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Next CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel Meeting Scheduled for Nov. 30
Nov 15, 2011 3:38 PM
I received no notification of this, just decided to wander by CSX/DDOT's Virginia Avenue Tunnel web site and look for updates, and so am just happening to see that there's a Public Alternative Meeting scheduled for Nov. 30 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Nationals Park. Their description: "As a follow-up to the public scoping meeting held on September 14, 2011, a second public meeting will be held to discuss alternatives for this project. This public meeting will include a formal presentation, question and answer session, and open house displays. The formal presentation will start at 7:00 p.m. Both verbal and written comments will be taken at the meeting."
Given the displeasure voiced by many residents about the lack of information from CSX at the September meeting, it will be interesting to see how girded for battle both sides are at this second session. The official comments letter from the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association, all 23 pages of it, is probably a pretty complete indicator of the issues that residents along Virginia Avenue will be pressing CSX over.
You can also read my many previous entries on the subject for more details (not in the mood to write the long re-summary today), and ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger is writing a lot about the subject as well.
UPDATE: An e-mail has now gone out officially announcing the meeting. It says that free parking will be available in Nats Lot C (at the corner of 1st and N), and that there will be free shuttles from Capper Seniors #1 (900 5th St. SE) and Van Ness Elementary (1150 5th St. SE).
Also, here is the official flyer, which nearby residents will be receiving in the mail.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Teeter/Residential Building at the Yards on 6D November Agenda
Nov 10, 2011 5:08 PM
While you're spending your weekend trying not to head toward the Navy Yard Metro station by mistake, you can take a moment or two to add Monday's ANC 6D meeting to your calendar. The agenda doesn't seem to be getting updated online these days, but an e-mailed version shows that the only Near Southeast item to be discussed will be the Harris Teeter/residential building in the Yards, on 4th Street south of M. There are few minor modifications to the design approved by the Zoning Commission nearly a year ago that need new approvals (including an "upgraded" design for the entrance to the residential building), and so those are what will be presented to the ANC.
There was a bit of a flurry on Thursday morning when a tweet from a local business symposium indicated the work would begin on this project "next week." However, I checked with Forest City, and there's still a building permit that hasn't yet been approved, so while they hope to start construction reallyreallyreally soon, "next week" might be a bit optimistic.
If you're just joining us, this project originally was planned to be an office building on top of the Harris Teeter, but will now instead be two long and narrow apartment buildings with a total of 200ish-units, with their entrance at 1212 4th St. SE. The Teeter will be 55,000 square feet and will have its main entrance near M Street. While the executive architect for the entire project is Shalom Baranes, the interior designer for the apartments is Core Architects out of Toronto, and you can see a few renderings on their site as being for "The Yards" (looks like a lobby or community room space, maybe?) , along with their many other projects.
On the south end of the block, at 4th and Tingey, there will be a four-story building with another 55,000 square feet of retail space, with what's expected to be a spa/fitness center/gym tenant on the top two floors and retail on the bottom two (seen at above left). There will also be a new narrow service road running south from M between this new development and Building 202 for loading zone access. Access to residential parking will be from Tingey, and the grocery and retail parking entrance will be on 4th, next to the residential lobby entrance. The retail spaces are being designed by Kenneth Park Architects.
You can check out my Yards 401 M/Parcel D page for more information, photos, and renderings. (Plus, in case you're wondering, this building site is just across 4th Street from the Boilermaker Shops retail space, about a block to the northeast of the Foundry Lofts, and a block from the Yards Park.)
The ANC 6D meeting is on Monday Nov. 14 at 7 pm at 1100 4th St., SW (the Safeway building), in the 2nd Floor DCRA meeting room.

CSX Meeting Reminder; ANC 6D Redistricting, Capper Votes
Sep 13, 2011 9:16 PM
First, a reminder that Wednesday Sept. 14 brings the Public Scoping Meeting for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. This is a "we want to hear what YOU think!" meeting, so there will be no presentations of actual plans for the construction. It will just be an open house with information on what exists and what needs to be done, and a chance for interested parties to submit their feedback to DDOT and the FHWA. The meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Van Ness Elementary School; you can read more about the meeting in my post from last month. There's also the official web site, and this flyer from the newly formed Concerned Citizens of Virginia Avenue that makes clear their opinion on what's to come. Additional meetings where CSX will finally provide some specifics on their designs and plans should come later this fall.
As for doings at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting beyond the Metro station renaming items I already wrote about:
* Capper Time Extensions: The commission voted 7-0 to support the request for two-year extensions on two planned Capper apartment buildings and the office building planned for 600 M Street, which is also part of the Capper redevelopment. (I hadn't realized that 600 M was part of this request when I wrote my entry last week.) This would push the planned start dates for these three projects into the late 2013-early 2014 time frame.
As is usually the case with any Capper issue in front of the commission, Chairman McBee brought up the delayed community center, which Housing Authority representatives said should get its needed $7.4 million in funding when a new bond issuance happens later this year, and a building permit should be filed for in advance of the July 2012 deadline. As is also most always the case with Capper issues, the commission also wanted statistics and information on the former residents of the project, and whether they are being tracked and worked with. The DCHA reps said that 129 residents have returned to Capper, with another 550 on the waiting list, though some of those have turned down recently completed units for various issues (not wanting a walkup, etc.). This is with about half of the required 707 public housing units already constructed.
This extension was to have been heard by the Zoning Commission on Monday night, but since the ANC had not yet had a chance to weigh in, the applicants agreed with a request to delay action until the Zoning Commission's Sept. 26 meeting. If you want to know more, you can read my entry from last week (no need to write it all again!).
* Redistricting: The ANC proffered an alternate Single Member District map from what the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force has proposed. It tweaks the proposed boundaries in a way that moves current commissioner David Garber's building and the 70/100 I buildings back into 6D07 (along with the small block in Southwest bordered by South Capitol, M, N, and Carrollsburg Place), while placing Capitol Hill Tower, 909 New Jersey, and Velocity in 6B03, which reaches across South Capitol from Southwest. (The proposed SMDs that cover Near Southeast are in my quickie map at right.) Commissioner Cara Shockley, whose 6D02 was altered substantially from what the task force had proposed (it would have covered the portion of Near Southeast now given to 6D03, along with 70/100 I and Onyx, but not CHT), told the commission she was completely opposed to the new boundaries, and had no idea that such a big change was being proposed by the ANC, having been unable to open the attachments with the map images. David Garber took no official position on 6D's map, saying that because his constituents have made clear that they feel Near Southeast belongs in 6B and not 6D he would not be voting. In the end, the ANC supported the resolution offering up the alternate map in a 4-1-2 vote, with Garber and Bob Craycraft abstaining and Shockley voting against.
The task force's next public meeting is on Sept. 19 to propose the second draft of SMD boundaries, followed by a final meeting to approve their final draft maps on Sept. 22. Tommy Wells will then submit recommendations on boundaries to the city council by Sept. 30. For more on all the redistricting process, see my previous entries.

