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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)
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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.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Traffic Issues, Virginia Ave Park
 

In recent months (mostly during the time I was preoccupied) DDOT has been working on plans to reconfigure I Street SE between New Jersey and South Capitol to better handle the large amount of vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic on a road that once was sleepy but now most decidedly is not.
This Satuday, Nov. 4, DDOT representatives are holding a public meeting on what is officially known as the I Street SE Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Improvements Project. It's at 11 am, and instead of in a stuffy conference room, the meeting will be held on the south side of I Street SE at Half Street SE (so, dress appropriately!).
Up for discussion will be a final design for this four-block stretch, which (if I am reading the graphics right) calls for the shifting of bike traffic on the blocks between South Capitol and 1st into protected lanes along the curb, with the parking lanes then acting as buffer between bikes and the traffic lanes. Vehicle lanes will still be a single lane in each direction as well as a center turn lane. There will also be flexposts at some of the intersections to prevent cars from taking turns too sharply in a way that endangers pedestrians and cyclists.
At right is a portion of the section between Half and 1st (see what I mean about "deciphering"), but if you are willing to test your ability to read traffic engineering graphic design, you can see the entire layout here.
If you have feedback, wander on by the assembly at Half and I at Saturday at 11. You can probably even bring your dog.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, meetings, Traffic Issues
 

In what could be considered the first hint of the proverbial light at the end of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, CSX has announced that starting sometime in the next few weeks--perhaps as early as October 2, though one might wonder if playoff baseball might impact the timeline--it will be closing the southbound lane of 3rd Street at Virginia Avenue for approximately four to five months, just as it did for a shorter period of time back back in March of 2016.
This closure is to allow for the demolition of the temporary deck over the still-under-construction north tunnel, which will then allow the roof of that tunnel to be built. Then work can begin on "installation of the new, final roadway features" on Virginia Avenue itself, first in the blocks just east of 2nd Street and then working eastward (which will mean more deck removals and temporary traffic flow changes/closures in coming months).
Traffic coming south down 3rd Street north of the freeway will still be able to make the right onto the freeway entrance ramp.
As with the previous closures, pedestrian access along 3rd Street will be maintained, as will access to the driveway to the Capitol Quarter houses on the front lines.
Fourth Street will be the main southbound route from north of the freeway down into the neighborhood.
Enjoy my map (sorry, CSX, my maps are easier to read than yours), and read the CSX presentation for more information.
Comments (32)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 

After a four-year hiatus to complete some additional studies, the Environmental Assessment to improve the desolate stretch of road between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle known as Southeast Blvd. is now back underway, with a public meeting scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 16, at Chamberlain Elementary School at 1345 Potomac Ave., SE, with an open house beginning at 10 am and presentations starting at 10:30.
Officially, this EA "will evaluate conversion of the existing facility into an urban boulevard consistent with the expected multimodal travel demand and the character of the adjacent neighborhood." On the spiffy new web site for the EA, project elements listed include:
* Reconfiguring Southeast Blvd. upwards to match the elevation of L Street SE;
* Adding sidewalks, bicycle facilities, trees, parking, and "green infrastructure";
* Taking the "surplus transportation right-of-way" and converting it to other uses, such as parks;
* Extending 13th, 14th, and 15th Streets SE so that they connect to Southeast Blvd.;
* Adding pedestrian and bicycle links to the Anacostia waterfront (which includes getting across the train tracks that run along the boulevard's southern side);
* Reconfiguring Barney Circle; and
* Building an "under-deck bus transit support facility with bus access via 11th Street SE and/or Barney Circle." (I bet they say this one really quickly and quietly.)
I cannot bear to rehash many years' worth of meetings and designs here, but I would point interested readers to my post from early 2016 about the DDOT Southeast Blvd. Feasibility Study. If I may plagiarize myself: "And what does the feasibility study say? DDOT's report determines that changing the current Southeast Blvd. from the limited-access quick route between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle to a street with connections to its north and south and development along the footprint is feasible, but the transformation 'would be neither inexpensive nor quick'."
I also wrote about the Office of Planning's Southeast Blvd. Planning Study, which had as its purpose "not to identify a single 'preferred alternative,' but rather to develop concepts that respond to the planning goals and objectives for the District and the community, which could be advanced through further study." Those concepts looked like this:
And so now we continue onto the Environmental Assessment. See my SE Blvd page for more history (including the demolition of the old freeway and DDOT's quickie reinstallation of a new road), or just scroll down through my previous posts on it, if you dare.
Comments (50)
More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues
 

