JDLand.com Search
In the Pipeline
1000 1st St.
Square 696
Yards/Icon Theater
1000 South Capitol
25 M
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
New Douglass Bridge
More Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
SC1100
Completed
District Winery ('17)
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
 

Search Blog Entries:

Specify a Time Frame: (opt.)

Starting    Ending

| New Search
 

  

Limit your search to a certain project/topic area:
(hold the CTRL key while selecting to choose multiple entries)

 

Search term: (csx) : 113 matching blog entries

Tuesday Tidbits: Short and Sweet
Nov 14, 2017 11:49 AM
I have been intending to write more substantively about a few of these things, but now in the interest of actually getting them posted, I'll go with abbreviated versions:
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE MEETING: DDOT is holding two public meetings to "discuss the current status" of the new Douglass Bridge project. There is one in Ward 6 on Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at 1100 4th St., SW (DCRA conference room), and another in Ward 8 on Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Academy, 2427 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE. See my project page and/or the official web site for details.
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE BLEATING: The Commission on Fine Arts says the new bridge design "lacks grace." (WBJ)
* 3RD STREET TWEAKING: Watch for the single travel lane on 3rd Street SE at Virginia Avenue to be moved off of the temporary deck and onto new pavement Any Minute Now. This is so the deck can be demolished and restoration work can then continue on both 3rd and Virginia. (CSX)
* BARRACKS EIS RELEASING: Remember those plans to build a new Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, which ended up deciding that the new building would be built next to the existing building at 7th and L? There's actually some movement, with the final EIS expected to be released Any Minute Now, and the Record of Decision expected to follow. I'll write more when the EIS comes out, but in the meantime here's a newsletter from last month with the latest.
* ANC REP REPPING: Read more updates on neighborhood goings-on from ANC 6D07 commissioner Meredith Fascett.
* TASTEBUDS APPROVING: Ana, the restaurant at District Winery, gets good words from the Post's food critic. (WaPo)
Comments (11)
More posts: Barracks, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

A Visual Catching Up on the Latest Goings-On
Oct 23, 2017 3:24 PM
Time for my quarterly {ahem} update on all of the construction projects you are picking your way past when you walk/drive/bike around the Hood:
I'll start with the new openings and the coming soons, with both Due South Dockside and Morini Piccolo now operating (softly) on the Yards Park boardwalk, and Cava in the Homewood Suites at Half and M in Any Second Now territory:
As for buildings getting their faces on, I present Skanska's 99 M office building and the new DC Water headquarters:
There's also now two new arrivals above ground, as PN Hoffman's condo project The Bower has at last made its debut at 4th and Tingey, as has the DC Housing Authority's as-yet unnamed mixed-income rental building at 2nd and L, both of which are shot from the south instead of the intersection because it's now the time of year when anything shot to the south-southeast, south or south-southwest will look terrible, no matter what time of day:
Next on the assembly line, two more residential projects projects are likely to be making their above-ground debuts before the end of the year: JBG's West Half project directly north of Nats Park, and the McDonalds-slaying 2 I Street project:
Other holes in the ground I won't highlight this time around include the Bower's sibling rental project at 4th and Water, Toll Brother's Parc Riverside Phase II at Half and L, the Jair Lynch residential project at the Half Street Hole, and the combo project at South Capitol and M for the new National Association of Broadcasters headquarters and its next-door residential project labeled 10 Van.
Also, WC Smith has cleared the lot at 2nd and I to make way for the beginning of work on the Garrett, the third and final apartment building that makes up "The Collective" on that block. Plus, fences are up along 3rd Street for the next project in the Yards lineup, the 270-unit apartment building currently known as "Parcel L2." (Great, I have to update my Highlighted Projects map again.)
Just to make sure all ends of the construction spectrum are represented, one hole is even starting to get covered over, and that's in the 200 and 300 blocks of Virginia Avenue, where the Virginia Avenue Tunnel work is far enough along that you can actually start to imagine a street appearing again in those blocks in the coming months:
Finally, I'll close with a shot of a tearing down rather than a building up, and that's the pile of debris formerly known as 37 L Street SE--just in time to mark the 40th anniversary of the Cinema Follies fire, on Oct. 24, 1977.
So, while the neighborhood is taking a back seat these days to all of the excitement surrounding the opening of the Wharf down the road, there is still a fair amount happening. (And hopefully the neighborhood blogger will someday get back in the groove. Still riding the rollercoaster of my new not-yet-ready-to-call-it-normal.)

Friday Tidbits: Playoffs, Willow, Dockside, and More
Oct 6, 2017 8:30 AM
I start with this photo of some recently posted signage, which I'm pretty sure debuted at the top of the list of Most Ignored Signs in Washington. (No one ever believes me when I tell them that riding bikes isn't officially allowed on the Navy Yard portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk.)
And now to a way-too-long pile of tidbits:
* PLAYOFFS: I doubt anyone at this point needs to tell me that the first of what will hopefully be numerous playoff games this October at Nats Park is tonight (Friday), when Game 1 vs the Cubs starts at 7:31 pm. They'll play again tomorrow at 5:38pm, and would return on Thursday Oct. 12 for the fifth game of the series, if necessary. Here's a rundown from the BID of playoff-related festivities and deals that might be of interest.
* WILLOW: I have been remiss in not passing along that DC-based clothing and gift shop Willow is going to be opening a second location in the ground floor of Arris, at 4th and Tingey in the Yards. As described in the BID newsletter, "The store brand adds a distinctive local twist with DC neighborhood-inspired gifts and clothes designed in-house by members of the Willow team."
* DOCKSIDE?: I have not confirmed this personally, but a reader reports being told by workers putting out tables on Thursday that the new Yards Park boardwalk kiosk outlet of Osteria Morini is expected to open this evening. UPDATE: Reader now says that no, it's Due South Dockside. But that's what I get for not reporting it out myself. {hangs head in shame}
* BYE BYE 37 L: Photographic evidence on Twitter of the demolition of the Empire/DC Flyer Cab company building, which is making way for a new residential building. It becomes the 175th entry in my Demolished Buildings Gallery (up a spot from its brief designation as #174, after a reader pointed out that I had neglected to add, of all things, the McDonald's, though I will give myself a break on that one, given the maelstrom in my life at the time).
* THIRD STREET CLOSURE UPDATE: Flashing signage north of 3rd and Virginia says that the four-month-ish-southbound closure is now scheduled to begin Oct. 11. (After the first two games of the playoffs, I might add.) I saw from the freeway yesterday that the huge reinforcing beams (more like tubes) that were installed across the footprint of the two tunnels are being removed between 2nd and 3rd Streets, and there's even now some small square footage where both tunnels are covered with dirt. (UPDATE: The sign was changed this morning to read "On or About Oct. 10," and now the latest VAT newsletter says "as soon as Oct. 9.")
* GARRETT TEA LEAVES: The building permits have been approved, and construction trailers arrived within the past few days at the staging lot on the former trash transfer site at 2nd and K, and so signs are pointing to work getting underway on The Garrett, the last of WC Smith's "Collective" troika. Joining siblings Park Chelsea and not-yet-open-but-newly-landscaped Agora, the Garrett will have about 375 rental units, and ground-floor retail. (No, I don't know when Whole Foods is opening.)
* PARC RIVERSIDE PHASE II: A reader who lives at Velocity says that management informed residents that work is expected to resume Any Second Now (or maybe already has) on the excavation for what will be the second phase of the Parc Riverside residential project, at Half and K.
* BOWER FLOOR PLANS: If you have been desperately awaiting the condo project known as the Bower to start selling, well, that hasn't happened yet, but floor plans are finally available on their web site. (h/t RMP)
Comments (49)
More posts: 37l, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, garrett, morini, Retail, riverwalk, Toll Brothers Lots, willow

Temporary Change in 3rd Street Traffic Flow Coming in October
Sep 22, 2017 12:24 PM
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

Friday Tidbits: 1st and K Sliver, Yards Park Kiosks, 49 L for Sale
Jul 28, 2017 10:39 AM
Some brief items while I continue to be more or less on sabbatical:
* 1ST AND K SLIVER? Urban Turf reports that the owner of garage on the northeast corner of 1st and K has finally sold his lot, and a developer is planning a 12-story 34-unit residential building. Urban Turf has a rendering, but I prefer looking back to December 2004, right after the garage building was rehabbed and opened as A1 Tires. JPI attempted to buy the site back when planning 909 New Jersey, but the owner was, shall we say, not interested. (The expletives still ring in my ear from when I asked him about it a decade ago.)
* YARDS PARK KIOSKS: With the return finally of the approved building permits feed, I was able to report in the comments a few days ago that the construction visible in the kiosks along the boardwalk at the Yards Park were for ventures from the owners of Lumber Shed tenants Due South and Osteria Morini (along with what I believe is office space for the marina). I posted last year about the possibility of "Due South Dockside," but Eater has now reported that the Morini kiosk is not going to be the long-ago announced pizza joint Nicoletta, but a "summer sister spot" for Morini that could open late this summer. "Details about the offshoot are limited, but expect a bar serving draft beer and wine, as well as a pared-down menu of what’s available at the flagship restaurant. That includes made-to-order salads, the New York-transplant’s iconic meatballs, and simple desserts," Eater says.
* FED WAREHOUSE: Another twist in the long-running saga of the warehouse at 49 L Street: There is now a sign up announcing that the site is up for sale, and a commenter found the GSA listing.There was talk a few years back of this building being traded to the city, but that apparently is not coming to pass. (Nor apparently did the city choose it as the site of a homeless shelter.) And once upon a time a group of residents wanted it to become the Half Street Market.
* ROSE PT: The BID Newsletter reports that Rose Physical Therapy Group is now open in the ground floor of 1015 Half Street.
* ROOFING: The first "roof cap" on the rebuilt original Virginia Avenue Tunnel was pored last week, in the 200 block of Virginia Avenue. It seems odd to say these words, but the project is expected to be completed next year. (Time flies.)
* YOU'RE AN ALL STAR: The preparations and publicity for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game at Nats Park are now underway, with the unveiling of the logo and also information on how one might actually procure tickets.
Comments (23)

Thursday Tidbits: Morning Flizzard Edition
Feb 16, 2017 9:04 AM
Hope everyone enjoyed that 45-second snowstorm this morning!
Here's a roundup, mostly from the running linkage I've been posting in the comments. And the photo at right has nothing to do with any of the tidbits--it's just from 11 years ago today. A little different.
* STYMIED: The developers of the proposed large residential project at 1333 M are asking for a two-year extension on their zoning PUD, citing beiing "stymied" in finding financing. (Capitol Hill Corner)
* UNVEILED: Forest City has shown ANC 6D the first renderings of its planned hotel at 3rd and Tingey, SE, on the north end of "Parcel L," where they are already planning a large residential building as well. (Urban Turf)
* TUNNELED: In Virginia Avenue Tunnel news, next week or thereabouts, watch for daily closings of 4th St. SE between I and Virginia, as well as the return of two (shifted) lanes on the 6th Street exit ramp. Also, the portion of 5th (or is the 6th) Street immediately south of Virginia is now closed for seven weeks or so. And the next "Coffee with Chuck" update is at 8 am on Feb. 22 at 861 New Jersey Ave., SE.
* FLICKED: Vote on the lineup for this summer's Thursday Outdoor Movie Series.
* PROMOTED: The 2017 Nats gameday promotions and giveaways lineup is now available.
* SALTED: Ryan Zimmerman is an investor/part-owner of The Salt Line, opening this year across the street from his place of employment. (City Paper)
* STUFFED: Five Guys is back.
Given this weekend's forecast, I may try to get out to take some photos, if the stars align.
Comments (19)
More posts: 1333 M, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Development News, fiveguys, saltline, The Yards, yardsparcell

Traffic and Tunnel Tidbits and Open Thread
Jan 11, 2017 2:13 PM
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

Virginia Ave. Southern Tunnel Complete; Work on Old One Continuing
Dec 28, 2016 2:24 PM
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

Development Update: Last Looks Up and Down for 2016
Dec 12, 2016 5:16 PM
The blistering pace of new projects slowed a bit this year, allowing me some (needed) breathing space in terms of keeping up with construction progress. But I wandered around on Saturday, and here's a few things of note I saw:
* The JBG apartment project now known as 1221 Van is speeding along, and has changed the skyline along South Capitol considerably. Taking southward-facing photos in the winter months is always dicey, but I couldn't pass up a shot of the new structure and its neighbor directly to the south.
* Insignia on M's logo at the top of its New Jersey Avenue face does easily catch one's eye.
* The preparation work to transform the O Street Pumping Station into the glimmery new DC Water Headquarters is now underway.
* CSX announced this week that the new second-track Virginia Avenue Tunnel is "nearing completion," and it certainly looks that way at the western mouth of both new and old tunnels. And I got to see a train coming out, too! (But the project isn't over--next work will shift to reconstructing the 100-year-old original tunnel.)
* The excavation for the combination condo-and-rental buildings project known as "Parcel O" at the Yards has proceeded apace.
* Conversely, the hole for the 99 M office building has remained basically unchanged since late summer. (Compare the below photo to this one taken in August.) There was a new crane-related after-hours permit approved for the site last week, so maybe things are about to start moving again. UPDATE, 12/13: A representative for the 99 M project has gotten in touch with me to say that there has actually been considerable "complex" work going on at the site, it's just that it's mostly underground/out of sight.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Tidbits
Dec 12, 2016 9:52 AM
* 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.
Comments (15)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, The Bixby, Onyx, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, Traffic Issues

Tunnel-Related Traffic Alerts: 4th St. Reopening, 3rd St. Closing
Nov 20, 2016 4:10 PM
While these dates are always subject to change, CSX announced on Friday that it expects to reopen 4th Street just south of the freeway by Wednesday, Nov. 23, as it completes the demolition of the Phase 1 temporary bridge deck over the new tunnel that is being built, and construction of the new Phase 2 deck over the existing tunnel that will now be rebuilt and expanded.
Once the 4th Street intersection opens, the next big closure will be prepped, with the expectation that 3rd Street SE will close at Virginia Avenue for up to eight weeks, beginning perhaps on Monday, Nov. 28, to do the same demolition of the Phase 1 deck and construction of the Phase 2 deck.
Note that, unlike when the Phase 1 deck was built over 3rd Street earlier this year in a way that allowed northbound traffic to continue to flow, this is a full closure. (Though pedestrian access will remain in place, as will access to the Capitol Quarter driveway entrance on 3rd.)
This does not affect access to I-695 from the 3rd Street ramp.
If you want to see recent photos of the new tunnel and all the related construction, the Coffee with Chuck slides from Nov. 16 have a pile of them. (The slides also note that this is month #18 of the expected 42 months of total construction.)
Comments (10)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

4th Street to Close at Virginia For A Few Weeks; New Decks Coming
Sep 28, 2016 12:02 PM
With work having progressed on the expansion phase of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, CSX is announcing that 4th Street SE between Virginia and I Street will be closed for three to five weeks, starting perhaps on Thursday, Sept. 29, so that the existing temporary bridge deck can be removed and the tunnel's roof completed in that spot. Then a new deck will be built across the next area to be excavated to work on the other half of the tunnel project, at which point the area will reopen to traffic.
UPDATE: The weather has forced a postponement of the closure until likely next week, Oct. 3-7. UPDATE 2: And the intersection did finally close on Monday, Oct 3.
This means that drivers coming south on 4th Street SE from Capitol Hill will need to detour either to 3rd Street or 7th Street in order to cross under the freeway to the promised land.
Pedestrian access along this stretch of 4th will apparently be maintained during the closure, as will the 4th Street exit from the Capitol Quarter driveway.
This is the first of these sorts of closures and detours that will need to happen along all of the north-south streets that cross Virginia Avenue as work on the first phase of the tunnel wraps up and the decks need to be reestablished a smidge to the north to cross above the existing tunnel while it is rebuilt.
At right is the estimated timeline for these other closures as shown in the Sept. 21 Coffee with Chuck presentation slides (click to embiggen). Third Street's temporary closure for this work is on deck (so to speak) for mid-to-late October, 5th in mid-to-late December, and 7th and 8th sometime in 2017. (The deck work on 11th Street will happen without any full closure.)
The slides also say that Phase II pile driving is expected to begin near 4th Street in October.
The next quarterly open house for the project is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 20, and the next Coffee with Chuck will be on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
Comments (14)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

Two-Year Change in Virginia Avenue Flow Begins Sept. 22
Sep 21, 2016 3:23 PM
CSX has announced (now posted on the official web site) that the two-year closure of the remaining eastbound lane of Virginia Ave. east of 6th will begin after the morning rush hour tomorrow, Sept. 22. Because I'm a little pressed for time, I'm just bringing this post that I wrote back in August on the change to the top of the pile.
Original post from Aug. 22:
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 (25)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

Temporary Closure of 5th Street at Virginia Avenue Starts Soon
Jul 28, 2016 9:14 AM
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

Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness Meeting Saturday, June 18
Jun 16, 2016 9:05 PM
On Saturday, June 18, there will be an Emergency Preparedness Meeting for residents to get training in what to do in the case of a train derailment or hazardous materials incident, a topic on the minds particularly of residents who live close to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
Lead by DC HSEMA director Chris Geldart, fire chief Gregory Dean, and Department of Energy and the Environment director Tommy Wells, the session will provide training "about safety during a derailment involving hazardous materials; sheltering-in-place vs. evacuating; emergency vehicle access; and emergency communications."
The meeting is at 10 am at 200 I St., SE. Contact ANC 6D07 commissioner Meredith Fascett for more information.
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Wednesday Tidbits: Second Verse, Same as the First
May 25, 2016 10:55 AM
Not much to report these days, but instead of digging digging digging looking for teeny tiny stuff to pass along, the reaction of someone who's been doing this way too long is "Hey! Extended vacation!" But here's a few items:
* PARC RIVERSIDE PHASE 2: These are "studies", with materials and colors subject to change, but the architects for the second phase of Toll Brothers' Parc Riverside apartments at Half and K passed along to ANC 6D02 commissioner Stacy Cloyd some images of what the building could look like. (And now you see why when I mentioned them in another post recently I said that Phase 2 doesn't look very different from Phase 1.) The middle image, as seen from Half and I, shows the two Parc Riversideseseses as one long facade, albeit with slightly altered treatments. The other two are views from Half and L.
* REHAB CENTER PROPOSED ON LOWER 8TH: Capitol Hill Corner reports on a proposal to the Bureau of Prisons for a 300-bed resident rehabilitation center (aka "halfway house") to be located at 810 Potomac Ave., SE, across the street from both the Blue Castle and the historic Latrobe Gate to the Navy Yard. Council member Charles Allen and ANC 6B both have weighed in with strong opposition, listing all manner of reasons that this building at the corner of 8th and Potomac (and 8th and M, for that matter) "is not the right site," with 6B commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg quoted as saying, "This is an egregious thing to do to lower 8th, which is transitioning from being under-developed into a residential neighborhood." UPDATE: ANC 6D commissioner Meredith Fascett has posted on Facebook that she is opposing this as well, and says that MPD, Barracks Row Main Street, and the Capitol Riverfront BID are also in opposition.
* COFFEE WITH CHUCK SLIDES: If you want the latest update from the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, here's the slides from the May 18th neighborhood session. There's lots of photos of sections the new tunnel, including some that bloggers would probably be shot on sight for trying to get.
And, an addition a few hours later:
* AKRIDGE SELLING: WBJ says that Akridge is putting on the market its holdings along the east side of 1st Street between K and L, across from Velocity and the Parc Riverside and home until 2011 to the Market Deli and a slew of other now-gone buildings.
Comments (17)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, 8th Street, Toll Brothers Lots

Tuesday Tidbits: The Latest from Seattle on the Anacostia
May 17, 2016 11:19 AM
The rain has sapped my energy, plus I'm in just-back-from-vacation-mode (a short trip to Vegas, which means I'm currently wearing a barrel and standing on a street corner begging for money), but I'm trying to bring you tidbits anyway.
* 909 HALF: The Project Of Which Its Developers Don't Speak has apparently topped out, according to the architects, who I hope won't now be canned for daring to publicly refer to the 380-unit apartment building under construction at Half and I. They also posted a color version of the one rendering we've seen, showing the view up Half Street from south of K. There had been an additional post from the architects saying 909 Half would be opening in December, but that's now gone, probably because getting to completion seven months from now would be, shall we say, optimistic.
* NEW WEB SITES: Actual web sites are now up for both F1rst and ORE 82. (The former had just a placeholder and the latter's URL didn't actually work a few weeks ago when the fence signage went up.)
* JOY EVANS: ANC 6D Commissioner Meredith Fascett has an update on last week's meeting on Joy Evans Park, with a deadline of today (oops) for any comments you might have.
And, a few meetings this week to mention:
* COFFEE WITH CHUCK: The Virginia Avenue Tunnel project has hit the one-year mark this month (only 30 more months to go!). The monthly Coffee with Chuck meeting is on Wednesday, May 18, from 8 to 9 am at the CSX Community Office trailer at 861 New Jersey Ave., SE. RSVP here if you plan to attend.
* PUBLIC SAFETY: The monthly meeting of PSA 106 is Wednesday, May 18 at 7 pm at 200 I St. SE. MPD holds these meetings to address any public safety-related questions and concerns from the neighborhood.
* BIKE TO WORK: I'm too scared to look at the weather forecast, but Friday, May 20 is Bike to Work Day, and once again Canal Park is one of the pit stops.
Comments (1)
More posts: ORE82, One Hill South, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Development News, joyevans, meetings

Tuesday Tidbits: Hamburglary, Hazmat, Tenants, Mods, Ducks
May 3, 2016 10:36 AM
There's no good "art" to go with any of these tidbits, so instead I present to you the northwest corner of Half and N, SE, taken May 4, 2003, which now looks like this and will someday look like this.
* HAMBURGLARY: Fresh on the news of its pending demise, the McDonald's at South Capitol and I was robbed early Saturday morning, with the three suspects jumping through the drive-through window to get to the cash. And here's MPD's Persons of Interest video. (WaPo, MPD)
* CSX DERAILMENT: The derailment in Northeast of a CSX train carrying hazardous materials has reignited {sorry} the concerns over both the city's need to boost its oversight of freight rail and the movement of hazmat through the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. (WaPo, plus a City Paper piece as well)
* TENANT NEWS: "Global public strategy firm" Mercury Public Affairs, LLC has signed a lease for the 8,020 square feet of office space in the upper levels of the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, and will move in this summer. As for other Yards tenants, I hear that Whaley's could be opening Any Minute Now, with Philz not far behind. (Elsewhere, the Brig is probably still a couple of weeks away.)
* THE VERY MODEL OF A MINOR MODIFICATION: Forest City is back to the Zoning Commission with some changes to the design of the planned Showplace Icon movie theater. But you might need a microscope to spot the difference between old vs new on the exterior renderings. (And it's technically not a "minor modification," but I was feeling all Gilbert and Sullivan this morning.)
* WHY, A DUCK: Duck stops 11th Street Bridge traffic. (WaPo)
* BEHIND THE CURTAIN: DCist profiles a crazy blogger who has spent years taking photos of construction sites. I mean, honestly! Get a life!
Comments (34)
More posts: crime, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, philz, JDLand stuff, theater, whaleys, The Yards at DC Water

Tunnel Doings: 3rd St. Two Way Again, 7th St. Closure Coming
Apr 25, 2016 9:57 AM
(If you haven't snuck a peek into the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction visible from the 4th Street temporary decking, my camera has done it for you. This is a portion of the new second tunnel--once it's completed, then the old original tunnel will be rehabbed and expanded.)
While I was away late last week, CSX finished the temporary decking on 3rd Street SE and reopened to two-way traffic the stretch between the north side of the freeway and I Street.
This means that if you're coming south from Capitol Hill, you can once again proceed under the freeway at 3rd Street, rather than having to either detour over to 4th Street or be forced onto the freeway ramp.
Speaking of temporary decks, it's now been announced that, as early as May 2, 7th Street SE will be closed at its intersection with Virginia Avenue for 2-3 weeks to build that deck.
Note: Virginia Avenue won't be closed at 7th. There will still be a single lane of eastbound traffic on Virginia through the 7th Street intersection, and traffic will still be able to turn to and from Virginia from the section of 7th north of Virginia--it's just the block of 7th between Virginia and L that will be losing any access to Virginia or points north. Detour signs for the closed section of 7th will send vehicles over to 8th Street.
There will be a path available for pedestrians to use 7th throughout the period that the street is closed.
Here's the CSX graphics about 7th Street, from this document:
Also, CSX has posted the presentation boards from its most recent quarterly open house. The next "Coffee with Chuck" will be on May 18, and the next quarterly open house on July 21.
Eleven months down, 31 to go....
Comments (3)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Tuesday Tidbits: Attempted Carjacking, Meeting Lineup, and More
Apr 19, 2016 10:32 AM
* ATTEMPTED CARJACKING: On Monday night there was an attempted armed carjacking in the 100 block of K Street, SE. According to the MPD 1-D mailing list: "The Complainant stated he was approached while standing in the doorway of his vehicle when the suspect struck him in the right side of face and eye with an unknown object. The suspect jumped in the complainant's car and demanded the keys to the car; however, the complainant fled with his keys and no property was obtained. The suspect fled and has not been arrested yet."
* PSA 106 PUBLIC SAFETY MEETING: The monthly meeting for Police Service Area 106 (which covers Near Southeast/Navy Yard/#NeCaBaRY) is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, at 7 pm, at 200 I St. SE (government ID required to enter the building). MPD hosts these monthly meetings to address questions and concerns from the public about issues of safety in the community.
* DC WATER TOWN HALL: Sorry for the last-minute notice, but there is a DC Water Ward 6 Town Hall Meeting tonight (Tuesday, April 19) at 6:30 pm at Tyler Elementary School, 1001 G St., SE. DC Water Grand Poobah George Hawkins and Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen are co-hosting the meeting to talk about current projects, billing rates, and more.
* WARD 6 BUDGET TOWN HALL: Speaking of town halls, Charles Allen is also hosting one on Thursday, April 21 on DC's proposed budget for FY17. It's at 6:30 pm at 645 H St., NE. "Before the Council votes on the budget, hear from Councilmember Allen on what's in it for Ward 6, where he's focused in the budget debate, and what comes next in budget decisions."
* TWO-WAY THIRD: CSX says that two-way traffic could return to 3rd Street north of I perhaps as early as Friday, April 22. Watch also in the next day or so for a shift in the current one-way flow onto the new bridge deck.
Comments (0)
More posts: crime, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Wednesday Tidbits: Can't Come Up With a Headline Edition
Apr 13, 2016 10:24 AM
Continuing to catch up....:
* JBG HALF STREET ZONING OK: On Monday night the Zoning Commission gave unanimous final approval to JBG's plans for its 420-unit apartment/condo/retail building on Half Street immediately north of Nats Park. Construction could get underway late this year (after baseball season).
* CRANE RESCUE: A construction worker at F1rst on 1st St. SE had to be rescued by firefighters via "high-angle rescue" on Tuesday. (Fox 5)
* DCBFIT OUT, CHURCH IN: I alas never got it posted here that the little DCBFit gym in the ground floor of the Courtyard Marriott/Capitol Hill Tower closed back in February. But now the space has a new tenant--the Waterfront Church, which has been operating out of the Courtyard since its founding in 2014.
* THE NEW FLAVORS ARE HERE!: Ice Cream Jubilee, fresh off its second-in-a-row Best Ice Cream in DC title in City Paper's Best of DC voting, announced new seasonal flavors on Tuesday: Chocolate Matzo Crack, Cherries Jubilee, Double Stout Caramel, and a Fig, Port, & Goat Cheese combo.
* TUNNEL OPEN HOUSE: Time for another Virginia Avenue Tunnel Quarterly Open House, on Thursday, April 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Courtyard Marriott at New Jersey and L. There's no formal presentations, but representatives of the project are on hand to provide updates and answer questions. Lots of lane-shifting going on these days as temporary bridge decks get built on 3rd, 8th, and 11th. And the intersection of 7th and Virginia is expected to close for about two weeks starting in early May to get its deck installed. CSX also expects to return 3rd Street to two-way traffic "near the end of April."
Comments (10)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, jubilee, waterfrontchurch, West Half St.

