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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: 11th Street Bridges
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Homewood Suites Hotel
1111 New Jersey
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1244 South Capitol
Florida Rock
Ballpark Square
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Southeast Blvd.
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Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
New Barracks
Akridge/Half St.
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250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
Factory 202/Yards
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1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
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Boilermaker Shops ('13)
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225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
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On Friday morning I was lucky enough to get a wonderfully wide-ranging tour of the 11th Street Bridges project, and of course made sure to have camera in hand to get a pile of photos of the current state of construction. I've put together a gallery of these photos, and will slowly work on adding them to my 11th Street Bridges project page over the next week or so. Some points of note:
* DDOT expects that the new bridges carrying inbound and outbound freeway traffic will open by the end of this year. There will still be plenty of work to do in terms of ramps and connections and other necessary work surrounding those bridges, but at least these new structures will be open fairly soon. (If you haven't been following closely, one of the big "adds" of this entire project is that when completed vehicles will be able to move between the freeway bridges and northbound/southbound DC295 in all directions, which isn't currently the case.)
* The new 11th Street Local bridge, carrying traffic between Anacostia and 11th Street SE by the Navy Yard, is expected to open by fall of next year. However, according to Greater Greater Washington and other outlets, this bridge apparently will not be having streetcar tracks built into it during this initial construction phase as originally designed, because of all manner of bureaucratic falderal I'm too lazy to bother trying to explain here. If this happens, portions of the deck of the bridge would have to be pulled up and redone with the streetcar tracks a few years from now. (On the other hand, the concrete hasn't been poured on this bridge yet, so maybe there's still a chance some folks could figure out a way to get it to happen now?)
* These graphics show the plans for the paths and landscaping under the bridges along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail (just east of the entrance to the Navy Yard's portion of the riverwalk). They appear to include an interesting little jut-out into the river, on what I imagine is the footprint of the existing downstream bridge.
* If you drive 11th Street north of M and see the big concrete piers popping up to the east, they are for the new flyover ramp that will connect inbound freeway bridge traffic to the Southeast Freeway. Work is also underway on a new ramp that will bring traffic from RFK and Pennsylvania Avenue up to a signalized interchange at 11th Street rather than continuing underneath 11th to the Southeast Freeway. There will then be a ramp from 11th to the westbound freeway, which means that folks who live on the eastern side of Capitol Hill or who work at the Navy Yard will be able to get on the freeway at 11th rather than zooming down Virginia Avenue all the way to 3rd Street.
It's a pretty big project, and I'm giving short shrift to much of the change that will be coming to the connections to the bridges on the east side of the Anacostia, but the new photo gallery should still be interesting, and my 11th Street Bridges Project page can probably help with additional details if you're in need.
The photo gallery also has this stitched-together panorama taken up on the new flyover bridge, but you'll probably want to look at a larger version, since it gives a pretty good look at a large swath of skyline alongside the Anacostia River:
If you missed my batch of photos from last week of the new Southbound 295 flyover bridge that opened over the weekend, here they are.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges
 

