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On the heels of my previous post on the changes coming to I Street SE, here's some specifics from CSX on its current timetable for the restoration of Virginia Avenue as the tunnel project begins to see the light at the end of, um, itself.
As the graphic at right from this presentation shows, it appears that the 300 block of Virginia is at the top of the restoration list, with the street itself expected to open in Spring 2018. The 200 and 400 blocks would follow in early summer, with the blocks from 5th to 9th following in late summer. This schedule also includes the restoration of the connection under the freeway to Garfield Park in early summer, and Virginia Avenue Park later in the year.
There will be some full closures of the cross streets as they get restored, with the diciest ones probably being 4th Street (expected to close from February into summer) and that bizarro 5th/6th intersection (which this says will be closed from late this year into spring).
As for what Virginia Avenue will look like when "restoration" is complete, here are the graphics from CSX, showing among other things the new separated pedestrian and cycling paths, including a cut-through path on that 4th Street triangle to allow bikes to hook up easily with I Street, the main east-west bicycle route in this neck of the woods. (Yeah, even when you click to enlarge they are tiny. Here's the PDF.)
It's rather stunning to me to actually be seeing a timeline like this--I've been writing about this project for a looooooooooong time. As to whether everything does wrap up in 2018, of course We Shall See.
Comments (6)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Traffic Issues, Virginia Ave Park
 

In recent months (mostly during the time I was preoccupied) DDOT has been working on plans to reconfigure I Street SE between New Jersey and South Capitol to better handle the large amount of vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic on a road that once was sleepy but now most decidedly is not.
This Satuday, Nov. 4, DDOT representatives are holding a public meeting on what is officially known as the I Street SE Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Improvements Project. It's at 11 am, and instead of in a stuffy conference room, the meeting will be held on the south side of I Street SE at Half Street SE (so, dress appropriately!).
Up for discussion will be a final design for this four-block stretch, which (if I am reading the graphics right) calls for the shifting of bike traffic on the blocks between South Capitol and 1st into protected lanes along the curb, with the parking lanes then acting as buffer between bikes and the traffic lanes. Vehicle lanes will still be a single lane in each direction as well as a center turn lane. There will also be flexposts at some of the intersections to prevent cars from taking turns too sharply in a way that endangers pedestrians and cyclists.
At right is a portion of the section between Half and 1st (see what I mean about "deciphering"), but if you are willing to test your ability to read traffic engineering graphic design, you can see the entire layout here.
If you have feedback, wander on by the assembly at Half and I at Saturday at 11. You can probably even bring your dog.
Comments (21)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, meetings, Traffic Issues
 

First, two photos of now-open Chix, to correct yesterday's out-of-date image:
Residential tidbits:
* 1244 TO 1221: The JBG apartment project going up across N Street from Nats Park, known up to now as 1244 South Capitol, has been rechristened as 1221 Van Street (the little street on the building's east side, in case you think someone just made it up). There's now a web site to boot, announcing that leasing will begin in the summer of 2017, which is probably about when the building will be finished.
* NEW JERSEY SIDEWALKS: At some point in the recent past (I'm only just now seeing it), WC Smith built and opened the sidewalk along New Jersey in front of Agora, meaning that you can now walk not-in-the-street-or-behind-a-barrier from I Street all the way to the freeway on the east side of the street. Meanwhile, on the west side of New Jersey, the ORE82 sidewalk is looking close to being finished.
* ORE82 LEASING: Speaking of ORE82 (or ORE 82 or Ore82 or Ore 82 or 82 I or 801 New Jersey), it's now leasing, and even offering building tours. That official web site is here.
* JOULE: The 440-unit apartment building slated to be built upon the Half Street Hole just north of Nats Park is going to be called Joule, which I think I've mentioned before but shockingly people don't always remember every word I've written, so why not mention it again? That official web site is here, with the spiffy marketing brochure for the up-to-70,000-square-feet-of-retail here. Mention is made of a first phase delivering by summer 2018.
Non-residential tidbits:
* DC WATER HQ: The first permit for construction of the new DC Water headquarters on the banks of the Anacostia has been approved, for exvacation and site work.
* 250 M STILL WAITING: WC Smith, developers of the long-planned office building at 250 M Street, have filed with the Zoning Commission a request for another two-year extension to the building's approved PUD, noting that "most of the same factors and circumstances still exist in the Capitol Riverfront office submarket today" that were cited to receive extensions in 2010, 2012, and 2014, namely the tightness of the leasing market and the requirement that the building be 70 percent pre-leased in order to secure construction funding. (This is the building that would front M Street on the south end of the same block where DCHA is expecting to start soon on its next apartment building.) WC Smith appears to remain committed to this being an office building, citing the abundance of residential buildings and the need for the neighborhood to be a "truly mixed-use community."
Comments (18)
More posts: 1221 Van, 250 M, ORE82, Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, chix, Development News, 1250 Half St.
 

