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It looks like the exit ramp to 8th Street SE from westbound I-695 (inbound from the 11th Street Bridges) that has been MIA in recent months may soon be back in business.
DDOT announced on Wednesday that it will be reducing I Street SE to one lane between 9th and 10th streets through the end of March so that they can "install a raised median island and accommodate the new free flow exit ramp connection currently under construction from westbound I-695 to 'Eye' Street, SE."
This resulted in tasking my errand boy with some snowy photography, of not only the ramp itself (above), but also a hard-to-get shot of the new exit sign, surprisingly uncovered, on the freeway. You can see that the new exit goes underneath the no-longer-new ramp from 11th Street SE to the westbound freeway.
Also sayeth DDOT: "Upon completion of the construction, the street will be reopened in the final configuration with one lane westbound between 9th Street, SE, and 10th Street, SE. Modifications will also include improved safety features for pedestrians and the removal of rush-hour parking restrictions along this stretch."
The advisory did not give a date for the opening of the exit, which was closed nearly a year ago, at which point the scary flyover with the huge curve that led to the exit ramp was mercifully demolished.
Comments (1)
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues
 

As you approach the South Capitol Street exit on the Southwest Freeway, there's a small blue sign overhead, dwarfed by its siblings and probably all but invisible to everyday users of the highway.
It's a Gas - Food - Lodging sign, ubiquitous across this great land of ours and often a very (VERY) welcome sight, when the gas gauge has fallen below the Empty line and panic has begun setting in.
And while regulations generally say that an establishment can be located within three miles of the exit in order to allow for such a sign to be posted, in urban settings stressed low-fuel drivers have some level of expectation that when they get to the end of the ramp they will be greeted with at least one gas station within view, or a sign pointing where to go to find it and how far it will be.
Up until about nine years ago, that's exactly what would happen when taking the South Capitol exit. There were Exxons on the east side of the street (at I) and the west side (at K). There was a BP Amoco station at N, plus a Sunoco at Half and M and another Exxon at 11th and M if one wanted to stray a little or a lot.
But then they started to close, and were all gone by 2008, though I will note that not a single one of those sites has been developed as of now.
So, if you are a desperate driver looking for gas, and you see that sign, and you start to head south on South Capitol Street, where is the first gas station you'd come across? You'd have to be smartphone-equipped to find your way 3.4 miles to the King Gas Station on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, just north of the intersection with Malcolm X Avenue.
But more likely you'd stay on the Suitland Parkway, and perhaps your Spidey Sense might then lead you north on Alabama Avenue to the BP at the intersection with Alabama, Naylor, and Good Hope Roads, 4.6 miles away from your exit.
Chances are though that you'd follow the Suitland Parkway until you are alerted otherwise. There's no signs as far as Google Street View shows for stations at Naylor Road (4.8 miles) and Silver Hill Road (6.3 miles), though the stations at the latter can probably be seen once you passed the exits, launching just the sort of in-car recriminations that end up being the highlight of so many car trips.
Eventually you end up at a T-intersection with Rt. 4/Pennsylvania Avenue, where if you are lucky--and clearly you aren't--you will guess that you should turn left, and be rewarded with a BP about a mile later, a total of 14.1 miles and God knows how many minutes since you exited the Southwest Freeway.
If instead you decide to keep heading forward in your same general direction, you could be all the way to the Sunoco in Lothian before you at last find your station, though of course you would totally have run out of gas somewhere during the 19.7-mile divorce-inducing trek.
The reality is that Pennsylvania Avenue SE is a frantic driver's best bet from the South Capitol Street exit, either by getting back on 695, heading across the 11th Street Bridge, and then going north on DC-295 to the Sunoco at the Pennsylvania Avenue interchange (2.7 miles), or by getting yourself north of the freeway and then taking a pick of the stations at 9th, 12th, or 13th (we're just going to ignore the Platinum-Coated Exxon at 4th and Pennsylvania), all of which are 1.5 miles-ish from the exit.
Residents figure these things out, so there's not the same scenario of needing gas, seeing a sign, and expecting a relatively simple path to a fill-up. And it's not exactly a news flash that gas stations are becoming increasingly scarce in the downtown core.
But maybe this poor blue sign could be moved to the spiffy newish 11th Street/Southeast Blvd. exit.
Ditto on all of this for the similar blue signs pointing drivers coming south out of the 3rd Street Tunnel to the South Capitol Street exit.
(And to think that this was originally just going to be nothing more than a snarky tweet of the photo of the blue sign!)
Comments (9)
More posts: South Capitol St., Traffic Issues
 

