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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Traffic Issues
In the Pipeline
1000 South Capitol
25 M
Yards/Parcel I
Yards/Parcel G
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
More Capper Apts.
Yards/Movie Theater
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
SC1100
Completed
New DC Water HQ ('19)
Yards/Bower Condos ('19)
Virginia Ave. Tunnel ('19)
99 M ('18)
Agora ('18)
1221 Van ('18)
District Winery ('17)
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
 
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Foodie news is the main focus in this roundup:
* CIRCA OPEN, EL BEBE SOON: The neighborhood's newest restaurant opened on Monday, with Circa finally arriving on the southwest corner of 1st and M Streets, SE, not quite 3 1/2 years after it was first announced. As for now, it's open daily at 4 pm. And its sibling El Bebe is coming Any Minute Now.
* MEYER TO THOMPSON: The Thompson Hotel at 3rd and Tingey is still under construction, but the Post's Tom Sietsema reported in his chat last week that uber restaurateur Danny Meyer (he of Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, and more) will be opening a "full-service restaurant and rooftop bar" in the hotel sometime in 2020. There aren't many details (not even a chef), but this will be a project that will garner a lot of interest.
* ALBI POPUP: If you are looking forward to Albi, which is bringing a "contemporary vision of Middle Eastern cooking as soon through the lens of Modern American techniques and Mid-Atlantic ingredients" to the Bower at 4th and Tingey in "early summer" 2019, there is a two-day "pop up" of "preview dinners" on March 3 and 4. Reservations now available, with prices set at $85 per person, plus optional wine pairings for $35.
And in non-food news:
* CAPPER SENIORS GONE: The first building I watched be built is now the first building I've watched be both built and demolished, though the concrete stairwells and elevator shafts remain and await the building that will replace the structure destroyed by fire last year. This makes for a sad entry #182 in my Demolished Buildings gallery.
* VOTE FOR MOVIES: Time once again to make your preferences known in the Capitol Riverfront BID's 2019 Outdoor Movie Series poll. Voting ends March 4.
* PILE DRIVING: That pounding you heard in your head on Saturday morning wasn't your hangover, it's the start of Saturday pile driving as part of the new Douglass Bridge construction. The approved hours are from 9 am to 7 pm. (And, while I'm speaking of it, a shout-out to the NFDMB folks, who are doing a nice job of outreach with a very complete web site and social media offerings.)
* LOWER 8TH STREET STUFF: ANC 6B commission Kirsten Oldenburg reported in her latest newsletter about some changes to traffic flow near 8th and Virginia, now that the tunnel is completed: "The 800 block of Virginia Avenue and the 900 block of 9th Street SE are now two-way streets and the 1000 block of 9th Street SE between L and M Streets will join them as a two-way street but awaits adjustments to the traffic signal at 9th and M SE. The 800 block of L Street is to become two-way (instead of one way westbound). Pedestrian crossings markings will be added to the 9th & Potomac Avenue SE and 10th & Potomac Avenue SE intersections. " She also says she is in the process of asking DDOT for a traffic calming study of the 8th and L intersection (i.e., where the Brig is).
 

