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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
1244 South Capitol
One M/10 Van
Yards/Icon Theater
DC Water HQ
New Douglass Bridge
Yards/Parcel O
JBG/Akridge/Half St.
Lynch/Half St.
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('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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84 Blog Posts Since 2003
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A few more tidbits to pass along after the multiple head smacks I visited upon myself upon realizing I should have included them yesterday:
* VAN NESS AND TEETER: If you'd like to support your old/new neighborhood elementary school while shopping at your still-sort-of-new neighborhood grocery store, you can participate in Harris Teeter's Together in Education program by linking your VIC card to Van Ness Elementary by using the account number 3472, either by telling a cashier or using an online Teeter account. Then shop for the various Teeter house brands and Van Ness will receive 5 percent of your purchase prices. (And you can link up to five schools to one VIC card if you have multiple loyalties.)
* NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE: CSX announced late last week that it launched a Neighborhood Guide web site for the Barracks Row and Capitol Riverfront neighborhoods, in order to "promote area businesses to the hundreds of construction personnel and project staff who will be working in the neighborhood during the 30-42 month tunnel-reconstruction project."
* TRUCKEROO ENCORE: The Fairgrounds folks have added one more Truckeroo food truck festival to the 2015 calendar, on Friday, Oct. 9 from 11 am to 11 pm. Hopefully it will have stopped raining by then.
* CRIME FEEDS: You may have noticed that the crime reports on the JDLand home page have gone silent of late--MPD apparently transitioned to a new back end, which has resulted in reformattings of both the e-mailed and downloadable reports that I had spent numerous hours building parsers for, so now I have to rewrite those. At least I get three hours of most every day back after Sunday....
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More posts: crime, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, teeter, truckeroo, Van Ness Elementary

Without much big news these days (and now without anything big and exciting of a sporting nature happening in the neighborhood in October), it's time to go to the Tidbits hopper.
(Plus a reminder, as always, that the Twitter box on the JDLand home page is a good place to check and scroll through for up-to-the-minute tidbits.)
* SEPT. TUNNEL UPDATE: The slides from this morning's CSX "Coffee with Chuck" event have been posted, with photos showing the work being done along each block of the project (taken in locations that nosey neighborhood blogger cameras generally can't get to).
Slide 13 indicates the closure of the 300 block of Virginia Avenue is expected the week of Oct. 12, and that excavation for the tunnel in the 400 block should be getting underway right about now. Slides also show the temporary driveways and sidewalks in the 300 block of Virginia and at the Capper Seniors building east of 5th.
* DC VEGFEST: Saturday Oct. 3 is the scheduled DC VegFest from 11 am to 6 pm in the parking lots at the intersection of 1st and N SE (which, let's be honest, is a stretch to call a "Yards Park" location). There will be more than 130 vendors, cooking demos, free samples, a beer garden, a canine "barking lot" and activities for kids. It's a rain-or-shine event, but with the dicey forecast this weekend, a note on the web site does say that "severe weather conditions may result in a cancellation."
* MOPS GROUP: The Waterfront Church is organizing a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group for the neighborhood, with monthly meetings beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 6, from 7:30 to 9 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St. SE. The group's mission is to "connect moms all over the world to a community of women, in their own neighborhoods, who meet together to laugh, cry and embrace the journey of motherhood." Register here, noting that there is a $50 annual fee (or $25 if you don't require childcare at the meetings).
* ICE CREAM, FALL EDITION: In my quest to alert readers to important neighborhood news, I will pass along that Ice Cream Jubilee has announced its fall flavors: salty apple cinnamon, maple rye pecan, pumpkin honeycomb, and kiwi lemongrass. Also, eight-inch ice cream cakes are now available for custom orders, for $65.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Events, icecreamjubilee

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.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, circulator, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, Traffic Issues

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.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues, Virginia Ave Park

If you are not one who sees much of Virginia Avenue SE in your day-to-day travels, or if you just cross it on your way to other locations, you might not be fully aware of the current scope of the initial work on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel reconstruction.
But never fear, my feet and my camera worked very hard in recent days to bring it all together for you.
Let's take a walk from west to east, shall we?

