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Recovery Tuesday Tidbits: Sprint Store, Bridge Groundbreaking, Tunnel
Feb 27, 2018 10:11 AM
It has taken me much longer to clear the post-surgical cobwebs from my brain than I expected, so don't have many expectations for this post. I just hope it's in English. (But the hip repairs--NOT REPLACEMENT!--went well, and I should start getting off of crutches soon.)
* SPRINT STORE: I have said for years that no new neighborhood has truly arrived until it gets its first cellphone retailer, and I would not have guessed it would take until 2018 for that box to get checked, but numerous approved building permits indicate that Sprint will be opening a store in the old Sizzlin' Express space on the northwest corner of 4th and M.
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE GROUNDBREAKING: As if to taunt me after 15 years of watching and waiting, the Feb. 13 ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Douglass Bridge and associated first-phase improvements to the South Capitol Street Corridor was held while I was very much horizontal and hopped up on goofballs. But since it's right on our DMZ line, SWill was there and took some photos. Estimated completion date is 2021. (Speaking of SWill, he is the one to read for coverage of Buzzard Point, since that is outside my purview.)
* TUNNEL DOINGS: The last section of wall on the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel was poured on Feb. 22. an effort that overall totaled three miles of 24-foot-tall concrete. Meanwhile, 3rd Street should be reopening to two-way traffic Any Minute Now, which then paves the way (sorry) for both the 4th and 5th Street intersections to close, probably in mid-March, to dismantle the temporary bridge decks and complete the new tunnel's roof in those blocks, and wrap up the final street restoration. And no, the 6th Street exit ramp from the freeway won't close. The entire project is "on time," for completion this fall, according to CSX.
* ANOTHER PROJECT READY TO GO: A shoring/sheeting/excavation permit has been approved for the second phase of the "Riverfront" project, aka the Florida Rock site. This will be a 13-story, 260ish-unit residential building with about 12,000 square feet of retail, and will go up immediately to the west of Dock 79. When I'm a little more mobile I'll write a roundup of what's currently underway.
* WINERY HAPPY HOUR: If you don't have a supply of post-surgical painkillers like some people, there's now a Happy Hour at District Winery, from 3:30 to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday, with $8 signature cocktails and select wines, $5 select beers, and 50 percent of District Winery wines by the bottle.
There's probably more, but this wore me out. Hey, it's a start.

Tuesday Tidbits: Declaration, Barracks, Road Work, Willow V-Day
Feb 6, 2018 10:53 AM
A few of these deserve their own posts, but, well....
* DECLARATION DECLARING: A press release from Grosvenor says that Declaration will be opening at F1rst, in mid-March, as the building's first full-service dining option. "This new location will be double the size of its counterpart in [Shaw] and will offer pizza and Philadelphia-oriented menu items, including some ballpark staples." The release also says that Barre3 will open in spring late summer or fall [error in press release, I'm told]. With these openings, only one retail space at F1rst remains unleased.
* BARRACKS DECIDING: The Record of Decision and Final EIS for the new Bachelor Enlisted Quarters have been published, ending a study phase that feels like it began in 1936. The chosen site plan is to build the new BEQ immediately to the north of the barracks at 7th and L, SE (Building 25), which will spell doom for either some or all of the athletic field (it's been so long, I don't remember anymore). Read the MBEIS web site for actual details that aren't from memory.
* SOUTH CAPITOL PROJECTING: DDOT announced some temporary lane closures this week in multiple locations "for pre-construction work associated with the South Capitol Street Corridor Project and the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge project." I believe this is the first mention of "pre-construction work" for these projects--or at least they are since the design-build contract was awarded.
* PEPCO DISRUPTING: ANC 6D07 Commissioner Fascett reports that PEPCO will be digging up portions M Street SE between 1st and 6th and 1st south of M to install underground pipes and then cables during February and March. Watch for daytime traffic disruptions weekdays and Saturdays.
* WILLOW VALENTINING: If you are in a red-heart mood on Saturday (Feb. 10), retail boutique Willow is having a Valentine's Day party, from 11 am to 7 pm. There will be valentine-making, cupcakes, a photo booth, and more. (Strangely, the valentines give out all look like this.) Willow is in the ground floor of Arris, on Water Street across from District Winery, just north of the Yards Park.

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)

New Design Unveiled for Douglass Bridge; Design-Build Contract Awarded
Aug 10, 2017 11:03 AM
I don't get truly surprised too often anymore after 13-plus years in this gig, but when I clicked the link for this Washington Post article, "DC Unveils Plans for New Frederick Douglass Bridge," I most certainly did not expect to see a completely new design of the bridge that has been on the boards to be replaced for well over a decade.
Gone is the arched bascule design that was chosen many moons ago, replaced with a showier look using three sets of parallel arches. (I will await more detailed renderings before assuming that the bridge has the same multi-use paths on each side of the bridge as the previous design did, though the Post article says there is at least one.)
The plans for building the new bridge immediately south of and parallel to the old bridge have not changed, and there will still be large traffic ovals on both ends.
A $441 million design-build contract has been awarded to a joint venture of Archer Western Construction and Granite Construction Company, and AECOM is the lead designer. This phase also includes the reconstruction of the interchange of Interstate 295 and the Suitland Parkway.
The Post article says that the new bridge is "projected to open in 2021."
Here's a few more graphics purloined from the Post piece--hopefully DDOT will post their video of the design soon and I'll add the link.
It'll take me a little while to update my South Capitol Street Bridge project page, but in the meanwhile it's a nice trip down memory lane and includes more information (current as of the last time the city announced information about the project) about the ovals and whatnot.
And my South Capitol Street project page explains how this bridge and the interchange project are the first of a multiphase plan to rework much of South Capitol from the Southeast Freeway to the Suitland Park.
UPDATE: There is a new URL for an official web site for the project, newfrederickdouglassbridge.com. You can see the rendering video by scrolling down a touch or clicking on "Gallery." There's a lot of additional drawings, including these two from above, which show the traffic ovals and also do show multi-use paths on both sides of the bridge. See also the siteplan to get your bearings about the new bridge and ovals and 295 interchange.
Also, the project web site says that construction is expected to begin in "winter 2017."
Comments (30)
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Project Updates: Watching the New Neighbors Get Dressed Up
Jul 20, 2016 7:43 AM
The output of the current official JDLand camera (an eight-year-old Canon 50D with a Sigma 18-200 lens) has been a bit less sharp of late (like me!), and given that the shutter has fired more than 110,000 times since 2008, I have been figuring it's probably time for a new camera. But since I knew I'd also want a new lens as well, I decided to buy that first and see if maybe the far cheaper component was the problem. I finally got the chance to take the new lens for a workout on Sunday, and the ruling after looking at the 730 photos I took is: I need a new camera. (Will probably be the 80D.)
All of that is just a time-wasting intro to a roundup of the progress photos I took.
Dock 79 is getting pretty close to the finish line, with the sidewalk along Potomac Avenue now open and work proceeding on the open plaza to its east. (Yes, those are sculptures.) There's also emerging placeholding signage for The Salt Line in advance of its 2017 opening.
ORE 82 now has some completed balconies overlooking New Jersey Avenue and I Street, but mainly I just wanted the excuse to post my rather striking shot (below left). And speaking of red buildings, the Homewood Suites at 50 M is making steady progress as well.
The walls of windows at 909 Half Street are making for some interesting reflections, not only from the reflected bright blue sky but from the patterns of recesses and bump-outs, as well as the windows that are left open to presumably give the poor workers a little air.
If you stand at New Jersey and M, you can get good views of Insignia on M to your north and the F1rst apartment/Residence Inn hotel project to your west.
Then we have the even newer neighbors, the ones who we can't quite see just yet, although the 1244 South Capitol apartment building now has one floor above ground level. (I admit, this is one I am looking forward to watching rise up.) Then there's the office building at 99 M, which seems to be slooooowly getting ready for vertical construction, though a peek down in the hole indicates that a skeleton is still some weeks away.
I also took photos of the Bixby, but nothing much is changing on the outside there. And I only took morning-light photos, which means I don't have any good ones of Agora, unless you like looking at its backside. (So to speak.)
Then there's Parcel O at the Yards, where one condo and one apartment building are to be built. Fences are up, and there is some infrastructure work going on along with breaking up the concrete pad that the trapeze school stood on until last year. I believe the shoring, sheeting, and excavation permit is approved, but whether the true Digging of the Dirt is underway, well, We Shall See.
There are more new photos than just the ones above--follow the links for additional shots, plus I've also updated a bunch of before-and-after sliders. And maybe soon I'll get out in the afternoon light to get photos of the western side of all of these projects--with a new camera!
(If you're thinking that these photos don't look that blurry, it's really more on the edges of the shots where the problem lies, plus I do some sharpening of all photos after I size them down for posting.)

New Douglass Bridge Update: Final RFP Issued
Mar 30, 2016 1:29 PM
More than two years after four teams were shortlisted for the opportunity to compete for the project, DDOT announced today that it has issued the final Request for Proposals (RFP) for the first phase of the South Capitol Street Corridor reconstruction, which includes a new Douglass Bridge and approach work, plus a new interchange at I-295 and the Suitland Parkway.
The release today says that design/build proposals from the four teams are due this fall, and that DDOT expects to begin construction in the spring of 2017, and complete this first phase in 2020, but, well, We Shall See.
I absolutely cannot bear to write about this in any detail AGAIN, so if you haven't been keeping up with the plans to replace the existing 67-year-old bridge, please check out my post from August 2015, when it was announced that the project got its federal approval/record of decision, or my post from late 2014 about the supplemental EIS that presented some tweaks to the plan that had been stalled after a preferred alternative was identified back in 2011.
But if clicking on one of those links is more than you yourself can bear, I will just plagiarize the summary I wrote in August:
As you can see in the pilfered-from-DDOT graphic above, the new bridge will run immediately parallel and downriver of the existing bridge, with two new large traffic ovals on its approaches. There will also be a much-needed reconstruction of the I-295/Suitland Parkway interchange.
The bridge will have three travel lanes in each direction, along with 18-feet-wide pedestrian/bike paths on both the up-river and down-river edges of the bridge, which will be configured as one 8-foot-wide lane for pedestrians and a 10-foot-wide bidirectional bike path.
The eventual second phase of this overall "South Capitol Street Corridor Project" will be streetscape improvements to the north end of the street, similar to the spiffening that the blocks from N to Potomac received back in 2007 that give the street more of an "urban boulevard" feel. This will include a full redesign of the M Street intersection and a reconfiguration of South Capitol's interchange with I-395.
My South Capitol Street and South Capitol Street Bridge project pages are also good places to go for details.
Comments (9)
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Across the Way: Possible Residential on South Capitol St. SW
Sep 9, 2015 2:52 PM
Many moons ago, I decided that the written-in-stone boundaries of JDLand coverage stop where the Southeast quadrant stops--in the middle of the South Capitol Street median. (This was also written into the peace agreement negotiated with SWill.)
But I can't completely ignore the recent news that Ronald D. Paul Cos. has now bought 31,000 square feet of land south of N Street, directly across from the Nats Park, and just north of Camden's 1325 South Capitol apartment building.
And while WBJ says the company "is in no rush to build," according to SWill this is part of a joint venture with Altus Realty Partners to build 1319 South Capitol, a 250-unit building that could get underway in 2016.
The rendering below is paired with a photo of mine from 2013 from a strikingly similar angle:
As seen in the drawing, the new building is designed to for an L shape around the existing rowhouses on South Capitol.
The project will need to go through zoning hearings since that stretch of South Capitol St. SW is covered by the Capitol Gateway Overlay.
This tidbit also gives me an excuse to post photos of the Jas. T. Warring building (Est. 1918!) building that used to be on the site until it disappeared sometime in 2008 or early 2009.
Comments (2)
More posts: 1319southcap, Development News, South Capitol St.

New Douglass Bridge Gets Federal OK, $587M Funding from DC
Aug 31, 2015 2:19 PM
The process to build a new Douglass Bridge hasn't exactly been moving at lightning speed, but nevertheless an important milestone has been reached: on August 14 it was announced that "the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement (SFEIS) and issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the South Capitol Street Corridor Project—both indicating federal approval of the project."
And with $587 million in DC's budget already earmarked for the project, DDOT can move forward with the next big step: choosing the design-build team, presumably from among the "final four" bidders identified back in February 2014, a process that is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.
The current Douglass Bridge is now 66 years old, and has been classified as "functionally obsolete." DDOT says that if it is not replaced "within the next five years, the bridge would require an estimated $110 million in major rehabilitation work and would need to be closed for more than a year."
(And, maybe I'm just getting older and turning into even more of a fraidy cat, but holy moly is the traffic making the current bridge vibrate like crazy when you walk the pedestrian path. I just don't remember it moving that much even six months ago. Which perhaps might explain this bit of crumbling I saw on Saturday.)
This is now at least my 120th post on the bridge and the plans to replace it, so I'll go with a very quick summary (this post from last December is a good catch-up option). As you can see in the pilfered-from-DDOT graphic above, the new bridge will run immediately parallel and downriver of the existing bridge, with two new large traffic ovals on its approaches. There will also be a much-needed reconstruction of the I-295/Suitland Parkway interchange.
The bridge will have three travel lanes in each direction, along with 18-feet-wide pedestrian/bike paths on both the up-river and down-river edges of the bridge, which will be configured as one 8-foot-wide lane for pedestrians and a 10-foot-wide bidirectional bike path.
The eventual second phase of this overall "South Capitol Street Corridor Project" will be streetscape improvements to the north end of the street, similar to the spiffening that the blocks from N to Potomac received back in 2007 that give the street more of an "urban boulevard" feel. This will include a full redesign of the M Street intersection and a reconfiguration of South Capitol's interchange with I-395.
The full Request for Proposals is expected to be released in the spring of 2016.
While waiting for the new bridge to arrive, I may have to put out calls for volunteers willing to let me tether myself to them when I need to take pictures from the existing bridge, because otherwise the authorities will probably have to respond to calls of an old lady frozen in place on the pedestrian path, holding a camera but too terrified to move.
Comments (8)
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge

Thursday Tidbits: Sanity Unavailable, Please Try Again Later
Apr 9, 2015 2:18 PM
Some brief links, because I think I've used up my allotment of words over the past few weeks, but also because the continuing web site problems have just utterly worn me down. (Reminder: if you get a 503 Service Unavailable error, or the site is loading but with all sorts of formatting problems, just count to 10--or maybe 20--and reload. They are supposedly investigating, but I may have to be committed before they manage to fix it.)
* RAMP CLOSURE SATURDAY: The ramp from M Street at 11th to the outbound 11th Street freeway bridge will be closed for "pavement striping modifications" on Saturday, April 11, from 7 am until 5 pm. The local bridge will be the detour. (DDOT)
* NO HOLIDAY FOR METERS: If you are thinking that you can park for free in metered street spaces near Nats Park on game days that fall on Sundays and holidays, you would be wrong. (DDOT)
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE $$$: Mayor Bowser's proposed FY16 budget includes $512.7 million for the new Douglass Bridge. (WBJ)
* BEST BAR BLUEJACKET: Esquire's "Best Bars in America" visited Bluejacket, among other spots, calling it the "Willy Wonka of beer breweries." (HillNow)
* FAIRGROUNDS LAMENT: "The Fairgrounds is a dying breed of the Nats fan experience." (WaPo)
* BREAKING ICE CREAM NEWS: Ice Cream Jubilee has added "Chocolate Matzo Crack," "Fig, Port, & Goat Cheese," and "Cherries Jubilee" as springtime flavors. And milkshakes!

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

Tuesday Tidbits: Homewood Permit, Fitness Fair, and More
Jan 27, 2015 11:58 AM
* HOMEWOOD SUITES: The planned 195-room Homewood Suites hotel on the northeast corner of Half and M streets SE now has an approved shoring/sheeting/excavation permit, which means they can start digging whenever the mood strikes. (Foundation and above-grade permits are still in process.) Now the question is, which project with okayed excavation permits will get in the ground first--Homewood or Ballpark Square (which has its own 170-room hotel with an as-yet-unnamed operator, alongside a 325-unit residential building)?
* FITNESS FAIR: On Wednesday, Jan. 28, VIDA Fitness will be hosting a free "Fitness Fair" from 5 to 7 pm at all six of its locations, including Tingey Street, with information about the programs and classes available as well as "complimentary fitness consultations, health screenings and nutritional counseling."
* 1244 SOUTH CAPITOL: I have been remiss in not mentioning sooner that JBG's designs for a 290-unit residential building on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N received a 5-0 final action vote from the Zoning Commission earlier this month. The building, just north of Nats Parking Lot B on the old BP Amoco site, will also have 26,000 square feet of retail. Next step: the building permit gauntlet.
* SOUTH CAPITOL STREET MEETING: I didn't make it to last week's meeting on the latest plans for the new Douglass Bridge and other South Capitol Street improvements, but here are the presentation slides and display boards.
* MONTADITOS'ED: Mr. JDLand is within striking distance of completing his quest to eat all of the sandwich offerings on the 100 Montaditos menu. (You really have to admire the man's commitment.) It's looking like Thursday (Jan. 29) at lunchtime may be when he crosses the finish line, if anyone wants to be there with me to toast his accomplishment. I'll update with actual times here and on Twitter. (And yes, the blog about the quest is only at #45.)
Comments (3)
More posts: 1221 Van, Homewood Suites, montaditos, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, vida

No Gas This Exit - No, Really. None. At All. Anywhere.
Jan 11, 2015 8:29 PM
As you approach the South Capitol Street exit on the Southwest Freeway, there's a small blue sign overhead, dwarfed by its siblings and probably all but invisible to everyday users of the highway.
It's a Gas - Food - Lodging sign, ubiquitous across this great land of ours and often a very (VERY) welcome sight, when the gas gauge has fallen below the Empty line and panic has begun setting in.
And while regulations generally say that an establishment can be located within three miles of the exit in order to allow for such a sign to be posted, in urban settings stressed low-fuel drivers have some level of expectation that when they get to the end of the ramp they will be greeted with at least one gas station within view, or a sign pointing where to go to find it and how far it will be.
Up until about nine years ago, that's exactly what would happen when taking the South Capitol exit. There were Exxons on the east side of the street (at I) and the west side (at K). There was a BP Amoco station at N, plus a Sunoco at Half and M and another Exxon at 11th and M if one wanted to stray a little or a lot.
But then they started to close, and were all gone by 2008, though I will note that not a single one of those sites has been developed as of now.
So, if you are a desperate driver looking for gas, and you see that sign, and you start to head south on South Capitol Street, where is the first gas station you'd come across? You'd have to be smartphone-equipped to find your way 3.4 miles to the King Gas Station on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, just north of the intersection with Malcolm X Avenue.
But more likely you'd stay on the Suitland Parkway, and perhaps your Spidey Sense might then lead you north on Alabama Avenue to the BP at the intersection with Alabama, Naylor, and Good Hope Roads, 4.6 miles away from your exit.
Chances are though that you'd follow the Suitland Parkway until you are alerted otherwise. There's no signs as far as Google Street View shows for stations at Naylor Road (4.8 miles) and Silver Hill Road (6.3 miles), though the stations at the latter can probably be seen once you passed the exits, launching just the sort of in-car recriminations that end up being the highlight of so many car trips.
Eventually you end up at a T-intersection with Rt. 4/Pennsylvania Avenue, where if you are lucky--and clearly you aren't--you will guess that you should turn left, and be rewarded with a BP about a mile later, a total of 14.1 miles and God knows how many minutes since you exited the Southwest Freeway.
If instead you decide to keep heading forward in your same general direction, you could be all the way to the Sunoco in Lothian before you at last find your station, though of course you would totally have run out of gas somewhere during the 19.7-mile divorce-inducing trek.
The reality is that Pennsylvania Avenue SE is a frantic driver's best bet from the South Capitol Street exit, either by getting back on 695, heading across the 11th Street Bridge, and then going north on DC-295 to the Sunoco at the Pennsylvania Avenue interchange (2.7 miles), or by getting yourself north of the freeway and then taking a pick of the stations at 9th, 12th, or 13th (we're just going to ignore the Platinum-Coated Exxon at 4th and Pennsylvania), all of which are 1.5 miles-ish from the exit.
Residents figure these things out, so there's not the same scenario of needing gas, seeing a sign, and expecting a relatively simple path to a fill-up. And it's not exactly a news flash that gas stations are becoming increasingly scarce in the downtown core.
But maybe this poor blue sign could be moved to the spiffy newish 11th Street/Southeast Blvd. exit.
Ditto on all of this for the similar blue signs pointing drivers coming south out of the 3rd Street Tunnel to the South Capitol Street exit.
(And to think that this was originally just going to be nothing more than a snarky tweet of the photo of the blue sign!)
Comments (9)
More posts: South Capitol St., Traffic Issues

Latest South Capitol Corridor Draft Plan Released; Meeting Jan. 22
Dec 22, 2014 2:33 PM
If you are looking for some light Christmas reading, you can sit down by the fireplace with all 335 pages (plus appendices!) of the newest revision to the plans for reconfiguring much of South Capitol Street, including the construction of a new Frederick Douglass Bridge.
This document, technically known as the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS), describes the new "revised preferred alternative" (RPA) design that tweaks the original preferred alternative in the Final EIS released back in 2011.
The bullet points for what the project plans are north/west of the Anacostia River are in the graphic at right (click to enlarge). The changes in this new RPA include:
* Changing the design of the bridge from a moveable span to a fixed-span bridge, which would save approximately $140 million in construction costs;
* Shifting the orientation of the new Douglass Bridge to an alignment parallel to the existing bridge, 30 feet down river, which avoids the need and lengthy process to acquire some land from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling as well as a number of expensive relocation and reconstruction issues that a new alignment avoids (see page 2-91 of the SDEIS for details);
* A slight reduction of the size of the traffic oval on the western side (at Potomac Avenue):
* Replacing the previously designed circle on the eastern approach with an oval, located entirely in the DDOT right-of-way;
* And several other changes on the east side of the project that I will leave to others to discuss in detail. (See page ES-6 of the SDEIS.)
The initial design of the ovals and of the bridge itself were met with some consternation during this revision process. The SDEIS notes that in response to these concerns, DDOT has created a "Visual Quality Manual" for the project, which identifies design goals that are to "reflect the vision of providing a grand urban boulevard, which will be a gateway into the nation's capital, an iconic symbol of the District's aspirations in the 21st century, and a catalyst to revitalize local neighborhoods and the Anacostia Waterfront." (page 2-26).
As for the bridge itself, the version in this RPA will support three travel lanes in each direction, along with 18 feet of bicycle and pedestrian paths on *both* sides of the bridge--an 8-foot lane for pedestrians and a 10-foot birdirectional bike path. (Enlarge the image at right to see that I'm not lying about the bike/ped stuff.)
And the design of the bridge is to "make its primary aesthetic impact through its position (alignment), and the shape and sizes of its structural elements" and is to " aesthetically appear to be part of a continuous urban corridor." This includes the avoidance of "using elements, solely for aesthetic effect, which do not contribute to the support of the bridge." (page 2-28)
Plans for the reconfiguration of South Capitol Street as a "grand urban boulevard" have all along called for changing the intersection of South Capitol and M streets to an "at-grade intersection" (page 4-79), which would also mean that K and L would have signalized four-way intersections with South Capitol, unlike today. The wide median seen south of N would be established on the north end of the street as well, now all the way to D Street SE in the RPA. Also changing in this new plan are a few new left-turn options at I Street SE/SW and L Street SE.
Revisions have also been made to the ramps from South Capitol Street to I-395 and I-695, but the basics from the original plans remain, most notably the demolition of the existing suspended ramp from northbound South Capitol to the SE/SW Freeway.
Even with the revisions made to cut the costs of the new Douglass Bridge, this isn't a cheap project. The five phases together are anticipated to cost over $1 billion, with Segment 1, including the new bridge and traffic ovals, estimated at $480 million. The "grand boulevard"-izing of South Capitol Street is estimated at $153 million, and planned streetscape improvements to New Jersey Avenue between D and M streets SE at $42 million, plus another $358 million in east-of-the-river improvements (page 2-11).
Worn out yet? I sure am! (I've mostly lost track of how much of this is truly even "new" news at this point.) But perhaps you can regain your strength by Jan. 22, 2015, when the public meeting on this SDEIS will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 2616 Martin Luther King Ave., SE. The public comment period is running until Feb. 2. DDOT is also still amidst the design/build proposal process, with proposals expected sometime in the spring.
The SouthCapitolEIS.com web site is now focused mainly on this SDEIS, of which clearly I've just scratched the surface; you can slog through my piles of posts on all of this over the years for the historical rundown.
UPDATE: Here's the WashCycle take on the latest plans, from a bike/ped perspective.

Tuesday Tidbits: Mmm, Mmm, Good Edition
Mar 11, 2014 3:58 PM
Goodness, these piled up all of a sudden. Let's start with the food and drink-related items:
* Strolling by the long-in-the-works Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops over the weekend, I saw that flat screen TVs are now up on the walls. I imagine they are dreaming of being open by Opening Day.
* Ice Cream Jubilee at the Lumber Shed now has its tenant layout permit approved, so work should be underway there.
* Tom Sietsema had good things to say about Osteria Morini.
* PoPville reports that Hill Country's attempts to open a temporary location on Tingey Plaza behind USDOT haven't worked out.
And, on the non-digestible front:
* SWill reports on ANC 6D's newest commissioner, Stacy Cloyd, who is filling the 6D02 vacancy left by Ed Kaminski. A resident of Southwest, Stacy will also be representing areas east of South Capitol, including Velocity, Capitol Hill Tower, and Nats Park (and River Parc, before long).
* DDOT has released its draft Request for Proposals to the short-list finalists for the first two phases of the South Capitol Street project, which include building the new bridge and also rebuilding the interchange of I-295 and the Suitland Parkway.
* The new owners of the lot at South Capitol and N just north of Nats Park have withdrawn the pending zoning case for the site, which predated the property's recent sale. The previous ownership group had long been working on an office project, but in its withdrawal letter 1244 South Capitol Residential LLC says it is "studying development of the property for residential uses," and that it plans "to submit a new application for Capitol Gateway review in the near future."
* Outside the boundaries, but Near Southeast residents may still be interested in the looming start of the huge Wharf project on the Southwest Waterfront, with a ceremonial groundbreaking scheduled for March 19. Here's the Post's story on the new development, along with a photo gallery (which might seem to have a somewhat familiar style) of the current waterfront, before it's gone.

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: Flaky and Distracted
Feb 11, 2014 9:17 AM
A looming snowstorm will always divert my attention, but before the flakes fly, here's a few tidbits:
* I was not there, but the developers of the Florida Rock site apparently told Monday's ANC 6D meeting that they are looking at a June start of construction for the project's first phase, a 350-unit residential building. However, no building permit applications have been filed yet, with one reason being the need for some curb cut approvals, which the ANC voted to support. So, We Shall See.
* SWill reports that a developer is in the planning stages for a 260-unit apartment building on South Capitol Street across from Nationals Park, just north of the Camden building that opened last year. There are older rowhomes on the north end of the block, some or all of which could be incorporated into the project in some way. However, this is technically outside of my boundaries, so other than snapping photos of what will come, I'll be leaving this to Will to cover.
* I feel like I've already mentioned this, but in case I haven't, a raze permit has been filed for St. Matthew's Baptist Church on the southwest corner of New Jersey and L, to make way for Donohoe's 1111 New Jersey residential project. UPDATE: And commenter Alan below adds the tidbit that the church's message board out front now says "Looking for our perfect home."
* Washingtonian had very good things to say about Osteria Morini, while the Post's Tom Sietsema waxes saltily on Agua 301.

Short List Picked for Douglass Bridge Rebuild
Feb 2, 2014 11:21 AM
Last week DDOT announced the four teams that have been chosen to advance to the next round and battle it out for the grand prize of being able to design and build the new Douglass Bridge and its approaches as well as reconstruct the Suitland Parkway/I-295 interchange, a prize package worth at least $608 million.
These four teams will now have the opportunity to respond to DDOT's Request for Proposals on the project, which should be released at some point in the not-too-distant future.
The two reconstruction projects are officially known as Segments 1 and 2 in the two-phase/five-part South Capitol Street Corridor Project, which will also eventually extend the "grand boulevard" feel from a reconfigured M Street intersection north to the Southeast Freeway, build a new on-ramp there, and throw in some streetscape enhancements along New Jersey Avenue as well.
I missed out on a fair amount of discussion of this project last year, including the mayor "announcing the new design" of the bridge that was only marginally different than the design that's been on the boards for a number of years (though the announcement did include a cool video). The announcement was followed by some controversy over the size and necessity of the traffic ovals and even the bridge design itself. (But some cyclists seem okay with it.)
I also didn't get the chance to note that the position of the bridge has undergone some alteration, in that the new bridge's footprint is now designed to run completely parallel to the current bridge, instead of a more diagonal alignment from the original EIS, which you can see compared on pages 11 and 12 of this October 2013 project update.
In the fall, both the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts looked at the project, with the latter pooh-poohing the "uninspired" bridge design and calling for a the design-build process to come up with a "more innovative proposal" instead of the Memorial Bridge-like arched bascule design that DDOT has chosen. Both commissions are generally supportive of the two ovals, though NCPC's comments after a November review of the project notes that more discussions of the western oval (just southwest of Nationals Park) "will need to occur to help further the ideas of creating a vibrant destination."
While waiting for the RFP to be released and for the designs of the bridge and the ovals to be "refined" for NCPC/CFA approval, you can check out my Douglass Bridge project page, my South Capitol Street page, and the reams of words I've written about both over the years.
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More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge

JBG Picks Up South Capitol and N Lots from Monument
Dec 22, 2013 6:17 PM
DC property records report that JBG has purchased the former Monument Realty parcels on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N, just north of Nats Parking Lot B.
The property records on this week's sale show the buyer as "1244 South Capitol Residential, LLC," which may be a hint at what JBG has in mind for the site. Bisnow, in quoting JBG's Matt Kelly, says "the firm is 'a probably a year or two from starting anything' at the newly purchased site, and that it could be developed for any number of uses." Bisnow also says JBG paid $17 million for the site.
The main parcel was once home to a BP/Amoco gas station, and five other parcels were undeveloped as well (except for the cutest little yellow building on South Capitol that disappeared about seven years ago).
Monument and its investment partners (including Lehman Brothers) paid about $10 million for the six lots in multiple transactions in 2005 and 2006, and in 2008 began some initial bureaucratic moves on plans for a residential building that went nowhere. In late 2010, they went to the Zoning Commission with a request to review new plans for a 12-story office building, but that review didn't move forward until mid-2013, and is in fact scheduled to have its final vote in early January. In the meantime, about a year ago Lehman Brothers took full ownership of the site (since it had been the lender on the original loan).
JBG has just one other property in Near Southeast, but it's a big one: the 1.1 million-square-foot US Department of Transportation headquarters at New Jersey and M, which began construction in 2004 and opened in 2007.
Thanks to many purchases in the Great Ballpark District Land Rush of 2004-06, Monument at one time controlled quite a few properties in the blocks just north of the ballpark. And while the company still owns the old Domino's site on the southeast corner of South Capitol and M, as well as the infamous Half Street hole in the ground, the other properties have since fallen off their inventory, including the recently sold 55 M office building. The company's 50 M site, on the northwest corner of Half and M, was also returned to Lehman Brothers a year ago, and then sold this past May for $13 million to a team mulling a hotel. And at one point Monument had owned the land along N where the southern end of the Fairgrounds now stands, but sold it to Akridge in 2008 during all the fallout of the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage.