If you are looking for some light Christmas reading, you can sit down by the fireplace with all 335 pages (plus appendices!) of the newest revision to the plans for reconfiguring much of South Capitol Street, including the construction of a new Frederick Douglass Bridge.
This document, technically known as the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS), describes the new "revised preferred alternative" (RPA) design that tweaks the original preferred alternative in the Final EIS released back in 2011.
The bullet points for what the project plans are north/west of the Anacostia River are in the graphic at right (click to enlarge). The changes in this new RPA include:
* Changing the design of the bridge from a moveable span to a fixed-span bridge, which would save approximately $140 million in construction costs;
* Shifting the orientation of the new Douglass Bridge to an alignment parallel to the existing bridge, 30 feet down river, which avoids the need and lengthy process to acquire some land from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling as well as a number of expensive relocation and reconstruction issues that a new alignment avoids (see page 2-91 of the SDEIS for details);
* A slight reduction of the size of the traffic oval on the western side (at Potomac Avenue):
* Replacing the previously designed circle on the eastern approach with an oval, located entirely in the DDOT right-of-way;
* And several other changes on the east side of the project that I will leave to others to discuss in detail. (See page ES-6 of the SDEIS.)
The initial design of the ovals and of the bridge itself were met with some consternation during this revision process. The SDEIS notes that in response to these concerns, DDOT has created a "Visual Quality Manual" for the project, which identifies design goals that are to "reflect the vision of providing a grand urban boulevard, which will be a gateway into the nation's capital, an iconic symbol of the District's aspirations in the 21st century, and a catalyst to revitalize local neighborhoods and the Anacostia Waterfront." (page 2-26).
As for the bridge itself, the version in this RPA will support three travel lanes in each direction, along with 18 feet of bicycle and pedestrian paths on *both* sides of the bridge--an 8-foot lane for pedestrians and a 10-foot birdirectional bike path. (Enlarge the image at right to see that I'm not lying about the bike/ped stuff.)
And the design of the bridge is to "make its primary aesthetic impact through its position (alignment), and the shape and sizes of its structural elements" and is to " aesthetically appear to be part of a continuous urban corridor." This includes the avoidance of "using elements, solely for aesthetic effect, which do not contribute to the support of the bridge." (page 2-28)
Plans for the reconfiguration of South Capitol Street as a "grand urban boulevard" have all along called for changing the intersection of South Capitol and M streets to an "at-grade intersection" (page 4-79), which would also mean that K and L would have signalized four-way intersections with South Capitol, unlike today. The wide median seen south of N would be established on the north end of the street as well, now all the way to D Street SE in the RPA. Also changing in this new plan are a few new left-turn options at I Street SE/SW and L Street SE.
Revisions have also been made to the ramps from South Capitol Street to I-395 and I-695, but the basics from the original plans remain, most notably the demolition of the existing suspended ramp from northbound South Capitol to the SE/SW Freeway.
Even with the revisions made to cut the costs of the new Douglass Bridge, this isn't a cheap project. The five phases together are anticipated to cost over $1 billion, with Segment 1, including the new bridge and traffic ovals, estimated at $480 million. The "grand boulevard"-izing of South Capitol Street is estimated at $153 million, and planned streetscape improvements to New Jersey Avenue between D and M streets SE at $42 million, plus another $358 million in east-of-the-river improvements (page 2-11).
Worn out yet? I sure am! (I've mostly lost track of how much of this is truly even "new" news at this point.) But perhaps you can regain your strength by Jan. 22, 2015, when the public meeting on this SDEIS will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 2616 Martin Luther King Ave., SE. The public comment period is running until Feb. 2. DDOT is also still amidst the design/build proposal process, with proposals expected sometime in the spring.
The SouthCapitolEIS.com web site is now focused mainly on this SDEIS, of which clearly I've just scratched the surface; you can slog through my piles of posts on all of this over the years for the historical rundown.
UPDATE: Here's the WashCycle take on the latest plans, from a bike/ped perspective.
 

