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A press release just out from DDOT (not yet posted online) alerts the city that construction is about to start on the new 11th Street Bridges:
"On or about Tuesday, December 29, 2009, contractors will begin 11th Street Bridge Project construction activities, which may be noticeable to area residents and businesses but ultimately result in a number of important benefits.
"Initial work will include pile driving in the Anacostia River to construct foundations for three new bridges - one for local and two for freeway traffic. Barrier placement, off-roadway clearing, and drainage work is also to begin adjacent to both directions of DC 295, later resulting in shoulder encroachments and minor lane shifts. Eventually, land-side pile driving on both sides of the river will be required to construct new connecting ramps and improve the highway. To minimize impacts, noise and vibration levels will be monitored at all times.
"The new bridges will be constructed between the existing bridges, which are projected to serve almost 180,000 vehicles per day by 2030, allowing contractors to maintain all existing travel movements and 12-foot travel lanes except during approved work in off-peak travel hours.
"In addition, contractors will practice good neighbor construction by establishing designated haul routes, having most materials delivered via the river or highway, controlling dust, and requiring that workers not park on neighborhood streets."
The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2013, and at last report would be costing $260 million (unless they've found more funding). In addition to more lanes for cars and improved vehicle flow, the bridges will have new wider paths for pedestrians and bicycles, as well as the rails for the new streetcars that will connect Anacostia and the west side of the river.
DDOT is having a press shindig on Tuesday to give more specifics about the project; you can see my 11th Street Bridges project page for additional information and graphics, and there's also this PDF from DDOT that gives an overview of what the new bridges and traffic flow will look like.
UPDATE: In wandering around, I found this document, a 69-page Final Environmental Impact Statement "Reevaluation" from July 2009, which details what the changes are in the design from the FEIS "preferred alternative" and what's going to actually be built (now called the "Phase 1 Alternative", and seen in the graphic referenced above):
* The bridges (three, rather than two) will be placed in between the existing bridges on new foundation/substructures, as mentioned above;
* Minor reconfigurations of the expressway interchanges on both sides of the river;
* Reconfiguration of the local access interchange on the east side of the river;
* Ending work on the Southeast Freeway east of the existing Seventh/Eighth Street bridges, without replacing these structures;
* Modifications to the pedestrian and bicycle connections.
The Reevaluation has plenty more details on the above bullet points if you're interested. It also explains that, for now, DDOT is only funding the "Phase 1 interim improvements," which "will include complete construction of the three new river crossings and completion of the interchange on the east side (Anacostia) of the river. On the west side of the river, the inbound movement will be completed from the river to the proposed connection to the Southeast Freeway at the existing bridge over 8th Street. Ramp[s] will also be constructed and the inbound Southeast Boulevard [the old below-grade connector to Pennsylvania Avenue] will be connected to 11th Street. 11th Street will be widened from the Southeast Freeway to O Street on the west side of the river, with widening to the ultimate width from M Street to O Street." It also says that, as additional funding is found, the "remaining elements of the project can move forward in the same design that was approved in the EIS."
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues
 

With the launch a few weeks back of a bike lane on 15th Street NW, attention is beginning to focus on other locations in the city where there is a desire to place new dedicated bike lanes, and one of those spots is M Street SE/SW, running from Sixth Street, SW to 11th Street, SE, which is a route that Tommy Wells has been interested in for quite a while.
Back in early October, WashCycle reported that DDOT's Bicycle Advisory Facility Committee discussed the M Street concept, and in mid-November the members of the Capitol Riverfront BID were briefed on a feasibility analysis done by the Toole Design Group, with the assembled BIDders told that FY10 funds are available and that there's a desire by Wells and DDOT to get the lanes built before the start of the 2010 baseball season, which apparently caught a number of the briefing attendees by surprise.
In the analysis that was presented to the BID (which you can see here, although appendices A and B were left blank in the handouts), the main recommendations are:
* Configure the two curb lanes on M Street as "cycle tracks" with flexible posts, a temporary measure suggested because of the "unknowns" of any future streetcar implementations along M Street. There would also be a widening of the sidewalks between Half streets SE and SW, moving the cycle track onto the widened sidewalk, because this area is where the "most intense traffic on the corridor occurs."
* Eliminate all parking along M Street at all hours, though "after a period of evaluation it may be appropriate to allow parking adjacent to the cycle track if it is desired."
* Move all transit stops to the far sides of intersections, where buses and bikes can more easily cross and where buses can still pick up and drop off passengers at a curb rather than on street level.
* Reconfigure all traffic signals to allow bikes time to get through intersections before vehicle traffic gets a green light (the bikes and the pedestrian "walk" signals would go green first, followed then by the vehicular greens).
The "very preliminary" cost estimates for the options developed by the study come in around the $450,000 range according to the document, but it must be remembered that this is a study, and not the final plans, and the numbers could go up or down.
There apparently were some business owners at the BID meeting who were displeased with the plans, centering mainly around the traffic implications of the loss of one lane in each direction, which during rush hour and ballpark events are travel lanes and which are parking for customers/workers/residents/etc. the rest of the time.
This could especially be an issue during events at Nationals Park, a scenario which isn't mentioned at all in the feasibility study and which has the Nationals particularly concerned (as apparently voiced by the Nats' Gregory McCarthy at the briefing), since it's not out of the realm of possibility (my words, not theirs) that attendance at the ballpark could rise substantially if the team's fortunes improve, making the backups that are seen when the stadium is sold out--such as during the Red Sox series this summer--considerably worse.
There's been no meeting with ANC 6D commissioners yet about this, though reportedly one is coming soon. I've got a request in to Tommy Wells's office for more information (and what better time to ask a question like that than right around Thanksgiving), so no doubt there is much more to come.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, M Street, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues
 

