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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel
See JDLand's CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel Project Page
for Photos, History, and Details
In the Pipeline
1000 South Capitol
25 M
Yards/Parcel I
Yards/Parcel G
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
More Capper Apts.
Yards/DC Water site
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
SC1100
Completed
Yards/Guild Apts. ('19)
Capper/The Harlow ('19)
New DC Water HQ ('19)
Yards/Bower Condos ('19)
Virginia Ave. Tunnel ('19)
99 M ('18)
Agora ('18)
1221 Van ('18)
District Winery ('17)
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
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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I will be the first to admit that I did not do a very good job tracking the progress of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction. Even putting aside the fact that most of it happened underground, it just came at a rotten time in my life and was too large a footprint for me to ever really feel like I could do it justice. So of course instead of trying my best anyway, I just kind of gave up. Oops.
But, while the expansion of the original tunnel and the construction of the second track tunnel are both now complete, and now it is just streetscape work standing between impatient drivers* and the reopening of the avenue east of 4th, there is a part of the project where I can think I can provide a service, and that is looking at the actual changes in Virginia Avenue itself since digging started in spring 2015.
Yes, we're going to take a tour of the road. You might be surprised at how much it has changed.
Let's start at 2nd and Virginia, which in the pre-project days was a weird intersection between 2nd and the functional Virginia Avenue to the east along with the incomplete H Street and closed-off Virginia Avenue to the east. It never saw much traffic but was large and oddly configured for a spot with so little use. These are two before-and-after sets, first looking north-northwestward, and then eastward (sorry for the crappy current shots):
Remembering that you can click to enlarge these photos and then page through them, you'll see how this 2nd-H-Virginia intersection was extremely wide and mainly focused on the flow of traffic along Virginia Avenue, which became superfluous when in the early 2000s it was decided to close Virginia from this spot out to South Capitol (because of security concerns with its location right by the Capitol Power Plant). In the new version, there are big sidewalk bulb-outs, shinking the amount of asphalt and making it easier for pedestrians to cross the street, which comes in handy for the hordes marching toward Whole Foods in the next block.
As we continue east on Virginia, there isn't much of a change in the 300 block's footprint, other than the creation of bulb-outs to narrow the sidewalk width while still allowing mid-block parking on both sides.
But there's definitely a few changes where Virginia heads east across 4th Street:
The street is now closer to the freeway, and on a straight line toward the intersection with 5th Street. The wide bend from 4th Street is gone, meaning that hopefully cars turning left from 4th onto Virginia will now have to slow down to navigate the intersection. There's also now parking on the south side of the street, which mainly serves to add back in the few parking spaces that disappeared now that I Street no longer bends into Virginia east of 4th. I don't have an "after" photo, but you can see what it used to do here, and also see how Virginia had to bend northward to get to the intersection with 5th.
The intersection at 5th (which becomes 6th as you go north under the freeway) has always been ugly, so ugly that I never came up with a good standard way of photographing it, which means my before pictures aren't always helpful. But in this comparison shot looking west, you can see how Virginia is now a straight shot coming from 4th to 5th. You can also see that the street and ramp from 695 are much closer, and the grading has been changed as well,
Turning around and looking eastward on Virginia at 5th, you can see how much the traffic flow has been altered:
Before, the freeway traffic used to continue on Virginia via the lanes to the left, and the traffic from Virginia and those turning onto Virginia from 5th used the merging lanes to the right. And there was a lovely median separating them, making it a long trek for pedestrians from the north side of Virginia to the south side. Now, as you can mostly see (sorry about the shadows), it's more like a regular intersection, except that from what I can tell the drivers in the middle lanes from Virginia and the ramp will have a wide middle lane to handle their merging as they go east. Will have to see how the ramp lanes are striped--will the left ramp lane be left-turn only? Or left/straight, and the right ramp lane straight, as it used to be? We Shall See.
Now we get to 7th Street, which doesn't really look that different except that the diagonal stub of K Street just to the south is now gone, again making it easier for pedestrians on the east side of 7th to get north of Virginia.
Now we have reached 8th Street, the end of my little tour. First turning back to look westward, you'll see that the lanes no longer split, once again making it easier for pedestrians to get across:
When you look eastward across 8th, you'll see a big change (the departure of the on-ramp to 695), but that happened in 2013. As I'm sure you remember.
I imagine the blocks east of 4th Street will open Any Minute Now, since they are all now striped and lamped and lighted and curbed. Then we can find out how it all works when actual pedestrians, drivers, bicyclists, scooterists, and the like get a hold of it.
It was a long 3 1/2 years to get to this point, but these photos indicate--even more than I realized--that CSX did not just tear Virginia Avenue up, dig a tunnel, and plop the old street right back down on top of the new tunnel.
* I'll do a tour of the new bike side path another time.
Comments (24)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 