DDOT announced that today (Dec. 22) they have opened Southeast Blvd. between 11th St. SE and Pennsylvania Avenue at Barney Circle.
Considering it looked like this nine days ago, the pedal must have been put to the metal.
Anyone want to report from there? I'll be interested to see how the signalized section at 11th Street handles the presumed new influx of east/west traffic.
The planning project to come up with concepts for how the road could look and function in the future continues.
UPDATE, 9:15 PM: Dark? Rainy? What a perfect time to try out a new road! I was coming home a little while ago on the SW/SE Freeway from Virginia, so decided to follow them there new signs for "Southeast Blvd."
I crossed 11th Street at the bottom of the exit ramp from the SE Freeway, then drove east on the new road to the light/merge at Pennsylvania Avenue just before the Sousa Bridge, where I'd still be sitting if I hadn't decided to finally run the light after waiting and waiting and waiting. (The stretch of road that continues eastward under Barney Circle is not reopened, though there is line striping for a lane to eventually head that way, it's just blocked off.)
Then, after a fun reversing of course that involved doubling back via DC-295 and two of the new ramps to and from 11th Street SE/MLK Blvd., I went westward on Pennsylvania Avenue and took the exit "To I-395." That goes under Barney Circle as it used to, and eventually I returned to 11th Street SE at the new signalized intersection where I could have chosen to go straight to get onto the westbound SE Freeway.
Impressions? Hard to tell in the rain. The MC Dean folks were out working on the signals, there's still a lot of cleanup work going on in the median, and a lot of heavy construction work is still in evidence on the eastern end by Barney Circle.
But if the city wants to rake in the dough, they'll set up speed cameras to enforce the SPEED LIMIT 30 signs that I LOL'ed at as I drove past them. Call it a "Boulevard" or call it a limited-access divided highway, but it is not a streetscape that screams 30 MPH.
(Photos will have to wait until the sun is actually out.)
UPDATE, 12/23: Via my very poorly paid stringer (Mr. JDLand), one shot of the now-uncovered signage for Southeast Blvd. eastbound on I-695/SE Freeway.
Comments (0)
More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues
 

I finally got my lazy self over to 11th Street with my camera this past weekend, and got quite the view of the soon-to-arrive Southeast Blvd., the reconstituted road between Barney Circle and 11th Street that runs along the path of the old sunken east end of the Southeast Freeway.
A kind official, taking a wild guess at who that old lady shooting photos of construction might possibly be, guided me in for a quick peek over the crest of the hill, eastward toward Barney Circle:
The new road will be two lanes in each direction, separated by a fair amount of non-road area, as you can see. At the new signalized intersection with 11th Street, the lanes align with the new ramps to and from the Southeast Freeway. Here's what the approach to 11th Street looked like in 2012, when the freeway still ran beneath 11th, along with the similar-but-higher-up view now. (Click to enlarge, and use the massive freeway pylons and flyover to orient yourself, especially in terms of the vertical change.)
As I have written about previously, there has been a fair amount of consternation over this road, both in terms of what some people feel is a rush to get it reopened along with much unhappiness when DDOT unveiled its initial concepts for the road's long-term design. The Office of Planning has since been working on a new set of designs to better meet a goal of reintegrating this area with the surrounding neighborhood, and last week there was a public meeting to go over these concepts, seen below and laid out in detail in the presentation slides.
When comparing these concepts to the road about to open, you can see that the general layout of the traffic lanes and available space are the same, though Concept B has just one lane in each direction just one new two-lane boulevard heading eastward while A and C have two lanes in each direction (UPDATED to fix how B is characterized). (And bike lanes! There are bike lanes!) However, all three would build up the boulevard so that it would become level with L Street, and would then allow 13th, 14th, and 15th streets to intersect with the boulevard for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
At right is a side view showing the proposed elevation for Concept A, running from L Street at left over to the train tracks and then down to the river.The CSX train tracks that run to the right of the road's footprints prevent further connection of these streets to M Street and the river, but there could be pedestrian bridges built to bring people across the tracks. (Note that all three concepts show the position of the planned 1333 M Street residential project just south of the boulevard.)
Two of the designs call for development within the huge median, either of low-rise multi-family buildings or townhouses or some combination thereof (at right is a rendering of the Concept A vision). The third design leaves it as a wide-open park space. And two of the three plans show the parking beneath the boulevard for buses that seems to be a requirement from DDOT's point of view.
I'm not going to go into great detail about what was said at the meeting--you can browse the presentation slides and read Capitol Hill Corner's report, which includes the many concerns of nearby residents, especially the ones who don't have much interest in connecting L, 13th, 14th, and 15th to this road.
At this stage, these truly are just concepts. There would next need to be a feasibility study/traffic flow analysis done by DDOT, an undertaking that has no timetable. There is also the issue of this land having been turned over to the city by the feds with the requirement that it be used for "transportation purposes," which raises questions about whether plopping residential buildings in the middle of it all would be an issue.
In the meantime, the new version of this road should open early in 2015.
Here's one more before-and-almost-after, looking eastward from down in the depths back in 2012 (left) and then an expanded version of the current view. Use the apartment building and retaining wall at left to orient. The embankment in the median in the "before" photo is the remnant of the ramps from the old 11th Street Bridges to and from RFK.
Comments (6)
More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues
 

