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Housing Authority Officially Requests Marines Stop Looking at Square 882 for New Barracks
May 28, 2010 12:58 AM
I've been chroncling over the past few months the Marine Corps' search for a spot for a new barracks, which has focused on a number of sites in Near Southeast, including the block bounded by Fifth, Seventh, L and M just south of their newest barracks that used to be home to the old Capper Seniors apartment building. It's been clear in public meetings and various other rumblings that both city planning officials and the DC Housing Authority are very much against the Marines using this site, with plans having been in place for a number of years for this now-empty/parking-lot block to become home to both a 600,000-square-foot office building and a 189-unit mixed-income apartment building (shown above) as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment.
Clearly feeling that the Marines haven't given up on the site as an option despite these plans, DCHA has now sent the Marines a letter officially requesting that the Corps "not continue to propose redevelopment options on the DCHA-owned Square 882 as a future site for its facility needs." The letter explains that DCHA has already secured funds to improve the infrastructure around the square, has spent "substantial predevelopment funds" on design and engineering drawings, and is anticipating beginning work on the residential portion of the site in October. (There's currently no timetable for the office portion.) Further, DCHA says it "recently received an invitation from HUD to submit an application for a FHA loan guarantee to support the planned residential construction on the site," and that this construction is expected to start "this winter."
Nothing in the letter is necessarily a surprise--I've written fairly extensively about DCHA's plans and about the zoning travails they went through before getting a second-stage PUD approval for Square 882 last year, which even included many discussions and agreements with both the Marines and the Navy about security requirements for the new buildings on this block. But clearly DCHA is hoping to be completely removed from the Marines' list of potential sites in the same way that the DC Public Schools (and parents) got Tyler Elementary removed from consideration. But it's also clear from the public workshops that the Marines very much like what Square 882 has to offer them in terms of space and proximity to the other USMC operations in the area.
The Marines are hoping to make a decision on a site by September. You can see all the sites under consideration and the various options on the "Community Integrated Master Plan" web site.

Liquor Store Coming to 909 New Jersey?
May 25, 2010 2:31 PM
Some potential retail news might have just come onto the radar screen: on the agenda for ANC 6D's next ABC Committee meeting is a proposed Class A license at 909 New Jersey Avenue for an entity called "Harry's SW & SE". They are proposing apparently to sell beer, wine, bread, milk, cheese, and sandwiches (and no "singles"), which is in line with a Class A/liquor store license. If anyone who lives at 909 has heard any rumors, or if anyone else has some scoop, drop me a line. I'm trying to find out more, and will update as I can. (Though the last time I started asking questions about a license application when one appeared on the ABC agenda was a few months ago for 55 M, and it disappeared from the lineup almost as soon as I hit "send." So be forewarned.)
Also on the ABC agenda is a change to Justin's Cafe's license, with Justin now seeking to add a sidewalk cafe.
The meeting is on June 2 at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Recreation Center.
UPDATE: There was a Harry's Liquor Store at 401 M St., SW back in the old Waterside Mall--I don't think it's reopened in the new building(?). I imagine this is the same owner.
UPDATE II: It is indeed the same owner as the old Waterside Mall store, and he also owns Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits in the 300 block of Pennsylvania Ave., SE.

Marine Barracks Public Workshop on Saturday
May 19, 2010 6:57 PM
This Saturday (May 22) the Marines are holding an open house-style public workshop as part of their continuing quest to find a site for a new Marine Barracks. It will be from 10 am to 2 pm at the International Graduate University (formerly the Buchanan School) at 1325 D St., SE. I've written a lot about this, so will avoid summarizing--you can read my reports from the April and March workshops along with other recent posts). If you want to see the various locations that the Marines are zeroing in on, their web site has a lot of detail--and, judging from the comments sections on the various layout plans, the participants and fans of the Virginia Avenue Community Garden have joined together to to voice their opposition to any of the options that would either relocate or close down their garden. (There's also the families whose kids play sports voicing their opposition to any of the options that would take away the field at the Seventh and Virginia Barracks site. It's almost like there's no location that will please everyone!)
In fact, ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger, who is part of the Community Leadership Group that meets separately with the Marines, has posted a few notes from their May 13 meeting, and hits on the theme I just snarked about: "There remains a lack of clarity, despite a lot of words spoken at the meeting, on how an actual decision will be made. That may or may not happen at the September 'charette' (structure/aims tbd). Part of the problem is, as often happens, loose use of language. The convenient phrase 'the community' recurred throughout the meeting. But there is no THE COMMUNITY. Rather, at the table were the development community, the sports community, the retail community, the political community, etc. Satisfying all these communities, while meeting the Marines' needs, is and will continue to be a bear." Norm also posted some information on possible options for the reuse of the existing "Building 20" on the southeast corner of 8th and I.
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More posts: Barracks, meetings