Monument Realty Planning 'One M Street' Office Building
Dec 20, 2012 10:39 AM
On January 17, the Zoning Commission will be taking up a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review request from Monument Realty for "One M Street," an approximately 328,000-square-foot office building planned for the southeast corner of South Capitol and M streets, SE, on what old-timers know as the old Domino's site, just to the north of the self-storage building.
The building, which is referred to in the zoning submittals as a speculative development, would have a large lobby entrance at the corner of South Capitol and M and somewhere between 9,000 and 17,260 square feet of ground-floor retail, plus four floors of underground parking with 310 spaces. It would be 12 stories high along M Street, but as seen in the above rendering grabbed from the documents, the height along South Capitol would be lower, because of the "different characters" of the two streets. You can see another rendering of the building, as seen from M Street at Van, here.
This has also been referred to the National Capital Planning Commission for review, and ANC 6D will of course be getting a crack at it as well. There's no estimated timeline mentioned in the zoning documents. (But we know how I feel about "estimated" start dates these days anyway. Show me a shovel in the ground!)
Monument has owned the Domino's parcel on the corner since 2005, and added the L-shaped parcel to its east and south in 2008 as part of its settlement with WMATA over not getting the Southeastern Bus Garage site just to the east. Monument, as most people know, built quite a portfolio of land in the blocks just to the north of Nationals Park in 2004 and 2005, having completed 55 M Street in 2009 and still controlling the rest of the land on the east side of Half Street, along with the old Sunoco site on the northeast corner of Half and M and the old BP/Amoco site on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N.
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More posts: M Street, One M, South Capitol St., zoning

A Terribly Important Before-and-After to Capture for Posterity
Nov 11, 2012 3:05 PM
Never let it be said that I have completely abandoned my mission.
South Capitol and I Streets, SE. At left, August 14, 2005; at right, November 11, 2012.
Thank you, drive through.
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More posts: 2ist, Restaurants/Nightlife, mcdonalds, photos, South Capitol St.

Thursday Tidbits: Post-Independence-Day Haze Edition
Jul 5, 2012 9:41 AM
Clearing out the tidbit hopper:
* Capitol Riverfront and NoMa/H Street are "the District's hottest (read: largest price increases) rental markets," sayeth Delta Associates, with rents having grown by 10.3 percent and 9.0 percent, respectively. (via the Examiner)
* I waited too long to post the tidbit that "rumors are swirling that JBG Companies' plan to sell the 1.35 million square foot Southeast Federal Center have stalled, fueling speculation that the home to the Department of Transportation will be recapitalized," so I have to point you to the Google cache version of the Citybiz post. It's also probably too late to ding both them and originator Real Estate Finance Intelligence for equating the 11-acre DOT HQ site with the entire 55-acre Southeast Federal Center, 44 acres of which is now The Yards.
* I waited even longer to tell you that the Camden South Capitol apartment building across from Nats Park topped off its construction in early June. It's expected to begin leasing in about a year. (SWTLQTC)
* Hey, look, reserved "Nationals Park Parking"! Your choices being the lot nestled next to the Douglass Bridge at 1620 South Capitol or the underground parking lot at 4th and M SW. There's plenty of other choices that are standard cash lots, along with the Nationals' lots. (via WaPo)
* The Fairgrounds is advertising a "First Annual DC Funky Fresh Foodie Fest" on August 25 from 1 to 9 pm. Four live bands, 10 food trucks, the "DC Karaoke Invitational," and more. Unlike its sibling Truckeroo, however, this won't be free, with limited early-bird tickets starting at $42, which includes drinks (the number of drinks depends on whether you buy a regular or premium admission ticket).

Photos: Up High at Nationals Park, Looking Out
Apr 19, 2012 10:02 PM
While much of my time on Opening Day each year is spent racing around getting pictures of the festivities, it's equally important to me as the first time after a multi-month lull that I can go to the various viewpoints on the upper deck and get updated photographs of how the ballpark's immediate surroundings have changed.
On the ballpark's western side, overlooking South Capitol Street, there's now the Camden South Capitol apartment building rising out of the ground, more than four years after the lot was cleared in preparation for construction. While technically this new 244-unit building is outside of my boundaries, I've taken enough photos of the western side of South Capitol Street over the years to maintain a pseudo-project page, where you can get the basics on the development and some before-and-afters but where I'm not going overboard in documenting the building's arrival. The photos above were taken from the ballpark's northwest viewing platform, and you can see the other images I've taken from that perch since my first visit there in September 2007.
If you want some additional views to the west, I have a series of before-and-afters from the small opening at O Street near the elevators, including these looking straight out O:
Meanwhile, on the ballpark's south side, there's two changes since last summer worth getting photos of: the completed Riverwalk bridge between Diamond Teague Park and the Yards Park, and the clearing of the Florida Rock site. And, since my 2007 "before" shots are from the time that Potomac Avenue and First Street were being reconstructed, and long before the waterfront started getting spiffed up, the transformation is pretty striking, though you can tell that I had my wide-angle lens in 2007 but had to settle for stitched-together images this time:
You can browse my many variations of these before-and-after Anacostia River views, both to the southeast and to the southwest. And, note at the top of these pages the links to other "on high" photographs from various rooftops around the neighborhood.
(PS: Apologies for the site's extended outage on Thursday--a botched move by my hosting company to upgrade the hardware of my shared server resulted in what to you was a nearly seven-hour outage but to me was the equivalent of a couple of ice ages.)
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More posts: 1325sc, Florida Rock, photos, riverwalk, South Capitol St., Nationals Park

Tidbits: Some SoCap Bridge $, Half Street 'Thinking', DPW, More
Nov 21, 2011 9:32 AM
I've tried over the past few months to clampdown on runaway Tidbits posts, but these are some pretty small tidbits, so I think I'll let them through:
* Douglass Bridge: The Feds have "freed up" $68 million from previously appropriate funds to allow DC to start buying up right-of-way land for the new South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge. NBC4 quotes DDOT chief Terry Bellamy as saying "If I had my way and we had the money, we could possibly see a new bridge in about six to seven years." But, considering they're looking for $800 million for not just the bridge itself but all the associated improvements to South Capitol Street and its interchanges with I-395 and I-295, getting the rest of the money might be a little trickier.
* Half Street: According to the Post, Monument Realty and investment partner Victor MacFarlane "are now thinking about when to begin" developing the rest of their Half Street project. The southern portion of Monument's side of Half Street (the east side--you know, where the big hole in the ground is) was originally designed with both a hotel and a residential building. And there's still no word from Akridge on a start date for their side of Half Street (the Bullpen side).
* DPW Move: While the timeline for getting DPW into their new home on Okie St. NE and out of their New Jersey and K site has slipped (shocker!), things are still moving forward, and I'm hearing that they should be moved early in 2012. But this delay is not as yet impacting William C. Smith's plans for a new apartment building just to the north--various permits have recently been approved, and WCS expects to start some deep infrastructure work, along with some clearing and grading along New Jersey Avenue north of I, sometime in December. (But WCS needs DPW out before too long because a smidge of DPW land crosses what will eventually be the new I Street and onto the WCS property.)
* Wha?: Is it just me, or does this article seem like it was written in 2009? It's a bit odd to trot out version 83 of the "there's no food in Near Southeast" story when there are leases signed for at least 10 new eateries to open in the next 12 months: Lot 38 Espresso at the old Little Red Building site (Any Minute Now!), Potbelly and Kruba Thai in the Foundry Lofts by spring, the Park Tavern at Canal Park by summer, and six choices at the Boilermaker Shops by the end of 2012. Not to mention probably another couple places in the Lumber Shed, perhaps a big one at 100 M, and a Harris Teeter in 2013. But I still predict that, when the slew of What's Happening Around Nationals Park stories come pouring out in advance of Opening Day 2012, the focus will still be on the lack of movement along Half Street (see Tidbit #1).
* New Bridge: Don't forget the dedication ceremony for the Yards/Teague bridge on Tuesday at 1:30 pm on the Yards Park side of the bridge. In addition to the mayor and DC Water chief George Hawkins, the organizers are also expecting Eleanor Holmes Norton, Naval District Washington Commandant Rear Admiral Patrick Lorge, USDOT deputy secretary John Porcari--and the Racing Presidents!

Land Acquisition, Design Work to Start for South Capitol Street
Sep 28, 2011 2:51 PM
Just sent out by DDOT: "Today the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced the start of land acquisition and preliminary design work for the South Capitol Street Project, which includes replacement of the current Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. [...] While the Record of Decision (ROD) is still pending, the Federal Highway Administration signed the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) following the requisite 30-day public comment period that ended in May."
I'm posting quickly, so I shall now crib unabashedly from my post on the Final EIS, from back in April:
If you are interested in this subject, there is more verbiage and documentation accompanying the plans than you could ever dream of. (Traffic studies! Environmental consequences! Technical reports!) And I've written a lot about the process, which began more than a decade ago with other studies before the EIS got underway. And I'm sure there will be posts on other blogs delving more specifically into portions of the plans. But, since most people probably want to know "what does this mean for me?", you can see this graphic (from the 224-MB chapter 2 of the FEIS) giving a quick overview of what changes are planned along South Capitol Street if the final EIS is signed off on (and, more importantly, if funding is secured). The short version, for the west side of the Anacostia:
* Add "pedestrian amenities" and enhance the streetcape along South Capitol north of I and along New Jersey Avenue SE north of the freeway.
* Replace the existing ramp to the freeway from South Capitol and I with an at-grade intersection. (This would be a left turn onto a ramp to the freeway from under the freeway, near the current Nats HH economy parking lot.)
* Bring New Jersey Avenue SE back to a 160-foot full right-of-way, and add streetscape enhancements.
* "Reconstruct South Capitol Street as an urban boulevard." This means bringing M Street up to an "at-grade" intersection (no more tunnel), and would include new signalized at-grade intersections to allow traffic to cross South Capitol on K and L streets. (M Street would also get reconstructed between the Halfs [SE and SW].) The section of South Capitol north of M would have the same streetscape that the south portion received during its 2007/08 makeover, with wide sidewalks and a tree-lined median.
* Build a traffic oval at South Capitol, Potomac, Q, as the gateway to a new arched bascule-design Douglass Bridge that would have wide "multi-use trails" (i.e., sidewalks!) in both directions. The existing bridge would be demolished, after the new bridge is built somewhat downriver of the current location.
The Executive Summary (220 MB PDF) gives a good overview of the FEIS and preferred alternative (as it should!), but I also suggest wandering through the Chapter 2: Alternatives section, especially if you came to the neighborhood or JDLand after 2008 and didn't get to follow along during the EIS process, or if you're interested in the additional plans for east of the river, which I'm going to leave to others to discuss. My previous posts on all of this may be of interest as well. If you're wanting to see some of the earlier studies referenced in the FEIS, there are links to them at the top of my South Capitol Street project page.
How much would this all cost? The preferred alternative is priced in this final EIS at $806 million in FY 2014 dollars. (New bridges are expensive, you know.) Note that nothing in today's statement from DDOT says anything about funding, or a construction timeline.
You can also check my South Capitol Street and South Capitol Street Bridge page for all the info about the plans, along with my scores of posts over the past few years.
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More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Tuesday Tidbits: South Cap Meetings, Barracks, Sub Horn, More
Apr 26, 2011 10:42 AM
News and notes, some already Tweeted, some not:
* Don't forget the two public meetings on the Final Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street. The first one is tonight (April 26) at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School at 4th and I, SW, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The second one is Thursday (April 28), at Savoy Elementary School, 2400 Shannon Place, SE, also from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. My entry from a few days ago gives the rundown on what changes they are looking at to transform South Capitol Street into a "grand boulevard" rather than a commuter speedway.
* ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger passes along an update from fellow 6B'er Kirsten Oldenberg on the status of the Marines' search for a new barracks site. A quote: "Now in progress are Installation Master Planning and Support Studies and a Financial Feasibility Analysis. We were only given a brief outline of this work, which will not be made public. A briefing on this 'conceptual' material will be given to the Commandant of the Marine Corps sometime in late May (perhaps). Then once he makes whatever decisions are necessary, work will proceed on putting together the guts of an RFP. This information has to go to various 'stakeholders' and ultimately Congress before the RFP can be finalized and released. One of the developers at the meeting today tried to pin officials down regarding timelines but it proved difficult to do. Bottom line, if all goes smoothly (which is doubtful), a site and developer could be chosen by Fall 2012. (Don't bet on it.)"
* Dan Steinberg writes at his DCSportsBog today about how the Nats went from fireworks to a submarine horn: "A few months ago, when people inside the organization began considering a move away from fireworks, they began researching naval horn options and even went to the Navy Yard to check out alternatives. Their advisers at the Yard advised they go with the sub horn, both for the sound and for the way that sound would carry. The Navy folks also thought the three-blast signal would be appropriate. So the horn was taken to Nats Park and hooked up to a special mic in the press box, where members of the marketing department can fire away after home runs and wins." Nats COO Andy Feffer says that the distinctive sound should make people immediately think "Nationals Park": "'The military is already part of game presentation and the Navy Yard is right next door; not only is it unique and distinctive, but it fit. It fit with our goals, and it fits with what Washington is. It's ours. Someone else can't copy it and say we're gonna do that too. It's Washington's.'"
* In a subscrbers-only piece in last week's Washington Business Journal, the story of Red Hot & Blue's departure from Nationals Park after the inaugural 2008 season gets a bit, ahem, spicier. Five months into that first season, the BBQ outlet told the Nats it was no longer interested in being at the ballpark. "Hold it, says the team, Red, Hot & Blue was still on the hook for $235,000 in regular payments until the end of the 2009 season, still yet to be paid, according to a breach of contract suit that was filed in March in D.C. Superior Court."
* Honda put out a photo gallery of the new 2012 Honda Civic, which includes a number of shots taken at the Yards Park, as well as Anacostia Park and other DC locations. (You have to wander through a bit to find them, but they are pretty neat to see.)
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More posts: Barracks, meetings, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park, Nationals Park

South Capitol Street Final EIS Unveiled, Public Meetings Scheduled
Apr 18, 2011 5:10 PM
It's been so long since I've written about this that I forgot it was even still in progress, but DDOT has announced two public meetings to present the "preferred alternative" and the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the South Capitol Street Corridor, first on April 26 at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School in SW and then two days later at Savoy Elementary School in SE. This is the long-term study of how to improve South Capitol Street on both sides of the Anacostia River to better address safety, traffic, pedestrian, and streetscape issues, and includes the construction of a new Frederick Douglass Bridge.
If you are interested in this subject, there is more verbiage and documentation accompanying the plans than you could ever dream of. (Traffic studies! Environmental consequences! Technical reports!) And I've written a lot about the process, which began more than a decade ago with other studies before the EIS got underway. And I'm sure there will be posts on other blogs delving more specifically into portions of the plans. But, since most people probably want to know "what does this mean for me?", you can see this graphic (from the 224-MB chapter 2 of the FEIS) giving a quick overview of what changes are planned along South Capitol Street if the final EIS is signed off on (and, more importantly, if funding is secured). The short version, for the west side of the Anacostia:
* Add "pedestrian amenities" and enhance the streetcape along South Capitol north of I and along New Jersey Avenue SE north of the freeway.
* Replace the existing ramp to the freeway from South Capitol and I with an at-grade intersection. (This would be a left turn onto a ramp to the freeway from under the freeway, near the current Nats HH economy parking lot.)
* Bring New Jersey Avenue SE back to a 160-foot full right-of-way, and add streetscape enhancements.
* "Reconstruct South Capitol Street as an urban boulevard." This means bringing M Street up to an "at-grade" intersection (no more tunnel), and would include new signalized at-grade intersections to allow traffic to cross South Capitol on K and L streets. (M Street would also get reconstructed between the Halfs [SE and SW].) The section of South Capitol north of M would have the same streetscape that the south portion received during its 2007/08 makeover, with wide sidewalks and a tree-lined median.
* Build a traffic oval at South Capitol, Potomac, Q, as the gateway to a new arched bascule-design Douglass Bridge that would have wide "multi-use trails" (i.e., sidewalks!) in both directions. The existing bridge would be demolished, after the new bridge is built somewhat downriver of the current location.
The Executive Summary (220 MB PDF) gives a good overview of the FEIS and preferred alternative (as it should!), but I also suggest wandering through the Chapter 2: Alternatives section, especially if you came to the neighborhood or JDLand after 2008 and didn't get to follow along during the EIS process, or if you're interested in the additional plans for east of the river, which I'm going to leave to others to discuss. My previous posts on all of this may be of interest as well. If you're wanting to see some of the earlier studies referenced in the FEIS, there are links to them at the top of my South Capitol Street project page.
How much would this all cost? The preferred alternative is priced in this final EIS at $806 million (not billion! yeesh) in FY 2014 dollars. (New bridges are expensive, you know.)
(I know that this is a very quick overview of a big study and plan, but there will be plenty of time to talk more about it, especially with the upcoming public meetings.)

Structural Repairs Bringing Overnight/Weekend Closures to Douglass Bridge Through Sept. 30
Sep 14, 2010 9:24 AM
There's nothing about this on the DDOT web site yet, but WTOP is reporting that "serious structural repairs" are required to the South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge, and that there will be overnight closures starting tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept. 15), and that the bridge will be completely closed this weekend, from 9 pm Friday, Sept. 17, through 5 am Monday, Sept. 20. The repairs are being done to the "pins and hangers", which are "essentially the pieces that hold the bridge together." The overnight closures are scheduled for every night from Sept. 15/16 through Sept. 29/30 -- see the complete list for more details.
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More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge

Summer Doldrums Bullet List (Light Tower, Traffic, Hula Hoops, Signage, BID Survey, DC Blogs)
Aug 13, 2010 12:37 PM
Hasn't been much swirling around lately worthy of a full blog post, but here are a couple items so that people don't think I've shut down (though most of them have already been seen on my Twitter feed, aka the "I'm Too Lazy to Blog" feed):
* The light tower at the Yards Park is being installed today, about four weeks in advance of the scheduled grand opening on Sept. 10. I hope to have pictures at some point.
* Greater Greater Washington reports that MPD fanned out around Nationals Park on Wednesday night, ticketing drivers and pedestrians and handing out flyers on safety. GGW also brings up the public meeting held by Tommy Wells back in March about the notion of reworking M Street under the "Complete Streets" principles of creating road networks that work for pedestrians young and old, cyclists, public transportation users, and drivers. by doing things such as adding dedicated bike lanes, creating safer crosswalks, etc. At that meeting, residents of Southwest were unimpressed with the possibilities, but the few Southeast residents in attendance seemed more open to it.
UPDATE: TBD reports that the truck driver in last week's incident is not being cited.
* The Post did a video feature on Hoopernatural, the hula hooping fitness outfit. They are running classes for mixed-levels of hoopiness during August at Canal Park, on Saturday mornings from 10 to 11 am.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is running a survey to get feedback from residents, workers, and visitors on the types of events the BID holds (concerts, outdoor movies, farmers' market, etc.). Let your feelings be known here.
* While my griping about the bad signage on the SW Freeway (highlighted again by the Post on Thursday) is technically out-of-boundaries, it is on topic to also mention to DDOT that the various blue "services" signs for the South Capitol Street exits on I-395 probably need to get rid of the gas station icons, since the days of having three gas stations right on South Capitol and two within a few blocks to the east are long gone. (But @DDOTDC has put me in a time out after Thursday's flurry of transit-related tweets, which also included this good suggestion from a reader about the need for a left-turn signal on northbound Third Street, SE at Virginia Avenue, for people needing to get onto I-395 southbound.)
* And I stumbled across this study by the New America Foundation about "online-only" news outlets in DC. It counted 61 of them, noting that the "city's oldest local blogs that still command an audience began to spring up in 2003," with JDLand being one of the "original few," thanks to my January 2003 vintage. The piece looks at DCist, GGW, Prince of Petworth, And Now Anacostia, and TBD (though it hadn't yet launched), along with a few nice words about this site. But I have been thinking a lot lately about how I'm an old lady compared to the rest of the DC neighborhood blogosphere, and this article (coming on the heels of my [redacted] birthday) certainly reminded me of it. :-)

Upcoming Douglass Bridge Four-Month Repair Project
May 5, 2010 4:45 PM
From DDOT: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is scheduled to begin necessary repairs on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (also known as the South Capitol Street Bridge) beginning on Saturday, May 8. Due to the nature of the repairs, traffic loads will be restricted to 10 tons. Trucks meeting the new loading requirement will continue the current restrictions with access to the center lanes only.
"Trucks and buses that exceed 10 tons will be rerouted to alternate routes. See attached map for recommended detours. Detour information will be posted to static and portable message boards along the detour routes. The detours will be in effect beginning Saturday, May 8 at 9 p.m. It is estimated that the detours will remain in place until September 1.
"The majority of the work will take place during off-peak hours, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and nighttime from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Temporary lanes closures will be in effect during working hours with a single lane remaining open in each direction.
"Additional work will be conducted beneath the bridge as well with minimum or no impact on the vehicular and pedestrian traffic on the bridge. The project is part of the ongoing inspection and maintenance routine for the bridge that began in 2007."
(Here's a stroll down memory lane if you want to see what happened the last time DDOT did a lot of work on the Douglass Bridge.)
Someday there will be a new Douglass Bridge, but not anytime soon, it would seem.
(UPDATED the title of this entry, because I can't count.)

Weekend Road Work/Closures of Note
Apr 29, 2010 1:34 PM
From DDOT, some closures and road work this weekend that might be of interest:
* "DDOT is scheduled to close the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (aka South Capitol Street Bridge) for routine testing, from 4 am to approximately 9 am, on Sunday, May 2, 2010. During normal opening and closing operations, the swing span is lowered and then turned or "swung" around in order to allow water traffic to pass. Crews test the swing span each month to ensure it operates properly and make any necessary repairs. The bridge will be reopened to traffic as soon as the test opening and related repairs are completed. In most cases the work is completed ahead of schedule."
* "On Sunday, May 2, from 6 am to 4 pm, contractors for DDOT may stop traffic for five minutes at a time on the 11th Street Bridge, related ramps and portions of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, to install traffic counting devices in various locations for the 11th Street Bridge Project. The work involves temporarily installing tubing across the traffic lanes and count machines off the adjacent shoulder. Traffic may be briefly stopped with the aid of District Traffic Safety Officers as needed to protect contractors at each location." See the press release for the list of work zones tied to this.
There's also information on road work for the Case Bridge and the closure of Chain Bridge, but those are outside my jurisdiction!

Temporary Douglass Bridge Closure Thursday at 10 am
Apr 7, 2010 9:23 PM
From DDOT: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is advising drivers and pedestrians that the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (aka South Capitol Street Bridge) will be closed to traffic for up to 2 hours tomorrow morning, Thursday, April 8, 2010. At the request of the United States Coast Guard, DDOT will open the swing span of the bridge at 10 am, to allow for the safe passage of a vessel. It is anticipated the swing span will be closed again by 12 pm and the bridge will reopen to traffic.
"To avoid delays drivers should use an alternate river crossing, including the 11th Street, Sousa (Pennsylvania Avenue) and Whitney Young Memorial (East Capitol Street) bridges."

Some Quick Friday Afternoon Links
Feb 26, 2010 6:00 PM
* The Douglass Bridge (South Capitol Street) will be closed on Sunday morning for its swing span test, from 4 am to approximately 9 am, weather permitting.
* Tickets went on sale this morning at 10 am for the Dave Matthews concert at Nationals Park on July 23--looks like good seats are still available.
* There's been some press over the past few days about the new DDOT web site, especially the "Transportation Access Portal" that gives detailed information about projects around the city, but I was kind of underwhelmed until I found out that the projects of most interest to Near Southeast are under an "Anacostia Waterfront Initiative" tab rather than in the Ward 6 section. There you can find all sorts of project-management details (cost, schedule) for the 11th Street Bridges, the new Douglass Bridge (coming in 2018!), and even the RFK ramp demolition.
*And, in the gosh-why-would-you-think-I-was-killing-time-on-a-Friday-afternoon department, a shot of what the 1000 block of K THIRD Street SE would look like if it were in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood (see large version):
* Plus, I think I have some cool items on the way next week. Fingers crossed.
* UPDATE: Shoot, I knew there was something else I meant to include: Minutes and materials from the last Lower 8th Street visioning session. A report will be submitted to the Office of Planning.

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.

Five Years Ago Today, a Big Piece of News
Sep 21, 2009 9:15 AM
Considering what it portended for the forgotten little patch of land I had been blogging about for the previous 20 months, this post of mine late in the evening on Sept. 21, 2004 was pretty understated: "Baseball coming to Near Southeast? 'District officials disclosed plans yesterday to build a publicly financed stadium costing more than $400 million on the Anacostia waterfront near South Capitol Street, amid growing signs that Major League Baseball will attempt to move the Montreal Expos to Washington.' It doesn't mean that baseball in DC is a done deal, or that the Near Southeast site is a done deal, but it's a very interesting decision, and one that would have a huge impact on Near Southeast if it were to happen."
Yeah, kind of!
Late the next day, I went out and took a set of photos throughout the 21 acres that would eventually become home to Nationals Park, knowing it was important to get a bunch of "before" photos should this stadium actually come to pass. This was in the days when my photo-taking was pretty much limited to firing my little point-and-shoot digital camera from behind the wheel while I drove around the neighborhood, having not quite yet worked up the bravery to get out on foot. (Eventually I documented all of the buildings that were demolished to make way for the ballpark, but this Sept. 22 excursion marks for me official start of what would become an all-consuming project for me over the next four years.)
It wasn't until the next week that it was all made official, that the Expos were coming to town and that the city would pursue building a new stadium in Near Southeast. And the reality of the ballpark didn't truly come to pass until that marathon city council session in February 2006 that first voted down then finally ratified the stadium lease agreement (signed by MLB the next month), followed two days later by the court ruling allowing the eminent domain seizure of the land for the ballpark to move forward. Demolitions began in May 2006, and the construction was completed on time for the official opener on March 30, 2008.
To look at not only the Sept. 22 ballpark-area photos but also a batch I took mainly around the Cappers footprint a few days earlier is to be reminded yet again of how much change has come to this area in the same amount of time that many people, say, pay off a new car. It's almost jarring to catch glimpses in these shots of the old South Capitol Street viaduct (demolished in July 2007) that in many ways was such a symbol of the old Near Southeast--how it walled the neighborhood off from Southwest, and how it helped perpetuate the area's overgrown industrial feeling, while allowing commuters to blow past it all without really having to look at it.
It's going to be a while before big-time development resumes in the area (just like everywhere else in the city/region/country), but that doesn't make the changes that have already happened to this formerly forgotten little spot a mile south of the U.S. Capitol any less striking to look at.

Florida Rock Seeking Equity Partner
Jul 21, 2009 12:54 PM
(I Tweeted this a week ago, then forgot to ever post it here.) From the WashBizJournal: "Florida Rock Properties Inc. is on the market for a joint venture partner to help develop its much-anticipated 1.1-million square foot project, which will put retail, office space and a waterfront plaza on the land across from Nationals Park." My RiverFront page has scads of renderings, showing the designs and planned phases; the initial plans were to construct the office building and public plaza on the east end of the site (by Diamond Teague Park) first; the later phases can't be built until the new Douglass Bridge is constructed and the old one demolished.

Skyline Gets Hip; Marine Letter on Capper Zoning
Jun 15, 2009 8:39 AM
* This is about 50 feet off-topic, but Hank Stuever wrote a neat piece in today's Post Style section about the Capitol Skyline Hotel at South Capitol and I, SW, and the revitalization it's undergoing, including the creation of a series of weekend events this summer, such as Spike Mendelsohn grilling burgers poolside on Sundays. If you look at the article online and see the "This Story" box of links, there's one for "Video: Capitol Skyline Pool, 1969", which just happens to be a brief clip of my family swimming there (I'm the little fireplug just learning to swim). It's hard to see in this version, but at about the 24-second mark, when my dad is about to spring off the diving board, you can briefly see the "Esso" sign in the background that marks where the gas station just to the south of the hotel operated for so many years....
* Last week I wrote about the approval by both the NCPC and the Zoning Commission of the Capper zoning changes, and mentioned that the letter from the Marines that indicated the Corps' continued objections to the plans for apartments and an office building on the old Capper Seniors site at Seventh and M, was not included with other materials about the case. I now have the letter, which says in part:
"The Marine Corps [Anti-terrorism/Force Protection] issues are much greater in scope than those of the Navy. Because of our issues are more complex, considerable analysis and study is required to develop a solution that is acceptable, to the Marine Corps, the Developer, the Housing Authority and the District Planners. This detailed study must also be conducted in context of the larger community of stakeholders and historic integrity of the Marine Barracks as an institution. The Marine Corps has implemented a master planning effort to research and develop broad and unique solutions to these issues at hand." And: "The Marine Corps requires additional time to carry out our study and to develop acceptable solutions. Without adequate time to address these issues, including the possible need for alternatives on [the old Capper Seniors site], the Marine Barracks Mission and full function of that Institution could be jeopardized."
The Marines requested that the zoning action be tabled until adequate time was given to address their issues, but both the NCPC and the Zoning Commission gave the office and apartment plans their final approval anyway, with the record including the agreement between the developer and the Navy to address security concerns.
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More posts: Barracks, South Capitol St., zoning

Taxation Without Representation Street Still Unsigned
Jun 2, 2009 9:12 AM
Remember "Taxation Without Representation Street," the city's renaming of the three blocks of South Capitol Street in front of Nationals Park? The Examiner does, and checks to see if anything's happened with it: "As of April 24, the team's legal address was formally changed to 1500 Taxation Without Representation St. SE, thanks to an act of the D.C. Council. But no one would know it: The D.C. Department of Transportation has yet to change the street signs, and the Nationals apparently have no intention of redesigning their letterhead."
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More posts: South Capitol St., Nationals Park

Fun With Permits; Meeting Reminder; Bullpen
May 19, 2009 9:38 AM
The city's building permits feed hasn't been working with perfection of late, so I'm only now seeing some recent permits of interest:
* As many folks have seen (and as I Twittered last week), the asphalt is being pulled up on the southern end of Canal Park (here's a photo from last Friday, taken at Second and M). Two building permits have been approved for the southern two blocks, allowing for "interior cleaning [...] to remove pavement import top soil and plant grass." Hopefully the northern block will get a makeover too. (UPDATE: Commenter Scott says that work on the northern block is already underway.)
* Monument Realty has gotten a six-month extension on the raze permit for the Domino's at South Capitol and M. And, though it's outside my redrawn boundaries, I'll mention that 1244 South Capitol (home to the stalled Camden Development apartment building) got a final six-month extension on a raze permit for that site. (Though I was bummed to see on Opening Night at the ballpark that the little red brick building that had been left standing for so long was finally gone.)
* A final (belated) reminder that the latest Anacostia Waterfront Forum is tonight at 6:30 pm at the MLK Library. The topic is "Waterfronts and the World's Great Capital Cities," with office of planning director Harriet Tregoning.
* The Post wrote a piece in the Sunday Business Section about Bo Blair, the Georgetown Events "restaurateur / entrepeneur." Fun fact: he's paying $25,000 a month in rent for the space on Akridge's land at Half and N.

