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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel
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The biggest disruption to traffic flow so far* near the Southeast Freeway in connection with the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion is now on the horizon, with CSX's announcement on Friday that it expects to close the one remaining open eastbound portion of Virginia Avenue, between 6th and 8th Streets, SE, sometime in mid-September.
This closure is anticipated to last until the completion of the tunnel project in mid-2018.
During this closure, the stretch of Virginia between 6th and 8th on the north side of the freeway that is currently one-way westbound will become two-way traffic, as shown in my alarmingly nifty graphic below. Traffic coming off the 6th Street exit ramp will all turn left to go under the freeway and then have the option to turn right on Virginia to continue eastbound, or to turn westbound or to continue northward.
The streets that cross Virginia will remain open during this time, so north/south traffic will continue to move in its current configurations on 3rd, 7th, and 8th Streets, with 4th remaining a southbound-only crossing and 5th/6th a northbound crossing.
(It is expected that the 5th Street intersection that has been closed for the past few weeks to install the temporary decking will reopen this week, allowing traffic to once again come north on 5th from K and cross under the freeway.)
If you don't trust JDLand's high quality graphics, here's the announcement from CSX and its own map of the new traffic flows.
The most recent "Coffee with Chuck" meeting to update interested parties was on Aug. 17, and the presentation slides are here. The next Coffee with Chuck will be on Sept. 21, followed by the quarterly Open House on Oct. 20.
* At some point there will be the most disruptive closure of all, when the freeway exit ramp is closed temporarily for some few weeks to be reconfigured to allow the tunnel construction to expand northward under the current ramp footprint. But that ramp closure is not part of this change in September. BIG UPDATE: Or not! CSX has contacted me to say that while they will "have to temporarily narrow the [6th Street exit] ramp late this year or early next," they "expect that at least one lane of the ramp will remain open at all times."
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 

As part of the continuing reconstruction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the intersection of 5th Street at Virginia Avenue will be closed starting Aug. 1 for three to four weeks for the installation of a temporary bridge deck.
The 6th Street exit ramp from eastbound I-695 will still be open during this closure, and traffic coming off the ramp will still be able to turn left to head north on 6th or continue straight on the one lane of Virginia Avenue open between 5th and 7th.
However, if you are south of Virginia Avenue and want to go north of the freeway, you will need to use either 3rd, 7th, 8th, or 11th Streets, SE. (The 7th Street intersection is expected to reopen from its own multi-week closure on Friday, July 29.)
Local traffic will still be allowed for the block of 5th Street north of K, including traffic to the Capper Seniors building.
See CSX's informational slides on this closure for additional details, or marvel at the wonder that is my own informational map above.
UPDATE, AUG. 2: The closure is officially underway.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 

On Saturday, June 18, there will be an Emergency Preparedness Meeting for residents to get training in what to do in the case of a train derailment or hazardous materials incident, a topic on the minds particularly of residents who live close to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
Lead by DC HSEMA director Chris Geldart, fire chief Gregory Dean, and Department of Energy and the Environment director Tommy Wells, the session will provide training "about safety during a derailment involving hazardous materials; sheltering-in-place vs. evacuating; emergency vehicle access; and emergency communications."
The meeting is at 10 am at 200 I St., SE. Contact ANC 6D07 commissioner Meredith Fascett for more information.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings
 