ANC Recap 1: Support for Adding the Curly W to Navy Yard Metro
Sep 13, 2011 11:13 AM
With WMATA looking to tighten up the naming conventions for Metro stations and also preparing for a new map thanks to the impending service expansion to Tysons Corner and eventually Dulles, the three local jurisdictions have been encouraged to come up with proposals by the end of this month for any station name revisions they may want. This brought Steve Strauss of DDOT to Monday's ANC 6D meeting, to find out whether the community had any feelings about the names of the four stations within the commission's borders, and in particular whether the ANC had any desire to take a second look at two proposed name changes it supported last year in light of WMATA's recommitment to the notion that station names should be no longer than 19 characters (13 for transfer stations).
Yes, it's time for the Curly W discussion again.
Last December the commission voted to support requests from both the Capitol Riverfront BID and the Nationals to change the station name to Navy Yard-Capitol Riverfront-, but that is well above 19 characters (and would be even worse if the Curly W weren't approved and "Nationals Park" were substituted, as called for in the ANC resolution at the time). The discussion on Monday night centered around whether using the logo would set a dangerous precedent, whether it would be confusing in terms of pronouncing the station name, whether it's de facto advertising, and whether riders with vision impairments would or would not be better served by having a logo versus a spelled-out "Ballpark." Commissioner Andy Litsky was also vocal in wanting some assurance that the Nationals would be paying the estimated $100,000 for the changing of the name of a station, and would not try to argue that the city should pay the cost since the stadium is a public building.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nationals told the commission many of the same things he did back in December: the Curly W is the official logo of a city-owned building, and the team wants the logo to appear on transit signage just as it does on freeway signs around the area. McCarthy also said the team very much wants to promote transit as the best way to get to the stadium, and that having the logo on signs and maps helps to emphasize the connection between Metro and the Nationals year-round. There's also no desire to have any variation of "Nationals Park" in the name, given the possibility that the stadium's naming rights will someday be sold and the name changed.
An initial motion to rename the station Navy Yard-Ballpark failed on a 3-3 vote; after more discussion, a new motion to support Navy Yard- if a logo were allowed, and Navy Yard-Ballpark if not, passed on a 4-2 vote. (Technically, these motions were all about amending the resolution from December, but I'm giving you the blessedly short version.)
I should also note that the Capitol Riverfront BID's recent request to simply rename the station Capitol Riverfront- was briefly mentioned at the start of the discussion, but clearly had zero support from the commission or the audience and was never voted on.
The ANC also voted 7-0 to change Waterfront-SEU to Waterfront-Arena Stage. But the resolution acknowledged that the new station name would be 22 characters long, and so a second resolution was passed on a 4-3 vote asking to rename the station as SW Waterfront if Arena Stage does not get added to the name.
There was a brief discussion as to whether there might be interest in adding Banneker Park to the L'Enfant Plaza station, but there was little support, and recognition that the name would be too long anyway.
All requests for changing station names will first go through the city's evaluation procedures, with the mayor's office then submitting formal recommendations to WMATA.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, Metro/WMATA

ANC Agendas, Possible Bus Route Change, NCPC Doings, Singles at Harry's, Crime at Capper, and a Rant About Dying Data
Sep 8, 2011 11:02 AM
Apologies for the torrent of words that follows:
* ANC Meetings: The agenda is now out for Monday's meeting ANC 6D meeting. In addition to the Capper apartments time extension request I just wrote about, there will be a discussion of the proposed Single Member District boundaries for 6D. (Ditto on both counts for the ANC 6B meeting the next night.) There is also an agenda item on the proposed renaming of both the Navy Yard and Waterfront-SEU Metro stations, with a DDOT representative. The 6D meeting is at 7 pm in the DCRA offices at 1100 4th St., SW, 2nd Floor.
* Changes to P1/P2/P6 Buses: WMATA has come up with a list of proposed changes to bus routes, and one of them would eliminate the P1 and P2 buses that run along M Street SE during rush hour and would re-route the P6 bus down M Street SE to 4th Street SW, away from its current route that runs along Virginia Avenue and through the southern part of Capitol Hill before heading to Federal Center SW and then across the Mall and into downtown. This could impact the residents of the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE, which has an eastbound stop right on its corner. (I'd also note that the planned closure of Virginia Avenue south of the freeway for two-plus years would necessitate a rerouting anyway.) And, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that this rerouting would have an impact on the JDLand household, since we often use this bus (which stops right at our corner) to get to and from downtown. This is not final yet, with public meetings on this and the other proposed changes still to come.
* NCPC Doings: Last week the National Capital Planning Commission approved by consent Forest City's plans to temporarily put their offices in the second floor of the Lumber Shed building at the Yards Park. NCPC also approved an installation of solar panels at the Navy Yard, while humminah-hummining that though the commission had said back in 2010 that "no future submittals at the Washington Navy Yard will be considered until an updated master plan is submitted," they decided that "this proposal is a minor one that does not increase the population at the installation, does not include any interior space, will have 'no adverse effect' on historic resources and is comprised of elements that reduce the installation's energy consumption." Plus, the report says the commission staff has been meeting with the Navy and expects a draft document for updating the Navy Yard master plan to be submitted to NCPC by the end of this year.
* Beer! And a Cookout: In tastier news, the folks at Harry's Reserve tell me they are now approved to sell single beers, and already are building their inventory of 32-40 oz craft beers, imports, and the like. Meanwhile, the Great Heartland Cookout is happening on Saturday at the Yards Park, benefitting the Fisher House Foundation, which donates "comfort homes" built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers for families of hospitalized service members. Cookout tickets start at $40.
* Crime At Capper, Before and After: The Urban Institute has published "Movin' Out: Crime Displacement and HUD's HOPE VI Initiative" that uses the crime statistics around Capper and other DC rehabilitated public housing communities to show that crime not only remains low in the immediate area after a HOPE VI renovation, but is lower in nearby areas as well. The report is a bit hard to read (I have to admit I gave up pretty quickly), but MetroTrends gives a good summary. You can also look at the crime statistics I've archived since 2005 to see how crimes in the neighborhood have changed over the years, while keeping in mind that the initial move-outs began at Capper in 2003. (The huge spike in Theft from Autos in 2006 was mostly a result of the neighborhood being empty except for the cars of construction workers, which were then pretty easy pickings during the daytime when they were busy at Nationals Park or the other projects at the time.)
* Waah Waah Waah: And, speaking of the crime statistics.... I have been downloading those reports from the city's Data Warehouse on a near-daily basis since they were first made available as XML feeds. I've also been able to get Public Space Permit Applications and Approved Building Permit Applications via XML for a number of years, and the many data feeds that were created are something that the city received numerous accolades for during the Fenty administration. However, the Public Space Permits feed now has not been updated since mid-July, and the Building Permits feed hasn't been updated since August 23.
Multiple e-mails to the data warehouse e-mail address have gone unacknowledged (after years of pretty prompt response, even if it was just to say "we know, we're working on it"). The Twitter accounts for both the Data Warehouse project and for OCTO Labs are equally moribund. I've let DCRA and DDOT know about the problems with the feeds, since they are the originators of the data, but if these data feeds are going to go to seed it's going to be a real loss for having easy access to this sort of data (even if I'm probably one of the few people who's ever bothered to take advantage). And, if the data isn't dying and is just getting worked on, a little bit of communication would go a long way (like, say, replying to any of my e-mails). Hopefully the crime feeds won't suddenly stop working, since that one certainly gets the most interest of any of them. (My complaints about the loss of depth in the city's web site offerings after the big redesign are for another day.) Just wait until OCTO moves into 225 Virginia next year and I can start picketing out front.

