and Potomac meet--is 95 percent outside of my boundaries (technically there's a sliver of Southeast over there since South Capitol Street runs down to R Street), but I'll still pass this along. The American Planning Association is going to develop a Strategic Vision for Buzzard Point, and there's a community meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 18) from 6 to 8:30 pm, followed by a walking tour on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 8 to 9:30 pm, and then an "initial findings" meeting on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 2 pm. The Thursday and Saturday meetings are at the MPD-1D station at the old Bowen Elementary School at 101 M St., SW, and the walking tour leaves from King-Greenleaf Rec Center at 201 N St., SW. More information about the project and meetings here. (Note: meeting locations revised from original post)
* This is from last week, but WBJ reports that the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is joining a regional group looking at possible ferry service from Occoquan to points along the Potomac and Anacosita Rivers (including the Navy Yard).
* The city has announced the first move related to the reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges--they're going to close the pedestrian bridge over DC295 in Anacostia on or about Nov. 30, because it needs to be demolished to make way for the construction of a new ramp that will link southbound 295 with the new bridges.
And, two last-minute meeting reminders:
* If you're reading this in the next few hours, you can still make tonight's Lower 8th Street Visioning session, at 7 pm at 535 8th Street, SE. @CapitolHillDC live-tweeted this morning's session, if you want to see what went on. The agenda is available on the blogspot site.
* Competing with the Buzzard Point meeting is DDOT's public meeting on the Ward 6 Performance Parking Pilot, starting at 6:30 pm Wednesday (Nov. 18) at Friendship Baptist Church, 900 Delaware Ave., SW. This is a meeting I'm actually going to be able to attend! Woo-hoo!
Comments (2)
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Capitol Riverfront BID, 8th Street, parking, Nationals Park

City Gets Approval to Buy Post Plant for $85 Million
Sep 23, 2009 9:26 AM
From the Examiner: "The Fenty administration will spend more than $85 million to purchase a vacant warehouse in Southeast that the government has paid more than $15 million to rent while it has stood unused since mid-2007. Authorization to buy 225 Virginia Ave. was included in the fiscal 2010 Budget Support Act, which won the D.C. Council's unanimous approval Tuesday." And, who will be occupying it? "After the buyout, the building is to be turned over to Bethesda-based developer Stonebridge Carras, which will turn it into the headquarters for the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the Commission on the Arts and Humanities." This ends the falderal that's existed around the building since the Williams administration sublet the building in December 2006 with the intention to turn it into the headquarters for the police department. You can browse all my posts about the building if you want to stroll down memory lane.
Also yesterday, the council gave approval to the land transfer from the Feds at Anacostia Park that clears the way for work to begin on the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction project.
Comments (12)
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I

New Photos Posted (Hat Tip: Mr. Blue Sky)
Sep 20, 2009 6:24 PM
Even at my laziest, it's hard to not pull out my camera on a day like today and head to the Hood. But without a lot of projects going on, I had the chance to also wander by some locations I've not paid as much attention to as I should. Here's the highlights:
I stopped by 11th and 12th streets to get caught up on the RFK ramp demolition that's part of the 11th Street Bridges project. The ramps across M have been down for a while now, making M Street along this stretch seem slightly less claustrophobic. The remaining concrete pillars (like the one at left, and the stubs on the south side of M) make for some interesting sculptures.

Capitol Quarter continues to progress on its third block (between K, I, Fifth, and Fourth), with some houses now bricked and framing coming soon to the north side of the block, making St. Paul's church not look quite so lonely anymore. Plus, the first foundations are being poured on the fourth and final block of phase 1, along Virginia Avenue between Third and Fourth.
I even ventured down to the fences at the Park at the Yards to see what I could see, and on the west side of the footprint I could glimpse some of the work being done on the Canal Basin water feature at the foot of Third Street as well as some clearing of the area that will be the Great Lawn. Here's the latest photos, or check the Yards Park page to see some of them matched with the renderings of what the spots will look like.

This isn't the most earth-shattering shot of the day, but I did feel it necessary to finally get a shot of 900 M Street now that Domino's is open.

Last but not least, I wandered around Virginia Avenue Park, finally getting my set of "baseline" photos along Ninth Street (only six years later than I should have). I also took some photos of the park itself but I'm going to take a little more time and not do a rush-job on the park photos; the one above, of the community garden, will have to tide you over a little longer.
As always, on any of these pages, click on the icon to see a complete set of before-and-afters of the location you're viewing. (And boy, am I loving being able to post larger thumbnails of photos here in the blog entries, thanks to the redesign of the home page. But don't forget to click through to see the non-thumbnailed versions.)