* M STREET CLOSURE: DDOT has put out the word that M Street SE between 8th and 11th will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 6 am to 9 pm, weather permitting, to complete final surface paving and striping between 10th and 11th.
* CSX OUTREACH: There may be a lawsuit pending, but that hasn't stopped CSX from giving their Virginia Avenue Tunnel web site a big makeover, and also rebranding the existing Twitter account as @VATNews. The web site has all sorts of new sections and documents, though I would imagine Opinions Differ in some quarters about the contents.
* METRO PAYMENT PILOT: Navy Yard-Ballpark is one of the Metro stations that's part of WMATA's Payment Pilot program, testing out the "secure fare payment system of the future" that will allow the use of NFC-equipped credit cards and smartphones. So, if you've seen a shiny new fare gate being installed at the station lately, this is why. The program is expected to start in January, and you can still apply to be a tester
* BOATHOUSE EXPANSION: (Boats are transportation, right?) The Hill Rag reports that there are plans underway to renovate facilities along Boathouse Row, the stretch of marinas and buildings along the west side of the Anacostia between the 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue bridges. The Historic Anacostia Boating Association outlined for ANC 6B last month a proposed facility with a 228-slip marina, a pier for water taxis, and a boat ramp, along with other outdoor activity space. Fundraising is apparently now underway.
(And of course I'm sure you already read my post from yesterday about the Circulator's planned extension of the Navy Yard route into Southwest.)
Comments (1)
More posts: Boathouse Row, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Metro/WMATA, Traffic Issues
 

This week DDOT released its Final Circulator Development Plan, which among many other items calls for the extension of the Union Station-Navy Yard route along M Street to the Southwest Waterfront, sometime in the next two years, a plan that already has funding from the DC Council.
I asked about the timeframe for the new service, and DDOT informed me that it is proposed for the summer or early fall of 2015, pending the receipt of new buses, which have already been ordered and are expected to arrive in late spring or early summer.
Of the 1,041 people who took this year's survey, 44 percent identified the Southwest Waterfront as one of three top areas to which Circulator service should expand. This page from the report gives additional metrics on the proposed expanded route.
The plan also calls for a "Union Station-Navy Yard Schedule and Span Pilot Study," that would provide additional evening and weekend service to see if ridership demand and the increasing population around the Navy Yard Metro station supports making the changes long-term. DDOT tells me that this study is expected to begin in the first half of 2015. Currently the route runs until 7 pm weekdays in winter months, and 9 pm in the summer months along with Saturday service and extended evening/Sunday service for Nationals games.
However, the report also recognizes that this line "in particular suffers from severe congestion around Union Station" and that DDOT is pursuing options to reroute this line.
One other nugget very deep in the 128-page report is that down the road, if and when the Convention Center/Southwest Waterfront line is reestablished, "additional analysis should be conducted to determine the potential of extending the Convention Center-Southwest route to the Navy Yard in lieu of extending the Union Station-Navy Yard route to Southwest."
Other service expansions on tap to appear between now and FY 2017 include the new National Mall route, a new National Cathedral-McPherson Square route, and three additional extensions: the Potomac Avenue-Skyline route to Congress Heights, the Union Station-Georgetown route to the Cathedral, and the Dupont-Georgetown-Rosslyn route to U Street and Howard University. In the distant future (FY2021-FY2024) there could possibly be a Dupont-Southwest Waterfront route.
Read the full plan for more detail than you probably ever wanted about the service and the expansion plans across the city, or just scan the Executive Summary if you're lazy. And if you want to receive updates without having to wait for me to get around to telling you, you can sign up for the DC Circulator Newsletter.
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More posts: circulator, Traffic Issues
 