The final agenda is now out for Thursday's meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission, and contained in it is a long document setting out the commission staff's recommendations for a vote on the design of the 11th Street Bridges.
For anyone interested in the bridges as a driver, bicyclist, pedestrian, water recreationist, neighbor, or construction enthusiast, it's a worthwhile read (even at 26 pages). To cut to the chase, the staff is recommending that the commission "comment favorably" on the designs for the bridges, even though the designs are still in the very early stages, and there's very little new in this document that we didn't see in the EIS or other releases. There's even mention of how the city's Comprehensive Plan envisions the eventual dismantling of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, but that the new bridges are needed until the time comes that I-395 comes down (i.e., far past the date I shuffle off this mortal coil).
However, they are not at all happy with DDOT's decision to choose a streetcar system with overhead wires, and the document goes into detail on how this works against federal interests, as well as listing what non-overhead-wire streetcar options exist out there (none in the US so far). Their conclusions (page 22):
"Recommends that DDOT not include streetcar system components for overhead wires as part of the 11th Street Bridge project and that DDOT prepare an environmental impact statement for its proposed District wide streetcar system that examines potential impacts on the L'Enfant City and Georgetown and that includes an analysis of propulsion systems that do not require the use of overhead wires.
"Advises DDOT that the Commission does not support a streetcar system with overhead wires because it supports the unobstructed views to important landmarks along the city's streets and avenues that are integral to the District's unique character and result from the long-standing federal statutory prohibition against using overhead wires in Washington City (the L'Enfant City) and Georgetown.
"Encourages DDOT to pursue alternative propulsion technologies for the proposed streetcar system that do not require overhead wires in accordance with its January 24, 2008 commitment to include dual vehicle propulsion requirements in a solicitation package for the development and implementation of the broader streetcar system beyond the Anacostia and H Street/Benning Road corridors."
The commission meeting when this recommendation will be voted on is Thursday (Sept. 3) at 12:30 pm.
 

Dr. Gridlock reports that this morning the mayor held a press conference to (officially?) announce that the city will be rebuilding the 11th Street Bridges, with "in-water" work beginning in August. My project page gives the basics on what will be happening (along with links to the EIS), if you haven't been following along, but here's the high-speed recap: still two spans, but the upriver one would be expanded to become an eight-lane freeway span that would add the missing connection ramps between I-395 and I-295, while the downriver span would be four-lane "local" span tieing together Anacostia and Near Southeast, with pedestrian and bike paths and would be prepped for eventual streetcar usage. The project is expected to be completed in 2013.
UPDATE: The press release from DDOT has just come out, and apparently the real announcement of the day was the awarding of the design/build contract for the project to Skanska/Facchina.
UPDATE II: Additional pieces, from WTOP and from the Examiner, which talks about the lawsuit filed in February by the Capitol Hill Restoration Society to stop the project.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, streetcars, Traffic Issues
 