Traffic Meetings, On Top of Each Other (Plus WASA)
May 19, 2010 6:37 PM
I've been waiting to post about this until some sort of official announcement came from the ANC or DDOT, but time's a'wastin, so I'll mention that SWill reported after the last ANC 6D meeting that a follow-up TOPP (Traffic Operations and Parking Plan) meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 25, tenatively at 6:30 pm at the Second Baptist Church, 1200 Canal St., SW. This meeting was asked for after the previous one was not particularly well attended by the necessary government agencies.
However, at almost the same time is a Public Information Meeting on the 14th Street Bridge Corridor Environmental Impact Statement, from 6 to 8 pm at Westminstery Presbysterian Church, 400 I St., SW. (There is another one being held two days later in Arlington.) This meeting's purpose is "to present preliminary traffic results and scope of the enivonrmental assessment for the [corridor] alternatives" and to answer questions and receive feedback.
It would seem that the attendees for these meetings might be coming out of the same pool, so it's a shame if they do end up overlapping.
Also, for another on-the-periphery meeting, WASA is having a public meeting on Thursday May 27th at 6 pm to get the public's comment on their combined sewer overflow long-term control plan and the draft environmental assessment. The meeting is at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th Street, SE (see the flyer). Of course, this meeting conflicts with the alternate date for the 14th Street Bridge Corridor EIS meeting....
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Upcoming Events (ANCs and Business Summit)
May 9, 2010 9:00 PM
On your agenda for the near future, should you choose to accept the mission:
* ANC 6D (Southwest and most of Near Southeast) meets Monday night at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW. (When are they moving to their new meeting space, dangit?) The agenda is posted--no big Near Southeast items, except for perhaps an update from the Nationals, a brief update on Traffic/Parking issues from a member of Tommy Wells's staff, and request for support for a liquor license for the new Patriot II river cruise ship operating out of Diamond Teague Park. One other item that might be of interest is an update on the 14th Street Bridge Environmental Impact Statement, which has been quiet for a while.
* ANC 6B (south side of Capitol Hill and Near Southeast south of the freeway east of Seventh [excluding the Navy Yard]) meets the next night, Tuesday, at 7 pm at its new meeting place, the People's Church at 535 Eighth Street, SE. Here's the agenda, which is chock full of liquor license renewals and home remodeling projects.
* Looking ahead a bit to next week, a reminder that the Anacostia River Business Summit is being held on Tuesday, May 18, starting at 1:30 pm at 20 M St., SE. Admission is $30 per person; the agenda includes a presentation on the Anacostia River Watershed Restoration Plan and panels on "Federal and District Leadership Efforts" and "The Business Impact." There will also be an exhibit hall and a networking reception after the sessions. More info here, and online registration available here.