A Look at the New Temporary 3rd Street Traffic Flow
Mar 11, 2016 10:34 AM
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

3rd Street Under the Freeway to Temporarily Be Northbound Only
Mar 1, 2016 10:09 AM
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

CSX to Demolish a Portion of the old Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Warns of Various Disruptions Beginning Jan. 18
Jan 11, 2016 8:38 PM
CSX is alerting nearby residents and businesses that it will soon begin demolishing a 370-foot section of the existing Virginia Avenue Tunnel between the tunnel's west entrance and 3rd Street, SE, a process expected to take several months and one that will include early morning starts, the intermittent stoppage of train traffic, and the use of excavators equipped with hydraulic hammers.
"Based on the railroad’s network-wide operational constraints, including consideration for maintaining scheduled commuter operations, the demolition work must occur during the early morning hours of each weekday: workday preparations and safety inspections will start as early as 4:30 a.m. and actual demolition activities will start as early as 5:30 a.m., continuing to late morning. This work is planned to begin on Monday, January 18, 2016, and is estimated to continue into late March or early April." There may also be overnight work on Sunday nights in late January and early February, beginning between 7 and 9 pm.
As one might imagine, this is not expected to be a quiet process.
In its newsletter about the demolition, CSX says that it has "coordinated extensively" with DDOT to optimize when the work will occur in order to "limit the impact on the community to the greatest extent possible." Mitigation measures to be deployed include installing "noise-dampening blankets" on perimeter fencing and at "appropriate locations north, south, east and west of the demolition site."
The closest buildings to the demolition site are the DC government's 200 I Street office (known to some as the renovated old Post Plant), which as you can see in the photo will have a front-row seat to the work. Then there are some Capitol Quarter townhomes only a little further away, at 3rd Street.
The company also says it will be using "best-in-class demolition equipment to minimize mechanical noise generated from the equipment itself," and that the plan is to have the demolition debris collected by trucks operating within the tunnel itself that will then haul the material westward along the path of the tracks to the open yard at New Jersey Avenue.
In addition, construction crews and vehicle operators are being directed "minimize travel near adjacent residences and businesses and restricting all possible site access to only the western entrances from H Street and 2nd Street before normal project hours, limiting or avoiding entirely any traffic at the 3rd Street entrance to the work area before 7 a.m."
And because the work can't be done in the dark, there will be temporary lighting erected as well, which is supposed to be "directed away from adjacent properties."
With good timing, the next quarterly open house on the project is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Courtyard Marriott, but CSX is also ready to answer questions on the work through its web site or the project's toll-free number, 800-494-1049.
Would it make you feel any better to know that in the same newsletter CSX says that the project is "on schedule" to be completed in 2018? The company says that "significant progress" was made in 2015, and that "more than half of the necessary support pilings have been drilled, 4,500 truckloads of soil have been excavated, [and] 4,400 cubic yards of concrete have been poured[.]"
Yeah, I didn't think so.
In the meantime, here are two photos I took earlier this month that don't really have to do with the demolition itself, but do show the progress of excavation along Virginia Avenue west of 7th Street, and then peering down into the hole west of 5th Street to see just how far down they've gotten.
Comments (6)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Project Updates: Upward Bound, Plus Some Digging
Nov 12, 2015 12:20 PM
This week I've looked at the buildings that are far along in their construction, and I've looked at the newest topped-off project, and I've even mentioned the project that is just about to start digging, so what's left? A mere seven projects that are in their vertical construction phase, at various levels of out-of-the-ground.
We'll start with 801 New Jersey/82 I (above/left), now a smidge more than halfway toward its eventual 13-story height. This is the Graystar/RCP 227-unit apartment building that is expected to open in 2016.
Just up the block is 800 New Jersey, aka the Whole Foods building, which looks just barely out of the ground from New Jersey (below left), but if you venture up 2nd Street (below right) you can see evidence of the ramp for the grocery store parking that will be on the second and third floor. (Resident parking will be below ground, shared with its sibling the Park Chelsea and the eventual third residential building along the east side of the block.) This building will have about 336 rental units:

Two projects have at least some hint of their first floors built: the 380-unit building at 909 Half Street will be a lot larger than this small section of construction at Half and I makes it look like at the moment (below left), while the Homewood Suites at Half and M really does also have a portion of its first floor built, though the nasty late fall shadows make it hard to see.
Next up are three projects that are technically out of the ground, although it's just rebar breaking the plane at the moment, but concrete shouldn't be far behind. Behold terribly unexciting pictures of the status of the F1rst residential project and the Residence Inn immediately to its north, plus the Gallery at Capitol Riverfront/1111 New Jersey.
But if you like photos of holes being dug, you're still in luck. There's now clear evidence of the excavation work at Skanska's 99 M office building project, and while nothing will ever really arise from the cut-and-cover work on the new portion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel (seen here looking west from 5th Street) it's still digging.
In the midst of all of these updates over the past few days, I did some redevelopment of my own, and finally created individual pages for the Square 701/Not-Ballpark-Square trio of projects, so now you can check out the progress on the Hampton Inn, F1rst/Residence Inn, and 99 M in a less jumbled format.

Events: ANC, CSX Open House, Culinary Crawl, and Maybe Skating?
Nov 6, 2015 12:14 PM
A busy week ahead:
* SIDE YARDS: A reminder that the sideshow event comes back to the Yards Park on Saturday, Nov. 7.
* ANC 6D: The monthly Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting is on Monday, Nov. 9, and this month the party ventures thisaway across South Capitol Street to the meeting room at 200 I St., SE. Agenda items include a slew of items from Near Southeast, including construction updates for 909 Half and 82 I/801 New Jersey, pedestrian issues on I Street, the Virginia Ave. streetscape restoration plan, a DC Housing Authority presentation, and more. The meeting starts early, with presentations at 6:30 pm before the meeting "officially" gets underway at 7 pm.
* CSX OPEN HOUSE: The quarterly open house for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project is on Thursday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 7 pm at the Courtyard Marriott hotel at 140 L St., SE. There will be no formal presentations, but there will be representatives from the project team to answer questions and provide updates. (If you can't make this, the next Coffee with Chuck is on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 8 am at the same location.)
* CULINARY CRAWL: The Barracks Row Main Street folks have organized a three-day Culinary Crawl Nov. 14-16, with cooking classes at various restaurants not only on 8th Street but also near Eastern Market and down south of the freeway in this neck of the woods, with Ice Cream Jubilee, Bluejacket, and Agua 301 all participation. Here's the schedule, where you can also sign up/buy tickets.
* ICE RINK: There were originally plans for a soft opening this weekend followed by a grand opening on Nov. 14, but the weather has played a bit of havoc with that schedule. I've just heard that the grand opening will now be on Saturday, Nov. 21, but on the 14th they are hosting a Cinderella-themed event from 11 am to 1 pm--dress as your favorite princess or prince for a chance to win tickets to the National Theater's production of Cinderella.
Comments (0)
More posts: ANC News, Canal Park, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Events, icerink

Thursday Tidbits: The Getting Overwhelmed Edition
Nov 5, 2015 4:28 PM
These deserve their own posts, but time is tight these days. (And given the forecast, I'm guessing there will be a couple hundred new photos for me to wrangle this weekend as well.)
* WILD WINGS DATE CONFIRMED: A mailing and also a source In the Know have confirmed that Buffalo Wild Wings will be opening at 1220 Half St. SE on November 16, with a ribbon cutting as well as free wings for a year* for the first 100** guests. (*Meaning 52 coupons to use once a week on a snack-sized wings offering.) (**Probably only 99 of you have a shot, because one JDLand reader is already staking a claim.)
* VIRGINIA AVE. STREETSCAPE: The final concept plan for sprucing up Virginia Avenue after CSX is done with tunnel construction has been posted by ANC commissioner Meredit Fascett. One big change: the new planned cul-de-sac on I Street east of 4th that sounded like it was going to disappear is in fact going to be part of the final plan. Public comments are being accepted by DDOT through tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 6), and the DDOT Public Space Committee will evaluate the plans at a Nov. 12 meeting.
* PRESERVATION GRANTS: Speaking of the tunnel, there is a Preservation Initiatives Fund that will be distributing funds near the tunnel project to "preserve, restore, research, identify, evaluate, interpret, or otherwise benefit historic resources within the project area." The money is coming from CSX and is being administered by the DC Preservation League as part of the project's mitigation offerings. The deadline to apply for a grant is Dec. 4. More in this flyer, including which blocks are part of the "area of potential effects" (including quite a few north of the freeway).
Comments (5)
More posts: bww, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Tidbits of Note from the Virginia Ave. Streetscape Meeting
Oct 7, 2015 12:16 PM
I did not attend last week's meeting on the plans for Virginia Avenue's streetscape once construction on the tunnel is completed, but detailed notes taken by DDOT have been posted. And there are some items that caught my eye:
* TREES: It's reported that 176 trees have been cut down as part of the tunnel construction, and that there will be approximately 305 new trees planted once the work is done. DDOT's preferred species include oaks, elms, and honey locust, and the planting scheme is such that it is expected to provide 50 percent "canopy coverage" after 20 years, 10 percentage points higher than the required minimum.
* PARKING: "The design team recognizes that parking is a critical issue for the neighborhood, and will ensure that the number of parking spaces in the neighborhood remains the same. DDOT will explore the possibility of providing additional parking."
* I STREET: Plans to have the 400 block of I Street end in a stub east of the church have apparently been shelved: "Based on community feedback, the connection of I Street to the 400 block of Virginia Avenue has been restored." As seen in this revised image.
* MORE VIRGINIA!: My personal favorite out of all of this: "The Architect of the Capitol will complete their construction project in 2018, and has indicated willingness to reopen Virginia Avenue between South Capitol Street and 2nd Street SE." This would also "enhance" connections to Garfield Park, allowing for passage in locations other than just the skate park-area under the freeway.
* TWO-WAY: Once construction is over, the 800 blocks of both Virginia Avenue and L Street SE will be converted to two-way traffic.
* LIGHTING: Replacement streetlights will be LEDs, which emit a whiter light than the current streetlights. There are apparently LED streetlights now installed on 1st Street near the ballpark as a test case for the city, and the "fixtures specified for Virginia Avenue will be similar to the first series of lights on the right hand side of First Street moving away from M Street."
* VIRGINIA AVE. PARK: The final post-construction design of Virginia Avenue Park is actually the responsibility of the Department of Parks and Recreation, and there will be a "design charrette" to discuss the park's future on Oct. 15 at 7 pm at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.
Go ahead and read the notes for more details (and you can even see all the comment sheets handed in by the attendees). And the most recent designs for the streetscapes are here, plus you can check out my look at the initial designs.
Comments (9)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, Traffic Issues

Surveying the Scene at 4th and Virginia: Tunnel Excavation Underway
Oct 5, 2015 2:16 PM
Just a little photo offering of how things look near the intersection of 4th Street and Virginia Avenue SE today, where actual excavation for the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel is just getting underway.
Above Left: Looking east into the fresh excavation from 4th. Above Right: Looking west from 5th, with the excavation at left and a "scenic" vista directly ahead.
Above Left: The actual excavation, just east of 4th. Above Right: The view down 4th from north of the freeway. Watch for daytime road closures over the next few days/weeks of 4th from here to I Street.
Above: There's a reason the houses in the 300 block of Virginia Avenue are referred to as "front-row residences." (Though note that this is not tunnel excavation, but work on the temporary sidewalk and driveway in this block.)
Comments (7)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

More Tidbits: Van Ness Fundraising Via Teeter, CSX 'Hood Guide, Truckeroo
Oct 1, 2015 1:41 PM
A few more tidbits to pass along after the multiple head smacks I visited upon myself upon realizing I should have included them yesterday:
* VAN NESS AND TEETER: If you'd like to support your old/new neighborhood elementary school while shopping at your still-sort-of-new neighborhood grocery store, you can participate in Harris Teeter's Together in Education program by linking your VIC card to Van Ness Elementary by using the account number 3472, either by telling a cashier or using an online Teeter account. Then shop for the various Teeter house brands and Van Ness will receive 5 percent of your purchase prices. (And you can link up to five schools to one VIC card if you have multiple loyalties.)
* NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE: CSX announced late last week that it launched a Neighborhood Guide web site for the Barracks Row and Capitol Riverfront neighborhoods, in order to "promote area businesses to the hundreds of construction personnel and project staff who will be working in the neighborhood during the 30-42 month tunnel-reconstruction project."
* TRUCKEROO ENCORE: The Fairgrounds folks have added one more Truckeroo food truck festival to the 2015 calendar, on Friday, Oct. 9 from 11 am to 11 pm. Hopefully it will have stopped raining by then.
* CRIME FEEDS: You may have noticed that the crime reports on the JDLand home page have gone silent of late--MPD apparently transitioned to a new back end, which has resulted in reformattings of both the e-mailed and downloadable reports that I had spent numerous hours building parsers for, so now I have to rewrite those. At least I get three hours of most every day back after Sunday....
Comments (0)
More posts: crime, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, teeter, truckeroo, Van Ness Elementary

Tidbits: Tunnel Latest, VegFest (Maybe), MOPS, Ice Cream
Sep 30, 2015 11:22 AM
Without much big news these days (and now without anything big and exciting of a sporting nature happening in the neighborhood in October), it's time to go to the Tidbits hopper.
(Plus a reminder, as always, that the Twitter box on the JDLand home page is a good place to check and scroll through for up-to-the-minute tidbits.)
* SEPT. TUNNEL UPDATE: The slides from this morning's CSX "Coffee with Chuck" event have been posted, with photos showing the work being done along each block of the project (taken in locations that nosey neighborhood blogger cameras generally can't get to).
Slide 13 indicates the closure of the 300 block of Virginia Avenue is expected the week of Oct. 12, and that excavation for the tunnel in the 400 block should be getting underway right about now. Slides also show the temporary driveways and sidewalks in the 300 block of Virginia and at the Capper Seniors building east of 5th.
* DC VEGFEST: Saturday Oct. 3 is the scheduled DC VegFest from 11 am to 6 pm in the parking lots at the intersection of 1st and N SE (which, let's be honest, is a stretch to call a "Yards Park" location). There will be more than 130 vendors, cooking demos, free samples, a beer garden, a canine "barking lot" and activities for kids. It's a rain-or-shine event, but with the dicey forecast this weekend, a note on the web site does say that "severe weather conditions may result in a cancellation."
* MOPS GROUP: The Waterfront Church is organizing a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group for the neighborhood, with monthly meetings beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 6, from 7:30 to 9 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St. SE. The group's mission is to "connect moms all over the world to a community of women, in their own neighborhoods, who meet together to laugh, cry and embrace the journey of motherhood." Register here, noting that there is a $50 annual fee (or $25 if you don't require childcare at the meetings).
* ICE CREAM, FALL EDITION: In my quest to alert readers to important neighborhood news, I will pass along that Ice Cream Jubilee has announced its fall flavors: salty apple cinnamon, maple rye pecan, pumpkin honeycomb, and kiwi lemongrass. Also, eight-inch ice cream cakes are now available for custom orders, for $65.
Comments (2)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Events, icecreamjubilee

A Very Multimodal Lineup of Upcoming Public Meetings
Sep 23, 2015 11:29 AM
Some transportation-related meetings are on the calendar for next week that may be of interest to neighborhood folks:
* DC STATE RAIL PLAN OPEN HOUSE: The project to create an official "State Rail Plan" (ahem) for DC is kicking off, and DDOT is holding an open house on Monday, Sept. 28 to "introduce the plan to the community." This rail plan is a requirement for any state (again, ahem) wishing to be eligible for grants and other federal financial assistance, and is going to focus on "passenger and freight rail infrastructure shared by CSX, VRE, MARC, Amtrak, and Norfolk Southern." The intent is to have a completed plan that will provide a high-level strategic framework, goals, and objectives to leverage the District’s rail network for continuing economic competitiveness and quality-of-life investments while also addressing ongoing concerns about rail safety and oversight."
The open house will run from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Friendship Public Charter School-Chamberlain Campus, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE. This start time is 30 minutes earlier than originally announced, because....:
* VIRGINIA AVE. STREETSCAPE RESTORATION REVIEW MEETING: Also on Monday, Sept. 28, beginning at 6:30 pm at 200 I St. SE, a joint meeting by DDOT and ANCs 6B and 6D will go over CSX's draft plans for rebuilding Virginia Avenue once construction is complete on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. The first 30 minutes will be an open house, and then presentations and discussions will begin at 7 pm. There will also be a special public meeting of DDOT's Public Space Committee about the plans on Nov. 12.
(And then maybe for Christmas we can pitch in and get DDOT a group calendar, to perhaps avoid in the future scheduling two meetings with a very similar audience on the same night at nearly the same time in not-particularly-adjoining locations.)
* CIRCULATOR STOP CONSOLIDATION MEETING: On Wednesday, Sept. 30, DDOT is having a public meeting to talk about possibly consolidating some stops on the Union Station-Navy Yard line "to improve on-time performance and reliability." The only south-of-the-freeway stops on the potential chopping block are the ones at 4th and M SE in both directions, with the 6th and M stops being the closet ones to use instead. (The announcement gives the full lineup.) The meeting is from 6pm to 8pm at the Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street SE.
* CSX'S "COFFEE WITH CHUCK": If you want to go for the 72-hour quadfecta of transportation sessions, there's also the next edition of CSX's monthly meetings with the community to discuss the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, on Wednesday, Sept. 30 from 8 to 9 am at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St. SE. Items that might be up for discussion include the coming closure of the 300 block of Virginia Ave. (in "early October") and also the temporary closures of 4th Street SE from just north of the I-695 underpass down to I Street from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm this week and probably into next week.
Comments (6)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, circulator, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, Traffic Issues

Draft Plans for Virginia Avenue's Streetscape Reconstruction
Sep 10, 2015 7:58 AM
I recently took you along the multiple blocks of Virginia Avenue that are in the process of getting dug up as part of CSX's tunnel expansion and reconstruction project. But even though it's going to be a few years before the tunnels are completed, the process is underway to talk about what Virginia Avenue will look like after the construction is over.
CSX is in charge of this streetscape-and-landscaping upgrade and has submitted draft plans to various groups for review, and has posted some big (BIG) PDFs on the project web site. Meanwhile, ANC 6D commissioner Meredith Fascett put out the call last week looking for volunteers to join a neighborhood working group on the restoration plans.
But for those who don't want to wade through the PDFs, here are some partial screen grabs of CSX's submittals for the new Virginia Avenue, and I'm sure the bike/ped paths (both shared and separate) will be of interest, along with the plans to perk up Virginia Avenue Park.
These first two screen grabs show the general landscape and "roadway" plans from 2nd to 4th Street, and from 4th to 5th (click to enlarge):
For the westernmost blocks, there will be a shared porous asphalt path on the street's south side. Then, starting at 4th Street, there will be separate asphalt bike path and a companion walking path with permeable pavers. The second image also shows the expanded pocket park between 4th and 5th that will be created thanks to the planned realignment of Virginia. Note that it also has a bike path that runs down to the I Street stub--which will make for a decent cut-over to I and its bike lanes from 3rd St. SE all the way into Southwest (well, once that little part between 2nd and New Jersey opens!).
The split paths continue from 5th Street to 9th Street, as you see below (once you click to enlarge, that is):
East of 9th, into Virginia Avenue Park, the path being built by CSX disappears, but the park design seen at right shows a path that runs along the north end of the park to 11th Street, where we can all dream of a day that it hooks up with the path that is supposed to be built alongside Southeast Blvd. to Barney Circle, making for an alternate route to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail near RFK without having to go along M Street SE.
As for the park itself, the current dog park will be reconfigured, with both "large dog" and "small dog" areas. Some of the original paving stones recently uncovered will be placed in the park as well.
A public meeting to receive resident comments and feedback is expected to be happening soon, which I'm sure will be announced two minutes after I finish this post. UPDATE: Yup, less than 24 hours later, I'm seeing that the public meeting will be on Monday, Sept. 28 at 6:30, at a location to be determined.
Take a look at the full lineup of PDFs for better detail.
UPDATE, 10/7: After the meeting, updated block-by-block designs were made available (including a revision to reestablish the connection between the 400 block of I Street and Virginia Avenue), along with notes from the meeting.
Comments (4)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues, Virginia Ave Park

Surveying the Current Virginia Ave. Tunnel Construction Footprint
Sep 8, 2015 12:17 PM
If you are not one who sees much of Virginia Avenue SE in your day-to-day travels, or if you just cross it on your way to other locations, you might not be fully aware of the current scope of the initial work on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel reconstruction.
But never fear, my feet and my camera worked very hard in recent days to bring it all together for you.
Let's take a walk from west to east, shall we?

* FROM 2ND TO 3RD: The little-used stretch of Virginia from where the tracks first go underground at 2nd Street east toward 3rd was the first to close, depriving me of a good Park Chelsea/800 New Jersey vantage point (waaah!).
There's still pedestrian access right up against 200 I as you see at right, but the street itself is mostly gone, except for the portion that allows access to 200 I's loading dock.

* FROM 3RD TO 4TH: The thorniest part of the entire project is of course the 300 block of Virginia, where the townhouses on the south side of the block are taking the lion's share of residential impact during the reconstruction. As you see below, the trees along both sides of the street are gone, and access to the houses' front sidewalk from the east end is gone, as prep work is done for a new temporary driveway from 3rd Street to the alley that runs behind the houses. It's anticipated that this block will close to traffic completely next month.