Catching up from a few days of slacking:
* Today's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) reports that the city is "considering" using 225 Virginia Ave. (the old Post Plant) as the new home for Child and Family Services, now that they've decided not to move the agency to a new development at Benning Station. The city continues to pay $6 million a year in rent on the 420,000-sq-ft building, though tried a request for proposals last year to see about a sublease or sale of the property (but apparently didn't get much interest). I wonder how much the city would have to spend the rejigger the very warehouse-y building into the 180,000 sq ft of office space needed by CFSA.
* From the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, a story that Prince William County is spending $225,000 to look at passenger ferry service up the Potomac: "It will conduct test boat runs on May 4, 5 and 6 from stops at Prince William marinas at Quantico, Dumfries and Occoquan to Fort Belvoir, Alexandria and the Washington Navy Yard. The test boat will be a catamaran that seats 149." (I assume they'd want to use the dock under construction at Diamond Teague Park, but there's no specifics.)
* On Wednesday evening, the Post reported (though the article is no longer on the web site) that the city had informed Metro--in the middle of a game!--that it would no longer pay the $27,000-an-hour cost of keeping the subway open if games at Nationals Park ran late because of extra innings or rain delays. By the next morning, the city had changed its mind.
* The Douglass Bridge will be closed Sunday (4/26) from 5am to approximately 10am for the monthly swing span test.
 

* (h/t reader F) The AP takes a look at the Capitol Power Plant just north of the SE Freeway, the neighborhood's second most "favorite" landmark (after the school buses) with its smokestacks obscuring the view of the Capitol dome from many locations. On Thursday, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to the Architect of the Capitol asking that the power plant switch from burning coal to using natural gas for its operations, saying "The switch to natural gas will allow the CPP to dramatically reduce carbon and criteria pollutant emissions, eliminating more than 95 percent of sulfur oxides and at least 50 percent of carbon monoxide...We strongly encourage you to move forward aggressively with us on a comprehensive set of policies for the entire Capitol complex and the entire Legislative Branch to quickly reduce emissions and petroleum consumption through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean alternative fuels." The AP's story tells how Congress has been trying to clean up the plant and make it more "green," and the potholes in the road to making it run completely on natural gas. I'm guessing it wouldn't be wise to start counting the minutes until the smokestacks are gone.
* On Monday at 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission is scheduled to have its hearing on the Phase 2 plans for the park at The Yards, though we'll see if the weather wreaks havoc with the schedule. Here's my notes on the presentation of the designs to ANC 6D, and my Yards Park page has renderings.
* (UPDATE) Missed this--the Examiner reported on Friday that the Capitol Hill Restoration Society has filed suit to stop construction of the new 11th Street Bridges, citing its "significant, irreversible, adverse effects" on the surrounding area. The CHRS web site has a bit more detail as well.
* Tickets still available for Elton and Billy. Apparently there was a bit of a glitch yesterday when they went on sale.
 

* From Dr. Gridlock, news about a work session being held today by the Metro board of directors to find ways to close their budget shortfall. On the long list of items: closing the east entrance of the Navy Yard station (at New Jersey and M) on weekends, unless there's an event at the ballpark. Metro numbers say that fewer than 700 people use that gate on weekends. The P2 line that I believe runs down M Street could also be on the chopping block. See the list here, though remember it's just a first cut at ideas.
* From Tommy Wells: "On Monday, February 23rd, Councilmember Wells will host a Community Forum on the Latest Information Regarding Lead in DC Drinking Water. [..] Officials will be on hand from the DC Water and Sewer Authority, District Department of the Environment, District Department of Health, Washington Aqueduct and DC Appleseed to address your concerns and questions regarding the lead levels in the DC water system." It will be at Tyler Elementary School at 10th and G, SE, at 6:30 pm.
* And a swing span test at the Douglass Bridge will take place on Sunday morning (Feb. 22), with the bridge being closed from 5 am to approximately 10 am.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues
 

* With thanks to SWill for passing the word (since I couldn't attend the meeting), I can report that ANC 6D on Monday night voted to support the plans for phase 2 of the Yards Park, which will be going in front of the Zoning Commission on March 2. (You can read my summary of last week's presentation to the ANC on the plans for more information.)
* If you're looking for analysis of what exactly the plans for the new 11th Street Bridges configuration might mean, Greater Greater Washington is taking a look at them (part one here; part two not yet posted). For what might perhaps be called an opposing viewpoint, DDOT's chief engineer Kathleen Penney contributed this article in the February Hill Rag about what DDOT sees as the benefits of the project. And, if you want some 11th Street Bridges material to use as a sleeping aid, I pass along this link (via Tommy Wells's blog) to the RFP for the design/build contract. (The "amendment" link is the *slightly* more comprehensible one.) There was a hearing last week on a bill about the contracting procedures for the bridge, but I'm not *so* desperate for content to wade into that.
(UPDATE) I already posted about this, but it's a good time to mention again that there's a public forum on the 11th Street Bridges on Feb. 17: "Sustainable Development, Infrastructure, and the Future of the District of Columbia," at the MLK Library at 6:30 pm. (DDOT just sent around its own announcement, now posted online.)
* And hey, check it out, the council has finally updated the user interface for its legislation database!
* Other than that, all is very quiet these days. Though those following my Twittering were apprised yesterday of this breaking news item: "[I] Dreamt last night that 3rd and K Market was reopening both as a bodega and a swank Indian food joint. With a new noodle place next door."
 