Quick Report from Ballpark Traffic/Parking Meeting
Apr 27, 2010 10:16 PM
Tonight ANC 6D held a community meeting to get a status report on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan. The session was facilitated by councilmember Wells, and also included representatives of DDOT and the Nationals. (DPW was not present, much to the consternation of many attendees, since they are the ones responsible for ticket-writing and towing.)
The session started off with an update on the (few) changes to parking and traffic flow in the new season. Some are already well known, such as the two new Nats economy lots replacing the RFK shuttle service; otherwise, there have been some slight modifications to signal timing at South Capitol and Potomac and to pedestrian flow on M at First and South Capitol. Plus, DDOT says they have corrected the lack of signs/meters in the Half/Van/L area.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nats said that there are about 125 more cars parking in each of the two economy lots this season, and that the Nats are happy that neither lot is particularly accessible through any residential neighborhoods. He also mentioned that only 30 percent of fans drive to the games, with the rest taking transit or arriving other ways, such as by foot/bike/water taxi/parachute/personal jetpack/teleportation. (I'm paraphrasing.)
McCarthy did acknowledge that, while traffic flow generally works well when game attendance is under 25,000, there is "significant congestion" when there's more tickets sold, and specifically mentioned First and M as a chokepoint where cars need to be moved faster through their right turn to the various parking lots. He also said that the team needs to do a better job getting the taxi stand working, to get taxis to actually line up there for customers and to get them to use it as a drop-off point. (What? You didn't know there's a taxi stand? Why, yes, there is, on Half Street next to 20 M.)
The rest of the meeting was taken up with questions and complaints from the audience, all of which related to issues in the residential neighborhoods of Southwest. (There wasn't a single resident of Southeast in attendance, unless you count ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel. And Tommy. And me.) There were complaints about stadium workers parking just to the west of South Capitol Street and using Ward 6 visitor parking permits to do so, and about what the residents see as a distinct lack of ticketing and towing, which is why people were very unhappy that DPW was not at the meeting, despite having been invited. Tommy promised to help get some action, saying that enforcement should be very heavy at the beginning of the season, to send a message. (He also noted that, yes, this meeting should have been held *before* Opening Day.)
If you have any issues with gameday parking that you think need to be addressed, you can contact Tommy's office through his web site--if you can assemble any sort of illustrative materials that might be helpful (photos, tag numbers of offending vehicles, etc.), Tommy said that would be appreciated.
UPDATE: For more specifics on the SW concerns, see SWill's blog.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Tuesday Events, And a Slight Change in Approach
Apr 26, 2010 11:44 PM
First, two event notices/reminders for Tuesday (April 27):
*At 10:45 am, Mayor Fenty and others will be participating in a ribbon-cutting at Diamond Teague Park and Piers. I won't be able to be there, so go see for yourself if you're interested!
* At 6:30 pm is the ANC 6D meeting on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, at Westminster Church at Fourth and I streets, SW.
Now, on another subject.
I admit it--I've become very lazy when it comes to blogging about stories/links/events that might be of interest but that don't really have any *news,* especially as the volume of them has increased along with the interest in Near Southeast. Twitter is the perfect outlet for those sorts of items--it's easy to post them immediately (since I'm all about the speed), and I'm only responsible for 100 or so characters, then the URL, then I'm done. (Or, even better, I get to just retweet stuff from other Twitterers.) Plus it allows me to save my time and energy for more fascinating {ahem} material, like the Marine Barracks site search or the latest CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel stuff.
But, if you're only reading my posts by RSS feed or e-mail subscription, then you're missing out. How to get this additional material? If you don't have a Twitter account, you can come to the JDLand home page and check out the Twitter box at upper right every so often. Or you can visit my Twitter page on your rounds, or you can "like" JDLand on Facebook and have the Tweets show up in your news feed. Or you can subscribe to my Tweet RSS feed if immediacy isn't of paramount importance.
I've actually posted similar mea culpas to this one before (the last one not even a month ago--oops!), but let's consider this time the official notification of the change in my approach. Of course the blog will always have big news, new photos, and whatnot. But as I try to find ways to keep going after more than seven years, I'm going to stop feeling quite so guilty about using only Twitter for these FYI links, even if it makes the blog itself less of the all-encompassing repository it's been up to now.
Thank you, drive through.

Latest on the New Marine Barracks Location Search
Apr 23, 2010 11:36 PM
This week the Marines held a third community workshop as part of their quest to find a new location for their Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ), to replace the aged and un-secure "Building 20" at Eighth and I, SE. This session centered on visions/possible layouts of the five locations that the Marines are zeroing in on, all of which are in Near Southeast, now that Tyler Elementary has been knocked off the list. The people running this planning process deserve a lot of props for being very good about posting their meeting materials online, mostly because it obviates the need for me to go on and on trying to describe them. (Yay!)
While the presentation slides are good for an overview of the process, the real meat to chew on is the new "Regions Forums." (Though, a hint to the folks running the web site: I'd turn off the "Interactive Map" scroll that is the link to these Options slides, and maybe rename the link, because it's easy to miss and contains such important information.) This is a series of very detailed drawings of possible layouts (and pros and cons) for the locations they're studying, which include four that have been previously discussed (the current Barracks site on Virginia Avenue between Fifth and Seventh, DCHA's Square 882 just to the south on L between Fifth and Seventh, the Exxon/Virginia Avenue Park site at 11th and M, and inside the walls of the Navy Yard), and a new location (Squares 929/930), which are the blocks between Eighth and Ninth and Virginia Avenue and M Street.
The 929/930 site seemed to get some interest from the sparse number of community members who attended the Wednesday night session I was at (I don't know about the response at Thursday's session), even though it would close L between Eighth and Ninth and would take a big bite of the Virginia Avenue Park (requiring the move of the community garden closer to the freeway). A representative of Madison Marquette--owners of the "Blue Castle" right across the street--said that they are very much in favor of this option, saying that it would help to "animate" lower Eighth Street. There was also some talk that perhaps the Navy Yard, in its quest for more space of its own, might then look at the Exxon site at 11th and M as an attractive location to expand to, giving that big stretch from Eighth to 11th south of the freeway a very military feel. There is of course a stretch of private homes along Potomac between Ninth and 10th where the homeowners might not be quite so interested in having military installations on three sides, and the Spay/Neuter Clinic at 10th and L might also end up needing to relocate. It would appear that the businesses along the east side of Eighth would get to stay (Port Cafe, Quizno's, Chicken Tortilla), but Dogma at Ninth and Virginia might lose out under this proposal.
As for Square 882, the Marines said that DCHA has said the location can remain on the "options" list even though the agency is actively working to secure funding for the apartment building they're planning for the site. It must be said that there does seem to continue to be a bit of a disconnect between how the Marines are characterizing the availability of this lot compared to what DCHA is indicating; also, Ward 6 planner Melissa Bird spoke up to say that the city continues to be very much opposed to Square 882 as a location for the Barracks.
But, blah blah blah, these few points are just a bit of atmosphere. Anyone who's interested in what the neighborhood may look like in a few years should be looking at all of the location options, as well as the "Potential Shared Community Projects" that the Marines see as what they can give back to the community in return for the land they will occupy. Readers should also make use of the "Comments" options that are available on each option page of the CIMP web site, as the Marines continue to stress that they truly have no plan at this point, and need the input of the community to help guide their final decisions. The next workshop, on "Consensus Elements," is scheduled for Saturday, May 22.