* FROM 2ND TO 3RD: The little-used stretch of Virginia from where the tracks first go underground at 2nd Street east toward 3rd was the first to close, depriving me of a good Park Chelsea/800 New Jersey vantage point (waaah!).
There's still pedestrian access right up against 200 I as you see at right, but the street itself is mostly gone, except for the portion that allows access to 200 I's loading dock.

* FROM 3RD TO 4TH: The thorniest part of the entire project is of course the 300 block of Virginia, where the townhouses on the south side of the block are taking the lion's share of residential impact during the reconstruction. As you see below, the trees along both sides of the street are gone, and access to the houses' front sidewalk from the east end is gone, as prep work is done for a new temporary driveway from 3rd Street to the alley that runs behind the houses. It's anticipated that this block will close to traffic completely next month.

* FROM 4TH TO 5TH: The intersection of 4th and Virginia is shrinking as prep work begins to build the temporary decking that will allow traffic to cross over the tunnel construction. The stretch from 4th to 5th has been stripped of its asphalt, as you see in the second photo below and the one at the top of this post. You can also see in the below right photo why there will be a temporary closure for a few weeks next spring of the 6th Street exit ramp from the freeway, so that it can be shifted north to allow for tunnel work.

* FROM 5TH TO 7TH: Those coming down the freeway ramp are now greeted with a sea of orange, and with the loss of the right lane. (And pedestrians have lost any sidewalk access to this block.) This block will remain open with reduced lanes into 2017.

* FROM 7TH TO 9TH: The small stretch of Virginia between 7th and 8th is currently untouched, but the street is closed from east of 8th to 9th (as I grumble about how part of this area was JUST ripped up and rebuilt as part of the 11th Street Bridges project).
With help from a tree stump, I was able to get a look at not only the initial work on Virginia but the clearing of a big chunk of Virginia Avenue Park, all the way across to 11th Street. The community garden remains untouched, however.

* FROM 10TH TO 12TH: The construction bends south in Virginia Avenue Park to meet up with L Street at 10th (below left), and L is now closed at its intersection with 11th (below middle). East of 11th the construction site continues (below right), but after all of this walking I failed you and did not get across there to peek in. It's in this final section where CSX reports having found more than 8,800 original paving stones buried a few feet below ground, apparently laid sometime during the 1880s-1890s. CSX says it will use some of the stones in its restoration of Virginia Avenue Park and will provide the rest to DDOT.
The sidewalk on the west side of 11th between the freeway and M Street is closed, but a recent missive from CSX says this is temporary "while we install pilings and temporary bridge decks, and work on utility relocations."
E-mail updates on closures and other construction aspects are sent out by the project team pretty regularly, if you are not already signed up. The next monthly "Coffee with Chuck" meeting with the project's chief engineer is scheduled for Sept. 30 at 8 am at the Courtyard by Marriott. (Though perhaps at some point though there needs to be a "Warm Milk/Nightcap with Chuck" for folks who don't operate well before noon.)
And my Virginia Avenue Tunnel project page is now refreshed with a fair number of before-and-after pairings to be able to see the changes at the various intersections along the construction footprint.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

Hi, you may remember me, I was once a blogger.
I've managed to summon the herculean strength necessary to pull myself out of the summer doldrums, but I'm left with only just enough energy to pass along these tidbits:
* SCARLET L(BR)UNCH: Lunch service at Scarlet Oak is expected to begin around Aug. 13, with a menu that will include more salads and sandwiches, according to City Paper. Brunch service is expected to begin later in August.
* 25 M AGAIN: Many many many moons ago, Akridge unveiled plans for 373,000 square feet of office space in two buildings at 25 M, the southwest corner of Half and M Streets, where the Fairgrounds currently resides. Now, nearly eight years and two property sales later, it's been announced that Akridge and new landowner Brandywine Realty Trust will be developing a 275,000 square feet of office space in one building on the site, which will also include 25,000 square feet of retail. It will be designed by HOK "to create a landmark presence at one of the most visible intersections" in the city, offering tenants "incredible visibility, branding, and communications opportunity." No timeline for this was mentioned. (And we're still waiting to hear what JBG will be doing with the south end of the Fairgrounds block.)
* FOR THE LADIES: There's now a nursing room at Nats Park.
* GARBER ON THE RUN: As astute observers once predicted, former #NavyYard ANC commissioner David Garber has announced his candidacy in the 2016 race for the at-large council seat currently occupied by Vincent Orange.
* TUNNEL OPEN HOUSE: The next quarterly CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel open house is Thursday, Aug. 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St. SE. No formal presentation, but lots of project representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide updates.
UPDATE: Should have also mentioned that there will be fireworks after tonight's Nats game (Aug. 7). The Yards Park is a particularly fine place to watch them, if you haven't already found that out.
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More posts: JBG/Akridge Half St., ballpark, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, politics, scarletoak