Other than the kids having now headed back to school, there isn't much news, or even many tidbits, except for:
* DRYY: The long-empty retail space fronting M Street between the 55 M lobby and the subway station now has funky new signage, announcing that Dryy, "full service garment care," is coming soon. This will bring the number of garment care options in the neighborhood back to two, along with Wells Cleaners at the Yards.
* WISEGUY: Intrepid JDLand commenter JES tweeted these photos of the Wiseguy space at Canal Park, showing both the pizza operation and the gelato operation. I had not thought about Wiseguy's pay-at-the-counter setup, which actually might be a better use of the space than previous incarnations. As for when it will open, We Shall See.
* PAVING: CSX announced that paving of the 200 and 300 blocks of Virginia Avenue is next on the tunnel-wrapping-up agenda (and I saw that the 200 block got its blacktop yesterday). Also coming this week, weather permitting, is the paving of the "specially designed permeable bicycle lane surface." This side path will run from the 200 block all the way to 11th Street (along the north side of Virginia Avenue Park).
Other than that, I got nuthin'.
Enjoy the fresh comment thread!
Comments (51)
More posts: 55 M St., Canal Park, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, dryy, Retail, wiseguy
 

Some items of note:
* PEET'S COMING VERY SOON: I took this photo yesterday evening, intending to post it today and say "it looks like Peet's Coffee is getting close," but a Twitter follower has now scooped that with a picture of this sign on the door today, which announces the grand opening as Monday, Aug. 13, at 5 am, with a "family and friends" event on Saturday, Aug. 11 from 11 am to 2 pm. For those who haven't been waiting for the opening of the neighborhood's 250th coffee shop, Peet's is located just north of the New Jersey and M entrance to the Navy Yard-Ballpark subway station, in the ground floor of Insignia on M.

* BIKE PATH COMING SORT OF SOON: Work continues to bring Virginia Avenue back to life as the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project wraps up, and the photo at right shows the progress of the new bike path that will run *alongside the pedestrian path.* I would assume that the deep crushed gravel is not the final surface, but it's going to be a very nice alternative to getting between 2nd Street SE and Virginia Avenue Park/points east. I don't have a date for when the paths will be completed, but the entire project is supposed to be finishing in October.

* ALSO COMING SORT OF SOON: Also of note is the arrival of the signage for Barre 3 on 1st Street, though the interior does not look like we have reached Any Minute Now territory. And a peek behind the Bluestone Lane window coverings at 99 M would seem to indicate that the arrival of the neighborhood's 251st coffee shop is not imminent.
* BOOZE COMING AT SOME POINT: As tidbitted last week, there is a hearing sign posted in the ground floor of 1015 Half Street next to Bonchon for a liquor license for a new Retail Class A store that would sell beer, wine, and spirits. (The one that seemed to be coming to New Jersey and L has disappeared, FWIW.)
* CAPITAL ONE CLOSING SOON: Was mentioned by a commenter recently, but here's official notification that the Capital One branch in the ground floor of 1111 New Jersey is closing in September.
And a few other items that don't fit into the pattern:
* Truckeroo returns on Friday, Aug. 10.
* Nationals Park is having its first-ever Farmers Market on Sunday, Aug. 12, from 10 am to 2 pm.
Other than that, it's August. It's hot.
 