City May Occupy 225 Virginia; Ferry Testing; More
Apr 24, 2009 8:57 AM
Catching up from a few days of slacking:
* Today's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) reports that the city is "considering" using 225 Virginia Ave. (the old Post Plant) as the new home for Child and Family Services, now that they've decided not to move the agency to a new development at Benning Station. The city continues to pay $6 million a year in rent on the 420,000-sq-ft building, though tried a request for proposals last year to see about a sublease or sale of the property (but apparently didn't get much interest). I wonder how much the city would have to spend the rejigger the very warehouse-y building into the 180,000 sq ft of office space needed by CFSA.
* From the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, a story that Prince William County is spending $225,000 to look at passenger ferry service up the Potomac: "It will conduct test boat runs on May 4, 5 and 6 from stops at Prince William marinas at Quantico, Dumfries and Occoquan to Fort Belvoir, Alexandria and the Washington Navy Yard. The test boat will be a catamaran that seats 149." (I assume they'd want to use the dock under construction at Diamond Teague Park, but there's no specifics.)
* On Wednesday evening, the Post reported (though the article is no longer on the web site) that the city had informed Metro--in the middle of a game!--that it would no longer pay the $27,000-an-hour cost of keeping the subway open if games at Nationals Park ran late because of extra innings or rain delays. By the next morning, the city had changed its mind.
* The Douglass Bridge will be closed Sunday (4/26) from 5am to approximately 10am for the monthly swing span test.

Lazy Weekend Tidbits: Capitol Quarter, ANC 6D
Feb 8, 2009 11:10 AM
Been kind of a nice few days here without much news, so now I'm having to force myself back into the routine. I'll start small:
* An update to the post about the new houses released at Capitol Quarter: EYA tells me that the houses released are spread throughout the development: 421 L Street, under construction and expected to be ready in April (listed for $720,340 on the EYA "Move In Now" list), two houses in the block just to the north (expected to be ready in the fall), and four houses in the block bounded by I/Virginia, Fifth, Fourth, and K that could be ready by the end of the year. On all of these blocks the reservations placed by homeowners over the past few years have now been converted to contracts; that is expected to happen for the final Phase 1 block (between Third and Fourth and Virginia and I) later this year.
* The agenda for Monday night's ANC 6D meeting is posted, and it includes a vote on the Phase 2 designs of the Yards Park that were discussed at last week's special meeting. I've also now added a bunch of those Phase 2 renderings to my Yards Park page. Other items on the ANC 6D agenda are about Southwest subjects, though I should note that the National Marathon on March 21 (which they'll be discussing) will be coming across the Douglass Bridge, briefly using South Capitol Street until it turns west on P Street.
There's also an agenda item about a BZA application for 1101 South Capitol St., SW, which was the old KFC. This is a good opportunity for me to mention that, with two blogs about Southwest now in full flight, I'm going back to my original boundaries, which old-timers will remember stopped in the median of South Capitol Street, which is where Southeast ends and Southwest begins. I'm lucky enough to be watching a neighborhood that has probably the firmest boundaries of any in the city, so I'm going to respect them!
* City budget season is nearly upon us. I've added to my calendar a partial list of dates for FY08-09 oversight and FY10 budget hearings, for agencies that have the most bearing on Near Southeast. Check the DC Council web site for the full list.

Update on South Capitol Street EIS, New Bridge
Feb 3, 2009 10:32 AM
ANC 6D heard a presentation on Monday night from the team working on the South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement, which is now in its "final preferred alternative" stage. Their PowerPoint presentation was pretty close to the one I posted last month, and one of the consultants did tweak me a bit about how I "spoiled the surprise" on the choice of the arched bascule design for the new Douglass Bridge.
Here again are the (long!) bullet points about what the preferred alternative designs are for the portion of South Capitol west of the Anacostia (see the presentation if you're interested in the preferred alternatives chosen for east of the river), along with some issues raised by the ANC:
* It was emphasized that these new designs will not be adding any capacity, but that the main goal is to bring back the "boulevard" feeling of the corridor.
* The new bridge will have 20-foot-wide sidewalks on each side, and only two piers will need to be built in the river, compared to 3-5 piers that would have been needed with the other designs. (The cable stayed swing bridge would have had just one pedestrian/bike path, 16 feet wide, in the middle of the bridge, surrounded by six lanes of traffic.)
* There will be a seven-acre traffic oval at the foot of the new bridge (which will be located to the south of the current bridge), reshaping the intersection of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. (The ballpark's Home Plate Gate and entrance promenade will be the northeast edge of the oval.) The city is already in the process of acquiring seven properties or portions of properties that will be needed for the oval and bridge footprint, including the red brick warehouse on the northwest corner of South Capitol and Potomac. This oval is on the NCPC list of locations for future memorials and museums.
* The intersection of South Capitol Street and M Street will become an at-grade intersection (no more underpass for through traffic). ANC chair Andy Litsky expressed great concern about how this could make the intersection even more dangerous than it already is, to which the DDOT team replied that the reconfiguration should make it safer. (Certainly it would seem that having a "normal" intersection with two left-turn lanes in most directions would be an improvement safety-wise over the existing mish-mash of lights and poorly striped turn-lanes, but then there will also be a lot more cars cycling through once the tunnel lanes are gone.)
* There will be modifications to South Capitol's interchange with the SE/SW Freeway, with the replacement of the ramp that begins at I Street with an at-grade intersection underneath the freeway that would have two left-turn lanes to a new ramp. With the existing ramp removed, the intersection at South Capitol and I would also be reconfigured.
* The northern section of South Capitol Street will match the reconfigured portion between N Street and Potomac Avenue, as a six-lane boulevard with a median and wide sidewalks.
Commissioners McBee and Moffatt asked as they have in the past about whether the existing bridge could be kept as a pedestrian/bike-only bridge, but DDOT explained that since the swing span would continue to need to be opened for river traffic, the cost of maintaining the old bridge just isn't feasible. (The RiverFront folks might also be a teensy bit upset that their land that's beneath the current bridge wouldn't be coming back to them.) And the team also indicated that this new bridge does not preclude the construction (Some Day, Perhaps, in Some Far Off Time) of a tunnel to move non-local traffic from Anacostia to I-395.
They expect the final Record of Decision from the feds this fall; however, when pressed for a start date, they said 2011 would be the absolute earliest for the start of construction (with completion possibly in 2015), but that as of now there's no funding for the $700 million project. It's also possible that portions of the designs could be undetaken if partial funding is received.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Special ANC 6D Presentation Meeting on Feb. 2
Jan 27, 2009 7:45 PM
With developers of three large projects needing to make presentations, ANC 6D has decided to have a separate presentation meeting on Feb. 2 in advance of its Feb. 9 monthly business meeting. And all three are Near Southeast spectaculars:
* The Housing Authority will be there to talk about the various modifications it's seeking to the Capper PUD, in advance of its March 19 Zoning Commission hearing;
* DDOT will be making a presentation on the final South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement (this includes the plans for the new Douglass Bridge), which I wrote about a few weeks back; and
* Forest City will be making a presentation about the park at the Yards (I believe these are the designs for Phase II, which include the various pavilions and the docks and marinas). The National Capital Planning Commission will be taking a look at Yards designs at their Feb. 5 meeting, and the Zoning Commission hearing on the park's second phase is scheduled for March 2.
The meeting is at the ANC 6D offices on the second floor of 1501 Half Street, SW, at 7 pm.
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, meetings, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

Tidbits: Teague Park Started, Bridges and Stimulus, Reservation 17A, Exxon For Sale?, Capper Zoning, More
Jan 24, 2009 2:40 PM
Some items from the past few days. Big ones first:
* It's probably been true for weeks, but I've just now been by Diamond Teague Park for the first time in a while and can confirm that construction is definitely underway there. Fences are up, cranes (three of them?) are in place, and workers were there. Pictures tomorrow. (Probably *lots* of pictures tomorrow from all over, as long as the weather stays reasonably clear.)
* City Paper got its hands on the letter Mayor Fenty sent to DC Delegate Norton about the city's priorities should the Feds decide to toss some stimulus package dollars in this direction. As I predicted, the two Near Southeast bridge projects were mentioned: "In particular, aspects of the Eleventh Street and South Capitol Street Bridge replacement projects could be undertaken immediately." He also mentions the city's backlog of maintenance projects, along with investments in Metro and the implentation of the streetcar project. And school modernization. And public safety issues.And environmental initiatives. And housing affordability. And health care. (And now here's the stimulus bill itself, though it doesn't get down into specific projects. On the other hand, considering these two bridges ease the commutes to and from the district of the House Majority Leader....)
* Back in mid-November, the transfer of the plot of land known as Reservation 17A from the Feds to the city finally took place; it runs between New Jersey Avenue and Second Street, and is straddled by the trash transfer station building. With this now under District control, various wheels can start turning in that area, including allowing the establishment of I Street between Second and New Jersey that will form the southern boundary of WC Smith's 800 New Jersey Avenue project. There's hopes that the trash transfer station could be demolished in 2010.
* Reader T. reported yesterday that a small bought-at-the-hardware-store For Sale sign went up at 10th and M yesterday, in front of the fence of the Exxon station. I'm not sure what the deal is, since the land is actually owned by the Exxon Corporation, and you'd think they'd have better methods of marketing the land.
* The public notice for the March 19 Zoning Commission hearing on various Capper PUD alteration requests is now available.
* WBJ reports that the Nationals have parted ways with Centerplate, last year's concessionare at the ballpark. This year it will be Levy Restaurants for the food and Facility Merchandising Inc. for the retail.
* More of the fences are coming down at 55 M, as you can see on the web cam. (Though it took me more than a month to notice that the plywood "tunnel" at the Metro exit had disappeared.)
* The Douglass Bridge will be closed at 5 am Sunday until 10am-ish to test the swing span.

New Douglass Bridge: Arched Bascule-Riffic!
Jan 9, 2009 11:14 AM
On January 7, the city and federal agencies working on the various Anacostia Waterfront projects held their first "Interagency Coordinating Council" briefing of 2009, and were kind enough to post the PowerPoint slides (28 MB!) at theanacostiawaterfront.com. A number of Near Southeast projects are part of this domain, including South Capitol Street, the Frederick Douglass Bridge, and the 11th Street Bridges. Let's start with South Capitol Street, where the final designs for the reconfiguration of South Capitol Street (under the South Capitol Street EIS) appear to have been chosen (the "Final EIS Preferred Alternative"):
* The top headline is that the new Douglass Bridge is apparently going to be an arched bascule design (like the Memorial Bridge), with an opening span to allow for larger vessels to sail through.
* There will be a large traffic oval at the foot of the new bridge (which will be located to the south of the current bridge), reshaping the intersection of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. (The ballpark's Home Plate Gate and entrance promenade will be the northeast edge of the oval.)
* The intersection of South Capitol Street and M Street will become an at-grade intersection (no more underpass for through traffic).
* There will be modifications to South Capitol's interchange with the SE/SW Freeway. They aren't specified in this document, but based on my previous readings of the Draft EIS, I believe the final design will remove the existing ramp that begins at I Street with an at-grade intersection underneath the freeway that would have two left-turn lanes to a new ramp. With the removal of the existing ramp to I-395, the intersection at South Capitol and I would also be reconfigured.
* The northern section of South Capitol Street will match the reconfigured portion between N Street and Potomac Avenue, as a six-lane boulevard with a median and wide sidewalks.
* They expect to get a Record of Decision on the Final EIS from the Feds this fall. There's nothing in this document about a start date.
(Hopefully I'll find out more about the final EIS at Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting, so look for additional details on all of this in the coming days.)
As for the 11th Street Bridges, the file says that a demolition contract will be awarded this month for the decommissioned ramps to and from RFK, with the work expected to take place this spring. As for the big work to reconstruct the bridges, the city expects to choose a design/build team and have a contract with them by June 1, with the entire project slated to be completed by the end of 2013.
The PDF also has quick updates on the Anacostia Streetcar Project, the MLK Great Streets Initiative, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, the Parkside Pedestrian Bridge in Ward 7, and a new traffic circle at Pennsylvania and Potomac avenues. It's also got some good general bullet points on the South Capitol and 11th Street projects if you haven't been following up to now. I just hope you have a high-speed connection to download the entire 28-MB file. Otherwise, go get some lunch.
UPDATE: I've taken a little time to give both my South Capitol Street and Douglass Bridge pages a makeover with the new information (and boy, they needed it)--there's now some graphics pinched from the Draft EIS that do a better job explaining what the future plans are. I'd also suggest reading the executive summary of the 2008 Draft EIS, with the knowledge that most of the Design Alternative #2 options apparently have been chosen for the final design. It's a fair amount of detail, but worth it if you want to know how the project has reached its current state, and what's coming in the future. As I said, more to come as the city briefs neighborhoods and groups on the final EIS.

Inauguration Day Street Closures/Public Entry Points; Much of Near Southeast to Be Closed to Traffic
Jan 7, 2009 4:49 PM
This afternoon the Secret Service and local jurisdictions released the Inauguration Joint Transportation Plan (the list of street closings and restrictions), and a map that shows the main closures and restrictions around the Mall, as well as where visitors will be able to enter the Mall and the parade route. I'll let the major media outlets dissect what it means city-wide, but for Near Southeast, here's the early scoop:
* The Southeast-Southwest Freeway, the 11th Street Bridges, and the South Capitol Street (Frederick Douglass) Bridge will be restricted to buses and authorized vehicles only.
* Although no streets in Near Southeast are specifically listed in the Secret Service's batch of street closings, that doesn't mean that they aren't going to be a whole bunch of closures. I mentioned a few days back that much of Near Southeast will be bus-only parking, and apparently the specific streets have now been decided on. And, according to the city's web site on Inauguration Day Street Restrictions, the Emergency No Parking Zones will be established starting at 3 pm Monday, Jan. 19, with the streets then being closed beginning at 12:01 am Tuesday Jan. 20, through 12:01 am Wednesday, Jan. 21 to vehicular traffic except for "charter buses, metro buses, taxis, postal vehicles, law enforcement vehicles and emergency vehicles, as well as residents with government issued identification or vehicle registration showing residency inside the restricted area" (emphasis mine).
It would be great if they posted a map, because the lists of streets are pretty hard to work with. It looks like M Street and Virginia Avenue will be closed to Ninth Street, Half and First will be closed from I Street to N Street, New Jersey will be closed from I to M, and I, K, and L, will be closed to Sixth Street. So, this would mean that north/south streets from Third eastward will be open between M and the freeway.
* There's also this on the city street closure page, which I can't quite decipher: "The following access points have been identified as pedestrian-only routes to the National Mall: [...] East Capitol Street, NE to North Carolina, SE to New Jersey Avenue, SE to I Street, SE." I guess this means these streets will be closed to traffic and will be where pedestrians are funneled to? (But then, where to? Up South Capitol?) Like I said, I need a map!
More to come, I'm sure, especially once all the media's mapmakers get on the case.
My advice? Do what I'm going to do--pretend there's a snowstorm a'comin, get a week's worth of provisions ahead of time, and just hunker down until Wednesday, with no plans to go anywhere except on foot.

New Douglass Bridge Design - Coming Soon? (Post on Upcoming Meetings)
Jan 5, 2009 8:38 PM
New Year, New Meetings:
* ANC 6B (mostly Capitol Hill, but also including the Eighth Street area of Near Southeast) has posted its January 13 meeting agenda, and one of the items on it is "South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement." This draft EIS, which envisions substantial changes to the section of South Capitol Street from the Southeast Freeway across the Douglass Bridge to Firth Sterling Avenue, was released last year, and at December's Anacostia Waterfront Fair it was announced that the final EIS is expected to come this spring.
It may not sound like much to get excited about, but one of the cornerstones of the final EIS should be the unveiling of the chosen design for the new Douglass Bridge. I wrote a long entry about the Draft EIS when it was released, and on my Douglass Bridge page you can also see the four preliminary designs. (And you can also relive 2007's Extreme Makeover!) Feel free to sound off in the comments on which bridge design you want--but, please, no wagering.
Also on ANC 6B's agenda is "ZC # 03-12I/03-13I, Modification to the Arthur Capper Carrollsburg PUD," which I imagine is the series of deadline extensions and other zoning items that I've previously written about. (UPDATE: This has apparently been removed from the 6B agenda, at the Housing Authority's request.)
This meeting is at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, at 7 pm.
* ANC 6D's monthly meeting will be on the previous night, Jan. 12, at St. Augustine's Church at 6th and M Streets, SW. No agenda yet posted. (6B usually wins this race by a country mile.)
* This Thursday (Jan. 8), Metro's Customer Service, Safety and Operations Committee will be voting on whether to authorize a mid-February hearing on the discontinuation of the N22 bus, which runs between the Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard subway stations and which is expected to be replaced by DC Circulator route. I'm not sure why this is on the agenda again--my understanding was that they approved it in December, as did the full board. Read my previous posts with more detail on this change here and here.
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Reminder: This Week's Flurry of Events
Dec 15, 2008 12:32 PM
Though I'm ready to give a stern talking-to to the folks who thought jam-packing the time just before the holidays with so many events was a good idea, here's a reminder of all that's happening Near Southeast-wise this week:
* On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the BID is putting on a Holiday Market at 1100 New Jersey Avenue. It will run from 11:30 am to 6 pm, and will feature "local artisans selling handcrafted jewelry, pottery, crafts, watercolors, photography, and more."
* On Tuesday at 6:30 pm is a community meeting on the planning process for Boathouse Row, which I wrote about recently. It's at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th Street, SE, and is being held by the Office of Planning. There's a pile of information from the city on this Master Plan process, if you want more information.
* Also on Tuesday, the city council will be having its final vote on the Taxation Without Representation Street bill, along with a pile of other legislative items they'll be trying to get out of the way before the end of the year.
* On Wednesday at 6:30 pm the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association is having its annual Boathouse Lighting and Community Awards Ceremony. City Administrator Dan Tangherlini will be honored, and then will flip the switch to illuminate the boathouse's holiday lights. The boathouse is at 1115 O Street, SE (between the spans of the 11th Street Bridges).
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is having its Annual Meeting and "State of the Capitol Riverfront" at 11:30 am on Thursday.
* The group of urban planning students at the University of Maryland who have been studying the lower part of Eighth Street will be presenting their "Connect Barracks Row" findings at a public meeting on Thursday from 7:30 pm to 9 pm at the Navy Yard Car Barn, better known as the Blue Castle, at 770 M Street, SE. You can see the presentation from their Oct. 29 community meeting and read a little more about the project on their web site.
These are all listed on my Events Calendar. I wish I could live up to my normal obsessiveness and say that I'm going to be at every one of these, but real life is intervening all over the place.

City Paper on the 'Capitol Riverfront', and Other Links
Dec 10, 2008 1:10 PM
Piling a bunch of stuff together, again:
* Just posted on its Housing Complex blog (and in this week's print edition), the City Paper takes a look at the "Capitol Riverfront," both in the attempts to brand the neighborhood and in how empty it currently is (the subhed for the piece says "Developing a Name for the Southeast Waterfront Is Easier Than Actually Developing It" ).
UPDATE: I should also mention that Housing Complex has also posted occupancy numbers for the new buildings in Near Southeast: 70 and 100 I are 18 and 14 percent leased, Onyx is at 8 percent, Capitol Hill Tower is at 75 percent, Capitol Quarter Phase I is sold out, and Velocity is 25 percent sold.
* Reader J. reported yesterday that interior work seems to have begun at the old dialysis building at 900 M Street. They're rehabbing the interior and the exterior to create three retail storefronts, though no tenants have been announced yet.
* The Douglass Bridge is having another early-Sunday-morning-closure on the 14th.
* Planners are trying to figure out where to put all the charter buses coming to town for the inauguration. I'm guessing that the surface parking lots all around Near Southeast are going to be pretty enticing.
* The WBJ picks up on what I reported last week about 810-816-820 Potomac Avenue going up for sale in a sealed bid.
* One more add: Dr. Gridlock reports that Metro will be testing more eight-car trains on the Green line.

Taxation Without Representation Street Passes First City Council Vote
Dec 2, 2008 4:35 PM
Via a Kwame Brown press release, confirmation that today the DC city council gave preliminary approval to the plan to rename the portion of South Capitol Street that runs alongside Nationals Park as "Taxation Without Representation Street." The bill includes the requirement that buildings along that stretch of South Capitol officially be given the address "Taxation Without Representation Street," which will no doubt leave the Nationals tickled pink.
Kwame's press release also says that "the location was chosen not only because of the baseball stadium but also because it is on a direct route to Congress."
For more details, read my coverage of the hearing on the bill, as well as the bill itself. There still needs to be a second vote on the bill before it can become law.
No word on when the tea dumping starts....
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More posts: South Capitol St., Nationals Park

Post-Holiday Scraping-for-News Post (N22, Twitter)
Dec 1, 2008 10:22 AM
With not much news afoot, and with the holiday weekend weather not meshing properly with my schedule of family shindigs to allow for any photo excursions (my new camera is crying out to be used!), I only have the smallest of tidbits to report.
* On Thursday (Dec. 4) the WMATA Customer Service, Operations and Safety Committee will be voting to approve a public hearing on the plan to end the N22 bus line that runs between Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard station entrance at New Jersey and M. The District is planning to replace this bus line with a new Circulator route covering the same route, and also adding in a stop at the new US Capitol Visitors Center. If approved, the hearing would be held in January, and the expectation is that the Circulator route would be in place by Opening Day 2009. Read my previous posts on this change here and here.
And, here's two "Tweets" from Friday of terribly important breaking news items: (follow me on Twitter to get these as soon as I post them, or be sure to check the Twitter box at the upper right of the JDLand home page)
* Not sure when this happened, but the Capitol Skyline Hotel at South Cap & I isn't a Best Western anymore.
* Holiday snowflakes hung from the streetlights on M Street. Festive!
UPDATE: One more that I forgot: tomorrow (Tuesday), the Taxation Without Representation Street Renaming Act will get its first vote in front of the city council.
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More posts: circulator, Metro/WMATA, M Street, South Capitol St.

Hearing on 'Taxation Without Representation' Street (Updated)
Nov 24, 2008 7:09 PM
Today the city council held its hearing on B17-0909, the bill that seeks to rename the portion of South Capitol Street that runs next to Nationals Park as "Taxation Without Representation Street, SE." Four witnesses testified in favor of the bill, although the support of three of them (DC's two shadow senators and the head of DCVote) was not exactly a surprise.
The city is using this as an alternate approach to getting the taxation-without-representation word out at the ballpark, after its attempt to install at the ballpark a toteboard showing much the city pays in taxes was thwarted by the Nationals (who have final say on all signage at the ballpark thanks to the stadium lease agreement).
It's expected that the bill will have its first vote in front of the council on Dec. 5 Dec. 2, with hopes that it can make it safely through the congressional oversight process in time to allow the signs to be posted by Opening Day. (Remember, not only do DC citizens not have a vote in Congress, their own legislation passed by their own elected representatives doesn't get to become law until after Congress has signed off.)
UPDATE: The Examiner covers the hearing, with some additional details, mainly that "unlike other symbolic road name designations [it] would actually change the address of all buildings along that three-block stretch of South Capitol." Tommy Wells is quoted as saying: "What we want is for that to be the stadium's address. [...] We want people to have to write it." Also, 1345 South Capitol's developer Camden Development submitted written testimony opposing this plan that would rename their block, saying that the name change will "negatively impact the residents of our building," cause "unnecessary confusion" and compromise "the spirit" of South Capitol.
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More posts: South Capitol St., Nationals Park

Mini-Roundup: Metro Station Entrance Closed, Zoning News, Taxation w/out Representation Street Hearing
Nov 16, 2008 5:42 PM
A bunch of items to start the week with:
* Remember that the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station at Half and M is closed every evening this week from 8 pm until closing, thanks to work on 55 M Street.
* On Monday (Nov. 13), the Zoning Commission gave final approval to moving 225 Virginia Avenue into the Capitol South Receiving Zone, which will allow any construction on the block to have greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR/90-ft-height currently allowed. This was approved with two caveats: that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90 feet to confirm that the building will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face, and that any structure will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park. Read my entry from the hearing a few weeks ago for more information.
* On Nov. 24 at 2 pm, the city council will be having a hearing about B17-0909, the "Taxation Without Representation Street Renaming Act of 2008," which would "designate the portion of South Capitol Street, SE that intersects with N Street SE and Potomac Avenue SE as 'Taxation Without Representation Street, SE." It just so happens that this is the portion of South Capitol Street that runs alongside Nationals Park, where the council was thwarted in earlier attempts to install an electronic tote board showing the federal taxes that DC residents pay while still having no voting representation in the US Congress.
* Tommy Wells is taking nominations for the Second Annual Livable, Walkable Awards.
* For weeks I've been meaning to post that Nationals Park made the list of Travel and Leisure Magazine's "Must-See Green American Landmarks," thanks to being the first LEED-certified professional sports facility.

Mayor Talks About Progress Along the Anacostia; Status Updates on Parks, Bridges, and the River
Nov 14, 2008 2:56 PM
This morning Mayor Fenty held a press conference at Nationals Park with various city officials to highlight tomorrow's Anacostia Waterfront Information Fair, and also talk up the recent progress and near-term next steps for the more than $8 billion worth of economic development, transportation, and infrastructure projects in the pipeline along the Anacostia River (not only in Near Southeast, but from the Southwest Waterfront all the way up past RFK).
Having sworn off taking any more photos of The Mayor at the Microphone (unless he shows up in a Hawaiian shirt and swimtrunks or something), I decided to record the 20-minute event instead, so that the five or six of you interested in hearing the remarks can do so. (It's a 2.6-mb MP3 file; the first few seconds are rough, but then it settles in.)
If you listen, you'll hear how the mayor managed to cajole the notoriously camera-shy Stan Kasten into saying a few words about what's happening along the river and in the neighborhood from the point of view of the area's largest tenant. Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, DDOT Director Frank Seales, Office of Planning head Harriet Tregoning, and the director of the city's Office of the Environment George Hawkins spoke as well. There was some discussion throughout (and especially at the end) about how the slowing economy might be impacting both the city's plans and developers' projects, but the mayor remains optimistic.
The press release from the mayor's office sums up the main points of today's event, but here's the Near Southeast-specific highlights from both the remarks and some other chatter of the day. First up, news of the three big parks:
The city "will break ground at Diamond Teague Park by the end of 2008." (And the guide for tomorrow's fair says that the park will be completed in spring 2009, which is the same date we've been hearing for a while.) The mayor also touted the operating agreement with Forest City Washington to build and maintain the $42 million, 5-acre Park at the Yards (but you knew about this already), as well as the the agreement with the Canal Park Development Corp. to build the $13.1 million, three-block-long park. (No mention of school buses.)
Then there's the bridges: Reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges is scheduled to begin in mid-2009. (The shortlist of firms vying for the design-build contract was announced a few weeks ago.) Whether we actually see heavy equipment moving in mid-2009, or whether this just marks the first part of the design-build project is not quite clear. I was also told that the contract to demolish the flyover ramps to and from RFK could be completed soon, and that demolition would happen not long after the contract is signed.
Plus, the final Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street and the Douglass Bridge is expected in spring 2009; that's when we'll hear which of the four bridge designs has been chosen.
As for the river itself, the city has started real-time water quality monitoring, updated automatically online 24 hours a day. There's also now the Anacostia 2032 Plan "to make the Anacostia River boatable, swimmable, and fishable in 25 years." And a Green Summer Jobs Corps was created earlier this year to "engage youth in the cleaning and greening of District neighborhoods and parks and to introduce them to green-collar job opportunities."
Finally, a planning process is underway to revamp Boathouse Row, the stretch of boat clubs along the Anacostia between 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. (I took a bunch of photos near the boathouses a few months back, and have been lazy about ever getting them posted, though you can see a few boathouse-free shots of the environs here and here.)
There's more about projects elsewhere along the Anacostia, but other bloggers get to cover those. Will update this post if there's any media coverage from today's event, and will have a fresh post on Saturday after the fair. I imagine I'll Twitter a bit from those festivities (like I did from today's); remember that if you aren't a Twitter-er, you can read my tweets on the JDLand homepage--check 'em out frequently, because I do sometimes post news there first, before I write full blog entries.
SATURDAY FAIR UPDATE: They're now going to be providing free shuttle bus service from the New Jersey & M Metro entrance to/from the ballpark, from 12:30 pm to 5:15 pm. (After they heard somewhere that the Half and M subway entrance is going to be closed on Saturday.)

Action Today at 1345 South Capitol Lot
Sep 18, 2008 12:24 PM
A few readers have written in this morning noting some action on the 1345 South Capitol Street lot, across from the ballpark at South Capitol and O. This is where Camden Development has plans for an apartment building, which originally was supposed to start construction early in 2008 but which has been "on hold." Apparently today's work is some demolition of the few structures still on the site; I checked with Camden earlier this week on the status of the project, and was told that it's still up in the air but that they think they'll start construction before the end of the year. [Insert standard "We shall see...." disclaimer here.] See my project page for renderings and additional details (as well as photos of what was on the lot before the first batch of demolition at the beginning of the year). There's also some additional overhead photos of the lot as seen from the ballpark, if you feel like having an additional vantage point.
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More posts: 1325sc, South Capitol St.