I will be the first to admit that I did not do a very good job tracking the progress of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction. Even putting aside the fact that most of it happened underground, it just came at a rotten time in my life and was too large a footprint for me to ever really feel like I could do it justice. So of course instead of trying my best anyway, I just kind of gave up. Oops.
But, while the expansion of the original tunnel and the construction of the second track tunnel are both now complete, and now it is just streetscape work standing between impatient drivers* and the reopening of the avenue east of 4th, there is a part of the project where I can think I can provide a service, and that is looking at the actual changes in Virginia Avenue itself since digging started in spring 2015.
Yes, we're going to take a tour of the road. You might be surprised at how much it has changed.
Let's start at 2nd and Virginia, which in the pre-project days was a weird intersection between 2nd and the functional Virginia Avenue to the east along with the incomplete H Street and closed-off Virginia Avenue to the east. It never saw much traffic but was large and oddly configured for a spot with so little use. These are two before-and-after sets, first looking north-northwestward, and then eastward (sorry for the crappy current shots):
Remembering that you can click to enlarge these photos and then page through them, you'll see how this 2nd-H-Virginia intersection was extremely wide and mainly focused on the flow of traffic along Virginia Avenue, which became superfluous when in the early 2000s it was decided to close Virginia from this spot out to South Capitol (because of security concerns with its location right by the Capitol Power Plant). In the new version, there are big sidewalk bulb-outs, shinking the amount of asphalt and making it easier for pedestrians to cross the street, which comes in handy for the hordes marching toward Whole Foods in the next block.
As we continue east on Virginia, there isn't much of a change in the 300 block's footprint, other than the creation of bulb-outs to narrow the sidewalk width while still allowing mid-block parking on both sides.
But there's definitely a few changes where Virginia heads east across 4th Street:
The street is now closer to the freeway, and on a straight line toward the intersection with 5th Street. The wide bend from 4th Street is gone, meaning that hopefully cars turning left from 4th onto Virginia will now have to slow down to navigate the intersection. There's also now parking on the south side of the street, which mainly serves to add back in the few parking spaces that disappeared now that I Street no longer bends into Virginia east of 4th. I don't have an "after" photo, but you can see what it used to do here, and also see how Virginia had to bend northward to get to the intersection with 5th.
The intersection at 5th (which becomes 6th as you go north under the freeway) has always been ugly, so ugly that I never came up with a good standard way of photographing it, which means my before pictures aren't always helpful. But in this comparison shot looking west, you can see how Virginia is now a straight shot coming from 4th to 5th. You can also see that the street and ramp from 695 are much closer, and the grading has been changed as well,
Turning around and looking eastward on Virginia at 5th, you can see how much the traffic flow has been altered:
Before, the freeway traffic used to continue on Virginia via the lanes to the left, and the traffic from Virginia and those turning onto Virginia from 5th used the merging lanes to the right. And there was a lovely median separating them, making it a long trek for pedestrians from the north side of Virginia to the south side. Now, as you can mostly see (sorry about the shadows), it's more like a regular intersection, except that from what I can tell the drivers in the middle lanes from Virginia and the ramp will have a wide middle lane to handle their merging as they go east. Will have to see how the ramp lanes are striped--will the left ramp lane be left-turn only? Or left/straight, and the right ramp lane straight, as it used to be? We Shall See.
Now we get to 7th Street, which doesn't really look that different except that the diagonal stub of K Street just to the south is now gone, again making it easier for pedestrians on the east side of 7th to get north of Virginia.
Now we have reached 8th Street, the end of my little tour. First turning back to look westward, you'll see that the lanes no longer split, once again making it easier for pedestrians to get across:
When you look eastward across 8th, you'll see a big change (the departure of the on-ramp to 695), but that happened in 2013. As I'm sure you remember.
I imagine the blocks east of 4th Street will open Any Minute Now, since they are all now striped and lamped and lighted and curbed. Then we can find out how it all works when actual pedestrians, drivers, bicyclists, scooterists, and the like get a hold of it.
It was a long 3 1/2 years to get to this point, but these photos indicate--even more than I realized--that CSX did not just tear Virginia Avenue up, dig a tunnel, and plop the old street right back down on top of the new tunnel.
* I'll do a tour of the new bike side path another time.
Comments (24)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 