Not much to report these days, but instead of digging digging digging looking for teeny tiny stuff to pass along, the reaction of someone who's been doing this way too long is "Hey! Extended vacation!" But here's a few items:
* PARC RIVERSIDE PHASE 2: These are "studies", with materials and colors subject to change, but the architects for the second phase of Toll Brothers' Parc Riverside apartments at Half and K passed along to ANC 6D02 commissioner Stacy Cloyd some images of what the building could look like. (And now you see why when I mentioned them in another post recently I said that Phase 2 doesn't look very different from Phase 1.) The middle image, as seen from Half and I, shows the two Parc Riversideseseses as one long facade, albeit with slightly altered treatments. The other two are views from Half and L.
* REHAB CENTER PROPOSED ON LOWER 8TH: Capitol Hill Corner reports on a proposal to the Bureau of Prisons for a 300-bed resident rehabilitation center (aka "halfway house") to be located at 810 Potomac Ave., SE, across the street from both the Blue Castle and the historic Latrobe Gate to the Navy Yard. Council member Charles Allen and ANC 6B both have weighed in with strong opposition, listing all manner of reasons that this building at the corner of 8th and Potomac (and 8th and M, for that matter) "is not the right site," with 6B commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg quoted as saying, "This is an egregious thing to do to lower 8th, which is transitioning from being under-developed into a residential neighborhood." UPDATE: ANC 6D commissioner Meredith Fascett has posted on Facebook that she is opposing this as well, and says that MPD, Barracks Row Main Street, and the Capitol Riverfront BID are also in opposition.
* COFFEE WITH CHUCK SLIDES: If you want the latest update from the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, here's the slides from the May 18th neighborhood session. There's lots of photos of sections the new tunnel, including some that bloggers would probably be shot on sight for trying to get.
And, an addition a few hours later:
* AKRIDGE SELLING: WBJ says that Akridge is putting on the market its holdings along the east side of 1st Street between K and L, across from Velocity and the Parc Riverside and home until 2011 to the Market Deli and a slew of other now-gone buildings.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, 8th Street, Toll Brothers Lots
 

The rain has sapped my energy, plus I'm in just-back-from-vacation-mode (a short trip to Vegas, which means I'm currently wearing a barrel and standing on a street corner begging for money), but I'm trying to bring you tidbits anyway.
* 909 HALF: The Project Of Which Its Developers Don't Speak has apparently topped out, according to the architects, who I hope won't now be canned for daring to publicly refer to the 380-unit apartment building under construction at Half and I. They also posted a color version of the one rendering we've seen, showing the view up Half Street from south of K. There had been an additional post from the architects saying 909 Half would be opening in December, but that's now gone, probably because getting to completion seven months from now would be, shall we say, optimistic.
* NEW WEB SITES: Actual web sites are now up for both F1rst and ORE 82. (The former had just a placeholder and the latter's URL didn't actually work a few weeks ago when the fence signage went up.)
* JOY EVANS: ANC 6D Commissioner Meredith Fascett has an update on last week's meeting on Joy Evans Park, with a deadline of today (oops) for any comments you might have.
And, a few meetings this week to mention:
* COFFEE WITH CHUCK: The Virginia Avenue Tunnel project has hit the one-year mark this month (only 30 more months to go!). The monthly Coffee with Chuck meeting is on Wednesday, May 18, from 8 to 9 am at the CSX Community Office trailer at 861 New Jersey Ave., SE. RSVP here if you plan to attend.
* PUBLIC SAFETY: The monthly meeting of PSA 106 is Wednesday, May 18 at 7 pm at 200 I St. SE. MPD holds these meetings to address any public safety-related questions and concerns from the neighborhood.
* BIKE TO WORK: I'm too scared to look at the weather forecast, but Friday, May 20 is Bike to Work Day, and once again Canal Park is one of the pit stops.
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More posts: 82i, 909half, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Development News, joyevans, meetings
 

There's no good "art" to go with any of these tidbits, so instead I present to you the northwest corner of Half and N, SE, taken May 4, 2003, which now looks like this and will someday look like this.
* HAMBURGLARY: Fresh on the news of its pending demise, the McDonald's at South Capitol and I was robbed early Saturday morning, with the three suspects jumping through the drive-through window to get to the cash. And here's MPD's Persons of Interest video. (WaPo, MPD)
* CSX DERAILMENT: The derailment in Northeast of a CSX train carrying hazardous materials has reignited {sorry} the concerns over both the city's need to boost its oversight of freight rail and the movement of hazmat through the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. (WaPo, plus a City Paper piece as well)
* TENANT NEWS: "Global public strategy firm" Mercury Public Affairs, LLC has signed a lease for the 8,020 square feet of office space in the upper levels of the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, and will move in this summer. As for other Yards tenants, I hear that Whaley's could be opening Any Minute Now, with Philz not far behind. (Elsewhere, the Brig is probably still a couple of weeks away.)
* THE VERY MODEL OF A MINOR MODIFICATION: Forest City is back to the Zoning Commission with some changes to the design of the planned Showplace Icon movie theater. But you might need a microscope to spot the difference between old vs new on the exterior renderings. (And it's technically not a "minor modification," but I was feeling all Gilbert and Sullivan this morning.)
* BEHIND THE CURTAIN: DCist profiles a crazy blogger who has spent years taking photos of construction sites. I mean, honestly! Get a life!
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More posts: crime, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, philz, JDLand stuff, theater, whaleys, The Yards at DC Water
 