Stormy Weekend Items
Sep 5, 2008 3:08 PM
Doesn't look like Saturday will be a good day for taking pictures, and Sunday I'll be welded to the sofa watching the US Open, so this will have to tide you over to next week:
* WalkingTownDC has announced its fall lineup, and once again "Capitol Riverfront" is one of the tours, led by Michael Stevens, the executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District. It's Saturday, Sept. 20, starting at 10:30 am. More info here.
* DDOT says that, weather permitting, the Douglass Bridge will be closed from 6 am to as late as 10 am on Sunday morning for some minor repairs: "Crews will be making minor repairs necessary to improve movements of the swing span that occur during the periodic opening of the bridge."
* If you've snuck a peek at the recent building permit applications and are wondering if the application for 1111 New Jersey Avenue means that Donohoe is close to getting started on their planned 200,000-sq-ft office building, I've already done the wondering for you, and the answer is "no"--just getting the paperwork out of the way. (Longtime readers will remember that the first building permit applications for 1015 Half Street were submitted more than three years before construction got underway.)
* Speaking of the building permit data, the feed for approved permits has been down since the end of July. The folks who handle the feeds assure me that it's being worked on, and will hopefully be back before too long.
* Apropos of nothing, here's a Washington Times story from Monday about the groundskeepers at Nationals Park.

Monument Sells Land South of Bus Garage to Akridge, and Pays $22.7 Million for WMATA Parking Lot
Sep 4, 2008 3:13 PM
This hasn't been mentioned in the items over the past few days about Akridge's Aug. 27 closing of its $46.5 million purchase of Metro's Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M: On the same day they closed on the bus garage, Akridge bought Monument Realty's land just south of the bus garage for $9.66 million. The site, a conglomeration of five or six lots that Monument cobbled together in 2004 and 2005, totals about 16,000 square feet along N Street between Half and Van, where the Good and Plenty carryout used to stand (for you old-timers).
To add one more Aug. 27 transaction to the mix: Monument also closed on its $22.7 million purchase of the 27,000-square-foot WMATA parking lot nestled between the Public Space Storage building and the old Domino's site, across Van from the bus garage. This is the land (currently Nats Parking Lot M) that Monument was awarded as part of the settlement of their lawsuit over the original awarding of all WMATA land on Square 700 to Akridge.
This means that Akridge now owns all of the west side of Half Street between M and N, while Monument owns the east side of South Capitol between M and N *except* for the Public Storage Building. (See my Monument Ballpark District page for photos.)
As mentioned in the other posts this week on Akridge's purchase of the bus garage, reports are that they are looking at a 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project, beginning perhaps in 2010. Don't know anything more than this at this point. Monument had been working on a residential building at South Capitol and N (land they still own), but I haven't heard if that's still part of their plans.

NCPC National Capital Framework Plan
Jul 10, 2008 7:02 PM
I'm out of pocket for a bit, so I'll just quickly mention that the National Capital Planning Commission's National Capital Framework Plan was unveiled today, with all sorts of visions about reworking and improving various areas of the city. Here's the section of the report dealing with South Capitol Street (I must admit to wishing they'd update their drawing to one that has a realistic depiction of Nationals Park). Much of this section is really just a restatement of the goals announced in their 2005 report on South Capitol Street. Here's the Post's article on the new framework plan. (UPDATED to fix broken link.)
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More posts: South Capitol St.

City Council Today - South Cap/N Alley Closing, Tax Pay-Out Bill, Tingey Street (Updated with Results)
Jul 1, 2008 9:29 AM
Today is the city council's monthly legislative meeting, and since they don't have one in August, this one--like all July ones--has an agenda a mile long, with a few items related to Near Southeast:
There's an emergency bill to correct a problem with the 2005 bill that transferred Tingey Street to the city--a drafting error apparently drew the road through part of the Pattern Shop Lofts.
And the "Taxation Without Representation Federal Tax Pay-Out Message Board Installation Act of 2007" (Bill 17-0028) is finally getting a vote--this is the bill that would put electronic tote boards on the Wilson Building and the ballpark showing the federal taxes that District residents pay while still having no votiing representation in Congress. You can read more about it here and here--I don't know if the bill being voted on today has the same language as the original one introduced in 2007, since the council was told pretty clearly by the Sports and Entertainment Commission that the stadium's lease agreement states that the Nationals control the signage on the stadium's interior, exterior, and perimeter, and the DCSEC's outside counsel feels that this tote-board bill "could conflict" with the lease.
But first up, on the consent agenda, is the bill to close the alley between South Capitol and Van just north of the old BP Amoco station on N Street across from the ballpark. This request is coming from Monument Realty, so they can combine the Amoco lot with the parking lot to the north of the alley and develop the site as a residential building with somewhere between 180 and 210 rental units, with 15 or 16 of them being affordable units priced at between 50 and 80 percent of the area median income. There would also be about 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
I failed my fiduciary duty to ever post a summary of the hearing on this bill held back in May, but most of what was said at the council hearing wasn't too different from the presentation about the closing to ANC 6D in January. Monument's representatives told the council that they would expect to start the project approximately 18 months after receiving the alley closing (depending on market conditions, of course), meaning it wouldn't deliver before 2011. Monument is not so far committing to any sort of LEED certification for the building (though I imagine that changes if they don't build it before the city's new green building laws go into effect). The project would also need a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review by the Zoning Commission.
The hearing starts at 10 am, and can be seen on DC Cable 13 or via streaming video. I'll update this entry later today with the various outcomes.
UPDATE: I haven't started watching the proceedings yet (I'll be spending my evening fast-forwarding through them), but the Post's DC Wire blog has an entry on another bill of interest being brought up today, to improve upon the locations carved out for street vendors near the ballpark (here's the map). Some council members want the vendors much closer (presumably, along Half and N streets), which the Nationals and MLB are not much in favor of. Other council members say that bringing the vendors closer should wait until the construction near the ballpark is completed. We'll see what happens with the bill today.
FAST-FORWARDING UPDATE: What more could I want to do with my evening than to sit here speeding through 8-plus hours of city council proceedings? Here's what I'm finding:
* The Square 700 alley closing passed its first reading on the consent agenda.
* The Tax Pay-Out Message Board bill passed its first reading--Chairman Gray said that the second message board would be built "on public space near the Washington Nationals baseball stadium," which gets around the problems I described above with the original bill. Apparently Chairman Gray had discussions with the Nationals earlier this year about putting the sign at the ballpark, and the Nationals did not indicate any sort of desire to have the sign, so the compromise was hatched to put it on public land near the ballpark (I'm trying to find out where). Marion Barry pronounced himself "appalled" at the Nationals' refusal to put up the sign at the city-funded ballpark, calling the team "not good citizens." The sign at the Wilson Building is to be erected in time for the 2009 presidential inauguration, so that the entire parade can march right past it.
* The "Tingey Street, SE Right of Way Amendment Emergency Act of 2008" passed its first reading, so the street will no longer run through Building 160. Whew!
* I'm going to address the vending expansion bill in a new entry. Check back later for that.

WMATA Authorizes Settlement with Monument; Akridge Gets Garage, Monument Gets Parking Lot
Jun 26, 2008 1:56 PM
I know nothing more than this right now, but the WMATA board just within the past minute voted unanimously to approve the settlement of the lawsuit brought against them by Monument Realty over the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M. The discussion was all held in executive session, and the audio feed of the vote contained no details of the settlement, but I imagine the media will be picking it up soon. More as I get it, so keep checking back. Read yesterday's preview entry for background on the story.
UPDATE, seconds later: With the darn WBJ RSS feed not working, I missed this from about 40 minutes ago: ""Monument Realty and Akridge will split a key Metro-owned property near Nationals Park under a proposed legal settlement. [...] Monument will pay $22.6 million for a parcel on Van Street SE, while Akridge will pay $46.5 million for the Metro bus garage on the site, said Candace Smith, a WMATA spokeswoman." The Van Street site is the parking lot (Nats lot "M") just south of the Domino's site already owned by Monument. This means that the Public Space Storage building would be the only parcel on the block bounded South Capitol, Van, M and N not owned by Monument. Akridge would not gain control of the entire west side of Half Street with its acquisition of the bus garage: Monument owns the southernmost portion, directly across N Street from the ballpark, up to the alley where the On the Fly vending cart sets up shop.
UPDATE II: Here's the Metro press release.

Tiny Items of Note from This Weekend's Wanderings
Jun 23, 2008 12:53 PM
* DDOT told me these were coming a long time ago, and a reader whose e-mail I've lost gave me a heads up a few weeks back, but now I've finally visited for myself to see that the ugly cyclone fences on the South Capitol and M overpass have been replaced with pretty gray-painted ironwork.
* You have to look kind of closely, but construction has indeed started at Capitol Quarter, with pretty new curbs being installed on the south side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth. You can see them if you squint at the photos on my Capitol Quarter Phase I page.
* The owner of the Third and K Market at, um, Third and K must be keeping track of what's going on nearby, because there's now a For Rent sign tucked in the door. (Alas, all the info sheets were gone when I got there.) If you've ever dreamed of running a corner market, here's your chance. The market's been closed since about 2006.
* The "Wachovia Coming Soon" sign is back in the window at 20 M, so my building permit reading was on the mark. (It's in the window on the far western edge of the building.)
UPDATE: Speaking of 20 M, GlobeSt.com is reporting (tucked in a piece on LEED Gold certification for 1100 New York Avenue) that several leasing deals are pending for 20 M. So perhaps that's why Wachovia has decided to start moving forward.
* I did a bit of needed housingcleaning to the home page map and project directory--adding in 88 K as a "featured project", demoting 1345 South Capitol to "star-only" status until the project starts moving forward again, and adding a few additional stars for projects like the coming retail renovation of 900 M Street.
I also did some updating of the tabs with the lists of projects--if you don't realize the tabs are even there (look just above the map for "Residential/Office/Retail/Hotel"), take some time during this lazy summer to click on them and be stunned and amazed by the easy access to project information....
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More posts: 20 M, 900m, Capper, Capitol Quarter, cornercopia, M Street, Retail, South Capitol St.

Square 700 Alley Closing Hearing Thursday
May 28, 2008 4:08 PM
It's nowhere near as exciting as zoning hearings (then again, what is?), but I see that the City Council hearing on the bill to close a 2,400-sq-ft alley on Square 700 is happening tomorrow (May 29), after having been canceled back in February. The alley is just north of what used to be the BP Amoco station on South Capitol Street at N (which is now Nats Parking Lot N). Monument Realty is requesting this closure to allow for the combining of both the Amoco site and the parking lot to its north, with plans to build what was described in January as a residential building with 150-200 units and 14,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail space, as part of Monument's Half Street projects. Additional details are in my January report on Monument's request for ANC 6D's support (which they didn't get, thanks to a 2-2-1 vote). The bill is B017-0552, if you'd like some light afternoon reading. The hearing is scheduled be televised/streamed on DC Cable 13, starting at 10 am.

Nighttime Douglass Bridge Closure This Weekend
May 13, 2008 5:33 PM
From DDOT: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will be conducting operational testing of the swing span of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, a.k.a. South Capitol Street Bridge this weekend beginning on Friday, May 16th at 10pm. To conduct a full operational test of the swing span, and ensure the safety of motorists and workers, the bridge must be closed during the testing activity. The initial closure is scheduled for Friday evening, May 16th from 10pm - 5am, weather permitting. If all results return positive no further closures will be necessary. The rain date is scheduled for Saturday from 10pm - 5am. Motorists will be detoured to the 11th Street bridges. Variable Message Signs will be posted along the north and south bound routes leading to the bridge to alert drivers to alternate routes."

Work Starting/Not Starting (Yards/1345 South Capitol)
May 12, 2008 1:26 PM
Responding to my inquiry about the windows that have recently been removed from the Pattern Shop Lofts building on the south side of Third and Tingey streets in The Yards, the folks at Forest City have let me know that interior demolition work is indeed underway on the World War I-era building. The existing interior walls, ceilings, plumbing, asbestos {cough} and whatnot is all being removed, in preparation for the actual construction/renovation work that is scheduled to begin later this year. Two floors will be added to the top of the building as part of its transformation into a 170-unit apartment building, which will also have 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. It's expected to be finished next year. (Its neighbor across Third Street, the Boilermaker Shop, is currently out for bid, and construction is expected to begin this summer to turn it into a 46,000-sq-ft retail space by fall 2009.)
Meanwhile, work has stopped at the 1345 South Capitol Street site (directly across from the ballpark), with the old buildings demolished and the site mostly cleared. Camden Development has been planning a 276-unit apartment building for this location, but I've been told that the company is "trying to decide what to do" with the project.
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More posts: 1325sc, Boilermaker Shops/Yards, Foundry Lofts/Yards, South Capitol St., The Yards

Nighttime Douglass Bridge Closures This Weekend
Apr 17, 2008 7:20 PM
From DDOT, word that testing of the swing span of the Douglass Bridge necessitates some nighttime closures this weekend. "To conduct a full test of the swing span, and ensure the safety of motorist and workers, the bridge must be closed during the testing activity. The first closure is scheduled for Friday evening, April 18th from 10 pm to 5 am. If all results return positive no further closures will be necessary. However, if minor adjustments are found to be necessary, additional testing and closures will be conducted on Saturday from 10 pm to 5 am and repeated again with test-dependent closures scheduled for Sunday from 10 pm to 5 am. Motorist will be detoured to the 11th Street bridges."

This Afternoon's Ballpark News Roundup
Mar 26, 2008 3:33 PM
(I'm not sure there's anyone who is wishing more than me that the dang thing would open already....)
* The Examiner looks at Southwest residents just across from the ballpark who are selling the parking spaces that came with their homes to Nats fans for as much as $3,000 a season. But if you park near these houses and don't have a visitors pass (or aren't one of the chosen few who fork over the dough for these private spaces), expect the residents to call DPW to have you ticketed and towed.
* The Post's newly reconstituted DC Wire blog catches up with Ken Wyban, the only resident homeowner on the ballpark footprint to lose his house when the city invoked eminent domain to take over the land. (City Paper talked to him a few weeks ago in their big ballpark Winners and Losers cover story.)
* Reader Sean alerts us that the Express has a special section on the ballpark today too. Looks like a bunch of the pieces are available here.
* Even the Annapolis Capitol newspaper gets in on the fun with its own overview of the ballpark, though they get a demerit for misspelling South Capitol Street and for mentioning the "Southeast neighborhoods west of the ballpark." (Uh.....)
* WTOP talks about the plans for security around the ballpark, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $1.2 million.
* And, just as I'm finishing this up, I see that MLB.com has a new article about the preparations and plans for this weekend's festivities.
Apparently the beautifying of the neighborhood is underway, too--the black fence along Half Street at the Monument hole in the ground now has art on it (see 55 M web cam) as well as banners on the upper floors of 55 M facing the ballpark, and the Stadium web cam shows a "Welcome Home Nats" sign on the side of 100 M. The recent jet-black paint job on the old Domino's at 1200 South Capitol is part of this, too, and look for more Monument Realty "art" around all of its holdings.

DOT Curb Cuts Not ADA Compliant; Positive Nature Rally; Douglass Bridge Ceremony Coverage
Mar 18, 2008 9:06 AM
* The Examiner writes about the Washington Area Bicyclists Association's look last week at the crosswalks and curbs at the US Department of Transportation HQ, which WABA says are not ADA compliant: "An inspection of the area Friday found security bollards blocking curb ramps, bus shelters with virtually no sidewalk access, and multispace parking meters inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. Also, several crosswalks at non-signalized intersections feed into curbs with no access ramp[.]" DDOT says that the crosswalk at Second and M is not supposed to be used anymore (since there is a fully compliant crosswalk just to the west at New Jersey Avenue) and will be sending crews to take away the crosswalk marks.
* City Paper continues its saturation coverage of the Positive Nature youth program at 1017 New Jersey with video from Saturday's rally. The organization is trying to stave off eviction thanks to the huge increase in its property taxes.
* WAMU has posted the audio of its piece on last week's rededication of the Douglass Bridge. The city's Cable 16 channel should be adding it to its lineup soon. You can watch the press conference on the new on-street parking regulations near the ballpark in the meantime.

Ceremony Today Rededicating the Douglass Bridge
Mar 13, 2008 4:31 PM
Today the Usual Suspects convened on the Southwest corner of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue to officially rededicate the Frederick Douglass Bridge and to celebrate the completion of all the rehabilitation work that's been underway since last year. I took some photos of the ceremony, though you'll note that my camera kept being inexorably drawn to a certain new landmark across the street that's less than three weeks away from opening. (It's not my fault--they set up the podium with the ballpark in the background instead of the bridge!) If you've joined us late, you can browse all the background on last summer's Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover that demolished the northern approach to the bridge and totally remade this portion of South Capitol Street. If you're hoping for a new Douglass Bridge, though, don't despair--city and federal officials announced themselves as still very much committed to building a brand new bridge.

South Capitol Ramp from 395 Closed Tonight - Signs
Mar 10, 2008 6:11 PM
This just in from DDOT (no link yet): " DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) in coordination with The Federal Highway Admin (FHWA) will be installing the overhead Nationals Baseball Signs during nighttime hours Monday, March 10, 2008 from 8pm to 4:30am on the overhead sign poles for the South Capitol Street ramp exit off 395NB. The ramp will be closed to ensure the safety of the workers and all motorists. All work will be completed prior to rush hour on Tuesday. The work area is 395-North also known as East Bound SE/SW Freeway. DDOT will assist in controlling traffic in the immediate work area and guide motorist to the detour routes. Work installing the signs will began with the East bound side of 395 at the South Capitol Street. DDOT encourages all motorists traveling in the work area to follow the clearly marked detour signs and keep alert."
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More posts: South Capitol St., Nationals Park

55 M Cam Back Up, Another Grumbler, and More
Mar 10, 2008 1:12 PM
* Thanks to reader K for the heads up that the 55 M web cam is back online. Looks like they painted those distinctive beams above the Metro entrance during the blackout. (UPDATE: And the webcam now shows that Half Street is getting paved today.)
* Today it's an Examiner columnist who rails against the traffic and transit catastrophe at the ballpark three weeks before the first regular-season pitch even happens, using his crystal ball to predict that an unfinished Metro station now means an unfinished Metro station then.
* The GW Hatchet explains how to get tickets to the March 22 game at Nationals Park.
* Howard University's paper looks at Southwest residents wary of the development starting to surround them.
* Get in on the Douglass Bridge design discussion in the comments from a few days ago.

Monday Meetings; Parking Signs; Birds-Eye View
Mar 9, 2008 3:18 PM
* I mentioned this a few days back, but why not pass along another reminder that Monday at 7 pm is the ANC 6D monthly meeting, with presentations and votes on 401 M Street, the ballpark traffic management plan, and the South Capitol Street Draft EIS, plus a briefing by the Nats on the Opening Day "Fan Fest" activities. To get in on the fun, go to St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 6th and M St., SW, starting at 7 pm.
* If the ANC isn't your bag, you can watch the Zoning Commission take up again the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for Donohoe's planned office building at 1111 New Jersey. It's a continuation of the last hearing, which revolved mostly around whether the garage access would be from New Jersey or from the alley. The hearing starts at 6:00 pm, and 1111 is also on the public meeting agenda at 6:30 pm, which perhaps is a display of optimism that Donohoe and DDOT will have the garage issue straightened out and the review ruling can be made. Watch the webcast, if you're so inclined. (I'm going to be missing both of these meetings, so it might be a few days before I can get the scoop on them.)
* The new Enhanced Residential Parking Permit signs, which allow non-Zone 6 parking only on one side of the street in certain areas near the ballpark, continue to get installed. They came to my street north of the freeway within the past day or so.
* I thought I did good with last week's find of a November 2006 satellite photo of the neighborhood, but reader JK has upped the ante with the "Bird's-Eye View" option at Microsoft Live Search, showing not-real-high-up images from March 2007. But be careful when you're scrolling around--if you go to fast, the images flip back to shots from early 2003. (Which is festive in its own fun-house kind of way.)

Tidbits: Permits, Yards Names, No SE Freeway?, South Cap Tunnel, 55 M Web Cam, A New Crusade
Mar 8, 2008 10:48 AM
Just a bunch of tiny items worth highlighting on a dreary Saturday (no new photos today in this muck):
* A building permit has been approved to build a surface parking lot along First Street between M and N, where Normandie Liquors and its brethren were demolished last month. And the Archdiocese of Washington has applied for a public space permit for the 1300 block of First Street, SE--does the Popemobile need special parking permits?
* As plans at The Yards continue to move forward, there's now official names for the first-phase projects. Say hello to The Boilermaker Shop, The Pattern Shop Lofts, and Factory 202. (And 401 M and 400 Tingey, but those aren't anywhere near as catchy.)
* The 55 M web cam is no longer available to the public. Perhaps they want the Opening Day vista to be a big surprise. Or they don't want people watching the last-minute work on the Navy Yard Metro station. (I wonder if the gas main hit on Thursday was caught by this camera.)
* Some commenters are discussing the idea that's been floated of someday demolishing the Southeast-Southwest Freeway. Getting rid of this Berlin Wall that separates Capitol Hill and Near Southeast (and splits Southwest) was brought up in the National Capital Planning Commission's 1997 Extending the Legacy framework plan, if you want to see it actually on paper. (Apparently an updated NCPC framework plan is scheduled to come out this spring, which looks like it continues to have Virginia Avenue marked where the freeway currently is.) As to whether I'll see this done in my lifetime, well, it would be a nice surprise.
If you really want to go high-concept, you can read DDOT's 2003 South Capitol Street Gateway and Improvement Study to see their ideas for a tunnel that would link I-295 and the SE/SW Freeway for through traffic, leaving South Capitol Street to become the grand urban gateway boulevard planners envision. At Wednesday's public meeting on the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement, DDOT said that the tunnel isn't totally off the table, but they decided that a new Douglass Bridge and other South Capitol Street improvements could move forward separately. But could a tunnel still work if the dream of dismantling the SE/SW Freeway were realized?
* I've tried to remain (mostly) unopinionated on various projects during the five years I've run this site. But sometimes, it's necessary to take a stand, to come out from behind the cloak of neutrality and crusade for what you believe in. So I'm going to take advantage of this bully pulpit and fight for one thing: Arched Bascule!

Hearings on First New Buildings at the Yards; Ballpark and South Capitol EIS Also on ANC 6D Agenda
Mar 7, 2008 8:49 AM
Beginning the trek through the approvals process are the first new-construction buildings planned for The Yards--a 320,000-square-foot office building at 401 M Street and a 170ish-unit apartment building to its south at 400 Tingey Street. They would both have ground-floor retail, but it's what's planned for 401 M that will probably have everyone's attention, because a grocery store is proposed for that space, just inside the historic wall and sentry tower on the southeast corner of Fourth and M. (No, which grocery store it could be hasn't been announced yet.) Recent documents have said that 401 M could begin construction in late 2008, with delivery in 2010; the residential building's start depends on "market conditions." (Uh-oh.) A few more early renderings are on my 401 M/400 Tingey page. (See my Yards First Phase page for information on the retail and residential projects that are getting underway this year.)
There's a Zoning Commission Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review of the plans scheduled for April 17, and ANC 6D will be voting on whether to support the project at its March 10 meeting.
Also at Monday's ANC 6D meeting will be presentations and votes on plans for the Opening Day Fan Fest at the ballpark, the ballpark Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (formerly known as the TOPP), and the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement. I attended Wednesday night's public meeting on the Draft EIS, and while the slides from the meeting haven't yet been posted on its web site, the DEIS's executive summary is a good substitute for the information that was available at the meeting--you can read my summary of the plans as well. There wasn't much public comment (maybe seven or eight speakers), and the concerns seemed to be more about making sure DDOT does a good job of handling the inconveniences and resident issues as a result of the planned changes, rather than any real opposition to the plans themselves. The public comment period ends March 31, and the Final EIS is expected to come out late this year.
Alas, I won't be able to attend this ANC meeting that's so chock full of Near Southeast goodness. But I'm guessing that spending that evening watching the Roger Federer-Pete Sampras exhibition at Madison Square Garden might be a bit more enjoyable.

Monday Morning Roundup and Reminders
Mar 3, 2008 11:01 AM
* The tarp is coming off the field today--look at that pretty turf! It's probably being done today because Tuesday the Nats are holding a ceremony to install home plate and officially unveil the HD scoreboard (not open to the public).
* The Examiner reports that Metro is tamping down expectations a bit for performance along the Green line for weeknight ballgames: "The transit agency expects the number of riders on the Green Line, which serves the Navy Yard station near the ballpark, to more than triple on game days. But Metro can't add more cars to that section of the system during the week because all of its 820 railcars are committed to rush hour service, officials said." So, perhaps that notion of walking from Capitol South is looking more attractive--I've added to my Take Metro! page a map of the JDLand Suggested Route between Capitol South and the stadium, along with a few photos showing the current state of New Jersey Avenue (which certainly isn't as scary as it used to be).
And, Tuesday is just chock full of Near Southeast-related activities. In addition to the ceremony mentioned above, there's also these items to remember:
* Single-game ticket sales open at 9 am (yes, including Opening Day).
* The City Council will be meeting at 10 am for its monthly legislative meeting, and the agenda includes emergency legislation to enact the "Performance Parking Pilot Zone Emergency Act of 2008", B17-0644, the "Ballpark Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2008", and B17-0608, the "Vending Regulation Emergency Act of 2008". It's in Room 500 of the Wilson Building, beginning at 10 am, and will be broadcast on DC cable 13 and live webcast.
* The first of two public meetings on the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement is at 6:30 pm at Birney Elementary School, 2501 Martin Luther King Jr., Ave., SE, from 6:30-8:30 pm. The second one is Wednesday night (March 5) at Amidon Elementary School, 401 I St., SW, also from 6:30-8:30 pm.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, New Jersey Ave., South Capitol St., Nationals Park

Roundtable on Traffic Operations and Parking Tonight
Feb 28, 2008 10:22 AM
Passing along a reminder, via my Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra of the Post: "A roundtable by two D.C. Council committees on the city's plans for traffic and parking at Nationals Park begins at 6 tonight in Room 120 of the Wilson Building. Considering that the last hearing on stadium-related parking issues lasted until almost midnight, you might prefer to watch tonight's session in the comfort of your home, where you'll have access to your kitchen cabinets and coffee maker. The roundtable can be seen on Channel 13 on D.C. cable systems or on the Web."
I won't be able to watch it live, but hopefully I can post a summary of it before too long, unless the current focus on the stadium by the local media takes care of it for me. If so, my feelings wouldn't be hurt. Really. It's all yours.
I should mention here that what's long been known as the Draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) is now apparently the final version of how traffic is going to be handled, at least until they see how it works on Opening Day and then start tweaking it (which DDOT and other agencies fully expect to be the case). So if you want to know the nitty-gritty of traffic and pedestrian flow, the TOPP is the place to look. And I imagine the residents testifying at tonight's roundtable might have an issue or two with it.
Other items in today's column were the latest tidbits on Diamond Teague Park, a reminder of the meetings next week on the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement, and photos of the new freeway and bike route signage pointing to the ballpark. And just a note that the column will be taking the next two weeks off, and will be back on March 20--if there's anything left for me to write about that isn't already covered in this All Things Ballpark media blitz.
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More posts: parking, South Capitol St., Nationals Park, Teague Park

Domino's Raze Permit; Onyx Not-Sales Center Gone
Feb 27, 2008 9:08 AM
It's not exactly a stunner, but it's still worth mentioning that a raze permit application has been filed for 1200 South Capitol Street, which is the now-boarded-up Domino's on the corner of South Capitol and M. When the store closed a few weeks ago, Monument Realty told me that negotiations were underway with the Nationals to use the site for a parking lot; I've heard nothing further on that.
And maybe now's a good time to mention that the sales-office-that-never-was for Onyx--the construction trailers deposited last spring just south of Normandie Liquors at First and M but never opened--was demolished within the past week. I had to make a value judgment, but I decided since the office never actually opened it doesn't get the honor of being added to my Demolished Buildings Gallery.

Roundup: Pope Tix, Bus Garage, Cancellations
Feb 26, 2008 8:38 AM
* The Post says that 14,000 tickets to the April 17 Mass at Nationals Park will be distributed to 120 Catholic diocese outside of the Archdiocese of Washington, with the Diocese of Arlington getting 6,000 and the Archdiocese of Baltimore getting 2,500. And on Friday, parishes that are part of the Archdiocese of Washington will find out how many tickets they're getting--parish priests will then decide how to distribute tickets within the parish.
* The Examiner has a story about the Southeastern Bus Garage site and that the Nationals and Metro are in talks to provide 350 gameday parking spaces at the garage (plus three nearby WMATA-owned parking lots, though that's not specified in the article). The only real news in the article is that a judge is expected to rule this week on Monument Realty's lawsuit over the sale of the garage site to Akridge. For more background, read all my posts on the bus garage saga.
* Yesterday's scheduled council hearing on Monument's request to close the alley on Square 700 just north of the closed BP Amoco station was cancelled. No new session has been posted on the calendar.
* And the agenda for Thursday's WMATA Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee does not include anything on the joint development of the chiller plant site at Half and L, as had been anticipated back in January. Maybe next month?
* If you think you're excited about the local food vendors at the ballpark announced yesterday, you should read Marc Fisher.
* UPDATE: I've gotten word that the long article in the March Washingtonian on the ballpark is now online. The other related article, about residential developments planned around the stadium, won't be posted for a couple of weeks. So you'll just have to go buy it, I guess. And perhaps you too can then be like the poor soul at Safeway on Sunday reading that article, who got accosted by a pesky blogger in line in front of him pointing to a name on the page, saying, "That's me." Thankfully he didn't call security.