* TRANSPORTATION STUDY KICK-OFF: On Wednesday, Nov. 28, DDOT and ANC6D are holding the first public meeting for a study of transportation issues in {insert preferred neighborhood name of your choice}. It's at 7 pm at the Capper Community Center at 5th and K Streets, SE. Along with a list of desired changes (such as a stop sign at 3rd and Virginia and protecting the bike lane on 1st south of M), the flyer notes that a stoplight is expected to be coming to the harrowing New Jersey and I intersection in 2019.
And now some of increasingly old tidbits:
* ALBI/MAXWELL: Washingtonian reports news of two restaurants coming to the Yards in 2019: Albi, a "modern American eatery inspired by {chef Michael Lee Rafidi's} Middle Eastern and Mid-Atlantic roots," and another branch of Shaw's "oenophile haven," the wine bar Maxwell. The JDLand commentariat has analyzed the situation and are positing that the new garage door-style panels on the 4th Street side of the Bower might be the home for these ventures.
* CHEMONICS: Not a restaurant, but Washington Business Journal reports behind its paywall that Chemonics, a USAID contractor among other things, is close to a deal to move its 1,200-person headquarters from near Farragut West to Yards Parcel A Yards Parcel G (updated 1/2/19 with the correct location--oops). This northern portion of Spooky Park has long been planned to be Class A office space--as for the rest of the block, I wrote a few weeks ago about the plans for residential along N Street and the new streets coming. This new office building would be north of the hotly awaited Quander Street. (h/t commenter Westnorth)
* SQUARE 696 UNMASKED? With thanks to commenter CL85, we may have our first look at what is coming to Square 696, the block just about out of the ground on the south side of I Street between Half and 1st. (If Clark pulls it down, here is the rendering.) This is going to be an 818-unit residential project spanning the entire block when both phases are complete in 2022. (It sounds like they are going to build the "structure and skin" of the entire project, but will first complete the eastern tower before moving to the interior work of the western tower.)
* NEW BIKESHARE STATION: If you haven't stumbled across it yet, there is now a 19-dock CaBi station on 4th Street SE just north of M (alongside the new Sprint store and kitty corner from Teeter).
* NEW ANC COMMISSIONERS: In local local local election results, ANC 6D07 (the seat left open by Meredith Fascett's retirement) has been won by Edward Daniels, while in 6D02 Anna Forgie clobbered incumbent Cara Lee Shockley.
 

Now that everyone (meaning me) has recovered from The Great Grocery Store Opening of 2018, we can turn our attention to the newest project to head into the zoning approvals fun factory: a 348-unit apartment building by Forest City on "Yards Parcel I," which is on the south side of N Street west of New Jersey.
If you're having trouble envisioning this location, it's the eastern portion of the big parking lot on the south side of N. (The rendering above is looking toward the southeast from N Street's north-side parking lot, like this.)
The most striking part of the building's design is the "one-story double-height bridge" that runs across the courtyard at the 8th of the building's 11 floors, and which would have the building's pool on top of it.
The bridge and the open courtyard will both face "1 1/2 Street," the new "spine" of Yards West that will run from M Street to Diamond Teague Park. It will be pedestrian-only from M south to the reconstituted Quander Street, and then will be a "shared curbless street" down to its terminus by Diamond Teague Park. You might need your magnifying glass even after clicking on it to enlarge it, but the image at right shows the full Yards West site plan on the left, and a zoom-in on the new Parcel I footprint at right.
(A tidbit of note in the zoning filing mentions that 1 1/2 Street would lead south from M Street "and a potential additional entrance to the Navy Yard Metrorail station.")
Here's some additional renderings, showing the bridge, and 1 1/2 Street, and even the planned Tingey Square at the current intersection of New Jersey, N, and Tingey.
The zoning filing says that Forest City expects to build out much of the new Yards West street grid beginning next year: which includes the two-block segment of Quander Street between 1st and New Jersey and the "curbless street" portion of 1 1/2 Street between Quander and N Place (the little alley-like street south of the big parking lot and north of the DC Water brick building).
The new building would also have about 13,600 square feet of retail, and two levels of underground parking with 243 spaces.
You can see a couple more images on my new Yards Parcel I page, though I imagine that 1 1/2 Street will eventually get its own page.
In the meantime, here's what the intersection of 1 1/2 and N looks like now, to further help you place it.
(Yes, I have 1 1/2 Street already set up in my Photo Archive, if you want to see the full before-and-afters. Though I guess I'd better add Quander Street now, too.)
The zoning hearing is not yet scheduled, and so there's no firm start date for construction of the building as yet.
PS: Don't blame me about "1 1/2 Street."
Comments (73)
More posts: 1halfst, Development News, Traffic Issues, The Yards, yardsparceli
 

