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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Traffic Issues

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The biggest disruption to traffic flow so far* near the Southeast Freeway in connection with the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion is now on the horizon, with CSX's announcement on Friday that it expects to close the one remaining open eastbound portion of Virginia Avenue, between 6th and 8th Streets, SE, sometime in mid-September.
This closure is anticipated to last until the completion of the tunnel project in mid-2018.
During this closure, the stretch of Virginia between 6th and 8th on the north side of the freeway that is currently one-way westbound will become two-way traffic, as shown in my alarmingly nifty graphic below. Traffic coming off the 6th Street exit ramp will all turn left to go under the freeway and then have the option to turn right on Virginia to continue eastbound, or to turn westbound or to continue northward.
The streets that cross Virginia will remain open during this time, so north/south traffic will continue to move in its current configurations on 3rd, 7th, and 8th Streets, with 4th remaining a southbound-only crossing and 5th/6th a northbound crossing.
(It is expected that the 5th Street intersection that has been closed for the past few weeks to install the temporary decking will reopen this week, allowing traffic to once again come north on 5th from K and cross under the freeway.)
If you don't trust JDLand's high quality graphics, here's the announcement from CSX and its own map of the new traffic flows.
The most recent "Coffee with Chuck" meeting to update interested parties was on Aug. 17, and the presentation slides are here. The next Coffee with Chuck will be on Sept. 21, followed by the quarterly Open House on Oct. 20.
* At some point there will be the most disruptive closure of all, when the freeway exit ramp is closed temporarily for some few weeks to be reconfigured to allow the tunnel construction to expand northward under the current ramp footprint. But that ramp closure is not part of this change in September. BIG UPDATE: Or not! CSX has contacted me to say that while they will "have to temporarily narrow the [6th Street exit] ramp late this year or early next," they "expect that at least one lane of the ramp will remain open at all times."
Comments (12)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 

As part of the continuing reconstruction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the intersection of 5th Street at Virginia Avenue will be closed starting Aug. 1 for three to four weeks for the installation of a temporary bridge deck.
The 6th Street exit ramp from eastbound I-695 will still be open during this closure, and traffic coming off the ramp will still be able to turn left to head north on 6th or continue straight on the one lane of Virginia Avenue open between 5th and 7th.
However, if you are south of Virginia Avenue and want to go north of the freeway, you will need to use either 3rd, 7th, 8th, or 11th Streets, SE. (The 7th Street intersection is expected to reopen from its own multi-week closure on Friday, July 29.)
Local traffic will still be allowed for the block of 5th Street north of K, including traffic to the Capper Seniors building.
See CSX's informational slides on this closure for additional details, or marvel at the wonder that is my own informational map above.
UPDATE, AUG. 2: The closure is officially underway.
Comments (28)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 

While we spent months and months pining for the block of I Street that finally opened between 2nd and New Jersey back in February, there's another new stretch of road that should be arriving this summer: the 1100 block of 6th St., SE, between L and M, nestled between the Bixby and Joy Evans Park.
As you can see in the photo taken this weekend, the basics of the street are now finished, its creation having been tied to the construction of the Bixby, DCHA's 195-unit mixed-income apartment building that is expected to open this summer and which is itself getting some infrastructure built, as seen below.
I don't know anything about traffic control, i.e., whether there will be a four-way stop at 6th and L, or whether left turns will be allowed from 6th onto M (and from M onto 6th). I've asked DCHA, but haven't yet heard back. UPDATE: Apparently it was set out in the zoning that there will be no cut in the median on M Street, so only right turns onto and off of 6th will be allowed.
UPDATE 2: DCHA tells me that they are still "working out details with DDOT as to whether or not this portion will be a one way from M to L." Sounds like they found some unexpected infrastructure underneath the planned intersection that forced a reduction in the size of the 6th and M corner--if I had actually looked at the work from the M Street side, I'd have more insight, but alas....
As for any more precise estimations as to when this new block of 6th will open, I am so not going there. It will open when it opens, right?
Comments (20)
More posts: The Bixby, Traffic Issues
 