ANC 6D heard a presentation on Monday night from the team working on the South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement, which is now in its "final preferred alternative" stage. Their PowerPoint presentation was pretty close to the one I posted last month, and one of the consultants did tweak me a bit about how I "spoiled the surprise" on the choice of the arched bascule design for the new Douglass Bridge.
Here again are the (long!) bullet points about what the preferred alternative designs are for the portion of South Capitol west of the Anacostia (see the presentation if you're interested in the preferred alternatives chosen for east of the river), along with some issues raised by the ANC:
* It was emphasized that these new designs will not be adding any capacity, but that the main goal is to bring back the "boulevard" feeling of the corridor.
* The new bridge will have 20-foot-wide sidewalks on each side, and only two piers will need to be built in the river, compared to 3-5 piers that would have been needed with the other designs. (The cable stayed swing bridge would have had just one pedestrian/bike path, 16 feet wide, in the middle of the bridge, surrounded by six lanes of traffic.)
* There will be a seven-acre traffic oval at the foot of the new bridge (which will be located to the south of the current bridge), reshaping the intersection of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. (The ballpark's Home Plate Gate and entrance promenade will be the northeast edge of the oval.) The city is already in the process of acquiring seven properties or portions of properties that will be needed for the oval and bridge footprint, including the red brick warehouse on the northwest corner of South Capitol and Potomac. This oval is on the NCPC list of locations for future memorials and museums.
* The intersection of South Capitol Street and M Street will become an at-grade intersection (no more underpass for through traffic). ANC chair Andy Litsky expressed great concern about how this could make the intersection even more dangerous than it already is, to which the DDOT team replied that the reconfiguration should make it safer. (Certainly it would seem that having a "normal" intersection with two left-turn lanes in most directions would be an improvement safety-wise over the existing mish-mash of lights and poorly striped turn-lanes, but then there will also be a lot more cars cycling through once the tunnel lanes are gone.)
* There will be modifications to South Capitol's interchange with the SE/SW Freeway, with the replacement of the ramp that begins at I Street with an at-grade intersection underneath the freeway that would have two left-turn lanes to a new ramp. With the existing ramp removed, the intersection at South Capitol and I would also be reconfigured.
* The northern section of South Capitol Street will match the reconfigured portion between N Street and Potomac Avenue, as a six-lane boulevard with a median and wide sidewalks.
Commissioners McBee and Moffatt asked as they have in the past about whether the existing bridge could be kept as a pedestrian/bike-only bridge, but DDOT explained that since the swing span would continue to need to be opened for river traffic, the cost of maintaining the old bridge just isn't feasible. (The RiverFront folks might also be a teensy bit upset that their land that's beneath the current bridge wouldn't be coming back to them.) And the team also indicated that this new bridge does not preclude the construction (Some Day, Perhaps, in Some Far Off Time) of a tunnel to move non-local traffic from Anacostia to I-395.
They expect the final Record of Decision from the feds this fall; however, when pressed for a start date, they said 2011 would be the absolute earliest for the start of construction (with completion possibly in 2015), but that as of now there's no funding for the $700 million project. It's also possible that portions of the designs could be undetaken if partial funding is received.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues
 