A big change in neighborhood transit arrives today, as the new "Eastern Market-L'Enfant Plaza" (EM-LP) Circulator route begins service. While the new line means riders can no longer take a single bus from Union Station to M Street, or get on/off at 1st and K SE, the tradeoff is a route that connects Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards to the Wharf and then continues up to L'Enfant Plaza. (And then comes all the way back, of course.)
It runs from 6 am to 9 pm on summer weekdays, and 7 am to 9 pm on summer weekends, with hours extended to midnight on days of Nationals home games starting at 6 pm or later.
(As for special routes and service on DC United game days, this is going around Twitter, but I don't see it on the Circulator web site. It would apparently detour down 1st Street SE to Potomac Avenue, then back up Half Street SW.)
Meanwhile, on Monday DDOT is "beginning roadway improvements along M Street SE from First Street to 7th Street SE." This will be milling and paving, and will be done between 8 pm and 5 am "to mitigate impact on traffic in this busy corridor." Like on shiny new bus routes!
And now I think it's probably time to head back into tidbit mode, unless big news breaks. Watch the bottom of this post for updates, but here's two tidbits to start that you might not have seen:
* An interesting article on the new Douglass Bridge's design and planned construction from an engineering standpoint.
* With all of those photos I took last week, it was time to update the Sliders, and I also took the opportunity to add a bunch of new angles to the Slider lineup. I can't embed them here, but here are screenshots that you can click on to see the sliding in action. Or you can scroll down through all 35 sliders that I updated/added, as well as browse the full archive.
Comments (17)
More posts: circulator, M Street, Douglass Bridge, tidbits, Traffic Issues
 

A few of these deserve their own posts, but, well....
* DECLARATION DECLARING: A press release from Grosvenor says that Declaration will be opening at F1rst, in mid-March, as the building's first full-service dining option. "This new location will be double the size of its counterpart in [Shaw] and will offer pizza and Philadelphia-oriented menu items, including some ballpark staples." The release also says that Barre3 will open in spring late summer or fall [error in press release, I'm told]. With these openings, only one retail space at F1rst remains unleased.
* BARRACKS DECIDING: The Record of Decision and Final EIS for the new Bachelor Enlisted Quarters have been published, ending a study phase that feels like it began in 1936. The chosen site plan is to build the new BEQ immediately to the north of the barracks at 7th and L, SE (Building 25), which will spell doom for either some or all of the athletic field (it's been so long, I don't remember anymore). Read the MBEIS web site for actual details that aren't from memory.
* SOUTH CAPITOL PROJECTING: DDOT announced some temporary lane closures this week in multiple locations "for pre-construction work associated with the South Capitol Street Corridor Project and the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge project." I believe this is the first mention of "pre-construction work" for these projects--or at least they are since the design-build contract was awarded.
* PEPCO DISRUPTING: ANC 6D07 Commissioner Fascett reports that PEPCO will be digging up portions M Street SE between 1st and 6th and 1st south of M to install underground pipes and then cables during February and March. Watch for daytime traffic disruptions weekdays and Saturdays.
* WILLOW VALENTINING: If you are in a red-heart mood on Saturday (Feb. 10), retail boutique Willow is having a Valentine's Day party, from 11 am to 7 pm. There will be valentine-making, cupcakes, a photo booth, and more. (Strangely, the valentines give out all look like this.) Willow is in the ground floor of Arris, on Water Street across from District Winery, just north of the Yards Park.
 