One of the things that makes me sometimes fail at posting tidbits is that there just aren't necessarily any good photos to go with the items, and then I lose the will to continue. So I'm now making an executive decision that I'll just hit the archives for calendar-appropriate photos when necessary. Hence, this completely unrelated photo from Oct. 6, 2012, showing the demolition progressing at the old trash transfer station. I actually find it hard to believe it's only been three years.
* GARBER GREET: DC council at-large candidate and neighborhood alumnus David Garber returns to #NavyYard today (Tuesday, Oct. 6) for a meet and greet at the Big Stick at 20 M St. SE starting at 6 pm.
* RIVER RIDE: As part of Mayor Bowser's FitDC health and wellness initiative, there will be an eight-mile bike ride through Anacostia Park on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 2 pm. If you haven't ventured across the way to use the eastern part of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, this might be a nice introduction to it. (Those of us already familiar with it are now just tapping our toes waiting for the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens segment to open, hopefully next year, though I now see "Fall 2016" as the date.)
* AGUA ATTENTION: It isn't technically neighborhood news that Zest Bistro on 8th Street SE has apparently closed its doors, but within the statement about the closure is the tidbit that the owners "look forward to the opportunity to focus solely on our most recent venture, Agua 301."
* POLL PESTERING: C'mon, you know you'd rather click a few radio buttons and checkboxes on the JDLand Reader Poll than work! Plus there's at least one tight race in one of the Favorite Lunch/Dinner/Bar categories, so every vote counts.
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More posts: agua, Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, politics, riverwalk
 

Some transportation-related meetings are on the calendar for next week that may be of interest to neighborhood folks:
* DC STATE RAIL PLAN OPEN HOUSE: The project to create an official "State Rail Plan" (ahem) for DC is kicking off, and DDOT is holding an open house on Monday, Sept. 28 to "introduce the plan to the community." This rail plan is a requirement for any state (again, ahem) wishing to be eligible for grants and other federal financial assistance, and is going to focus on "passenger and freight rail infrastructure shared by CSX, VRE, MARC, Amtrak, and Norfolk Southern." The intent is to have a completed plan that will provide a high-level strategic framework, goals, and objectives to leverage the District’s rail network for continuing economic competitiveness and quality-of-life investments while also addressing ongoing concerns about rail safety and oversight."
The open house will run from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Friendship Public Charter School-Chamberlain Campus, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE. This start time is 30 minutes earlier than originally announced, because....:
* VIRGINIA AVE. STREETSCAPE RESTORATION REVIEW MEETING: Also on Monday, Sept. 28, beginning at 6:30 pm at 200 I St. SE, a joint meeting by DDOT and ANCs 6B and 6D will go over CSX's draft plans for rebuilding Virginia Avenue once construction is complete on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. The first 30 minutes will be an open house, and then presentations and discussions will begin at 7 pm. There will also be a special public meeting of DDOT's Public Space Committee about the plans on Nov. 12.
(And then maybe for Christmas we can pitch in and get DDOT a group calendar, to perhaps avoid in the future scheduling two meetings with a very similar audience on the same night at nearly the same time in not-particularly-adjoining locations.)
* CIRCULATOR STOP CONSOLIDATION MEETING: On Wednesday, Sept. 30, DDOT is having a public meeting to talk about possibly consolidating some stops on the Union Station-Navy Yard line "to improve on-time performance and reliability." The only south-of-the-freeway stops on the potential chopping block are the ones at 4th and M SE in both directions, with the 6th and M stops being the closet ones to use instead. (The announcement gives the full lineup.) The meeting is from 6pm to 8pm at the Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street SE.
* CSX'S "COFFEE WITH CHUCK": If you want to go for the 72-hour quadfecta of transportation sessions, there's also the next edition of CSX's monthly meetings with the community to discuss the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, on Wednesday, Sept. 30 from 8 to 9 am at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St. SE. Items that might be up for discussion include the coming closure of the 300 block of Virginia Ave. (in "early October") and also the temporary closures of 4th Street SE from just north of the I-695 underpass down to I Street from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm this week and probably into next week.
Comments (6)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, circulator, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, Traffic Issues
 