ANC 6D Meeting on Ballpark Traffic and Parking
Apr 22, 2010 3:30 PM
From ANC 6D, an invitation to a Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) meeting, on Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 pm, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St., SW. Expected participants include Tommy Wells, DDOT, DPW, MPD, and the Nationals. This is the neighborhood's opportunity to discuss any parking or traffic issues; if you want to come armed with information on the original TOPP created for the opening of the ballpark in 2008, here 'tis, along with my page on Stadium Parking and Transportation.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

The Week's Agenda (Streetcars, Marines, Happy Hour)
Apr 20, 2010 1:13 AM
A few items for your calendar over the next three days:
* (Via Streetcars 4 DC) "Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 20 at 6:30 pm, at a meeting hosted by Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 5B, 6A and 6C, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Gabe Klein and Streetcar Project Manager Scott Kubly will appear at a community meeting to update D.C. residents on DDOT's progress toward bringing streetcars to the District. [...] The meeting will be at Wheatley Elementary School, which is located at 1299 Neal Street NE."
* The "Community Integrated Master Plan" project--better known as the process the Marines are undergoing to find a location for a new barracks--is holding two sessions of its third public workshop, on Wednesday (April 21) from 6 to 8 pm at Van Ness Elementary and from 8:30 to 10:30 am on Thursday (April 22) in the North Hall of Eastern Market. And each session will also now have an open house beginning a half-hour earlier to allow participants to look at materials and ask questions. The agenda for both meetings is now posted, and this session will be focusing on "Alternatives." For background on what's happened with this project up to now, read my prior posts (don't feel like summarizing it all right now!).
* It should be considered a very unofficial and low-key happening, but I am planning to be at Justin's on Thursday starting at around 5:30 pm, and would love to have any and all interested parties come hang out for Happy Hour, not only so I can meet the readers who make JDLand what it is but so that you guys can meet each other. (No fistfights over CSX plans, barracks possibilities, or dog parks, please!) The Nats will be playing the Rockies starting at 4:35 pm (oops), so hopefully we'll be socializing until the game's over for those folks who want to swing by after the game. I hope you'll be there!
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More posts: Barracks, meetings, streetcars

ANC 6D Agenda Posted
Apr 11, 2010 6:14 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now available, with a few items of Near Southeast interest. There will be an update on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, a presentation by the owner of American River Taxi (the company working toward water taxi service between Georgetown, the SW Waterfront, Diamond Teague Park, and other spots), and a liquor license application for the Patriot II, which is the boat run by the new DC Harbor Cruises outfit that just began running river tours from Teague. There's also the usual gamut of road races and other items, along with I'm sure the latest on the opening this week of the new SW Safeway.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church, Sixth and M streets, SW. (This *might* be the last time the ANC meets at this location, with its new space at the Waterfront building at Fourth and M being close to its debut.)
If you're interested in the CSX stuff and can't make the Monday meeting, remember that there's also an update being given the next night at ANC 6B's meeting.