* FROM 4TH TO 5TH: The intersection of 4th and Virginia is shrinking as prep work begins to build the temporary decking that will allow traffic to cross over the tunnel construction. The stretch from 4th to 5th has been stripped of its asphalt, as you see in the second photo below and the one at the top of this post. You can also see in the below right photo why there will be a temporary closure for a few weeks next spring of the 6th Street exit ramp from the freeway, so that it can be shifted north to allow for tunnel work.

* FROM 5TH TO 7TH: Those coming down the freeway ramp are now greeted with a sea of orange, and with the loss of the right lane. (And pedestrians have lost any sidewalk access to this block.) This block will remain open with reduced lanes into 2017.

* FROM 7TH TO 9TH: The small stretch of Virginia between 7th and 8th is currently untouched, but the street is closed from east of 8th to 9th (as I grumble about how part of this area was JUST ripped up and rebuilt as part of the 11th Street Bridges project).
With help from a tree stump, I was able to get a look at not only the initial work on Virginia but the clearing of a big chunk of Virginia Avenue Park, all the way across to 11th Street. The community garden remains untouched, however.

* FROM 10TH TO 12TH: The construction bends south in Virginia Avenue Park to meet up with L Street at 10th (below left), and L is now closed at its intersection with 11th (below middle). East of 11th the construction site continues (below right), but after all of this walking I failed you and did not get across there to peek in. It's in this final section where CSX reports having found more than 8,800 original paving stones buried a few feet below ground, apparently laid sometime during the 1880s-1890s. CSX says it will use some of the stones in its restoration of Virginia Avenue Park and will provide the rest to DDOT.
The sidewalk on the west side of 11th between the freeway and M Street is closed, but a recent missive from CSX says this is temporary "while we install pilings and temporary bridge decks, and work on utility relocations."
E-mail updates on closures and other construction aspects are sent out by the project team pretty regularly, if you are not already signed up. The next monthly "Coffee with Chuck" meeting with the project's chief engineer is scheduled for Sept. 30 at 8 am at the Courtyard by Marriott. (Though perhaps at some point though there needs to be a "Warm Milk/Nightcap with Chuck" for folks who don't operate well before noon.)
And my Virginia Avenue Tunnel project page is now refreshed with a fair number of before-and-after pairings to be able to see the changes at the various intersections along the construction footprint.
Comments (3)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

Friday Tidbits: I Fought the Dog Days, and the Dog Days Won
Aug 7, 2015 10:57 AM
Hi, you may remember me, I was once a blogger.
I've managed to summon the herculean strength necessary to pull myself out of the summer doldrums, but I'm left with only just enough energy to pass along these tidbits:
* SCARLET L(BR)UNCH: Lunch service at Scarlet Oak is expected to begin around Aug. 13, with a menu that will include more salads and sandwiches, according to City Paper. Brunch service is expected to begin later in August.
* 25 M AGAIN: Many many many moons ago, Akridge unveiled plans for 373,000 square feet of office space in two buildings at 25 M, the southwest corner of Half and M Streets, where the Fairgrounds currently resides. Now, nearly eight years and two property sales later, it's been announced that Akridge and new landowner Brandywine Realty Trust will be developing a 275,000 square feet of office space in one building on the site, which will also include 25,000 square feet of retail. It will be designed by HOK "to create a landmark presence at one of the most visible intersections" in the city, offering tenants "incredible visibility, branding, and communications opportunity." No timeline for this was mentioned. (And we're still waiting to hear what JBG will be doing with the south end of the Fairgrounds block.)
* FOR THE LADIES: There's now a nursing room at Nats Park.
* GARBER ON THE RUN: As astute observers once predicted, former #NavyYard ANC commissioner David Garber has announced his candidacy in the 2016 race for the at-large council seat currently occupied by Vincent Orange.
* TUNNEL OPEN HOUSE: The next quarterly CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel open house is Thursday, Aug. 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St. SE. No formal presentation, but lots of project representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide updates.
UPDATE: Should have also mentioned that there will be fireworks after tonight's Nats game (Aug. 7). The Yards Park is a particularly fine place to watch them, if you haven't already found that out.
Comments (1)
More posts: 25m, West Half St., ballpark, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, politics, scarletoak

Latest Schedules for Tunnel-Related Closures and Cross-Street Decking
Jul 23, 2015 2:38 PM
CSX's monthly "Coffee with Chuck" was this morning, and while I didn't attend, that isn't stopping me from glomming onto the presentation slides that have already been posted on the official VirginiaAvenueTunnel.com web site.
Contained therein were three slides that I think will be of particular interest: the latest schedules for expected street closures and lane reductions as well as when the various intersections with Virginia Avenue will be temporarily closed to install decking.
(I'm also including CSX's graphic of what the be-decked intersections will look like.)
If you aren't bothering to click to enlarge (for shame!), here's some highlights:
* Expect the section of Virginia Avenue between 3rd and 4th to be completely closed in early October.
* The work to begin creating the temporary decking on the cross streets will begin first at 11th Street, with 8-10 weeks of reduced lanes starting next month. (A shame this didn't happen during all of that OTHER work along the same stretch of 11th....)
* It appears that the intersection at 4th and Virginia won't have a complete closure during its decking, but will see 3-4 weeks of reduced lanes beginning in October.
* The intersections with 3rd, 5th/6th (man, I hate that intersection), and 7th will be the ones that will have up to two weeks of complete closures while the decking is installed, with another few weeks of reduced lanes, but this schedule indicates those won't happen before spring of 2016.
In other Tunnel Disruption Alerts, CSX sent out word earlier today that there will be interruptions to Comcast Services on Aug. 6 and 7 while the company performs "cable splicing," though the alert indicates that this will primarily impact very nearby residences and businesses south of the freeway.
CSX's next quarterly open house is scheduled for Aug. 13, plus you can have Coffee with Chuck on Aug. 19, Sept. 30, and Oct. 21.
Comments (1)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Surveying the Changing Landscape of Virginia Avenue
Jul 12, 2015 4:48 PM
It's still relatively early in the process, but let's take a look at the changes that have already been put in place thanks to the start of construction on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
The closure of Virginia between 4th and 5th Streets, SE (seen here) has probably had the greatest impact so far, preventing vehicles from taking Virginia toward 8th Street (and its outbound ramp to I-695) unless one goes south on 4th to K, then north on 5th.
According to CSX, there will be increased prep work at this location this week, and it could see the start of drilling for steel and concrete pilings as early as the week of July 20.
Immediately to the south, the stockade fences are going up in front of the nearby townhomes, and the little stub of I Street has been closed east of 4th and east of the alley that runs between the townhouses and St. Paul's (see below left, click to enlarge). The I Street "hook" into Virginia Avenue will not reopen--the pocket park in this location will be reconfigured and enlarged once construction is finished.
Some moving of dirt has actually begun, as you see above in the shot of Virginia Avenue east of 2nd, alongside the stretch of road that was closed a few weeks ago.
The initial cutting down of trees along Virginia is particularly noticeable west of 3rd, as shown in this comparison of a 2007 photo and one from today (more before-and-afters of this intersection here):
According to the latest updates from CSX, parking will be restricted this week on Virginia between 3rd and 4th to allow for more cutting down of trees. And it's expected that perhaps as early as next week Virginia Avenue will be closed between 8th and 9th. (The numbered cross streets remain open.)
One other closure worth photographing is the underpass just to the south of Garfield Park, where skateboarders can still congregate (yay?), but is now closed to any attempts to get completely south of the freeway.
CSX is holding another one of its "Coffee with Chuck" events on Thursday, July 23 from 7:30 to 9 am at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St., SE, in case you'd like to hear the latest updates and ask questions of the chief project engineer. (RSVPs requested.) Slides from the June ChucKlatch have been posted as well.
There's also now the option to receive updates on the project via SMS, should you wish.
The Virginia Avenue Tunnel official web site has more, and I've started getting my own Virginia Avenue Tunnel page prepped for the expected onslaught of before-and-afters
Comments (5)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Post-Vacation Tidbits: Cranes Up, Roads Closed, and Carryout Pizza
Jun 29, 2015 9:26 AM
I'm now back from a much-needed respite in north-central and northeast Wyoming, where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play (sometimes in your yard), and where the skies are (mostly) not cloudy all day.
While I'm miffed that all work in Near Southeast did not grind to a halt while I was gone, I will still pass along these quick tidbits of news, for those who weren't doing their own newsgathering over the past 10 days.
* CRANES A'PLENTY: The residential projects at 801 New Jersey and 1111 New Jersey have now joined the lineup of sites where tower cranes are in place. This of course means that vertical construction at these locations won't be too far off, should everything go according to plan. And there's probably a crane coming before long at 909 Half as well. (Speaking of cranes, they are often lightning rods--literally, as the Dock 79 crane found out last week.)
* ROADS A'CLOSING: On Wednesday, June 24, Virginia Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets SE was closed and fenced, as part of initial Virginia Avenue Tunnel work. And a missive from CSX a few days ago says that the expectation is that Virginia will close between 4th and 5th "on or about" Wednesday, July 1. (But the cross streets will remain open.) Drivers will need to use K Street over to 5th to then continue north under the freeway, or to continue east on Virginia Avenue until that portion of road is closed as well.
* PIZZA PIZZA: There's still the pesky detail of actual construction, but at last a building permit has been approved for Nicoletta, the pizza/pasta carryout kiosk long planned by Osteria Morini's Chef Michael White in one of the small retail bays beneath the Yards Park overlook, on the Riverwalk.
* BARDO DELAYED: The plans for an outdoor park and "brew garden" on the west end of the Florida Rock site are "now looking like a fall opening," according to WBJ--"if we're lucky." "Red tape" is the reason given. WBJ also notes that the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that was looking for $200,000 to help fund the venture closed with $4,330 in contributions.
There's probably more to come, but that's good enough for now.
Comments (8)
More posts: 1111 New Jersey/Insignia on M, 801nj, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, development, Florida Rock, nicoletta

CSX Tunnel Work: Virginia Avenue Closures Starting to Loom
Jun 10, 2015 4:34 PM
The meat of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion project appears to be edging closer, as CSX sent out an announcement today with a preliminary heads up that the first full "for the duration" closures could happen by the end of June:
* Virginia Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets, SE, will close to traffic and parking "as soon as Monday, June 22."
* Virginia Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets, SE, will close to traffic and parking "as soon as Monday, June 29."
In both cases, fencing will be installed along the project site's perimeter, plus a temporary sidewalk will be installed between 2nd and 3rd.
Look for traffic to increase on the detour routes along I and/or K Streets in these blocks.
In addition, the recreation area under the Southeast Freeway/I-695 at 2nd Street will not be accessible from the south, which means no walking to and from Garfield Park in that spot until tunnel construction is cleared from that location. (The rec area will still be accessible, but only from the north/Garfield Park side.) There will also be fencing installed along the south side of Garfield Park by the rec area.
There will also be temporary closures of the left lane of Virginia Avenue between 5th and 7th Streets for a few weeks, starting perhaps as early as June 17.
This doesn't mean the start of actual digging or pile driving is nigh in these blocks--there are still apparently utility relocations and "other preparations" to complete before excavation work is to begin.
And when they say "as soon as," they really are doing a bit of ballparking. So if the blocks don't close on the above dates, don't assume that they've changed their minds.
For more about the project, check out my Virginia Avenue Tunnel page or the official web site.
Note: I'm not going to pass along every single construction update from CSX, so best to join the mailing list or follow the project on Twitter if you require minute-by-minute information, but I will highlight big milestones as they are announced.
UPDATE: I've said it so many times that I didn't think about mentioning it AGAIN, but I will mention AGAIN that the cross-streets in the zone of the project--3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th--will all remain open, allowing for continued vehicle and pedestrian traffic across Virginia and under the freeway. At some point there will be closures of a number of days to install the wooden planking on the intersections above the tunnel digging, but those streets are not scheduled to close for months and months. And neither is the exit ramp from the freeway to 6th Street, though all cars will have to turn left/north and go under the freeway.
Comments (1)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

CSX Announces 'Start of Major Construction' on Virginia Ave. Tunnel
May 28, 2015 11:19 AM
A missive from CSX just now:
"CSX today started the major construction phase of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project. The support of excavation work now underway consists of drilling 42-inch holes for steel and concrete pilings that will support a temporary retaining wall necessary to construct the first new permanent tunnel elements. This work is taking place at the west end of the project site in public space near 2nd and H Streets, S.E."
It goes on to say that similar work will get underway at the eastern end of the tunnel near 11th & M SE "within the next few weeks."
As always, to get more information, check out my Virginia Avenue Tunnel page (which probably needs a bit of freshening) or the official VirginiaAvenueTunnel.com web site, where you can also sign up to be on the project mailing list.
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Virginia Avenue Tunnel Injunction Denial Appeal Denied
May 26, 2015 4:40 PM
Today Judge Christopher Cooper has denied the Committee of 100's appeal of his April ruling denying the group's request for an injunction to prevent CSX from moving forward on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction while the C100 lawsuit works its way through the process.
Quoting from the order: "The Committee contends that new information gleaned from the recently-produced administrative record demonstrates that the federal and local agencies involved in the environmental review of the reconstruction project unlawfully predetermined its outcome. The Court concludes, however, that the Committee’s new evidence does not satisfy its burden to demonstrate that the agencies failed objectively to consider the environmental impacts of the reconstruction. Accordingly, it will deny the motion."
The Committee of 100 had filed their appeal in May, saying that new access to the "full record in the case," all 130,000 pages of it, showed "persuasive evidence of improper predetermination that was not available to the District Court" at the time of the initial injunction denial. But Judge Cooper wrote that "the portions of the administrative record provided by the Committee do not support its position that DDOT unlawfully predetermined the NEPA outcome or that FHWA failed to independently consider the environmental effects of the tunnel reconstruction."
You can read the full opinion/order for more detail.
(And, whaddya know, C100 is still using my photo on their web site! UPDATE, 5/27: It took a bit of back-and-forth, but the photo is now taken down.)
Comments (4)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Virginia Ave. Tunnel Utility Relocation Work Now Underway, For Real
May 11, 2015 12:17 PM
A series of press releases over the past few weeks have said that initial utility relocation work was about to get underway Any Minute Now at the intersection of 4th and Virginia, but today the wishcasting seems to have finally come true, as you can see.
In addition, it was announced that "as soon as" today, "utility relocation work will start near the intersections of Virginia Avenue and 5th, 6th, 8th and 11th Streets, S.E." And indeed I spied work underway today at the corner of 8th and Virginia as well.
"Work will include surveying, pavement removal, trenching and other activities associated with utility relocations. Traffic lanes in these areas may be shifted and some parking spaces will be occupied. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians should use caution when traveling through this area and be prepared to follow temporary traffic controls. This work is expected to continue through September."
Another item scheduled to happen Any Minute Now is the fencing of a significant portion of Virginia Avenue Park, on a line that will spare the community garden but will bring about the closure of the dog park. (I saw no evidence of any fence just now on the park's western end at 9th Street, but I can't confirm or deny any work elsewhere in the park at this moment.)
As stated in CSX's release on the matter: "Access to the portion of the park being fenced will be restricted through the duration of the tunnel project. CSX apologizes for any inconveniences that these restrictions may create. Access will be restored and enhancements will be made to the park at the completion of the tunnel-construction project. "
In other words, unless something happens with the lawsuit, this is the beginning of a many-months-long stretch of work just to the south of the freeway.
If you wish to pelt an official with questions about it all, you can join CSX assistant vice president Chuck Gullakson for "Coffee with Chuck" on May 20 from 7:30 to 9:30 am at the Courtyard by Marriott (RSVP here).
Comments (2)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Committee of 100 Appeals Virginia Ave. Tunnel Injunction Denial
May 5, 2015 8:09 PM
The Post reported on Monday that the Committee of 100 has filed an appeal of the recent ruling denying its injunction motion, with an emergency motion to reverse the previous ruling and to "suspend the effectiveness of the Environmental Impact Statement, thereby preventing construction of CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel until the Court can issue a decision on the merits of the case."
Sayeth the Post: "Last month, District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper ruled that rebuilding the 111-year-old tunnel is in the best interest of the public, and said that the Committee failed to establish grounds for a preliminary injunction."
The actual lawsuit, which "questions the legality and transparency of the project's federal environmental review process and says there were violations of federal and DC law," is still pending.
In the meantime, initial site work has supposedly now gotten underway at 2nd and 4th streets, though I have not witnessed this with my own eyes when I last looked on Monday evening. The official VirginiaAvenueTunnel.com web site is posting updates on items related to the project, should you wish more information.
And by the way, Committee of 100, I'm pretty sure that's a bad blow-up of one of my photos you are repeatedly using on your site, without permission or attribution. Your teams of lawyers should know better. (UPDATE, 5/7: I've received an apology from them, and they've taken down the photo, for which I thank them on both counts.)
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Notices of Virginia Avenue Tunnel-Related Utility Relocation Work
Apr 19, 2015 5:46 PM
CSX has put out the word that there will be two utility relocation sites related to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project gearing up starting on Monday, April 20, or thereabouts:
* Traffic lanes on 4th Street SE between the westbound lanes of Virginia Avenue and I Street will "temporarily shift to accommodate utility relocation work." The work will happen between 7 am and 7 pm on weekdays only and is expected to last about two months. "Some parking spaces will be temporarily occupied during the work period to accommodate lane shifts."
* There will also be utility relocation work under the Southeast Freeway in the "ad hoc recreation area," that little pass-through popular with the skateboard kidz where you can walk from 2nd Street under the overpass and into Garfield Park. "Access to the area will be limited during construction hours and visitors are encouraged to be cautious when traveling near the area." There's also the note that in the coming weeks "this work will extend into the intersection of 2nd Street S.E. and Virginia Avenue."
If you wish to discuss any of this with CSX, there will be an open house on April 23 from 4:30 to 7:30 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 140 L St. SE. There's also expanded hours at the CSX community office on New Jersey Avenue: it's now open from 7 am to noon Mondays and Wednesdays and noon to 8 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also contact them by e-mail, phone, or web.
I wrote a few months ago about the initial construction plans, under which "utility relocation" qualifies.

Comments (26)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

Virginia Ave. Tunnel Lawsuit: Judge Refuses Injunction Request
Apr 7, 2015 2:48 PM
Today US District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled against the request for an injunction in the lawsuit brought by the Committee of 100 over the plans and process around the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
You can read the opinion here, but here's a quote that gets at the meat of the ruling, on page 3:
"Before the Court is an application by the Committee for a preliminary injunction prohibiting DDOT from issuing the necessary permits for reconstruction of the tunnel to begin. The bar for obtaining a preliminary injunction pending resolution of a suit on the merits is high, and the Court concludes that it has not been cleared here. On the record before the Court, the Committee has not established that its suit is likely to succeed on the merits. Nor has it shown that the potential environmental harm of reconstruction outweighs the public benefit from modernizing the tunnel. The Court will, accordingly, deny the Committee's application."
There then follows 40 pages of discussion of the legal merits of each of the Committee of 100's points of contention, before concluding:
"The Court concludes the balance of the equities tips decidedly in the Defendants' favor, and particularly towards the public interest. As discussed above, the Committee's contentions that a new tunnel will lead to more accidents and a greater risk of terrorist attack are speculative at best. And with the exception of the removal of some 200 trees, the Committee has not established that any environmental effects of the construction activity will be severe or irreparable."
It goes on to say that, while a resident's misgivings about a large-scale construction project outside her windows are "understandable," those concerns "do not outweigh the broader public's substantial interest in modernizing this deteriorating and outmoded tunnel."
This is not necessarily the end of the lawsuit--it just means that there is nothing preventing DDOT from issuing the permits that would allow CSX to begin work on the project while the lawsuit continues to wind its way through the process.
See my Virginia Avenue Tunnel page for an overview of the project; and back in February I looked at the staging plans for the first few months of construction, which can begin once the required permits are in CSX's hands.
And perhaps this is as good a time as any to mention that CSX's next quarterly open house is scheduled for April 23 from 4:30 to 7:30 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St., SE.
Comments (1)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Tuesday Tidbits: Slow Down, You Move Too Fast
Mar 24, 2015 11:48 AM
* SOUTH CAPITOL SPEED CAMERAS: MPD has announced the latest batch of speed camera deployments, and it includes South Capitol Street between O Street and Potomac Avenue--alongside Nationals Park and just north of the Douglass Bridge--in both directions. "The 30 day educational phase, or 'warning period', will commence on or about March 23, 2015. During this period, violators will receive warning citations. After the 30 day warning period, MPD will begin issuing live moving citations to violators."
* NATS PARK MAGNETOMETERS: There was a media event on Monday to unveil the new magnetometers at all entrances to Nats Park. (I'll note that this sign about the procedures will probably not be met with glee.) I wasn't at the event, but I did get my own shot on Sunday of the new installations at the Center Field Gate, as you see at right. The new security screening procedures will be in place starting with the April 4 exhibition game against the Yankees. Arrive early! (WaPo)
* US-NY CIRCULATOR CHANGE: "From 3/29, catch the Union Station bus to Navy Yard only at Mass Ave and Columbus Cir 1st & 2nd St stops discontinued." (@DCCirculator; more here)
* YARDS PARK WORK: "We're almost ready for Splash Season! Please 'pardon our dust' as we prepare the water features and basin. We'll update here when finished!" (@YardsPark)
* PEEKING AT CSX: At right is a shot of the now-cleared area just south of the freeway and behind the 70 and 100 Capitol Yards apartment buildings. This work has had hearts aflutter that there could be some new development coming there, but it is actually just CSX clearing its considerable tract of land as prep work continues for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
* PEEKING AT EVERYTHING ELSE: I'm going to have to recalibrate my normal mission to over-document projects in blog posts, given the breadth of work underway in the neighborhood. That said, I can't pass up a quick sharing of the cellphone photos I took Sunday afternoon while peeking through fences at the Homewood Suites, 82 I, Hampton Inn/Ballpark Square, and 909 Half sites. (Click all to enlarge.) It would have been even better if I had included the other holes in the ground, at 1111 New Jersey, 800 New Jersey, and Florida Rock, but I failed.
Comments (6)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, South Capitol St., Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Snow Day Tuesday Tidbits: Fresh as the Newfallen Snow
Feb 17, 2015 11:49 AM
Everybody enjoying their snow day? (Except for those of you who work for places that don't close, like, say, daily newspapers.) This was a nice little snow, but I remain spoiled by the ghost of 2009-10, the winter that this snow lover will always remember. (This Nats Park shot is from Feb. 7, 2010, in between the two mammoth snowstorms. It was a pretty different neighborhood that I traisped around in getting photos....)
On to the tidbits:
* SNOW CANCELLATIONS: The BID's Mardi Gras celebration planned for today has been cancelled (except for beads still being handed out), and the Van Ness Elementary fundraiser at Nando's has been rescheduled for March 24. (But the latter gives me an excuse to mention that I have finally built a Van Ness project page!)
* SNOW CANCELLATIONS/CSX: Today was supposed to be the hearing on the Committee of 100's move for an injunction to prevent CSX from moving forward on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel until the lawsuit itself is heard, but Mother Nature has forced a postponement, to a date to be determined. But you can still read the Post's preview piece on the hearing.
* TRAPEZE SCHOOL MOVE: It had started to seem like the Trapeze School's long-planned move to the southwest corner of Spooky Park at New Jersey and Tingey wasn't necessarily a given, but HillNow reports that the school has now confirmed the move, likely to happen this fall. In the meantime, there's a zoning case to be heared in March to allow them to stay in their current spot during this year, while their new home is prepped.
* SECURITY THEATER: The photo of construction outside the Nats Park centerfield gate at right that I posted a few weeks back brought much speculation, but it's now confirmed that the work was/is to install magnetometers (WaPo).
* CHANGE AT WILLIE'S: Eater DC reports that both chef Rock Harper and his brother/general manager Ed Howard have left Willie's Brew & Que. No hints on why.
* THE GLOBAL REACH OF SNARK: Technically off-topic, but I learned last week that tossing out snarky comments on Twitter can sometimes have a reach beyond just my followers. (See paragraph #5.) Thank heavens I spelled "artisanal" correctly.
Comments (8)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Nationals Park, trapezeschool, Van Ness Elementary, willies, Parcel A/Yards