A community meeting is on tap for Thursday (tomorrow), Dec. 11, to discuss the future Southeast Blvd., specifically the ideas emerging from the neighborhood study currently being spearheaded by ANC 6B, the Office of Planning, and DDOT.
The meeting is from 7 to 9 pm at Friendship Chamberlain Elementary School, 1345 Potomac Ave., SE, across from the Jenkins Row Harris Teeter.
Councilmember Tommy Wells will be there, and will be part of the discussion on how to best integrate into the neighborhood this road that will run from Barney Circle to the new intersection at 11th Street, SE, along the path of the old sunken portion of the Southeast Freeway.
A "temporary" version of the road is opening in early 2015, and residents have been concerned both about this becoming the de facto new version of the road, a feeling that came on the heels of the original new designs put forth by DDOT, that were basically replacing an old freeway with a new freeway, albeit it one that has a stoplight at 11th Street rather than just a free-and-clear approach to the Southeast Freeway. After those designs were released, with a push from Wells, the Office of Planning stepped in to help shepherd a neighborhood study--initial design concepts were unveiled back in August, and this week's meeting is to continue the process of refining the possibilities.
(And I am well aware that I have completely failed at keeping up with photographs of that area of 11th and of the work underway on the temporary road. All of the construction there, and the futzing with the traffic flow configuration of 11th Street while work continues around it, have made me very cranky about going over there to take pictures. Maybe this will finally spur me.)
Comments (4)
More posts: meetings, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues
 

The now-empty lot where Spooky Building 213 used to stand looked plenty big as demolition progressed, but in the past few weeks the old iron-and-brick fence has come down as well, and now the block looks gargantuan. (As well it should--someday it will be three separate blocks, with three different buildings.)
Plus, if you stand in the middle of the south end of the block these days, you get one heck of a panoramic view of the new Near Southeast, as evidenced by the eight (!) photos stitched together to create this image.
From this spot, you can see almost so many of the buildings that have gone up in the neighborhood since 2000--the now-topped-out Hampton Inn, 55 M, 1015 Half, 80 M, Velocity, 100 M, the almost-bricked Park Chelsea, Capitol Hill Tower/Courtyard by Marriott, 1100 New Jersey, USDOT, the Boilermaker Shops, Twelve12, the Foundry Lofts, and even the tower crane for the soon-to-sprout Arris. (I'm kicking myself for not swinging enough to get some portion of the ballpark.)
Before long, the interim phase of this location should start to appear--a public park on the north end, a parking lot in the southwest corner, and a spot in the southeast corner at New Jersey and Tingey for the Trapeze School, if they desire it.
Now, for my next item--anyone who accuses me of going overboard on minutiae probably should stop reading here. But for the rest of you, here's a little item from the intersection of 4th and Tingey, where street signs have recently appeared (left). But, then look a little more closely.....
Are we supposed to be voting? Or perhaps it's like A/B testing for web sites, with DDOT trying to determine which one will leave drivers less bewildered as to their location....
Snark aside, my photo archive indicates that the west-side "Fourth" sign was put up sometime in late summer, with the east-side "4" sign appearing within the past month or so. The numeric version is in fact DDOT's current style (ick), so perhaps this was a corrective measure of sorts.
(And, be forewarned, I took a lot of photos on Saturday. Much more to come.)
Comments (4)
More posts: Development News, Traffic Issues, Parcel A/Yards
 