Links Roundup (Barracks Meeting Handouts, PSA 105, City Paper 'Best of DC' Nods)
Mar 25, 2010 6:02 PM
* The Marines have posted the slides and handouts from this week's workshops on potential sites for their new barracks. If you didn't see my update, here's Norm Metzger's additional take on Tuesday night's meeting.
* MPD's PSA 105 is having its monthly meeting on Saturday (March 27) at 10 am at the 1D substation at 500 E Street, SE.
* The Washington City Paper's annual "Best Of DC" issue is out, and Near Southeast gets a couple of nods: Cornercopia was given a Staff Pick for Best New Bodega, Capitol Quarter is the Readers' Pick for Best Designed Residential Development, and the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction gets a Staff Pick for Best Construction Project. Alas, this also means that now my year-long reign as Second Best Local Web Site (and "favorite nasty local blogger") has come to an end.
* The Washington Project for the Arts is holding its "WPArade" in Near Southeast, on June 5 at 12 pm along Half Street from M to N. This parade, modeled after similar events in other cities, "is an extravaganza of artists connecting with community to create a moving visual spectacle of art and culture." They've got a call for participants out, and it notes that "participants can traverse the route in any manner that is non-motorized (wagons, bicycles, walking, etc. are acceptable)." It'll culminate with a party at the Bullpen until 3 pm. Who will be the first to enter a giant papier-mache Stephen Strasburg?

Skimming the Surface of Tuesday's Barracks Workshop
Mar 23, 2010 9:23 PM
I'm back from tonight's public workshop held by the Marines as part of the process they're currently undergoing to find a site for a new barracks. For those just tuning in, the Marines are desperately needing to replace "Building 20," their lovely barracks structure on the southeast corner of 8th and I, and the new building needs to meet the many security requirements that now exist for Marine Corps living quarters. In what they readily admit is a new approach, the Corps is going through this series of public workshops to gauge public reponse to various sites that they have identified as possibilities. (There is also a "community leadership group" that meets monthly.) They are hoping to find an existing landowner to partner with, instead of how they might have operated in the past (with, shall we say, a little less give-and-take with the community and a takeover of the land rather than a partnership).There could be additional components to any new location (like a daycare center) that could be shared with nearby residents.
For more background, you can read my recent posts and links, or better yet, check the project web site, where they're doing a good job of posting all the latest materials from the process. Hopefully the slides and notes from tonight's session and Wednesday morning's will be posted soon, because what follows is really just a few points among the many that were discussed. But, as always, JDLand is the site where you get what you pay for {ahem}, so this is my best cut at it:
The potential expansion sites discussed this evening were: the existing "Annex" that was built in 2004 (along Virginia Avenue west of Seventh Street); the large area by 11th Street dubbed the "Exxon site" but which also includes the Virginia Avenue Park; Square 882 (the old Capper Seniors site), just south of the Annex on L Street west of Seventh; the northeast corner of the Navy Yard, where the Marines already have some operations inside the walls, and Tyler Elementary at 10th and G, SE, though it was quickly acknowledged that the DC Public Schools folks (and the parents) aren't really interested in that notion.
There were a number of residents (some of whom you already know from my comments section) who spoke strongly in support of the Marines expanding south across L Street into the northern half of Square 882, especially when it was mentioned that this option would most likely include the closing of L Street to vehicular traffic, which these residents of Capitol Quarter say is a speedway of drivers avoiding M Street. (Whether it would also be closed to public pedestrian traffic is not yet decided.) This opinion was not shared by Jennifer Steingasser of the city's Office of Planning, who said that the city would be very much against this solution. (And the Housing Authority seems to be indicating that it isn't really interested in the idea, at least as of now.)
In fact, Steingasser made clear that the city is very concerned that years of planning for the revitalization of Near Southeast, both as a mixed-use neighborhood and as part of the broader Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, are in danger if the Marines create a larger "secure enclave." She said that the city's preferred choice is for the Marines to build inside the walls of the Navy Yard, or on the existing Annex site on Virginia Avenue, or at any of the other federally owned properties in the city, such as the Armory and associated lands at RFK.
The possible loss of the athletic field at the Annex site if a new barracks were added there concerned the residents in attendance, with a possible replacement field at Virginia Avenue Park not seeming to fit the bill. But there were others (including Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID) who supported the idea of more density on the Annex site, including perhaps demolishing the existing three-story parking garage and perhaps gaining control of the community center site next to the garage for additional square footage. (Stevens said that the BID would love to see the very-much-needed community center perhaps combined with a public school offering on the current Van Ness Elementary site.)
The discussions of the Exxon/Virginia Avenue Park site included the possibilities of the Marines using the entire area between Ninth and 11th and Virginia and M, which does include some private residences (and the spay and neuter clinic and a couple small businesses). The concern about whether retail and the "vibrant Main Street" feel envisioned by the city would be part of the M Street landscape in this scenario was voiced as well.
Needless to say, there was no consensus, nor was there expected to be at this stage, and this is just a small subset of the 2 1/2 hours of discussions, so I'll link to the official notes from the meeting once they're posted. There will be two more workshops, and a charrette in September. Again, see the official web site for more details, and how to submit your own comments.
UPDATE: Another view of the meeting, from Norm Metzger, with a little more detail on Jennifer Steingasser's comments. And there was this: "Bruce Jackson, of the CIMP team, noted the essence of the problem: That there was no choice on giving up Building 20 as living quarters, and that the hope was to use the CIMP process -- unique, according to Mr Jackson in the annals of military-community development efforts -- to create a 'win-win' outcome. That was later amended to 'everyone is going to have to give up something.'"