Photo: What may be my best "Slider" so far, looking north along 1st Street from the Douglass Bridge, from 2006 to 2016. Go slide it yourself to see.
* ORANGE: I mentioned this in the comments late last week, but now time to post officially that the BID has reported that Orangetheory Fitness has been signed as the first retail tenant at the ORE 82 apartment building at New Jersey and I, which is expected to open late this year or early next year.
* CROSSING: Via Commissioner Fascett, ANC 6D is sending a letter to DDOT requesting a review of the pedestrian-crossing-light timing at 4th and M SE, aka the Teeter Intersection. "Twenty-seven seconds is not enough time for pedestrians, including seniors and residents in wheelchairs, to cross a six lane road while dodging two lanes of east-bound turning cars."
* SPRINGSTEEN: Bruuuuuce is back at Nats Park on Sept. 1. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, May 13, at 10 am.
* ALLEN: If you are wanting some face time with Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen, he is having his Community Office Hours on Friday, May 13, at the Starbucks in the Waterfront Safeway at 4th and M, SW, from 8 to 9:30 am.
* SPOOKY: This has been in my hopper for too many months to ponder, but a reader passed along this link about the end of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building/Building 213 at 1st and M SE that included a few photos from inside (as I sob thinking about how I never got my own).
* FITNESS: The BID has announced the schedule of outdoor fitness classes this summer at parks Yards and Canal.
* LEO: Across the way by a few feet, but folks might be interested in the reopening of Leo's Wings N Pizza at 7 N St., SW. "In addition to pizza, wings, pasta, salads, subs, and breakfast items, Korean food will be added to the menu." (SWTLQTC)
Comments (5)
More posts: 82i, Events, orangefitness, Retail, Stadium Events, Traffic Issues
 

Thanks to a trek around the neighborhood on Saturday (instead of being inside the stadium watching baseball like a normal person) and some checking in with property owners, I've got a pretty solid version of my Nats Park Parking Lots Map to share for the 2016 season.
The big news at this point is that no lots have dropped out of the inventory (yet!), and one has returned--the lot on the northeast corner of 1st and N, SE, on the Spooky Park block, now a nicely paved and compact 220-space offering.
There will also apparently be "limited" parking in the new underground garage in Arris, on 4th Street south of Tingey.
Prices have nudged upward from last year, though--and if you are driving to Opening Day, throw a few extra $5 bills in your wallet, because home opener prices will likely be higher than what the map is showing.
Some cash lot parking attendants were quick to tell me Opening Day prices, and others had more of a "Well, we'll see what the market will bear" response, so instead of my listing them here and having them turn out to be wrong, better for you to just expect to pay $5 or $10 or $15 or even $20 more than "standard pricing" on Thursday and then be thrilled if you don't have to.
It's also possible that some lots (especially east of the stadium, in the Yards) may have slightly lower prices at points in April, when attendance isn't at its height.
In other words, consider this a guide to the general range of prices, while always expecting the possibility that prices may be different on any given day.
If you are driving to the ballpark, be aware that there are still lots of construction sites, and that in particular the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project immediately south of the Southeast Freeway between 2nd and 12th Streets, SE, has ripped the streets up pretty good, with various closures and shifts to watch out for.
Check out my Stadium Parking and Visiting Nats Park pages for additional info.
Comments (1)
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues
 

More than two years after four teams were shortlisted for the opportunity to compete for the project, DDOT announced today that it has issued the final Request for Proposals (RFP) for the first phase of the South Capitol Street Corridor reconstruction, which includes a new Douglass Bridge and approach work, plus a new interchange at I-295 and the Suitland Parkway.
The release today says that design/build proposals from the four teams are due this fall, and that DDOT expects to begin construction in the spring of 2017, and complete this first phase in 2020, but, well, We Shall See.
I absolutely cannot bear to write about this in any detail AGAIN, so if you haven't been keeping up with the plans to replace the existing 67-year-old bridge, please check out my post from August 2015, when it was announced that the project got its federal approval/record of decision, or my post from late 2014 about the supplemental EIS that presented some tweaks to the plan that had been stalled after a preferred alternative was identified back in 2011.
But if clicking on one of those links is more than you yourself can bear, I will just plagiarize the summary I wrote in August:
As you can see in the pilfered-from-DDOT graphic above, the new bridge will run immediately parallel and downriver of the existing bridge, with two new large traffic ovals on its approaches. There will also be a much-needed reconstruction of the I-295/Suitland Parkway interchange.
The bridge will have three travel lanes in each direction, along with 18-feet-wide pedestrian/bike paths on both the up-river and down-river edges of the bridge, which will be configured as one 8-foot-wide lane for pedestrians and a 10-foot-wide bidirectional bike path.
The eventual second phase of this overall "South Capitol Street Corridor Project" will be streetscape improvements to the north end of the street, similar to the spiffening that the blocks from N to Potomac received back in 2007 that give the street more of an "urban boulevard" feel. This will include a full redesign of the M Street intersection and a reconfiguration of South Capitol's interchange with I-395.
My South Capitol Street and South Capitol Street Bridge project pages are also good places to go for details.
Comments (9)
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues
 

