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A reminder that this Saturday (Nov. 15) at Nationals Park is the second Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair, with representatives from not only developers but city agencies manning booths with all sorts of information about all the projects planned along the Anacostia River corridor. It's from 1 pm to 5 pm, and will also have (according to this DDOT press release) "free bus tours to several locations being revitalized on both sides on the waterfront, such as Poplar Point, Waterside (formerly Waterside Mall), Boathouse Row, and Southwest Waterfront." And refreshments, too!
(Let me also just state for the record that I was planning on posting this reminder today, even if I hadn't gotten a robocall just a few minutes ago from Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Neil Albert inviting me to the shindig.)
UPDATE to bump up and also to link to additional information about the activities (including some panel discussions) via Tommy Wells's blog.
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More posts: Boathouse Row, Nationals Park
 

Saturday was the Youth River Sports Day at the Anacostia Community Boathouse, and there was a good turnout of parents and kids learning how to row or paddle or just getting acquainted with the Anacostia River. I took a batch of photos, all from dry land. (If the captions have any incorrect terminology, let me know.)
The ACBA is going to have to temporarily relocate from this spot during the five-year reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges. They may be moving a couple hundred feet upriver to a site owned by Washington Gas (as laid out in the final Environmental Impact Statement for the project), or they may end up on the eastern side of the river closer to the Sousa Bridge. They are working with DDOT and are hopeful they can get the plans straightened out before too much longer.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row
 

* Watch for the beginnings of framing of the first Capitol Quarter townhouses within the next few days.
* Don't forget the Youth River Sports Day at the Anacostia Community Boathouse on Saturday, from 10 am to 2 pm.
* Via the Post: "The Washington Nationals' ballpark has received the U.S. Green Building Council's National Capital Region's Project of the Year award. The award honored the ballpark's commitment to preserving the environment." Here's the Sports and Entertainment Commission's press release on the award, which was announced on Aug. 8.
* Speaking of the Sports Commission, the WashTimes reports that they've hired their lawyers--from Seyfarth Shaw's Chicago office--as they prepare to enter arbitration with the Nationals over whether the ballpark was "substantially complete" at the time it opened on March 30. And: "While the sports commission and the Nationals are expected to enter into arbitration to resolve the issue of substantial completion, the two sides are still negotiating over a number of related issues, including who should pay for certain items such as tarps, wireless networks, and video cameras. The two sides are scheduled to resume talks on August 25."
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More posts: Boathouse Row, Nationals Park
 

The Anacostia Community Boathouse Association is having its second Youth River Sports Day on Saturday, Aug. 23 from 10 am to 2 pm, at their boathouses nestled between the 11th Street Bridges spans (1115 O Street, SE). The 10 member organizations of the ACBA are banding together to help teach kids (and grownups) how to paddle in outrigger canoes and dragon boats and how to row in big training barges--or you can just take a slow tour of the Anacostia River. The events are free, though the ACBA does ask you to register so they know how many people are coming. If you want more background on the boathouse operations at O Street, there's now an interesting history page on the ACBA web site.
(If you want to receive day-before reminders about this event, or other events in the neighborhood, sign up for the JDLand Twitter feed. In addition to reminders and random thoughts, JDLand twitter readers get an added bonus: they knew a few hours ago that I was going to be posting about this today--it's like a sneak preview for the blog.)
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More posts: Boathouse Row, East of 11th Street
 