Ballpark and Beyond Column This Week
Feb 21, 2008 9:40 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra of the Post covers last week's release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street, the impending closure of Metro's Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M, tonight's zoning hearing on allowing additional temporary surface parking lots in Southwest, and a reminder about today's ballpark job fair.
(And I've been under the weather the past few days, hence the somewhat brief updates.)
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More posts: West Half St., parking, South Capitol St., Nationals Park, zoning

South Capitol Street Draft EIS Available
Feb 15, 2008 10:28 AM
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement that describes two alternatives for reconfiguring South Capitol Street from just south of Firth Sterling Avenue north to I-395 has now been released, and is available online: there's the compact executive summary for folks who just want the basics, or the full shebang, with 80-plus chapters, appendices, and reports. Note that this draft EIS does not include a final choice for the design of the new Douglass Bridge that would be built to the southwest of the current bridge, though that decision will be made with the final EIS. (I'm a fan of the arched bascule design, because I'm old school.) There's no way I'm going to try to provide a comprehensive overview of what this project is envisioning, so here's some bullet points:
* For Near Southeast, both build alternatives would reconfigure the intersection with the SE/SW Freeway, replacing the existing ramp that begins at I Street with an at-grade intersection underneath the freeway that would have two left-turn lanes to a new ramp. With the removal of the existing ramp to I-395, the intersection and South Capitol and I would also be reconfigured. Also included in this project would be streetscape improvements to New Jersey Avenue, with two travel lanes and two parking lanes and much wider tree-lined sidewalks.
* The main differences between the alternatives for this northern stretch of South Capitol Street are the intersections with Potomac Avenue and with M Street. At Potomac Avenue, there would be either a reconfigured signalized intersection or a large traffic oval connecting South Capitol, Potomac, Q Street, and the new Douglass Bridge. At M Street, a decision will be made between keeping the current underpass for north/south traffic or replacing it with an at-grade intersection. And, in the second build alternative, the K and L street intersections would be opened to cross traffic. There are also many changes planned for South Capitol Street and the Suitland Parkway south of the Douglass Bridge, which are spelled out in the Alternatives section if you're interested. (I'm waiting for a reply from DDOT about whether portions of each build alternative can be chosen a la carte to create a final alternative. UPDATE: As was the case with the 11th Street Bridges EIS, the final plans can indeed take some portions of one alternative and some from the other. So it's possible, as an example, that the traffic oval from alternative #2 could be chosen, but the unchanged M Street intersection from alternative #1 could be chosen, too.
* Depending on which alternatives and which bridge design is chosen, the Draft EIS puts the estimated costs for this project at anywhere between $508 million and $781 million. Flyers given out at the Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair last month indicated that construction on the new Douglass Bridge could begin in 2010, with completion in 2015. The Draft EIS doesn't seem to lay out any timeline for completion of the entire South Capitol Street project.
There are two public meetings planned to discuss the Draft EIS: on March 4 at Birney Elementary School, 2501 Martin Luther King Jr., Ave., SE, and on March 5 at Amidon Elementary School, 401 I St., SW. Both will run from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The public comment period ends on March 31, and methods for submitting your comments are spelled out on the report site. You can also see print versions of the Draft EIS at a number of local libraries in the area.
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More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

South Capitol Draft EIS Now Scheduled for Friday
Feb 11, 2008 9:06 AM
At the Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair a few weeks back, I picked up a card that indicated South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement (which is centered around the construction of a new Douglass Bridge) would be released on Feb. 8. So, all last week, I kept checking in at southcapitoleis.com just to see if the site had been updated or if there were any "Coming Soon" announcements. Nada. Imagine my surprise, then, when on Saturday I received a brochure via snail mail (how wonderfully old school!) announcing the the EIS would be released on Feb. 15, with the two public meetings pushed to March 4 and 5, and the deadline for public comment moved to March 31. The web site still makes no mention of the impending release, though you can see the two build alternatives being evaluated. More about this when the draft is actually released.
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More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Morning Link Roundup: Ballpark, Velocity
Jan 31, 2008 9:25 AM
Lots of ballpark and other news stories today:
* In case you missed it, last night I posted about the Feb. 9 and Feb. 21 job fairs for part-time and seasonal work at the ballpark.
* Velocity has sold 21 units since opening its sales center in November, according to this press release touting the development as the "fastest-selling new condominium project in the District of Columbia, and one of the strongest sellers in the entire National Capital Area."
* Coverage of Kwame Brown's hearing on the noose incident at the ballpark is available from The Post, ABC7, and NBC4. You can watch the hearing here once it's posted, and read Brown's press release on the hearing.
* The Laborers' International Union of North America, a major supporter of the ballpark's Project Labor Agreement, issued a report saying it should be a model for future projects in the city, and that more than $12 million has been injected into DC neighborhoods thanks to stadium paychecks to local workers. LIUNA says that 72 percent of all apprenticeship hours have been performed by District residents, while 87 percent of all new apprentices are from the District. (The report also touts the ballpark as being on-time and on-budget, though perhaps that budget part refers to the actual construction and not the land acquisiton costs, which have definitely gone over budget.) Reports on the union's numbers are on Tim Lemke's blog and at the Post and ABC7.
* The media apparently got brought in to see the scoreboard on Wednesday, and NBC4 has a piece on it (ABC7 mentions it in its labor piece.)
* Washington Times columnist Tony Knott rails about neighbors of the ballpark who are "coming up with apocalyptic visions" about the 41,000 "Ken and Barbies" coming from the suburbs to the ballpark, writing that urban dwellers who initially are drawn to a city's walking distance to services and entertainment turn against the "crush of humanity", "eventually endeavor to transform their stretch of the urban jungle into the Shenandoah Valley."
* Ballpark and Beyond in today's District Extra is a roundup of short takes from around Near Southeast, including the closing of Domino's and the demolitions on First Street, the Blue Castle's debut on Facebook, Gifford's ice cream coming to the ballpark, and Chocolate City, the documentary about former Capper/Carrollsburg residents and gentrification in Washington.
* Dear Leader picked to throw out the first pitch? (Hint: it's not the Dear Leader you might be thinking of, and it's SATIRE, people.)

Waterfront Fair Tidbits (250 M, Bridges, More)
Jan 26, 2008 7:22 PM
This afternoon's Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair appeared to be very well attended, at least during the 90 minutes or so I was there. (Even Marion Barry showed up.) There were three long tables of displays and information from city agencies, commercial developers, and non-profit organizations, and Near Southeast was well-represented--JPI, Velocity, Monument Half Street, Williams C. Smith (250 M Street), Forest City (Capper/Carrollsburg, The Yards), the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association, and the ballpark all had people on hand. (There was also plenty of swag--hope you didn't miss out on your DC WASA lanyard!)
Two news items I came across:
* First, confirmation that 250 M Street will start construction in either late spring or early summer, although they don't yet have any office or retail tenants to announce.
* Second, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street (including a new Frederick Douglass Bridge) is going to be released on February 8, with a public comment period to follow. There are two build alternatives that would reconstruct South Capitol Street and the Suitland Parkway (and its interchange with I-295), but neither has been identified yet as a "preferred" alternative. (No design from the four options for a new Douglass Bridge has been chosen yet, either.) There will be public meetings in late February about the Draft EIS, and the web site will be updated soon with information on the draft. I'll write more about this when the Draft EIS is officially released, but it's this study that will decide whether a big traffic oval is built at South Capitol and Potomac, and whether the South Capitol/M interchange could be reconfigured into an "at-grade" intersection (i.e., no more tunnel).
I should have asked about the status of the reconfiguration of the 11th Street Bridges now that that EIS is complete, but I could never get close enough to the table to talk to anyone. (See update below.)
Other developments such as the Southwest Waterfront and Hill East had displays as well, but since my brain can't process anything outside of my borders, you'll have to hunt down information on those projects elsewhere.
UPDATE: I'm finally looking through the pile of flyers I picked up, and here's a few timelines in the official brochure for the event (they're called "targeted schedules", so best not to pen them in just yet):
* Douglass Bridge Replacement: Begin construction Spring 2010, complete in Winter 2015.
* 11th Street Bridges Replacement: Begin construction Spring 2009, no completion date listed.
Also, the 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City at the site of the old Capper Seniors building at 600 M has a Spring 2009 start date in one of Forest City's flyers. The other Yards start/completion dates in the brochures are on target with what I've written about previously (see my Yards Phase I page for details).

Reminder: Anacostia Community Waterfront Fair
Jan 25, 2008 2:53 PM
Reminding everyone that tomorrow (Sat. Jan. 26) from 1 to 5 pm is the Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair, which will "provide information to residents about the billions of dollars worth of development and transportation projects underway along the Anacostia Waterfront. [...] District government staff, developers, public officials and non-profit partners will be ready to discuss the status in developing and planning of highly anticipated projects including Hill East Waterfront, the Anacostia Riverwalk, Poplar Point, replacement of the 11th Street Bridges, The Yards and the replacement of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge."
The event will be at St. Coletta's, 1901 Independence Avenue, SE, which is next to RFK, and across the street from the entrance to the Stadium-Armory Metro station. I don't know what the parking situation will be. Questions should probably go to DDOT at (202) 673-6813.
Yes, I'll be there, roaming around desperately hunting for new tidbits, so say hi if you see me--I'll be the rapidly aging redhead in glasses. (That should narrow it down.)

South Capitol and M Domino's Closing - Parking?
Jan 25, 2008 12:22 PM
Thanks to sharp-eyed reader E. for the tip that there's now a sign on the Domino's at South Capitol and M that says they are "moving" to 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue. Monument Realty owns the land--I haven't heard of any plans for developing it (it's a pretty small spot), but perhaps a few stadium parking spaces could be squeezed in. I'm checking to see what might be transpiring....
UPDATE: Monument has told me that they are indeed "currently negotiating a parking deal for the property." Note that it's not a done deal. It's an 8,000-square-foot lot, if anyone's interested in doing the calculations of how many spaces could possibly be placed there (if the Domino's building were demolished).
And I just called the Domino's (because, ahem, I know the number by heart) and they said they're closing Monday (Jan. 28). And really, they're not moving to 15th and Pennsylvania, because that's an already existing Domino's location. The number is (202) 546-3030 if you need to update your speed dial.

Poplar Point Parking Possibilities in the News
Jan 20, 2008 8:41 AM
Back on Friday, WTOP posted "Soccer Stadium at Poplar Point Could Help Nats Parking," which will warm the heart of commenters and others who are starting to agitate for the idea of using Poplar Point for parking, and perhaps even building a pedestrian bridge across the Anacostia between there and the ballpark. City Council chair Vincent Gray is quoted as floating the idea: "You could park over at Poplar Point, come across a pedestrian bridge, or otherwise be transported the short distance to the baseball stadium." Of course, it would need to be a really *high* pedestrian bridge, to allow for naval traffic along the river (remember, the Douglass Bridge is a drawbridge). There's already a newly revamped pedestrian walkway on the Douglass Bridge that now makes it a lot less nail-biting to walk over, but it's a pretty long walk.

South Capitol Stoplights Coming Online
Jan 18, 2008 6:49 PM
DDOT has sent out a release (not yet online) advising that the stoplights on South Capitol Street at O and P (alongside the ballpark) are about to be activated. "Both signals went into 'flash' mode last Tuesday to alert motorists and pedestrians of their imminent arrival. The signals are scheduled to move into full-color operation mode on or about Tuesday, January 22, 2008. The new signals will enhance pedestrian safety and will be coordinated with neighboring signals. The new signals will also allow intersecting traffic to navigate safely." I haven't been by to see if the entrances to O and P from South Capitol were opened this week and, if not, if the activation of these signals means that they will be....
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More posts: South Capitol St.

ANC Report #2: Monument Alley Closing Request
Jan 17, 2008 5:44 PM
At Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, Monument Realty presented its request for the ANC's support in closing a 2,417-square-foot alley that runs between South Capitol and Van streets not far north of N Street. This alley is north of the now-closed BP Amoco and south of what is now a WMATA employee parking lot on land owned by Monument (there used to be a neon yellow bungalow there, until late 2006). Christy Shiker of Holland & Knight told the commissioners that the Amoco property--which faces the ballpark's western parking garage--is too small to develop on its own, but with the alley closed and the lots combined, Monument would build a 130-foot-high residential building with approximately 150 to 200 units plus 14,000 square feet of ground-floor (or perhaps two-story) retail. Monument is not committing at this time to pursuing LEED certification for this building.
Shiker then described the community benefits package that Monument was offering to the ANC in return for the loss of this public space, including a $50,000 contribution to the community fund, the retail, First Source employment preferences, and an affordable housing component that would match whatever is called for whenever the city's Inclusionary Zoning mandates are finally hammered out. Monument would also work toward agreements on ANC6D resident preferences, to be determined with the ANC at a later date.
This became a sticking point, with Commissioner David Sobelsohn concerned about giving the ANC's support for this project merely on promises to make agreements later. Shiker pointed out that Monument has made these agreements before for their other Ballpark District projects, and also that the ANC will have another crack at the project when down the road it undergoes its mandatory Capitol Gateway Overlay Review. But Sobelsohn still felt that the ANC was being handed a "take it or leave it" proposition.
An audience member asked if Monument would be planning to build a temporary parking lot if the alley closing is approved, but Shiker said that Monument's goal is to develop the land, that they "want a building, not a parking lot." (Though one must admit that that is some pretty plum stadium-parking territory.) There were also questions about the Public Space Storage building just to the north (echoing my WTDW entry from last week), but Monument's representatives said that they didn't think the storage company would be moving.
Commissioner Bob Siegel moved to support the alley closing with further negotiations on the proposed benefits package as the project proceeds, but the ANC voted 2-2-1 and so the resolution did not pass.
The alley closing bill is B17-0552, and Shiker told the ANC that she expected a public hearing in late February, with perhaps council action in March or April. No date for actual construction of the project was mentioned.
Coming tomorrow--a recap of the Florida Rock portion of the ANC meeting, though you don't have to wait until then to see the latest project renderings that were presented. But my long-winded summary of what was said during the meeting will have to wait a bit longer.

City Holding Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair
Jan 14, 2008 2:01 PM
Just announced is an upcoming Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair, presented by the city on Saturday, January 26 from 1 to 5 pm, "to provide information to residents about the billions of dollars worth of development and transportation projects underway along the Anacostia Waterfront. [...] District government staff, developers, public officials and non-profit partners will be ready to discuss the status in developing and planning of highly anticipated projects including Hill East Waterfront, the Anacostia Riverwalk, Poplar Point, replacement of the 11th Street Bridges, The Yards and the replacement of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge." (It's like JDLand.com come to life!)
Also: "The Information Fair will allow residents, business owners and interested parties to review, discuss, question and comment on these and other projects which are under construction and/or study."
The event will be at St. Coletta's, which is across the street from the entrance to the Stadium-Armory Metro station.
UPDATED to add the link to the announcement.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, riverwalk, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, The Yards

Another Day, Another Parking Lot (And Other Tidbits)
Jan 10, 2008 4:25 PM
In the past few days I've mentioned the start of construction on the first of the temporary surface parking lots at Capper and the transformation of an existing lot at 1100 South Capitol into a monthly lot managed by Colonial Parking. Today I see that the dirt is being dug up at 1000 South Capitol, which had a public space permit approved a few weeks ago for the construction of a parking lot. This property is owned by Lerner Enterprises (yes, the same Lerners that own the Nationals) and they have eventual plans for an office building on the site, but it shouldn't be a surprise that they would give this land over at least temporarily to the Ballpark Parking Cause.
Additional dispatches from today's drive-around:
* Equipment has arrived on site at 1345 South Capitol, presumably for the start of excavation for this 276-unit residential project across the street from the ballpark.
* The DC Foreign Car Shop at 31 K Street and the buildings along First Street and N north of the ballpark are still standing;
* A very affable-looking "Hospitality Ambassador" from the Capitol Riverfront BID was answering questions with a smile at the Navy Yard Metro entrance;
* The amount of construction and roadwork from New Jersey Avenue west to South Capitol really is unbelievable. (I rarely drive through the neighborhood during the day on weekdays, so most of you long-suffering residents and commuters are already well aware of this.) But seeing it in full swing just reinforces my New Year's resolution to restrict my photo treks to Sundays, when the commotion is taking its Day of Rest.
UPDATE: One more tidbit: a permit has been approved to remove the underground storage tanks at the BP Amoco at South Capitol and N. I had thought that maybe it was only temporarily closed because of the construction on N Street, but this probably means it's gone for good. As for what might appear in its place--the land is part of Monument Realty's vast holdings north of the ballpark, but no development plans for the site have been announced. In the meantime, I bet it would be a handy spot for a parking lot!

WTDW: Another Thrilling 'I Don't Know' Edition
Jan 10, 2008 8:12 AM
Time to dip back into the What's the Deal With...? mailbag, where once again I'm being asked fabulous questions that I don't actually have any answers for. But that hasn't stopped me yet....
* Readers B. and K. are the most recent readers to ask about the Public Space Storage building on South Capitol between M and N, just a few feet north of the ballpark, wondering whether it has any plans to close. I know that Monument Realty was interested in acquiring the building, since it owns the lots just to the building's south as well as all other parts of the block not owned by WMATA, but that was before Metro awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage and its parking lot (on the north side to the storage building) to Akridge. It's certainly a valuable piece of land, and I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that I doubt it will be there many years from now, but as of this point I've heard of no deals.
* Reader R. has asked about Canal Park, which continues to appear stalled, with no public pronouncements on it in months. (And with that "Spring 2008" still displayed for all to see on the sign at Second and M.) Is it still the school buses throwing up the roadblock, which is what we last were told? Is there some new wrinkle? I haven't heard anything, I'm sad to report.
* Reader F. asks about Ann's Beauty and Wig Shop, the dazzlingly pink building sandwiched between St. Matthew's and Onyx at 125 L Street, wondering if it's going to be sold. Ann's came to this block in 2005, after I believe being forced out of Waterside Mall in SW, and the owner has apparently been pretty vehement with potential suitors that she has no intention of selling. Perhaps the pending sale of St. Matthew's to Ruben Companies could change that, but as of now, I've heard nothing.
That's the best I can do for now--absolutely no useful information at all! No doubt there's scuttlebutt on each of these that I'm not privvy to, but I continue to be unsuccessful in my quest to get all city officials and private-sector parties operating in Near Southeast to inform me at all times about all their dealings. It's almost like they think I'm just some sort of powerless pesky neighborhood blogger or something....
Got a WTDW question? (maybe even one that I might know the answer to?) Pass it along. But I'll close with a hint--when it comes to oft-discussed projects around Near Southeast, as soon as I hear information that I can confirm, I post it. (I do tend to stay away from posting rumors, and considering some of the ones I've heard over the years that have turned out to be fabulously incredibly wrong, I don't regret this.) If you haven't seen any updates lately about Canal Park, or Capitol Quarter, or the Post Plant, or any other project, it's because nothing new has come my way. I'm as desperate to post the latest news flashes as you are to read them....

A Day Without Parking News Is a Day Without....
Jan 7, 2008 10:49 AM
Sometime within the past few weeks, the surface parking lot at 1100 South Capitol Street has come under the management of Colonial Parking. The spiffy new sign (and the Colonial web site) indicate that it is open for monthly parking only, at a rate of $80 a month. It's on the site where Ruben Companies plans eventually to build its SC1100 office project, but no start date has been announced for that.
As for whether it could possibly be one of the lots that the Nationals are planning to use for season ticket holder parking, I have no information on that, but it's certainly interesting that this lot has suddenly gotten big-time management....
And, in case you didn't see it mentioned in my photo update yesterday, work has begun on the Capper parking lots along Third Street. Some PVC pipes are piled up on the two blocks, and some trench digging is underway at Third and I.
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More posts: 1100 South Capitol, mnorth, parking, South Capitol St.

Exxon Deeds I Street Land to its Foundation
Jan 4, 2008 4:52 PM
Digging in the DC land records database late on a Friday afternoon (isn't that what everyone does to get ready for the weekend?), I see that the ExxonMobil Corporation deeded its land at South Capitol and I in November to the ExxonMobil Foundation. There's nothing stated in the deed about any planned uses for the land, except to spell out restrictions on future uses and requirements for cleanup since the site may have contaminated soil. As for the foundation itself, a little blurb describes it as the "primary philanthropic arm of the Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States. The Foundation and the Corporation engage in a range of philanthropic activities that advance education, health and science in the communities where ExxonMobil has significant operations." Is this the prelude to selling the land (assessed at $16 million in 2008) and having the foundation get the proceeds? Or is something else afoot?
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More posts: exxon697n, South Capitol St., Square 697n

Another Photo Update - Ballpark West Side, 55 M
Dec 27, 2007 4:00 PM
In case you've already grown tired of the ballpark photos I posted on Monday showing the eastern and southern sides of Nationals Park, I've now updated the South Capitol Street images, too. (The northern views will have to wait until the reconstruction of N Street eases.) The main Ballpark Exterior Photo Gallery is now in pretty good shape after a short span of neglect (but as I said the other day, I think I needed the break).
I also took some new photos to capture the progress at 55 M Street, plus the completion of demolition at 1345 South Capitol.
If you don't feel like clicking around on all those links, here's all the photos I've posted in the past week. Try not to be blinded by those blue skies!
A few other items of note: The BP Amoco station on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N has fences up around it--I can't believe no one let me know! It's owned by Monument Realty, and I haven't heard about any near-term plans for the site. This leaves only one gas station in Near Southeast--the Exxon way over at 11th and M. There used to be three gas stations on South Capitol, now there aren't any. (And I've lost yet another source for my Gas Prices page. Waah!)
Also, new fences have gone up around the 1015 Half Street site, taking up one lane on K Street and on Half Street. Some exterior work was done to the DC Foreign Car building, but the little building is still there. For now.
I hope to get updated photos of 70/100 I and the pile of rubble that used to be old Capper Seniors within the next week. There's just too much activity to document these days--I've got to break it up into manageable pieces....

WTDW: South Capitol Boarded-Up Properties
Dec 12, 2007 10:23 AM
Time again to dig into the What's the Deal With....? mailbag. Reader BH has asked about the two boarded-up gas stations and the old KFC along South Capitol Street, wondering when they're going to be demolished.
I have no answer, alas, for the former Exxon station on the east side of the street at I, which has been closed since May 2006 after its owner pleaded guilty to double-billing government contractors for more than $120,000; JPI was apparently somewhat interested in acquiring it so that they could build 23 I on the entire block, but that doesn't seem to have happened.
The KFC/Taco Bell closed in June after being bought by Ruben Companies, which has long-term plans for an office building on the site, to match their SC1100 on the east side of the street and 21 L Street to the north. However, they are not planning to demolish the KFC anytime soon, and in fact are looking to rent the space to a food-related business in the near-to-medium term.
The second Exxon, on the west side of the street south of K, closed at the end of August. The rumor was that the lot was going to be sold, but so far no transactions have shown up in the DC property sales database. (Ruben owns the other two-thirds of that block, which is the 21 L Street site.)
(I went 1 for 3 on this. Yeeech. This is what I get for not anticipating that WTDW.... questions wouldn't necessarily be ones I know the answers to! But I'm willing to keep trying--if you have a WTDW.... question, pass it along. Be advised, though, that I'm posting these as I can get to them, so submissions may not get addressed right away.)

Ongoing Douglass Bridge Lane Closures
Nov 28, 2007 4:10 PM
An advisory from DDOT is out today about off-peak lane closures at the Douglass Bridge over the next few months: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) throughout the coming two months will continue its highly publicized repair and restoration of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (also known as the South Capitol Street Bridge) and the adjoining South Capitol Street corridor. [...] The next phase of construction work includes railing installations, touch-up painting of railings, bolt torqueing, steel repairs and sidewalk repairs."
The upcoming lane closures are described thusly:
* One outbound lane on the bridge will be closed to traffic from 6 am until 2:30 pm on weekdays until mid-January 2008.
* One inbound lane on the bridge will be closed to traffic on weekdays from 10 am until 5 pm until mid-January 2008.
* There will be weekend lane closures (no full closure, just lane restrictions) on the bridge in both directions from 7 am to 5 pm until December 23, 2007.

The Near Southeast Traveling Road Show, On Demand
Nov 23, 2007 9:26 AM
During my poking around on the DC Office of Cable Television web site recently, I discovered that many of the groundbreakings and other events in Near Southeast this year that have been broadcast on the city's cable channel 16 are also available On Demand; the same goes for council hearings, available on Channel 13's On Demand page. (I kinda sorta knew that the On Demand stuff was there, but when I checked it many moons ago, it didn't seem quite so complete, so I hadn't looked back in on it for a while.)
So if you've missed any of the following four-star telecasts from 2007, you can watch them at your leisure:
* The Oct. 3 groundbreaking ceremony at The Yards;
* The Aug. 27 ceremony marking the reopening of the Frederick Douglass Bridge (and, for that matter, the time-lapse video of the lowering in July);
* The July bill-signing ceremony at the Earth Conservations Corps pumphouse where the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation were officially abolished;
* JPI's June "groundbreaking" for its four projects along I Street ("Capitol Yards");
* The April presentation of $4 million for Canal Park/Diamond Teague Park;
* The January groundbreaking marking the start of the Navy Yard Metro renovation and Monument's Half Street project;
* And pretty much any ceremony anywhere in the city the mayor was at since the beginning of the year, plus a lot of other presentations and events. (Be sure not to miss the Reporters' Roundtable "Snitching Debate.") Check the dropdown boxes on the On Demand page for the offerings. I've added the above links to all of the various project pages in case you're desperate to find them again someday.
Two of the most recent shindigs haven't gotten added to the lineup yet--the Oct. 22 kickoff ceremony for the Capitol Riverfront BID (in which you can find out where the "Traveling Roadshow" moniker originated), and the mayor's remarks at the Nov. 13 turf unveiling at the ballpark. Ditto with the Waterside Mall Demolition program, which is currently playing on Channel 16 but hasn't yet made it to On Demand. But perhaps they'll show up eventually.

Quick Links: Parking, Bridges, Streetcars
Nov 23, 2007 9:12 AM
I just can't bear to go completely dark for too many days in a row, so here's some light reading for your post-turkey haze:
* These are almost a month old now (oops), but the Hill Rag has an opinion piece on the plans for the 11th Street Bridges, plus an article on the community concern on Capitol Hill and in Southwest over the planning for ballpark parking.
* Today's Washington Business Journal looks at the plans for the return of streetcars to DC, a very long-term project that could eventually have light rail running down M Street SE and across both the 11th Street and Douglass bridges. But that's a loooong ways off--first they have to finally get a long-delayed test line in Anacostia off the ground, and then the H Street NE corridor would be next. There used to be a good web site on the project at DCTransitFuture.com, but that site is now hijacked with a fake blog, so the best I can give you is this DDOT page with a few links.
* There's also a WBJ article on PNC Bank securing the naming rights to the Diamond-level seats (the second priciest) and the club lounge at the ballpark. Still no word on naming rights for the stadium itself, though a few weeks ago we heard that there might not be a sponsor during the inaugural season.

Douglass Bridge Lane Closures This Weekend - Inbound Sidewalk Open
Nov 15, 2007 1:02 PM
Word has just come out from DDOT that there will be lane closures on the Douglass Bridge this weekend, weather permitting: "Two inbound lanes on the bridge will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. on Saturday, November 17 until 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 18. [and] Two inbound lanes on the bridge will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. on Saturday, November 17 until 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 18." The advisory also says that the outbound sidewalk will now be closed for repair, and the the inbound sidewalk will now be opened to pedestrians and bicycles, which makes me really happy because now I'll finally get back some of my photo perches that have been inaccessible since late June.

Demolition Starts at 1345 South Capitol
Nov 12, 2007 3:38 PM
Word has just arrived from someone with a front-row seat that demolition has now begun at 1345 South Capitol, across the street from the ballpark. Glad I got those final pictures yesterday! I'll get shots of the rubble in the next day or so. A blurb in Friday's Washington Business Journal print edition said that the excavation marking the beginning of construction on the new residential building planned on this site should start in December.
More posts: 1325sc, South Capitol St.

Ridiculous Number of New Photos
Nov 12, 2007 10:11 AM
It started innocently enough. On Sunday morning, when I woke up to find such a brilliant sunny day, I decided to go take a new batch of photos of the demolition at old Capper Seniors to replace the dreary ones from Saturday. Then I started moving away a few blocks, to catch more distant views of the building. Then I decided that there were a bunch of locations where 70/100 I and Onyx on First were changing the skyline that I hadn't captured. Then I realized that it had been a long time since I had taken a complete set of photos of the western side of South Capitol Street at O and P streets, to show the changes since the demolition of the viaduct and all the streetscape improvements. And then of course, while I was there, I had to take a set of shots of the ballpark's western facade. Then there were more shots needed of the changes along M Street thanks to 55 M and 100 M. By the time I was done, I had a ridiculous number of new images up on the site, which you can see all on one page; you can also see most of them paired with past shots by clicking on the "Photo Archive Before-and-Afters" links at the top of that page, like the "South Capitol Street Makeover", which shows the new photos from both sides of the street (along with some older angles I didn't update). After a while they all run together, I know. But they make for some spiffy before-and-afters!

Douglass Bridge Weekend Lane Closures Cancelled
Oct 31, 2007 2:22 PM
DDOT has cancelled plans to close two outbound lanes on the Douglass Bridge from 7 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 3 and 4). So now you can take a weekend jaunt and buzz the new South Capitol Street and its renovated bridge without backups!

Demolition Next Week at 1345 South Capitol
Oct 23, 2007 1:06 PM
I've confirmed that demolition is scheduled to begin on Monday (Oct. 29) on the northwest corner of South Capitol and O, where Camden Development is preparing to build the 276-unit 1345 South Capitol Street apartment building. Construction of the building itself will probably start in latelatelate2007 or 2008. (h/t to DCMud) And note that it has indeed changed its address to 1345 from 1325, because the city wouldn't give them 1325.
More posts: 1325sc, South Capitol St.

More New Photos Than Should Be Allowed by Law
Oct 23, 2007 1:17 AM
For months now, I've been dreading this part of 2007, when so many projects would be underway--and it turns out I was right to be worried. Goodness gracious, tons and tons of photos were needed to keep to my perfectionist mandate, but at last I've gotten them up on the site, even though it's pretty much taken a week to get every shot I wanted. For your perusing pleasure:
*The Stadium Exterior Construction Gallery is more updated than it's been in nearly three months, though N Street was unavailable to me this weekend thanks to lots of digging going on. The photos on that page, as well as on the expanded galleries of views along Potomac Avenue, South Capitol, and from the ballpark's viewing platform at First and Potomac show not only the progress on the stadium but also on the streetscape improvements. Sidewalks, curbs, and streetlamps continue to be installed--and the stoplights along South Capitol are gearing up as well (it looks like the P Street light that's now flashing yellow is going to get turned on pretty soon).
* 70 I Street and Onyx are just about topped out, while their siblings 100 I and 100 M aren't far behind. In fact, progress at 70 I is outpacing me so much that within the five days since I took photos of its western side, the bricking of that wall has begun, and is already reaching the second floor in some spots. There's some nice long-distance shots of these projects, from the freeway and the ballpark, highlighting how much the skyline has changed in just a few short weeks.
* Velocity's three-story-deep hole is now getting a concrete floor, which means vertical construction is starting before long. (The crane arrived within the past few days.) And Monument's 55 M Street office building (where the Navy Yard Metro west entrance is being expanded) is poking up above street level, with the first concrete pillars poured along M Street. And it's been hard to get any photos of the work at The Yards, but I finally snagged a few from up on high.
* Plus there's the shots from the top of 20 M Street this morning, including a few panoramic views across Southwest.
If you don't want to plow through all those links above, you can see all the new photos on one page, though it's just a touch overwhelming. (Yes, even I know it's overwhelming.) But the project links above (and their expanded archives) are really worth it, because the scope of the changes is now so amazing. So click on a or two to watch the progression.
And now I will rest myself and my camera for a while. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Work Continuing on Douglass Bridge
Oct 19, 2007 3:19 PM
The Post's Dr. Gridlock has a blog entry today about the work that continues on the Douglass Bridge: "Out of sight below the deck, in a big box-like area of pale gray steel, workers are riveting new bolts into place while either refurbishing or replacing aging parts of the structure across the Anacostia River. Aside from making the whole thing look better as a southern gateway to central Washington, the work will extend the life of the bridge until it can be replaced by a new structure the city plans to build right nearby." DDOT hopes to wrap up the work on the bridge, and on the streetscape improvements to South Capitol, Potomac, First, and I, by February.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Expanding the Mall - to Include South Capitol Street?
Oct 19, 2007 8:12 AM
Thursday's Washington Times has a piece on the continuing push to expand the boundaries of the Mall, and mentions legislation that Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced yesterday, describing it as envisioning "redrawing East Potomac Park, Banneker Overlook, the grounds of RFK Stadium, the Kennedy Center Plaza and the new South Capitol gateway as sites that would be defined as part of the Mall. All of them could host monuments and museums that various groups ask to be put on the Mall." The bill, H.R. 3880 (text not yet available) would "authorize the National Capital Planning Commission to designate and modify the boundaries of the National Mall area in the District of Columbia reserved for the location of commemorative works of preeminent historical and lasting significance".
This appears to be an outgrowth of the soon-to-be-released National Capital Framework Plan, a joint effort between NCPC and the Commission on Fine Arts, described thusly: "By showing how to create new destinations for cultural attractions throughout the city and improve the connections among them, the Framework Plan will provide a comprehensive approach to easing demand for construction on the National Mall while creating lively urban spaces throughout the city." (The Framework Plan itself is an outgrowth of the 1997 Extending the Legacy framework plan, which also begat the 2001 Memorials and Museums Master Plan.) But, as the Times says, "Local support is building to expand the Mall but the federal legislation it would require is more elusive." So don't look for new memorials popping up at the foot of South Capitol Street next week.
More posts: South Capitol St.