(If you haven't snuck a peek into the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction visible from the 4th Street temporary decking, my camera has done it for you. This is a portion of the new second tunnel--once it's completed, then the old original tunnel will be rehabbed and expanded.)
While I was away late last week, CSX finished the temporary decking on 3rd Street SE and reopened to two-way traffic the stretch between the north side of the freeway and I Street.
This means that if you're coming south from Capitol Hill, you can once again proceed under the freeway at 3rd Street, rather than having to either detour over to 4th Street or be forced onto the freeway ramp.
Speaking of temporary decks, it's now been announced that, as early as May 2, 7th Street SE will be closed at its intersection with Virginia Avenue for 2-3 weeks to build that deck.
Note: Virginia Avenue won't be closed at 7th. There will still be a single lane of eastbound traffic on Virginia through the 7th Street intersection, and traffic will still be able to turn to and from Virginia from the section of 7th north of Virginia--it's just the block of 7th between Virginia and L that will be losing any access to Virginia or points north. Detour signs for the closed section of 7th will send vehicles over to 8th Street.
There will be a path available for pedestrians to use 7th throughout the period that the street is closed.
Here's the CSX graphics about 7th Street, from this document:
Also, CSX has posted the presentation boards from its most recent quarterly open house. The next "Coffee with Chuck" will be on May 18, and the next quarterly open house on July 21.
Eleven months down, 31 to go....
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* ATTEMPTED CARJACKING: On Monday night there was an attempted armed carjacking in the 100 block of K Street, SE. According to the MPD 1-D mailing list: "The Complainant stated he was approached while standing in the doorway of his vehicle when the suspect struck him in the right side of face and eye with an unknown object. The suspect jumped in the complainant's car and demanded the keys to the car; however, the complainant fled with his keys and no property was obtained. The suspect fled and has not been arrested yet."
* PSA 106 PUBLIC SAFETY MEETING: The monthly meeting for Police Service Area 106 (which covers Near Southeast/Navy Yard/#NeCaBaRY) is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, at 7 pm, at 200 I St. SE (government ID required to enter the building). MPD hosts these monthly meetings to address questions and concerns from the public about issues of safety in the community.
* DC WATER TOWN HALL: Sorry for the last-minute notice, but there is a DC Water Ward 6 Town Hall Meeting tonight (Tuesday, April 19) at 6:30 pm at Tyler Elementary School, 1001 G St., SE. DC Water Grand Poobah George Hawkins and Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen are co-hosting the meeting to talk about current projects, billing rates, and more.
* WARD 6 BUDGET TOWN HALL: Speaking of town halls, Charles Allen is also hosting one on Thursday, April 21 on DC's proposed budget for FY17. It's at 6:30 pm at 645 H St., NE. "Before the Council votes on the budget, hear from Councilmember Allen on what's in it for Ward 6, where he's focused in the budget debate, and what comes next in budget decisions."
* TWO-WAY THIRD: CSX says that two-way traffic could return to 3rd Street north of I perhaps as early as Friday, April 22. Watch also in the next day or so for a shift in the current one-way flow onto the new bridge deck.
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More posts: crime, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings
 