DCHA Files for Time Extension on Two Capper Apartment Projects
Sep 7, 2011 3:06 PM
The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for a time extension to construct the mixed-income apartment buildings it has planned for the north half of Square 882 (the old Capper Seniors block along L Street between 5th and 7th, seen at right) and the north half of Square 769, between 2nd and 3rd on L just east of Canal Park (below, the building at left, next to the proposed 250 M Street).
When the plans for these two buildings were approved by the Zoning Commission in 2009 (see the zoning order), it was required that building permits be applied for by August of this year, with construction to begin by August of 2012. However, attempts at funding either the Square 882 189-unit building or 171-unit Square 769N building the have not thus far borne any fruit, and so a time extension is needed. Between them, the buildings would have 72 units reserved for households making less than 60 percent of the area median income, and the Square 769 building would also have just over 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The Zoning Commission will hear this request at its meeting on Monday night; because there is no request to modify any portion of the PUD beyond the time requirement, this will most likely be handled as a consent calendar item. There will also be a presentation on this request and the state of the Capper redevelopment in general at Monday's ANC 6D meeting. (There was also one given at Tuesday night's ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, but I had a baseball game to watch.) But since the Zoning Commission hearing is at the same time as the 6D meeting, it would seem that there is no anticipated opposition from 6D.
The Office of Planning prepared a short report recommending approval of the time extension, showing that the requirements for an extension have been met. It also quotes the development team as saying that there have been 75 outreach efforts for financing, all unsuccessful. "The inability to secure financing for residential projects, especially those including affordable units, is not unusual in the current marketplace."
If you want to know more about these two planned apartment projects, and the other three mixed-income buildings planned along the east side of Canal Park and on the DPW/trash transfer site, my Capper Apartments page has additional background, as do the scads of blog posts I've written on the various plans. And my main Capper page has the background on the entire redevelopment project.
UPDATE: And, of course, within seconds of my pulling the trigger and posting this entry, I've received a copy of the letter to the Zoning Commission requesting the PUD. Which I'm posting before reading.

Virginia Avenue Tunnel Scoping Meeting Set for Sept. 14
Aug 16, 2011 10:24 AM
The public meeting process for the reconstruction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel is about to get underway, with a date finally having been set for the first of the mandatory NEPA sessions: On Sept. 14, DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration will hold the Public Information and Scoping Meeting. This is an "open house," with no formal presentations to be made, but there will be maps and displays available, and officials will be there to receive comments from attendees. Written comments can also be submitted electronically, if you can't be there in person. The meeting is at Van Ness Elementary School at 5th and M, SE, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
After this, there will be a Public Design Concepts Meeting at some point in the fall, which is where the first detailed plans for the project will be laid out. Then the Environmental Assessment would be released sometime in spring of next year (with an accompanying public hearing), with the final decisions on the project's design being made about a year from now.
There's also now an official Virginia Avenue Tunnel web site, where hopefully documents, maps, and whatnot will be posted as the process moves along.
If you haven't been following along, there is a rail tunnel that has run under Virginia Avenue from 2nd St. SE to 12th St. SE for about 100 years now, and, as part of the National Gateway project, CSX plans to widen the tunnel to allow for double-tracking, as well as raise the height of the roof to allow for double-stacked train cars. In order to accomplish this, Virginia Avenue will need to be closed for 2-3 years (though the cross streets will still be open), and an open trench will be dug to allow trains to continue to run alongside the existing track during construction. As one might imagine, the residents of Capitol Quarter in the 300 block of Virginia Avenue are a mite concerned about exactly how this will work, as are people who use Garfield Park (just to the north of the tunnel) and drivers who come off the Southeast Freeeway at the 6th Street exit, since cars will not be able to continue east on Virginia during construction but will have to go left under the freeway and go up into the Capitol Hill neighborhoods.
In May, CSX announced that it would be investing $160 million of its own money to fund the project. There is a strong desire by CSX to get this work completed before the opening of the expanded Panama Canal in 2015.
You can also read all my previous CSX entries for additional details.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Details on Ward 6 ANC/SMD Redistricting Process Released
Jul 8, 2011 2:27 PM
Ah, the lazy days of summer, when Washington all but shuts down so that its citizens can try to keep cool and take a bit of a break from politics--except this year, when July and August will be filled with a slew of public meetings as the redistricting process that was so much fun at the ward level now filters down to the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
Tommy Wells posted this afternoon the first details on the process for Ward 6, announcing (somewhat belatedly) that the first meeting of the task force will be on Monday, July 11 at 6:30 pm at Miner Elementary School (601 15th St. NE), which unfortunately overlaps with the ANC 6D July business meeting at 7 pm. (Which meeting do you guys want me at? All that's on the 6D agenda for Near SE is a public space permit for the new apartment building at 880 New Jersey, which could possibly bring additional details from what I posted recently on the project, but which I think probably won't.)
There will then be "community listening" meetings in each of the ANCs, with 6D's scheduled for Thursday, July 28 at 6:30 pm, and 6B's on Monday, Aug. 1 at 6:30 pm. Then there will be meetings on the first draft of the new boundaries, which is scheduled to be sent to the ANCs on Tuesday, Aug. 18. The task force will then make the rounds of the September ANC business meetings, submitting a final draft to Tommy Wells by Sept. 26, which he then will submit to the council by the required Sept. 30 deadline.
The task force (which isn't yet finalized) includes lots of familiar Ward 6 names (including Near SE resident Tyler Merkeley), and is chaired by former ANC 6A chair Joe Fengler. The current list of names, along with the laying out of the process, is available in this memo from Tommy Wells.
As I wrote last week, The vast majority of Near Southeast has up to now been in one Single Member District (6D07), but with SMDs needing to have populations between 1,900 and 2,100 and Near Southeast counted at 2,794 in the 2010 census, it's going to be split: the question is just how, and where. The quick-and-dirty map I posted of the numbers shows that the area west of 2nd Street has a population of 2,054, making it a perfect size for an SMD, but the rest of the population is not enough for a second SMD that is 100 percent south of the freeway, so there's going to have to be an SMD either crossing the freeway or crossing South Capitol Street. We shall see!
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, politics, redistricting