Marines Still Eyeing Multiple Locations for New Barracks
Mar 19, 2010 1:37 PM
ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger reports today on a meeting held earlier this week with the Marines on their plans for a new barracks to replace the aging "Building 20" on the southeast corner of Eighth and I. According to his notes (and in line with previous scuttlebutt), the Marines listed three locations as passing the stringent security requirements for a new barracks: Square 882 (former site of the old Capper Seniors building that's slated to have mixed-income apartments within the next few years plus eventually a 600,000-sq-ft office building); the northeast corner of the Navy Yard, where a Marine facility is already located; and the block at 10th and G, SE, that currently houses Tyler Elementary School and its baseball field.
Apparently the community group "fairly vigorously set out 'issues' for two the sites," repeating the status of 882 as I've heard it, which is that the Housing Authority's plans and financing moves for the housing portion of the block are well underway --but who knows how much pull the guys with guns might actually have {ahem}. Using the existing Marine site on the northeast corner of the Navy Yard could be problematic, especially given the Navy Yard's announced need to expand its workforce. And there would be a "firestorm" from the community if the Marines tried to take over the Tyler site.
So the group meeting with the Marines suggested two other possible sites, both in Near SE: the open field on the south side of Virginia Avenue west of Seventh street at the Marine Annex built in 2004, and the site of the closed-down Exxon at 11th and M.
The Marines are having a series of community workshops about their plans for new space, and workshop #2 is being held next week, on Tuesday, March 23 from 6 to 8 pm at Van Ness Elementary (1150 5th St., SE) and then repeated the next morning from 8:30 to 10:30 am at Eastern Market's North Hall. The agendas for the meetings are now available, and they include a section about the possible sites before the meetings move to "focused breakout sessions" to talk about those sites and any other possibilities. The project web site also has documents from the first workshop, including a revised Vision, Goals, and Objectives statement that was updated after input from the workshop's participants.
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More posts: Barracks, meetings, Navy Yard

A Summary from Tonight's M Street Meeting
Mar 9, 2010 11:13 PM
I made it to Tommy Wells's meeting on possible changes to M Street, and there was a bigger crowd than I might have expected, one which seemed to be weighted more heavily toward Southwest residents than Southeast folks. Tommy opened the meeting by talking about how much development is coming to this area that he calls the "most multimodal neighborhood in the world" (with everything from cars to buses to the subway to electric jitneys to water taxis to horse carriages), but that the street itself is does not display the sort of character one might want, and that it's "not an inspiring architectural area saying 'Welcome.' " He has become very interested in the "Complete Streets" concept, which aims to create road networks that work for pedestrians young and old, cyclists, public transportation users, and drivers. by doing things such as adding dedicated bike lanes, creating safer crosswalks, etc.
Last year he talked to the Toole Design Group and asked them for some basic renderings that would imagine M Street in this new way, for what he called an illustration that he could take to people, which they provided, paid for by the Capitol Riverfront BID. But when he took the resulting drawings to a meeting of the BID's members and *someone* blabbed and posted the designs as if the changes were coming soon, it "created confusion," he said. (Ahem.) He wanted to make clear that no decisions have been made, but that he does want a dialogue about whether M Street is "really what we need for the uses."
Adam Goldberg of the AARP then did a presentation about Complete Streets, saying that what's good for 50-plus folks is good for younger people, too, and that the basic idea is to create networks that are "safe, comfortable, and convenient for travel by auto, foot, bike, and transit, regardless of age or ability." You can see the 128-page AARP report on "Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America," and the "In Brief" sheet he handed out is available as well.
Tommy's office was also nice enough to forward his presentation slides.
Funds from the Ballpark Performance Parking Pilot could be used for these sorts of alterations to M Street, and clearly Tommy has a great interest in "transforming" M Street "into a showcase street," though he said that he's not excited about doing it if the community doesn't want it. And there was definitely trepidation in the room about the possibility of shrinking M down to four driving lanes from six, even though Tommy says the 10,000 vehicles a day that M carries could ostensibly be handled by the smaller footprint. Other attendees spoke enthusiastically about the ideas, so there was certainly no consensus from the audience. ANC commissioner Andy Litsky made clear his desire for a traffic and parking study that covers all of Near Southeast and Southwest before embarking on any changes to M Street. (Other speakers were a bit vociferous in their distaste for bike lanes, with the word "elitist" getting tossed around by one particular speaker who seemed especially agitated by the idea.)
There was no indication of what the next steps may be, and indications from the BID meeting a few months back were that businesses along M (including the Nationals) were expressing some concerns as well, so for now I'd suggest following the above links for more basic background on what sorts of changes are being thought about for M Street, and getting in touch with Tommy's office with your thoughts. I'm guessing WashCycle will have coverage of the meeting as well, and I'll link to any posts from them.
UPDATE, 3/11: A little late, but here are three more good pieces on the meeting, from WashCycle, Tommy Wells, and SWDC Blog.