First Details on Initial Virginia Ave. Tunnel Construction Staging
Feb 5, 2015 9:52 PM
Tonight a gaggle of representatives from CSX and Clark/Parsons held an open house to provide information on what will happen during the first four months of the multiyear project to expand the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
If you were unable to attend, the meeting boards are here, covering a wide range of topics.
Of greatest interest to observers outside of the "front row" homes along Virginia Avenue would probably be the boards laying out the planned flow of construction during the project's first four months, from the construction of fences to the relocation of public utilities to the removal of trees (all those little red dots--ow) to the installation of temporary sidewalks and driveways.
(Best to fire up the PDF and zoooooom in to read the legend and the graphics on the construction maps, because there's no way I can summarize it all here.)
The first part of the project will be to build the new companion tunnel immediately to the south of the existing tunnel, which CSX says is expected to last 18-20 months. The work won't happen all at once along all 10 blocks of the project, nor will it proceed in an orderly wave from west to east. The first eight-foot-high fences will go up west of 2nd Street and in the "pocket park" block between 4th and 5th, and with utility relocation happening throughout the first four months across most of the other blocks along Virginia.
During this first 18ish-month phase, traffic coming off of the Southeast Freeway will be able to continue eastward on Virginia Avenue to 8th Street, albeit with a reduction in the number of lanes. (No, the freeway ramp isn't going to be closed for five years.)
When work then shifts to the expansion of the existing tunnel, the stretch of Virginia between 5th and 7th will be closed and traffic coming off the freeway will be routed onto the portion of Virginia north of the freeway, which will become a two-way street during this part of the project.
The cross streets--3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, and 11th--will remain open throughout construction, albeit with temporary closures to build the decking across the tunnel trench. (No, the cross streets aren't going to be closed for five years.)
One new-to-me tidbit this evening is that the little stub of I Street east of 4th that runs around the south side of the pocket park will be permanently closed, with the green space of that block reconfigured, and with Virginia Avenue shifted northward to align it correctly with the rest of the street. (UPDATE: Note that the drawings show that during construction [and I presume afterward] the stub will stay open up to the driveway between St. Paul's and the CQ houses. The stub of the stub, as it were. I am asking for clarification.)
Air, noise, and vibration monitoring stations will be set up soon at a number of locations along the construction zone, as part of the overall construction mitigation plan.
CSX has agreed to a number of items outside the tunnel construction itself both as part of the Section 106 historical/archaeological agreement and community mitigation plans. The tunnel's portal stones will be reused, as will the original Virginia Avenue paving stones, and the control tower at 2nd and Virginia SW will be restored. (And interpretive signs! Let's not forget those!) They have also pledged to restore Virginia Avenue Park and nstall improved lighting and traffic signals/crosswalks, a better connection to Garfield Park, a new bike path, wider sidewalks, and a new dog park.
For the "front row" residents along Virginia Avenue, there is also the Residential Mitigation Plan, which includes $500 payments for 42 months, an additional payment of as much as $75,000 if a resident sells their home during construction (to "offset the sale prices required to market [the] home"). There is also a pre-construction inspection process underway in case a resident needs to file a claim for damage during the project.
And now that I've tried to hit the highest of high points, and knowing that you didn't click on the PDF link despite my telling you to, here are the other display boards of most general interest (though you're still going to want the PDF to read the maps):
* First 120 Days Staging, 7th Street Eastward
* Residential and Community Mitigation Plans
* Emergency Plans and Response
* Safety
* Environmental Compliance
* Air and Noise/Vibration Monitoring
* Section 106 Compliance
The big question of course is, when will this "real" construction start? While some site preparation is already underway, the company must receive approval of public space permits from the city before the fences go up, which hasn't yet happened.
Then there is the lawsuit filed by the Committee of 100 to try to get a new environmental impact study, which would of course delay the project considerably (it's almost like that's their plan!). While the case itself won't be heard until June, on Feb. 17 there will be a hearing on C100's request for an injunction to prevent the city from issuing permits for work on the tunnel during the course of the lawsuit.
On Jan. 26, Judge Christopher Cooper heard--and denied--the group's request to subpoena a wide range of CSX documents "about information that wasn’t addressed in the final environmental impact statement about the project or in the administrative record," according to Law.com (subscription req.).
CSX representatives have told me that, until the judge tells them otherwise, they will continue to move forward on the project.
I point you to my Virginia Avenue Tunnel project page for more information and for photos of the length of the street, and to CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel web site as well.
All told, the project is supposed to last somewhere between 30 and 42 months. Give or take.
Comments (3)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

CSX Gets Tunnel Site Preparation Permit; Open House Feb. 5
Jan 29, 2015 10:47 AM
This morning's Approved Building Permits feed included an entry that you might imagine immediately caught my eye:
861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE
BCIV1400064 / CONSTRUCTION
THE VIRGINIA AVENUE TUNNEL RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT WILL MODIFY THE EXISTING CSX OWNED-AND-OPERATED TUNNEL AND TRACKS IN SE WASHINGTON DC APPROXIMATELY FROM SOUTH CAPITOL STREET TO WATER ST SE AND UNDERNEATH THE EASTBOUND LANES OF VIRGINIA AVE SE.
I wondered, Is this the biggie? The one that would allow start of construction on the expanded Virginia Avenue Tunnel, if lawsuits and judges don't bring a halt (temporarily or permanently) to the proceedings?
I contacted CSX, and was told that no, this permit is just to allow the start of site-preparation work on CSX property at both ends of the tunnel, and does not cover any work that might occur on public space.
Construction trailers are expected to appear within the next few weeks at the New Jersey Avenue site, and there will also be "some minor work on CSX property at the north end of the tunnel."
As for the project itself, to expand the single-track tunnel into two one-track tunnels, those permits are not yet issued.
If you have questions about this permit or about any other part of the project (!!!), CSX is holding an open house on Thursday, Feb. 5, from 4:30 to 7:30 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St., SE., in the Admiral Ballroom.
In the announcement of the open house, CSX says that it will be providing information "about upcoming construction activities near the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, including the general locations where activity will occur, the type of activities and a preliminary schedule."
There will be "information displays detailing constructions activities, locations and timelines," and "representatives of CSX and Clark/Parsons, CSX’s design-build contractor, will be on hand throughout the event to answer questions."
But of greater interest may be the ability to register for the "CSX-funded pre-construction inspection program," which will allow construction-area residents and property owners to "document the current interior and exterior condition of properties and will help expedite processing of any construction-related claims that may be made in the future."
The company is offering a free shuttle to the hotel from the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE.
Comments (1)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

M Street Closure This Weekend, and Other Transportation Tidbits
Dec 11, 2014 1:59 PM
* 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

Not a Shocker: Lawsuit Filed to Stop Virginia Avenue Tunnel
Nov 12, 2014 9:04 AM
In a move that will surprise absolutely no one, the Committee of 100 on the Federal City is announcing today that a lawsuit is being filed to challenge last week's Record of Decision on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
In a press release, the committee's vice president, Monte Edwards, is quoted thusly: "The official Record of Decision fails to address the severe safety and security impacts the proposed project will have on the immediate community and on Capitol Hill, the constraint on the expansion of passenger and commuter rail service in the District, and the pre-approval by DDOT of the project before any environmental review had been conducted."
OJ Simpson-era readers will recognize this phrasing: "Edwards also emphasized that there is no need to rush-to-judgment on the CSX proposal. The EIS expressly states that the current CSX tunnel has 'decades' left of useful service."
Also an Edwards quote: "Issuance of the Record of Decision ends the administrative process, and litigation is the only option to obtain a new EIS that addresses our concerns. Until we have a new EIS, no permits should be granted by the District or federal officials."
The group also plans to file a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop any further action until the court issues a ruling.
There will be a press conference on the front steps of the US District Courthouse this morning at 11 am.
UPDATE: Here's the statement from CSX in response:
"The reconstruction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel has been approved by the Federal and District of Columbia governments following a lengthy public oversight, review and comment process that shaped the final design of this project. CSX is committed to doing this project the right way, safely, respecting our neighbors and working closely with residents and businesses to minimize impacts and to ensure that they are informed about construction plans. Modernizing this tunnel will help alleviate freight and passenger rail delays and stimulate economic growth by removing a significant transportation bottleneck. CSX believes the project should move forward promptly."
Comments (1)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

FHWA Approves Virginia Ave. Tunnel Plans; Review Process Over
Nov 4, 2014 5:22 PM
(STOP ALL THE NEWS TODAY! I CAN'T TAKE IT!)
This afternoon--5 pm on Election Day--the Federal Highway Administration released its Record of Decision on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, which approves the chosen preferred alternative for the project, while also approving "short-term closures of I-695 ramps at 6th and 8th Streets SE" and "occupancy of a portion of the 11th Street Bridge right-of-way located on I-695."
It also brings to a close the NEPA process on the project that began a thousand years ago, give or take. (Okay, it took about three years.)
This design will replace the current tunnel with two new permanent tunnels, constructed sequentially. It is expected to take somewhere between 30 to 42 months to complete.
CSX immediately issued a press release saying that this decision will enable the company "to complete the tunnel’s design and initiate the construction permitting process" with the District Department of Transportation.
CSX's release also says that "major construction is expected to begin in the next several months, following receipt of the required permits." But somehow I am guessing that the path from this ROD to shovels in the ground isn't necessarily a smooth one, especially since the Committee of 100 has already let it be known that any decision short of an indefinite delay of the project would result in a lawsuit.
The entire ROD document is close to 300 pages long--feel free to dive right in.
I'll update as more statements, stories, and rending of garments come in.
UPDATE: Here's the Post's initial story, and a lengthy quote from it: "CSX Transportation can now move into the local permitting phase, followed by what could be about three and a half years of construction. Although the company must obtain permits from the city to move forward, there is every indication that the process will go smoothly. Even before completion of the mandated National Environmental Policy Act review, the D.C. Department of Transportation had agreed to let CSX take over the roads near the tunnel for the purpose of rebuilding it. Crews could start securing the site as early as this fall, officials said."
UPDATE II: A quote from page 3 of the ROD, about the approach to the tunnel work: "Implementation of the Selected Alternative will involve replacing the existing Virginia Avenue Tunnel with two new permanent tunnels constructed sequentially. The south side tunnel will be constructed first as train traffic will continue to use the existing tunnel. Once completed, train traffic will shift to the new south side tunnel, and the existing tunnel will be demolished. Most of the north wall of the existing tunnel will remain in place so that the structural integrity of the I-695 viaduct will not be affected. Following demolition, the north side tunnel will be constructed. At the end of construction, each new tunnel will have a single railroad track with enough vertical clearance to allow double-stack intermodal container freight trains. "
Comments (6)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Tidbits: Unleashing the Tunnel Decision on Half Street, Or Some Such
Sep 18, 2014 9:30 AM
A few tidbits to throw your way, but first let's start off with one of my favorite photos, taken eight years ago yesterday while standing at 1st and M. You can see more shots from Sept. 17, 2006 in the archive.
* UNLEASHED BY PETCO: It was rumored back in May, and there's still been no official announcement from Forest City, but a building permit issued last week seems to be the final confirmation that Unleashed by Petco is coming to the Boilermaker Shops.
* CSX: The Post reports that "It could be a few weeks before the Federal Highway Administration releases a decision on the proposed expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Southeast Washington." The "Record of Decision" hasn't yet been finalized. In the meantime, the Committee of 100 has let it be known that any decision short of an indefinite delay will result in a lawsuit. (Shocker!)
* HALF STREET: WBJ talks to new Half Street poobah Jair Lynch about his group's plans for the Half Street hole, now that they've bought it from Monument Realty. "While the project is expected to remain a mix of residential, retail and hotel, Lynch said he is now considering condos in addition to apartments, tweaking unit sizes, adding green features and amenities and bringing in a 'completely different retail mix.'" (Longtime area observers note that in Monument's original plans, the two residential buildings at the south end of the block were planned to be condos and apartments. And of course it's easy to "change" the retail mix when there isn't any to begin with.) They hope to get underway by 2016, WBJ says.
* MLB LATE NIGHT WITH METRO: WTOP: "Although the Washington Nationals have clinched the NL East, the team has not reached a deal with Metro to keep trains running past midnight during home playoff games." The Metro policy is that the Nationals would have to pay at $29,500 deposit to stay open an extra hour during the week; some of you may remember that back in 2012, the Nats did not step forward to pay, so Livingsocial offered to foot the bill.

Catching Up with a Big Batch Of Items on Coming Projects
Aug 22, 2014 11:20 AM
These are all items I had hoped to write about more fully, but at this point I'd better just pass them along.
* FLORIDA ROCK: MRP Realty is now in control of the land at the Florida Rock site that will become the 350-unit apartment building that is the first phase of RiverFront on the Anacostia. A $65 million loan is expected to be finalized soon, and the developers say that the project will "commence construction by late summer 2014." (WBJ)
* BEVY OF PERMITS: If you browse the teeny type in the right margin of the JDLand home page, you'll already know that building permits have been approved in the past few weeks for the apartment projects at 1111 New Jersey and 1331 4th Street (aka Parcel N at the Yards, aka Arris). A tenant layout permit has also been approved for CBS Radio's first-floor performance studio at 1015 Half Street. Also, fresh off its zoning approvals, developers of the Homewood Suites at 50 M have filed for shoring/sheeting/excavation permits.
* LATEST ON 1333 M: Late last year plans were filed with the Zoning Commission for a three-building, 673-unit residential project on M Street east of the 11th Street Bridges. After some delay, a Dec. 1 hearing date has been set, and WBJ takes a look at recent filings, including some new renderings.
* THE YARDS, ONE PIECE AT A TIME: "Rather than purchase all 42 acres up front, Forest City buys each parcel from the General Services Administration as it is ready to build. The latest: The $28.37 million acquisition of 1331 Fourth St. SE, site of the 327-unit Arris apartment project." Total land costs so far across the Yards? $46 million. (WBJ)
* TUNNEL LATEST: With a council hearing about the project coming on Aug. 26, the Federal Highway Administration has postponed its final decision on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel until at least Sept. 15. But the delay is affecting residents and businesses. (WaPo)
* SCHOOL BOUNDARIES: The planned reopening of Van Ness Elementary next year passes another milestone, as its boundaries get included in the city's revamped map, released earlier this week. The final boundaries cross into Southwest south of M Street, shifting some students over to Van Ness from Amidon-Bowen, "to better align school building capacity with population and with boundary participation rates, and to support racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, where possible." (WaPo)

Next Virginia Avenue Tunnel Meeting July 31; Another Video
Jul 16, 2014 9:02 AM
The second public meeting about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Final Environmental Impact Statement has now been scheduled for 6:30 pm on Thursday, July 31, at the Capitol Skyline hotel at South Capitol and I streets, SW.
The release from the tunnel folks says that this meeting "will include a presentation responsive to input by citizens from the public meeting held on July 1, 2014 with a question and answer period focused on the July 1 input."
This is the additional meeting sought by DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, along with the extension of the comment period from 30 to 60 days.
The official web site has the presentation and boards from the July 1 meeting.
I already posted the video animation released to show how the construction would go, and now I see this additional video showing the completed east and west portals (entrances) to the tunnel, along with how Virginia Avenue is expected to look after construction is finished.
Comments (4)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Video Animation of Virginia Avenue Tunnel Construction Plan
Jul 8, 2014 8:59 AM
From the Washington Post's piece on the extension of the comment period on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Final EIS, a video provided by DDOT and FHWA showing the expected progression for the tunnel's construction.
Link.
I am miffed, however, that the animation doesn't include a red-headed photographer sticking a camera over the fences.
Comments (22)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Reminder: Public Meeting on Virginia Avenue Tunnel EIS
Jul 1, 2014 12:05 AM
A gentle reminder that the public meeting to discuss the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel is tonight (July 1) at 6:30 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel at South Capitol and I Streets, SW.
It will no doubt be your garden variety public meeting--residents filling the seats and asking pointed questions, public officials carefully making well-vetted statements, consultants scurrying around the perimeter consulting, and opponents protesting out front beforehand.
UPDATE: Before the meeting even gets off the ground, DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has announced that USDOT has agreed to extend the comment period from 30 to 60 days (though she had asked for 90) and to hold a second public meeting before the end of the review period.
Comments (1)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Opponents Slam DDOT for 'Pre-Approving' Tunnel Plans
Jun 20, 2014 9:02 AM
(I am, as they say, out of pocket, so I hope you will have patience with me for being in cut and pasting mode today.)
Here is the release sent out on Wednesday from the DCSafeRail folks about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Final Environmental Impact Statement released last week:

DC APPARENTLY PRE-APPROVES CSX TUNNEL BEFORE ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY CONCLUDES

(June 19, 2014) Washington, DC--According to documents in the Environmental Impact Statement for the CSX Tunnel at Virginia Avenue, SE, released last Friday, it appears that the District Department of Transportation has predetermined the EIS and apparently rubber-stamped CSX’s proposal for a partially open-trench construction project that will carry hazardous cargo less than a mile from the U.S. Capitol and through the heart of a growing residential/business community. It also appears to contradict Mayor Gray’s promise, made to over 400 people in January, that “…there is no way that we are going to allow people’s safety and security concerns to be compromised” by the CSX Tunnel.

In Appendix A (pg. 47) of the Final EIS appears to show that DDOT entered into a previously unknown agreement with CSX to grant occupancy permits to expand the tunnel’s right of way beyond its existing footprint. Additional agreements apparently indicate that upon conclusion of the project, CSX would be entitled to a permanent right-of-way to cover the expanded tunnel.

“We hope that the District Government has not thrown us under the freight train,” said Helen Douglas, a member of DCSafeRail, the coalition committed to the health, safety and security of the people in and around the CSX proposed expansion site. “We ask Mayor Gray to honor his commitment to us and withdraw any pre-EIS approval for these permits and conduct a true EIS with real alternatives to the CSX Tunnel fully analyzed.”

DCSafeRail will also ask the City Council, through Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmember Mary Cheh, chair of the Council’s transportation oversight committee, and our own Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells to hold hearings on the whole CSX Tunnel EIS.

The CSX Tunnel project will route freight trains with hazardous cargo, including occasional Bakken crude oil, through a partially open construction trench for almost four years. DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) prepared the EIS.

“At best, this indicates that the District government is failing to uphold basic principles of good government, including transparency and accountability,” said Douglas.” At worst, it suggests that the environmental study is a farce because it rubber-stamps the CSX open-trench proposal.”

The Washington Post had a short piece on this response, with DDOT's response to the response: "DDOT spokesman Reggie Sanders said in an e-mail that the permit relative to Virginia Avenue SE and adjacent streets 'will have no force or effect until a build alternative is approved via Record of Decision.' Other requests for comment regarding the city’s commitment to the project have not been answered."
Comments (9)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Virginia Avenue Tunnel Final EIS Released
Jun 13, 2014 9:09 AM
I'm not going to wait to post until I read the whole thing (448 pages!), so here it is.
But I glanced at the Executive Summary, and here's the money graf:
"Preferred Alternative - Two New Tunnels (originally Concept 5 and identified as Alternative 3 in the Draft EIS): Alternative 3 was selected as the Preferred Alternative. It involves replacing the existing Virginia Avenue Tunnel with two new permanent tunnels constructed sequentially (see Figure S-2). Each new tunnel will have a single railroad track with enough vertical clearance to allow double-stack intermodal container freight trains. A new parallel south side tunnel will be built first as trains continue operating in the existing Virginia Avenue Tunnel. After the south side tunnel is completed, train operations will switch over to the new tunnel and the existing Virginia Avenue Tunnel will be demolished and rebuilt. With the exception of operating in a protected open trench for approximately 230 feet immediately east of the 2nd Street portal (within the Virginia Avenue SE segment between 2nd and 3rd Streets SE), trains will operate in enclosed tunnels throughout construction under the Preferred Alternative. Throughout most of the length of the entire rebuilt tunnel, the two tunnels will be separated by a center wall. This center wall will be the new centerline of the two tunnels, and it will be aligned approximately 25 feet south of the existing tunnel centerline, between 2nd and 9th Streets SE. Due to new columns associated with the rebuilt 11th Street Bridge, the tunnels will be separated on the east end starting just west of Virginia Avenue Park, resulting in two separate single-track tunnels and openings at the east portal. "
I will keep reading, and either update this post or write in the comments thread below as I see more items of note.
The public meeting is on July 1.
UPDATE: Here's the Post on the release. "Following the meeting, the federal agency is expected to release a record of decision, which could give CSX approval to seek construction permits for the project. CSX would need to go through the District’s permitting process before construction could begin, but company officials say they hope to break ground on the $170 million project this year."
UPDATE II: The VAT fact sheet, with these bullet points on pledged improvements post-construction:
* Improving access to Garfield Park for wheelchair-dependent individuals (page 5-65);
* Building a continuous bike path between 2nd and 9th Streets connecting Garfield Park and Virginia Avenue Park (page 5-98);
* Straightening the alignment of Virginia Avenue SE within the 400 block to be consistent with the original L’Enfant Plan (page 5-59);
* Improving the traffic lane configuration between 5th/6th and 8th Streets to provide safer and calmer traffic conditions (appendix M, roadway layout sheets 2 and 3 of 4); and
* Installing landscaping and improved street lighting, traffic signals and crosswalks (page 5-84).
UPDATE III: In the EIS itself, I recommend reading Section S.7, "Key Issues Raised by Community and Responses," which starts on page 52 of the PDF. It's a big FAQ about a lot of very small details that have come up over the months/years.
UPDATE IV: From a DDOT press release (and I'm sure from somewhere in the EIS as well), some additional key features and mitigations:
* The dual tunnel construction ensures that there will be no trains operating in an open trench near residences;
* Cross streets will be maintained throughout construction;
* Residential mitigations include a one-time payment to the Arthur Capper senior residence ($250,000), a payment of $500/month to those residences on the front line of construction, and possible reconciliation payments of up to $75,000 to certain owners that need to sell their homes;
* Enhancements fund for the project area ANC;
* Creation of a historic preservation fund;
* Reconstruction of Virginia Avenue SE to include improved sidewalks, new trees, and a bike lane;
* ADA improvements to the Garfield Park; and
* A new dog park at the Virginia Avenue Park.
CSX will also enter into District resident hiring and local business (CBE) utilization agreements.
Comments (16)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Public Meeting for Virginia Ave. Tunnel Final EIS on July 1
Jun 10, 2014 7:12 PM
Word is hitting the streets that the public meeting for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel's Final Environmental Impact Statement is scheduled for July 1, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. Presumably the actual document will be available before then...?
Comments (11)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Virginia Avenue Tunnel Hearing: Media Coverage Roundup
May 1, 2014 12:14 PM
Yesterday was the day that opponents of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel got to testify before the DC council about their concerns.
While the hearing was technically about a proposed resolution asking Congress to hold their own hearing on the project, those opposed to the plan and CSX both used the time to go through the pro and con arguments that have been aired many times in recent months.
The media was very much in attendance: the Washington Post, City Paper, NBC4, and WUSA9 all covered the event.
If you want to watch the hearing for yourself, you can watch the on-demand video, once it's actually posted.
At this point, everything is pretty much in a holding pattern until the Environmental Impact Statement is released, which should be, as you'd expect, Any Minute Now.
Comments (1)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Wednesday Tidbits: Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?
Apr 9, 2014 11:37 AM
* UNARMED: Since I watched it get built (and remember the problems it's had since the beginning), I'll pass along the story of the woes of the Curly W scoreboard clock. (WaPo)
* THIS WEEK IN CSX: In case you haven't heard, a new date has been set for the DC council's hearing on a proposed resolution to tell the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to have a hearing about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. It's now set for April 30 at 10 am (moved from March 25), and the announcement explains how you can be heard at this hearing, should you choose to be heard.
Other than that, I got nuthin. Unless you know someone who grew up in northeastern Wyoming many years ago and might be in this batch of uncaptioned photos handed down through my family. (Great-aunt Lucy was a teacher out there, so there's lots of pictures of kids in front of small rural schoolhouses.)
UPDATE: To flesh these tidbits out a bit, I'll add this just-posted WaPo piece on when the Nats should sell naming rights to the ballpark.
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Nationals Park

Tuesday Tidbits: Very Late Wednesday Edition
Apr 2, 2014 10:46 PM
* CSX I: Eleanor Holmes Norton tells USDOT to get moving: "I ask that you help ensure the prompt release of the Final EIS for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project so that the surrounding community is aware of the preferred alternative, any impacts this project may have on them, and any mitigation and benefits to the surrounding community."
* CSX II: ANC 6B writes to Mayor Gray: "We have serious concerns about the VAT project proposed in the draft environmental impact statement, and we urge you to ensure those concerns are adequately addressed before the District issues the requisite approvals for the project."
* POCKET CHANGE: The Wall Street Journal reports that "Investors who own the storied Hawk ‘n’ Dove bar and other Capitol Hill eating spots owe more than $9 million to D.C. restaurateur Xavier Cervera and his partners who sold the restaurants to them in late 2012." An earlier WSJ piece gives a wider view of the mess of financing this all appears to be.
* FOR THE RECORD: In Precinct 131 (Near Southeast), Muriel Bowser received 40 percent of the vote, Tommy Wells 30 percent, and Vince Gray 24 percent. And in the Ward 6 council race, Charles Allen beat Darrel Thompson 57-43. A grand total of 444 people cast ballots out of the 2,085 registered voters in the precinct. So, yay to 21.29 percent of you!
* BLUEJACKET AND BASEBALL: It seems like the brewery has already been here forever, but Bluejacket is about to embark on its first season of providing refreshments to Nats fans. They've announced that they will be "tailgating" on their patio at 10 am Friday for the season opener, and that their new outdoor grill will be open for business "weather permitting, all season long Thursdays through Sundays from 11 am until 10 pm and on all game days beginning two hours before the first pitch."
* SWEET!: Sweetgreen has gotten its tenant layout permit to begin the buildout of its space in Twelve12, on 4th Street across from Bluejacket.
* THROWBACK THURSDAY: I did a bit of purging in my office over the weekend, and found at least two museum-worthy items (here and here). That's in addition to the Canal Park groundbreaking shovel I still trip over on a regular basis.