Time to catch up on some tidbits you may have missed (and also time to open a new thread for the JDLand commentariat).
* THE HARLOW: A public meeting last week to update residents on Capper/Carrollsburg's redevelopment status passed along the news that the building at 2nd and L across from Canal Park will be known as "The Harlow," which does roll off the tongue a bit more easily than the current "Square 769N Apartments." The building is expected to open in spring 2019, and will have 179 apartments, of which 36 will be affordable units. It will also have about 4,000 square feet of ground floor retail. The update also said that DCHA is still planning to move forward with Square 767 next, as a condo building and separate rental building. That plan still needs to start its way into the Zoning Fun Factory.
* SHOOTING ON 5TH: There was a shooting in front of the Capper Community Center at 5th and L in the wee hours of July 21. MPD described it this way: "At approximately 0320 hours unknown number of suspect(s) approached the victims that were in front of 1005 5th Street SE in dark colored vehicle. The suspect(s) opened fire on the victims wounding both of them. One victim was shot multiple times and transported to the hospital, the other victim was shot in the leg and transported to the hospital. The suspect(s) and suspect vehicle fled in an unknown direction. It is unsure how many individuals were in front of 1005 5th Street SE. Two weapons were recovered in front of the recreation center, also multiple shell casings found on the scene and there are rifles casings among the shell casings." Capitol Hill Corner summarized the subsequent MPD 1D community meeting.
* BRIDGE NEWS: If you're interested in the new Douglass Bridge, check out "Progress," the spiffy quarterly update. And you'll also see the spiffy Douglass Bridge logo.
* TUNNEL NEWS: If you're interested in the Virginia Avenue Tunnel (or, at this point, the Virginia Avenue Streetscape Restoration), the latest "Coffee with Chuck" slides give estimated timelines for when the remaining portions of the street should reopen to traffic. I'm most interested in seeing that the 2nd and H intersection should reopen in mid-August, which will make access to The Grocery Store That Shall Not Be Named much easier.
And last week's VAT newsletter added that H Street's completion will also "feature a train viewing area at the south tunnel portal where a historical marker of the original tunnel will be in place," which I inadvertently captured in the photo at right, which I took earlier this month to document the new lettering on the tunnel entrance. There will be the new dog park on the north side of H as well.
I think that's enough for now, except maybe to mention that the coming Bluestone Lane coffee shop has its signage up to the right of the 99 M lobby entrance. They apparently have a goal of opening by the end of August, but (all together now), We Shall See.
Comments (42)
More posts: Capper, crime, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, harlow, Douglass Bridge, sq767, The Harlow/Capper
 

I'm thrilled with the flow of tidbits (and how easy it is for me to add them as I see them), but still need to come up with a way I think to better alert people or highlight them.
In the meantime, you should keep checking the site on a regular basis, and I'll post new threads up every so often and invite people to check out what they might have missed, which in this case includes:
* News of the neighborhood's "Rooftop Hop" on Saturday starting at 2pm (RSVP required).
* A farmers' market at Nats Park on Sunday, June 3 starting at 10 am.
* A Post article on complaints of excess vibrations with the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel(s).
* Greystar's purchase of the big CSX parcel that runs from New Jersey Avenue behind ORE 82 and 70/100 Capitol Yards.
* The folks behind Circa deciding not to bring their Open Road "concept" to 99 M, but instead a new venture. And Circa is still coming, too.
* Chase opening a branch at New Jersey and M.
Comments (62)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Development News, Events, tidbits
 

If you didn't check back on last week's post, you missed additional tidbits about a construction permit for Wiseguy Pizza at Canal Park, a link to cool progress photos and timelines of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the news that the Yards Parcel L apartment building will be called "The Estate," and an office tenant moving from Maritime Plaza to 1100 New Jersey. But you can go read it now.
So keep checking on this post to see what tidbits will come, but I already know of one, which is the news that the new Circulator route that will run down M Street from Southeast to Southwest will start June 24. Here's what I wrote about it last year.
 