Some items from the past few days. Big ones first:
* It's probably been true for weeks, but I've just now been by Diamond Teague Park for the first time in a while and can confirm that construction is definitely underway there. Fences are up, cranes (three of them?) are in place, and workers were there. Pictures tomorrow. (Probably *lots* of pictures tomorrow from all over, as long as the weather stays reasonably clear.)
* City Paper got its hands on the letter Mayor Fenty sent to DC Delegate Norton about the city's priorities should the Feds decide to toss some stimulus package dollars in this direction. As I predicted, the two Near Southeast bridge projects were mentioned: "In particular, aspects of the Eleventh Street and South Capitol Street Bridge replacement projects could be undertaken immediately." He also mentions the city's backlog of maintenance projects, along with investments in Metro and the implentation of the streetcar project. And school modernization. And public safety issues.And environmental initiatives. And housing affordability. And health care. (And now here's the stimulus bill itself, though it doesn't get down into specific projects. On the other hand, considering these two bridges ease the commutes to and from the district of the House Majority Leader....)
* Back in mid-November, the transfer of the plot of land known as Reservation 17A from the Feds to the city finally took place; it runs between New Jersey Avenue and Second Street, and is straddled by the trash transfer station building. With this now under District control, various wheels can start turning in that area, including allowing the establishment of I Street between Second and New Jersey that will form the southern boundary of WC Smith's 800 New Jersey Avenue project. There's hopes that the trash transfer station could be demolished in 2010.
* Reader T. reported yesterday that a small bought-at-the-hardware-store For Sale sign went up at 10th and M yesterday, in front of the fence of the Exxon station. I'm not sure what the deal is, since the land is actually owned by the Exxon Corporation, and you'd think they'd have better methods of marketing the land.
* The public notice for the March 19 Zoning Commission hearing on various Capper PUD alteration requests is now available.
* WBJ reports that the Nationals have parted ways with Centerplate, last year's concessionare at the ballpark. This year it will be Levy Restaurants for the food and Facility Merchandising Inc. for the retail.
* More of the fences are coming down at 55 M, as you can see on the web cam. (Though it took me more than a month to notice that the plywood "tunnel" at the Metro exit had disappeared.)
* The Douglass Bridge will be closed at 5 am Sunday until 10am-ish to test the swing span.
 

Since it's slipped down the home page a bit, here's my Near Southeast Inauguration Road Closures and Parking Restrictions page, again. I've also added the information on parking at Nationals Park to the page as well.
I also did a bit of wandering around the Click and Park web site where bus companies can reserve their parking, and I see that all bus parking at Nationals Park is sold out. Also, all bus parking spots on Second Street, SE between Virginia and M are sold out, but the other Near Southeast streets are still available for reservations. (All Southwest bus parking is sold out.)
Residents by these bus-parking streets might want to put in earplugs on Monday night at bedtime, since the buses are being told to arrive at their parking zones between 4:30 and 6:30 am Tuesday morning.
Also, the city now has this map (3 MB PDF) showing the bus parking zones, "pedestrian priority" walking routes, bus routes, and other information for the Mall and the areas to the south. I can't quite figure out if you can continue up South Capitol Street toward Washington Avenue and then get to Independence Avenue and the Mall that way because that's part of the restricted area, but maybe as long as you're on the south side of the Independence it's okay? So look for a pretty fair amount of foot traffic on New Jersey Avenue and I Street as people walk from Capitol Hill and points south and east.
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More posts: inauguration09, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues
 

* Last week I posted about the "DC Inaugural Gala" scheduled for Monday, Jan. 19 at the US DOT HQ at New Jersey and M. I didn't have much information, but a little more has come down the pike. It will be featuring the O'Jays and Salsa "king" Johnny Pacheco, as well as local artists Brian Lanier, Familiar Faces, Tommy Bryant and the Giants of Sound, and Nuera.
Mayor Fenty, Council Chairman Gray, and DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton are scheduled to attend, and it's being billed as the first (outside) event ever held at US DOT. Also, according to the press release, "The hundreds of guests in attendance also will be able to visit small intimate parties in special 'neighborhood rooms' that will be decorated by residents to make local people feel at home and give visitors a taste of District of Columbia communities."
Ticket prices have been, um, revised to $144 per person, along with higher-priced tickets with additional bells and whistles. Tickets can be purchased online at DCPresidentialGala.com (though as of Sunday afternoon it still lists the previous higher price for single tickets).
And, FYI, my employer doesn't let me go to inaugural balls other than on official business, so everyone be sure to tell me all about the parties, and think about me while I stay home cleaning the house and cursing my wicked stepmother and stepsisters.
* The Coast Guard has released the specifics of the security on the Anacostia and Potomac rivers surrounding the inauguration. On Jan. 18 and 19, recreational boaters will not be allowed in the security zone (which, for the Anacostia, is from Route 50 down to the Potomac), and those moored within the zone must not move without authorization. From 11 pm Jan. 19 until early Jan. 21, all vessel movements (recreational and commercial) will be prohibited.
And now, rehashing the other Twitter updates of the past few days:
* Tommy Wells has posted the list of Ward 6 establishments that have applied to stay open during the Inauguration extended hours. None of the hundreds of Near Southeast restaurants and bars are on the list (unless you want to count the Capitol Skyline Hotel at South Capitol and I, SW), but a number of Southwest Waterfront, Barracks Row, and Pennsylvania Avenue joints are on the list.
* It's a shame that Diamond Teague Park isn't done yet, because it could have gotten into the Inauguration Water Taxi biz--the Post's Inauguration Watch blog reported on Friday that there will be water taxi service from Alexandria to 600 Water Street, SW (Pier 4). $90 round-trip, $50 one-way. More info starting Monday at InauguralWaterTaxi.com, which just redirects to the Potomac Riverboat Company's web site. (They're the ones gunning for Teague service, when the docks are ready.)
* The comments on my new Douglass Bridge design post from Friday veered off unexpectedly into my posting a bit of a manifesto in response to the people who from time to time admonish me or implore me to lead some sort of "movement" of one kind or another for or against some project in Near Southeast. If you find my bland just-the-facts recitations of the latest news items aggravating or bewildering, this might help explain a bit.
And it also reveals why I leapt off the fence for the first time and expressed a design preference against the cable stayed swing that so many people wanted: on the arched bascule bridge (as well as the retractile and stayed bascule designs), there will be pedestrian/bike paths on both sides of the bridge, while the cable stayed swing design would only have one path, smack in the center of the bridge, slightly elevated but still surrounded by six lanes of high-speed traffic. To me, if I'm going to cross a grand promenade bridge by foot or bike from one liveable, walkable community to another (someday!), I'd rather be able to stop and gaze out at the waterfront and the shorelines instead of white-knuckling across it as fast as possible to get away from the cars whizzing by me on both sides.
Now I shall return to keeping my preferences to myself!
 