There's been a lot of weekend closures along 11th Street SE in the past few years, thanks to the 11th Street Bridges project, but this upcoming one is probably a little more disruptive than the others:
"As part of the 11th Street Bridge project, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will close the intersection of 11th Street, and M Street, SE from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM on both Saturday, November 1, 2014 and Sunday, November 2, 2014.
"The westbound I-695 (Southeast/Southwest Freeway) exit ramp to M Street, SE and the on-ramp to southbound I-295/northbound DC 295 at M Street, SE will also be closed during these times.
"The closures will allow crews to complete milling operations at the intersection in preparation for final paving and striping.
"During the intersection closures, temporary signs and traffic control measures will be in place to alert and guide the traveling public around the work zone."
{emphasis mine, along with some improved paragraph breaks. Here's the official release.}
It also would seem to mean that, for all intents and purposes, use of the 11th Street Local bridge will be hampered considerably as well, since it's pretty much required that vehicles use 11th and M to get to or from that bridge.
The wording also telegraphs that there will be another closure still to come for the actual paving, which DDOT tells me has not yet been scheduled.
This also means that my plans to do a big post about all the changes along 11th Street north of M using photos that are now three weeks old will probably just wait until after this work is done.
UPDATE: So, perhaps DDOT's use of the phrase "close the intersection" is a bit of overkill--in an exchange of e-mails trying to pin down the ability to access the 11th Street Local bridge, I was told that the milling operation will be staged such that traffic can be routed "around the work."
I'd still stay away if at all possible.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues
 

I'm not sure how many people made this afternoon's meeting on the SE/SW Transportation Improvement Study (I sure didn't thanks to that 4 pm start time), but apparently there is a web site devoted to the project, and the meeting materials are posted there: seswdc.com.
This study is actually an Environmental Assessment, meaning there are very specific structures and steps that DDOT will be following.
Its stated purpose is "to develop a premium transit system that improves transportation capacity, connectivity, mobility, and safety through an integrated, multimodal transportation corridor" across Near Southeast, Southwest, and the Anacostia Historic District.
Also, the study is to address "east-west transportation needs between the Southeast and Southwest Washington communities of Anacostia and the Waterfront."
One tidbit in the materials that may be news to people: If streetcars are chosen as the area's "premium transit mode," there will be a need for storage and/or maintenance, and so this Environmental Assessment "will review and analyze potential sites for a Streetcar facility."
Eight potential sites meeting the initial minimum requirements have been identified: three near M Street, SW, three at Buzzard Point, and two along 7th Street, SE, including, believe it or not, the Blue Castle, aka the Navy Yard Car Barn, where streetcars were stored and maintained during the many years they ran through the city before being shut down in the early 1960s.
A second public meeting is expected in early 2015, with the draft Environmental Assessment and associated public hearing in spring and the final document late in the year.
(Thanks to Josh Hart for the heads up about the web site, and no thanks to DDOT, who didn't mention it in their releases about the meeting. BAH!)
Comments (14)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, meetings, Traffic Issues
 

From DDOT: On Wednesday, Oct. 22, DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration will be holding a public meeting to discuss the Southeast/Southwest Transportation Improvement Study and Environmental Assessment, which is actually now a formal NEPA study (hence the presence of FHWA).
Officially, "The purpose of the study is to develop a premium transit system that improves transportation capacity, connectivity, mobility, and safety."
This is an off-shoot of the first M Street SE/SW study from 2011 and 2012 as well as the subsequent Special Events transportation study that was completed earlier this year. In other words, the study after the study after the study.
The meeting will be held at at Van Ness Elementary at 4 pm (! - I asked if that was a typo, and was told no). DDOT's announcement of the meeting says that "the public will be provided an opportunity to discuss the transportation issues and potential solutions that will be addressed in the study."
Comments (5)
More posts: meetings, Traffic Issues
 

ANC 6B commissioners Brian Flahaven and Kirsten Oldenburg have both written about a new batch of design concepts for Southeast Blvd., the planned stretch of road between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle where the sunken far eastern portion of the Southeast Freeway used to run.
Almost a year ago, DDOT presented five designs for the new road that basically, as Flahaven puts it, "replaced the freeway with ... a freeway completely separated from the neighborhood grid." The designs were not well received, and with a push from councilmember Tommy Wells, the Office of Planning stepped in to conduct a "rapid response" study of the neighborhood and the project. And on Aug. 4, these new designs were unveiled at a public meeting.
The boards show both two-lane and four-lane designs for the road, some with direct access to the Anacostia Waterfront and extension of the street grid to the boulevard, some without. The Office of Planning now plans to take community feedback--which apparently was considerably more positive this time around--and move forward with three final concepts that can be presented to the community and to DDOT this fall.
However, it also turns out that DDOT is planning to go ahead and reopen this stretch of road by the end of the year, with the traffic flowing through the new signalized intersection on 11th Street SE where the exit ramp from the Southeast Freeway recently opened. Oldenburg describes what she see as the "major implications" of this move: "First, this freeway segment becomes the No Build option in the study. Second, in my view, it will take the pressure off city officials to get the NEPA study completed in a timely manner, hopefully, incorporating some of the fresh ideas generated by the OP study."
Flahaven is urging residents to contact Mayor Gray and council members with their thoughts on this.
Comments (11)
More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues
 