I'm a little late on this, but apparently on July 2 the "Record of Decision" was signed for the 11th Street Bridges replacement project--this is the official sign-off from the Federal Highway Administration on the selected design for the revamped bridges, with one eight-lane span carrying highway traffic and a second carrying "local" traffic (including perhaps light-rail, if it ever happens) between Anacostia and Near Southeast. There's a two-page FAQ about the project, if you don't feel like wandering through the entire Final Environmental Impact Statement to figure out what's going on. You can also read my entries from when the EIS was released last year for some summaries of how Near Southeast will be affected by the new configuration (or look at the low-rent graphic I created).
According to the ROD, DDOT will be paying the National Park Service just under $1 million for 1.5 acres of Anacostia Park that will be used as part of the bridge project, and will also be footing the bill for some other "mitigation measures" and "enhancements" spelled out in the ROD's Attachment A. Attachment C details how the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association's operations will be temporarily relocated during construction from the two brick buildings nestled between the bridge spans to a spot just a bit further northeast along the riverfront, in the 1200 block of Water Street, SE. Attachment D is a list of all the "environmental commitments" agreed to by DDOT to avoid, reduce, or mitigate various impacts of the project.
In the meantime, DDOT is soliciting Letters of Interest from those interested in doing the bridges's design/build, and is having an informational meeting on the project on Monday (Aug. 4). Letters of interest are due Aug. 13, and DDOT is expecting to release the Request for Qualifications in mid-August. They appear to be expecting to begin construction in 2009, with the project lasting five years. (I *swear* I read somewhere in all of this that they would plan to first build the new interchanges between the bridges and the Anacostia Freeway, but I'm now completely unable to find that verbage.)
The FAQ mentions that the existing flyover ramps to and from RFK (the ones that head east over M Street) are supposed to be demolished "this summer", but I've been unable to get any details from DDOT as to whether that's still happening. I'm also not sure whether that's part of the bigger plan (not technically part of the bridge replacement project) to completely do away with the current below-grade freeway to Pennsylvania Avenue and replace it with "Southeast Freeway Boulevard", running at-grade from 11th Street eastward. (Read the EIS for more on that.)
How much is it going to cost? The ROD says that a cost review meeting in December "indicated that the estimate was consistent with an 80th percentile probability that the year-of-expenditure project cost would not exceed 465 million dollars." Those of you well versed in bureaucracy-speak can translate that as necessary.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row, East of 11th Street
 

Earlier this month the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the Office of Planning had a public meeting as part of their work to create a master plan for "Boathouse Row," the stretch of marinas, docks, and boathouses along the west/north bank of the Anacostia River northeastward from the 11th Street Bridges. I'm only now finding out about this process, so apologies for not posting about it sooner, but you can see the documentation from the public meeting and also an earlier advisory committee meeting if you want more information. I've got a small smattering of photos of the area closest to the 11th Street Bridges, but must admit that I haven't so far spent much time venturing further along to document what's there. (I'm lucky I can keep up with everything west of Seventh Street!)
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More posts: Boathouse Row, East of 11th Street
 

The Capital Rowing Club and the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association are offering free lessons in "sweep rowing" on Sunday (April 20) from 1 to 4 pm at the boathouses on the Anacostia River nestled between the 11th Street Bridges on O Street. No reservations are required. Even if you don't want to learn to row, it might be a chance to make a visit to the boathouses if you haven't been there before. (And, don't worry, they won't be demolished by the upcoming rehabs of the bridges, though the boathouse operations will be moving to the north a couple hundred feet during construction.) If you can't make Sunday's session, there will be another one on June 7, as part of National Learn to Row Day.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row
 