Late tonight, DDOT will be opening the new southbound DC 295 flyover bridge, which is the first major phase of completed work on the 11th Street Bridges project. This will shift the flow of southbound traffic so that vehicles merging into 295 from the outbound 11th Street Bridge will be funneled into the left side of the freeway traffic, allowing thru 295 traffic to much more easily access the Howard Road exit without having to weave through the 11th Street Bridge merge flow.
Since this is on the east side of the Anacostia, it's not something I'd normally be writing much about, except that I got to visit the flyover bridge with camera in hand, hours before its opening, as part of a wide-ranging tour of the entire 11th Street Bridges project that DDOT was generous enough to arrange for me. In order to stay ahead of the news cycle, I've posted a quick gallery of images of the new flyover bridge,
But of course these are not the only photos I took, and so early next week look for another batch of images that I'll be posting of the work on the bridges themselves and the new approaches that are being put in place. Work began on the project in late 2009, and DDOT expects that the new inbound and outbound freeway bridges will be open by the end of this year. The new 11th Street Local bridge should open in the second half of next year, with the various new connector ramps being completed soon after. (There is one shot of the new bridges included in this batch that should whet your appetite.)
I'll hold off on the other big news of the project until then as well.
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I grabbed a smattering of photos yesterday, taking advantage of some gorgeous weather (I walked about as much as the Nats did against the Giants, though I think I was more successful). I put most of them in their usual places in the Photo Archive, but I thought there were some standouts that would be worth seeing in sizes larger than my normal images, so I posted this gallery as well. What all is in it?
If you haven't been to 1st and L since Thursday, you might be a bit surprised at what the northeast corner looks like, because about 24 hours after the decision to reject the landmarking application, workers arrived at the Market Deli and removed all the beige siding and the signs. (Dang, I would have offered to hang onto one of those.) I took a bunch of shots of not only the defrocked Deli but also its siblings along that stretch of 1st Street, because with raze permits having been filed, they may not be around much longer.
I also caught the progress at the Little Red Building version 2.0, where the windows and doors are now in place. And then I figured I'd better save for posterity the signs on the M Street fences at Canal Park announcing the availability of 3,500 square feet of restaurant space when construction is completed in (we hope) 2012.
A new demolition project started on Friday, bringing down the last portion of the decommissioned ramp from RFK to the outbound 11th Street Bridge, which will bring quite a change to 11th Street south of M as the massive retaining wall that has run along the east side of the street will be disappearing. There will be a new ramp from M just east of 11th to take traffic to the new outbound freeway bridge, but it will be set back a bit, and 11th Street itself will be wider since it will have traffic running in both directions to and from the new "11th Street Local" bridge. (UPDATE, many days later: As I watch the demolition, I now see that most of the retaining wall is going to stay in place, since that is where the new on-ramp to the outbound freeway will be. Duh.)
I walked the circuit down 11th, across O, and back up 12th, and took photos of the work on the new freeway span as it gets closer to crossing above O (above, left), as well as shots of work on the new exit ramp (above, right) that will take drivers off the inbound freeway span all the way up to M Street (rather than dumping them onto 12th as in the current configuration). I put a bunch of before-and-afters on my 11th Street Bridges project page (where you can also see graphics and information on the new design), but there's a number of enlarged versions of these construction photos in the photo gallery I posted (scroll down about halfway).
So, check out the gallery for the nice pretty big shots, follow the targeted links above, or see all of yesterday's photos, where as always you can click on the to see the complete archive of images for any location.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Canal Park, Little Red Bldg/Lot 38 Espresso, marketdeli
 

The framing of the next batch of townhouses in Capitol Quarter's second phase continues, and so I headed out to get an updated batch of photos at 3rd and I (which also happen to show the buzz around 225 Virginia/200 I, as workers are prepping to take down the exterior walls, perhaps starting next week I was told).
But it isn't just houses being built--a few weeks ago, curbs and asphalt were put in for the new 3rd Place, a north-south street between 3rd and 4th that will run between I and L streets. (You can see it, although it's unmarked, on this map.) It's the first time I've had to add a street to my Photo Archive, but it seems to have worked, and I not only have photos I took today, but whatever photos I could find from deep in the archives that by chance ended up being taken in the right location.
You can see my photos at both 3rd Place and I and 3rd Place and K and perhaps see some 2004-2006 photos you haven't come across before. These two shots are looking north-northeast at the new 3rd Place & K intersection:
(The street isn't actually open yet, though, since it goes right through the block that's currently under construction.)
I also took a lot of pictures along 11th Street, ostensibly to document the progress on the 11th Street Bridges, but I didn't actually go anywhere close to the waterfront, so you have to be satisfied with various other photos that show progress if you squint at them.
And I grabbed a lot of other shots around Square 906 today (7th, 8th, L, Virginia), since my archive is woefully lacking in images of that block, and things will be a'changin' around there before too long. You can see them as part of the display of the 151 pictures (eek) I've posted today, but I'll have something a bit more targeted within the next few weeks. You can also, as always, browse the photo archive at your own speed, using the map or the search boxes to see the intersection(s) you're interested in.
As for additional construction photos perhaps in the offing, a reader reports that No Parking signs have gone up along Second Street, indicating that parking will be prohibited 24 hours a day starting on March 7 for approximately 15 months. Is a certain park about to see some action?
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Canal Park, Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

From DDOT: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will close N Street SE between 11th and 12th Street SE on Thursday, February 24. Traffic that would have used N Street SE will be permanently routed to the intersection of 12th Street and M Street SE.[.]" There are stoplights now at 12th and M; I saw them on Saturday night, and thought they were pretty new (and indeed they are!).
This is all part of the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction; see my project page for more details. This closure would seem to mainly effect Navy Yard employees who come northward across the bridges and have been able to turn left at the bottom of the ramp on N to head toward the Navy Yard's gates, and who will now have to go up to M, turn left, and then turn left on 11th.
UPDATE: In looking at the plans, and parsing the press release wording, I think the "permanently" refers to drivers coming off the 11th Street Bridge inbound having to go to 12th and M. It looks like N will still be in existence, and in fact will be built through to 12th. I can't quite tell from the various graphics how traffic will flow on the new N. But basically, the way that N is used now (as a turn off the exit ramp) won't exist anymore.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Navy Yard
 