Capital Bikeshare is celebrating its 5th birthday with a free screening of the classic bicycling movie Breaking Away at the Yards Park on Saturday, Sept. 19, beginning at 7 pm.
There will be a whole lot of swag for CaBi members, with your key fob getting you $1 off a regular cone at Ice Cream Jubilee, $1 off pints of Forbidden Planet at Bluejacket, 10% off all food orders, and 20% off drink orders at the bar at Osteria Morini, 10% off all food orders and Happy Hour pricing on drinks at Agua 301, and giveaways of Capital Bikeshare blankets and tote bags to early arriving members. (Founding members get special reserved VIP seating with their black fobs--like mine, still going!)
As for Breaking Away, it warms my heart to see this choice, because it is one of my all-time favorite movies, and is highly recommended to anyone who's never seen it. (The word "REFUND?!" is legendary in my family thanks to Paul Dooley.)
UPDATE: And I should have looked around a bit more before posting this, because it's a movie weekend at Yards Park, with Guardians of the Galaxy at 7 pm on Friday night (Sept. 18) and Romeo + Juliet on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 7 pm.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Events
 

I recently took you along the multiple blocks of Virginia Avenue that are in the process of getting dug up as part of CSX's tunnel expansion and reconstruction project. But even though it's going to be a few years before the tunnels are completed, the process is underway to talk about what Virginia Avenue will look like after the construction is over.
CSX is in charge of this streetscape-and-landscaping upgrade and has submitted draft plans to various groups for review, and has posted some big (BIG) PDFs on the project web site. Meanwhile, ANC 6D commissioner Meredith Fascett put out the call last week looking for volunteers to join a neighborhood working group on the restoration plans.
But for those who don't want to wade through the PDFs, here are some partial screen grabs of CSX's submittals for the new Virginia Avenue, and I'm sure the bike/ped paths (both shared and separate) will be of interest, along with the plans to perk up Virginia Avenue Park.
These first two screen grabs show the general landscape and "roadway" plans from 2nd to 4th Street, and from 4th to 5th (click to enlarge):
For the westernmost blocks, there will be a shared porous asphalt path on the street's south side. Then, starting at 4th Street, there will be separate asphalt bike path and a companion walking path with permeable pavers. The second image also shows the expanded pocket park between 4th and 5th that will be created thanks to the planned realignment of Virginia. Note that it also has a bike path that runs down to the I Street stub--which will make for a decent cut-over to I and its bike lanes from 3rd St. SE all the way into Southwest (well, once that little part between 2nd and New Jersey opens!).
The split paths continue from 5th Street to 9th Street, as you see below (once you click to enlarge, that is):
East of 9th, into Virginia Avenue Park, the path being built by CSX disappears, but the park design seen at right shows a path that runs along the north end of the park to 11th Street, where we can all dream of a day that it hooks up with the path that is supposed to be built alongside Southeast Blvd. to Barney Circle, making for an alternate route to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail near RFK without having to go along M Street SE.
As for the park itself, the current dog park will be reconfigured, with both "large dog" and "small dog" areas. Some of the original paving stones recently uncovered will be placed in the park as well.
A public meeting to receive resident comments and feedback is expected to be happening soon, which I'm sure will be announced two minutes after I finish this post. UPDATE: Yup, less than 24 hours later, I'm seeing that the public meeting will be on Monday, Sept. 28 at 6:30, at a location to be determined.
Take a look at the full lineup of PDFs for better detail.
UPDATE, 10/7: After the meeting, updated block-by-block designs were made available (including a revision to reestablish the connection between the 400 block of I Street and Virginia Avenue), along with notes from the meeting.
Comments (4)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues, Virginia Ave Park
 

If I've told you about the latest below-ground happenings, and the latest above-ground happenings, I might as well come full circle and mention a few things happening right at ground level.
First, at the large open space along 1st Street south of M that I've taken to calling Spooky Park in honor of the former inhabitants, the beginnings of the new foot paths through what will eventually be green space on the northern end of the block are in evidence, as is the new parking lot in the southwest corner, closest to the ballpark. (Not quite so obvious at the moment is that the southeast corner, at New Jersey and Tingey, is slated to be the new home for the trapeze school.)
These spaces are temporary uses for the site, which is expected to eventually be where the bulk of The Yards's office space inventory will be situated, perhaps as much as 1.5 million square feet.
Meanwhile, a few blocks to the north, a lovely sidewalk was laid down recently on the south side of the new one-block stretch of I Street between 2nd and New Jersey, which remains fenced off while WC Smith continues work on its Park Chelsea and 800 New Jersey apartment buildings.
Wouldn't it be keen if this lovely sidewalk could be opened for pedestrians and cyclists even while waiting for the stretch of road to come open? Especially for, say, all those neighborhood bloggers who are getting really tired of having to walk down to K Street and then back up to I Street while being tormented with the view of a fenced-off cut-through? Who will think of them??
Finally, it's nice to see a covered walkway being built along the Half Street frontage of the 909 Half Mystery Building construction site. Wouldn't it be keen if one could also be built on the north side, along I Street? (Dock 79 also gets props for its new covered walkway along Potomac Avenue, one I'm sure will be used by tens of people each week, but rules are rules.)
Comments (0)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Parcel A/Yards
 