CSX's monthly "Coffee with Chuck" was this morning, and while I didn't attend, that isn't stopping me from glomming onto the presentation slides that have already been posted on the official web site.
Contained therein were three slides that I think will be of particular interest: the latest schedules for expected street closures and lane reductions as well as when the various intersections with Virginia Avenue will be temporarily closed to install decking.
(I'm also including CSX's graphic of what the be-decked intersections will look like.)
If you aren't bothering to click to enlarge (for shame!), here's some highlights:
* Expect the section of Virginia Avenue between 3rd and 4th to be completely closed in early October.
* The work to begin creating the temporary decking on the cross streets will begin first at 11th Street, with 8-10 weeks of reduced lanes starting next month. (A shame this didn't happen during all of that OTHER work along the same stretch of 11th....)
* It appears that the intersection at 4th and Virginia won't have a complete closure during its decking, but will see 3-4 weeks of reduced lanes beginning in October.
* The intersections with 3rd, 5th/6th (man, I hate that intersection), and 7th will be the ones that will have up to two weeks of complete closures while the decking is installed, with another few weeks of reduced lanes, but this schedule indicates those won't happen before spring of 2016.
In other Tunnel Disruption Alerts, CSX sent out word earlier today that there will be interruptions to Comcast Services on Aug. 6 and 7 while the company performs "cable splicing," though the alert indicates that this will primarily impact very nearby residences and businesses south of the freeway.
CSX's next quarterly open house is scheduled for Aug. 13, plus you can have Coffee with Chuck on Aug. 19, Sept. 30, and Oct. 21.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

It's still relatively early in the process, but let's take a look at the changes that have already been put in place thanks to the start of construction on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
The closure of Virginia between 4th and 5th Streets, SE (seen here) has probably had the greatest impact so far, preventing vehicles from taking Virginia toward 8th Street (and its outbound ramp to I-695) unless one goes south on 4th to K, then north on 5th.
According to CSX, there will be increased prep work at this location this week, and it could see the start of drilling for steel and concrete pilings as early as the week of July 20.
Immediately to the south, the stockade fences are going up in front of the nearby townhomes, and the little stub of I Street has been closed east of 4th and east of the alley that runs between the townhouses and St. Paul's (see below left, click to enlarge). The I Street "hook" into Virginia Avenue will not reopen--the pocket park in this location will be reconfigured and enlarged once construction is finished.
Some moving of dirt has actually begun, as you see above in the shot of Virginia Avenue east of 2nd, alongside the stretch of road that was closed a few weeks ago.
The initial cutting down of trees along Virginia is particularly noticeable west of 3rd, as shown in this comparison of a 2007 photo and one from today (more before-and-afters of this intersection here):
According to the latest updates from CSX, parking will be restricted this week on Virginia between 3rd and 4th to allow for more cutting down of trees. And it's expected that perhaps as early as next week Virginia Avenue will be closed between 8th and 9th. (The numbered cross streets remain open.)
One other closure worth photographing is the underpass just to the south of Garfield Park, where skateboarders can still congregate (yay?), but is now closed to any attempts to get completely south of the freeway.
CSX is holding another one of its "Coffee with Chuck" events on Thursday, July 23 from 7:30 to 9 am at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St., SE, in case you'd like to hear the latest updates and ask questions of the chief project engineer. (RSVPs requested.) Slides from the June ChucKlatch have been posted as well.
There's also now the option to receive updates on the project via SMS, should you wish.
The Virginia Avenue Tunnel official web site has more, and I've started getting my own Virginia Avenue Tunnel page prepped for the expected onslaught of before-and-afters
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

