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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel
See JDLand's CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel Project Page
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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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89 Blog Posts Since 2003
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This week I've looked at the buildings that are far along in their construction, and I've looked at the newest topped-off project, and I've even mentioned the project that is just about to start digging, so what's left? A mere seven projects that are in their vertical construction phase, at various levels of out-of-the-ground.
We'll start with 801 New Jersey/82 I (above/left), now a smidge more than halfway toward its eventual 13-story height. This is the Graystar/RCP 227-unit apartment building that is expected to open in 2016.
Just up the block is 800 New Jersey, aka the Whole Foods building, which looks just barely out of the ground from New Jersey (below left), but if you venture up 2nd Street (below right) you can see evidence of the ramp for the grocery store parking that will be on the second and third floor. (Resident parking will be below ground, shared with its sibling the Park Chelsea and the eventual third residential building along the east side of the block.) This building will have about 336 rental units:

Two projects have at least some hint of their first floors built: the 380-unit building at 909 Half Street will be a lot larger than this small section of construction at Half and I makes it look like at the moment (below left), while the Homewood Suites at Half and M really does also have a portion of its first floor built, though the nasty late fall shadows make it hard to see.
Next up are three projects that are technically out of the ground, although it's just rebar breaking the plane at the moment, but concrete shouldn't be far behind. Behold terribly unexciting pictures of the status of the F1rst residential project and the Residence Inn immediately to its north, plus the Gallery at Capitol Riverfront/1111 New Jersey.
But if you like photos of holes being dug, you're still in luck. There's now clear evidence of the excavation work at Skanska's 99 M office building project, and while nothing will ever really arise from the cut-and-cover work on the new portion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel (seen here looking west from 5th Street) it's still digging.
In the midst of all of these updates over the past few days, I did some redevelopment of my own, and finally created individual pages for the Square 701/Not-Ballpark-Square trio of projects, so now you can check out the progress on the Hampton Inn, F1rst/Residence Inn, and 99 M in a less jumbled format.

A busy week ahead:
* SIDE YARDS: A reminder that the sideshow event comes back to the Yards Park on Saturday, Nov. 7.
* ANC 6D: The monthly Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting is on Monday, Nov. 9, and this month the party ventures thisaway across South Capitol Street to the meeting room at 200 I St., SE. Agenda items include a slew of items from Near Southeast, including construction updates for 909 Half and 82 I/801 New Jersey, pedestrian issues on I Street, the Virginia Ave. streetscape restoration plan, a DC Housing Authority presentation, and more. The meeting starts early, with presentations at 6:30 pm before the meeting "officially" gets underway at 7 pm.
* CSX OPEN HOUSE: The quarterly open house for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project is on Thursday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 7 pm at the Courtyard Marriott hotel at 140 L St., SE. There will be no formal presentations, but there will be representatives from the project team to answer questions and provide updates. (If you can't make this, the next Coffee with Chuck is on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 8 am at the same location.)
* CULINARY CRAWL: The Barracks Row Main Street folks have organized a three-day Culinary Crawl Nov. 14-16, with cooking classes at various restaurants not only on 8th Street but also near Eastern Market and down south of the freeway in this neck of the woods, with Ice Cream Jubilee, Bluejacket, and Agua 301 all participation. Here's the schedule, where you can also sign up/buy tickets.
* ICE RINK: There were originally plans for a soft opening this weekend followed by a grand opening on Nov. 14, but the weather has played a bit of havoc with that schedule. I've just heard that the grand opening will now be on Saturday, Nov. 21, but on the 14th they are hosting a Cinderella-themed event from 11 am to 1 pm--dress as your favorite princess or prince for a chance to win tickets to the National Theater's production of Cinderella.
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More posts: ANC News, Canal Park, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Events, icerink