Outbound Douglass Bridge Closure This Weekend
Oct 11, 2007 11:22 AM
Another few days' worth of lane closures on the Douglass Bridge this weekend, this time the outbound/southbound lanes, according to a DDOT press release. The outbound lanes of the bridge will be closed beginning on Friday, October 12 at 9 p.m. until as late as Monday, October 15 at 4 a.m. They're working on the swing span area in the middle of the bridge, repairing the steel framing. And apparently they're expecting the work on the bridge and the accompanying streetscape improvements to South Capitol Street to continue through February.
UPDATED to add link to press release.

14th Street Bridge Corridor EIS Meeting on Oct. 10
Oct 9, 2007 11:45 AM
(Boy, I really want to ignore this, since 99 percent of it falls outside my cast-in-stone boundaries, but it's a slow day, so....) Tomorrow (Oct. 10) there's a Public Information Meeting about the 14th Street Bridge Corridor Environmental Impact Statement Study. Quoting: "The purpose of this study is to identify actions that can reduce congestion, enhance safety, and improve traffic operations in the 14th Street Bridge corridor." They're looking for congestion and safety solutions and ideas, and also are looking for ways to make the "existing corridor work more efficiently." The scope of the study area runs along I-395 from just east of South Capitol Street all the way to Glebe Road, and east to Route 1 in Virginia and south to M Street in Southwest. See the flyer for additional details. It's from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Amidon Elementary School, 401 I Street, SW.
UPDATED because I can't read a calendar. Tomorrow is the 10th.
More posts: South Capitol St.

Weekend Douglass Bridge Inbound Lane Closures
Sep 25, 2007 11:40 AM
While the worst of the Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover pain is now over, there's still some work to be done, and this weekend the inbound lanes of the Douglass Bridge will be closed starting Friday, Sept. 29 at 9 pm, until as late as Monday, Oct. 1 at 4 am. Here's the DDOT press release with details. Quote: "The second phase of construction includes additional work on the swing span area of the bridge and streetscape improvements along South Capitol Street. Upgrades include new environmentally sensitive lighting, pedestrian access improvements such as handicap ramps, pedestrian traffic signals and new sidewalks. Resurfacing work will also take place this weekend on the inbound lanes on South Capitol Street up to N Street."

This Week's Ballpark and Beyond Column
Sep 13, 2007 9:17 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra covers the new historic streetscape photos in DDOT's nascent online archive (the print version of the column displays the 1957 South Capitol Street photo with a current one taken from the same location, as I've done on my South Capitol Street page) and the various upcoming council meetings covering Near Southeast-related issues such as Canal Park and the MPD move/not-move to 225 Virginia Avenue.

More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Canal Park, South Capitol St.

DDOT's Photo Archive Updated, Includes Old M Street and South Capitol Street Photos
Sep 10, 2007 3:12 PM
The District Department of Transporation recently added 25 more images to its online Historical Photo Archives from locations throughout the city, including two dandy Near Southeast shots. One is from 1949, showing M Street at about 10th Street, looking east (before the 11th Street Bridge flyovers were built). The other is of South Capitol Street, just south of N, looking south toward what was at that point the new Douglass Bridge, circa 1957. (Amazingly, it was taken from almost the exact same spot that I've been using for my South-Cap-south-of-N photos since 2005--it looks a little different now.) There's a couple buildings in the 1957 photo that are still in existence today, although one of them will be demolished soon to make way for 1325 South Capitol Street. But I'm surprised to see that the U-Haul building at P Street was once a Lansburgh's department store (you can click on the photos on the DDOT site for high-res versions, which allow you to see the detail of the buildings much better).
Needless to say, I've added these shots to my Near Southeast Historic Photos page (in chronological order); hopefully DDOT will post some more gems as time goes on.
More posts: M Street, South Capitol St.

Douglass Bridge Reopened
Aug 30, 2007 9:11 AM
As expected, the Douglass Bridge did indeed reopen overnight, at approximately 4 am, and the traffic cameras at South Capitol and M and at the Suitland Parkway show vehicles moving across newly laid pavement. Channel 4 has a piece on the reopening, as does Channel 5, Channel 9, WAMU (audio only) and WTOP (though it's mostly an updated version of their it's-going-to-open piece from yesterday). And since I missed them yesterday, here's Channel 7 and Channel 4's it's-going-to-open stories.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

South Capitol Street Exxon Closing Soon
Aug 29, 2007 11:11 PM
Signs posted in the windows of the Exxon at 1001 South Capitol Street say that the station is closing. (See, I do look across the median into Southwest once in a while.) No date is mentioned on the signs, though I've heard rumors that it's within the next few days, and that the lot has been sold to an unnamed buyer. It might be worth noting--or it might not be--that Ruben Companies owns the other two lots on the block next to the Exxon. Ruben also owns the former KFC/Taco Bell lot in the next block, and the 1100 South Capitol property across the street. If you're looking for cheap cigarettes, the signs at the Exxon say they've got 'em!
More posts: South Capitol St., square 698

Douglass Bridge Reopening Ceremony - Photos Posted
Aug 29, 2007 3:48 PM
This afternoon there was a ceremony marking the pending reopening of the Douglass/South Capitol Street Bridge, with remarks by Mayor Fenty, DC Delegate Norton, Council Member Barry, and others. I'll post photos in a little while, but did want to get the news bullets out first:
* They will start opening the bridge around midnight tonight, but it will take a little while to coordinate the opening of the various intersections on each side of the bridge.
* For the first week or so, no left turns will be allowed through the intersection at South Capitol and Potomac, and the intersection stoplights will be a constant flashing yellow. They want people to get used to the new configuration at its most basic before adding in some of the new "options."
* The intersections with O and P streets probably won't be opened for another week or so as well.
* Work on the medians and sidewalks on South Capitol Street, the railings on the bridge, and other improvements will continue for a few more weeks. The emphasis was on getting the roadway back open, but there is still additional work to be done that can be handled while traffic flows. (But watch for some lane closures during off-hours.)
* (Added) The streetscape improvements along South Capitol won't be completely finished until spring, when the stadium is ready to open.
* Everyone still wants a new bridge. This is stopgap work while the city tries to get the funding for a completely new bridge. Congresswoman Norton remarked that the city's performance in getting this project done early and on budget has not gone unnoticed on Capitol Hill as she works to get the new bridge fully funded.
UPDATE: I've now added a bunch of photos of the new South Capitol-and-Potomac intersection to my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page, and there's also additional photos in the Extended Archive. (Didn't take any new shots further up South Capitol; I'll wait until the streetscape improvements are farther along.) And here's the DDOT announcement of tonight's reopening.
UPATE II: I'll put the links to news coverage of the ceremony here. (There will be a new post tonight/tomorrow for the actual opening.) Here's WTOP's piece. And Channel 9.

More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Douglass Bridge Opening Thursday
Aug 28, 2007 11:32 AM
Word is out that the Douglass Bridge will be reopened early Thursday morning. More soon.
UPDATE: Here is the media advisory from DDOT; there will be a ceremony with invited speakers on Wednesday afternoon, and then sometime during the overnight hours, before Thursday morning rush, the bridge will be opened to vehicles and pedestrians. It was originally scheduled to reopen Sept. 6, so for those of you counting at home, that means the work will have been completed a week ahead of schedule.
UPDATE II: And here come the torrent of news stories: WashPost, WTOP, Channel 7, Channel 9, Channel 4, Examiner. With more to come, I'm sure.
If you're wandering through here from a web search about the bridge, be sure to check out my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page to see photos from before and during the bridge's rehabilitation.

Lots of New Photos - Stadium, SouthCap, Onyx, Etc.
Aug 19, 2007 9:20 AM
With Saturday being one of those glorious clear days, I of course raced out with camera to make the rounds. 70/100 I, Onyx on First, and 100 M continue to rise, so the usual photos of those are now posted. The Stadium Construction Gallery is updated with views of the ballpark's northern and western vistas, which are changing markedly thanks to the work being done on the parking garages and on South Capitol Street in conjunction with the Douglass Bridge work.
And while you might think it's pretty much become rote for me to watch these changes, I must admit that when I scurried very briefly out into the middle of South Capitol Street at P Street to grab a shot or two, I was just about overcome by what it's all starting to look like. The holes are cut for the new South Capitol median, the curbs are being put in place for the new wider sidewalks, and the stadium's fake-limestone (I'm sorry, "precast concrete") exterior just pops in the late afternoon sun. Check my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page photos that try to capture the new vista, along with a new Expanded Project Archive that I built if you can't get enough of looking at the before-and-afters of this stretch of road.
UPDATE: Oops, forgot to add the obligatory link to all the new photos on one page. There are also some additional here-and-there shots of spots that needed fresh photos.

Douglass Bridge Visit - Photos Now Posted
Aug 15, 2007 10:59 AM
The folks at DDOT were nice enough to let me tag along today on a visit to the Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover, and of course I took a whole pile of photos. Check back later today to see them--I need time to plow through the hundreds I took to find the one or two that are actually any good.
UPDATE: I've now added photos from today to the Makeover page (look for the icon). I might keep tinkering, though.

New Photos, Again
Aug 14, 2007 9:48 AM
The new buildings now coming out of the ground, adding one floor a week, are keeping me busy, so there are updated photos again on the Onyx on First, 100 M, and 70/100 I project pages. I also took some new photos of the 909 New Jersey site, as the hole being dug there gets deeper. And I ventured across to Poplar Point for the first time in a while and got a long-range photo comparing the northern end of the Douglass Bridge after the lowering/demolition of the northern part of the approach, which are now on my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page. You can also browse all the new photos on a single page.

More on the Sale of the Former KFC/Taco Bell Site
Aug 6, 2007 11:13 PM
About a month ago I posted about the closure of the combo Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell at 1101 South Capitol Street, SW, noting that the site had been purchased in late May for $5.5 million by "URA Ventures", another name for Urban Realty Advisors. So, when I saw a couple days ago the signs that have now gone up at the site (on the corner of South Capitol and L) touting leasing opportunities, with "Ruben Companies" in big letters at the top, I was a little a'skeered I had screwed up. But with some e-mail inquiries and some digging in the DC Land Records (you all owe me $8), I've determined that URA borrowed the bucks from Ruben Capital Holdings to buy the site. So they're one big happy co-venture. According to the folks at Ruben, long-term plans for the site call for an office building.
This deal helps the Ruben folks to corner the market on properties on the southern two corners of South Capitol and L, since they are also developing a 350,000-sq-ft office building across the street at 1100 South Capitol. (Ruben also owns two-thirds of Square 648, bounded by South Capitol, L, Half, and K streets SW, but since neither of those two lots touch South Capitol Street, I'm blissfully ignoring them.)
While reading the deed from the KFC sale, I came across one paragraph that I'm sure is no surprise to folks in the biz but struck me as pretty funny. In completing the deal, the buyer agreed agree that, for the next 20 years, "no portion of the property shall be used for the operation of any facility deriving 25 percent or more of its gross sales of prepared food from the sale of (i) Mexican food; (ii) chicken or chicken products, including without limitation chicken wings; or (iii) pizza, pasta, Italian sandwiches, or other Italian food products; or (iv) hamburgers or (v) seafood. The foregoing food use restrictions shall not apply to: a) full-service, sit-down, dine-in restaurants, which offer alcoholic beverages and do not offer fast food over the counter or by means of a drive-through service or b) food service facilities which are intended for the use or convenience of tenants or occupants of improvements constructed on the property, or their guests or invitees, provided the food service provider shall not be a national or regional (i.e., more than 10 outlets) quick service restaurant concept." So, if you were hoping for a new fast-food joint in that spot, you're going to be disappointed.
More posts: 1100 South Capitol, Retail, South Capitol St., square 698

Photos Updated Again
Aug 5, 2007 6:13 PM
I couldn't bear the icky gray photos I had to post last week with the overcast weather, so I went out again this morning and took a new batch of icky gray photos. So check the main Stadium Exterior Construction Gallery as well as the north/south/east/west additional views. The most striking change at the stadium in the last week is the work near Half and N on the west parking garage, which now has its fake limestone facade that matches the stadium.
I also added a couple shots of the Douglass Bridge extreme makeover, although this time there aren't really any new pictures of the bridge, but some updated shots of South Capitol Street, which has now been paved from the freeway south almost to P Street. (And kudos to the nice construction worker who told me about "this really cool site on the web" that's tracking the construction.) I also updated a few shots on my main South Capitol Street page (the first comparison is the most striking). Both of these pages are getting away from me a bit, and so are going to need some TLC to clean them up during this August lull, but today I opted for speed.
And I also updated the Onyx on First and 70/100 I Street pages again, with Onyx now having another floor added in the last week. And I managed to find a couple new 70 I angles to make up for my lack of access to I Street. (Speaking of I Street, I should note that in the past few weeks the old firewood lot that will eventually be part of the 99 I Street development has been cleared out. And, for that matter, I don't think I've mentioned that digging has truly begun at JPI's 909 New Jersey Ave. residential project.)
You can also just browse all of today's photos on a single page, and click the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see older photos in the archive of a certain location.

11th Street and Douglass Bridges 'Structurally Deficient'
Aug 5, 2007 10:09 AM
The surveys of DC-area bridges in the wake of the Minneapolis collapse continue, and today the Post reveals that both the South Capitol Street/Frederick Douglass Bridge and the 11th Street Bridges have been designated "structurally deficient", along with 13 other bridges in DC. But, before you panic: "It is a broad designation that covers major deterioration in a bridge's key components but is not a list of teetering bridges." And, of course, the Douglass Bridge is getting repaired now, with hopes for a new bridge in the coming years, and the 11th Street Bridges are scheduled for an overhaul in 2009. The Post also has another bridge-related piece on how construction of steel bridges has changed over the years, with the Douglass Bridge used as an example.
(For one more Douglass Bridge-related link, the Dr. Gridlock Get There blog entry from Thursday about the progress of the Extreme Makeover was excerpted in today's paper.)

11th Street Bridges Rehab in 2009?
Aug 3, 2007 11:50 AM
In a Post article today surveying the state of DC-area bridges in the wake of the 35W Bridge collapse in Minneapolis, there is this little item of note: "For instance, there are plans for a major overhaul and redesign of the 11th Street Bridge beginning in 2009, according to [DDOT] spokesman Erik Linden." The Environmental Impact Study completed last year came up with a number of potential reconfigurations of the 11th Street Bridges to allow for traffic to exit and go northward on DC-295 (instead of having to cross the Anacostia on Pennsylvania Avenue and then make that hair-raising left turn). Visit the 11th Street Bridges EIS web site if you're interested in what the plans are, although we're still waiting for the official announcement of which configuration has been chosen.
And, of course, in the wake of Minneapolis, the two-month closure of the Douglass Bridge for not only the reconfiguration of its north end but also considerable work on its deck and undersides might be seen in a different light now....

Douglass Bridge Update from Dr. Gridlock
Aug 2, 2007 9:22 AM
Dr. Gridlock got a tour of the Douglass Bridge makeover on Wednesday, and reports about it today on his Get There blog (with pictures). Next milestone? "They are a few days away from the concrete pour that will connect the lowered roadway to an approach slab that will bring it down to street level. The workers also will install new lighting on the bridge, finish removing the old, ugly railing along the sides and replace it with something more decorative, and finish the deck repair and paving. 'Come back in two weeks and you'll be amazed at the changes,' [DDOT acting associate director Ardeshir] Nafici said." (Not mentioned by the Doctor but worth plugging again: the M Street overpass will also be getting the new, more decorative railings in place of the current chain link fence.) There's also paving going on along the northern stretches of South Capitol Street.
Overall, "Nafici says that's been going remarkably well, and the bridge reconstruction is on schedule. They say they'll be done by their deadline of Sept. 7, but are hoping to finish up before that."

Zoning Commission Actions on 1325 South Capitol, Canal Park Parking
Jul 30, 2007 8:39 PM
The Zoning Commission shoe-horned in one last public meeting tonight before its August break, and took up a couple of Near Southeast-related items.
After having asked for revisions, clarifications, and refilings on three previous occasions, the commissioners once again had before them a first vote to approve the planned 276-unit residential project by Camden Development at 1325 South Capitol Street, across the street from the Nationals ballpark. The major sticking point in the last two meetings has been the design of the western side of the building, which is technically the "rear" of the building but will be on full display to much of Southwest because only low-rise buildings back up to the project site. Commissioner Turnbull had led the complaints in previous meetings about the need to "step up" the architecture, and while he was not jumping up and down for joy (calling the latest revisions "brutal at times"), he indicated that the plans had indeed made some progress. Commissioners Parsons and Hood agreed, and the commission voted to give first approval to the project three votes to zero, with commissioners Mitten and Jeffries not voting (having not participated in the case). The project now goes to the National Capital Planning Commission for its review, with a final vote by the Zoning Commission in the fall.
The Commission also gave its final approval to Case 07-08, which amends the zoning regulations to allow temporary surface parking lots on various blocks near the stadium. This is the case that stirred an outcry a few weeks ago when it was discovered after the commission's preliminary approval that the language specifying the parcels approved for parking included the three blocks slated for Canal Park. But with a supplemental report from the Office of Planning amending the language, and also with the report from the National Capital Planning Commission indicating its support of the amendment as long as the Canal Park boo-boo was fixed, the zoning commission approved the amended amendment three votes to zero, with commissioners Parsons and Jeffries not voting. And then they amended the original emergency amendment, too, just to make 100% sure that there were no loopholes big enough to build a parking lot on.
More posts: 1325sc, parking, South Capitol St., zoning

Rainy Days: Good for Droughts and Naps, Bad for Construction Photography
Jul 29, 2007 6:19 PM
Yeeech. I managed to get out this morning before the rain started, and while there was a smidgen of sunlight at first, I've mainly got a bunch of gray, gray photos for you to look at. I updated the main Stadium Exterior Construction Gallery (and have added a few new angles), plus the north/south/east/west additional views for the diehards. New things to look for: the arched steel atop the scoreboard, the rounded steel marking the construction of the outfield restaurant, a lot more glass installed on the southwest side of the ballpark, and the ever-growing west parking garage. There's also now a big ole' trench dug down the middle of Potomac Ave. and rounding up onto First Street (two roads now completely closed south of N Street to anything but construction traffic). But with these photos being so dingy, if there wasn't something obviously new and different in the shot, I didn't update every angle on every page.
I also posted some shots of the Douglass Bridge extreme makeover, as work continues on the new ramp up from Potomac Avenue to the existing bridge. The rest the closed section of South Capitol Street doesn't look too different, although I did see that new sewer drains/curbs have started to be installed. (I also spied from the freeway a nice fresh layer of pavement on South Capitol heading into the underpass beneath M Street, but no pictures.)
And I also updated the Onyx on First and 70/100 I Street pages as both those projects now have an additional floor since last week. And 100 M looks to be getting close to coming out of the ground.
You can also just browse all of today's photos on a single page, and click the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see older photos in the archive of a certain location.

Douglass Bridge Update from DDOT
Jul 24, 2007 11:00 PM
On Tuesday DDOT issued a press release with the latest roundup of news from the South Capitol Street/Frederick Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover. The project is still on time, and is still basking in the glow of last week's lowering of the remaining northern 200 feet of the span. They also have started working on the new "globe" street lights and the utility work along South Capitol Street. Up next? Quoting from the press release (so excuse the jargon): "Continue concrete deck repairs, utility work on South Capitol Street (D/B), form sleeper slab, continue setting and work of MSE wall panels, remove support/jacking towers from two column lines." Also, in addition to the time-lapse video of the lowering, they've posted some photos of the bridge work's progress. What a cool idea! (Hey, we kid because we love.)

Time Lapse Video of Bridge Lowering
Jul 20, 2007 6:05 PM
DDOT has posted a time-lapse video of yesterday's lowering of the Frederick Douglass Bridge, and there's a link to it from this page with the press release on the lowering. If you want to study how it was done, my photos from the lowering don't go by quite so quickly (hee hee).
UPDATED: Here's a video clip on the lowering from WJLA.

Bridge Lowering Completed - Yesterday!
Jul 20, 2007 8:35 AM
When I looked closely at the photos I took of the Douglass Bridge lowering yesterday around 5 pm, I thought that the hydraulic jacks looked like they didn't have much further to go--but everything DDOT had said indicated that the lowering was going to take 24 hours, at about two inches an hour, so I figured my layman's eyes just didn't understand what they were seeing. As it turns out, I was right--a press release just e-mailed out by DDOT (not yet online) says that the bridge lowering was completed about 90 minutes after I was there, having taken about 16 hours. (So they must have started around 2 am, not 8 am as I had thought.)
Watch for a time-lapse video of the lowering on the local newscasts later today, which of course I will link to. In the meantime, here's Dr. Gridlock's blog entry on the lowering.
I wonder if the rest of the work on the bridge and South Capitol Street will be completed in 60 percent of the time originally budgeted?

Douglass Bridge Lowering Underway - Updated
Jul 19, 2007 5:18 PM
Today is the day that the northernmost 200 feet of the Douglass Bridge (north of the Anacostia shoreline) is being lowered by as much as four feet so that the bridge's approach can begin/end at Potomac Ave. I've got some photos of the initial work this morning, but the photos aren't exactly action-packed, thanks to the lowering pace of two inches per hour. You can see the jacks in place and all the hubbub of work going on, as well as the new earth-fill ramp leading up to the bridge (which was a surprise for me, I didn't realize how far along the ramp already is).
I'm going to head back down this afternoon, when the light is better, and take some shots of the progress, so check back later in the day; I'll also be adding links to the media coverage as they pop up.
The lowering is scheduled to be completed late tomorrow morning.
UPDATE: Here's WTOP's piece.
UPDATE II: I went and got some seven-hours-later shots, which you can see side-by-side with the morning shots. It's of course nowhere near as dramatic as the befores-and-afters of the bridge's demolition last week, but you can tell a difference.

Portion of Douglass Bridge to be Lowered on Thursday
Jul 18, 2007 12:55 PM
The next big "moment" in the Douglass Bridge's Extreme Makeover is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday, June 19), and that's the lowering of the elevated northern approach of the bridge by just over four feet. According to today's media advisory from DDOT, this will happen veeeeeery slowly--"coming down by approximately two inches per hour"--and is expected to take 24 hours from start to finish. Starting at 8 am, crews will "cut" the bridge's support columns, and then the bridge deck will be supported and lowered by more than 35 hydraulic jacks, with four jacks at each support pier. If you want to get a feel for exactly what's going to happen, DDOT's video on the Douglass Bridge changes has an animation of the lowering at about the 4:20 mark.
Look for TV coverage of it all tomorrow; and I wouldn't be surprised if a certain blogger posts some visuals of it, too.

Update on Douglass Bridge Work
Jul 16, 2007 6:04 PM
From a DDOT press release entitled "Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Renovation on Schedule" (now online), a list of what's to come this week now that the demolishing is done: "Forming of new light poles, continuing the bridge deck repairs and the completion of the deck testing, utility work on South Capitol Street, setting of jack towers, [and] the lowering of the bridge of Thursday, July 19." Since it might be three or four whole days before I venture back down there for new pictures, you'll have to settle in the meantime for last week's shots and the Stadium Construction Webcam Camera #2.

Water and Sewer Improvement Special Assessment
Jul 16, 2007 11:30 AM
With the area in the stadium corridor between South Capitol and First streets apparently in need of significant upgrades to its water and sewer infrastructure, the city council is working on a bill that would create a special assessment to fund the $15.45 million needed for the improvements. It was decided to take care of these upgrades now because the streets that the pipes lie under--South Capitol, Potomac, First, N, and I--are scheduled to be reconstructed in the coming months as part of the streetscape improvement project before the Nationals ballpark opens, and it was thought best to take care of the sewer work now rather than having to dig up newly renovated streets. Landowners (including the city and the U.S. government) would be assessed based on total land area and the gross building area as allowed by zoning for each parcel of land that abuts or benefits from the improvements, and would be able to pay their assessment either in an up-front lump sum or over time. With the city contributing $3 million toward the project up front and another $4.1 million to cover the assessments on public properties, the other landowners will end up funding $8.35 million of the project cost.
The bill was marked up on July 13, and apparently has changed somewhat, but you can read the original version of the legislation here. When the committee report is finalized and the revised bill is available, I'll post them as well.
It should be noted that the water and sewer improvements for the stadium itself have already been taken care of, and similar improvements for The Yards and Capper/Carrollsburg will be handled through their PILOT funding programs.
More posts: Capper, South Capitol St., Nationals Park, DC Water (WASA), The Yards

Few Douglass Bridge Complaints?
Jul 16, 2007 9:17 AM
Steve Eldridge, in his traffic column in the Examiner today, reports he has heard very few complaints from readers related to the Douglass Bridge closure and its spillover effects. "It seems like the city did a very good job at planning ahead for this event including the decision to do the work during the summer months, when traffic volumes are at their lows for the year. [...] I know that we give the District a hard time in this space, but this project seems to be something that has been well thought out and well executed ... at least so far." Dr. Gridlock in the Post wrote a lot about it in his Get There blog early last week, but hasn't covered it for a few days.

New Stadium and Bridge Photos
Jul 15, 2007 4:37 PM
I hit the pavement this morning (before it began to melt a few hours later), and have posted a pile of new photos in the Stadium Exterior Construction Gallery, the additional north/south/east/west stadium views for the fanatics, and the Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page, which in particular has more new stunning before-and-afters of the South Capitol Street/Potomac Avenue intersection.

Douglass Bridge Day 7 - Fab New Photos
Jul 12, 2007 6:29 PM
On this gorgeous late afternoon (which would have been PERFECT for a Topping Out ceremony!), I got back down to the Douglass Bridge demolition for the first time in a few days, and whether it was the deep blue sky or the new camera lens or what, I snagged some pretty striking photos of the changed landscape on South Capitol Street between N and Potomac. I've posted them on my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page, of course--I also added some more stitched-together panoramas of what the intersections looked like before. All the new shots today are from the west side--access to the east side of South Capitol is far more limited thanks to the stadium, so shots looking westward from anywhere other than Potomac Ave. may just have to wait until the work is all done. I'm going to be working on getting more photos of these intersections into the Photo Archive; but I've been just a wee bit busy over these past few days (!) and so haven't had the chance.
Speaking of the work, there was nothing left of the old viaduct on my visit other than the pile of dirt that used to make up the earth-fill ramp between O and P streets (well, there's whole lot of rubble, too). So we can say that the demolition took six days. Now we get to watch for the lowering of the northernmost remaining portion of the bridge, the building of the new earth-fill ramp up from Potomac Ave. to meet the existing bridge, and the streetscaping of the rest of South Capitol. And we get to see just how quickly the contractor can pull this off ahead of the eight-week schedule. (Up to $1 million in incentives are being dangled in front of them.)
Getting it done quick will certainly ease the burden of thousands of commuters, who are really taking it on the chin with this project. Today there's a number of stories about Metro ticketing the folks who are parking illegally in the lots on the east side of the Anacostia. Channel 9, Channel 7, Channel 4, WTOP, and the Post's Marc Fisher all weigh in. And the Southern Maryland Gazette writes about the traffic problems from an outside-the-Beltway perspective.

More posts: South Capitol St.

Douglass Bridge Demolition on the Webcam
Jul 11, 2007 11:02 AM
The demolition of the beams from the old Douglass Bridge viaduct along South Capitol Street north of Potomac continues apace today, and you can really "watch" it over the next few hours on Camera #2 of the Stadium Construction Webcam, which updates every 20 minutes or so. Just keep hitting the "View Most Recent Image" box under the calendar (and zoom in for a better view). I'm betting they'll be finished with the beams by the end of the day or tomorrow, and will have only the earth fill approach ramp north of P left. Then there'll be the cleanup and the work to create the new roadway over the next few weeks, but that won't be anywhere near as much fun to check out on the webcam as the demolition is..... (Plenty of other work will be happening out of the webcam's view, of course, such as the lowering of the portion of the bridge just north of the Anacostia shoreline and the building of the new ramp down to Potomac Ave.) And note that the concrete pillars you see in the ground in front of the bridge demolition are for the "knife-edge" Nationals office building that will be attached to the stadium. You can see the concrete already starting to be poured for the south point of the building. And the line of steel beams in front of the admin building construction are for the sloped promenade that will come from Potomac Avenue up to the stadium.
We do need to offer them a hankie to clean the lens, though!
UPDATE. 5:15 pm: The girders are now all gone--all that's left of the viaduct is the brick-lined ramp between O and P, and it won't last much longer, either. As fun as it is to sneak peeks of it on the webcam, I had hoped to have new photos of my own today--but the deluge during the stadium topping out dampened my enthusiasm for further picture taking. More pics soon, I promise.

More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Douglass Bridge - Day 5
Jul 10, 2007 3:02 PM
Removal of the steel girders along the old northern approach of the Douglass Bridge viaduct continues today, and that work has now come into view when looking at Camera #2 of the Nationals Stadium Construction Cam, starting with the 12:32 pm image. (And, for the fun of it, check out the 2:27 and 2:41 images for the Noah's Ark view of the site.) Dr. Gridlock's blog has another entry today about the traffic fallout from the bridge's closure. And of course my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page has my photos of the site, with more to come tomorrow. UPDATE: Another Dr. Gridlock post discusses the now-overflowing state of the Anacostia Metro station parking lot.