On January 7, the city and federal agencies working on the various Anacostia Waterfront projects held their first "Interagency Coordinating Council" briefing of 2009, and were kind enough to post the PowerPoint slides (28 MB!) at theanacostiawaterfront.com. A number of Near Southeast projects are part of this domain, including South Capitol Street, the Frederick Douglass Bridge, and the 11th Street Bridges. Let's start with South Capitol Street, where the final designs for the reconfiguration of South Capitol Street (under the South Capitol Street EIS) appear to have been chosen (the "Final EIS Preferred Alternative"):
* The top headline is that the new Douglass Bridge is apparently going to be an arched bascule design (like the Memorial Bridge), with an opening span to allow for larger vessels to sail through.
* There will be a large traffic oval at the foot of the new bridge (which will be located to the south of the current bridge), reshaping the intersection of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. (The ballpark's Home Plate Gate and entrance promenade will be the northeast edge of the oval.)
* The intersection of South Capitol Street and M Street will become an at-grade intersection (no more underpass for through traffic).
* There will be modifications to South Capitol's interchange with the SE/SW Freeway. They aren't specified in this document, but based on my previous readings of the Draft EIS, I believe the final design will remove the existing ramp that begins at I Street with an at-grade intersection underneath the freeway that would have two left-turn lanes to a new ramp. With the removal of the existing ramp to I-395, the intersection at South Capitol and I would also be reconfigured.
* The northern section of South Capitol Street will match the reconfigured portion between N Street and Potomac Avenue, as a six-lane boulevard with a median and wide sidewalks.
* They expect to get a Record of Decision on the Final EIS from the Feds this fall. There's nothing in this document about a start date.
(Hopefully I'll find out more about the final EIS at Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting, so look for additional details on all of this in the coming days.)
As for the 11th Street Bridges, the file says that a demolition contract will be awarded this month for the decommissioned ramps to and from RFK, with the work expected to take place this spring. As for the big work to reconstruct the bridges, the city expects to choose a design/build team and have a contract with them by June 1, with the entire project slated to be completed by the end of 2013.
The PDF also has quick updates on the Anacostia Streetcar Project, the MLK Great Streets Initiative, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, the Parkside Pedestrian Bridge in Ward 7, and a new traffic circle at Pennsylvania and Potomac avenues. It's also got some good general bullet points on the South Capitol and 11th Street projects if you haven't been following up to now. I just hope you have a high-speed connection to download the entire 28-MB file. Otherwise, go get some lunch.
UPDATE: I've taken a little time to give both my South Capitol Street and Douglass Bridge pages a makeover with the new information (and boy, they needed it)--there's now some graphics pinched from the Draft EIS that do a better job explaining what the future plans are. I'd also suggest reading the executive summary of the 2008 Draft EIS, with the knowledge that most of the Design Alternative #2 options apparently have been chosen for the final design. It's a fair amount of detail, but worth it if you want to know how the project has reached its current state, and what's coming in the future. As I said, more to come as the city briefs neighborhoods and groups on the final EIS.
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More posts: Douglass Bridge, streetcars, Traffic Issues
 