Report from ANC 6D (Mainly SW Stuff)
Mar 8, 2010 10:52 PM
There was almost no Near Southeast news at tonight's ANC 6D meeting, even though it was held at the Courtyard at New Jersey and L, SE. There was no update from the Nationals as had been initially on the agenda, and ANC chair Ron McBee said that he doesn't yet have a date for a community meeting on the Traffic Operations and Parking plans for the ballpark for this season, which he wants to have with the team and DDOT especially in light of the Nats' decision to stop the RFK parking shuttle for this season.
(As an aside, in comparing the Nats parking map for this season with mine from last year, it looks like the only change in lots is that the underground garage at 300 M is no longer an official Nats lot. The pricing structure hasn't changed a whole lot, except for lot HH and W now becoming "economy" lots at $5 and $10 per game, respectively. I'll update my page soon.)
Most of the meeting was taken up with all the doings in Southwest surrounding the impending opening of the new Safeway at Waterfront, and the transition period when the old one will be closed on April 6, eight days before the new one opens with a ribbon-cutting and preview on April 15 before opening "for real" on April 16. There was also the news that some restaurants look to be closing deals soon for spaces in Waterfront. SWDC Blog has the details on all this.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, Nationals Park

This Week's Events (ANCs and M Street)
Mar 7, 2010 9:40 AM
The lineup. all front-loaded on Monday and Tuesday:
* Monday has the ANC 6D meeting (didn't we just do this?), at 7 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda is now posted, and includes updates on the Nats and the ballpark's Transportation and Parking Plan.
* Tuesday has Tommy Wells's public meeting on improvements to M Street, from 6-7:30 pm at the MPD First District station at 101 M St., SW.
* Tuesday is also ANC 6B's meeting, in its new home at 535 8th St., SE, at 7 pm. The update from CSX on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project originally slated for this meeting has been moved to the April meeting.

Bullpen Back for Another Season; Other ANC 6D Doings
Feb 25, 2010 9:12 PM
The snowblown February ANC 6D meeting finally went off tonight, and here's the Near Southeast-related bullet points:
* The Bullpen will be back in action this season, in its same spot on the northwest corner of Half and N across from the ballpark. There were two requested changes to the voluntary agreement between the ANC and the owner: that the bar be allowed to operate until 1:30 am (with alcohol sales ending at 1:00), and that liquor in non-frozen form be allowed alongside the already approved beer, wine, and frozen drinks, both of which are already allowed under the liquor license. The discussion was more contentious about process than it was about content (with commissioner David Sobelsohn arguing strongly that the motion should be tabled until the next meeting, which none of the other commissioners were interested in), but in the end the commission voted 6-1 to approve the extended hours, and that mixed drinks could be served during private events. There were some concerns from commissioner Rhonda Hamilton about the noise at the bar on weeknights, but owner Bo Blair said that live music will always be cut off by midnight.
* There is a move afoot by commission Bob Siegel to carve out some of the curb space in front of Capper Seniors #1 at 900 Fifth Street (which it must be noted is also across the street from his house). The street, which is one way in the block in question (between K and Virginia) gets clogged on a regular basis thanks to shuttle buses, vans, trucks, and other vehicles double-parking while at the building, and the residents want a portion of the curb cut out to allow vehicles to pull out of the traffic lane (like the one in front of the Courtyard by Marriott entrance). DDOT initially rejected the request because it was called a "curb cut," which means something different in traffic parlance, but DDOT's Ward 6 planner Jamie Henson was in attendance and pledged to help the ANC work with the engineering side of DDOT to see what could be done without taking away the sidewalk or the ADA ramps to the building.
* There was supposed to be an update from the Nationals, but no reps from the team were there; ANC chair Ron McBee did report that April 23 will be "Neighborhood Night" at the ballpark, with the first pitch and national anthem being performed by nearby residents and other goodies as well. (I imagine discount tickets will be part of the deal, but nothing was said. The game is against the Dodgers.) McBee also said that the ANC has requested a meeting with DDOT about the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan for this season, to check on how it's all going, but no specific concerns were mentioned. (With the Nats Express no longer shuttling fans to and from parking at RFK, there probably will be a noticeable uptick in traffic this year, even if attendance remains steady.)
* The next 6D meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, and it'll be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, so if you've been dying to go to a meeting but haven't felt like venturing across South Capitol, you'll get your chance. It's also worth mentioning that ANC 6B's meeting the next night includes an update by CSX on the Virginia Avenue project on its agenda.