It's a fairly sizeable lineup of events on the neighborhood calendar over the next few days:
* BIKE TO WORK DAY: The forecast looks swell for DC's annual Bike to Work Day, on Friday, May 15. Canal Park is one of the pit stops, from 7 to 9 am, at which there will be refreshments and food, plus you'll have a chance to win prizes if you have registered. (Looks like the free t-shirts are all already claimed, though.) Read about commuter convoys, ride buddies and more at the official web site.
* FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERTS: The Friday night Summer Concert Series at Yards Park kicks off this week, with the R&B stylings of Jimi Smooth. The concerts begin each week at 6:30 pm, and the Grassy Knoll fills up pretty quickly, so arrive early!
* OPERA IN THE OUTFIELD: Saturday is Cinderella Day at Nats Park, thanks to the the return of the annual Opera in the Outfield simulcast. Gates open at 5 pm, with a slew of pre-performance activities and entertainment, including a Royal Parade that will allow "kids of all ages" to arrive in costume and march around the lower concourse. The actual simulcast begins at 7 pm, and it's all Rain or Shine, and all free and open to the public. Note that sitting in the outfield now requires a wristband handed out on a first-come first-serve basis. More details here.
* GLUG GLUG GLUG: This most assuredly is not free, but Canal Park on Saturday will host "ABV," an afternoon of "outdoor imbibing" of the "finest craft beverages," put together by Greg Engert and friends. It will run from 3 to 8 pm, rain or shine, and tickets are $20 at the door or in special advance packages. The full list of beer, wine, and spirits to be available is here.
* FITNESS IN THE FRONT: Technically not a weekend event, but you may need to toss in a workout session or two after a big weekend--and just your luck, the lineup of outside summer fitness classes gets underway on Monday, May 19. Brought to you by VIDA Fitness and DC BFIT and located in Yards and Canal Parks, the classes range from Yoga to Zumba to "high energy" to Boot Camps to a once-a-month family fitness session. The schedule is here, and classes are free and open to the public.
* MARGARITA WARS: In case you didn't get your fill of drinking in a neighborhood park at ABV, City Paper's third annual Margarita Wars is slated for May 21 at 6:30 pm at the Yards Park. "You be the judge as the region's top mixologists compete for your vote in a winner take all battle for 'rita supremacy." Tickets are $25 and include unlimited margarita tastings. Also included: one of those extra-special tequila-fueled hangovers. (But you'll want to recover by May 30, when the Tour de Fat extravaganza returns to Yards Park.)
Comments (1)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Canal Park, Events, Yards Park
 

Since I unleashed the megaphone to talk about the traffic and pedestrian brouhaha I encountered at New Jersey Avenue and I Street on Saturday, it's my duty to pass along to you The Rest of the Story, at least in regard to pedestrian passage along New Jersey northward toward the freeway.
I went back on Sunday and found it much quieter, and saw at least part of the reason that the pedestrian walkway had been closed - a new curb had been built, and new concrete poured along the gutter, as you see in the photo below. I also saw evidence of the old cobblestone, as you also see in the photo.
But this was apparently just the first part of a process that then resulted in new asphalt being laid down on Monday, as you see in the other photo below.
I had actually noticed last Thursday that the old asphalt was starting to show cracks and appeared to be sinking toward the new 82 I excavation, so this work was probably pretty critical.
And in other good pedestrian news along New Jersey, the stairs up from/down to Garfield Park are being repaired today.
If you are interested in more conversations about the subject, a group calling itself Capitol Riverfront Citizens for Pedestrian Safety (on Twitter at @SaferWalksSEDC) is working to keep a close watch on the state of things.
Comments (0)
More posts: 801nj, Pedestrian/Cycling Issues
 
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