More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Zoning Commission Meeting Wrapup
Jul 10, 2007 9:11 AM
Once again venturing reluctantly into the world of live human beings, I went to last night's Zoning Commission meeting. Here's a wrapup:
* After waiting a month to get input from the Office of Planning, the ZC gave some guidance on Florida Rock's revised plans for its 5.8-acre site on the Anacostia. The phrase uttered most often was "on the right track" -- each commissioner mentioned something in the new designs that they weren't completely crazy about (the glass "campanile" viewing tower on the east building seemed not to have wowed them), but they were mainly complimentary, making clear that the new design was an improvement over the last go-round and is closer to what the ZC wants to see on the site. (Read my entry from February for more background on the ZC's objections to the last design.)
This was not any sort of decision-making stage--the Florida Rock developers were wanting to make sure that they didn't expend vast amounts of energy pursuing a design that would end up again being nixed by the commission, and now with the sense that their latest idea has the ZC's support, they can work on their designs in more detail and apply for a modification to their second-stage PUD, which would then have a public hearing. I don't have any idea at this point what the time frame on this would be.
* Camden Development's planned 276-unit residential building at 1325 South Capitol Street was looking for a vote to approve its PUD, after a hearing a few weeks ago when Commissioner Turnbull complained that the western side of the building (facing Southwest) wasn't designed well enough given how "on display" it will be, and Commissioner Hood wanted more information on how the affordable units would be allocated throughout the building. So tonight, after some revised submittals, it came before the commission for a vote to approve its design--and Commissioner Turnbull complained that the western side of the building wasn't designed well enough given how "on display" it will be, and Commissioner Hood wanted more information on how the affordable units would be allocated throughout the building. In other words, neither felt that their concerns from last time had been addressed, and so have requested further filings before a scheduled vote on July 30.
* In an easier item, the commission voted 5-0 to give final approval to the design of the planned office building at 250 M Street. But, as reported a few weeks ago, developer William C. Smith has indicated that they are waiting for the building to be about one-third leased before starting construction.
* Finally (yay), the commissioned approved for setdown (meaning there can be a hearing) on Forest City's request for various amendments to the Southeast Federal Center Overlay as part of their plans to develop The Yards. These requests address some pretty darn technical issues in the overlay and are pretty baffling, even for obsessives like me, so I will just point you to the Office of Planning report if you really want to know what's happening. Please note that this is not the case requesting surface parking lots at The Yards--it's having its hearing on July 26.
More posts: 1325sc, 250 M, Homewood Suites, Florida Rock, M Street, South Capitol St., The Yards, zoning

Douglass Bridge - Day 4
Jul 9, 2007 4:10 PM
Dr. Gridlock ventured into the first "real" morning commute since the closure of the Douglass Bridge, and gives his impressions on his Get There blog. As for the progress on the Extreme Makeover, Camera #2 of the Stadium Construction Cam shows that demolition of the road surface on the viaduct is just about finished, with only girders and their support columns still in place south of P Street. (Beware, the construction cam shot gets blinded out by the sun during late afternoon.) And if you're desperately refreshing my Makeover page hoping to see new photos, I don't anticipate posting a new batch until Wednesday afternoon.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Douglass Bridge Demolition Photos
Jul 8, 2007 6:13 PM
There's already not much left of the Douglass Bridge from Potomac Avenue southward, a mere three days into the Extreme Makeover. So of course I've posted photos (scroll down a bit). I was there when the big shears toppled one of the last beams standing south of Potomac Avenue, which was quite a sight. North of the viaduct, the South Capitol street bed is pretty much completely dug up, and they're working their way onto the raised portion at O Street. (No time to lose!) It should all be coming into better view on the Stadium Construction Webcam's Camera #2 tomorrow.
UPDATED with the correct link to the demolition photos. YEESH!
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Today at the Douglass Bridge (Day 1) - Updated With News Links
Jul 6, 2007 2:49 PM
Posts about the closing of the Douglass Bridge for its Extreme Makeover are SO five hours ago; now it's time to focus on what's actually happening down on South Capitol Street between N and Potomac Avenue. I ventured down to see what I could see, and have posted new photos of the scene today on my Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover page. Alas, no impressive displays of demolition just yet; work has started on breaking up the asphalt on the southbound side of South Capitol just north of O Street; as of a few hours ago, the surface of the viaduct had so many holes drilled in it that it looked like a fairway at Hains Point. The lightpoles are also now all gone from the bridge. Other than that, and the arrival of a whole lot of fences to surround the bridge worksite, it's not looking drastically different in the first 18 hours. (Faster! Faster! Demolish! Demolish!) But with work on two shifts covering 20 hours each day (according to news reports), changes should start to be apparent pretty soon.
One additional impact that stadium lookeeloos especially should be aware of--with 1st Street and Potomac Avenue now essentially being one long dead-end cul-de-sac south of N Street, it hasn't taken long for the heavy construction vehicles to just completely take over the street. So in addition to the stadium "circuit" being shut down now that you can't turn from Potomac north onto South Capitol, even trying to just follow 1st to Potomac with the intention of making a u-turn is life-threatening thanks to all of the huge trucks going in and out of there with now only one exit for their use . I fear that my photo sojourns on the south side of the stadium might be curtailed a bit until the bridge work is done. So, to make up for it, here's a fun new before-and-during of the stadium that I came up with today, on South Capitol south of N, showing the sharp stadium facade along South Capitol. Trust me, it's really the same location in both shots.
Don't expect new bridge demolition photos on a daily basis--I'll definitely make visits frequently, but I don't like construction that much.
As for how the commute went on the first morning of the shutdown, Dr. Gridlock has some initial impressions on his Get There blog.
UPDATE: Here's the roundup of "Bridge Closes, Commuters Angry" pieces: WJLA, NBC4, and WUSA; the Post, however, opts for "Closing's 1st Day Made Easier By Light Traffic" (but with a subhed of "Officials Warn of Worse Next Week").
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Douglass Bridge Closure Day Arrives
Jul 6, 2007 7:24 AM
Let's get this party started: a few hours ago the Douglass Bridge closed for its extreme makeover, so the media stories will transition from yesterday's "it's closing" pieces to today's "it's closed" pieces, to be followed no doubt by the "how it went" stories later today and tomorrow. First out of the blocks is the Post's "Dead End at the Anacostia", which gives the basics of the project, details the various alternate routes, and has a graphic of the detours. WTOP has a piece as well, as do the Examiner and the Washington Times. And no doubt the local television news networks will have lots of updates from the bridge site throughout their morning and afternoon broadcasts (I'll wait to link to them until later today).
You might want to keep an eye on today's traffic reports, which here at the crack of dawn are already indicating a fun morning on the 11th Street Bridges thanks an accident that has two of the northbound lanes closed. (Alas, there are no traffic cameras showing the 11th Street area.)
If you want to try to get a glimpse of the demolition without venturing down to the site, you can look at this South Capitol-at-M traffic camera, which this morning is pointed southward and has a grainy view of the viaduct with what appears to be some construction action underway on the southbound side of the street (UPDATE: It's now pointing to the east; perhaps it'll just keep switching throughout the day). There's also the far right side of the Stadium Construction Webcam Camera #2 for the portion of the viaduct around P Street.
I'll no doubt be updating throughout the day (probably with pictures at some point as well), so keep checking back.

More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Douglass Bridge Closure Mere Hours Away - Updated With More Story Links
Jul 5, 2007 4:40 PM
Enjoy your access to the South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge today, because that's it until August. As I've mentioned ad infinitum here, it's closing tonight (12:01 am Friday July 6) so that the portion of the viaduct north of Potomac Avenue can be demolished and the rest of the northern approach lowered so that the bridge comes to ground level at Potomac Avenue. Here's my page with the graphics, links and photos explaining it all. Dr. Gridlock addresses it today in his Get There blog, and there are short blurbs out today by WJLA and Fox 5. While the plans are for the bridge to be closed through the end of August, the contractor can receive up to $1 million in incentives by finishing sooner.
And we'll see what happens with tomorrow's rush hour; officials are warning commuters to add 30 minutes to their normal expected commute time while the bridge is closed. Feel free to send me your Day 1 traffic experience.
UPDATE: More stories in advance of the closure, from WTOP (which says that the contractors will be working 20-hour days), NBC 4, WUSA, and another reminder from DDOT.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

South Cap and L SW Parcel Sells for $5.5 Million
Jul 4, 2007 1:54 PM
We know that I only grudgingly look at what's happening on the west side of South Capitol Street given how full my hands are with all points eastward, but I did manage to notice within the past few weeks that the KFC/Taco Bell on the southwest corner of South Capitol and L (barely visible here and from M Street) has been boarded up. And I now see in the DC property sales database that on June 1 the property was purchased for $5.5 million by "URA Venture LLC." Quick searches don't yield me anything concrete on this company name, so I guess we'll have to wait and see who it is and what they're up to. If you know, feel free to share.
UPDATE, 5 minutes later: The contact address for URA in the sales database appears to match with this entry in the city's LSDBE database for Urban Realty Advisors LLC, which has now led me to their web site. (And I was unaware that Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart had entered the DC real estate market!) Still no words on the plans for the KFC site, though. And e-mails to their contact address bounce.
More posts: South Capitol St.

Douglass Bridge Closure Countdown Begins
Jun 29, 2007 12:40 PM
With less than a week to go now until early morning July 6, when the two-month closure of the Douglass Bridge to shorten and lower the bridge's northern portion begins, the media blitz is now getting underway. Here's the DDOT press release summarizing what's going to happen and what the impacts will be; it's a good link to e-mail around if you need to alert people to what's happening. The Post's Dr. Gridlock is mentioning the release and summarizing some of the other commuting impacts as well. One tidbit: they're telling people to expect morning delays of around 20 minutes, and afternoon rush delays of between 20 and 30 minutes.
My Douglass Bridge Fixes page has lots of links, drawings, and graphics explaining exactly what's going to be happening, and of course I will be there with camera in hand throughout the project to capture the changes. But while getting a new boulevard-like South Capitol Street is A Good Thing, I must take a minute to mourn what will be lost: three of my beloved perches where I've shot photos of the ballpark's progress over the past 15 months. (Though, it must be said, those spots would have lost their stadium view eventually anyway with the construction of the "knife-edge" Nationals administration building along South Capitol.)
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Douglass Bridge Closure Date Still July 6 (Technically)
Jun 27, 2007 9:32 AM
Thanks to reader Barbara for the heads up that an electronic sign has appeared on South Capitol Street this morning saying that the Douglass Bridge is going to close at noon on July 5; at the briefing on the bridge's two-month closure and "Extreme Makeover" a few weeks ago, July 6 was announced as the date the bridge would close. I'm trying to find out if there has indeed been a change, and will update this post when I have details.
UPDATE: The bridge is closing at 12 midnight (not 12 noon), but at the end of the day July 5; in other words, the very start of July 6. Take your pick--think of it as closing at 11:59 pm on the 5th, or 12:01 am July 6.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Maryland Commuter Bus Plans During Bridge Closure
Jun 18, 2007 2:27 PM
The Post's Dr. Gridlock has a blog entry today about the Maryland Transit Administration's plans for how MTA commuter buses will be diverted during the two-month shutdown of the Frederick Douglass/South Capitol Street Bridge that begins on July 6. Quoting: "MTA says that after listening to passengers, it has decided to bring some of its routes into the Branch Avenue and Suitland Metrorail stations for those who wish to transfer to the subway, but continue in and out of dowtown Washington for the other riders willing to tough it out through the congestion. (The buses will be stuck in the same congestion as the cars.)" See the entry for specifics on each bus route. Metro's bus route changes were announced a few weeks ago. (And thanks for the link, Dr. G!)

Raze Permit for Normandie Liquors
Jun 13, 2007 1:02 PM
A raze permit has now been filed for 83 M Street, which is the address of the defunct Normandie Liquors on the southwest corner of First and M. It's working its way through the approval process, so who knows when demolition might actually take place. Willco Construction is planning an office/residential/retail project for that entire stretch of First between M and N, but haven't as yet announced any timeline. Plans submitted during the request to close an alley on that side of block indicated that the project would have 324,000 sq ft of office space and 430 residential units; I don't know whether that's still the case. Hopefully we'll hear something soon. (Hint, hint, Willco.)
UPDATE: I forgot to also mention that raze permits have also been requested for the properties on the site of Camden Development's 1325 South Capitol Street residential building, across from the stadium.

More posts: 1325sc, South Capitol St., staddis, Square 701

More Details on Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover
Jun 7, 2007 1:01 PM
This morning DDOT had a big press briefing about the plans for the coming Douglass Bridge "Extreme Makeover"; there was a gaggle of media in attendance, so I imagine there will be lots of play on TV tonight and in tomorrow's papers, so in the interest of time (mine, not yours), I'm going to hit the high points right now and wait for the reports from the big players to roll in for additional detail.
*The bridge will be shut down on July 6 (after the July 4 holiday). As soon as it's closed, crews will be on site beginning the demolition of the viaduct from Potomac Avenue northward, using "big shears" (DDOT's description) to drop it down. At the same time, the existing South Capitol Street will be ripped up, with infrastsructure and utility work done, and with the streetscape improvements started as well, which will include new "globe" lighting, a median with trees, etc. (Incidentally, by spring 2008 there will also be some sprucing up of the M Street overpass, with the chainlink fences removed and new historic iron railings installed.)
* It is expected that the 580 feet of the bridge from the Anacostia River to Potomac Avenue will begin to be lowered on July 20. They are going to put jacks under the bridge, cut the existing columns, and then lower it down. They should sell tickets for this part.
* The bridge itself will see its roadway milled, and the existing rails and chainlink fences replaced with a new special fancier railing; this railing will be affixed to the outside edge of the bridge, allowing the sidewalks on both sides of the bridge to be widened. (The bridge has already gotten a new paint job, have you noticed?)
* DDOT is creating an additional lane on I-295 between the Suitland Parkway and South Capitol Street to help improve the traffic flow.
* The closure of the bridge is planned for 60 days; however, the contractor (Corman) can receive up to $1 million in incentives if the work is finished sooner.
There are some new before-and-after renderings of what the approach to Potomac Avenue will look like, and I've added those to my Douglass Bridge makeover page, along with some photos taken on a barge tour today beneath the bridge. (You get to see the osprey nests!)
DDOT has also produced a spiffy video about the plans for the bridge (as well as information about a new Douglass Bridge, which is a few years and $300 million away from now); when they post it on their site, I'll link to it (UPDATED: now online). You'll probably see portions of it in tonight's media coverage. And just to warn you, a certain Near Southeast blogger puts in a very brief appearance, but don't let that prevent you from watching.
I'll update this entry as the day goes on with other media coverage.
UPDATE I: .... such as Dr. Gridlock's posting on the briefing, discussing the commuting impact of the closure. And the DDOT press release.
UPDATE II: And WTOP. And NBC. And ABC. But not a lot of news in any of them.
Watch the video!
UPDATE III: Here's the Post and the Examiner.
UPDATE, 6/11: And another Examiner piece, focusing a bit more on the eventual new bridge. (But I wish their headline writer had correctly spelled "South Capit*ol*.")

More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Square 696 Sold for $69.4 Million
Jun 3, 2007 2:57 PM
Thanks to the latest update of the DC Property Sales database, I can now report that the entire block known as Square 696 (bounded by 1st, I, K, and Half) changed hands on April 12; the Pedas family sold its three lots, totaling 54,700 sq ft, for $49.834 million; Potomac Development Corporation received $19.544 million for the 19,600-sq-ft lot on the northeast corner of the block (home to a firewood business for many years). The database lists the buyer as "99 I Street SE LP"; we know from the signs that have gone up that the square is being developed as an office/retail project by DRI Development Services (a wholly owned subsidiary of Transwestern). No details yet on exactly what's coming, or when. (And a hat tip to the Pedas family, who adds this $49.8 million take to the $51.6 million payday they were part of when Ron Cohen bought Square 699N one block to the south in Sept. 2005 and the $4.5 million garnered from their sale of the Domino's lot at the corner of South Capitol and M in August 2005. Apparently you can make some money in this real estate biz.)
With this transaction now official, I've created a DRI/99 I Street page, with not-terribly-exciting photos of the block and my previous news items, and have added it to my main map and project directory.

1325 South Capitol's Zoning Hearing
Jun 1, 2007 9:51 AM
On Thursday night the Zoning Commission had another hearing on Case 06-41, Camden Development's 276-unit residential project at 1325 South Capitol Street. It's been a long trek for this project, having been caught in limbo as the Capitol Gateway Overlay was expanded to include their location and as the city's Inclusionary Zoning law came into being, and so they were back for another hearing because it was decided that in order to properly handle the case it needed to be resubmitted as a Planned Unit Development--I can't bear to try to get anymore specific than that, so here's the transcript from the March ZC hearing on the matter. The submitted plan last night was basically same as at their February hearing (here's the transcript).
Commissioner Turnbull led the questioning, and he seemed exasperated by the western facade of the project, expressing much concern it since will be facing the low-rise residential neighborhood in Southwest; even though the developer had added some additional articulation since the last hearing, he considered it "bland" and remarked that it's not just the back of a building, because it's very visible to the surrounding neighborhood. Turnbull also asked for information on where the affordable housing units will be in the building, wanting to make sure they wouldn't only be on the west side of the building; the developers responded that they are spread throughout floors 1-6 on three sides of the building. Turnbull also took issue with the non-green design of the roof, but the developers explained that they had to put the air conditioning mechanics on the roof to lessen the noise impact on the neighbors. The other two commissioners present, Hood and Parsons, expressed their strong support for all of the issues brought up by Turnbull.
Joel Lawson of the Office of Planning testified in support of the project, mentioning that the landscaped courtyard in the back will be a "nice feature" for neighbors; he said that additional articulation of the rear of the building would be fine, but that OP was happy with the current massing. It was also noted that ANC 6D supports the project as well. And the wife of one neighbor who had originally wanted to testify in opposition to the project announced they were now supporting it, after the ANC negotiated a deal for the neighors at 2, 4, 6, and 8 O Street to be able to lease parking spaces in the project's garage for 50% off the market rate.
The commission asked for documentation on the affordable-housing unit layout and some additional work on the rear side of the building; the submittal, response, and draft order process is to be completed by June 21, with a vote to be scheduled soon afterward.
More posts: 1325sc, South Capitol St., zoning

Last Douglass Bridge Weekend Closure
May 30, 2007 1:22 PM
From DDOT, a reminder that the last weekend closure of the outbound/southbound lanes of the Douglass Bridge (i.e., the South Capitol Street Bridge) is on tap, starting at 10 pm Friday June 1 and reopening sometime before the Monday June 4 afternoon rush hour. Of course, in a few weeks we'll all be dreaming of the days of mere weekend closures, when the bridge is closed in both directions for all of July and August for its Extreme Makeover, when "the bridge's elevated northern approach will be lowered to become an at-grade roadway with a new intersection at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. Additional improvements will occur such as paving and painting the entire bridge. Ultimately, nearly three blocks of elevated roadway--which currently act as a barrier to access across South Capitol Street--will be removed and replaced with at-grade intersections that will help knit the neighborhood together."
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Northbound South Capitol Access at Potomac Ave. [Sometimes] Closed; Briefing on Bridge Plans
May 27, 2007 11:57 AM
For those of you who like to drive the loop around the stadium site to check out the latest progress, be advised that you can no longer go will often find the road closed north from Potomac Avenue on the mini-South Capitol Street that runs on the east side of the viaduct (pictures here); it's been closed as prep work gets underway for the lowering of the Douglass Bridge starting in July. The work now starting on the new Nationals office building that will run along the southern end of South Capitol Street (see my stadium renderings page for drawings) has spilled out into that access road from time to time over the past week or sol. If you don't make that drive yourself and are hoping for an update to my Stadium Construction Gallery, I'm somewhat hamstrung by the overcast weather this weekend (which makes for pretty icky photos), so unless there's a break in the cloud cover it may possibly be a few days before I add a new batch of shots.
Speaking of the bridge work, on June 7 DDOT is having a press briefing on the project, which they are now calling an "Extreme Makeover" -- hmmmm, I think I said that first ;-). The briefing will discuss traffic detours, construction plans and schedule, commuting solutions (such as Bridge Bucks), and the additional improvements to South Capitol Street that are coming. In other words, soon we'll finally get the details on how this is all going to shake out.
UPDATE: Apologies for the mix-up in the comments above about the street closure; it's open today, when no work is going on at the stadium site. And, just to repay you for that boo-boo, I went out and took pictures even though the sky is not bright blue; will probably have them posted tomorrow.

More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

WMATA Approves Temporary Altering of Douglass Bridge Bus Routes
May 25, 2007 10:05 PM
I mentioned this in my preview of Thursday's WMATA board meeting, but then missed it in my summary of what happened, so we'll throw it over to the Post: "Fares on four Metrobus routes that will be detoured in July and August, when District officials will close the South Capitol Street Bridge for a major construction project, will be temporarily reduced, the Metro board said.The fare on the A9 route will go from $1.25 to 75 cents, and the express bus fare on the P17, P19 and W13 routes will drop from $3 to $1.25 during construction. The routes will temporarily end at Metrorail stations on the Green Line to help buses and commuters avoid traffic detoured by the bridge closing. The A9 (South Capitol Street Line) will end at the Anacostia station, and the P17, P19 (Oxon Hill-Fort Washington Line) and W13 (Bock Road Line) routes will end at the Southern Avenue Metrorail station."
The Post piece also briefly mentions the vote to move the Southeastern Bus Garage to DC Village, and you can read my entry from yesterday for more detail on how exactly the debate went, and also for links to various documents about the move. There was no word today that I've heard as to whether the city had reached a deal on moving the shelter beds currently at DC Village--remember, if that doesn't happen by Thursday May 31, the boards' approval vote of the move and the various next steps does not take effect. And you can listen to the archived audiocast of the meeting if you're especially interested.

More posts: Metro/WMATA, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Bridge Bucks Program Debuts
May 23, 2007 12:55 PM
A couple weeks back I posted about DDOT's new "Bridge Bucks" program, which offers $50 per month toward transit fares and vanpool fees for people who will be affected by this summer's Extreme Makeover: Frederick Douglass Bridge. DDOT sent out a press release yesterday saying that the program has now launched, and you can visit the Bridge Bucks site for more details. Or, as I said then, avoid it all and just take a nice eight-week summer vacation; you could spend it camping at 4th and L.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

WMATA Board Meeting - Bus Garage Move, Route Changes for Bridge Closure
May 22, 2007 3:33 PM
On Thursday the WMATA board has on its agenda the approval of series of recommendations to continue moving forward on the plan to relocate the Southeastern Bus Garage from its current spot at Half and M to DC Village. The recommendations are the same as what came out of the Planning and Real Estate Subcommittee earlier this month to hold a public hearing on the project, advertise the Phase 1 construction contract, negotiate with the city to aquire the DC Village property, apply for a Federal bus facility grant, and authorize the sale of the garage and its parking lot (presumably to Monument Realty, though I've yet to see any official announcement that Monument was the source of the unsolicited offer in April for the property). The plan would then be to come back to the board in September with a land transaction agreement to be executed, and a construction contract to be awarded. As I've mentioned previously, WMATA is very much wanting to be out of the Half and M garage before the Nationals ballpark opens in March 2008. In addition to the documents for Thursday's meeting, the background documents from the May 11 subcommittee meeting also have lots of good detail on the proposed move, as do my last few entries on the subject.
And also on the agenda (good thing I scrolled down!) is a request to approve temporary changes in the routes and fares for the A9, P17, P19, and W13 bus lines during July and August's Extreme Makeover: Frederick Douglass Bridge. If you ride these buses, be sure to read what's being proposed, but the gist is that because the detour route's expected congestion would impact bus schedules, WMATA is proposing to temporarily end those bus routes at subway stations on the east side of the river, but reducing the fares to help offset the higher cost of riding the subway.
If you're really interested in this meeting, WMATA provides live streaming and archived audiocasts of its meetings. (Yay!)

Douglass Bridge Closures CANCELLED This Weekend
May 18, 2007 1:02 PM
UPDATE: This planned closure for this weekend has been cancelled because of the rotten weather forecast. Original entry:
Once again, the outbound side of the Douglass Bridge will be closed this weekend; here's the scoop from DDOT: "Improvements to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge) will continue this weekend, as crews continue repairs on the southbound or outbound lanes. Following the evening rush hour on Friday, May 18 at 10 pm, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will temporarily close the southbound (outbound) lanes on the Douglass Bridge. All lanes will be reopened in time for the Monday (May 21) evening rush hour. Outbound bridge drivers will be directed to follow signed detours to I-395 South across the 11th Street Bridge to I-295 South. Drivers also may consider taking either New York Avenue or Benning Road as alternate routes." This is of course all in preparation for The Mother of All Bridge Closures, coming in July and August when both sides of the bridge will be shut down to demolish the northern 800 feet of the viaduct, and lower the exit of the bridge so that it reaches ground level at Potomac Avenue.

More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Meeting Wrap-Up - 250 M Approved, ANC Thumbs Down on Parking
May 15, 2007 12:11 PM
Let's go around the horn and see what happened at last night's various meetings.
* The Zoning Commission voted to give final approval to the plans for 250 M Street, William C. Smith's planned 190,000-sq-ft office building on M Street just east of what will be Canal Park. The building, which is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Planned Unit Development (and will help fund all the redevelopment at Capper), is expected to start construction at the end of 2007.
* ANC 6D had three Near Southeast items on the agenda--unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend, so I'm giving you the quick and dirty results, and will hopefully have links later for additional details. First, they gave their approval (again) to the 276-unit residential building planned by Camden Development at 1325 South Capitol Street, but this was pretty prefunctory since they approved it a few months back and nothing has really changed except a bureaucratic need to resubmit the plan to the Zoning Commission in a different manner; the ZC hearing is on May 31. Second, they voted not to support Zoning Commission Case 07-08, the request to amend the city's zoning laws to allow temporary (no longer than five years) surface parking lots on certain squares in Near Southeast to help provide parking for the new stadium. There was also a presentation by the DC Housing Authority on what's been happening with Capper/Carrollsburg and the Capper seniors buildings, but of course you've been reading this site religiously and so know it all already.
UPDATE: Apparently the feelings against the parking case ran pretty strong; and I understand that Andy Litsky of the ANC will be testifying in opposition at the Zoning Commission hearing next Monday (May 21).

'Bridge Bucks' to Help With Summer Douglass Bridge Closure
May 8, 2007 9:11 AM
New from DDOT: "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today started an innovative program to spur greater use of transit and ridesharing by commuters affected by this summer's repairs of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge). The program will help commuters affected by DDOT's planned July-August closure of the bridge. Modeled after a successful similar effort carried out by the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, DDOT's 'Bridge Bucks' program will provide $50 per month toward transit fares and vanpool fees to encourage commuters to switch out of their cars and into an alternative travel mode." There's a Bridge Bucks web page with more information. Or you could just take that eight-week summer vacation!
UPDATE, May 8: Here's a WTOP piece on the Bridge Bucks plan, and The Post's Dr. Gridlock (Bob Thomson) is addressing the program and the concerns from commuters about the plan to close the bridge in his Get There blog today.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

The Green Ballpark (And a New Rendering)
May 7, 2007 11:14 PM
Don't know how new this is, but a page on the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission's site about the steps being taken to make the new Nationals ballpark "green" includes a graphic describing the various environmentally conscious aspects of the stadium--and the graphic also has a stadium rendering I haven't come across before (looking at the stadium from its northwest corner) with the best view I've seen so far of the garages planned for the north end of the site, as well as good detail of the South Capitol Street facade of the stadium. I've added the graphic to my Stadium Renderings page.
More posts: parking, South Capitol St., Nationals Park

Early Heads Up - First Outbound Douglass Bridge Closures This Weekend
Apr 30, 2007 8:12 PM
From DDOT: "Improvements to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge) will continue this weekend, as crews begin repairs on the southbound or outbound lanes. Previous recent weekend closures affected inbound lanes only. (View a map of weekend detours) Following the evening rush hour on Friday, May 4 at 10 pm, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will temporarily close the southbound (outbound) lanes on the Douglass Bridge. All lanes will be reopened in time for the Monday (May 7) evening rush hour. Outbound bridge drivers will be directed to follow signed detours to I-395 South across the 11th Street Bridge to I-295 South. Drivers also may consider taking either New York Avenue or Benning Road as alternate routes. Following this weekend's closures, the outbound lanes on the Douglass Bridge again are scheduled to close on the weekends of May 19 and June 2. Closure of the bridge's outbound lanes follows six previous weekends of closing the bridge's northbound or inbound lanes. The off-peak weekend closures and repairs are needed to prepare for a major rehabilitation that will take place on the Frederick Douglass Bridge in July and August--at which time all lanes on the bridge will be closed in both directions."
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Weekend Closures and Cleanups
Apr 18, 2007 1:32 PM
A reminder that the inbound lanes of the Frederick Douglass Bridge will again be closed this weekend (from 10 am Friday, April 20 until before the Monday, April 23 morning rush hour). In May and June, the weekend closures will be shifted to the outbound lanes. And, of course, in July and August, the bridge will be shut down completely for Extreme Makeover: South Capitol Street, aka the demolition of the northern end of the bridge to allow for the bridge to arrive at ground level at Potomac Avenue.
Also, see my previous entry about various Earth Day-related activities around Near Southeast and the Anacostia River. Alas, my calendar has an unmoveable commitment for Saturday, otherwise I was all ready to make the Canal Park cleanup a JDLand meet-and-greet. But don't let that stop you from participating; and be sure to ask the organizers if you can help them move the school buses (heh heh).
More posts: Canal Park, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Gloomy Days, Gloomy Photos
Apr 15, 2007 12:40 PM
This weekend has not lent itself to photography, but my schedule is going to be tight for the next couple of weeks and I couldn't bear to go a month between ballpark updates. So you can check out the latest updates to the Stadium Construction Gallery--I didn't update the entire set, because some of the shots on the southeastern side of the ballpark aren't changing as much now, so why replace pretty blue-sky shots with dreary overcast facsimiles? But I did also add some new "stitched-together" before and afters, to show panoramic shots of various intersections around the site. I'm not sure whether these will become a permanent fixture (the fish-eye distortion on some is a little disconcerting), but given what I had to work with weather-wise, at least it's something a little different. I also added more pictures to the Square 699N page, as demolition continues there. You can also of course browse the Click to see all available photos of this location. Photo Archive to see additional photos of intersections and vantage points you're interested in, or you can look at all photos I've posted from yesterday and then click on the intersection/angle to see the complete archive for that view. And let's hope the sun returns eventually. And we've also got Demolished Buildings #127 and #128.
More posts: South Capitol St., Square 699n, Nationals Park, Velocity Condos

Inbound Douglass Bridge Closures Next Two Weekends
Apr 11, 2007 5:23 PM
Just a reminder, for the next two weekends (April 13-16 and April 20-23), the inbound/northbound lanes of the Frederick Douglass Bridge will once again be closed between 10 am Friday and 4 am Monday. Read DDOT's initial release on the project or my last entry on it for the hows and the whys, and see my page with additional info and photos on the lowering planned for the northern end of the bridge over the summer.