This Week's Events: Lower 8th Visioning, Marine Barracks, ANCs 6B and 6D (and Trapeze School?)
Feb 22, 2010 8:27 PM
A few items on the agenda this week, should you choose to accept any or all of these missions:
* The Lower 8th Street Visioning Process is having its final public meetings on Tuesday (Feb. 23) at 8:30 am and 7 pm at the People's Church, 535 8th St., SE. In case you haven't been following along, here's a good description by Barracks Row Main Street of what the process has been and hopes to achieve (via The Hill is Home): "The Lower 8th Street SE Visioning Process Advisory Committee has coordinated a vision process with property owners, other community stakeholders, and Barracks Row Main Street along the Lower 8th Street, SE corridor. Sponsored by the Capitol Riverfront BID, this process is an attempt to gain consensus on a vision for the area and to address issues of height, density, mix of uses, parking and access, as well as what should be the character of a redesigned Virginia Avenue Park as an amenity or community benefit for the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood and Capitol Hill. If consensus can be reached on the vision, it could serve as the basis for asking the Office of Planning to develop a small area neighborhood plan that could then be used as justification for any agreed upon zoning or density changes. This final meeting will attempt to synthesize a community consensus on the vision of Lower 8th Street." (A lot of qualified statements in there.)
* Alas, at the same time as the 8th Street evening session is the rescheduled ANC 6B monthly meeting, at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.
* Also via The Hill is Home, news that the first community workshop on the Marines' "Community Integrated Master Plan" as they look for a new location for their barracks and other facility needs is scheduled for Wednesday (Feb. 24) from 6 to 8 pm at the Van Ness Elementary School at 5th and M, SE. This first workshop "will focus on the goals and objectives" of the CIMP, according to the project's web site.
* On Thursday, Feb. 25, ANC 6D is having its snow-postponed monthly meeting, at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M, SW, at 7 pm.
* The Trapeze School posted on its Facebook page this afternoon that they're getting their inspections on Tuesday, and are hoping to have their first classes in their new home at Fourth and Tingey at the Yards on Thursday.

ANC Supports Liquor License for Justin's Cafe
Jan 11, 2010 11:46 PM
Tonight ANC 6D gave its support in two separate votes to restaurateur Justin Ross's liquor license application for his new "Justin's Cafe" sandwich/salad/pizza place in the ground floor of the Velocity condo building at First and L streets, SE. There was little discussion, other than some concerns by commissioner Roger Moffatt about voting to support the full liquor license before the hearing is even "placarded," i.e., posted on the restaurant site, because he felt that this might prevent residents' concerns from being part of the ANC's decision (though, of course, the ABRA liquor license hearing process specifically allows for public comment). Two residents in the audience spoke strongly in favor of the proposed plans, and, in the end, the votes were 6-0-1 for a temporary "stipulated" license and 6-1 for the full license (Moffatt voting present/against on the two motions).
There's still no date set for the license hearing (Justin filed his application on Dec. 30), but he indicated that things should be moving pretty quickly in terms of getting the restaurant opened, and the stipulated license will allow him to serve alcohol until the full license is voted on.
Other Near Southeast-related tidbits:
* The Marines are going to be hosting an open house on January 27 from 5 to 8 pm at Eastern Market's north hall--they are formulating a new master plan for all of their space needs, and are looking to "partner" with residents, developments, government agencies, or any organization that can provide the space they're looking for. The open house seems to be the first step in "reaching out," though it all seemed a bit murky, and perhaps will be better explained when announcements for the open house are released. (Though "lower Eighth Street" was mentioned.)
* The commission also elected its offers for 2010, with Ron McBee being named chair. Vice chair Robert Siegel, secretary David Sobelsohn, and treasurer Jane Jorgensen retained their posts.
* This was the first time in all the ANC 6D meetings I've attended (starting in probably 2004) that I actually stayed until the very end (it lasted a mere three hours). Whether this is something to celebrate is another issue, especially on a night like this one where the heat at St. Augustine's seemed particularly, um, nonexistent. They did announce that soon the ANC and the Southwest Neighborhood Association will be moving to new digs at Waterfront (the new development about to open at the old Waterside Mall site at Fourth and M, SW). They will also have a public meeting space that presumably will have both sufficient HVAC offerings and decent acoustics, so that I will actually be able to *hear* what's going on.
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