Over the weekend DDOT sent out its latest "Eleventh Street Ledger," the official newsletter of the 11th Street Bridges project. It gives a pretty detailed update on the progress made over the past few months on surrounding infrastructure and the two new "freeway bridges," the inbound one of which now has 48 of its 54 girders set, with the outbound girders soon to follow. These two bridges will be opening in the fall, with the two-way "11th Street Local" bridge expected to open a year after that.
You can read the newsletter for all the information, but it does say (page 2) that coming soon in the 11th/12th/M/N/O corridor on the Near Southeast side of things will be the first of four new piers north of M to connect the new inbound freeway bridge to the existing freeway, and that this summer steel girders for the ramp will be placed above M Street. And the girders of the inbound bridge will soon be set to connect the new bridge itself to the northwest side of the river.
In the meantime, away from the construction zone, the National Capital Planning Commission at its upcoming meeting on Thursday is set to give its approval to the final design of the bridges, and the Staff Recommendation document gives a good overview worth reading of the general plans for the bridges.
There is also a graphic on page 5 detailing the ramps and right-of-ways that would be built in a later, currently unfunded phase of the project, with the bulk of the additional work to be done where the freeway curves at 11th Street. There would be a new wider flyover to take outbound traffic to the bridges; there also would be a change in the current Pennsylvania Avenue approach with a new ramp down to 11th Street, where drivers would go through a streetlight-controlled intersection to either turn left or right on 11th or continue forward toward Pennsylvania Avenue on the new "Southeast Boulevard" (which is what drivers know today as the below-grade route to and from Pennsylvania Avenue and Barney Circle). There would also be new approaches north of M between 11th and 12th to take drivers exiting off the inbound freeway bridge up to Southeast Blvd., where they could turn either left to get to 11th Street or right to go to Pennsylvania Avenue.
These additional routes were all called for in the EIS, but if you came in after the design/build phase of the bridges got underway, you might be unfamiliar with these other connections that DDOT hopes to eventually add, which will make the intersection of 11th Street and Southeast Blvd. quite a happening juncture. This intersection will actually get its start during the bridge's first phase, as within a few years there will be a new ramp allowing northbound traffic on 11th Street to turn left and enter the Southeast Freeway--no more zooming down Virginia Avenue for eight blocks to the 3rd Street ramp. And traffic coming from Pennsylvania Avenue on the first iteration of Southeast Blvd. will be brought to this new 11th Street intersection as well.
The NCPC document also says (page 8) that the path on the local bridge for cyclists and pedestrians has been widened in the final design to 16 feet from 14 feet. And the design is still configured to allow for streetcars to run on the local bridge in shared lanes, with lighting fixtures and other design elements configured for overhead wires, should they be necessary.
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From DDOT, an announcement of two overnight closures of the outbound 11th Street Bridge this week, from 10 pm Wednesday (Jan. 26) through 5 am Thursday (Jan. 27), then again at 10 pm that night (the 27th) through 5 am on Friday the 28th. "Setup activity" for the closures will begin at 8 pm. The closures are to allow for overhead girder construction work.
The inbound bridge will remain open. For detour routes and other information, see the press release. It does note that if there's inclement weather, the closures will be rescheduled to the same overnight hours on Sunday, Jan. 30. And, given the Wednesday night forecast, it is possible that slot will get rained or snowed out (more likely rained).
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues
 

Some recently Tweeted items, and a few new ones, worth wrapping up into a quick post:
* Last week I heard from the owners of what will soon be the Harry's Reserve "upscale" wine and spirits store at New Jersey and I, saying that they hope to be open by February 1.
* This year's NatsFest at the baseball stadium will be held on March 30, the day before the Opening Day home game against the Atlanta Braves. The schedule of events is still to come, but hopefully the decision to better tie in the event to the hoopla surrounding the start of the season won't be offset by it being on a Wednesday, when it's harder for kids to be there. (Especially kids who may already be playing hooky the next day!)
* The Yards Park web site now has information about renting space for public, private, or community events. And if you wander through the calendar, you can see what events might be on tap for this year, though the main calendar shows what's been confirmed, such as the Capitol City Beer Festival on May 28, the previously discussed DC Music Festival on May 7, the MetroDash obstacle course race on July 9, and a monthy Art Market.
* Stephen Strasburg, working on his degree while rehabbing, has written a thesis on the effects new stadiums have on neighborhoods, with a focus on Nationals Park. If he was looking for information on what the neighborhood looked like "before," I hope he found it! (And no, the thesis isn't available anywhere.)
* The National Capital Planning Commission will be looking at the final 11th Street Bridges site and building plans at their February 3 meeting. Gosh, I hope they like where the bridges themselves are placed in the designs!
* Off-topic, but the hunt seems to be back on for a new DC United stadium location, with one of the potential spots being across South Capitol Street at Buzzard Point in Southwest. (Please note that I said Buzzard Point. There is no s on the end. In case you missed 642 tweets about it today.) SWill has some additional information.
And, coming on Thursday (I hope), my 2011 State of the Hood roundup of the past 12 months' worth of activity, and what might be on the horizon. (I'm telling you this to force myself to actually get it done.)
 