This afternoon the Secret Service and local jurisdictions released the Inauguration Joint Transportation Plan (the list of street closings and restrictions), and a map that shows the main closures and restrictions around the Mall, as well as where visitors will be able to enter the Mall and the parade route. I'll let the major media outlets dissect what it means city-wide, but for Near Southeast, here's the early scoop:
* The Southeast-Southwest Freeway, the 11th Street Bridges, and the South Capitol Street (Frederick Douglass) Bridge will be restricted to buses and authorized vehicles only.
* Although no streets in Near Southeast are specifically listed in the Secret Service's batch of street closings, that doesn't mean that they aren't going to be a whole bunch of closures. I mentioned a few days back that much of Near Southeast will be bus-only parking, and apparently the specific streets have now been decided on. And, according to the city's web site on Inauguration Day Street Restrictions, the Emergency No Parking Zones will be established starting at 3 pm Monday, Jan. 19, with the streets then being closed beginning at 12:01 am Tuesday Jan. 20, through 12:01 am Wednesday, Jan. 21 to vehicular traffic except for "charter buses, metro buses, taxis, postal vehicles, law enforcement vehicles and emergency vehicles, as well as residents with government issued identification or vehicle registration showing residency inside the restricted area" (emphasis mine).
It would be great if they posted a map, because the lists of streets are pretty hard to work with. It looks like M Street and Virginia Avenue will be closed to Ninth Street, Half and First will be closed from I Street to N Street, New Jersey will be closed from I to M, and I, K, and L, will be closed to Sixth Street. So, this would mean that north/south streets from Third eastward will be open between M and the freeway.
* There's also this on the city street closure page, which I can't quite decipher: "The following access points have been identified as pedestrian-only routes to the National Mall: [...] East Capitol Street, NE to North Carolina, SE to New Jersey Avenue, SE to I Street, SE." I guess this means these streets will be closed to traffic and will be where pedestrians are funneled to? (But then, where to? Up South Capitol?) Like I said, I need a map!
More to come, I'm sure, especially once all the media's mapmakers get on the case.
My advice? Do what I'm going to do--pretend there's a snowstorm a'comin, get a week's worth of provisions ahead of time, and just hunker down until Wednesday, with no plans to go anywhere except on foot.
 

New Year, New Meetings:
* ANC 6B (mostly Capitol Hill, but also including the Eighth Street area of Near Southeast) has posted its January 13 meeting agenda, and one of the items on it is "South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement." This draft EIS, which envisions substantial changes to the section of South Capitol Street from the Southeast Freeway across the Douglass Bridge to Firth Sterling Avenue, was released last year, and at December's Anacostia Waterfront Fair it was announced that the final EIS is expected to come this spring.
It may not sound like much to get excited about, but one of the cornerstones of the final EIS should be the unveiling of the chosen design for the new Douglass Bridge. I wrote a long entry about the Draft EIS when it was released, and on my Douglass Bridge page you can also see the four preliminary designs. (And you can also relive 2007's Extreme Makeover!) Feel free to sound off in the comments on which bridge design you want--but, please, no wagering.
Also on ANC 6B's agenda is "ZC # 03-12I/03-13I, Modification to the Arthur Capper Carrollsburg PUD," which I imagine is the series of deadline extensions and other zoning items that I've previously written about. (UPDATE: This has apparently been removed from the 6B agenda, at the Housing Authority's request.)
This meeting is at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, at 7 pm.
* ANC 6D's monthly meeting will be on the previous night, Jan. 12, at St. Augustine's Church at 6th and M Streets, SW. No agenda yet posted. (6B usually wins this race by a country mile.)
* This Thursday (Jan. 8), Metro's Customer Service, Safety and Operations Committee will be voting on whether to authorize a mid-February hearing on the discontinuation of the N22 bus, which runs between the Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard subway stations and which is expected to be replaced by DC Circulator route. I'm not sure why this is on the agenda again--my understanding was that they approved it in December, as did the full board. Read my previous posts with more detail on this change here and here.
 

The city is apparently planning to give over almost all of Near Southeast's and Southwest's on-street parking to charter buses on Inauguration Day, according to the Post: "With the exception of some residential areas, all curbside parking will be set aside for buses; streets will be restricted to charter bus, transit bus and official inaugural vehicles, he said. [...] The charter bus restrictions will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 20. Other vehicles parked on the streets after that will be towed." Here's the map with the parking zones. I imagine the neighborhood's numerous surface parking lots might be handed to buses as well, though I'm not sure they can get through the gates.
UPDATE: Shoot, I meant to include this, from WTOP: "The U.S. Coast Guard has proposed closing the Potomac and Anacostia rivers for the 11 days surrounding the inauguration. [...] Boats already docked or anchored in that area before Jan. 14 could stay. The Anacostia River would have the same restrictions from New York Avenue/Route 50 to the the Potomac River. It's likely the the closures will go into effect at 4 a.m. Jan. 14 and last until 10 p.m. Jan. 25."
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More posts: inauguration09, parking, Traffic Issues
 