Tuesday Tidbits: Coming in Like a Lion
Mar 4, 2014 12:20 PM
* CSX NEAR: The Kojo Nnamdi Show hosted on Monday a roundtable on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, with David Garber and others. You can listen to it here.
* CSX FAR: Heads will explode, but I will pass along that CSX's J&L Tunnel Modification project has recently won two engineering awards. What is this tunnel? "The J&L Tunnel was constructed in the 1880s as part of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad to allow trains to run beneath the former J&L Steel Company’s Pittsburgh Works Southside facility." And what was the project? CSX "increased the vertical clearance of a 130-year-old tunnel running through Pittsburgh’s SouthSide Works, a mixed-use residential and commercial development. CSX worked closely with public officials, local businesses and residents to minimize noise and disruption during construction. Upon completion of the tunnel work, CSX restored trees and plantings, and invested in landscaping improvements that left the overlying Tunnel Park a more usable recreational space."
* HAMPTON: The building permit has been approved for the 168-room Hampton Inn just north of Nats Park. (The shoring permit was approved back in December.)
* THE MASTER PLAN: DDOT has officially released its update to the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Master Plan. This covers projects like the new Douglass Bridge and South Capitol Street makeover, the Barney Circle/Southeast Boulevard redo, the M Street SE/SW transportation study, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, and all other manner of projects and studies for infrastructure updates and improvements in the area. (Though, at 194 pages, maybe the Executive Summary will be a good place to start.) If I were a good blogger, I'd write a big in-depth entry about this, but, well, we know the answer to that these days....
* POLITICS: The Post grades the recent Southwest/Near Southeast Mayoral Forum, and the Hill Rag looks closely at the Ward 6 council race. Primary day is now less than a month away, on April 1. And note that tonight (March 4) there is a forum with the candiates at 7 pm at Westminster Church at 400 I St. SW, and there will be a Ward 6 candidate forum on education issues on Thursday, March 6, at 6:30 pm at Stuart-Hobson Middle School.
* DE-W'ED: Have you noticed that the Curly Ws are gone from various freeway signs? Here's why.
* PASTOR MILLS: Unfortunately, a sad piece of news to mention is that Karen Mills, pastor of the St. Paul's church at 4th and I SE, passed away on Feb. 21. I only met her a few times, but she was a very welcoming and pleasant presence, and condolences go out to her family, friends, and members of the church.
Anything else catching peoples' eyes?

Tuesday Tidbits: All About the Preparation
Feb 18, 2014 3:04 PM
* PREPARING TO DIG: After a couple of articles highlighting residents' opposition to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the Post takes a look at how CSX and some rail experts view the reconstruction and expansion of the tunnel as a necessary step.
* PREPARING TO DECLARE: Also, there's now scheduled a council hearing about the tunnel project, on March 25 at 11 am. The hearing is actually on proposed resolution PR 20-601, "Sense of the Council for a Hearing on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project Resolution of 2013," which "is to the declare sense of the Council that the Unites States House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit should hold a hearing on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project." (So it's a hearing by one governmental body about whether they should tell another governmental body to hold a hearing.)
* PREPARING TO DE-SPOOK: The arrivial of bulldozers and dumpsters on site at the old NGA building at 1st and M SE has sharp-eyed observers tapping their toes waiting for the demolition to start, but as was mentioned previously, it's going to take about six months to complete. But maybe they can at least knock out some exterior walls before Opening Day, as a statement of intent to Nats fans who haven't kept up with the latest news (tsk, tsk).
* PREPARING TO ROCK: I showed a touch of hard-won skepticism last week in reporting that developers told ANC 6D that they expect to begin work on the first phase of Florida Rock's redevelopment in June. So I will follow that up by noting that, two days later, they appear to have filed an application for a shoring/sheeting permit. (Not seeing an application for any building yet, though.)
* PREPARING TO WANT: The WashBiz Journal last week looked at the retail states of four "hot neighborhoods" (subscribers only), highlighting what they "flaunt" and what they "want." After the flaunting (20 restaurants, Nats Park, Vida Fitness, and Whole Foods), Michael Stevens of the BID listed the "wants": child care facilities, apparel retailers, a large home furnishing store, and college classrooms (saying that the area "is positioning itself as a satellite campus destination for those maxed out on their space"). Non-subscribers can watch some video of Stevens's talk at the BID's annual meeting, at least..
Comments (14)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Florida Rock, Retail, The Yards, Parcel A/Yards

Tuesday Tidbits: Seeing Red
Feb 4, 2014 12:11 PM
I sure am thrilled that Google has decided to throw big red malware warnings up--some of the time--when accessing JDLand, then telling me that it's nothing I can fix because it's a cross-site scripting error, but the other site isn't flagged for malware either. Sigh. So if you're seeing this, yay.
PAINTING THE (NATS) TOWN RED: SportsBog reports on the newly painted concourse floors at Nats Park. I am embarrassed to say that I noticed them a few weeks ago when I was there, but had been at the ballpark so rarely last year--and was so distracted when I was--that I just wasn't sure enough the red floors were new enough to mention. Oops.
TUNNELING THROUGH: Here's six pages of pushback against Kirsten Oldenburg's pushback against the pushback against CSX's plans for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
MEET THE CANDIDATES: City Paper takes a look at Charles Allen, Darrel Thompson, and the race to replace Tommy Wells. (With bonus points for mentioning the tunnel controversy.)
THIS IS HALF STREET CALLING: Hot on the heels of the news that the National Labor Relations Board is coming to 1015 Half Street, WaPo's sources say that CBS Radio is also about to take 30,000 square feet in the building. Not officially confirmed, though.
GO AHEAD, HALF STREET: Speaking of 1015 Half, WaPo has the story of how the building's original developer Opus East ended up going bankrupt and liquidating, a fate which left the building an unfinished, oft-cited emblem of the recession during 2009 and early 2010.
CLASSIFIED INFO: I posted on Saturday morning about this (which means that basically no one saw it--the perfect soft launch!), so I'll mention a bit louder this time that JDLand now has Classified Advertisements. So if you're trying to rent a place, or fill a job, or if you have something else you're wanting to sell or buy, you can get a two-week listing for a mere $5, and know that you are microtargeting your neighbors, office workers, Nats fans, and others with an interest in this area. There's a box on the home page that points to the current offerings, so be sure to check it out in case there's some offering there just calling your name.
Comments (3)
More posts: 1015 Half, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, politics, Nationals Park

Tidbits: Train Tracks, Training, Treadmills
Jan 27, 2014 5:28 PM
* TRAIN TRACKS I: There was another public meeting about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project on Saturday, again hosted by DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. It was billed in advance as meeting with both her and representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency. However, EPA decided not to attend, apparently releasing this statement (tweeted out by a DCist staffer) saying in part "EPA remains invested in the views of all stakeholders[.] ... However, the agency believes it is appropriate to first allow the DDOT and FHA time to consider the comments of EPA and others on the draft EIS."
* TRAIN TRACKS II: The Post covered the "heated" meeting, highlighting that "CSX Transportation says residents in a Southeast Washington community who have raised concerns about trains carrying crude oil passing through the District can rest assured that crude oil transportation through the city is rare, and that there is no market in the area for it." CSX stated that it transported three loaded cars of crude oil through the tunnel in 2013, on separate trains, with none of them being the "unit trains" that cause such concern. However, last week the National Transportation Safety Board released recommendations for stricter federal oversight of crude oil transportation. It also quoted Del. Norton as being "totally outraged" about the EPA no show. (And, just as the Tidbits went up, there's another link to add, this summary of the meeting by ThinkProgress's ClimateProgress arm.)
* TRAIN TRACKS III: And there were offerings from the two ANC commissioners whose districts include the tunnel but who have close to diametrically opposed views of the project. ANC 6D07's David Garber's letter to the Editor in the Post says "There is no better time than now for [Mayor] Gray to show his leadership and stop this harmful project before it starts," while 6B03's Kirsten Oldenburg's description and thoughts about Saturday's EPA-less meeting concludes with "[A]ll that can possibly be said about this proposed tunnel reconstruction is out there in the public domain. My hope is that the FEIS is released before we have anymore public meetings hosted by political leaders."
* TRAINING: I mentioned in last week's Tidbits that Teeter and VIDA would be starting the buildouts of their spaces at Twelve12 "very soon," and today VIDA sent out a press release announcing that Feb. 1 is in fact their start date. The release says that it's expected the Penthouse Pool Club will open in early July, Bang Salon in mid-July, VIDA Fitness itself in August, and Aura Spa in October. A few renderings of the VIDA spaces (lobby, pool, and kids zone), courtesy VIDA's Facebook page (click to embiggen):
The release also mentions new-to-VIDA offerings at the Yards such as the "experiential cycling studio," the "Synrgy 360 globular multipurpose exercise apparatus," a hot yoga studio, "well-appointed, gender-specific European sauna and steam rooms," and the 1,000-square-foot Kids Zone shown above.
* TREADMILLS: But what about memberships for cats who like to workout on treadmills? (That's my George.)
Comments (2)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Retail, vida, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards

To-Do Tidbits: Billy Joel at Nats Park, and More
Jan 23, 2014 10:45 AM
The neighborhood has come so far that a more specialized type of Tidbits post is now being added to the lineup, to better handle upcoming event announcements. I'm also reconstituting my Near Southeast Events Calendar, down the right margin of the JDLand home page. (And it's a Google calendar, if you want to subscribe to it.)
* NEW/OLD CONCERTS: The Nationals announced this morning that Billy Joel is playing Nats Park on July 26, his second appearance at the stadium (the first being his joint appearance with Elton John in 2009). Tickets go on sale to the public on Feb. 1 at 10 am.
This is the third stand-alone concert scheduled for the ballpark for 2014, along with the already confirmed appearance by country star Jason Aldean on a date to be announced and the big One Direction show on Aug. 11.
* NEW/OLD TUNNEL: On Saturday, Jan. 25, at 2 pm, there is another neighborhood meeting with DC Delegate* Eleanor Holmes Norton about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, this time including representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the project's potential impacts. The meeting is at 200 I St. SE (the old Post Plant) - a photo ID is required to attend. More details at DCSafeRail.org.
* LOCAL ART: The social committee at Velocity has collaborated with the Capitol Hill Art League to display "Signature DC," a collection of art by local DC artists. There is a reception on Jan. 25 from 5 to 7 pm, with proceeds from the sale of the $15 tickets going toward a Community Artists Fund for the condo building to purchase local art for permanent display. Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite.
* CANDIDATE, MAYOR: The "All Politics is Local" series of forums with mayoral candidates kicks off with Tommy Wells at the Hill Center at 9th and Pennsylvania SE on Jan. 27 at 7 pm. The series, hosted by NBC4 reporters Tom Sherwood and Mark Seagraves, continues on Feb. 10 with Muriel Bowser and March 10 with Jack Evans.
* CANDIDATE, COUNCIL: On Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 pm, there's a meet-and-greet with Ward 6 council candidate Charles Allen in the Velocity Condo meeting room. The primary election is on April 1, which suddenly isn't really all that far away. UPDATE: Non-Velocity residents should sign up in advance here.
* NEW/OLD SCHOOL: The new Van Ness Parent Group is holding a community meeting on Feb. 1 to get supporters together to talk about the elementary school's scheduled reopening for the 2015-16 school year. The meeting is at 11 am at Capitol Hill Tower, 1000 New Jersey Ave SE.
If you've got a neighborhood event you want mentioned in a To-Do Tidbits post, you can contact me with the details and I'll try to get a capsule up. I will aim to post them each Thursday, if there's enough content.
(* Despite perpetual billing to the contrary, Ms. Norton is a delegate, not a congresswoman representative (UPDATE: see comment thread below). She doesn't have voting rights on the House floor, as she would if DC had full congressional representation. I can't believe there still isn't a catchy Schoolhouse Rock song about this.)
Comments (6)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Events, Stadium Events, Van Ness Elementary, Velocity Condos

Residents Give Mayor a Tunnel Earful; Plus, a Dissent
Jan 20, 2014 10:07 AM
Both the Post and City Paper have reports on Thursday's meeting with Mayor Vince Gray where residents had the chance to air their grievances about the plans for the renovation and expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel between 2nd and 12th streets, SE.
City Paper's article opened thusly: "Navy Yard residents still unequivocally don't want the the city to give a complex Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction project the go-ahead, and last night, hundreds of neighbors came out to let Mayor Vince Gray know just how horrible they think the project is." CP wrote that Mayor Gray "facilitated the meeting and took what he referred to as 'copious notes' throughout. He didn't say much about the project itself, only promising that the city would never sign on to a project that would endanger lives: 'There's no way we would be involved in a project like that.' "
CP also has this: "Skip Elliott, vice president of public safety, health and environment at CSX, said there would be no 'unit trains' with crude oil going through the tunnel. When the meeting attendees screamed he was lying, he clarified that while there would be no unit trains—or a group of trains that typically carry a single commodity—there would be some rail cars that would carry crude."
The Post notes that "[s]ome residents say they fear the estimated three to six years of construction will lower home values and slow growth in the neighborhood." It quotes resident Natalie Skidmore: "With an open trench, we have concerns about how people are going to get around. We are going to lose parking spots, trees and access." And the article closes with a quote from James McPhillips, one of the leaders of the DCSafeRail opposition group: "We really thought the neighborhood was up and coming. It had a beautiful, inviting and diverse community[.] This project has the possibility of destroying that."
In the wake of the meeting, ANC 6D07 commissioner David Garber told his mailing list that "I believe this issue is finally on the mayor's radar -- but we need to KEEP IT THERE," suggesting that "[w]hile a hashtag won't save the world (yet) -- please consider tweeting to the mayor and including the hashtag #MayorNoBuild."
However, the commissioner for another ANC single member district that will be affected by the project came out of the meeting with a different point of view, and has posted her concerns with the concerns of Virginia Avenue residents.
KIrsten Oldenburg, commissioner of ANC 6B04--which mainly covers Barracks Row but also includes lower 8th Street and Virginia Avenue from 7th Street to 11th Street--posted today a detailed look at the issues that the opposition groups are so vociferously arguing about, saying that "[t]his is not to say that those stridently opposed to the project don’t have a right to conduct a politicized campaign. [...] But, I don’t have to agree with the way they are using and perpetuating misinformation about what we know about the project."
OIdenburg addresses the proposed alternatives, saying that it is "Not True" that all proposed build alternatives involve running trains through open trenches, since one of the alternatives has trains running through the existing closed tunnel during construction. She notes that the draft EIS says "the maximum duration is 3.5 years for alternatives with open trench train operations and 5.5 years for the closed tunnel version," meaning that there may be a tradeoff between open-vs.-closed trench and shorter-vs.-longer duration.
She also looks at the hazardous materials and rail accidents arguments, and notes that the issue of CSX's HazMat transportation has been around since before the tunnel became a cause. After pointing out that trucks carry "unknown quantities of hazardous materials along I-695 (parallel to Virginia Avenue)," Oldenburg says that "[t]he alarms being raised on hazardous materials are diverting attention away from other more probable problems an open trench might cause."
On the issue of street closures, she looks at the disruptions as they have been outlined from the beginning of the EIS project: "But, aside from 2nd Street, all north/south crossings of Virginia Avenue will remain open during construction. Will these streets be closed occasionally and for short periods of time? Yes. Will the I-695 exit ramp at 6th Street and on ramp at 8th Street be closed for the duration? No. Will each have to be closed for a short time while decking is installed at these intersections with Virginia Avenue? Yes. Does the DEIS show special lanes to be set up to provide continuing access for residences and businesses in close proximity to the construction area? Yes."
The issue of community benefits in the wake of such a long construction project is one she feels needs more discussion, noting that 6B and others have already been advocating for green space with a pedestrian/bike patch from 3rd Street to 11th Street, along with a major redesign of Virginia Avenue Park. "But, is a linear park that will revitalize a lifeless space and serve all residents both north and south of the Freeway enough? Is it possible to equalize burdens and benefits? ... What more could/should we ask for?"
She closes with reference to the comments submitted to the DEIS, saying that the issues raised are "excellent contributions toward making the FEIS a major improvement over the DEIS," but that, "[I]n the end, the FEIS may improve our comfort level about this project but it will never satisfy everyone."
Comments (4)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Meeting with Mayor on Virginia Ave. Tunnel Jan. 16
Jan 9, 2014 9:32 AM
Resident groups alarmed at CSX's plans to renovate and expand the Virginia Avenue Tunnel have secured a public meeting with Mayor Vince Gray to air their concerns about the projects and its impacts, which range from the use of the tunnel for hazardous materials transport to the presence of asbestos to increased vibrations on surrounding structures to the "potential for stalled neighborhood development" and traffic congestion.
It is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 16, at 6:30 pm at 200 I St. SE (the old Post Plant).
For more information on the meeting and on the residents' battle, see DCSafeRail.org. For more information on the tunnel project, which is currently awaiting the any-minute-now release of the Environmental Impact Statement, see my project page or CSX's official site at VirginiaAvenueTunnel.com.
Comments (1)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

The Fight Over CSX's Hazardous Materials Transportation
Dec 5, 2013 1:58 PM
Opponents of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion have been passing to me today this article from ThinkProgress (on its ClimateProgress site) about the fight over transporting hazardous materials by rail through DC, specifically through the temporary open trench that is part of the draft plans for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion project.
The article describes the "tense" public meeting two weeks ago at Capper Senior #1 with Eleanor Holmes Norton and representatives of CSX, DDOT, and the Federal Highway Administration. It also gives some history of the city's so-far-unsuccessful fight--and CSX's intense fight of that fight--that began a decade ago to ban hazmat rail transport through the heart of the city.
The article concludes:
"Until CSX can come up with a better alternative for re-routing trains during construction, the residents are gunning for approval of the DEIS’s option number one: No build.
"'For now, our logic is that you inform the public and the media, and they put pressure on the industry to do things safer,' [hazmat consultant Dr. Fred] Millar said. 'At the very least, making it difficult for them to ship crude oil like peanut butter is something we all ought to do.'"
(It's a shame that the article's title, "The Inside Story of the Plan to Send Hazardous Materials Through the Heart of DC," makes it sound like some hazmat materials aren't already coming through town and through the existing tunnel, because they certainly are, as the article goes on to show.)
Comments (1)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Saturday Community Meeting on Virginia Avenue Tunnel
Nov 22, 2013 3:42 PM
On Saturday, Nov. 23, DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is having a meeting with residents to discuss the CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. It's at 2 pm at the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE.
With the Environmental Impact Statement for the project expected to be released before too much longer (you can see the draft EIS here), residents are seeing this as perhaps a last opportunity to voice their concerns and push back against what one resident called Norton's willingness "to simply regurgitate CSX talking points" in a recent press release.
A train fire last week that began in the tunnel also has the residents who have been fighting the project intensifying their efforts to get answers they are seeking on health and safety concerns.
To that end, a new web site has also been launched, DCSafeRail.org, to lay out residents' arguments.
UPDATE, 11/26: There was a considerable kerfuffle after Saturday's meeting, at which Federal Highway Administration rep Michael Hicks said, "They're going to have to close the interstate, two exit points on the Interstate, 6th and 8th St., I believe, for the duration of the project...So that's why I'm involved." Putting aside that the only 8th Street SE exit is on the north side of the freeway and so would be nearly impossible to be impacted by the tunnel construction, this statement went against the Draft Environmental Impact Statement as well as many comments by CSX and DDOT during the process that the 6th Street exit ramp would not be closed.
As I expected, there is now a statement that's been sent out by CSX, from Hicks:
"My apologies to the community, turns out I made a misstatement regarding the duration of closures of the 6th St exit and 8th Street on ramp to I-695 and I understand that statement, unfortunately, has gotten widespread exposure. Hopefully the clarification to follow is equally widespread; no highway ramps would be closed for the duration of construction. As outlined in the DEIS, erecting the temporary decks at 5th/6th and 8th Streets SE may require the short term closure (approximately a week or less) of I-695 ramps at these locations. CSX would work with DDOT, community leaders and local first responders to ensure access for community members in the event of emergencies!
"During the very preliminary stages of project development it was thought the ramps might possibly have to be closed; however, alternatives were developed that no longer required extended closures of those ramps. Again, I apologize for any concern or alarm my misstatement may have caused. Thank you."
Comments (8)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Another Virginia Avenue Tunnel Meeting Scheduled for Sept. 27
Aug 20, 2012 11:24 AM
The August edition of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel newsletter is out, with the news that another public meeting on the project is scheduled for Sept. 27, from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. The meeting is described as providing an update on the project and to "share information about the alternatives being evaluated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)." In other words, this isn't the meeting to unveil the draft EIS, which is expected to come this fall.
There isn't much else of note in the newsletter (noise studies ongoing, Section 106 historic preservation review ongoing, how to comment, etc.), so I'll admit this post is mainly a sneaky way to once again point out my new Virginia Avenue Tunnel page, where you can get an overview of this project and see the concepts currently being evaluated, along with plenty of photos from along the tunnel's path.
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

New Project Page: Virginia Avenue Tunnel Expansion
Jul 26, 2012 9:40 AM
A glaring hole in my "project page" lineup is being filled today, as I am at last unveiling an ultra-exciting Virginia Avenue Tunnel Expansion page. (Um, yay?)
It's still just an overview at this point, since there is no design yet chosen and therefore all of the specifics that residents and neighbors are clamoring for about construction impacts and possible potential post-construction improvements to the street and its surroundings aren't yet available.
But I figured it was time to at least prepare for the inevitable before-and-afters with current photos from along the tunnel's 10-block footprint, plus it makes the current "concept designs" being reviewed by the EIS more easily accessible. And it also just finally gives me a page to point people to. (As with yesterday's development map refreshing, this has only been on my To Do list for a couple of years. I've been busy. And lazy. Lazy and busy.)
There's been no new announcements since the last EIS meeting in May; at that time, it was expected that a draft EIS would come out this fall, with a final decision in spring 2013. (Though other EIS schedules I've seen in the past have experienced some slippage, so we'll see how the tunnel's goes.)
Comments (7)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, JDLand stuff

Tuesday Tidbits: Bridge and Tunnel (and River) Edition
Jun 5, 2012 4:26 PM
* The Post writes about Virginia Avenue residents battling CSX on tunnel plans. (The comments section is festive as well.)
* The Navy Yard alerts folks that the 11th & O gate to their part of the Riverwalk will be closed for approximately three weeks because of demolition work on the old outbound 11th Street Bridge. (This means that the Navy Yard Riverwalk itself isn't closed, it just means you can only access it west of 11th Street.)
* Speaking of the old bridge, City Paper writes that this demolition doesn't mean the end of the "recreation bridge across the Anacostia" idea, just that it was determined that it would be better to take off the old bridge deck than to try to maintain it while working on the recreation bridge idea, which will still need financial backing even after the design competition is held this fall.
* Speaking of the river, DDOT has launched AnacostiaWaterfront.org as a new online home for information on projects along the river, such as the 11th Street Bridges, the planned new South Capitol Street Bridge and associated corridor upgrades, the Riverwalk, and other projects.
* One tidbit unearthed in the new web site: An environmental assessment is expected to start this fall on reconstructing Barney Circle and transforming the "easternmost dead-end section of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway into a boulevard between the circle and 11th Street, SE."
(As always, follow JDLand on Twitter or Facebook if you want quicker access to these types of tidbits, most of which I sent out over the past week or so.)