A few small items that might be of interest:
* The National Capital Planning Commission at its Thursday meeting should be approving the design of the 611-foot-long floating bridge to connect the Yards Park with Diamond Teague Park. The "delegated action" document says that the bridge will also include an 81-foot-long platform that will be used as a "marine environmental education center" -- the platform is necessary to span three underground pipes at the DC Water pumping station. At the BID annual meeting in December, it was said that construction on the bridge could begin this spring. (UPDATE) And construction is expected to take 6-8 months.
* If you drive into downtown DC across the 11th Street Bridges late at night/early in the morning, be advised that the ramps from northbound I-295 and 13th Street, SE, will be closed between midnight and 5 am on both Friday, Jan. 7 and Monday, Jan. 10 to allow for work with overhead steel girders. But the South Capitol Street Bridge will be open for your Anacostia crossing pleasure.
* There hasn't been much apparent movement by American Water Taxi to get started with its planned service between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Teague Park, but an update on their web site within the past few weeks says that "Focus groups and working group meetings to start in January."
* The agenda for the Jan. 11 ANC 6B meeting includes an item on the "Resolution of the Bavarian Beer Garden [Liquor] License Protest." Does this mean that the ANC and the folks wanting to open the beer garden at 8th and L have gotten the voluntary agreement hashed out, after all the concerns recently expressed? We shall see.
 

At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, Bryon Johnston of the 11th Street Bridges Project gave a presentation on the rebuilding of the bridges, including an overview of the design and its main features as well as an update on the construction progress. He was nice enough to pass along the slides, which may not mean quite as much without his narration but are still helpful for people who haven't been following along through the process.
A few parts of the new design on the Near Southeast side of the project are worth (re-)pointing out, if you can make it through my torrent of descriptions:
* The "freeway" traffic and the "local" traffic will now be separated, with four lanes inbound and four lanes outbound on the freeway/upriver bridge and two lanes inbound/outbound on the "local"/downriver bridge (which Johnston was referring to as "Local 11th Street" because 11th will now feel like a street that crosses a river), as shown on slide 10.
* The local bridge will allow easier access between Near Southeast and Anacostia, for not only cars but pedestrians and bicycles, as well as streetcars when the routes are expanded. As part of this, 11th Street south of M is going to become two-way, and there will be bike lanes in both directions on 11th north of the bridge. (Slide 9)
* Another feature that appears to be coming together for pedestrians and bicyclists is creating two overlooks that jut out above the river on the south side of the local bridge--these would use two of the in-water piers from the current downriver bridge, and you can see them at left and on slide 11.
* One of the big changes for traffic flow for both Near Southeast and Capitol Hill is that there is going to be a new two-lane on-ramp to go westward on the Southeast Freeway toward Virginia at 11th Street, underneath where the current flyover ramps are. (See slide 7.) Folks who have easier access to 11th Street will no longer have to drive along Virginia Avenue and/or 3rd Street to go westbound on the freeway.
But part of this new 11th Street intersection is that traffic coming from Pennsylvania Avenue along the sunken road that currently feeds directly into the freeway will instead be brought up to street level at this new signalized 11th Street intersection and will then drive straight onto the new on-ramp. So there will be some consternation from drivers using this route. (This is also shown on slide 7.)
* To go across the river from Near Southeast on the freeway bridge, for access to DC-295 northbound and I-295 southbound, drivers will have a new ramp on the southeast corner of 11th and M (slide 4). The existing ramp at 8th and Virginia will still be available, too.
* There will still be an exit ramp from the inbound freeway bridge to I Street, just as there is now (slide 4).
* If you look at slide 4 very closely (and/or click on the bird's-eye view at right) and follow the paths off of each bridge, you can see how the freeway bridges coming across the river will have an exit for M Street similar to the current exit, but it deposits drivers at M just west of 12th instead of using 12th itself. It also no longer has the neat little N Street cut-through directly from the ramp that some Navy Yard workers cherish. To get to the Navy Yard, drivers will turn left on M, then left at 11th, and then go to whichever gate they need.
Other information in the slides includes: a graphic showing of the new ramps and accesses on the east side of the bridges at 295 and MLK (slide 12), of which the biggest addition is that you'll now be able to get to and from 295 and the bridges in all directions. There's also recent construction photos (including the first structural steel being laid on the freeway bridge), and information on stormwater management areas, and upcoming traffic impacts (slide 19).
It's expected that the freeway bridge will open about a year from now, with the new local bridge being finished in the winter of 2012/2013. (Dr. Gridlock wrote about recent milestones and upcoming work a few weeks ago.)
If you want to know more, there's my 11th Street Bridges project page, and you can also spend a couple months reading the Environmental Impact Statement to see all the studying they did of potential, um, impacts. There's also this Fact Sheet that they handed out.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues
 