I don't get truly surprised too often anymore after 13-plus years in this gig, but when I clicked the link for this Washington Post article, "DC Unveils Plans for New Frederick Douglass Bridge," I most certainly did not expect to see a completely new design of the bridge that has been on the boards to be replaced for well over a decade.
Gone is the arched bascule design that was chosen many moons ago, replaced with a showier look using three sets of parallel arches. (I will await more detailed renderings before assuming that the bridge has the same multi-use paths on each side of the bridge as the previous design did, though the Post article says there is at least one.)
The plans for building the new bridge immediately south of and parallel to the old bridge have not changed, and there will still be large traffic ovals on both ends.
A $441 million design-build contract has been awarded to a joint venture of Archer Western Construction and Granite Construction Company, and AECOM is the lead designer. This phase also includes the reconstruction of the interchange of Interstate 295 and the Suitland Parkway.
The Post article says that the new bridge is "projected to open in 2021."
Here's a few more graphics purloined from the Post piece--hopefully DDOT will post their video of the design soon and I'll add the link.
It'll take me a little while to update my South Capitol Street Bridge project page, but in the meanwhile it's a nice trip down memory lane and includes more information (current as of the last time the city announced information about the project) about the ovals and whatnot.
And my South Capitol Street project page explains how this bridge and the interchange project are the first of a multiphase plan to rework much of South Capitol from the Southeast Freeway to the Suitland Park.
UPDATE: There is a new URL for an official web site for the project, newfrederickdouglassbridge.com. You can see the rendering video by scrolling down a touch or clicking on "Gallery." There's a lot of additional drawings, including these two from above, which show the traffic ovals and also do show multi-use paths on both sides of the bridge. See also the siteplan to get your bearings about the new bridge and ovals and 295 interchange.
Also, the project web site says that construction is expected to begin in "winter 2017."
Comments (30)
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues
 

My focus is elsewhere these days, but I haven't completely stopped keeping an eye on things. Just not any real big news to report. So here's some little news:
* INAUGURATION: It might be a challenge heading north out of the neighborhood on Jan. 20. Here's DDOT's page on the inauguration, with a map of the close-in detours and closings, and the pedestrian routes, and more.
* TUNNEL OPEN HOUSE: The next Virginia Avenue Tunnel open house is Thursday, Jan. 12 (tomorrow), from 6 to 8 pm at the Courtyard Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. "A brief presentation and Q&A session with residents will be held at 7 p.m., in response to requests from neighbors." Also, CSX says it expects to reopen 3rd Street at Virginia during the week of Jan. 23-27. After that, there will be another temporary closing of 4th St. SE at Virginia to move a utility manhole. And 7th should be reopening at Virginia Any Minute Now.
And, a tidbit that is neither traffic nor tunnel, but is welcome:
* A BRIGHT LIGHT IN THE DISTANCE: Nationals pitchers and catchers report to the new West Palm Beach spring training facility on Feb. 14, with position players arriving by Feb. 17. (WaPo)
What else is going on these days?
Comments (15)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, inauguration, Traffic Issues
 

At 8 am on Friday, Dec. 23, the first double-stacked train passed through the newly built southern tunnel under Virginia Avenue, SE, marking the official completion of that phase of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project.
(Alas, the photo at left shows a train coming through the old tunnel, before the rails were laid into the new one, but whaddyagonnado.)
Now Phase II of the project is kicking into gear, which is the rehabilitation and expansion of the existing 100-plus-year-old northern tunnel. That work is expected to be completed, along with the streetscape restoration improvements to Virginia Avenue, in mid-2018.
If you want to see some photos from inside the new tunnel as work was being completed, CSX has them in this presentation.
As part of the work on the northern tunnel, the intersection of 7th and Virginia is expected to close Any Minute Now for about two weeks. Of course, 3rd Street remains closed at Virginia for similar work of demolishing the temporary deck over the now-completed new tunnel and rebuilding it over the northern tunnel; it is expected to reopen in January.
Comments (12)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 