Back from Across the Pond; Lots of Tidbits While I Recover
Jun 8, 2011 9:09 AM
I'm back in DC, having spent 11 wonderful days in Madrid, Barcelona, and cruising across the Mediterranean to Pisa, Florence, Rome, the coast south of Naples, and Mallorca. Needless to say, while I checked in on the news back home from time to time and tweeted an item or two if the timing was right, I wasn't following developments closely, and I'm pretty out of the blogging groove at this point. So I'm going to start back slowly with some easy items.
* Redistricting: The city council voted Tuesday to approve a redistricting map that, as expected, keeps Near Southeast in Ward 6. This continues to make Marion Barry extremely unhappy, and the Examiner reports that he'll be "asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to open a Justice Department review of proposed new D.C. ward boundaries because, Barry says, they violate residents' civil rights." There's still a final vote to be had on the plan, probably on June 21. As for the last-minute changes that ended up keeping much of Ward 6 intact (moving Reservation 13 to Ward 7 instead of other areas), you can read Tommy Wells's blog for more details.
* Riverwalk: The Navy Yard announced last week that its portion of the riverwalk along the Anacostia River, running from the 11th Street Bridges to the Yards Park, will now be open from 5:30 am until "official sunset," seven days a week and including holidays; though there will still be closures as needed, which are announced on the Navy Yard Riverwalk Twitter feed. (I admit that I got a bit of a kick passing along this news via Twitter while riding on a train north of Rome.)
* DPW Move: The council passed emergency technical legislation on Tuesday that allows Capper PILOT funds to be used to build a new location for DPW operations in Northeast, which means that they should be moving from the 2nd and K site this fall (before "leaf season").
* Ward 6 Family Day: Tommy Wells's yearly event for Ward 6 residents will be held on Saturday, June 25, and will be at the Yards Park for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, with "free food, live music, games and activities for the whole family as well as raffles featuring gift certificates from local businesses and sporting memorabilia from the Wizards, DC United and Washington Nationals."
* ANC 6D has its next meeting on Monday, June 13, at 7 pm at Arena Stage. The agenda is light on Near Southeast items, with only a resolution by David Garber about Near Southeast bike stations and requests by Cornercopia and Harry's Reserve to be exempted from the ban on the sale of "singles."
* Food Truck Festival: Bo Blair, the owner of the Bullpens and the organizer of Truckeroo on June 3, said in an e-mail that the event was a "massive, incredible success," with somewhere between 17,000 and 18,000 attendees and "zero problems." The next date for the event will be announced soon.
* Construction and Destruction: Construction has stalled on the Little Red Building v2.0 at 2nd and L, which ANC commissioner Garber says is a "building permit issue that is in process of being resolved - construction should start back 'soon.'" Meanwhile, the "re-dressing" of 225 Virginia is well underway, with the new exterior walls being hung on the north side of the building. And if it hasn't already happened, the trailer that was the original sales office for Capitol Quarter is being torn down, since construction of townhouses is now underway on that block. (Photos to come, at some point.)
* The Yards on Facebook/Twitter: I kind of stumbled across these (never saw any announcement about them), but the Yards now has an official Facebook page (which is available on Twitter, too) along with a separate one for the Foundry Lofts (its Twitter account is protected, though).
UPDATE: And, since this just came across Twitter: Dan Steinberg reports that Shake Shack and the other new Nats Park restaurants will open next Tuesday, the beginning of the homestand vs. the Cardinals.

Draft Redistricting Plan Keeps Near Southeast in Ward 6
May 25, 2011 8:32 PM
Within the past hour, council member Michael Brown released the draft redistricting map for the city (available ward by ward). To not bury the lede, as we say in the news biz, Near Southeast and Southwest remain in Ward 6, with no move across the river to Ward 8. And, in what appears to be a last-minute compromise, Eastern High School and Eliot-Hine Middle School remain in Ward 6, while the rest of the Hill East/Rosedale/Kingman Park areas east of 17th Street shift to Ward 7. Ward 6 also loses its half of Penn Quarter to Ward 2, while gaining a portion of Shaw as well as the section of Southwest south of Independence Avenue that had remained in Ward 2. (If you want to see the current Ward 6 boundaries, here they are.) And you can also read the subcommittee report, with all the reasonings behind the moves (and rejected moves).
This is not the final word on the new boundaries--the three-member redistricting committee will be meeting and voting on this on Thursday at 1 pm, and then there is a public hearing scheduled for June 1 at 6 pm. The full council will then vote on June 7. If the council members hear compelling arguments against these boundaries,the draft map can still be amended.
If you are interested in Thursday's redistricting committee meeting, you can watch it on DC Channel 13 or via live-streaming at oct.dc.gov. Plus I'll be following it on Twitter, along with all the other #reDC regulars.
(And apologies to Facebook and Twitter followers who were bombarded with messages tonight as word of the new maps came out. Breaking news can be high-volume sometimes!)
And then, once this is done, the ANC redistricting can begin!
UPDATE: Here's Mike DeBonis's write-up.
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More posts: meetings, politics, redistricting

Tidbits: Redistricting Latest, Retail, Outdoor Movies, Kittens, Events
May 24, 2011 2:17 PM
News has gotten a little sparse of late, though there's suddenly plenty of little updates and whatnot, some that I've tweeted (and some that I haven't). Sorry that this is a bit of a monster post, but that just means you need to read it all carefully!
* Redistricting: With the redistricting committee's proposed map of redrawn boundaries coming out no later than their meeting at 1 pm on Thursday, news has begun to trickle out of what it will look like. Mike DeBonis reported on Monday that any part of the city west of the Anacostia River being moved to Ward 8 is "off the table," since the split neighborhood of Fairlawn is expected to be moved entirely into Ward 8, which would satisfy the ward's population requirement. (He also lays out some of the other "on the table" moves.) In an "op-ed" today at The Hill is Home, Tommy Wells says that Ward 6's new eastern boundary may be 17th Street NE and SE, moving Hill East and its landmarks (RFK, Eastern High School, Eliot-Hine Middle School, and Reservation 13) into Ward 7. After the committee votes on its map Thursday, there will be a public hearing at 6 pm on June 1, before the entire council votes on the plan on June 7.
* Retail: The big International Council of Shopping Centers' REcon convention is underway in Vegas, and the Post's Jonathan O'Connell is tweeting all the DC-related retailer news, including that Mayor Gray and members of the city council had lunch on Monday with representatives of Forest City, who gave a presentation on The Yards. Will there be an announcement soon on things getting started at the Boilermaker Shops, as Forest City said there would be a few weeks ago? A Post feature on Capitol Hill restaurateur Xavier Cervera mentioned that he has "deals in the works for 400-seat and 140-seat restaurants on the waterfront," the first of which would seem to be the sportsbar rumored for the Boilermaker space. The rumblings below the surface that the official Boilermaker announcement is coming soon continue to be strong (with any opening being at least a year away, since there's a lot of exterior work to be done to the building), but there's been no official announcement of this or any other Boilermaker lease.
* In an Examiner article about Wegman's being wooed for DC's Walter Reed site, it's mentioned that Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID and city officials are meeting with AMC Theaters to discuss potential locations. The article describes a possible spot as "First Street, south of M Street and adjacent to Nationals Park." I'm a little skeptical of "First Street", mainly because the big empty lot along First (Nats parking lot F), owned by Willco and slated in the past for a mixed office/residential/retail development, hasn't seemed to be in play for any movement on any development. On the other hand, there's been talk that Akridge has been interested in having a movie theater as part of its Half Street development, also south of M and adjacent to Nationals Park, and construction could be starting there late this year. Either way, nothing is firm.
* Kittehs: Are you looking to adopt a cat? How about a Market Deli-branded kitten? Some residents have captured and spayed/neutered/vaccinated two of them, estimated to be 4-6 months old, and are looking for someone to adopt them. Here's the additional information. (I would have leapt at this, but my two cats, ages 17 and 14, would kill me in my sleep if I brought home new "siblings" for them.)
And, some upcoming events to note:
* The Yards Park folks have passed along the news that the fountains are off all this week for maintenance. No water-based frolicking for you!
* The Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Movie Series gets underway this Thursday (May 26). The theme this summer is Best of the Oscars, and they're starting off with "Casablanca." Movies start at 8:45 pm (or sundown), and there will be food trucks and snacks for sale. The movies have moved back to Tingey Plaza, just south of US DOT at New Jersey and Tingey.
* Harry's Reserve Wine and Spirits at 909 New Jersey is going to be having a free "community cookout" on their courtyard on Friday, May 27 from 5 to 8 pm, and again on Saturday, May 28 from 4:30 to 8 pm. They are doing it to thank the neighborhood for the support they've received since opening. There will be free "high-end" beverage tastings in addition to grilled offerings. The owners also want to pass along that they're getting fresh shipments of a variety of cheeses this week, and that they now have 800 beers in stock.
* Ryan Zimmerman's annual "A Night at the Park" fundraiser is scheduled for June 30, benefitting his ziMS Foundation. Tickets are now on sale, and it's been announced that country star Rodney Atkins is the featured performer.
* The Zoning Commission hearing on allowing Forest City to temporarily use the second floor of the Lumber Shed building as office space has been scheduled for July 7.