This afternoon's Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair appeared to be very well attended, at least during the 90 minutes or so I was there. (Even Marion Barry showed up.) There were three long tables of displays and information from city agencies, commercial developers, and non-profit organizations, and Near Southeast was well-represented--JPI, Velocity, Monument Half Street, Williams C. Smith (250 M Street), Forest City (Capper/Carrollsburg, The Yards), the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association, and the ballpark all had people on hand. (There was also plenty of swag--hope you didn't miss out on your DC WASA lanyard!)
Two news items I came across:
* First, confirmation that 250 M Street will start construction in either late spring or early summer, although they don't yet have any office or retail tenants to announce.
* Second, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street (including a new Frederick Douglass Bridge) is going to be released on February 8, with a public comment period to follow. There are two build alternatives that would reconstruct South Capitol Street and the Suitland Parkway (and its interchange with I-295), but neither has been identified yet as a "preferred" alternative. (No design from the four options for a new Douglass Bridge has been chosen yet, either.) There will be public meetings in late February about the Draft EIS, and the web site will be updated soon with information on the draft. I'll write more about this when the Draft EIS is officially released, but it's this study that will decide whether a big traffic oval is built at South Capitol and Potomac, and whether the South Capitol/M interchange could be reconfigured into an "at-grade" intersection (i.e., no more tunnel).
I should have asked about the status of the reconfiguration of the 11th Street Bridges now that that EIS is complete, but I could never get close enough to the table to talk to anyone. (See update below.)
Other developments such as the Southwest Waterfront and Hill East had displays as well, but since my brain can't process anything outside of my borders, you'll have to hunt down information on those projects elsewhere.
UPDATE: I'm finally looking through the pile of flyers I picked up, and here's a few timelines in the official brochure for the event (they're called "targeted schedules", so best not to pen them in just yet):
* Douglass Bridge Replacement: Begin construction Spring 2010, complete in Winter 2015.
* 11th Street Bridges Replacement: Begin construction Spring 2009, no completion date listed.
Also, the 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City at the site of the old Capper Seniors building at 600 M has a Spring 2009 start date in one of Forest City's flyers. The other Yards start/completion dates in the brochures are on target with what I've written about previously (see my Yards Phase I page for details).
 

Just a few hours after the Nationals turn on the holiday lights at the ballpark this Wednesday, the Anacostia Community Boathouse (nestled between the spans of the 11th Street Bridges) will have its own ceremonial lighting, as part of the annual Boathouse Lighting and Community Awards Ceremony. The awards are for individuals and groups "who have shown an outstanding committment to advancing ACBA's mission of sponsoring rowing and paddling programs that foster physical fitness and camaradarie, connect neighborhoods along the Anacostia to the waterfront, and build a spirit of environmental stewardship through increased recreational usage." Receiving the ACBA Champion Award will be former mayor Tony Williams, in recognition of his work as the architect of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative.
Not only does former Mayor Bowtie A. Baseball get the award, he also gets to flip the switch to illuminate the boathouse. And the other marinas along the Anacostia Waterfront will also be lighting their clubhouses for the holiday season. The awards ceremony and lighting start at 6:30 pm, followed by a public reception.
More posts: Boathouse Row
 

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

Friday's Weekend section of the Post has a nice feature about rowing on the Anacostia River. It mentions of the Capitol Rowing Club and the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association, which are located between the two spans of the 11th Street Bridge. You can see a few photos of the boathouses and what the river looks like in that spot on my East M Street/Anacostia Rowing Center page.
More posts: Boathouse Row
 

A quick heads up on a couple of events that might be of interest: On May 19 and 21 there will be Roundtable Discussions on "Development Dollars for Community Benefits", an event sponsored by ANC 6D, the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly, and the South Washington/West of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative (see the flyer for locations and times). And on May 26, the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association is hosting a Youth River Sports Day, sponsored by the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission--see the AWC announcement for more details.
UPDATE: Just across the transom is an announcement (not yet online) of the next Anacostia Waterfront Corporation board meeting, on May 23rd at 6:00 pm at 1105 New Jersey. Near Southast items on the agenda include "South Capitol Waterfront Modification of Contract for Parsons Brinkerhoff" (which I believe has to do with the project to design Diamond Teague Park) and "Baseball District: Western Development Litigation" (ah, reliving the good old days of the Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness).

More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Boathouse Row
 

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

More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row
 

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

The Anacostia Community Boathouse Association has received $300,000 from DDOT to turn a building between the spans of the 11th Street Bridge into a community center, reports the November Hill Rag.The center will "will serve as an information center and rest stop along the Anacostia Riverwalk trail, provide meeting areas for use by DDOT and other community groups, and provide much-needed facilities to hundreds of rowing and paddlesport enthusiasts who now use the river regularly." If you haven't seen the flurry of boating activity that launches onto the Anacostia from this spot, get yourself to the foot of 11th Street and take a peek.

More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row
 
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