I happened to wander up and down 3rd Street a couple of times on Thursday, and so got a good look at how the street is now temporarily set up as CSX works to build the temporary decking over the tunnel construction at the intersection with Virginia Avenue.
As mentioned a few days back, it was decided that instead of closing the intersection altogether, traffic would become one way northbound during the deck construction, with any traffic headed south of the freeway needing to turn left at G Street and then right on 4th Street to come under the freeway. But traffic can still come south of G in order to turn left into the Results parking lot or right to take the 3rd Street ramp to the Southeast Freeway.
As you can see in these terribly exciting photos, northbound traffic is currently in a small "chute" of sorts just south of Virginia, just west of where digging has begun. Then the area opens up under the freeway.
Pedestrians heading either north or south of the freeway are on the sidewalk on the east side, then must cross to get to a temporary walkway west of the "chute" on the south side of the intersection.
I went by about four times, at 1:30, 3:00, 5:00, and 8:30 pm. I saw no big backups on either side of the freeway, though did see one person turn into the Results driveway to then backup and head north back to G.
There are flaggers watching the traffic during construction hours (and also were taking a few seconds to glare pointedly at crazy ladies taking photos of the configuration), but when I passed by at 8:30, there were no workers on site, and I watched two vehicles come south under the freeway past the Road Closed signs. There was no northbound traffic, so they were able to do it, but it's something that people using that intersection outside of the hours that the workers are on site might want to be watching for.
I asked CSX representatives about the first few days of work, and whether there might be any tweaks coming now that they've seen it in action. This is their statement:
"We appreciate the community’s patience and cooperation as we work to install the temporary street deck at the intersection of 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue. CSX is working as quickly as safety allows to install the temporary bridge and restore two-way traffic to 3rd Street. In the meantime, in conjunction with DDOT’s traffic experts, we continue to make adjustments to the directional signs and traffic control devices through the 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue intersection, to optimize the flow of traffic through the area. We are placing new signs north of G Street on 3rd Street to help increase awareness of the one-way traffic below the freeway, and are hopeful that more drivers will obey the signs as they become familiar with the temporary changes."
As the deck construction eventually works its away across the entire intersection, watch for the patterns to change. It is expected to be "several weeks" before the deck is completed and two-way traffic is restored.
If you have questions or concerns about this or any other part of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction, the next Coffee with Chuck is on Wednesday, March 16, at 8 am.
PS: Thanks to all who came to Scarlet Oak for Happy Hour on Thursday! It was great meeting a lot of readers and commenters "in real life," and I think there maybe ought to be another one before too much longer. Once I get my voice back--I'm not used to actually talking to human beings that much.
Comments (4)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 

The original plan to temporarily close 3rd Street SE in both directions for a few weeks to allow the construction of a "deck" over the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction footprint has apparently been rethought, according to a missive this morning from CSX.
Later this week, 3rd Street will be restricted to a single lane of traffic, northbound, from a little ways north of I Street up until through the light just north of the freeway overpass.
In other words, if you want to drive from north of the freeway to south of the freeway, you won't be able to do it on 3rd Street until after the temporary decking is built, which is expected to take "several weeks." At that point, two-way traffic will be reestablished.
Fourth Street will be the fall-back for heading southward, so if you are coming south on 3rd, you'll need to turn left at G Street (the "Results" block) and then right on 4th. (If you are southbound on 3rd, you will still be able to turn right onto the freeway ramp.)
CSX says that "the new plans were developed with DDOT’s approval following community requests to avoid closing 3rd Street during the tunnel project, especially in light of traffic associated with baseball games at Nationals Park."
In other tunnel news, "CSX is pleased to announce that the street-level portion of the demolition of 370 feet of the existing tunnel in the 200 block of Virginia Avenue has been completed several weeks ahead of schedule. While some track-level demolition remains to be completed, the noise associated with this work should diminish significantly for residents near the intersection of 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue, and no additional early-morning or Sunday demolition work periods are expected."
PS: Not my greatest headline, but thanks to the world of search-engine-optimized URLs, it's kind of bad to change it after I've tweeted/Facebook'ed the link. Was trying to make clear from the headline that people coming south from the Hill will be impacted, but it's really just at the Virginia Avenue intersection where the construction is taking place.
Comments (9)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues
 