Despite it being four weeks after the fact, JDLand's strict operating requirements still dictate that I document the new exit ramp to 11th Street SE from eastbound I-695.
With thanks to Mr. JDLand for chauffeuring, here's what it's like to venture along this new route, if you haven't done it. (And sure, I could have Vined it, or YouTubed it, or whatever, but what fun would that be?)
The view driving east on the Southeast Freeway (which is now I-695, if you haven't gotten the memo). If you always get off at or before the 6th Street SE exit, this may be an unfamiliar vista to you. The left lanes head toward the outbound 11th Street Bridges, while the right two lanes are the new movement that didn't exist before this whole project got underway. (And is that hidden part of the 11th Street sign maybe an eventual pointer to Southeast Blvd.?)
Behold, the new ramp! You also get to see the two new flyovers at left that have been built as part of this project, which has been underway since 2009. Sneaking up in between is the new on-ramp from 8th Street SE, which opened not long ago. At right is Virginia Avenue Park. Note also the sign pointing toward Anacostia Park--this would take you down 11th to the new local bridge and to the park that-a-way.
And now you come to the intersection at 11th. Turning left takes you north toward Pennsylvania Avenue and Lincoln Park, while turning right takes you to M Street, the Navy Yard, and the local bridge. Note the blocked-off third lane that is striped for left turns as well--I assume there will come a time when the middle lane will be for traffic continuing straight on Southeast Blvd.
Wrapping up our little journey, here's a quick look backward at the road just traveled.
Need a reminder of what this spot used to look like? Remember the phrase "sunken freeway"? Here's a reminder, from street level and from above.

And, because I am a complete nutcase (which we already knew), here is a bunch of photos--strung together as a slideshow--that I took just as the 11th Street Bridges project was getting underway in early 2010, showing what it used to be like to drive across the Anacostia on that route. Apologies for the dirty windshield.
(I know, my archive just gets more and more alarming.)
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues
 

First off, you may have noticed that Saturday was a lovely day. The neighborhood's waterfront was most definitely in use:
Not far away, at the Yards' Parcel N, concrete has appeared in the large hole in the ground (left), meaning that the digging down is almost over, and the rising up should start before too long (its tower crane permit application was approved not too long ago). And in a totally different illustration of progress (right), the sales-trailer-to-be for the River Parc apartment project appears to now be in its proper place.
(I wanted to get a photograph of the outdoor patio signage at the soon-to-arrive Ice Cream Jubilee at the Lumber Shed, but the hordes standing in line on Saturday to get into the Jazz Fest completely blocked the view.)
I recorded the current state of the Florida Rock site across from the ballpark {insert Logan's Run reference here}, because the developers have now filed applications for both sheeting and building permits for the site's first-phase apartment building. This doesn't necessarily mean the project is close to getting started, but it deprives me of my snarky "they haven't even applied for their permits yet" response whenever someone mentions that it might get underway soon.
Finally, I present to you official evidence of the new 11th Street SE exit from the freeway, which I'm doing mainly as a mea culpa for not having gotten over there to photograph the ramp and environs, and to hopefully shame myself into action.
I also deserve additional shaming, or at least parallel shaming, for not yet documenting that the Southeast Freeway signage I have griped about for years has been fixed.
 