Getting caught up on a few things after my terribly busy week of laying on the sofa rehabbing my hip:
* NAVY YARD DENTAL OPENS: Now open and accepting appointments in the ground floor of the 55 M Street office building at Half and M (the one on top of the Metro station entrance) is Navy Yard Dental, where Chad Jones, DDS is available for all your toothy needs. (Sorry I don't have a current photo. Will update with one when I get there.) But maybe don't race across the street to Shake Shack right after getting your teeth cleaned.
* BISCUITS POPPING UP: Commenter Ampersand reports that Eater DC reports that next week Ice Cream Jubilee will partner with the Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. to offer savory biscuit sandwiches and shortcake-like strawberry sundae sandwiches during afternoons through the end of May.
* CLOSING THE ROOF: The Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction team reports that the final roof panel of the entire two-tunnel project was placed this week. Still a lot of work to do, but CSX says that the project remains "on time" and expected to be completed this fall.
* SPEAKING OF CLOSINGS: I mentioned this in my last post, but that was forever ago so I'll mention again that in order for the tunnel project to continue along toward completion, CSX is expecting to temporarily close both the 4th Street and 5th/6th Street intersections next week, possibly as early as March 14. The closures are expected to last 3-4 months, and it means that the now-once-again-two-way 3rd Street will be seeing a lot of extra traffic.
* VAN NESS SILENT AUCTION: Sorry to mention this with only a day left to go before it finishes (I did mention on Twitter and Facebook, at least), but the Van Ness Elementary PTO is having a silent auction fundraiser, and among such items as tickets to see Pink, dinner at Rose's Luxury, Nats tickets, and other highly enticing offerings is the chance to take a neighborhood walking tour guided by none other than yours truly this spring. (Or, if I haven't recovered sufficiently, the chance to pull me around the neighborhood in a little red wagon.) There are ten bidding slots to win two tickets, with the bids right now ranging from $45 to $75 with 24 hours to go.
Comments (43)
More posts: 55 M St., CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, dentist, Restaurants/Nightlife, icecreamjubilee, Retail
 

It has taken me much longer to clear the post-surgical cobwebs from my brain than I expected, so don't have many expectations for this post. I just hope it's in English. (But the hip repairs--NOT REPLACEMENT!--went well, and I should start getting off of crutches soon.)
* SPRINT STORE: I have said for years that no new neighborhood has truly arrived until it gets its first cellphone retailer, and I would not have guessed it would take until 2018 for that box to get checked, but numerous approved building permits indicate that Sprint will be opening a store in the old Sizzlin' Express space on the northwest corner of 4th and M.
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE GROUNDBREAKING: As if to taunt me after 15 years of watching and waiting, the Feb. 13 ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Douglass Bridge and associated first-phase improvements to the South Capitol Street Corridor was held while I was very much horizontal and hopped up on goofballs. But since it's right on our DMZ line, SWill was there and took some photos. Estimated completion date is 2021. (Speaking of SWill, he is the one to read for coverage of Buzzard Point, since that is outside my purview.)
* TUNNEL DOINGS: The last section of wall on the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel was poured on Feb. 22. an effort that overall totaled three miles of 24-foot-tall concrete. Meanwhile, 3rd Street should be reopening to two-way traffic Any Minute Now, which then paves the way (sorry) for both the 4th and 5th Street intersections to close, probably in mid-March, to dismantle the temporary bridge decks and complete the new tunnel's roof in those blocks, and wrap up the final street restoration. And no, the 6th Street exit ramp from the freeway won't close. The entire project is "on time," for completion this fall, according to CSX.
* ANOTHER PROJECT READY TO GO: A shoring/sheeting/excavation permit has been approved for the second phase of the "Riverfront" project, aka the Florida Rock site. This will be a 13-story, 260ish-unit residential building with about 12,000 square feet of retail, and will go up immediately to the west of Dock 79. When I'm a little more mobile I'll write a roundup of what's currently underway.
* WINERY HAPPY HOUR: If you don't have a supply of post-surgical painkillers like some people, there's now a Happy Hour at District Winery, from 3:30 to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday, with $8 signature cocktails and select wines, $5 select beers, and 50 percent of District Winery wines by the bottle.
There's probably more, but this wore me out. Hey, it's a start.
Comments (32)
More posts: 300m, 71potomac, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Florida Rock, Retail, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, sprint
 