These deserve their own posts, but time is tight these days. (And given the forecast, I'm guessing there will be a couple hundred new photos for me to wrangle this weekend as well.)
* WILD WINGS DATE CONFIRMED: A mailing and also a source In the Know have confirmed that Buffalo Wild Wings will be opening at 1220 Half St. SE on November 16, with a ribbon cutting as well as free wings for a year* for the first 100** guests. (*Meaning 52 coupons to use once a week on a snack-sized wings offering.) (**Probably only 99 of you have a shot, because one JDLand reader is already staking a claim.)
* VIRGINIA AVE. STREETSCAPE: The final concept plan for sprucing up Virginia Avenue after CSX is done with tunnel construction has been posted by ANC commissioner Meredit Fascett. One big change: the new planned cul-de-sac on I Street east of 4th that sounded like it was going to disappear is in fact going to be part of the final plan. Public comments are being accepted by DDOT through tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 6), and the DDOT Public Space Committee will evaluate the plans at a Nov. 12 meeting.
* PRESERVATION GRANTS: Speaking of the tunnel, there is a Preservation Initiatives Fund that will be distributing funds near the tunnel project to "preserve, restore, research, identify, evaluate, interpret, or otherwise benefit historic resources within the project area." The money is coming from CSX and is being administered by the DC Preservation League as part of the project's mitigation offerings. The deadline to apply for a grant is Dec. 4. More in this flyer, including which blocks are part of the "area of potential effects" (including quite a few north of the freeway).
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More posts: bww, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

I did not attend last week's meeting on the plans for Virginia Avenue's streetscape once construction on the tunnel is completed, but detailed notes taken by DDOT have been posted. And there are some items that caught my eye:
* TREES: It's reported that 176 trees have been cut down as part of the tunnel construction, and that there will be approximately 305 new trees planted once the work is done. DDOT's preferred species include oaks, elms, and honey locust, and the planting scheme is such that it is expected to provide 50 percent "canopy coverage" after 20 years, 10 percentage points higher than the required minimum.
* PARKING: "The design team recognizes that parking is a critical issue for the neighborhood, and will ensure that the number of parking spaces in the neighborhood remains the same. DDOT will explore the possibility of providing additional parking."
* I STREET: Plans to have the 400 block of I Street end in a stub east of the church have apparently been shelved: "Based on community feedback, the connection of I Street to the 400 block of Virginia Avenue has been restored." As seen in this revised image.
* MORE VIRGINIA!: My personal favorite out of all of this: "The Architect of the Capitol will complete their construction project in 2018, and has indicated willingness to reopen Virginia Avenue between South Capitol Street and 2nd Street SE." This would also "enhance" connections to Garfield Park, allowing for passage in locations other than just the skate park-area under the freeway.
* TWO-WAY: Once construction is over, the 800 blocks of both Virginia Avenue and L Street SE will be converted to two-way traffic.
* LIGHTING: Replacement streetlights will be LEDs, which emit a whiter light than the current streetlights. There are apparently LED streetlights now installed on 1st Street near the ballpark as a test case for the city, and the "fixtures specified for Virginia Avenue will be similar to the first series of lights on the right hand side of First Street moving away from M Street."
* VIRGINIA AVE. PARK: The final post-construction design of Virginia Avenue Park is actually the responsibility of the Department of Parks and Recreation, and there will be a "design charrette" to discuss the park's future on Oct. 15 at 7 pm at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.
Go ahead and read the notes for more details (and you can even see all the comment sheets handed in by the attendees). And the most recent designs for the streetscapes are here, plus you can check out my look at the initial designs.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, Traffic Issues

Just a little photo offering of how things look near the intersection of 4th Street and Virginia Avenue SE today, where actual excavation for the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel is just getting underway.
Above Left: Looking east into the fresh excavation from 4th. Above Right: Looking west from 5th, with the excavation at left and a "scenic" vista directly ahead.
Above Left: The actual excavation, just east of 4th. Above Right: The view down 4th from north of the freeway. Watch for daytime road closures over the next few days/weeks of 4th from here to I Street.
Above: There's a reason the houses in the 300 block of Virginia Avenue are referred to as "front-row residences." (Though note that this is not tunnel excavation, but work on the temporary sidewalk and driveway in this block.)
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

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.
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.
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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
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