CSX Funding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, NEPA Process to Begin
May 18, 2011 5:46 PM
CSX announced today that it will be investing $160 million of its own monies in its National Gateway project, with most of that money going toward the funding of the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the 107-year-old structure that runs beneath Virginia Avenue from 2nd Street SE to 12th Street SE. With this decision, the company will start moving toward design and construction of the project, first by going through the NEPA process of environmental impact studies, which apparently is going to be spearheaded by the Federal Highways Administration (with support and assistance from DDOT, according to CSX).
Within the next few months there will be an initial public "scoping" meeting, where the parties lay out exactly what needs to be done with the tunnel and why. After a 30-day comment period expires, an "alternatives" meeting will then be scheduled, and this will be the meeting that residents will be the most interested in, because this will be when the design options for the project will first be made public, and will be the stage where CSX will at last answer the questions that so many people who live on or near Virginia Avenue have wanted answered since this project first really hit the public consciousness in late 2009. (Will the trench be completely uncovered? Will we be able to get into our alley? How will firetrucks service our block? What about noise? What about dust? What about traffic? What about the 6th Street exit off the freeway?) And at a meeting this afternoon, representatives from CSX didn't suddenly decide to answer any of those sorts of questions, deflecting them as ones that will be addressed at the alternatives meeting.
The CSX briefers today emphasized that they feel "sooner is better" for getting the project underway, with the expansion of the Panama Canal launching in early 2015 being one of the drivers of their decision to invest their own dollars rather than continuing to search for federal or state monies to pay for the project. (And, perhaps to ward off an expected line of criticism, they also made sure to mention that using their own money was in no way an attempt to sidestep NEPA.)
There's no firm date as to when construction might begin, owing to the reality that federal reviews don't always happen on a metronome-like timetable, and that then there will be permitting processes and other agency reviews (such as going through the National Capital Planning Commission and the city's historic preservation reviews). But it would seem that spring 2012 would be a likely target time if there are no big roadblocks thrown up, especially given that Panama Canal 2015 date and that CSX says they expect the project to take about three years. With other construction happening at or near the tunnel's path, including the rehab of 225 Virginia, the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction, and perhaps the start of some portion of William C. Smith's mixed-use project at 2nd and H, the very northern portion of the neighborhood will certainly continue to be knee-deep in heavy machinery for a number of years (and CSX says that they are coordinating with those other projects).
If you are just tuning in and aren't up to speed, CSX is wanting to add a second track to the tunnel, ending its status as one of the last (if not the last?) stretch of single track in CSX's east coast operations. They also plan to lower the floor of the tunnel to allow for double-stacked trains, vastly increasing the amount of cargo they can move through their system. (You can read their press release for what they consider to be the benefits of this expansion and all of the $850 million National Gateway project.)
As I've said, there isn't much in the way of specifics as to how exactly the project will be configured, other than we know there will be a parallel track running in an open trench, and that Virginia Avenue itself will be closed, but with bridges across the construction at 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 8th to allow the movement of north-south traffic. (This would mean that vehicles exiting the Southeast Freeway at 6th Street would need to turn north under the freeway to then move toward any final destination.)
My post from a walking tour of the project last July has some of the (few) details so far announced on the project, but focus will now turn to the NEPA public meetings as the point where the real specifics of the project and its impacts will be revealed, and where residents will be able to voice any and all concerns, problems, anger, threats of litigation, etc. Until then, feel free to use the comments here for all that! You can also read my previous CSX posts for more background and details on the project up to now.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Zoning Approvals Given for Temporary Capitol Hill Day School
May 17, 2011 4:25 PM
On Tuesday morning the Board of Zoning Adjustment voted to approve three exceptions and variances that will allow the Capitol Hill Day School to use the currently empty lot at 5th and K streets SE as a temporary location for its operations while its Dent School building at 2nd and South Carolina undergoes renovations.
This move, which has the support of ANC 6D and the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association, would bring a "modular building" to the site this summer, with the school's expectation that it will return to the Dent building in early 2012.
There will be no on-site parking, but the school is leasing 29 parking spaces in the big parking lot one block to the east, on the site of the old Capper Seniors building (Nats lot "W"). And the Office of Planning report on the application says that DDOT has "agreed to prohibit parking between mid-June 2011 and the end of January 2012 on school days between 7 am and 6 pm on the east side of the block [...] in order to facilitate the drop off and pick up of students." (I'll note that this 7 am start time is one hour earlier than what was announced at the ANC 6D meeting where this plan was discussed.) CHDS representatives also told 6D at that meeting that they will be asking parents coming from north of the freeway to drive south on 4th, turn left on L, and then turn left on 5th to pull into one of their four drop-off spots, where students are then guided out of the cars. (Buses will pull in and out of these spots as well.) The spaces will be available for parking after 6 pm and on weekends and holidays.
There were few questions from the board; Commissioner May did ask whether this plan will negatively impact the long-delayed plans for the new community center to be built on the site. The current requirements placed on the community center project by the Zoning Commission as part of the Capper PUD are that the Housing Authority must apply for a building permit by July 1, 2012, and that construction must begin no later than June 30, 2013, dates which are far enough in the future to not be delayed by the Day School's occupation of the site.
The commission then voted to approve the requested relief; but, after a representative from the city's office of the attorney general raised some concerns, the hearing then devolved into a long technical and legal discussion of defining which conditions of a previous order were being addressed, which I totally admit to bailing out of. But in the end the project was still approved. You can watch the video of the hearing when it's posted if you want more information; and the Office of Planning report is also a very good resource for the zoning issues, plus there's a drawing on page 3 that shows how the temporary building will occupy the lot.
The Day School has a blog with information about the renovation project, and I imagine they'll pass along soon more details about when work will start at 5th and K.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center, meetings, zoning