Continuing to catch up....:
* JBG HALF STREET ZONING OK: On Monday night the Zoning Commission gave unanimous final approval to JBG's plans for its 420-unit apartment/condo/retail building on Half Street immediately north of Nats Park. Construction could get underway late this year (after baseball season).
* CRANE RESCUE: A construction worker at F1rst on 1st St. SE had to be rescued by firefighters via "high-angle rescue" on Tuesday. (Fox 5)
* DCBFIT OUT, CHURCH IN: I alas never got it posted here that the little DCBFit gym in the ground floor of the Courtyard Marriott/Capitol Hill Tower closed back in February. But now the space has a new tenant--the Waterfront Church, which has been operating out of the Courtyard since its founding in 2014.
* THE NEW FLAVORS ARE HERE!: Ice Cream Jubilee, fresh off its second-in-a-row Best Ice Cream in DC title in City Paper's Best of DC voting, announced new seasonal flavors on Tuesday: Chocolate Matzo Crack, Cherries Jubilee, Double Stout Caramel, and a Fig, Port, & Goat Cheese combo.
* TUNNEL OPEN HOUSE: Time for another Virginia Avenue Tunnel Quarterly Open House, on Thursday, April 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Courtyard Marriott at New Jersey and L. There's no formal presentations, but representatives of the project are on hand to provide updates and answer questions. Lots of lane-shifting going on these days as temporary bridge decks get built on 3rd, 8th, and 11th. And the intersection of 7th and Virginia is expected to close for about two weeks starting in early May to get its deck installed. CSX also expects to return 3rd Street to two-way traffic "near the end of April."
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, jubilee, waterfrontchurch, West Half St.
 

I happened to wander up and down 3rd Street a couple of times on Thursday, and so got a good look at how the street is now temporarily set up as CSX works to build the temporary decking over the tunnel construction at the intersection with Virginia Avenue.
As mentioned a few days back, it was decided that instead of closing the intersection altogether, traffic would become one way northbound during the deck construction, with any traffic headed south of the freeway needing to turn left at G Street and then right on 4th Street to come under the freeway. But traffic can still come south of G in order to turn left into the Results parking lot or right to take the 3rd Street ramp to the Southeast Freeway.
As you can see in these terribly exciting photos, northbound traffic is currently in a small "chute" of sorts just south of Virginia, just west of where digging has begun. Then the area opens up under the freeway.
Pedestrians heading either north or south of the freeway are on the sidewalk on the east side, then must cross to get to a temporary walkway west of the "chute" on the south side of the intersection.
I went by about four times, at 1:30, 3:00, 5:00, and 8:30 pm. I saw no big backups on either side of the freeway, though did see one person turn into the Results driveway to then backup and head north back to G.
There are flaggers watching the traffic during construction hours (and also were taking a few seconds to glare pointedly at crazy ladies taking photos of the configuration), but when I passed by at 8:30, there were no workers on site, and I watched two vehicles come south under the freeway past the Road Closed signs. There was no northbound traffic, so they were able to do it, but it's something that people using that intersection outside of the hours that the workers are on site might want to be watching for.
I asked CSX representatives about the first few days of work, and whether there might be any tweaks coming now that they've seen it in action. This is their statement:
"We appreciate the community’s patience and cooperation as we work to install the temporary street deck at the intersection of 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue. CSX is working as quickly as safety allows to install the temporary bridge and restore two-way traffic to 3rd Street. In the meantime, in conjunction with DDOT’s traffic experts, we continue to make adjustments to the directional signs and traffic control devices through the 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue intersection, to optimize the flow of traffic through the area. We are placing new signs north of G Street on 3rd Street to help increase awareness of the one-way traffic below the freeway, and are hopeful that more drivers will obey the signs as they become familiar with the temporary changes."
As the deck construction eventually works its away across the entire intersection, watch for the patterns to change. It is expected to be "several weeks" before the deck is completed and two-way traffic is restored.
If you have questions or concerns about this or any other part of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction, the next Coffee with Chuck is on Wednesday, March 16, at 8 am.
PS: Thanks to all who came to Scarlet Oak for Happy Hour on Thursday! It was great meeting a lot of readers and commenters "in real life," and I think there maybe ought to be another one before too much longer. Once I get my voice back--I'm not used to actually talking to human beings that much.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 
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