Some bits of tid for you:
* NEW PROJECTS STARTING SOON: Residents at Capitol Yards and at Velocity have received notices in recent days about the pending start of two residential projects outside their windows: a 275-unit building by Paradigm on the east side of 1st Street between K and L (the old Market Deli site, for you long-timers), and Tishman Speyer's 800-unit project with potentially more than 40,000 square feet of retail on the Square 696 parking-lot block bounded by I, K, 1st, and Half. There is precious little additional information about either development--when projects are "at right" and don't have to go through zoning approvals, easily grabbed details and renderings can be scarce, but hope springs eternal that more deets will pop up soon. As will the fences, pedestrian detours, and backhoes.
* ONYX SALE: It's been announced that the sale of the Onyx on First apartment building at 1st and L has closed, with local company UIP (Urban Investment Partners) structuring a $95.5 million deal for the building that is now 10 (!) years old. UIP owns and manages about 2,800 apartments in DC and Maryland, and is also behind a lot of local renovations, including the old Howard Johnson's across from the Watergate. What makes this sale a little interesting is that when the previous owners notified residents of an impending sale, they organized under the District's Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, and then chose UIP to take the tenant acquisition rights. The press release says that "UIP has committed to installing cell phone repeaters" and will also improve the roof deck kitchens, install dog runs, and undertake other "building enhancements."
* THE BLUE CASTLE: The Hill Rag has shared a neat documentary by the students of the Richard Wright charter school about their school's 8th and M location, entitled "9 Lives of the Blue Castle." Wright focuses its curriculum on journalism and "media arts," for students in grades 8 through 12.
* TUNNEL UPDATES: The presentation from the latest "Coffee with Chuck" has a lot of cool pictures from inside the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel(s), where the JDLand camera does not tread. There's also continuing updates of schedules for cross street closures as the temporary bridge decks get demolished and the roads get rebuilt. Be prepared that a multi-month closure of 4th Street is coming, once 3rd Street is reopened.
Comments (37)
More posts: Blue Castle, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Development News, paradigm, Square 696 Residential, square 740
 

It looks as if Insignia on M has a tenant for the retail space at New Jersey and L, in the same block as the Metro station entrance. There's a placard now posted that Navy Yard Wine Merchant* has applied for a Class B liquor license, which allows the sale of beer and wine--and has also included a request for a tasting permit. ANC 6D's ABC Committee will be taking this up later this month, and the full ANC could be expected to vote on whether it will support the application at its February meeting.
In other tidbits I've been meaning to pass along:
* ZAC BROWN: Normally Nats Park hosts a big concert during the All-Star break, but the stadium will be otherwise occupied during that stretch, and so this summer's big show, the Zac Brown Band, will be on July 27. Tickets are on sale now. UPDATE: And I've been reminded in the comments that this is actually the second of the big summer shows, with the Eagles and James Taylor playing the night before.
* CHLOE: The Post's Tom Sietsema liked what he saw at Chloe, calling himself "bewitched" with the debut menu, and that "right out of the gate, Chloe feels like a keeper."
* TUNNEL: The next "Coffee with Chuck" status meeting on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel is on Wednesday, Jan. 24, from 8 to 9 am at the CSX office at 861 New Jersey Ave., SE. There is lots of work in the 300 block of Virginia Avenue these days to turn it back into an actual street, with the beginnings of curbs and sidewalks and preparations for drains and streetlights, as well as working toward returning the entrance to the Capitol Quarter driveway to its original path from Virginia.
* PSA 106: This month's PSA-106 meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 7 pm at the Capper Community Center at 5th and K, SE. MPD holds these meetings to discuss residents' concerns and questions about public safety issues.
I took a bunch of pictures this weekend, but will write about that when I recover.
* I assume this is the actual name, but cannot say with 100 percent certainty.
 
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