Short Update from Monday Redistricting Meeting; The Schedule
May 17, 2011 9:10 AM
On Monday night there was another residents' meeting on the subject of redistricting, this time with two members of the city council's redistricting committee: Phil Mendelson, for whom this was a third public session in Ward 6 on the subject, and Jack Evans, making his first appearance at a Ward 6 assembly.
As with the other meetings, neither council member tipped a hand as to which sections of the city will be moved to different wards as part of the constitutionally mandated need to standardize the population sizes of the city's eight wards. And as with the other meetings, residents made clear that they very much want to remain in Ward 6. (Has our message gotten through? one resident asked toward the end of the session. Yes, Jack Evans assured him, it certainly has.) But Phil Mendelson stressed once again that no neighborhood wants to move, and that residents in areas other than Ward 6 are equally as vocal about their dissatisfaction--but the boundaries must be redrawn.
Mendelson laid out the upcoming schedule, with the committee's map of proposed changes being made public probably on May 25 for their vote on May 26. A public hearing on the committee's map is expected to be held June 1 at 6 pm, with the full council having its first vote ("first reading") on the bill enacting the new boundaries on June 7. A final vote could come on June 21, or perhaps in early July. UPDATE: Here's a post on Tommy Wells's blog with more information on the schedule and how the public can participate; this post was updated on May 20 changing the public hearing date to June 1.
I was told tonight by an audience member that there is apparently another Ward 6 public meeting on redistricting being held on Wednesday, May 17, in ANC 6B; I don't have any further information on it. (UPDATE: EMMCA has the details.) But having now attended four of these, I think I'm declaring myself #redc'ed out until the council committee's map is made public next week.
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More posts: meetings, redistricting

Redistricting Update: ANC Resolution, Mendelson Meeting
May 10, 2011 2:48 PM
The pushback by Near Southeast residents against the idea of moving the neighborhood out of Ward 6 and into Ward 8 continues, with some evidence that their calls, e-mails, and petitions are having an effect:
At Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, two of the three council members that make up the redistricting committee came to speak to residents. Phil Mendelson (who said that he invited himself to the meeting) and committee chair Michael A. Brown gave a short presentation on how redistricting works, and then spent about 45 minutes answering audience questions. Neither of them took a position on whether Near Southeast or Southwest should be moved, and both also took pains to note that there is no official proposal yet, and that it is Marion Barry who is floating the idea. (They also indicated that Marion Barry's argument about how the move would improve the economic standing of Ward 8 wasn't quite resonating with either of them.) The initial map of the redrawn ward boundary lines should be released by the committee later this month, either on or after May 25 (when the FY12 budget stuff is wrapped up).
After the council members finished, the ANC quickly voted unanimously to support the resolution to keep all of 6D in Ward 6. Near Southeast commissioner David Garber has been tweeting his visit to the Wilson Building today to deliver the resolution and a 200-plus-signature petition, saying that Jim Graham told him that Near Southeast is "not in play" and that Mary Cheh's office assured him that "she supports keeping Near Southeast in Ward 6." (Cheh had made this known last week, when she told Tommy Wells to make the calls from concerned Near Southeast residents stop.)
Residents are continuing to press the council, with reports on the Near Southeast mailing list of multiple visits to council members' offices. And another meeting for residents on the subject has now been scheduled by Capitol Quarter resident and meeting-organizer-dynamo Bruce DarConte, this time with Phil Mendelson, on Monday, May 16, at 6:30 pm at the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St. SE.
(People interested in this battle might also want to read Lydia DePillis's rumination on the optics of the fight, "So Much for One City.")
UPDATE, 5/12: Bruce DarConte has passed along that Jack Evans, the third member of the redistricting committee, has confirmed his attendance at the May 16 meeting at Capper Seniors.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, politics, redistricting

Residents Meet to Plot Strategy to Fight Ward 8 'Annexation'
May 4, 2011 9:33 PM
A group of Near Southeast residents* met tonight to discuss the best way to fight Marion Barry's announced desire to take the neighborhood around Nationals Park out of Ward 6 and into Ward 8 as part of the city's redistricting process. Tommy Wells addressed the group, giving them a quick primer on how exactly redistricting works, emphasizing that one of the stated goals of the process is to not split up "contiguous" neighborhoods, and also making clear his feelings about Barry's plan (while never actually mentioning the Ward 8 council member's name): "I don't want to lose one inch of Ward 6," Wells said, because "Ward 6 works."
Saying that it's unfair that Ward 6 should be the only ward to give up residents, he said that he will propose a map that would return Kingman Park to Ward 6; he also suggested that the portion of Penn Quarter that isn't in Ward 2 could be moved there, allowing some of Ward 2 to be shifted to Ward 5 (which would then allow some of Ward 5 to be moved to Ward 7, and then some of Ward 7 shifted southward into Ward 8).
But the bulk of the discussion was advising the residents on how best to make their opposition to Barry's idea known to the council members who are in the forefront of the redistricting battles (some of whom are at-large representatives up for election next year). He spoke of the best ways to voice opposition in terms of mechanics, saying that petitions are a good idea (and there are two already circulating, an electronic one with more than 100 signatures and a new one handed out tonight by resident and meeting organizer Bruce DarConte), as well as group visits to councilmembers' offices and high volumes of phone calls to the Wilson Building.
But Wells also stressed that residents who want to fight this need to describe how such a move would negatively impact Near Southeast's "cohesiveness" with its surrounding neighborhoods, especially with Capitol Hill just to the north and with Southwest. (It would be interesting that, if the Ward 8 "annexation" were to happen, the residents of school-less Near Southeast would be sending their children to the "neighborhood" schools that would still in be Ward 6.)
He also emphasized that arguments against a move to Ward 8 move should not center on "personalities." That concept was not really expanded upon but, if you've read the comments on my post last week on this issue, you might infer it to mean "don't rant about how you don't want Marion Barry as your councilmember." Wells also said to not mention not being able to park elsewhere in Ward 6 as a reason for opposition, which did seem to come up an awful lot at last week's hearings, to the dismay of many in the DC Twitterverse. "This is about how you view your community."
Near Southeast's ANC commissioner David Garber mostly echoed Wells's remarks, and said that he will be drafting a resolution for next week's ANC 6D meeting that would show the support of all Near SE and SW commissioners for remaining in Ward 6. (Garber has also launched a Near Southeast mailing list that residents are using to organize their resistence to being "annexed.")
With the council set to unveil its suggested map of new boundaries within a few weeks, there will be a flurry of activity on this front--including the Ward 6 Democrats' redistricting meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at 7 pm at Chamberlain Elementary School. The final vote by the council on the new boundaries will be in July; and "there's a very good chance" Near Southeast can win the fight, Wells said.
[*I didn't take a head count; you know how much trouble the media gets in for crowd estimates! But the community room at the Capper Seniors apartment building was quite full.]
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More posts: meetings, politics, redistricting