From the world of ANC 6D:
* The commission voted 7-0 to support the historic designation application of St. Paul's AUMP Church at 401 I St., SE, thanks in no small part to Pastor Karen Mills, who charmed the pants off the assembled commissioners and audience with a display of good humor sorely needed after some earlier rancorous exchanges discussing Southwest Waterfront issues.
The church was built in 1924, and apparently the years of having a congregation that didn't have a lot of money ended up being a good thing: because there have been few renovations, the church's facade and bricks are still from the original construction, making it a far better candidate for a historic designation than other churches which have had work done. The church is also notable for being the first church designed by R.C. Archer Jr., who was only the second licensed African American architect in DC. Once the church receives its historic designation, it will then be eligible for some grants to allow for historically accurate and preservation-approved renovations. (The photo above shows the church in 2007, when it stood alone after the demolition of the Cappers and before the start of Capitol Quarter construction.)
The church was approached for this application by the DC Preservation League, and the hearing before the city's Historic Preservation Review Board is scheduled for Nov. 18 at 9 am. You can see the information forwarded to the ANC about the application here (shot with my phone's camera, so not of particularly high quality, but it made me feel like a secret agent!). One other educational tidbit: "AUMP" stands for "African Union Methodist Protestant."
Pastor Mills also said that anyone who wants to come see St. Paul's is more than welcome to visit. And so it is with great shame that I admit that I have never been inside of the little church I've photographed so many times --I've always been worried that I would burst into the flames of eternal hellfire the second I stepped inside the doors, and I didn't want the poor little church to get singed as a result of my sins. But I'm now determined to give it a shot anyway.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel: Stephen Flippin of CSX gave a(nother) update on the status of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. While CSX had applied for a $3 million grant under USDOT's TIGER II program to help pay for the NEPA process for the project, they didn't get that funding, so the process got delayed by a couple of months. They are now looking to have the first "public scoping meeting" in January, which would include information booths, audience comments and questions, etc. There would then be a 30-day comment period, followed by an "alternatives" meeting probably in March, then another comment period followed by probably five or six months of work with their design/build team before coming back to another public meeting for a full update on the project. After that, they would need a few months with their designers before construction could begin, which puts the earliest possible starting time for the project somewhere around the spring of 2012. (Definitely not a date written in stone.)
There's also the issue that funding for the tunnel project itself hasn't been secured, and so CSX is looking at various public financing possibilities (transportation reauthorization act, funding from other states in the National Gateway) as well as -- gasp! -- using some of their own money, or at least money they received for other parts of the Gateway that they haven't spent.
Beyond this update on the process, there's no new information on the construction itself, and there pretty much won't be until after the NEPA process is done.
* 11th Street Bridges: There was also an overview and status report on the 11th Street Bridges project; I'm hoping to get the slides that were shown, so I'll hold off on writing about that. If in the meantime you have 9 or 10 free hours and want to delve into all the environmental impact studies that were done for the bridge project (which include traffic estimations among many other things), here's the Environmental Impact Statement and other associated documents. UPDATE: Here's my writeup of the slides.
* Near SE/SW Combined Traffic Study: During a discussion about pedestrian safety issues at 4th and M, SW, commissioner Andy Litsky reiterated his long-standing complaint that no traffic study has been undertaken to look at Near SE and SW together, and that it continues to be sorely needed. Naomi Mitchell of Tommy Wells's office then spoke up that Tommy is ready to help the ANC finally get this study done. (And there was much rejoicing.)
* Half Street Closures: Apparently the city is planning to move legislation that would allow for the closing of Half Street, SE, between M and N during all events at Nationals Park with more than 5,000 attendees, instead of the current set-up where it's only closed during Nationals games. This would include recent events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure opening ceremonies and last Saturday's Greater Washington Region Start! Heart Walk.
 