I think a couple of before-and-afters tell the story as well as a pile of words. First, looking west from 2nd Street SE on Feb. 3, 2005, and then today, Feb. 8, 2016:
And the reverse view, looking east from New Jersey on Feb. 23, 2004 and today, Feb. 8, 2016:
And here's a few more shots, because I'm a crazy woman. Note that the sidewalks on the south and west sides of the Park Chelsea are now open, meaning that you can now walk on the east side of New Jersey north of I--at least until you get to the fences that mark the Agora/Whole Foods project, at which point you'd need to cross back to the west.
In case you haven't been around, it was the former DPW/trash transfer station, demolished in 2012, that long ago was built on a diagonal footprint, created from back when the Washington Canal was dug.
And now I at last will be able to photograph the intersections of 2nd and I and New Jersey and I without having to walk down to K and back up to I. And bike to Southwest without having to do the same down-and-back.
I would note, though, that pedestrians and cyclists need to be veeeeeery careful at this intersection--I saw a lot of confusion this morning, and of course the continuing construction right up to the property line at 82 I adds to the difficulties.
Comments (19)
More posts: 880 NJ/Park Chelsea, parkchelsea, Traffic Issues
 

Last week DDOT released its Southeast Blvd. Feasibility Study, in which the agency "evaluated the feasibility of transitioning a segment of the former Southeast Freeway from 11th Street to Barney Circle into an urban boulevard more consistent with the expected travel demand and the character of the adjacent neighborhood."
This study was a follow-on to the Office of Planning's Southeast Blvd. Planning Study, which came about after residents expressed displeasure with the initial efforts seen in the Barney Circle-Southeast Blvd. Transportation Planning Study.
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."
The study then goes through the issues that make clear this would not be a snap-the-fingers-and-make-it-so proposition:
*Ownership: There are two small parcels within the study area owned by the National Park Service--and we know quickly either arranging for a change in ownership or "coordinating" with NPS can go. The study refers to it as being clear "that there would be significant process requirements and challenges to disposing the NPS and incorporating them into private development." That the process to "surplus" any excess land along the footprint not needed for the road(s) itself is governed by the Federal Highway Administration would also not point to a lightning-quick resolution.
* Transit Garages: The inclusion of some location that would allow for the parking of tour buses, transit buses and streetcars {cough}--a big part of DDOT's wishes for the area but something that residents are not particularly keen on--"could be provided at Southeast Boulevard that takes advantage of the location and topography of the site to minimize visual impacts to surrounding neighborhoods and so that vehicles accessing the facility would not use residential neighborhood streets."
* Cost: The study's "cursory assessment" says that constructing the transportation elements of the project would cost around $120 million, with a transit garage adding about $65-70 million in costs (in 2015 dollars). This includes reconfiguring Barney Circle into an at-grade signalized traffic circle, raising Southeast Boulevard to the same level as L Street, and constructing a four-lane street that includes sidewalks, bike facilities, and traffic signals. Plus some contingency costs built in.
* Schedule: The graphic at right breaks out a not-short ballpark timeline of 10 years for both the "transportation" portion of the project and the land redevelopment project.
With all of that, DDOT says that the first step forward is to restart the Barney Circle and Southeast Blvd. Transportation Planning Study begun in 2013, though even that now has a road block, that this Environmental Assessment now can't be completed "until a financial plan for project implementation is identified and included in the regional Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP)." DDOT advises interested groups "to continue discussions with a broad spectrum of stakeholders during the EA to confirm community support for the project, engage with AWI Signatories, and evaluate project costs and funding options."
This final draft was presented to ANC 6B's Transportation Committee on Jan. 6, and Capitol Hill Corner reports that DDOT's representative told the committee that there were no "fatal flaws" in any of the Office of Planning's three concepts for reimagining the road--but that it will be "up to ANC 6B to push the project forward" by requesting the environmental assessment.
I am skimming it all, so if this project is of interest to you, be sure to read the feasibility report, and perhaps attend ANC 6B's meeting on Jan. 12, at which a draft letter will apparently be considered to support going ahead with the EA.
You can also wander through my posts on the subject from the past few years, especially on the completion of the OP study back in July and the three general concepts advanced for how to remake this stretch of land that currently serves as such a barrier between Capitol Hill/Hill East and the Anacostia River.
Comments (7)
More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues
 
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