Market Deli Landmark Status Application Officially Rejected
Apr 28, 2011 1:52 PM
Today the Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously to support the recommendation of preservation office staff, rejecting the historic landmark application for the Market Deli on the northeast corner of 1st and L streets, SE.
The staff recommendation seemed to be the primary driver of the board members' votes (with most board members having little comment on the application beyond "I support the staff recommendation"). Its author, Tim Dennee, reiterated its main points in his testimony, saying that while it would have been a good idea to keep the building maintained, the lack of underlying historic merit beyond the building representing the other old structures in the neighborhood that are gone does not allow the Market Deli to rise to the level of a landmark. There was also a lot of discussion about how the neighborhood "context" that would have allowed for a better understanding of the Deli's place in the history of the area is already gone, with so many buildings having already been demolished.
Testifying in the support of the nomination was ANC 6D07 rep David Garber, who said he ran for the position because "there's such a clear opportunity in this neighborhood to develop something great." He described himself as "100 percent in favor of development in most cases," but feels that the Market Deli represents a "common building type for common people" and that "what's remarkable about the Market Deli is that it's unremarkable." Also testifying was Hayden Wetzel, who said he prepared at the application at Garber's request and who echoed Garber's comments by saying that it's a "sweet and pretty little building" and that the "ordinariness of the building speaks for itself." He said that he formed a task force within the DC Preservation League in 2000 to consider the buildings in the area, but that it didn't result in much interest.
Six people testified in opposition: three residents, Dodd Walker of Akridge (the owners of the building), Michael Stevens of the BID, and a woman hired by Akridge (whose name and affiliation I unfortunately missed) to investigate the building's history. Much of what was said by the residents, Stevens, and Walker were variations on comments made the ANC meeting and in the Memorandum in Opposition that was presented to the board with 39 co-signers. With concerns about how an ANC's position is given "great weight," resident Kitty Loyd focused her testimony on the ANC vote a few weeks ago, contending that Garber should have recused himself since he expressed an interest in saving this building before he became commissioner. (Loyd also apparently printed out the JDLand Market Deli comment threads to give to the board, so you're all famous.) Both Michael Stevens and resident Adam Hall mentioned their feelings that there wasn't enough of a public process followed by Garber in submitting this application, while Hall also said that the building "gives the neighborhood a dangerous feel" because of the neglect.
Stevens also took time to list all the historic buildings in the neighborhood that are still in existence (from the Navy Yard to the Blue Castle to the beaux arts WASA Pumping Plant to the buildings being redeveloped at the Yards, as well as the private homes and businesses along 3rd, K, L, Potomac, and lower 8th). He also mentioned the 10 to 12 years of planning and analysis (and studies) by city agencies starting in the late 90s that have gone into the remaking of Near Southeast, back before the demolition of so many properties--"would this history not have been discovered then?"
There was also a detailed (some might also describe it as "long") presentation from Akridge's historic preservation consultant about the history of the building, which apparently suffered a pretty serious fire in 1921 and appears to have been pretty well gutted at that time. Those who've never seen the interior of the Market Deli might be interested in seeing her presentation, which will be available when HPRB posts the video of the hearing sometime on Friday.
There were few questions during the hearing from the board members, and, in the end, only chair Catherine Buell seemed anything less than fully supportive of the staff recommendation. She called it a "tough case," and said that she would like to see preservation plans and multiproperty listings done for the area (beyond just the "windshield survey" done by the Office of Planning back around the time of the ballpark). But in the end, saying that she didn't think the building was eligible for landmark status and that the ANC's comments (which are to be given "great weight") didn't really speak to the board's criteria, she called for a vote, and the board voted unanimously.
This was followed by a quick secondary vote on the Deli: the raze permit application for the building was also on the agenda, in the event that the landmark application was approved. Because it wasn't, the board voted to support the staff recommendation that says the board no longer has jurisdiction over the property, and so the "city's issuance of a raze permit may proceed without further preservation review."
And that would seem to bring this matter to a close. Just after the hearing, Garber tweeted: "I'm glad there was a chance for discussion on the matter, and I look forward to helping approve new plans to bring vibrancy to the site."
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More posts: marketdeli, meetings

Tuesday Tidbits: South Cap Meetings, Barracks, Sub Horn, More
Apr 26, 2011 10:42 AM
News and notes, some already Tweeted, some not:
* Don't forget the two public meetings on the Final Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street. The first one is tonight (April 26) at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School at 4th and I, SW, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The second one is Thursday (April 28), at Savoy Elementary School, 2400 Shannon Place, SE, also from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. My entry from a few days ago gives the rundown on what changes they are looking at to transform South Capitol Street into a "grand boulevard" rather than a commuter speedway.
* ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger passes along an update from fellow 6B'er Kirsten Oldenberg on the status of the Marines' search for a new barracks site. A quote: "Now in progress are Installation Master Planning and Support Studies and a Financial Feasibility Analysis. We were only given a brief outline of this work, which will not be made public. A briefing on this 'conceptual' material will be given to the Commandant of the Marine Corps sometime in late May (perhaps). Then once he makes whatever decisions are necessary, work will proceed on putting together the guts of an RFP. This information has to go to various 'stakeholders' and ultimately Congress before the RFP can be finalized and released. One of the developers at the meeting today tried to pin officials down regarding timelines but it proved difficult to do. Bottom line, if all goes smoothly (which is doubtful), a site and developer could be chosen by Fall 2012. (Don't bet on it.)"
* Dan Steinberg writes at his DCSportsBog today about how the Nats went from fireworks to a submarine horn: "A few months ago, when people inside the organization began considering a move away from fireworks, they began researching naval horn options and even went to the Navy Yard to check out alternatives. Their advisers at the Yard advised they go with the sub horn, both for the sound and for the way that sound would carry. The Navy folks also thought the three-blast signal would be appropriate. So the horn was taken to Nats Park and hooked up to a special mic in the press box, where members of the marketing department can fire away after home runs and wins." Nats COO Andy Feffer says that the distinctive sound should make people immediately think "Nationals Park": "'The military is already part of game presentation and the Navy Yard is right next door; not only is it unique and distinctive, but it fit. It fit with our goals, and it fits with what Washington is. It's ours. Someone else can't copy it and say we're gonna do that too. It's Washington's.'"
* In a subscrbers-only piece in last week's Washington Business Journal, the story of Red Hot & Blue's departure from Nationals Park after the inaugural 2008 season gets a bit, ahem, spicier. Five months into that first season, the BBQ outlet told the Nats it was no longer interested in being at the ballpark. "Hold it, says the team, Red, Hot & Blue was still on the hook for $235,000 in regular payments until the end of the 2009 season, still yet to be paid, according to a breach of contract suit that was filed in March in D.C. Superior Court."
* Honda put out a photo gallery of the new 2012 Honda Civic, which includes a number of shots taken at the Yards Park, as well as Anacostia Park and other DC locations. (You have to wander through a bit to find them, but they are pretty neat to see.)