In case you don't have the date circled in red on your calendar, on Monday (Nov. 8), ANC 6D will be having its regular monthly meeting, and will be making the arduous trek across South Capitol Street to meet in Near Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda has just been sent out, and there are some Near Southeast items:
* The St. Paul AUMP church at 4th and I, which has remained standing while Capper came down and Capitol Quarter rose up around it, is the subject of a Historic Landmark application, which will be heard at the Historic Preservation Review Board's meeting on Thursday, Nov. 18. I hope to have more information about it when the HPRB's full agenda and materials are available on Nov. 12, but at Monday's ANC meeting there will be a discussion of the application and presumably a vote as to whether or not to support it.
* Updates are scheduled for both the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project and for the 11th Street Bridges.
There are also a number of Southwest-specific items, some zoning rewrites, alcohol/beverage issues, and whatnot. But it's totally not true that the agenda also includes a knife fight between all outgoing and incoming commissioners.
The meeting starts at 7 pm.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, ANC News, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, St. Paul's Church
 

I'm now back after a week wandering the Midwest again, this time spending a few days in Chicago and then going up to Milwaukee, where touring time was cut short thanks to that epic windstorm (but at least I got to see the Historic Third Ward and the Milwaukee Public Market). Lots of photos of streetscapes and buildings are here, if you feel like looking at some non-Near Southeast images for a change.
To catch up....
* Dr. Gridlock gave an update on the progress of the 11th Street Bridges project, which is now more than 25 percent complete. A pretty showy part of the construction will be starting soon, "when steel girders arrive for the new bridge spans. They will be trucked out onto the old bridges and lowered onto barges in the river below." The story gives this timeline: in spring 2011, the new alignment of southbound 295 opens; in fall '11, the freeway bridges (the upstream ones) will open; in winter 2012/13 the local (downstream) bridge between Anacostia and Near Southeast will open, with the entire project expected to be completed in summer 2013. (If the alignments and uses of the new bridges aren't clear to you, check my 11th Street Bridges project page for more detail.)
There's also some new lane restrictions that started last week and will run through Nov. 23: the left lane of 11th Street SE from M to N is closed, and N Street SE between 11th and 12th is closed overnight Tuesdays through Fridays. There are other restrictions and closures as well on 295 and the SE Freeway.
* The Post's Capital Business weekly has more information today on the foreclosure sale of 100 M, including this part that is probably of most interest to residents: "Although thousands of fans pour out of the Metro station nearby for baseball games, the Opus bankruptcy has prevented retailers -- other than a SunTrust bank branch -- from occupying ground-level storefronts. Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, said he hoped that with new ownership, that would change. The retail broker for 100 M St., he said, 'has had some tenants that were interested in that property, but he couldn't sign any leases because it was in bankruptcy.' "
* It wasn't exactly a shocker that Greater Greater Washington endorsed David Garber for ANC 6D07 commissioner. Along the same lines, there's a good piece by Housing Complex this morning on the dysfunctional aspects of the ANCs, with some ideas on how to fix them. Having been tortured by sitting through many ANC meetings for more than five years now, I can certainly vouch for a lot of the issues mentioned. Perhaps there needs to be a Rally to Restore ANC Sanity.
* If you've wanted to know about Ann of Ann's Beauty Supply and Wigs Co. at 125 L St., SE, People's District recently profiled her. (Except I think they either mistranscribed the date of her shop opening, or this interview was done when her store was still in the old Waterside Mall in Southwest, because her store opened on L Street SE in 2005, not 1995.)
* American River Taxi, which is working to begin boat service between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Diamond Teague Park, is hiring deckhands and captains. No word on when they'll get underway.
* Work has started in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey for the new Harry's Wine and Spirits. Alas, their timeline for opening has slipped (as all construction timelines do), and the owners now have their fingers crossed that they will be open by Christmas.
 