I'm now back from a much-needed respite in north-central and northeast Wyoming, where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play (sometimes in your yard), and where the skies are (mostly) not cloudy all day.
While I'm miffed that all work in Near Southeast did not grind to a halt while I was gone, I will still pass along these quick tidbits of news, for those who weren't doing their own newsgathering over the past 10 days.
* CRANES A'PLENTY: The residential projects at 801 New Jersey and 1111 New Jersey have now joined the lineup of sites where tower cranes are in place. This of course means that vertical construction at these locations won't be too far off, should everything go according to plan. And there's probably a crane coming before long at 909 Half as well. (Speaking of cranes, they are often lightning rods--literally, as the Dock 79 crane found out last week.)
* ROADS A'CLOSING: On Wednesday, June 24, Virginia Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets SE was closed and fenced, as part of initial Virginia Avenue Tunnel work. And a missive from CSX a few days ago says that the expectation is that Virginia will close between 4th and 5th "on or about" Wednesday, July 1. (But the cross streets will remain open.) Drivers will need to use K Street over to 5th to then continue north under the freeway, or to continue east on Virginia Avenue until that portion of road is closed as well.
* PIZZA PIZZA: There's still the pesky detail of actual construction, but at last a building permit has been approved for Nicoletta, the pizza/pasta carryout kiosk long planned by Osteria Morini's Chef Michael White in one of the small retail bays beneath the Yards Park overlook, on the Riverwalk.
* BARDO DELAYED: The plans for an outdoor park and "brew garden" on the west end of the Florida Rock site are "now looking like a fall opening," according to WBJ--"if we're lucky." "Red tape" is the reason given. WBJ also notes that the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that was looking for $200,000 to help fund the venture closed with $4,330 in contributions.
There's probably more to come, but that's good enough for now.
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More posts: 1111 New Jersey, 82i, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, development, Florida Rock, nicoletta

The meat of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion project appears to be edging closer, as CSX sent out an announcement today with a preliminary heads up that the first full "for the duration" closures could happen by the end of June:
* Virginia Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets, SE, will close to traffic and parking "as soon as Monday, June 22."
* Virginia Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets, SE, will close to traffic and parking "as soon as Monday, June 29."
In both cases, fencing will be installed along the project site's perimeter, plus a temporary sidewalk will be installed between 2nd and 3rd.
Look for traffic to increase on the detour routes along I and/or K Streets in these blocks.
In addition, the recreation area under the Southeast Freeway/I-695 at 2nd Street will not be accessible from the south, which means no walking to and from Garfield Park in that spot until tunnel construction is cleared from that location. (The rec area will still be accessible, but only from the north/Garfield Park side.) There will also be fencing installed along the south side of Garfield Park by the rec area.
There will also be temporary closures of the left lane of Virginia Avenue between 5th and 7th Streets for a few weeks, starting perhaps as early as June 17.
This doesn't mean the start of actual digging or pile driving is nigh in these blocks--there are still apparently utility relocations and "other preparations" to complete before excavation work is to begin.
And when they say "as soon as," they really are doing a bit of ballparking. So if the blocks don't close on the above dates, don't assume that they've changed their minds.
For more about the project, check out my Virginia Avenue Tunnel page or the official web site.
Note: I'm not going to pass along every single construction update from CSX, so best to join the mailing list or follow the project on Twitter if you require minute-by-minute information, but I will highlight big milestones as they are announced.
UPDATE: I've said it so many times that I didn't think about mentioning it AGAIN, but I will mention AGAIN that the cross-streets in the zone of the project--3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th--will all remain open, allowing for continued vehicle and pedestrian traffic across Virginia and under the freeway. At some point there will be closures of a number of days to install the wooden planking on the intersections above the tunnel digging, but those streets are not scheduled to close for months and months. And neither is the exit ramp from the freeway to 6th Street, though all cars will have to turn left/north and go under the freeway.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel
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