South Capitol Street Final EIS Unveiled, Public Meetings Scheduled
Apr 18, 2011 5:10 PM
It's been so long since I've written about this that I forgot it was even still in progress, but DDOT has announced two public meetings to present the "preferred alternative" and the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the South Capitol Street Corridor, first on April 26 at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School in SW and then two days later at Savoy Elementary School in SE. This is the long-term study of how to improve South Capitol Street on both sides of the Anacostia River to better address safety, traffic, pedestrian, and streetscape issues, and includes the construction of a new Frederick Douglass Bridge.
If you are interested in this subject, there is more verbiage and documentation accompanying the plans than you could ever dream of. (Traffic studies! Environmental consequences! Technical reports!) And I've written a lot about the process, which began more than a decade ago with other studies before the EIS got underway. And I'm sure there will be posts on other blogs delving more specifically into portions of the plans. But, since most people probably want to know "what does this mean for me?", you can see this graphic (from the 224-MB chapter 2 of the FEIS) giving a quick overview of what changes are planned along South Capitol Street if the final EIS is signed off on (and, more importantly, if funding is secured). The short version, for the west side of the Anacostia:
* Add "pedestrian amenities" and enhance the streetcape along South Capitol north of I and along New Jersey Avenue SE north of the freeway.
* Replace the existing ramp to the freeway from South Capitol and I with an at-grade intersection. (This would be a left turn onto a ramp to the freeway from under the freeway, near the current Nats HH economy parking lot.)
* Bring New Jersey Avenue SE back to a 160-foot full right-of-way, and add streetscape enhancements.
* "Reconstruct South Capitol Street as an urban boulevard." This means bringing M Street up to an "at-grade" intersection (no more tunnel), and would include new signalized at-grade intersections to allow traffic to cross South Capitol on K and L streets. (M Street would also get reconstructed between the Halfs [SE and SW].) The section of South Capitol north of M would have the same streetscape that the south portion received during its 2007/08 makeover, with wide sidewalks and a tree-lined median.
* Build a traffic oval at South Capitol, Potomac, Q, as the gateway to a new arched bascule-design Douglass Bridge that would have wide "multi-use trails" (i.e., sidewalks!) in both directions. The existing bridge would be demolished, after the new bridge is built somewhat downriver of the current location.
The Executive Summary (220 MB PDF) gives a good overview of the FEIS and preferred alternative (as it should!), but I also suggest wandering through the Chapter 2: Alternatives section, especially if you came to the neighborhood or JDLand after 2008 and didn't get to follow along during the EIS process, or if you're interested in the additional plans for east of the river, which I'm going to leave to others to discuss. My previous posts on all of this may be of interest as well. If you're wanting to see some of the earlier studies referenced in the FEIS, there are links to them at the top of my South Capitol Street project page.
How much would this all cost? The preferred alternative is priced in this final EIS at $806 million (not billion! yeesh) in FY 2014 dollars. (New bridges are expensive, you know.)
(I know that this is a very quick overview of a big study and plan, but there will be plenty of time to talk more about it, especially with the upcoming public meetings.)

ANC Recap No. 3: Traffic Study, 10K Race, Liquor License Items
Apr 13, 2011 11:14 AM
Last missive from Monday's ANC 6D meeting..:
* It's apparently going to be "Neighborhood Day" at Nationals Park on Saturday, April 16. The Nationals said in a press release on Monday that residents will be able to purchase discounted tickets, but you apparently have to be in the know to find the nationals.com/neighborhood ticket sales link. (ANC commissioners got their free tickets for Saturday handed out at the meeting, since they'll be introduced on the field before the game.)
* With a unanimous 7-0 vote, the commission passed a motion authored by David Garber to request that DDOT fund a "comprehensive" traffic study of the M Street corridor and its neighboring streets in both Southeast and Southwest. Much of the discussion ended up centering around the wording of the motion (as is so often the case), with much concern about whether Maine Avenue should be specifically mentioned, especially given that the developers of the new Southwest Waterfront will be undertaking their own traffic study along Maine and Water Street. Commissioner Andy Litsky wondered about the traffic study in Southeast that the Capitol Riverfront BID is looking to fund, and Michael Stevens of the BID said that they would support a "holistic" approach to combining the various studies already done or on the boards (including the one CSX has apparently completed to look at the impact of their planned construction along Virginia Avenue, plus the reports done for the 11th Street Bridges EIS and the in-progress 14th Street Bridges EIS).
The motion was then amended to say that the ANC supports directing DDOT funds "to conduct a comprehensive traffic study and plan for the M Street SE/SW corridor and its feeder and surrounding streets and that all other area studies be integrated for DDOT's review in order to produce a comprehensive study, and that ANC 6D urgently supports the subsequent design process and implementation of a 'complete streets' plan to decrease the speed and volume of automobile traffic, and increase multi-modal transportation safety and efficiency as neighborhoods in 6D continue to evolve and develop."
(If you want to know more about the concept of Complete Streets and how it might inform a redesign of M Street, you can read my report on last year's public meeting held by Tommy Wells to start an "initial dialog" on the subject.)
* The commission also voted 7-0 to support the Pacers Home Run Classic 10K race, to be run on Saturday, June 18. Original plans to start and end the race at the Yards Park ran into some issues with the city's Emergency Management folks not wanting the race to run by the DC Water/WASA plant (and there was no explanation beyond that). So the race will now start and end at Half and N, across from the ballpark, then circle the ballpark down to South Capitol and Potomac before crossing the Douglass Bridge, running along Anacostia Drive in Anacostia Park to the skating pavilion, then doubling back. It's expected there will be 2,000 runners for the 8 am race. (Next year they expect to be able to start and end at the Yards Park and use the new floating bridge to Teague Park to get to Potomac Avenue and the Douglass Bridge.)
* In liquor license matters, it was reported to the commission that Das Bullpen did end up needing to get a new liquor license separate from that of The Bullpen 1.0, and that a new voluntary agreement was written up as well. This was all apparently done very hurredly, on the Tuesday before Opening Day, in order for ABRA to approve the new license on Wednesday in time for Opening Day on Thursday (though as we know Das Bullpen didn't open that day anyway). There's a full hearing on the license scheduled for May 31. If you haven't followed the Twitter flurry, Das Bullpen opened Tuesday (April 13) for the Nats/Phillies game.
* Also on the alcohol front, apparently both Harry's Reserve and Cornercopia are inquiring as to the possibility of the sale of "singles," in their cases to be the sorts of higher-end European beers that typically come in 20 oz or larger bottles. Coralee Farlee, who chairs the 6D ABC subcommittee, asked for some guidance as to whether the ANC is wanting to continue to not consider any exceptions for single sales, as has been the practice. David Garber and other commissioners expressed their support for the higher-end type of sales, and Andy Litsky said that 6D never really had the "singles" problem that lead the H Street NE corridor to ban those sales. Chairman Ron McBee instructed Farlee to check how other ANCs are handling the issue (apparently 6B allows sales of the 20-oz. bottles?), with an eye toward reexamining 6D's stance.
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Lumber Shed ('13)
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225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
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1015 Half Street ('10)
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Teague Park ('09)
909 NJ Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Dem. ('07)
400 M ('07)
SoCap Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
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