A few items from tonight's ANC 6D meeting, which is still going on (I bailed after the last Near Southeast agenda item).
* The commission voted 7-0 to support Forest City's zoning requests for its Parcel D project, the combination residential and retail (and grocery store) development on the southeast corner of 4th and M, SE. I wrote about it in detail a few weeks back, and you can see my Parcel D project page for renderings and additional information, but the short of it is it's a 220ish-unit residential building (with 20 percent affordable housing), a 50,000-square-foot grocery store, and an expected 24,000-square-foot fitness/spa company.
The Zoning Commission hearing will be on December 2, and Forest City is asking for two special exceptions (having to do with roof structures and the proposed 110-foot building height, which will be above the 90 feet that's allowed) and two variances (for a curb cut on M east of 4th for a new private service drive east of the new building and also for some balconies overlooking 4th). Forest City's Alex Nyhan also told the commission that, while the entire Yards project is designed to be LEED Gold, they are going to shoot for LEED Silver on this particular portion.
ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel commended Forest City on the plans, though he made very clear that he and his constituents want a sit-down restaurant more than anything. Nyhan replied that the Boilermaker Shop project one block to the west on Tingey will have four or five restaurants including at least one sit-down one when it opens next fall. Siegel then made the motion to the support the project, Commissioner Sobelsohn seconded, and the vote was unanimous. The National Capital Planning Commission and the US Commission on Fine Arts have both recently voted to support the plans and designs.
* During the public safety report, Capt. Gottert of MPD mentioned that while there were a rash of car thefts in PSA 105 (and 106 and 107) during the past few months, the police had a suspect in mind, and now that he's been apprehended, the thefts have stopped. Gottert had no additional information on Saturday's carjacking at 1st and L, SE.
* The agenda had as one of its items a request by the Nationals to add the stadium to the Navy Yard Metro station name (coming on the heels of the Capitol Riverfront BID's request last month to add their name to the station). However, ANC chair Ron McBee said that the Nationals hadn't yet been able to get their request completely lined up yet, and so the item was postponed.
* Next month's meeting will be on Nov. 8, and will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. Expected agenda items include an update from CSX about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, a plan to give historic landmark status to St. Paul's church on the southeast corner of 4th and I, SE, and an update on the 11th Street Bridges construction.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, ANC News, crime, meetings, Nationals Park, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards
 

It's a busy next few days, so here's a reminder of what's on tap. (Of course, you could just look at my Events Calendar, but....)
* Today (Thursday) is the "Transportation Day" events that are part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's 10th anniversary celebration. Get thee down to 1301 M Street, SE (site of the offices for the 11th Street Bridges project) for the kick-off at 10 am with DDOT director Gabe Klein, and/or attend the open house until 2 pm, which includes bus tours of current AWI transportation projects (like, say, the 11th Street Bridges). Circulator buses will be shuttling to and from the Navy Yard Metro station.
If you're wanting to know more about the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and what's been accomplished up to this point, here's a spiffy "10 Years of Progress" booklet with all sorts of details.
* Friday brings the start of the Yards Park Grand Opening Weekend, starting at 3:30 pm, along with a full slate of events all day Saturday and a few more on Sunday as well--here's the specifics on all the activities for all three days. (UPDATED with a new more detailed flyer showing all the events.)
* The Nats are at home against the Marlins, playing at the usual 7:05 pm Friday and 1:35 pm Sunday times, along with a somewhat rare 1:05 pm Saturday start. It's Fan Appreciation Month, with all sorts of promotions and offerings.
* Sunday, Sept. 12 is the Fourth Annual Youth River Sports Day put on by the Anacostia Community Boathouse, now at their new home just up river from the Sousa Bridge. It runs from 11 am to 3 pm, and is free and open to the public.
* ANC 6D returns from its summer recess on Monday, Sept. 13. The agenda hasn't been released yet, but rumored items include the grant the BID is applying for to beautify the New Jersey Avenue "entrance" to the neighborhood, along with what I hear might be a presentation on a possible renaming of the Navy Yard Metro station. While I haven't heard what the new name might be, I imagine that some variant of "Navy Yard / Nationals Park / Capitol Riverfront" will be on the table. Which means that my last chance to convince people to rename the neighborhood Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards is probably passing by.
* And on Tuesday there's some sort of election. Perhaps you've heard about it. But good heavens, get yourself to the polls and vote. You don't even have to wait until Tuesday to do it.
 