* I STREET REDESIGN: ANC Commissioner Meredith Fascett reports that DDOT is hosting a meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, on proposed plans to redesign I Street SE to make it work better for pedestrians, bicyclists, and even vehicles. It's at 6:30 pm in the lobby at 70 I Street (70 Capitol Yards). Meredith wrote back in August about the early discussions for safer bike lanes, crosswalks, parking adjustments, and more.
* BIXBY RIBBON-CUTTING: Apparently there will be a ribbon cutting at the 195-unit mixed-income Bixby at 7th and L on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
* NATS PARK BILLBOARDS: On Dec. 6 the DC Council gave first approval to the proposed large display boards at the ballpark, though the Hill Rag reports that the count has dropped to five boards from 10, lowers the allowed brightness, and prohibits them from facing toward South Capitol Street, the Anacostia River, M Street, and 1st Street between M and N.
* ONYX SALE, AGAIN: A reader reports that the tell-tale binder appeared in the lobby of the Onyx apartment building recently, indicating that AvalonBay has contracted to purchase the 260-unit building for $95.5 million. (The binder contains the offer required by DC law for the tenants to instead buy the building themselves, if they have $95 million in coins under their sofa cushions.) The building last sold in 2013 for a smidge over $82 million.
* SWEET BABY JAMES: It's been announced that James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt will be playing Nats Park on July 14, 2017. Tickets are on sale now.
* TUNNEL DOINGS: Most folks are probably aware that 3rd Street is now closed at Virginia Avenue for the next several weeks. If you are wanting more info on the current status of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, the last "Coffee with Chuck" of 2016 is Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 8 am at the construction office at 861 New Jersey Ave. SE. Hard to believe that most of the structural work on the new companion tunnel is finishing up, with work moving to "track level"--preparing the railroad bed, installing cross ties, etc. (Good timing to be in the enclosed spot during the winter.) But of course this is not the end of the project, as work will then shift to the reconstruction of the existing 100-year-old tunnel.
 

* HOMICIDE: The neighborhood's first second* non-ghaslty-workplace-mass-shooting homicide since March 25, 2004 happened on Sunday, when neighborhood resident Anthony Young was shot to death in the 600 block of L Street, SE; a woman with him was wounded. Police charged Babajide Pittman, 31, with second-degree murder while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon, and said that the the shooting was a dispute between two people who knew each other. ANC 6D Commissioner Meredith Fascett wrote about Young, saying that he was "working to mentor neighborhood kids and had planned to volunteer at the Community Center." (WaPo) UPDATE (VERSION 2): *Originally this update was to say that there were in fact two homicides in the neighborhood in 2016, but after seeing the second one listed as being in the 1000 block of 8th St., SE, I misremembered it as the shooting that happened in the barber shop there. After being corrected in the comments, I went looking, and found this murder from May, but it is described as having happened north of the freeway at the time, but is now in the MPD crime stats as being south of the freeway.
* HOMICIDES 1987-2004: If you haven't come across the overview I wrote in 2010 of the 64 deaths in Near Southeast during the worst of the city's violence epidemic, it might be worth a read. The map and rundown is here.
* MORE CRIME: The actual map part of my big crime database has probably been busted for months, but no one's mentioned it so no one must ever look there. But it's fixed now.
* OOPS: A car flipped in the 300 block of K Street on Tuesday night, and one passenger required extrication from DC Fire/EMS. On-the-spot photography by a JDLand reader here.
* MORE ON BILLBOARDS: The Post writes about the Nats Park digital billboards controversy.
* ACROSS THE WAY: A report on the Zoning Commission's look at the new DC United Stadium. (WaPo)
(If you follow me on Twitter and feel like these tidbits all seem familiar, you are correct! If you don't follow me on Twitter, or don't ever scroll through the Twitter box on the right side of the JDLand home page, you are missing out on what is still a pretty active news feed. It's a way for me to keep the info flowing when I don't have time to post. So, keep an eye on it...)
Comments (28)
More posts: crime, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues
 
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