Virginia Avenue Tunnel Meeting Presentation Slides, Boards
May 29, 2012 11:51 AM
I wasn't able to attend last week's public meeting on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, but the presentation slides and display boards are posted on the project's web site.
This is the stage of the Environmental Impact study where the initial lineup of possible concepts have been winnowed down to the four that will be evaluated for the final EIS:
* Concept 1 - "No Build" (i.e., leave as is);
* Concept 2 - Rebuild tunnel with a temporary track running in an open trench to the south of the existing tunnel;
* Concept 5 - "Permanent Twin Tunnels," with a new tunnel built via open trench to the south of the existing tunnel, which would be rebuilt as well;
* Concept 6 - "Rebuild Online," where the current tunnel would be rebuilt via open trench along the existing alignment, and trains would run in that same trench during construction.
Also contained in the slides is information about how traffic would be routed with the closure of Virginia Avenue on the south side of the freeway between 2nd and 11th. As has always been stated, north/south traffic on the numbered streets would be maintained across Virginia, and temporary driveways/access are shown on 3rd and 4th Street for Capitol Quarter and the 200 I/225 Virginia loading dock. It's also shown that Virginia Avenue north of the freeway would become two-way between 6th and 8th streets, so that traffic exiting the Southeast Freeway at 6th would all be directed left under the freeway and then would be able to continue to 8th Street on Virginia.
There's also some slides on the vibration and noise analyses being done, and how Virginia Avenue might be improved after construction is completed (with bike lanes being a possibility, which immediately warmed David Garber's heart).
The draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released this fall, in which the design for construction will be identified; the entire process would be completed in spring, 2013. Comments can be submitted to contact@virginiaavenuetunnel.com or via the web site.
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, Traffic Issues

This Week: Virginia Ave. Tunnel, M St. Meetings, First Front Flick
May 20, 2012 11:30 AM
To allow you to properly plan your calendar for the week, I'm posting this nice and early:
* Virginia Avenue Tunnel: Monday night is another public meeting on the planned Virginia Avenue Tunnel reconstruction, at which it's expected that DDOT, FHWA, and CSX will be presenting the concepts that have been chosen from the original batch to study in detail as part of the project's EIS. The meeting is at Nationals Park at 6 pm.
And, speaking of the tunnel, the noise and vibration field studies required as part of the EIS will be happening this week. (But no fair stomping on the ground and gunning your car's engines for hours at a time.)
* M Street SE/SW Transportation Study: The meeting to update the public on the progress of the M Street SE/SW Transportation Study is on Thursday, May 24, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St. SW. The study area covers the stretch of M from 12th Street, SE to 14th Street, SW, along with the adjacent areas from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway south to the Anacostia River/Washington Channel. DDOT is looking at "how to integrate transit, bicycling and walking with motor vehicle traffic," while also trying to figure out how to balance residents' preferences for how M Street should be configured versus how visitors, workers, and commuters expect it to flow. The first meeting was in January, and the final report is expected in the fall.
* Front Flicks: If you are looking for something slightly more entertaining than either of the week's meetings, don't forget that the Capitol Riverfront BID's free Front Flicks Summer Outdoor Movie Series begins this week on Thursday, with "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" leading off the lineup of treasure hunt-themed offerings. Movies start either at 8:45 pm/sundown at Tingey Plaza, just behind USDOT at New Jersey and Tingey.
Alas, I won't be at any of these events, because first thing Tuesday I'm headed to the disabled list, to get some health issues dealt with that have been dragging me down for awhile now. There will be a few weeks of recovery time, so I ask all parties to please refrain from making any news before, say, mid-June, or at least make it something simple and/or something that won't require my attendance. (DDOT is already On Notice if they do indeed partially open the 11th Street Local bridge when I can't document it.)
I imagine I'll reappear on Twitter fairly quickly, since I know better than to think I can stay off the Internet while I'm doing little but laying around. But most likely the bulk of my narcotics-tinged/boredom-induced missives will be via my non-official @jacdupree account, if you want the entertainment.
In the meantime, feel free to use this post's comments to discuss this week's meetings and as a general open thread, but I will be watching and popping in, so don't you kids think you can throw a wild party while Mom's not looking! And hopefully I'll be back to photo taking and other obsessive-compulsive pursuits before too long.
Comments (3)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Events, meetings, M Street, JDLand stuff, Traffic Issues

ANC 6D Recap 2: Canal Park, Community Center, CSX Letter
May 15, 2012 1:35 PM
Moving from the "P" portion of Monday's ANC 6D meeting (pylons and parking) to the "C"s:
* Canal Park: Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association gave an update on construction, the bottom line of which has not changed from what's been mentioned the past few months, that because of unexpected issues, the park's opening has been delayed until November. Unmapped utilities that required a redesign of the stormwater management system have been a big stumbling block, but Vanarsdale also mentioned the soil-related difficulties when building on the site of an old canal. Construction is now 60 percent complete, and the work on the pavilion is almost done. Here are the presentation slides, and you can also check out the official web site for more details (along with my project page). Oh, and they're thinking about offering Zamboni driving lessons!
* Community Center: The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for an extension for construction of the planned Capper Community Center, which already received one extension back in 2010 that 6D supported. DCHA has apparently requested that the Zoning Commission act within 30 days on the request, news of which the ANC received on Monday. So the commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter urging postponement of the zoning case so that the ANC can address the request and form a response with a vote at next month's meeting. Commissioners Litsky and McBee also both commented that the project shouldn't be getting another extension.
UPDATE: Here is the letter sent on behalf of DCHA to the Zoning Commission asking for the extension: it would be for two years, requiring building permits by July 1, 2014 and construction underway by July 1, 2015.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel: The commissioners voted 6-0-1 to send this letter to the appropriate parties laying out the ANC's opinion on the plans to reconfigure the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. After listing the various ways that the proposed construction "would put people, homes, businesses, and fragile historic resources at risk," the letter states: "[W]e strongly believe that the best options for our community are for CSX to either leave the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in its current state (Concept 1) -- with the suggestion that if this option were chosen that the tunnel would be fully maintained for the safety of both the trains below and the communities above, or to reroute additional train traffic outside the District of Columbia [...] instead of in an expanded Virginia Avenue Tunnel." But, if the construction does occur, "it is absolutely imperative that the health and safety of our many residents, the economic and physical well-being of our businesses, parks, religious institutions, homes, and historic buildings, and the north-south access for all existing modes of transportation be preserved and enhanced." A number of Capitol Quarter residents in attendance also spoke in support of the ANC's support. The next public meeting on the plans for the tunnel will be May 21 at 6:30 pm at Nats Park.
One more recap post to go, probably tomorrow.
Comments (6)
More posts: ANC News, Canal Park, Capper, Community Center, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Next Virginia Avenue Tunnel Public Meeting May 21
May 4, 2012 9:06 AM
This flyer, just posted on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project web site, announces that the next public meeting about the project will be on May 21 from 6 to 8 pm at Nationals Park. "During this public meeting, the concepts to move forward in the EIS will be announced." Read my post from Wednesday for more information on the whole EIS thing, and this one from the last meeting to find out more about the initial concepts that were looked at, and that will form the basis for the ones chosen to be studied further.
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Study of Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project Switches to EIS Format
May 3, 2012 8:51 AM
Earlier this week the Federal Highway Administration and DDOT gave notice that the in-process National Environmental Policy Act study of CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel project will be switching mid-stream from an Environmental Assessment to a more detailed Environmental Impact Statement study.
Since the outcome of an EA is often the instigation of an EIS, this is probably serving mainly to speed up the process and get started on an EIS that most likely would have been needed anyway. The NEPA web site mentions that "[i]f a federal agency anticipates that an undertaking may significantly impact the environment, or if a project is environmentally controversial, a federal agency may choose to prepare an EIS without having to first prepare an EA," both of which would certainly seem to be ways this project could be described.
If you want to see how extensive an EIS can be, check out the ones completed for the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction and the planned South Capitol Street corridor improvements.
The information already gathered and feedback already garnered during the EA process will be incorporated into the EIS. CSX representatives tell me that they expect the switch to add about six months to the environmental review process, and the project's web site now has a Spring 2013 date listed for the Final EIS/record of decision. CSX has always wanted the project to be done in 2015, to coincide with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, but that timeline is starting to look a bit dicey given that construction has been expected to take 2-3 years.
The public meeting to unveil the chosen "alternative" designs that the EIS is studying is currently being planned. You can read my write-up from the last meeting to see more about the initial group of concept designs, which ranged from expanding the tunnel to building a separate parallel tunnel to leaving the tunnel untouched to closing it and having CSX reroute all their traffic rerouting the double-stack traffic and through traffic out of the city (UPDATED to fix my mistake--there is no proposal that would close the tunnel altogether). (It probably isn't hard to guess which alternatives are preferred by the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association, with CQ's homes on Virginia Avenue standing mere feet away from any construction.) UPDATE: It's been requested that I mention that, while the CQ HoA letter above lists a group of possible signatories, at least three of them (ANC 6B, Barracks Row Main Street, and the Committee of 100) have all already voted against co-signing the letter.
For those blissfully unaware of this project (I wish!), CSX is needing to expand the 105-year-old tunnel that runs beneath Virginia Avenue between 2nd and 12th streets, SE so that a second track can be added and double-height cars can be accommodated. With initial plans calling for the extended closure of Virginia Avenue and a temporary track in an open trench to run trains through during construction, residents on both sides of the freeway have been greatly concerned about how the work will be designed and carried out, which then spurred DDOT to request a formal environmental review (despite this being a project being carried out by a private entity on a right-of-way that they own some of).
My pile of posts over the past few years on the subject may also be enlightening, or may not.
UPDATE: This flyer just posted on the VirginiaAvenueTunnel.com web site says that the next public meeting, announcing which concepts will be looked at in the EIS, is scheduled for May 21 from 6 to 8 pm at Nationals Park.
Comments (14)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Tidbits: BID Reports, Artomatic to Crystal City, Tunnel Items, More
Jan 18, 2012 2:33 PM
There's been a whirlwind of "big" posts as 2012 has gotten underway, so here's a few items I've neglected:
* BID Reports: At its annual meeting last week, the Capitol Riverfront BID released both its annual report and the "Green Print of Growth" study they commissioned, which showed that the portion of the Green Line from the Navy Yard station to Georgia Avenue/Petworth has become over the past 10 years a "regional leader" in "capturing highly-prized young professional housing demand and high-wage employment," just nosing ahead of the Orange Line's Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and outstripping the Red Line's stretch in Northwest DC when looking at household growth in the 18-to-34 demographic. The report also says (shocker!) that "the analysis conducted suggests that the Capitol Riverfront--given its Green Line access at the Navy Yard Station and its significant amount of development capacity--is among the most competitive locations in the region for households, companies, and retailers."
You can read the executive summary, the complete version, and the slides that RCLCO's Shyam Kannan displayed during his presentation at the meeting. (Additional coverage from WBJ and CapBiz.)
This was followed by a commentary by BID chief Michael Stevens in Monday's Washington Post/Capital Business in which he argued: "It's time for business and residents to recognize and acknowledge a new reality: The Green Line corridor has emerged as a powerful economic engine for the District and the region. And it's time for Metro, the city and the private sector to invest more in the area to support this growth trajectory."
UPDATE: Also coming out of the annual meeting, the BID voted to change how it handles its taxes, which still needs to be approved by the city council to take effect. (WBJ)
* On a parallel track, though it doesn't have to do with Near Southeast specifically, the Post's Steve Pearlstein wrote over the weekend about how signs suggest "that the next phase of growth in the Washington region will focus on these underdeveloped areas in the eastern quadrants of the District and some of the region’s older, closer-in suburbs."
* New Views: While I was at the BID's meeting, I took the opportunity to get some photos of the inside of 1015 Half Street, plus one shot looking out that shows not all views of the U.S. Capitol dome are, by default, "majestic." (Alternate caption: "Would you like fries with that democracy?") One Twitterer suggested that the rock circle at far right, on the Capitol Hill Power Plant's property, is where the ritual sacrifices are held. So, if you see the Congressional leadership skulking around I Street late at night....
* Artomatic Decision: The Post's Jonathan O'Connell tweeted this morning that Artomatic is headed to Crystal City. Organizers had been looking at both 1015 Half and the old National Geospatial Intelligence building at 101 M.
* CSX: The Virginia Avenue Tunnel web site now has public comments on the Nov. 30 "concepts" meeting, as well as the transcript of that session. Comments are still being accepted through the end of January.
* Protest: A reader who lives on 7th Street just across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters has passed along that the neighbors on that block have decided to lodge a formal protest at the liquor license renewal of the 7th and L Market, thanks to having witnessed multiple examples over the past few years of public drunkenness and urination, loitering, littering, drug dealing, indecent exposure, and even one proposition by a prostitute. There's no doubt that that market is a bit of a throwback to the neighborhood's previous incarnation; it will be interesting to see how this proceeds, and also how the eventual arrival of the National Community Church on that block changes (or doesn't change) things.
* AIIIEEEE!: Don't have enough to worry about these days? How about rising sea levels inundating areas along DC's waterfronts? (WaPo/Capital Weather Gang)
* Neighborhood News Roundup: The Post's new Where We Live real estate blog has a rundown and photo gallery today on the latest progress on the development and food fronts in Near Southeast. If it all looks and sounds strangely familiar, that shouldn't be a surprise.

Tidbits: Disaster!, Tunnel Comment Period Extended, WP on Yards
Dec 12, 2011 1:31 PM
Tidbitiest of tidbits:
* Don't panic on Wednesday (Dec. 14) if you see what appears to be all heck breaking loose at Nationals Park--the DC Fire Department and the US Marine Corps' Chemical Biological Incident Response Force will be holding a "large-scale disaster preparedness exercise . . . simulating the joint response to a major terrorist attack." Alas, though, it won't be zombies, but rather a chemical attack. It will run from 10 am to about 2 pm. (Not open to the public.)
* DDOT and CSX have extended the comment period for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel concept offerings by 30 days, to January 30, 2012.
* Jonathan O'Connell of the Post wrote a summary of the goings-on at the Yards, none of which will be news to JDLand readers, but which might still be of interest. (The "office building with retail space" mentioned at the end is apparently the Lumber Shed, which probably would be better described as a retail building with some office space, especially since the office tenant will be Forest City themselves.)
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, The Yards

December ANC 6D Agenda: Florida Rock, CSX, M Street, More
Dec 8, 2011 4:20 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D December meeting is now available (and actually posted on their web site, too!). My hopes for a pre-holiday pass from this have been dashed, though, since there are a number of Near Southeast items on the agenda:
* There is an application pending for landmark designation for the historic 1905 DC Water Main Pumping Station, to which I'm sure we all say, "What do you mean it isn't already designated?"
* CSX will give an update on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel NEPA process. (Or you can just read my summary of last week's public scoping meeting.)
* The new partners in the RiverFront/Florida Rock project will be giving a presentation on their new zoning filing, which I'll be writing more on shortly.
* There's also going to be an update(?) on the long-desired Maine Avenue/M Street comprehensive traffic study, which we haven't heard much about in a while.
You can check the agenda for the other items. (it's a pretty long lineup. Yay. As always, December seems to be the ZOMG WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING portion of the year, not just for ANCs but throughout the development/bureaucratic sphere.) The meeting is at 7 pm in the DCRA offices on the 2nd floor of 1100 4th St., SW.
Comments (0)
More posts: ANC News, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Florida Rock, meetings, preservation, Traffic Issues, DC Water (WASA)

Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project Concept Designs Unveiled
Dec 1, 2011 12:14 AM
In a conference room at Nationals Park on Wednesday night, a bevy of representatives from CSX, DDOT, and FHWA along with consultants galore showed the public for the first time a series of 12 "project concepts" for how to handle CSX's desire/need to expand the capacity of the 3,800-foot-long Virginia Avenue Tunnel that runs from 2nd to 12th Street SE.
The concepts are now posted on the project web site, and can be grouped as seven "rebuild" options along with four other "reroute" options that would bring about the abandonment of the tunnel altogether (and, it must be said, are probably a just smidge less likely to be one of the alternatives chosen).
Three of the rebuild options are along the lines of what's been discussed for more than two years now, which would be the running of a temporary track in an open trench while the expansion work is done on the existing tunnel. While having the trench on the south side of the tracks (Concept 2) has been the "default" discussion and has to be assumed to be CSX's preferred choice, Concept 3 shows the possibility of running the trench on the north side of the tunnel, which would be right next to the Southeast Freeway (and which I'm imagining would run into some issues with having to make sure all freeway supports are adequately protected). Concept 4 runs a "serpentine" trench both north and south of the existing tracks.
Concept 5 is an intriguing new notion, where a second permanent tunnel would be built parallel and south of the existing one. There's also the idea of just widening the current tunnel either while trains continue to use the tunnel (Concept 6) or with freight traffic temporarily rerouted either to Union Station (Concept 7A) or outside the District entirely (with a route shown that would take trains from Richmond through Ohio and up to Buffalo before turning back to the East Coast).
The "reroute" options all propose abandoning the tunnel, either building a nine-mile-long freight tunnel from National Airport to the Deanwood Metro station about 80 feet underground (Concept 8) or building other alignments proposed in recent years by the National Capital Planning Commission (Concepts 9 and 10), or running on CSX's existing tracks out to Ohio and then northward.
But of course, these are concepts, and one of the reasons for going through a NEPA process is to study the different ideas to then come up with alternatives, accompanied by scads of data on noise, vibration, pollution, traffic, and timeline impacts. And to determine how much the various alternatives would cost--because it's likely that CSX is not going to be too gung-ho on the options anticipated to run into the billions of dollars.
It's expected that the public meeting where the alternatives will be unveiled will be in February of 2012, at which point so many of the questions that residents have been asking for so long about how the tunnel construction will affect the day-to-day lives of people who live near and use Virginia Avenue will get some concrete answers.
Faisal Hameed of DDOT, who ran much of the meeting, emphasized a number of times during the Q&A that this is a unique project: a private company is doing work they are paying for themselves on a right of way that they own some (but not all) of, but the impacts on vehicle/pedestrian/bicycle transportation are expected to be extensive enough that DDOT requested this environmental assessment before getting to the point of signing off on any permits that CSX will need to do the work. (There is also apparently still some negotiating going on between CSX and DDOT about exactly whose right of way is where, but it was said that no portion of the project will enter private land, though some small incursions will happen on the Marine bachelor enlisted quarters' site west of 7th Street.)
The Q&A was a pretty peaceful one as these things go (which makes a cranky blogger so very happy!). Most of the wrangling between audience members and CSX was over the route that hazardous materials take when they are forced to go around the District because of various city laws and federal regulations; the audience members were trying to get CSX to admit that there's an existing route bypassing the city that's shorter than anything shown in the concepts, while CSX wasn't going to get anywhere near telling people where hazardous materials travel.
In response to one audience question (coming as a result of the new FAQ posted on the project web site), CSX did say that they are going to "strongly pursue" getting a waiver to stop the currently required blowing of horns anytime a train enters the tunnel, and that they think it should be a "strong possibility" that it can happen, though of course they weren't wanting to commit.
There were also questions that will be better asked when the alternatives are unveiled, about construction staging, safety during construction, noise and vibration impacts, traffic flow, emergency planning, alley access, and what CSX will do to restore or even improve the Virginia Avenue streetscape when construction is finished. (As for any historic preservation impacts, a Section 106 review of the project is being done concurrently with this NEPA assessment.)
Comments are being accepted on these 12 concepts for the next 30 days, either by using the web site or e-mailing contact@virginiaavenuetunnel.com. (About 530 comments were received after the September scoping meeting.) It's hoped the environmental assessment will be completed with a final NEPA decision by the summer of 2012; though, if there is a finding that there will be a "significant environmental impact" from whichever construction alternative is chosen, then a full Environmental Impact Study (EIS) would then have to be done.
Comments (4)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Next CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel Meeting Scheduled for Nov. 30
Nov 15, 2011 3:38 PM
I received no notification of this, just decided to wander by CSX/DDOT's Virginia Avenue Tunnel web site and look for updates, and so am just happening to see that there's a Public Alternative Meeting scheduled for Nov. 30 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Nationals Park. Their description: "As a follow-up to the public scoping meeting held on September 14, 2011, a second public meeting will be held to discuss alternatives for this project. This public meeting will include a formal presentation, question and answer session, and open house displays. The formal presentation will start at 7:00 p.m. Both verbal and written comments will be taken at the meeting."
Given the displeasure voiced by many residents about the lack of information from CSX at the September meeting, it will be interesting to see how girded for battle both sides are at this second session. The official comments letter from the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association, all 23 pages of it, is probably a pretty complete indicator of the issues that residents along Virginia Avenue will be pressing CSX over.
You can also read my many previous entries on the subject for more details (not in the mood to write the long re-summary today), and ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger is writing a lot about the subject as well.
UPDATE: An e-mail has now gone out officially announcing the meeting. It says that free parking will be available in Nats Lot C (at the corner of 1st and N), and that there will be free shuttles from Capper Seniors #1 (900 5th St. SE) and Van Ness Elementary (1150 5th St. SE).
Also, here is the official flyer, which nearby residents will be receiving in the mail.
Comments (2)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Madison Marquette to Launch Blue Castle Redevelopment Process
Oct 28, 2011 1:44 PM
Today's Washington Business Journal reports (subscribers only, alas) that Madison Marquette, owners of the "Blue Castle" at 770 M Street SE and co-owners of a series of additional parcels across 8th, "will soon formally launch its Lower Barracks Row redevelopment process, hiring land use planners, wooing an anchor retailer for the historic car barn and tackling a range of hurdles that stand in the way."
It's that "range of hurdles" that the article focuses on--MM will need to figure out where will parking for the car barn be able to be placed and how much additional height can be added given not only historic and building height restrictions but the Navy Yard's concerns with having buildings that can look over their walls.
Then there's the looming CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction, which could impact all of the landowners along Lower 8th given the disruptions that will no doubt ensue during the project. Mark Batterson of the National Community Church, which now owns all of the properties along Virginia between 7th and 8th and is looking to build a large coffee house/performance space and offices there, says in the article that their planning is very much tied up in CSX's timeline. "It doesn't make sense to do our project and then have them come through and rip everything up and make it difficult for us to even access our property."
Back in 2009 and 2010 there was a long Lower 8th Street Vision Process, which suggested allowing building heights of 65 to 85 feet on new structures 20 to 30 feet behind existing historic 8th Street structures. (The process report has a lot of drawings on how the 45-foot limit along 8th could co-exist with these potential greater heights further off the street.)
And, while not mentioned in the WBJ article, there's still the question of whether the Marines will end up building a new barracks in this area, as they have been hoping to do.
So, while the current Blue Castle leases are up in 2012, giving MM the opening to begin the process, the article makes clear that any makeover of Lower 8th will probably proceed slowly, at best.
Oh, and when it's all done, the Blue Castle probably won't be blue anymore:
(Rendering courtesy Madison Marquette. And maybe there's a hint in it of where they think the parking could go!)

CSX Public Scoping Meeting Write-Up, Boards
Sep 16, 2011 10:20 AM
Greater Greater Washington covers the CSX Public Scoping Meeting, focusing on how some attendees were surprised to only find informational displays and no presentations from CSX, DDOT, or FHWA. A shame no one made any mention of that in advance.
The boards from the meeting have now been posted on the official Virginia Avenue Tunnel web site. There's now a 30-day comment period, with a design concepts meeting to follow not long after. That's when the real nitty gritty should appear.
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel,

CSX Meeting Reminder; ANC 6D Redistricting, Capper Votes
Sep 13, 2011 9:16 PM
First, a reminder that Wednesday Sept. 14 brings the Public Scoping Meeting for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. This is a "we want to hear what YOU think!" meeting, so there will be no presentations of actual plans for the construction. It will just be an open house with information on what exists and what needs to be done, and a chance for interested parties to submit their feedback to DDOT and the FHWA. The meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Van Ness Elementary School; you can read more about the meeting in my post from last month. There's also the official web site, and this flyer from the newly formed Concerned Citizens of Virginia Avenue that makes clear their opinion on what's to come. Additional meetings where CSX will finally provide some specifics on their designs and plans should come later this fall.
As for doings at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting beyond the Metro station renaming items I already wrote about:
* Capper Time Extensions: The commission voted 7-0 to support the request for two-year extensions on two planned Capper apartment buildings and the office building planned for 600 M Street, which is also part of the Capper redevelopment. (I hadn't realized that 600 M was part of this request when I wrote my entry last week.) This would push the planned start dates for these three projects into the late 2013-early 2014 time frame.
As is usually the case with any Capper issue in front of the commission, Chairman McBee brought up the delayed community center, which Housing Authority representatives said should get its needed $7.4 million in funding when a new bond issuance happens later this year, and a building permit should be filed for in advance of the July 2012 deadline. As is also most always the case with Capper issues, the commission also wanted statistics and information on the former residents of the project, and whether they are being tracked and worked with. The DCHA reps said that 129 residents have returned to Capper, with another 550 on the waiting list, though some of those have turned down recently completed units for various issues (not wanting a walkup, etc.). This is with about half of the required 707 public housing units already constructed.
This extension was to have been heard by the Zoning Commission on Monday night, but since the ANC had not yet had a chance to weigh in, the applicants agreed with a request to delay action until the Zoning Commission's Sept. 26 meeting. If you want to know more, you can read my entry from last week (no need to write it all again!).
* Redistricting: The ANC proffered an alternate Single Member District map from what the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force has proposed. It tweaks the proposed boundaries in a way that moves current commissioner David Garber's building and the 70/100 I buildings back into 6D07 (along with the small block in Southwest bordered by South Capitol, M, N, and Carrollsburg Place), while placing Capitol Hill Tower, 909 New Jersey, and Velocity in 6B03, which reaches across South Capitol from Southwest. (The proposed SMDs that cover Near Southeast are in my quickie map at right.) Commissioner Cara Shockley, whose 6D02 was altered substantially from what the task force had proposed (it would have covered the portion of Near Southeast now given to 6D03, along with 70/100 I and Onyx, but not CHT), told the commission she was completely opposed to the new boundaries, and had no idea that such a big change was being proposed by the ANC, having been unable to open the attachments with the map images. David Garber took no official position on 6D's map, saying that because his constituents have made clear that they feel Near Southeast belongs in 6B and not 6D he would not be voting. In the end, the ANC supported the resolution offering up the alternate map in a 4-1-2 vote, with Garber and Bob Craycraft abstaining and Shockley voting against.
The task force's next public meeting is on Sept. 19 to propose the second draft of SMD boundaries, followed by a final meeting to approve their final draft maps on Sept. 22. Tommy Wells will then submit recommendations on boundaries to the city council by Sept. 30. For more on all the redistricting process, see my previous entries.