NCPC Staff Recommends Favorable Comment on 11th Street Bridges Design (Except for the Streetcar Part)
Aug 31, 2009 12:42 PM
The final agenda is now out for Thursday's meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission, and contained in it is a long document setting out the commission staff's recommendations for a vote on the design of the 11th Street Bridges.
For anyone interested in the bridges as a driver, bicyclist, pedestrian, water recreationist, neighbor, or construction enthusiast, it's a worthwhile read (even at 26 pages). To cut to the chase, the staff is recommending that the commission "comment favorably" on the designs for the bridges, even though the designs are still in the very early stages, and there's very little new in this document that we didn't see in the EIS or other releases. There's even mention of how the city's Comprehensive Plan envisions the eventual dismantling of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, but that the new bridges are needed until the time comes that I-395 comes down (i.e., far past the date I shuffle off this mortal coil).
However, they are not at all happy with DDOT's decision to choose a streetcar system with overhead wires, and the document goes into detail on how this works against federal interests, as well as listing what non-overhead-wire streetcar options exist out there (none in the US so far). Their conclusions (page 22):
"Recommends that DDOT not include streetcar system components for overhead wires as part of the 11th Street Bridge project and that DDOT prepare an environmental impact statement for its proposed District wide streetcar system that examines potential impacts on the L'Enfant City and Georgetown and that includes an analysis of propulsion systems that do not require the use of overhead wires.
"Advises DDOT that the Commission does not support a streetcar system with overhead wires because it supports the unobstructed views to important landmarks along the city's streets and avenues that are integral to the District's unique character and result from the long-standing federal statutory prohibition against using overhead wires in Washington City (the L'Enfant City) and Georgetown.
"Encourages DDOT to pursue alternative propulsion technologies for the proposed streetcar system that do not require overhead wires in accordance with its January 24, 2008 commitment to include dual vehicle propulsion requirements in a solicitation package for the development and implementation of the broader streetcar system beyond the Anacostia and H Street/Benning Road corridors."
The commission meeting when this recommendation will be voted on is Thursday (Sept. 3) at 12:30 pm.
Comments (2)
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, streetcars, Traffic Issues

Upcoming Events (11th Street Bridges, Last Movie, Capitol Quarter Ribbon Cutting)
Aug 18, 2009 12:40 PM
A slew of upcoming events to pass along:
* On Wednesday (Aug. 19), there's going to be an 11th Street Bridges Open House, billed as an update for Ward 8 residents about the status of the bridge replacement project. (But I'm guessing people from other wards can come, too.) It's from 7 pm to 8:30 pm, at the Union Temple Baptist Church at 1225 W St., SE.
* Thursday (Aug. 20) is the last night of the BID's 80's Outdoor Movies series, with "Ghostbusters" on the bill (rescheduled from a rainout earlier this year). Apparently the BID is planning a four-week fall movie series starting in September; I'll pass more along on that when I get it.
* Next Wednesday (Aug. 26) the DC Housing Authority is holding an official ribbon cutting and grand opening at Capitol Quarter, from 10 am to noon at Fourth and L, with the mayor expected to be in attendance. This is just a little over two years after the ceremonial groundbreaking, held on a sweltering day in June 2007.
* If you're desperate for something to do Wednesday morning but a ribbon cutting isn't your thing, the U.S. Navy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard will host "Pirate or Privateer? War of 1812 Day," a series of demonstrations and lectures on the War of 1812. The program, which runs from 10 am to 2 pm, includes Gun Drills in the replica of the USS Constitution and Sea Chanteys. The event is free and open to the public, though note that there's no parking available inside the gates for visitors.
* The National Capital Planning Commission again has the design of the 11th Street Bridges on their tentative agenda, for their Sept. 3 meeting. It had also been on the tentative agenda for the July meeting, but didn't make the final cut; hopefully that won't happen again, because NCPC always puts together such great reports on the projects it votes on (and posts them on their web site), so it's a good place to get details that have been hard to find elsewhere.
* This is still a few weeks away, but residents might want to mark their calendars that the next ANC 6D meeting, on Sept. 14 will be held in Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. I've been attending ANC meetings off and on for six years, and this is the first one I remember that will be crossing South Capitol Street.
* The next day, Sept. 15, Urban Land Institute Washington is holding its third Urban Marketplace Conference and Expo, which brings together "the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to explore redevelopment opportunities and best practices in emerging neighborhoods and corridors across the Washington metropolitan region." One of the day's discussions, from 3 pm to 4 pm will focus on the ballpark district (and I'm one of the panelists).
All of these are of course on my Upcoming Events Calendar.
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