I already wrote about how this Saturday, June 21, is the target date for DDOT to open the new ramp from eastbound I-695 to 11th Street, SE. (Yay!)
But now there's a related closing to note: On June 21, DDOT will close the newish on-ramp from 11th Street SE to the westbound Southeast Freeway for two months, until approximately August 23.
This will allow the completion of the rebuilt exit to I Street from inbound I-695, which has been closed while the old flyover has been demolished.
If you're needing to get on the westbound freeway, you'll need to use the ramp at 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue, or the South Capitol Street ramp. (Or I guess you could go backwards and get on southbound DC-295 at Pennsylvania Avenue and take the Capitol Hill exit.)
Here's DDOT's advisory on that closing if you want to know more, or to see the pretty graphic with all the detour arrows.
Meanwhile, the icky configuration of the eastern section of M Street thanks to DC Water's Clean Rivers Project is about to get ickier: Starting on or about Wednesday, June 18, through the end of the year, two eastbound M Street lanes between 7th and 11th Streets, SE will be closed 24/7, leaving two lanes of eastbound and two lanes of westbound traffic on M. Best to also expect some stoppages of traffic during the work hours of 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday.
You can read the DC Water advisory on the closure for more information.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, M Street, Traffic Issues
 

The next step in the 11th Bridges project is coming on or about June 21, when the new ramp down to 11th Street SE from the eastbound Southeast Freeway is scheduled to open.
This means that folks on the eastern end of Capitol Hill will no longer have to get off at 6th Street and wind their way eastward--they will arrive at 11th just north of L, and can either turn left on 11th or right to the Navy Yard and across the 11th Street Local bridge to Anacostia.
The map at right provided by DDOT shows the various new movements that this new ramp will put on the table.
Coupled with the entrance ramp to the westbound freeway that opened a while back, 11th Street is now quite the access point for the Southeast/Southwest Freeway. And someday, it will be a full intersection that will include traffic traveling to or from Southeast Blvd., in whatever form that ends up taking.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues
 

Long weekends mess with the mind.
* CRUISING BY THE HOOD: The Near Southeast Community Partners group, in concert with the 11th Street Bridge Park Project, Living Classrooms, and Anacostia Riverkeeper, are having a "Community Vision Cruise" along the Anacostia River on June 16 from 6 to 8 pm. Cruisers will ride the river on a 1928 boat and learn about the bridge park and programs to clean up the river, with food provided by Agua 301 and Ice Cream Jubilee. Tickets are $60 (and can bepurchased online), but note that space is limited.
* LOOKING AT THE HOOD: Urban Turf surveys the current state of the neighborhood, after the "rain delay" of the 2008-2012 time frame: "Now, Capitol Riverfront is seeing long-planned projects come to fruition, parks, restaurants and retailers are drawing visitors from across the city, and the streets no longer resemble a ghost town."
* FATTENING UP THE HOOD: The Tour de Fat is this Saturday at Yards Park, so get your bike and your liver tuned up.
* CROWDING IN THE HOOD: DDOT recently released the M Street Southeast/Southwest Special Events Study final report, which looks at the traffic impact along M Street of a number of potential entertainment venues, including of course Nats Park but also the potential new soccer stadium at Buzzard Point, all the attractions to come at the Wharf, and the movie theater eventually coming to the DC Water site. (The entire report is an 81 MB PDF, so get a cup of coffee.)
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More posts: bridgepark, Events, Traffic Issues, The Yards, The Yards at DC Water
 

The newish, somewhat hidden ramp from 11th Street to the westbound Southeast Freeway is going to be closed from Saturday, April 12, through Saturday, April 19, "to allow construction crews to continue the demolition of the existing inbound bridge," according to DDOT.
Drivers will be detoured to the long trek down I Street/Virginia Avenue to the ramp at 3rd Street, SE, as the latest arrow-filed map from DDOT shows. (So be careful at the 3rd and Virginia intersection, which might get a bit hairy.)
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues
 

DDOT has just put out word that the "new" on ramp to outbound I-695 (i.e., the Southeast Freeway to the 11th Street Bridge) will be opening "on or about" tomorrow, April 8.
"The opening of the new ramp provides a direct connection from Capitol Hill and the Navy Yard/Barracks Row area to northbound DC 295 and southbound I-295 via 8th Street SE."
This ramp, while technically new, is really just the replacement of the old ramp at 8th and Virginia, albeit now shifted a few yards to the north on 8th. My photo above, from a few weeks ago, shows the new ramp, with the outbound freeway lanes to the left, and at right, the under-construction ramp that will bring traffic from the freeway down to the new signalized interchange at 11th Street.
DDOT has also provided a spiffy map for the new ramp, showing all sorts of arrows.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues
 
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