On Thursday DDOT released its 2017 Transit Development Plan, and amongst the torrent of words are proposals for a number of Circulator changes, including the long-discussed extension of the current Navy Yard route that would continue along M Street SW and the southern portion of Maine Avenue and up 7th Street SW to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station, but would discontinue the portion of the route between Union Station and Eastern Market. (The double lines in the right-hand map are the "discontinued service" portions.)
There would also be year-round weekend service, from 7 am to 9 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Circulator service between Union Station, Barracks Row, and the Washington Navy Yard (the actual, living, breathing, functioning "Navy Yard") would be available on a reconfigured version of the Potomac Avenue-Skyland route (see page 52 of the report for a map).
The report also says that "a special standalone service plan will be developed to provide DC Circulator service to the new DC United Soccer Stadium before, during, and after games."
These changes aren't final--there is now a public comment period, through Jan. 19, 2018, and there will be a public hearing on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, from 7 to 9 pm at the Miracle Theatre at 535 8th St., SE.
But DDOT says that it expects that the changes would be implemented in April, 2018.
Comments (34)
More posts: circulator, meetings, M Street, Traffic Issues
 

If you are interested in participating in the Environmental Assessment process for the redesign of Southeast Blvd., the second public meeting is scheduled for Monday night, Dec. 11, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Chamberlain Elementary School, 1345 Potomac Ave., SE.
This time around the session will be an "interactive group activity," and will also include unveiling the draft concepts for remaking the stretch of road between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle into an "urban boulvard," which would include raising the street up to the same level as L Street SE to the north, establishing connections to 13th, 14th, and 15th Streets, SE, adding pedestrian and bicycling facilities, and sneaking in some tour bus parking underneath the raised road as well. The possibility of some of the right-of-way being used for residential or other development is also part of the study.
See the official project web site for more details, or scroll through my many posts on it over the years.
Comments (0)
More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues
 

I have been intending to write more substantively about a few of these things, but now in the interest of actually getting them posted, I'll go with abbreviated versions:
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE MEETING: DDOT is holding two public meetings to "discuss the current status" of the new Douglass Bridge project. There is one in Ward 6 on Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at 1100 4th St., SW (DCRA conference room), and another in Ward 8 on Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Academy, 2427 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE. See my project page and/or the official web site for details.
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE BLEATING: The Commission on Fine Arts says the new bridge design "lacks grace." (WBJ)
* 3RD STREET TWEAKING: Watch for the single travel lane on 3rd Street SE at Virginia Avenue to be moved off of the temporary deck and onto new pavement Any Minute Now. This is so the deck can be demolished and restoration work can then continue on both 3rd and Virginia. (CSX)
* BARRACKS EIS RELEASING: Remember those plans to build a new Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, which ended up deciding that the new building would be built next to the existing building at 7th and L? There's actually some movement, with the final EIS expected to be released Any Minute Now, and the Record of Decision expected to follow. I'll write more when the EIS comes out, but in the meantime here's a newsletter from last month with the latest.
* ANC REP REPPING: Read more updates on neighborhood goings-on from ANC 6D07 commissioner Meredith Fascett.
* TASTEBUDS APPROVING: Ana, the restaurant at District Winery, gets good words from the Post's food critic. (WaPo)
Comments (11)
 

On the heels of my previous post on the changes coming to I Street SE, here's some specifics from CSX on its current timetable for the restoration of Virginia Avenue as the tunnel project begins to see the light at the end of, um, itself.
As the graphic at right from this presentation shows, it appears that the 300 block of Virginia is at the top of the restoration list, with the street itself expected to open in Spring 2018. The 200 and 400 blocks would follow in early summer, with the blocks from 5th to 9th following in late summer. This schedule also includes the restoration of the connection under the freeway to Garfield Park in early summer, and Virginia Avenue Park later in the year.
There will be some full closures of the cross streets as they get restored, with the diciest ones probably being 4th Street (expected to close from February into summer) and that bizarro 5th/6th intersection (which this says will be closed from late this year into spring).
As for what Virginia Avenue will look like when "restoration" is complete, here are the graphics from CSX, showing among other things the new separated pedestrian and cycling paths, including a cut-through path on that 4th Street triangle to allow bikes to hook up easily with I Street, the main east-west bicycle route in this neck of the woods. (Yeah, even when you click to enlarge they are tiny. Here's the PDF.)
It's rather stunning to me to actually be seeing a timeline like this--I've been writing about this project for a looooooooooong time. As to whether everything does wrap up in 2018, of course We Shall See.
Comments (6)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Traffic Issues, Virginia Ave Park
 
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