Virginia Avenue Tunnel Scoping Meeting Set for Sept. 14
Aug 16, 2011 10:24 AM
The public meeting process for the reconstruction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel is about to get underway, with a date finally having been set for the first of the mandatory NEPA sessions: On Sept. 14, DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration will hold the Public Information and Scoping Meeting. This is an "open house," with no formal presentations to be made, but there will be maps and displays available, and officials will be there to receive comments from attendees. Written comments can also be submitted electronically, if you can't be there in person. The meeting is at Van Ness Elementary School at 5th and M, SE, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
After this, there will be a Public Design Concepts Meeting at some point in the fall, which is where the first detailed plans for the project will be laid out. Then the Environmental Assessment would be released sometime in spring of next year (with an accompanying public hearing), with the final decisions on the project's design being made about a year from now.
There's also now an official Virginia Avenue Tunnel web site, where hopefully documents, maps, and whatnot will be posted as the process moves along.
If you haven't been following along, there is a rail tunnel that has run under Virginia Avenue from 2nd St. SE to 12th St. SE for about 100 years now, and, as part of the National Gateway project, CSX plans to widen the tunnel to allow for double-tracking, as well as raise the height of the roof to allow for double-stacked train cars. In order to accomplish this, Virginia Avenue will need to be closed for 2-3 years (though the cross streets will still be open), and an open trench will be dug to allow trains to continue to run alongside the existing track during construction. As one might imagine, the residents of Capitol Quarter in the 300 block of Virginia Avenue are a mite concerned about exactly how this will work, as are people who use Garfield Park (just to the north of the tunnel) and drivers who come off the Southeast Freeeway at the 6th Street exit, since cars will not be able to continue east on Virginia during construction but will have to go left under the freeway and go up into the Capitol Hill neighborhoods.
In May, CSX announced that it would be investing $160 million of its own money to fund the project. There is a strong desire by CSX to get this work completed before the opening of the expanded Panama Canal in 2015.
You can also read all my previous CSX entries for additional details.
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

A Few More Nats Park Photos (Eateries Etc.), and Other Tidbits
Jun 15, 2011 9:29 AM
I wandered down to Nationals Park last night to take in the atmosphere of not only the four new eateries, but also the return of Ryan Zimmerman. It was a healthy crowd (26,700+), and only about half of them seemed to be in line at Shake Shack and the other new food concessions (though by later in the game, the non-Shake Shack options had no lines).
I took another slew of photos (since the original batch from Monday's preview event proved to be pretty popular) mainly trying to get shots of these new "iconic" ballpark features from various angles, along with a few other shots of interest. As you can see in the shot at right, you can look at Blue Smoke and Box Frites with the Yards Park "iconic" pedestrian bridge and Navy Yard riverwalk directly behind, or with an east-of-the-river vista. I also grabbed a view of the progress on the bridge between Diamond Teague Park and Yards Park, my first shots of Das Bullpen, and both the sunset and the moonrise. And they would have all been even better if I had brought the official JDLand DSLR camera and not my less-than-fabulous point-and-shoot. Browse the gallery, and then mock me for leaving in the top of the 7th inning.
Other recently tweeted tidbits:
* The Yards' new Facebook page now includes a 2 1/2-minute virtual tour of what the neighborhood will look like when it's all built out. To see what it looks like now (and what it looked like a few years back), wander through my Yards project page.
* On Sunday morning a group of volunteers descended on the empty lot just east of the Velocity condo building to turn it into a demonstration rain garden. It's a project of the DC chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and is being funded by REI and the Cohen Companies (developers of the block), among others. They are having a meeting at Velocity on June 20 at 6 pm to discuss the project, and there will be another work day on the site on Saturday, June 25. The project's blog has photos and a lot of details; it's officially named the David Stemper Memorial Rain Garden, in honor of a Surfrider volunteer who passed away in 2010.
* The BID says that the next Truckeroo food truck festival at Half and M SE will be on Friday, July 15.
* Last week CSX sent a letter out to residents who live near Virginia Avenue introducing the plans to rehab the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. (It was probably quite useful for people who don't read JDLand!)

CSX Funding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, NEPA Process to Begin
May 18, 2011 5:46 PM
CSX announced today that it will be investing $160 million of its own monies in its National Gateway project, with most of that money going toward the funding of the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the 107-year-old structure that runs beneath Virginia Avenue from 2nd Street SE to 12th Street SE. With this decision, the company will start moving toward design and construction of the project, first by going through the NEPA process of environmental impact studies, which apparently is going to be spearheaded by the Federal Highways Administration (with support and assistance from DDOT, according to CSX).
Within the next few months there will be an initial public "scoping" meeting, where the parties lay out exactly what needs to be done with the tunnel and why. After a 30-day comment period expires, an "alternatives" meeting will then be scheduled, and this will be the meeting that residents will be the most interested in, because this will be when the design options for the project will first be made public, and will be the stage where CSX will at last answer the questions that so many people who live on or near Virginia Avenue have wanted answered since this project first really hit the public consciousness in late 2009. (Will the trench be completely uncovered? Will we be able to get into our alley? How will firetrucks service our block? What about noise? What about dust? What about traffic? What about the 6th Street exit off the freeway?) And at a meeting this afternoon, representatives from CSX didn't suddenly decide to answer any of those sorts of questions, deflecting them as ones that will be addressed at the alternatives meeting.
The CSX briefers today emphasized that they feel "sooner is better" for getting the project underway, with the expansion of the Panama Canal launching in early 2015 being one of the drivers of their decision to invest their own dollars rather than continuing to search for federal or state monies to pay for the project. (And, perhaps to ward off an expected line of criticism, they also made sure to mention that using their own money was in no way an attempt to sidestep NEPA.)
There's no firm date as to when construction might begin, owing to the reality that federal reviews don't always happen on a metronome-like timetable, and that then there will be permitting processes and other agency reviews (such as going through the National Capital Planning Commission and the city's historic preservation reviews). But it would seem that spring 2012 would be a likely target time if there are no big roadblocks thrown up, especially given that Panama Canal 2015 date and that CSX says they expect the project to take about three years. With other construction happening at or near the tunnel's path, including the rehab of 225 Virginia, the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction, and perhaps the start of some portion of William C. Smith's mixed-use project at 2nd and H, the very northern portion of the neighborhood will certainly continue to be knee-deep in heavy machinery for a number of years (and CSX says that they are coordinating with those other projects).
If you are just tuning in and aren't up to speed, CSX is wanting to add a second track to the tunnel, ending its status as one of the last (if not the last?) stretch of single track in CSX's east coast operations. They also plan to lower the floor of the tunnel to allow for double-stacked trains, vastly increasing the amount of cargo they can move through their system. (You can read their press release for what they consider to be the benefits of this expansion and all of the $850 million National Gateway project.)
As I've said, there isn't much in the way of specifics as to how exactly the project will be configured, other than we know there will be a parallel track running in an open trench, and that Virginia Avenue itself will be closed, but with bridges across the construction at 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 8th to allow the movement of north-south traffic. (This would mean that vehicles exiting the Southeast Freeway at 6th Street would need to turn north under the freeway to then move toward any final destination.)
My post from a walking tour of the project last July has some of the (few) details so far announced on the project, but focus will now turn to the NEPA public meetings as the point where the real specifics of the project and its impacts will be revealed, and where residents will be able to voice any and all concerns, problems, anger, threats of litigation, etc. Until then, feel free to use the comments here for all that! You can also read my previous CSX posts for more background and details on the project up to now.
Comments (0)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

ANC 6D Supports St. Paul's Historic Designtation, and Other Doings (CSX, 11th Street Bridges, Traffic)
Nov 8, 2010 10:51 PM
From the world of ANC 6D:
* The commission voted 7-0 to support the historic designation application of St. Paul's AUMP Church at 401 I St., SE, thanks in no small part to Pastor Karen Mills, who charmed the pants off the assembled commissioners and audience with a display of good humor sorely needed after some earlier rancorous exchanges discussing Southwest Waterfront issues.
The church was built in 1924, and apparently the years of having a congregation that didn't have a lot of money ended up being a good thing: because there have been few renovations, the church's facade and bricks are still from the original construction, making it a far better candidate for a historic designation than other churches which have had work done. The church is also notable for being the first church designed by R.C. Archer Jr., who was only the second licensed African American architect in DC. Once the church receives its historic designation, it will then be eligible for some grants to allow for historically accurate and preservation-approved renovations. (The photo above shows the church in 2007, when it stood alone after the demolition of the Cappers and before the start of Capitol Quarter construction.)
The church was approached for this application by the DC Preservation League, and the hearing before the city's Historic Preservation Review Board is scheduled for Nov. 18 at 9 am. You can see the information forwarded to the ANC about the application here (shot with my phone's camera, so not of particularly high quality, but it made me feel like a secret agent!). One other educational tidbit: "AUMP" stands for "African Union Methodist Protestant."
Pastor Mills also said that anyone who wants to come see St. Paul's is more than welcome to visit. And so it is with great shame that I admit that I have never been inside of the little church I've photographed so many times --I've always been worried that I would burst into the flames of eternal hellfire the second I stepped inside the doors, and I didn't want the poor little church to get singed as a result of my sins. But I'm now determined to give it a shot anyway.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel: Stephen Flippin of CSX gave a(nother) update on the status of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. While CSX had applied for a $3 million grant under USDOT's TIGER II program to help pay for the NEPA process for the project, they didn't get that funding, so the process got delayed by a couple of months. They are now looking to have the first "public scoping meeting" in January, which would include information booths, audience comments and questions, etc. There would then be a 30-day comment period, followed by an "alternatives" meeting probably in March, then another comment period followed by probably five or six months of work with their design/build team before coming back to another public meeting for a full update on the project. After that, they would need a few months with their designers before construction could begin, which puts the earliest possible starting time for the project somewhere around the spring of 2012. (Definitely not a date written in stone.)
There's also the issue that funding for the tunnel project itself hasn't been secured, and so CSX is looking at various public financing possibilities (transportation reauthorization act, funding from other states in the National Gateway) as well as -- gasp! -- using some of their own money, or at least money they received for other parts of the Gateway that they haven't spent.
Beyond this update on the process, there's no new information on the construction itself, and there pretty much won't be until after the NEPA process is done.
* 11th Street Bridges: There was also an overview and status report on the 11th Street Bridges project; I'm hoping to get the slides that were shown, so I'll hold off on writing about that. If in the meantime you have 9 or 10 free hours and want to delve into all the environmental impact studies that were done for the bridge project (which include traffic estimations among many other things), here's the Environmental Impact Statement and other associated documents. UPDATE: Here's my writeup of the slides.
* Near SE/SW Combined Traffic Study: During a discussion about pedestrian safety issues at 4th and M, SW, commissioner Andy Litsky reiterated his long-standing complaint that no traffic study has been undertaken to look at Near SE and SW together, and that it continues to be sorely needed. Naomi Mitchell of Tommy Wells's office then spoke up that Tommy is ready to help the ANC finally get this study done. (And there was much rejoicing.)
* Half Street Closures: Apparently the city is planning to move legislation that would allow for the closing of Half Street, SE, between M and N during all events at Nationals Park with more than 5,000 attendees, instead of the current set-up where it's only closed during Nationals games. This would include recent events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure opening ceremonies and last Saturday's Greater Washington Region Start! Heart Walk.

ANC 6D Coming to Near Southeast; Agenda Posted
Nov 5, 2010 4:33 PM
In case you don't have the date circled in red on your calendar, on Monday (Nov. 8), ANC 6D will be having its regular monthly meeting, and will be making the arduous trek across South Capitol Street to meet in Near Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda has just been sent out, and there are some Near Southeast items:
* The St. Paul AUMP church at 4th and I, which has remained standing while Capper came down and Capitol Quarter rose up around it, is the subject of a Historic Landmark application, which will be heard at the Historic Preservation Review Board's meeting on Thursday, Nov. 18. I hope to have more information about it when the HPRB's full agenda and materials are available on Nov. 12, but at Monday's ANC meeting there will be a discussion of the application and presumably a vote as to whether or not to support it.
* Updates are scheduled for both the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project and for the 11th Street Bridges.
There are also a number of Southwest-specific items, some zoning rewrites, alcohol/beverage issues, and whatnot. But it's totally not true that the agenda also includes a knife fight between all outgoing and incoming commissioners.
The meeting starts at 7 pm.
Comments (1)
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, ANC News, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, preservation, St. Paul's Church

Upcoming Marine Barracks Meeting Scheduled; CSX Public Scoping Meeting Postponed
Oct 12, 2010 8:40 AM
* The Marines have officially scheduled their "public forum" on their search for a new barracks location (officially dubbed the easy-to-remember Community Integrated Master Plan [CIMP] process) for Tuesday, Nov. 30, starting with an open house at 5 pm, followed by "speakers representing the community of stakeholders" who will "present their viewpoints," followed by a discussion period. It will be held in the North Hall of Eastern Market, at 7th and North Carolina, SE.
This won't be a meeting where the new location will be unveiled; in fact, ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger says "it will be a year or more" before a Request for Proposals for a new site will even be issued, with construction to start in 2013 at the earliest. (This is perhaps a little longer than the timeline that was talked about just a few weeks ago, which included a hoped-for start of construction early in FY13, better known as late 2012.) For more info, you can see the map of the remaining possible sites, as well as an updated version of their "Comparison of Key Components and Consensus Elements" of potential sites. And of course all of my previous entries.
* At the September ANC 6B meeting, I was told that CSX was expecting to announce that their first "public scoping meeting" for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project would be on Oct. 20; however, that planned session is being postponed, with a new date to be announced.
Comments (5)
More posts: Barracks, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

CSX to Do Some Core Sampling in Virginia Ave. Park; First Public Meeting on Tunnel Project Coming Soon
Sep 21, 2010 10:20 PM
It's not exactly the biggest news I've written about, but tonight ANC 6B voted unanimously to write a letter in support of CSX's request to the Department of Parks and Recreation to do some minor digging in Virginia Avenue Park as part of its NEPA requirements for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion project. They'll be taking core samples, 1.5 inches in diameter, five feet in depth, about every 200 feet, looking for any archaelogically significant findings. (And, no, these samples won't be taken in the community garden.) If anything is found in the samples, CSX would then need to get new permits to do more extensive digging. There are also two other locations relatively close to the park where they'll take core samples, over by 11th Street.
Steven Flippin of CSX also told the commissioners that the first public meeting required by the NEPA process is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 20, at a time and place to be determined. This will be a "scoping" meeting, laying out the overall parameters of the project and the NEPA process. It will be followed, after a 30-day comment period, by an "alternatives" meeting. After another comment period, the final "overall" meeting about the tunnel project will be held, most likely in February of 2011.
I should also mention that commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg thanked CSX for paying for the new fence at Virginia Avenue Park that has now created the separate-enclosed-space-that-in-no-way-should-be-construed-as-being-an-official-dog-park.
Comments (10)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, dog, Virginia Ave Park

Back from the Midwest; A Few Events This Week
Sep 20, 2010 9:39 AM
I'm back from spending the past week wandering around Ohio (Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland) and then spending some time in the Detroit area, where my husband grew up and where I lived for a few years as a tyke many years ago. If I was sent back in time 10 years and told to be a city blogger again but that I couldn't do Near Southeast, I would gladly have chosen to document the decay (and perhaps eventual return) of Detroit, because it's really on a scale that is hard for people to understand unless they've spent a lot of time driving all around the city (and not just on the freeways). It also means I would have spent the past 10 years eating plenty of Detroit Pizza at Buddy's and Cloverleaf and having far easier access to a bazillion breakfast options (at the Coneys and other "family dining" establishments) than we'll ever have in the DC Metro area. Plus there's the cider mills.
We also very much enjoyed Columbus, particularly the Short North and German Village neighborhoods (and driving through the Ohio State campus in my University of Florida-festooned car--ha ha!), and my husband also noted the bars and restaurants in the Arena District and asked if that's what will eventually be coming to Half Street. (I then asked him if he ever reads my blog.) Downtown Cincinnati has some great "old stock" storefronts and signage (which we're always big fans of), but we also enjoyed the Kentucky towns of Covington and Newport, right across the river from Cincy's two stadiums. It helped that our hotel was three blocks from the massive Covington Oktoberfest celebration. And yes, we ate chili. Cleveland was mainly a pilgrimmage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for me, but we did wander around to eat in the Tremont and Ohio City neighborhoods, and took a peek at Shaker Heights.
(Are you as worn out from our vacation as I am? We do tend to cover a lot of territory.)
I don't think I deprived you of any big news while I was gone, so, instead, we'll look ahead at a few events this week:
* Today begins the Nats' final homestand of the 2010 season, against the Astros, Braves, and Phillies, with the final home game on Wednesday Sept. 29 at 7:05 pm. And note that this Thursday's game (Sept. 23) against the Astros is a 4:35 pm start, and Saturday's game (Sept. 25) against the Braves is at 1:05 pm. Then you can start looking ahead to the 2011 Nationals schedule, where they get an Opening Day home game on March 31 against the Braves.
* Tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 21) is ANC 6B's monthly meeting (delayed a week to avoid coinciding with the election), and the agenda includes CSX's plans for an archaeological dig at Virginia Avenue Park. The meeting is at 7 pm at the People's Church, 535 8th St., SE.
* Thursday is the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's "Moonlight Ride at Yards Park", which includes an 11-mile ride starting from the Park at 8:30 pm heading west to the Potomac River, and a 6-mile ride starting at 9 pm that will go east over the Anacostia River into Anacostia Park and Historic Anacostia. The rides are free and open to the public, but they ask that you register in advance.
* And, looking ahead a bit, the newly redesigned "Parcel D" residential/retail/grocery development on the southeast corner of 4th and M in the Yards will be presented to the National Capital Planning Commission on Oct. 7.
UPDATE: I guess I should also be mentioning the launch of Capital Bikeshare today, with two locations in Near Southeast, at New Jersey and M by USDOT, and what the map says is another station at First and N, SE, by Nationals Park (which I had heard wasn't coming until next spring).

Tidbits: Spiffying Up the NJ Avenue Underpass; CSX Archaelogy Digging; More Near SE History
Sep 7, 2010 9:09 AM
A few things to pass along as we kiss summer goodbye (yes, I know it technically doesn't end for another few weeks, blah blah blah):
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is applying for a DC Public Art Building Communities grant to get funding to "improve the look, feel and experience of traveling into and out of the Capitol Riverfront along New Jersey Ave., SE, while also creating unique gateway art that represents the identity, sense of place and community in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood." They will be presenting their concepts at the Sept. 13 ANC 6D meeting, with applications being due on Oct. 13. If the project is selected to receive a grant, there would be public meetings sometime next year to "refine" the concepts, with hopes to complete the project by fall 2011. Though I can't imagine why anyone would want to beautify THIS!
* I'm not seeing this on the posted agenda yet, but a reader reports to me that CSX will be making presentations to ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee tonight (Sept. 7) and the full ANC on Sept. 21 about a permit the freight company is apparently requesting to conduct an archaeological survey of Virginia Avenue Park prior to their planned expansion of the tunnel that runs under the park.
* Tonight you might see some folks with clipboards hanging around the Navy Yard Metro station entrances; they will be part of the Public Transportation Takes Us There petition drive by the American Public Transportation Association, trying to convince Congress to pass a long-term surface transportation funding bill. For the point of view of someone who has signed the petition, read this recent Richard Layman post. (I am wondering, and have no answer, whether this is the bill that CSX has been looking toward [along with other public money options] for funding the rest of the National Gateway project, which includes the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.)
* You may have seen commenter MJM referencing recently his newfound obsession with the history of Near Southeast, and now he's put up a blog where you can share in the fruits of his research.