The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, the wide-ranging approach via city and federal investments to revitalize the Anacostia River and its environs, is celebrating its 10th birthday, with a series of events next week tied to the riverfront. Some of them you're already aware of, like the dedication ceremony at the Yards Park on Sept. 7 followed by the "grand opening weekend" of events Sept. 10-12. But there's also some other happenings, including an "Anacostia Conservation Service Event" at Diamond Teague Park at 9 am on Sept. 8, a "transportation open house and tour" at the 11th Street Bridges project office on Sept. 9 from 10 am to 2 pm, along with other events at Kingman Island, Marvin Gaye Park, and the Southwest Waterfront.
[And, should my feelings be hurt that the postcard advertising the celebration that came to our house was addressed to my husband and not me? What, I haven't demonstrated enough interest in the river? :-) ]
UPDATE: Just received a flyer about the Sept. 9 Transportation Day--it will start with a kick-off at 10 am with DDOT director Gabe Klein, then the open house until 2 pm, which includes bus tours of AWI transportation projects. Parking is limited at the open house site (over at 13th and M, SE), so they'll be running Circulator buses to there from the New Jersey Avenue Navy Yard Metro station entrance.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, Teague Park, Yards Park
 

The Little Red Building at Second and L, SE passed into history on Wednesday, but at least it will live on in my Demolished Buildings Gallery, as building #160 to meet its maker since I started taking photos in Near Southeast. Also added to the gallery today are the Anacostia Community Boathouse and its sister building, demolished earlier this month to make way for the 11th Street Bridges. If you haven't wandered through the gallery in a while, take a moment to watch the neighborhood's old life pass in front of your eyes.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row, Little Red Bldg/Lot 38 Espresso
 

I'm still eyeing a couple more days of (mostly) blog-free living, but a few items should probably be mentioned before the weekend, and so that you don't think I'm never coming back. First, the calendar:
* On Monday at 6:30 pm, the Zoning Commission will take up the Housing Authority's new request for another time extension to the zoning order that requires construction of the Capper Community Center. DCHA had asked for a two-year extension last year, but was only granted one year, and made clear at that time that they didn't foresee having the money to start the center in that shorter time frame, and that they'd be back to ask for another extension. And now they are.
* Speaking of the community center, there's now a big sign on its footprint (at Fifth and L) touting that the second phase of Capitol Quarter's townhouses is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But you knew that already.
* Monday at 7 pm is the monthly ANC 6D meeting. I was hoping the agenda would be out before I posted this, but alas, no. Check back here or on their web site to see what scintillating topics will be up for discussion. (UPDATE: the agenda is now out, and there's nothing really major on it, other than a public space permit for the street work for Phase 2 of Capitol Quarter.)
* On Tuesday, July 13, the Capitol Hill Group Ministry is having its "All-Star Party Night" at Nationals Park, offering the chance to take batting practice, throw pitches in the bullpen, tour the locker room, meet Teddy, and more. Tickets are $55 per person and $15 for children under 12, with proceeds going to CHGM's programs for homeless and low-income families.
And a few other items:
* Today's WBJ reports that a third piece of "public" art is coming to Nationals Park; this time it will be 30 "stainless steel-domed forms which will accurately follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast-ball pitch," which will be hung early next year on the exterior of the eastern garage. The steel spheres with cutout "laces," each seven feet in diameter, will feature programmable LED lights; the piece will cost about $950,000. As for the other two pieces of public art already at the stadium (the bronze statues in the Center Field Plaza and the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" mobile near the First Base Gate), I'll quote WBJ's Michael Neibauer: "The first two pieces of public art at the stadium were, to be kind, not well-received at their unveiling in April 2009. The works were selected by arts professionals and D.C. residents, according to the arts commission, but some wonder: Did anyone ask the fans?"
* A reader reports that the Anacostia Boathouse at 11th and O, in between the 11th Street Bridges spans, has been demolished, which was expected because of the footprint of the new bridges. Haven't seen for myself yet to confirm.
* And I haven't felt the earth shift on its axis yet, so I assume the Little Red Building's exterior is still standing, although interior demolition has been going on all week.
 

From DDOT, an announcement of a slew of weekday lane closures starting Monday (June 21) through July 23 as part of the ongoing 11th Street Bridges reconstruction. The closures can happen between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm Monday through Friday, and may include locations such as the 11th Street Bridges (including the ramps to and from the Southeast Freeway), DC-295, 11th Street between G and O, M Street, the SE Freeway near the 8th Street ramp, and other locations. See the entire list for specifics; the closures are taking place so that contractors can "conduct drainage inspection work, utility locating, barrier installation, equipment relocation, striping, sign work and various other construction activities."
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges
 

For those of you who might use the little stretch of O Street, SE between 11th and 12th (under the 11th Street Bridges), a travel advisory: "Weekdays June 15 to 24, weather permitting, contractors for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) will reduce O Street SE between 11 and 12 Street SE to one shared-lane for both directions of traffic and flagmen alternating traffic flow to allow sewer line work related to the 11th Street Bridge Project. This reduction of O Street travel lanes will occur from Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen conditions."
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, East of 11th Street
 
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