The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D monthly meeting is out, and the most enticing item is Akridge looking for the commission's support in advance of its Jan. 29 Capitol Gateway zoning overlay review for its new 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development at 25 M, on the site of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, in the block directly north of Nationals Park. At this point, little has been put forth publicly about the project other than it'll be a office/residential/retail mix, and is expected to get underway in early 2010.
Also on the agenda is a third go-round with the DC Housing Authority over the designs for some external trash enclosures for some of the units at Capitol Quarter. I wrote about the first discussion here, and the Hill Rag has the report on the second one. Will the third time be the charm, or will bad things come in threes? There will also be a status report about the Capper redevelopment in general.
There's also apparently a letter being brought by Commissioner Sobelsohn to express the ANC's support for retaining the Nats Express shuttle bus that brings stadium-goers to the neighborhood from the parking lots at RFK. I imagine that the ANC will be expressing some level of concern about increased traffic and parking problems if that shuttle service goes away (it was reported last month that Tommy Wells is in favor of ending it).
The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW.
 

* The WashTimes says that Eleanor Holmes Norton "has asked Congress's Joint Commission on Inaugural Ceremonies to consider opening up more space for visitors than just the Mall, including Verizon Center and Nationals Park." I guess she means as a space to allow people to watch the ceremonies on the big screen (rather than, say, sleeping bags in the outfield)?
* City Paper does a piece on Super Salvage, across the way in Buzzard Point, and how they feel that the city is pushing them to leave but how there's nowhere else inside the District to go. In a related story, the Post reports that one of the concrete plants shut down in early 2006 thanks to the ballpark's eminent domain land takeover has just gotten approval (over neighbors' objections) to build a new facility just outside of Cheverly.
* Over the past couple of days the construction pedestrian walkways at 100 M Street have been taken down, and the sidewalks look pretty close to being ready for use. Does this mean that M Street is going to get its two traffic lanes back soon? It was reported a few months back that Parsons Technology (which has leased about 30 percent of the building) would be moving in in early 2009. We should also be watching for the arrival of a Sun Trust Bank branch in the ground floor, presuming that deal is still done (you never know these days).
* Looks like they're putting the glass panels in around the Navy Yard station entrance in 55 M's ground floor (hence the closures of the entrance after 8 pm that continue today and tomorrow, along with an all-day closure on Saturday).
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More posts: inauguration09, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues
 

Doesn't look like Saturday will be a good day for taking pictures, and Sunday I'll be welded to the sofa watching the US Open, so this will have to tide you over to next week:
* WalkingTownDC has announced its fall lineup, and once again "Capitol Riverfront" is one of the tours, led by Michael Stevens, the executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District. It's Saturday, Sept. 20, starting at 10:30 am. More info here.
* DDOT says that, weather permitting, the Douglass Bridge will be closed from 6 am to as late as 10 am on Sunday morning for some minor repairs: "Crews will be making minor repairs necessary to improve movements of the swing span that occur during the periodic opening of the bridge."
* If you've snuck a peek at the recent building permit applications and are wondering if the application for 1111 New Jersey Avenue means that Donohoe is close to getting started on their planned 200,000-sq-ft office building, I've already done the wondering for you, and the answer is "no"--just getting the paperwork out of the way. (Longtime readers will remember that the first building permit applications for 1015 Half Street were submitted more than three years before construction got underway.)
* Speaking of the building permit data, the feed for approved permits has been down since the end of July. The folks who handle the feeds assure me that it's being worked on, and will hopefully be back before too long.
* Apropos of nothing, here's a Washington Times story from Monday about the groundskeepers at Nationals Park.
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More posts: Events, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues
 

From DDOT: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will be conducting operational testing of the swing span of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, a.k.a. South Capitol Street Bridge this weekend beginning on Friday, May 16th at 10pm. To conduct a full operational test of the swing span, and ensure the safety of motorists and workers, the bridge must be closed during the testing activity. The initial closure is scheduled for Friday evening, May 16th from 10pm - 5am, weather permitting. If all results return positive no further closures will be necessary. The rain date is scheduled for Saturday from 10pm - 5am. Motorists will be detoured to the 11th Street bridges. Variable Message Signs will be posted along the north and south bound routes leading to the bridge to alert drivers to alternate routes."
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More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues
 
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