Checking in with CSX on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel
Jul 19, 2010 7:48 PM
The folks at CSX led a few local bloggers on a little tour late this afternoon along the footprint of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, between New Jersey Avenue and 12th Street, SE, to give us a feel for the scope of the upcoming work to widen (and deepen) the tunnel to allow for double tracking and double-stacked railcars.
There isn't really any news to report--it wasn't a shock that there weren't any sudden outbursts of information about noise and dust abatement, traffic measures, access to the houses in the 300 block of Virginia Avenue, or anything along those lines, because CSX is holding all of its cards veeeeeeery close to its corporate vest until the NEPA process gets underway. They are expecting that their actual plans will go out for public comment sometime in the November-December timeframe, if all goes according to schedule. That said, here are a few items worth passing along (some of which I may have posted before but are worth repeating). But keep in mind that this is all still preliminary, the exact alignment won't be known until the design/build and NEPA process are completed, yadda yadda yadda.
* If you stand on the bridge over the train tracks at New Jersey Avenue and look eastward toward the mouth of the tunnel at Second Street (seen at right), you can envision the beginning of the parallel track that will run first between the pillars of the SE Freeway, then in an open trench all the way to 12th Street while they're widening the existing tunnel. The new tunnel will expand four feet on either side of the current alignment, and the open trench will be dug on a line that extends about 19 feet south from the new wider footprint. They are working with the owner of the Charley Horse Stables just to the south of the train tracks to see how her operations can be handled during the estimated three-year construction time.
* The temporary trench will run along the south side of Virginia Avenue on a line that will include most of the sidewalk and grass in front of 225 Virginia Avenue (right up to where the in-ground grates are, at which point the trench will shift northward toward the freeway somewhat). There will be coordination between CSX and StonebridgeCarras, who will be working on the reconstruction of 225 Virginia at the same time.
* Then, if you stand just south of the intersection at Fourth and Virginia and look west, there is a lamp post a few feet south of the stop sign in that spot--the edge of the trench will be about 9 feet south of that lamp post, which means the trench will be very close to the first house on Fourth, but gets farther from the houses in the 300 block as it goes west back to 225 Virginia. (I should have taken a picture. Oops.)
* At Fifth and Virginia, the off-ramp from the freeway will be shifted a couple feet northward--not that there's more than a few feet for it to move--so that it sits directly next to the embankment. Then, it looks like the Marines' fence along the 500 block of Virginia will have to be shifted about halfway down the hill from its current alignment, along with some of their HVAC equipment near Seventh Street.
* The work may require the closure of the on-ramp to the freeway at Eighth Street, requiring drivers to head to 11th and N to get on the 11th Street Bridges (at least until the new on-ramps are completed at 11th and M).
* At Ninth and Virginia, Dogma's property might not be clipped, but CSX will be working to help reorient Dogma's operations toward L Street (since the current access via Virginia Avenue will be unavailable). It's possible that L Street might temporarily become two-way during construction.
* The trench will come very close to the northern fence of the Virginia Avenue Garden, but they aren't sure yet of the exact final location.
* And if you've never seen the east end of the tunnel, east of 11th Street, here you go.
Of course, through all of this, all of Virginia Avenue will be closed to traffic, and the current sidewalks will be gone as well. There will be "bridges" across the tunnel and trench for vehicular and pedestrian traffic at Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, and Eighth, and apparently pedestrian access will be maintained to the underpass at Second Street to get to Garfield Park.
But, as I said, the information residents most want to know isn't yet public, and I wouldn't expect hard news about the plans and mitigation measures until the NEPA process gets futher along. There will be a public comment period after a series of public meetings, though they are continuing to work with the city and the Feds behind the scenes. It will be interesting to see what comes to the table.
Comments (18)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Latest on Virginia Ave. Tunnel: Still Not Many Specifics
Apr 12, 2010 5:53 PM
I was invited to a little briefing today by CSX for a few bloggers, so the company could give a bit of a status update on the expansion plans for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. They explained the background of the project (which is already available on their National Gateway web site), and emphasized the more than two dozen community meetings they've attended; they'll be going to both ANC 6D tonight and ANC 6B on Tuesday to report on the results of a draft traffic study they commissioned to show the impacts of closing Virginia Avenue between Second and 11th streets, SE, for two to three years, and also some renderings of some improvements they are offering to undertake to the various freeway underpasses and along Virginia Avenue to help beautify the stretch once the work is completed.
I arrived armed with a lot of questions from readers (thanks everyone!), but alas most of them had to do with specifics of the construction process, which CSX says it will not be able to address until they begin the design/build phase of the project.
They did pass along a few basics--they will be building a second/parallel track, in an open trench, to allow for train movement while they work to widen and deepen the existing track to allow for two tracks and double-height rail cars. (The tunnel originally had two tracks, but as equipment grew wider the second track was taken out of commission. So they will be adding about four feet of tunnel space on each side to bring back double tracking.) The temporary parallel track trench will be filled back in once construction is finished.
They will build temporary bridges across the open Virginia Avenue trench at the cross streets, which will necessitate each street being closed for three to five days. Construction would mostly run from 7 am to 7 pm, but trains would go through the open trench at all hours, though mostly at night. They "will work to mitigate" noise issues and construction dust and debris, and used the existing houses at Garfield Park as an example of how people already live very close to open rail trenches without an undue amount of difficulty. (The Garfield Park houses are a bit farther away from the train tracks than the new EYA houses on Virginia Avenue, of course.)
They did say that it's *possible* that some of the trench in the 300 block of Virginia Avenue could be decked over in order to preserve "access" to the new EYA houses in that block, and that they are working closely with EYA to make sure those concerns are addressed.
As for traffic impacts (which weren't discussed too much in today's group), ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger in a blog post on Friday gave a few specifics in regards to the Sixth Street freeway exit ramp: "The 6th street exit ramp will remain open, but traffic must turn left on 6th street[.] Traffic trying to get to, say, M Street, SE, will have execute a several blocks U-turn, using 6th, I, and then 4th streets. There will be inevitably be problems, not least trying to anticipate the flow of 'local' traffic from the re-designed 11th street bridges. i.e. commuters may still be tempted to use. There is considerable skepticism by some (including me) of DDOT's estimate of how much commuter traffic that is supposed to use the SE/SW Freeway to get to downtown will actually stay off local streets."
There is still no timeline for when construction would start--they are continuing to "look at many possible sources" of funding, from a hoped-for federal transportation reauthorization bill that isn't as yet showing much movement to a new USDOT Tiger II grant program to other possibilities. They also need to go through an environmental impact study, which they didn't have a timeline for but which won't start before June and could take six months to a year. As has been said, they are very much wanting to get this tunnel done by 2015, and they consider this tunnel a supreme bottleneck in their entire east coast operations.
They also say that "the community" has told them that they want this project done sooner rather than later, preferring a lot of hassle for a shorter period of time compared to a medium amount of hassle for a longer period of time. And CSX also feels there's interest in seeing this project get finished before any additional development starts cropping up along the Virginia Avenue corridor.
Hopefully some of the renderings and other documents they showed today will be posted online somewhere soon. But CSX considers this to be a project still in its very early stages, and clearly believes that the amount of neighborhood outreach they are doing to be a strong indication of how they want to work with the community to lessen the impacts of the coming construction, much in the same way that the Marines are pointing to their Community Intregated Master Plan project for the new barracks site and its many neighborhood meetings as a "new way of doing things."
UPDATE: This post at GGW gives an overview (which I've long since stopped bothering with ;-) ) on why CSX is undertaking the project.
UPDATE II: For the point of view from a resident with a group that is definitely not in favor of CSX's plans, read these notes from the meeting.
UPDATE III: Here is the rendering they passed out showing possible improvements CSX could undertake to Virginia Avenue and underpasses after the construction is completed.
Comments (23)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

ANC 6D Agenda Posted
Apr 11, 2010 6:14 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now available, with a few items of Near Southeast interest. There will be an update on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, a presentation by the owner of American River Taxi (the company working toward water taxi service between Georgetown, the SW Waterfront, Diamond Teague Park, and other spots), and a liquor license application for the Patriot II, which is the boat run by the new DC Harbor Cruises outfit that just began running river tours from Teague. There's also the usual gamut of road races and other items, along with I'm sure the latest on the opening this week of the new SW Safeway.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church, Sixth and M streets, SW. (This *might* be the last time the ANC meets at this location, with its new space at the Waterfront building at Fourth and M being close to its debut.)
If you're interested in the CSX stuff and can't make the Monday meeting, remember that there's also an update being given the next night at ANC 6B's meeting.

CSX Press Briefing on Monday; Questions to Ask?
Apr 9, 2010 3:08 PM
I've been invited to a press/blogger briefing being held on Monday by Stephen Flippin, who handles federal affairs for CSX. It's to give an update on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, with a look at some renderings and other materials that CSX will have available.
What questions would you folks like to have asked? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I'll see what I can do about getting responses. (Don't worry, I'll be sure to get the basics, like a timeline.)
Also, Flippin is scheduled to update ANC 6B at their Tuesday night meeting, if you'd prefer not to get your information through the SLANTED JDLAND MEDIA FILTER!
Comments (12)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Recent Tidbits (Cap Quarter Sold Out, Akridge in 2011, Va. Ave. Dog Park?, Photos of 11th Street Bridge Work)
Apr 9, 2010 9:59 AM
With the opening of the 2010 season at the ballpark and lots of other interesting news of late, my blogging time and focus has been geared toward these bigger items. But there's a fair amount of little stuff that I point to every day on my Twitter feed (also available on Facebook), mainly news stories that might be of interest but that aren't really important or newsy enough to devote much more than 140 characters to. I may eventually transition to leaving those completely to Twitter, but I still feel guilty enough for now to round them up here on the blog every so often. But if you're wanting all news items at warp speed, best to start reading the Tweets.
* EYA has passed the news to me that all Capitol Quarter Phase I townhouse units are now sold. They are gearing up to begin sales of the Phase II houses, which will start "soon." (Though I wouldn't take your tent down to their sales office just yet.) I imagine they will do the releases of these next houses in groups based on location, as they did with phase I. It's still expected that the entire townhouse development will be built out by the end of 2012.
* Last weekend Bisnow took a walk around the neighborhood with a camera (a novel idea!), and gave their readers an update on some of the projects. The only section that I've not seen reported before is Akridge now saying that construction for their 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use Half Street project is now pegged at "hopefully before next baseball season," likely meaning 2011. But, "once shovels hit the dirt, the one residential and two office buildings will likely go up at once," Bisnow quotes an Akridge rep as saying. It also says that Forest City is "hoping" to get started on the Boilermaker Shops retail renovation at the Yards before the end of this year. (Lots of "hoping" going on!) There's even a picture of the Pillsbury Doughboy that gazes out over the neighborhood from Capitol Hill Tower.
* Voice of the Hill says there's a possibility of a temporary dog park being installed at the Virginia Avenue Park (Ninth and Potomac, SE), at least until CSX starts on its tunnel construction project (more on CSX coming in another post later today). This is coming to the forefront because the principal of Tyler Elementary has now banned dogs from the school's playing field.
* Some neat overhead photos from DDOT showing the progress on the 11th Street Bridges construction. I'm hoping to get some ground-level images myself before too much longer.
* CNN reports on how Nationals Park has become a very hot venue for political fundraising, actively pursued and encouraged by the team. "[F]ederal candidates, major political parties, and political action committees have spent at least $432,000 on fundraising events either at Nationals games or at their facility, according to campaign finance documents filed with the Federal Election Commission."

Rounding Up Recent Links
Mar 8, 2010 2:32 PM
A few articles I've recently pointed to from my Twitter feed that might be of interest but aren't necessarily "news":
* The Examiner says the city spent $115,000 to house snow plow drivers at the Courtyard on New Jersey Avenue during the record February snowstorms--what we always refer to as the "trash transfer station" is also the city's snow plow yard, and so the drivers were being put up close by. (Lots of money was spent at McDonald's, too, presumably the one within walking distance on I Street.)
* The Nats' Stan Kasten speaks to the DC Sports Bog on the rumors of the NHL Winter Classic coming to town. ("I think it's a fun rumor, it's a fascinating rumor, [but] I really do think you're jumping a little bit ahead.... I think it would be great for our city, and great for our ballpark, and together we'd do a hell of a job.")
* In Senate testimony, US DOT secretary Ray LaHood used "the area around the ballpark" as an example of "livability" during a sharp exchange with Sen. Kit Bond. You can see the video here (skip to the 92-minute mark), or read the story about LaHood's testimony on Streetsblog.
* Three Nats games -- April 3, 7, and 8 -- have been deemed "official events" in the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (via the Nats)
* The ANC 6D meeting tonight is at the Courtyard in Near SE, but SWDC Blog posted photos of the commission's new digs in the about-to-open Waterfront development.
* WashCycle thinks that the 10-block temporary tunnel CSX says it will build on Virginia Avenue when reconstructing the existing tunnel ought to be kept for bike/pedestrian use ("lighting would have to be a must", they say).

This Week's Events (ANCs and M Street)
Mar 7, 2010 9:40 AM
The lineup. all front-loaded on Monday and Tuesday:
* Monday has the ANC 6D meeting (didn't we just do this?), at 7 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda is now posted, and includes updates on the Nats and the ballpark's Transportation and Parking Plan.
* Tuesday has Tommy Wells's public meeting on improvements to M Street, from 6-7:30 pm at the MPD First District station at 101 M St., SW.
* Tuesday is also ANC 6B's meeting, in its new home at 535 8th St., SE, at 7 pm. The update from CSX on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project originally slated for this meeting has been moved to the April meeting.
Comments (0)
More posts: ANC News, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings, M Street, parking, Nationals Park

Public Meeting on Improvements to M Street
Mar 3, 2010 8:09 PM
From Tommy Wells's office (via ANC 6D):
"Please join us to discuss the possibilities for M Street.
Tuesday, March 9th, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
MPD First District Station, 101 M Street, SW
"Councilmember Wells, in conjunction with the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly and ANC 6D, is hosting a neighborhood meeting to discuss how Southwest and near Southeast neighborhoods can make safety improvements to M Street through what's known as a 'complete street.'
"'Complete street' is a term of art for planning and renovating streets to reduce the number and speed of cars on the roadways, provide better pedestrian safety and access, and support alternate means of travel that connects neighborhoods. Currently, AARP and other advocacy groups strongly support the concept for the potential it holds to build better and safer streets for seniors, families and other pedestrians. AARP will attend to share its efforts to bring complete streets to more communities like ours.'
For much more information on the "complete street" concept, here's the National Complete Streets Coalition web site. I also imagine that the M Street bike lanes concept that was presented to BID members a few months back will be discussed at this public meeting as well.
UPDATE: Just a note that, for people who are wanting to attend this but are worried about the conflict with ANC 6B's meeting that night, I'll note that the planned update from CSX about their Virginia Ave. Tunnel project has been postponed to 6B's April meeting.
Comments (1)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, M Street, Traffic Issues

Virginia Ave. Tunnel Project Doesn't Get TIGER Funding
Feb 18, 2010 12:17 PM
On Wednesday the US Department of Transportation announced its TIGER grant awardees, and while the massive National Gateway rail project did receive $98 million, it was for a stretch of rail in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and not for the projects planned in DC, including the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, which would result in a multiyear closure of the street in order to add a second track and lower the track bed to allow for double-height cars.
ANC 6B03 commissioner Norm Metzger received a statement from CSX that says: "The Virginia Avenue tunnel piece is a 2-3 year project that we would like to have finished in time for the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015. Our original intent was to pursue funding through the transportation authorization bill, and this will continue as will seeking other funding opportunities." (I'm trying to find out more about this authorization bill they're talking about, using my best source for what's going on in Congress, but don't have anything just yet, other than the fact that there isn't an actual authorization bill currently written or under debate.)
In other words, as of now there's still no indication of when this project will start, which may or may not be good news for the people who have put down deposits for the row of Capitol Quarter townhomes along Virginia between Third and Fourth, since the lack of impending construction may be offset by the uncertainly of when the hammer might finally drop. For more on the project, read my various past entries, and also the documents that CSX submitted last year to the National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board for some additional details.
Comments (13)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

A Few Tidbits While Waiting for Normalcy to Return
Feb 15, 2010 11:02 AM
Some small items I've tweeted (or just forgotten to post) recently:
* Construction delays related to last week's epic snows have put the kabosh on the trapeze school's planned opening today--they may open for business on Friday, Feb. 19, but are still in need of their certificate of occupancy. Check their web site or Facebook group for updates.
* ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger is following CSX's plans for expanding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel pretty closely, and has recently passed along a link to a new "National Gateway Project Updates" web site, including this page on the Virginia Avenue portion. CSX still isn't really giving any details about how the construction will impact the area, but they are certainly touting all the public meetings they've been to! In a similar vein, Norm also posted a link to a new blog, "Capitol Hill Against Railroad Tunnel Expansion," by folks who are unhappy with the plans.
* Look for ANC 6D's monthly meeting to be rescheduled to some day this week--they didn't send out any announcements as their attempts to hold the meeting last week were postponed, so checking their web site for the new date will be necessary. ANC 6B has rescheduled its meeting to Feb. 23.
* WBJ reports that the city used $10 million in surplus receipts from the ballpark tax to "shore up its fiscal 2010 budget," instead of paying off the ballpark debt early, which was what businesses who pay the tax expected to happen in the event of surpluses. And they're not happy.
Comments (2)
More posts: ANC News, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Nationals Park, Yards/Parcel O

Yards Gets LEED Gold; Buzzard Point Planning; Other Links (Parking, DOT HQ, Lower 8th, Jeff Neal)
Nov 24, 2009 9:42 PM
* The Yards has been designated a LEED Gold Certified Neighborhood Development Plan, based on the 42-acre project's stage two design plan, which "integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design." Read Forest City's press release, or learn more about the LEED for Neighborhood Development program.
* Southwest...The Little Quadrant With the Really Long Blog Name (hey, we kid because we love) gives a full report on the meetings last week to create a plan for Buzzard Point. The American Planning Association has posted its press release summarizing the sessions, saying that "Buzzard Point is a distinct area and should build on its strong existing residential character" and that any future plans should "[a]void using a cookie-cutter approach to redeveloping the neighborhood; the type of redevelopment taking place east of South Capitol Street is not what should occur west of South Capitol Street." (Yikes, now there's going to be a rumble in the South Capitol Street median.)
* Michael Perkins is not the person you want to be unable to find a parking space. Speaking of which, here's the second part of GGW's report on last week's Ward 6 Performance Parking public meeting.
* The US Department of Transportation HQ on M Street has been named a winner of the Phoenix Award, which "honors excellence in brownfield redevelopment" and honors companies and individuals who have worked "to solve critical environmental and community challenges when transforming formerly used real estate into productive new uses."
* Voice of the Hill reports on the latest Lower 8th Street visioning sessions: "Barracks Row Main Street executive director James Dalpee suggested that a Columbia Heights-style model, with several big anchor stores, might be what's needed to spur retail in the area," though "while they are dreaming big dreams, planners also have to contend with a number of potential obstacles. They include CSX's plans to tear up Virginia Avenue from 2nd to 11th streets for up to three years to make room for a double-stack train tunnel; the Marine Barracks master plan, which is set to be unveiled soon; and the 11th Street Bridges expansion project."
* WBJ's Breaking Ground blog points to a video by the Huffington Post's investigative unit on "Commercial Real Estate: the Next Hole in the Economy," which "stars" Jeff Neal of Monument Realty talking about the buying "binge" his company went on to snap up lots around the ballpark site in 2004 and 2005. (Though I think it's funny to see WBJ getting a bit snippy about news organizations "discovering holes in the ground" after they did, since I'd be willing to wager that they weren't the first to report on those sites, anyway.) WBJ also says that Neal is developing a reality TV show. Also be sure to check out the comments on the YouTube video for the sort of level-headed, reasoned discourse that we've all become accustomed to on the interwebs.

NBC4 Covers CSX/Virginia Ave./Capitol Quarter
Nov 17, 2009 8:08 PM
NBC4's Tom Sherwood did a piece today on CSX's plans to expand the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, and he focused on a to-be owner of a Capitol Quarter townhouse on Virginia Avenue (in the block between Third and Fourth, where foundation pouring is currently underway). There wasn't any real news in the piece for people who've been following the story recently, but it does highlight that that one block could really become a problem for CSX, and is perhaps an issue that no one had given much thought to. (But, in their defense, it's not like there was a five-year window when Virginia Avenue was completely deserted. Oh, wait....) I also wonder how the city agencies that will be new tenants at 225 Virginia will handle the impact of three years of construction outside their front door.
There still aren't any details posted online by CSX or the District about exactly how the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project will work (though we do have notes from their various recent public outreach sessions), but at a cost of about $140 million, it's not a small piece of the $842 million "National Gateway" project. In the documents that were part of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board vote on the project back in September, CSX described the Virginia Avenue Tunnel as a "bottleneck that when unlocked improves the freight efficiency and mitigates the expected freight growth in the region."
Comments (7)
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

Back Soon, I Promise; But Here's a Few Tidbits
Nov 13, 2009 1:15 PM
I warned last week that this was going to be a week where I'd be missing almost everything, and I haven't disappointed. This is probably the longest period this site has been quiet in many years, and I apologize. But all will be back to normal in the next few days, and I'll catch up with all the various doings, I promise.
In the meantime, mark your calendars for two meetings:
The next Lower 8th Street Visioning sessions, on Nov. 17 at 8:30 am and 7 pm, where one topic of discussion is apparently going to be the CSX plans for Virginia Avenue. (This was discussed at Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting, and one of my readers was nice enough to send his detailed notes from the session; also, here's the report from The Hill is Home.)
The next night, on November 18, DDOT is holding a public meeting on the Ward 6 Performance Parking Pilot program. There will be updates on signage improvements, the revenue generated from the meters, plans for "non-automotive transportation improvement modifications" that will be paid for with the meter revenue, and more. It's at Friendship Baptist Church, 900 Delaware Ave., SW, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. If you're not sure exactly what the Performance Parking Pilot program is, here's the scoop.
Also, I see on the DCRA Building Permits Feed that the building permit for Justin's Cafe at Velocity was approved on Nov. 9. No evidence yet online of a liquor license application yet.
Hope this can satisfy everyone's insatiable thirst for Near Southeast news for a little while longer....

Canal Park Briefing at ANC 6D; CSX Meetings; Lower 8th Street Documents and Agenda
Nov 5, 2009 9:46 PM
Here's a bunch of little items and event reminders. Alas, next week's pile of happenings come at a bad time on my calendar, and I'm going to have to miss almost all of them, so this would be a good chance for everyone to attend these meetings themselves instead of sitting around waiting for me to tell you what happened at them. :-)
* ANC 6D (Southwest and Near Southeast) has posted the agenda for its November meeting, which includes an update on the plans for Canal Park. It's on Monday, Nov. 9, at 7 pm, at St. Augustine's, Sixth and M streets, SW.
* The next night, ANC 6B (Capitol Hill SE and Eighth Street) is having its November meeting, where there will be a presentation by CSX on its planned Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction. (Voice of the Hill recently wrote about the plans, and you can read my posts about them, which include links to some source documents.) ANC 6B's meeting is Nov. 10 at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.
* Plus, the Friends of Garfield Park are having their own informational meeting about the CSX plans, on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 7 pm at Capitol Hill Day School (Second and South Carolina, SE).
* The Lower 8th Street Visioning Process folks have posted the minutes, historical background, and main presentation slides from their two October sessions. They've also posted the agenda for their November meetings, scheduled for 8:30 am and 7 pm on November 17 at the People's Church, 535 Eighth St., SE.
* And, if these events aren't enough for you, you can also watch on Nov. 12 the city council's Committee on Finance and Revenue Hearing on the bill that would allow the sale of bonds via the city's CFO office that would pay for a considerable amount of "Phase 3" infrastructure work for Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment, encompassing some as-yet-undetermined combination of underground work on the Second Street blocks, the relocation of the DPW operations at New Jersey and K and demolition of that block, and the construction of I Street between Second and New Jersey. (This is above and beyond the $9.5 million in federal stimulus funds that the city is receiving to allow Capitol Quarter's second phase of townhouses to go forward.) The council hearing is on the 12th at 10 am, and you can watch on DC cable channel 13 or via the channel's web site. Here's my post about this proposed bill, if you want to know more.
Comments (9)
More posts: ANC News, Canal Park, Capper, Capper New Apt Bldgs, Capitol Quarter, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

RiverFront/Florida Rock Seeking Time Extension From Zoning Commission; More Zoning, CSX, CapitalSpace
Oct 18, 2009 2:49 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting has been posted, with two Near Southeast items listed. The first is that the developers of the RiverFront (aka Florida Rock) site between the Anacostia and the ballpark are apparently filing for a time extension on their zoning PUD ("planned unit development," for those of you mercifully unaware). When the zoning approval for this project finally came through in 2008 (after years of slogging through the process), the developers were given until May of 2010 to apply for building permits for the first phase of the project (an office building on the east end of the site, near Diamond Teague Park), with construction then required to start by May 2011. So, although it was recently reported that Florida Rock Properties is looking for an equity partner to help finance the development of the site, they clearly believe that it will be tough for them to meet the zoning order timeline.
Timeline extensions are increasingly common cases being heard by the Zoning Commission these days, as financing for commercial real estate development continues to be extremely difficult to procure; the Capper redevelopment received one earlier this year. I don't yet see a hearing date for FRP's extension request on the zoning calendar.
In other tidbits:
* Also on the 6D agenda is the "Casa degli Angeli" at Third and L, which has a Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing scheduled for Nov. 17. The six-unit building, which is currently operating as a month-to-month room rental, is looking for a zoning change to become a full-fledged bed and breakfast.
* The latest issue of Voice of the Hill has more detail on the CSX plans to expand the Virginia Avenue tunnel; you can read the documents that CSX submitted to the National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board for some additional details. Quoting the Voice: "CSX spokesperson Bob Sullivan said the project would take between two-and-a-half and three years, while a District Department of Transportation Department official made a slightly lower estimate. 'We anticipate that there would be some traffic impacts during the course of this project, which is probably going to last a couple of years,' said agency spokesperson John Lisle.'" Neighbors in the area are concerned: ANC 6B will be getting a briefing about the plans at its Nov. 10 meeting.
* On Oct. 27, there's a public meeting about the CapitalSpace plan, "the first comprehensive analysis of Washington's parks and open space in almost 40 years," which is attempting to get the various federal and local agencies that run the many parks in the city more closely coordinated, along with other plans to improve the parks themselves. The meeting is at the MLK Library from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
Comments (0)
More posts: ANC News, Casa Degli Angeli, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Florida Rock, meetings, zoning

Roundup of Recent Little Items
Sep 28, 2009 7:23 PM
Some recently Tweeted tidbits, and a few other morsels:
* Cornercopia is now open on Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm, according to a Tweet from Albert today.
* It's the last homestand of the 2009 season at the ballpark, with a 7:05 pm start on Tuesday and a 4:35 pm on Wednesday. (Oh--it's the Mets.)
* There's going to be a big Halloween shindig at the Bullpen on Oct. 31 from 9 pm to 1 am; three bands, a DJ, and costumes required.
* Velocity Condos is having its "Grand Opening" event on Oct. 3 and 4. Settlements on units in the building were supposed to begin on Sept. 21, but I haven't heard whether they have indeed started.
* WAMU did a brief report this morning on the BID's work (via events like the recent picnic and walking tour) to drum up interest in the neighborhood, especially to show retailers that there's a customer base. "Some 2,100 people live in the redevelopment zone, but McManus says more 'urban pioneers' need to arrive before retailers can move in."
* A group of owners, merchants, and residents working on ideas to perk up the southern end of Eighth Street (south of the freeway) now have a blog. There are apparently going to be a series of public meetings as part of the "visioning process," on Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Dec. 15, and Jan. 19, at 8:30 am and 7 pm. Their aim is to "attempt to gain consensus on a vision for the area and to address issues of height, density, mix of uses, parking and access, as well as what should be the character of a redesigned Virginia Avenue Park as an amenity or community benefit for the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood and Capitol Hill. If consensus can be reached on the vision, it could serve as the basis for asking the Office of Planning to develop a small area neighborhood plan that could then be used as justification for any agreed upon zoning or density changes."
* The Examiner reported last week that CSX is proposing to expand the amount of freight it moves through DC, which would require the expansion of the Virginia Avenue tunnel, the New Jersey Avenue overpass, and other locations to allow for double-height rail cars. The plan is supported by the National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board and by DDOT.