More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Views from the Freeway
Apr 10, 2007 8:47 AM
I've added updated photos of the Near Southeast vista from the Southeast Freeway (don't worry, I wasn't driving at the time) to the Photo Archive--I have one shot going back to 2000, when the only new buildings were still under construction (300 M and 80 M), so it's a festive comparison to today, with four additional developments completed and the ballpark now visible as well. And I did post some new "after" photos from Van and from Half of the demolition across on N Street from the stadium.

One More Batch of Stadium Parking Meeting Slides
Apr 2, 2007 2:48 PM
With thanks again to DDOT, I now have all of the slide presentations from last week's public meeting on the stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP). The new ones are the WMATA Slides on Navy Yard Station Upgrade and the DDOT Slides on Douglass Bridge/Other Improvements. The documents I posted last week were the slides by Gorove/Slade describing about the TOPP; with maps and charts listing expected transit/auto/pedestrian traffic volume and flow; an FAQ on parking, traffic, and other issues for Southwest and Near Southeast residents; an FAQ on the Douglass Bridge improvements going on over the next few months; and DDOT's display boards with information on the plans for the South Capitol Street corridor and other regional traffic issues.
Repeating what I said last week: If you live in Southwest, or Near Southeast, or Capitol Hill, or Anacostia, or even Prince George's County, or if you're a baseball fan planning to come to the games, I suggest taking a close look at these.... (Some of them are kind of big files, be patient if they take a moment to load.) Comments can be sent to the the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, and cc ANC 6D (office@anc6d.org) so that the ANC can track the feedback. And read my summary of the main bullet points from the meeting. Let's not all wait until March 2008 to suddenly figure out that there's a new baseball stadium at South Capitol and Potomac that has 40,000 fans trying to get there.

Inbound Douglass Bridge Closures This Weekend
Mar 27, 2007 3:19 PM
From DDOT, a drill everyone should be getting familiar with: "As part of ongoing improvements to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will continue bridge repairs this weekend, starting Friday, March 30. Following the morning rush hour this Friday, DDOT will temporarily close the inbound lanes on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Inbound bridge drivers will be directed to follow signed detours on Interstate 295 North to the 11th Street Bridge - providing direct access into the District. The inbound lanes will be closed beginning on Friday, March 30 at 10 a.m. until as late as Monday, April 2 at 4 a.m. All lanes will be reopened in time for the Monday morning rush hour."
Why? (in case you're just joining us) "The off-peak closures and repairs are needed to prepare for a major rehabilitation that will take place on the Frederick Douglass Bridge in July and August - at which time all lanes on the bridge will be closed in both directions. [...] The one-direction-only weekend closures on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge are necessary to allow workers to safely replace bridge expansion joints with new joints (joints allow a bridge to flex when temperature changes occur). Joint replacement work requires extended periods of uninterrupted work hours, as it involves removing existing joints from the concrete bridge deck, making necessary repairs, installing new joints and placing concrete to reconnect the existing bridge deck to the new joints. Under-the-bridge steel repair work and painting also will occur. The weekend closures and repair work, which are scheduled to conclude in early June 2007, also may require periodic single-lane closures during weekday non-peak travel times.
"During the July-August closure, the northernmost portion of the bridge will be lowered to become an at-grade roadway with a new intersection at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. Nearly three blocks of elevated roadway - which currently act as a barrier to access across South Capitol Street - will be removed and replaced with at-grade intersections that will help knit the neighborhood together. Additional improvements will occur such as paving and painting the entire bridge."
See my Upcoming Events calendar for the planned closures from now through June.

More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

This Weekend's Douglass Bridge Closure Postponed
Mar 23, 2007 12:18 PM
The closure of the inbound lanes of the South Capitol Street/Frederick Douglass Bridge planned for this weekend has been postponed until next weekend (March 30-April 2) because of tomorrow's National Marathon, which has the bridge on its route.

1201 South Capitol Bought by Douglas Jemal
Mar 18, 2007 5:09 PM
The DC Property Sales database reports that, on January 29, "noted" DC developer Douglas Jemal (in the form of Jemal's Ballpark LLC, Douglas Development) paid $4.25 million for 1201-1225 South Capitol Street, the two one-story gray buildings that run on the west side of South Capitol between M and N streets. Haven't heard anything about any plans for the site; it's currently home to a couple of small businesses. Jemal already owns a number of somewhat-close-to-the-stadium properties down in Buzzards Point.
More posts: South Capitol St.

Updated Rendering for 1325 South Capitol
Mar 16, 2007 6:24 PM
While you ponder the upcoming Zoning Commission vote on the 1325 South Capitol Street residential project, you can gaze at a new drawing of the building, nicked from the WDG Architecture web site. It's certainly a much more detailed and spiffier rendering than what was previously released....

More posts: 1325sc, South Capitol St., zoning

Zoning Commission and Capper Seniors #2; Other Zoning Items
Mar 16, 2007 3:11 PM
The Zoning Commission has deferred until its March 26 Special Public Meeting any decision on whether to allow Capper Seniors #2 to be redesignated as a mutlifamily workforce (30%-60% annual median income) dwelling in addition to having its low-income senior citizens units. ZC chair Carol Mitten noted a bit of a disconnect between statements offered by the DC Housing Authority and the Office of Planning, and so both are to meet before March 26 to formulate a recommendation.
The March 26 special meeting will also have the ZC's final vote on the 1325 South Capitol Street residential project, and also the "minor modification" being requested at 100 M Street.
And, since I gave the Office of Zoning a bit of a hammering a few weeks back when they debuted their new online calendar, it's only fair that I now rave over the return of monthly at-a-glance lists for Zoning Commission and BZA meetings, which make finding out what's happening far far easier. Thanks, guys, not only is it great to see this functionality back, but you did a really nice job with it, too.
More posts: 100 M, 1325sc, 400m, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs, South Capitol St., zoning

ANC 6D Monthly Meeting
Mar 12, 2007 7:51 AM
The draft agenda for the March 12 ANC 6D meeting has been sent out (although not posted on their web site as yet, alas), and there are a few Near Southeast items of interest: discussion and vote on an construction agreement (presumably between the developers and the neighborhood/ANC) for 1325 South Capitol Street (the 276-unit residential project across from the ballpark); a presentation on modifications being requested in front of the Zoning Commission to the plans for the office building at 100 M Street (I don't know any details, will post when I find out); and a presentation on streetscapes at the The Yards/Southeast Federal Center (ooooh, more hints of moving forward!). There's also a meeting on the planned Monument Realty project on the Randall School site at Half and I Streets SW (blissfully outside of my purview). The meeting is at St. Augustine's Church at 6th and M Streets, SW at 7 pm.
UPDATE: The 100 M Street change is quite minor, according to Opus East, a result of actual construction drawings evolving from the original design drawings. I also hear tell that First Street is going to be widened at some point by DDOT, which means that 100 M and Onyx on First won't have a wide/deep sidewalk along as originally thought. (I don't have any details on the First Street work.)
UPDATE II: The ANC 6D report in the new issue of the Hill Rag has more details on the 1325 South Cap construction agreement as discussed at the February meeting, though I don't know whether it's changed or not going into tonight's meeting. It also says the project has 276 units, not 244 as I've been reporting.
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More posts: 100 M, 1325sc, ANC News, Onyx, South Capitol St., Square 743N, The Yards, zoning

Douglass Bridge Closures This Weekend
Mar 7, 2007 12:10 PM
From DDOT: "As part of ongoing improvements to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will continue bridge repairs this weekend, starting Friday, March 9. Following the morning rush hour this Friday, DDOT will temporarily close the northbound (inbound) lanes on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Inbound bridge drivers will be directed to follow signed detours on Interstate 295 North to the 11th Street Bridge--providing direct access into the District. The northbound (inbound) lanes will be closed beginning on Friday, March 9 at 10 am until as late as Monday, March 12 at 4 am. All lanes will be reopened in time for the Monday morning rush hour." This work is part of the preparations for the planned demolition of the raised portion of South Capitol Street (north of Potomac Ave.) this summer.

1325 South Capitol at the Zoning Commission
Feb 23, 2007 4:16 PM
Last night was the public hearing and Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for 1325 South Capitol Street, a 244-unit residential building planned by Camden Development for the northwest corner of South Capitol and O streets, right across the street from the new baseball stadium. First, I will admit right off that I am only grudgingly following this project (I still optimally want my coverage area to end in the South Capitol Street median), but I'm not sure that excuses the sordid truth that, while watching the webcast of the hearing, I kind of, well, um, nodded off. Multiple times. So apologies that what follows does not rise to the normal level of JDLand OCD Detail.
In general, the ZC commissioners were favorable toward the project and were also cognizant that 1325 is a bit of a test case in terms of being the first structure going up on South Capitol Street under all the new rules; they were also quite happy to see a residential project on South Capitol, seemingly expecting that the street would only be drawing in office developments. There was some concern that the ground floor level of 1325 is not completely retail--there will be a two-story retail component on the O Street corner, but the rest of the first floor will include a gym and other areas for residents; but these areas will have the same sort of glassed-in look to make it appear "active." There was also discussion of the west side of the building, which abuts a number of townhouses and will be easily seen when looking eastward from the neighborhood, that because of this layout it can't really be considered the "back of the building", and so the commissioners want more "articulation" on that side. Also, the project will not being applying for LEED certification, but the commissioners want to hear more about what "green" steps the project will be taking. There was also some discussion about the Inclusionary Zoning (i.e., affordable housing) components, and whether the project can restrict those units to the lower floors.
If all requested additional submissions are made in time, a ZC Special Public Meeting will be scheduled for March 20 for an initial vote. (Perhaps I won't be as sleepy on that night.) It is expected that construction would begin sometime this summer, with delivery in summer 2009.
More posts: 1325sc, South Capitol St., zoning

Meetings and Whatnot
Feb 21, 2007 2:26 PM
Tomorrow night (Feb. 22), the DC Zoning Commission is having a public hearing on Case 06-41, a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for 1325 South Capitol Street, the planned 244-unit residential building at South Capitol and O streets SW, right across from the ballpark. The ZC hearing is available via live webcast. Apparently this project was presented at the Feb. 12 ANC 6D meeting, but since the ANC for four of the last five months has been unable or unwilling to send out its agendas before the meetings or post them on their web site (check out those dates!), I wasn't able to post a heads up that this project was going to be discussed.
On the other hand, the agenda has already been released for the Feb. 28 Anacostia Waterfront Corporation Public Board Meeting, where one of the main items will be a presentation and public comments on the AWC's Draft Environmental Standards, and also a presentation on their new Workforce Intermediary Services. See the agenda for time and place and how to participate.

More posts: 1325sc, ANC News, Anacostia Waterfront Corp., South Capitol St., zoning

Latest Capitol Gateway Overlay Amendment Published
Feb 16, 2007 9:49 AM
Today's DC Register has published the final version of the text amendment (case 05-10) to the Capitol Gateway Overlay District zoning regulations that has been winding through the process since early 2005. From the order: "The amendments place limits on density transferred through combined deployments, extend the Zoning Commission review and approval process and design guidelines to additional properties within the boundaries of the Capitol Gateway ("GC") Overlay, and establish preferred retail and entertainment use requirements and regulations along First and Half Streets S.E. within the area. In addition, the rules impose, within the Overlay, a 15-foot setback and a 1:1 upper story step-back above a height of 110 feet for buildings fronting South Capitol Street; an upper stories set-back for building[s] fronting Half Street S.E.; and a 1:1 upper story step-back above a height of 110 feet for buildings fronting Potomave Avenue S.E. and S.W. The rules also provide for referral to the National Capital Planning Commission of all applications for the review of buildings and uses on lots that abut South Capitol Street." Whew! The CG Overlay has yet to be posted in its entirety on the Zoning Commission web site (see that "Reserved" for Chapter 11?), but in the interim I've cobbled together the various ZC orders and other documents (we're still waiting on the publication of the final order for ZC case 06-25, which extended the CG Overlay boundary across South Capitol Street) into a single sleep-inducing document. You can also read my explanatory treatise from a few months back on this Overlay and its companion, the Southeast Federal Center Overlay.
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More posts: South Capitol St., staddis, The Yards, zoning

14th Street Bridge Corridor EIS Underway - And Other Enthusiastic Boundaries
Feb 7, 2007 9:43 PM
You would think that a new Environmental Impact Statement of the 14th Street Bridge Corridor would be outside of my Near Southeast scope, but they managed to sneak the boundary area just past South Capitol Street. So, it becomes another study I will grudgingly pay attention to, along with the South Capitol Street EIS and the 11th Street Bridges EIS (both of which have gone reeeeeal quiet lately, with the 11th Street Bridges EIS having missed its release deadline of Fall 2006). See this flyer for information on the 14th Street Bridge Corridor public workshops, on Feb. 27 at Amidon Elementary in Southwest and Feb. 28 in Arlington.
And speaking of Boundary Creep, the Washington Business Journal reported last week that the Office of Planning has "has initiated a major effort to expand the boundaries of the traditional office and entertainment areas, creating a planning zone called Center City. The initiative more than doubles the area traditionally considered downtown by adding the North of Massachusetts Avenue area (NoMa) as well as the Southeast and Southwest waterfronts. Another objective is to provide better links to tie the traditional downtown zone with emerging business and entertainment districts, the waterfront and the National Mall. Center City will be promoted as a waterfront city with nearly half of its boundary defined by the Potomac and Anacostia rivers." You can see the OP's Center City page for more details about this project, which I am admittedly giving short shrift here (I figure there will be plenty more items to come). Who'd a thunk it--it turns out Near Southeast is DOWNTOWN, baby!

More posts: 11th Street Bridges, South Capitol St.

Reminder: Douglass Bridge Inbound Closure This Weekend
Feb 7, 2007 9:49 AM
A reminder from DDOT: "As part of ongoing improvements to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will continue periodic off-peak bridge maintenance repairs on Friday February 9, 2007. [View a map of weekend detours] Following the morning rush hour this Friday, DDOT will temporarily close the northbound (inbound) lanes on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Inbound bridge drivers will be directed to follow signed detours on Interstate 295 North to the 11th Street Bridge--providing direct access into the District. The northbound (inbound) lanes will be closed beginning on Friday, February 9 at 10 am until as late as Monday, February 12 at 4 am. All lanes will be reopened in time for the Monday morning rush hour." This is all leading up to: "During the July-August closure, the northernmost portion of the bridge will be lowered to become an at-grade roadway with a new intersection at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. Nearly three blocks of elevated roadway--which currently act as a barrier to access across South Capitol Street--will be removed and replaced with at-grade intersections that will help knit the neighborhood together. Additional improvements will occur such as paving and painting the entire bridge." You can also keep track of when the upcoming closures are on my Calendar of Events.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Photo Update Day
Jan 28, 2007 7:36 PM
Saturday was a picture-perfect day, so I attempted to take some perfect pictures. (Not sure I succeeded, but oh well.) I've updated the Stadium Construction Gallery from the usual vantage points, and took some additional photos of South Capitol Street and the areas near the portions of the Douglass Bridge scheduled to be demolished this summer--and thanks to the inbound lanes being closed, I was able to take some shots that normally would require snapping them from a moving car, since I prefer not to execute deathwish darts into traffic (I do however send my thanks to the concerned motorist driving southbound who started honking hysterically at the site of me climbing over the kneewall into the closed traffic lanes).
I've also been making a slow slog through the online Near Southeast Photo Archive, trying to make sure that all angles of intersections are well-represented, so I shot a lot of 3rd Street vistas today; if you're so inclined, take a wander through the 3rd and 4th Street archives (just click on the map to choose an intersection) to see these updates, and also note that you can now see my shots along Tingey Street and from across the Anacostia River looking north as well, to see what lurks behind the DOT HQ. Over the coming weeks I'll be working on doing the same for more streets.
Normally at this point I'd send you through a list of the pages where I've posted new photos, and tell you to look for the ubiquitous icon, but thanks to the Photo Archive app, I can now easily display all pictures I took and posted today. You'll see intersections and directions underlined, if you want to see all the photos in the archive of that location, just click on the link.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park

Two New Entries in the Demolished Buildings Gallery -- Two Old Entries, Too
Jan 28, 2007 4:20 PM
Within the past week, two of the unoccupied buildings in the blocks just north the stadium site were demolished: 1236 South Capitol, that funky neon-yellow bungalow sandwiched between the BP gas station and the Public Storage Building, and 1201 Cushing, a little white ramshackle building behind a wooden fence that you would never have seen unless you ventured down Cushing south of M. (In fact, *I* had never seen it until late last year.) The South Capitol Street site is being cleared so that the WMATA employee parking lot that was just moved a few hundred feet south from next to the Navy Yard Metro Half Street entrance can be relocated again (see my entry about this from back in November). The Cushing lot is the first demolition as the land gets cleared for Monument Realty's Half Street mixed-use project (55 M Street et al). These have now been added to the top of my Demolished Builings Gallery; and if you scroll down the page a good ways, you'll see two additional icons. First, I realized that I needed to include the little building demolished sometime in 2005 that was attached to the west side of Nation; then, while browsing through my photos, I found out that not only had the empty lot on the west side of the Good N Plenty carryout at Half and N contained a rowhouse within the relatively recent past, but that I actually had one photo of it, so it's added to the Gallery now as well. I imagine the Demolished Buildings page is going to get a pretty good workout over the next few weeks. UPDATE: Fixed the bad Demolished Buildings Gallery link. Oops.

Douglass Bridge Makeover Graphic; and a New Page of Photos
Jan 25, 2007 9:42 AM
Today's Post has a big cool graphic showing exactly how the Frederick Douglass Bridge is going to get renovated this summer, with 800 feet of the South Capitol Street viaduct being demolished completely north of Potomac Avenue and another 580 feet of the bridge lowered so that the bridge meets street level at Potomac Avenue instead of O Street. It also shows that there will be new stop lights on South Capitol at Potomac Avenue and at N Street, and pedestrian-activated lights at O and P streets. The graphic (make sure to look at it, it really is well done) accompanies an article about the bridge's renovation. And remember, the northbound (inbound) lanes of the bridge will be closed starting this Friday at 10 am until Monday the 29th at 4 am. And plan your summer vacation to coincide with July and August, when the bridge will be closed entirely for the lowering. And here are some additional views of the portions of the bridge that will be demolished and lowered. (And I'm realizing I'd better create a Bridge Makeover page to pull these all together in one place!)
UPDATE: Yeah, a new page to track the Bridge Makeover, that's a really good idea.
UPDATE II: Here's DDOT's press release on the rehabilitation of the Douglass Bridge, along with a map of this weekend's detours.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

$18 Million to Upgrade Roads - Capital Spending, or Stadium Cap Buster?
Jan 24, 2007 11:44 PM
From Thursday's Post: "District officials acknowledged yesterday that the city will have to pay more than $18 million to upgrade streets near the Washington Nationals' new stadium, and some council members said the expenditure would push spending on the ballpark beyond the council's $611 million cap. [...] The commission's chief executive, Allen Y. Lew, said that though the stadium is proceeding on schedule for an April 2008 opening, the budget does not include money to handle transportation planning at the 41,000-seat ballpark. Team officials have said smooth access for up to 9,000 motorists driving to each game is critical to the success of the ballpark, along the Anacostia River near the Navy Yard and South Capitol Street." DDOT said in an interview that it has budgeted $18.4 million to widen and repave roads, repair cubs, add traffic lights and signs and plant trees near the ballpark, and that that money was allocated as part of planned upgrade work to the South Capitol Street corridor before the stadium was awarded to Near Southeast in September 2004. All this of course brings the curtain up on yet another round of DC Council Ballpark Kabuki Theater, with anti-stadium forces yammering about the cap being exceeded while pro-stadium forces contending that this doesn't violate the cap. Perhaps they'd prefer to spend Opening Day digging tour buses out of monster potholes on an un-upgraded South Capitol Street.
And, since I'm talking stadium cost cap, I'll finally mention this Examiner article from three weeks ago (Save it for a slow day, I told myself--HAH!) that a deal has now been struck to put artwork on display at the stadium after all, without violating The Sacred Cap (see my entry on the original story from December).
More posts: South Capitol St., Nationals Park

Detail on What's Coming for the South Capitol Street Bridge
Jan 24, 2007 10:10 AM
Dr. Gridlock's Get There blog has an entry about the upcoming work on the South Capitol Street/Frederick Douglass Bridge, confirming that as expected the bridge will be closed in July and August to demolish the existing viaduct between Potomac Avenue and O Street, so that drivers coming off the bridge will arrive at street level three blocks further south than they now do. This will give South Capitol Street a much nicer appearance, and will mean that the new Nationals ballpark won't have an ancient bridge ramp rubbing up against its western facade (right now at O Street the viaduct is not much more than about 20 feet from the edge of the stadium). There will also be new signals at some of the intersections. The blog post also mentions the first of the weekend closures of the bridge coming up this weekend, with the inbound lanes closing between 10 am Friday and 4 am Monday, detouring traffic to the 11th Street Bridges. (But alas, the demolishing of the viaduct will take with it two of my favorite stadium photo perches, though at least by summer most of the exterior work should be completed.) UPDATE: Here's a short piece from WTOP about the plans for the bridge.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Official DDOT Notice of First Douglass Bridge Closures
Jan 17, 2007 7:44 PM
From DDOT:
"As part of ongoing improvements to the Frederick Douglass Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will perform periodic off-peak bridge maintenance repairs beginning Friday, January 26, 2007.
"These periodic weekend repairs include expansion joint replacement and under-the-bridge steel repair work. Work will also involve painting and replacing handrails and installation of new lighting.
"Due to the nature of these repairs, DDOT will temporarily close the northbound/inbound lanes starting at 10 am on January 26. The lanes will reopen on Monday, January 29 by 4 am--in time for morning rush hour. During the closure, inbound drivers will follow signed detours on I-295 North to the 11th Street Bridge providing direct access into the District.
"DDOT encourages the use of Metro as a transportation alternative. Pedestrian and bike access will remain on the bridge during the weekend closures. All closures may be subject to change and are weather permitting. In the event of inclement weather, lane closures will be rescheduled to the following weekend."
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

First Heads Up on South Cap Bridge Closures
Jan 16, 2007 8:23 PM
No doubt there will be more official announcements coming from DDOT, but in my quest to get you information lickety-split, I point you to this post on the MPD 1D message board: "The Frederick Douglass Bridge main span and approach ramps will undergo significant repair work during this year, effective this month. Repair work consists of steel repairs, deck joint replacement, concrete repairs and painting of bridge thus these repairs necessitate the closure of the bridge which will effect the ingress and egress of DC residents, DC govt employees. Traffic will be advised by a Changeable Message Sign Board daily that drivers should use the 11th St. Bridge as a major detour route during times the Douglas bridge is closed. The following schedule has been tentatively put out -- please share with coworkers, neighbors." It shows scheduled weekend closures (from Fridays at 10 pm to Mondays at 4 am) on various dates starting Jan. 26, and also mentions that the entire span will be closed from after July 4 through the end of August--I believe (but do not know with 100% certainty) this will be the dismantling of the viaduct so that the bridge exit onto South Capitol Street reaches street level at Potomac Avenue rather than O Street. As I said, I know more will be coming from DDOT, and I'll post it as soon as I have it. I'll also put all the scheduled closures on my Calendar of Events once they come from DDOT.

More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

South Capitol Street Construction
Jan 11, 2007 10:17 AM
Apparently the sign announcing construction on the South Capitol Street Bridge has reappeared, and I'm hearing that this is the beginning of the rehab work on the existing bridge. (No, not the construction of the new one, that won't begin before 2011!) There won't be lane closures right away, but look for some probably on weekends in the near future. DDOT hasn't yet posted anything about it on its web site--when they do, I'll post, of course.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Article on Light Rail - With Some Clarification
Jan 5, 2007 1:02 PM
UPDATE, 1/5: Adding a link to this piece in today's WashTimes on the Anacostia trolley pilot, which doesn't include much new info, but the Bloomberg piece linked to below has disappeared, so this is good to have; in the meantime, be sure to ignore other pieces like this one that try yet again to say that the Bolling line will connect riders to the baseball stadium by 2008, which is just patently false.
Hat tip to the CHT Shareholder Community blog for finding this Bloomberg article, "Washington Trolleys Go Back on Track in Mass Transit Encore," which discusses the plans that have been in the works since 2003 to bring light rail to DC. One thing that the article doesn't quite make clear--when it's talking about building the first 2-mile line (describing it as "pass[ing] near the Washington Nationals' new downtown ballpark"), it's glossing over the fact that this test line is being built in Anacostia, along the east side of the river, whereas Near Southeast and the stadium are on the west side of the river. You can go to the DC Transit Future web site to learn more about the Anacostia Streetcar Project (the test line) and about the long-range plans. The planned corridors do include M Street SE, the 11th Street Bridges, and South Capitol Street. But this project has had many delays over the years (see my first post on it, from October 2003), the Anacostia test line is already at least three years behind schedule; but at least back in October the Transportation Planning Board allotted $3 million to the Anacostia Streetcar Study and added the first phase of construction to the Constrained Long Range Plan, so it's finally getting some funding. But, In other words, don't plan on buying your tokens just yet :-).
More posts: East of 11th Street, M Street, South Capitol St., Nationals Park, streetcars

Demolition Underway at 55 M
Dec 19, 2006 7:49 PM
With thanks to the many eagle-eyed correspondents who passed this along, we can report that demolition has begun at 55 M Street, the southeastern corner of Half and M, currently home to the western Navy Yard Metro Station entrance and soon to be home to Monument Realty's first offerings in Near Southeast--a 275,000 sq ft office building at Half and M, a 200-key W Aloft hotel mid-block, and 350-unit residential tower at Half and N, with 50,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail throughout the project. I talked to the workers on the site, and they said that they will be demolishing the entire length of the block between Half, M, N, and Cushing; I asked about the WMATA employee lot just south of the station entrance, how much longer that lot would be there, and the workers said "not long." This lot is to be moved to Monument's land at 1236 South Capitol (south of the Public Storage Building), but as of a few days ago that land still required its own demolition. Monument's Zoning Commission/Capitol Gateway Overlay Review hearing on 55 M Street is scheduled for January 11, but considering the very tight timeline they're working under (needing to get the upgrades to the Navy Yard station completed before Opening Day 2008, plus their plan to get the three levels of underground parking completed by that date), it's not really a surprise that demolition is moving forward. A lot of moving parts that need to work together just right for success.... (And just FYI, I'm not considering this project "underway" until after they get zoning approval.) UPDATE: I think I see their interim solution for the WMATA parking lot, there's now "WMATA Lot Only" signs on the fenced-in lot a few feet further south on Half Street, they must be planning to move the employee parking there as the demolition works north to south, until the 1236 South Capitol lot is ready....

Alley-Closing-Palooza Comes to a Close: Everything Passes
Dec 19, 2006 4:19 PM
With no debate, the four Near Southeast alley closing bills that have been snaking their way through the DC legislative process in 2006 were passed at today's city council session, with both emergency and permanent bills being passed (emergency bills allow the statutes to take effect immediately, allowing the closings to be considered law as the permanent bills await mayoral and congressional approval). To recap, this batch included the closing of alleys on the west side of Square 701 between M, N, Cushing, and Half (at Monument Realty's 55 M Street site); the closing of alleys and the creation of streets named 2nd Place, 3rd Place, and an official designation of a portion of L Street, all part of the Capitol Quarter footprint; the closing of alleys and the eventual reopening of H and I streets between 2nd and New Jersey to make way for W.C. Smith's 1-million-sq-ft mixed-use project at 800 New Jersey; and finally the closing of alleys on the east side of Square 700 (between Half, Van, M, and N), where Monument will eventually add to their Half Street domination. That makes seven Near Southeast alley closings and street changes put on the books in 2006, when you include the stadium street closings, the Willco land on the east side of Square 701 (M, N, Cushing, and 1st) and the Square 743N west-side alley closings that allowed the start of construction on the 100 M Street office building and the Onyx on First residential tower. There's one more potential alley closing wandering around out there somewhere, and that's for Lerner's 1000 South Capitol Street office building; representatives came before ANC 6D way back in April, but (believe it or not!) a squabble broke out about an acceptable community benefits package in return for the ANC's report, and nothing's been heard on this since.

Razing in the Offing
Dec 15, 2006 4:47 PM
I've finally uncovered a roundabout way to find out about pending raze permits (right now, raze permit applications are not tracked or listed in any way on DC.gov--waaah!). The city's Historic Preservation Office sends out via e-mail weekly permit reports for the entire city (the HPO is contacted by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to confirm that building/raze permits aren't for buildings with some landmark status or other hold). Recently mailings have indicated that raze permits are in process for 1015 Half Street (Nation) as well as most of the buildings on Monument Realty's properties along Half, N, and South Capitol Streets (26, 30, 32, and 68 N Street, 1241 and 1243 Cushing Place, and 1236 South Capitol). This reports from HPO don't mean that razing is imminent (for instance, the Monument Realty raze permit requests came through HPO in mid-October), but do show that plans for demolition are more than just theoretical. UPDATE: I knew I forgot something when I posted this; I meant to include that, while I haven't seen a raze permit, a correspondent has reported that tenants told him that the beige brick building at South Capitol and O SW is scheduled to be demolished just after the New Year, to make way for the 1325 South Capitol 244-unit residential building.

More posts: 1015 Half, 1325sc, Monument Valley/Half St., South Capitol St., square 697, staddis

South Capitol Street/I-395 Ramp Closures Dec. 4-7
Nov 28, 2006 3:57 PM
From DDOT: The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) advises motorists that the exit ramps from South Capitol Street to both I-395 northbound and southbound will be closed for maintenance from Monday December 4 through Thursday December 7 from 8 pm to 4 am. The below detour will be set-up to guide motorists:
  • Northbound I-395 traffic should continue north on South Capitol Street crossing under I-395. Traffic should then turn left onto Washington Avenue and turn left onto the ramp for northbound I-395 at D Street
  • Westbound I-395 traffic should continue north on South Capitol Street crossing under I-395. Traffic should then bear left onto Washington Avenue and turn left onto C Street. Traffic should then turn left onto Second Street and then bear left onto the ramp for Southbound I-395.
  • More posts: South Capitol St.

    Upcoming Zoning Hearings
    Nov 26, 2006 5:36 PM
    Just a reminder (in case you don't stay glued to my Calendar of Upcoming Events) that tomorrow (Monday Nov. 27) is the continuation of the Zoning Commission's hearing on Florida Rock's 2nd Stage PUD. It's available via live webcast starting at 6:30 pm. There are also three more Near Southeast ZC hearings in the next few weeks and months: on Dec. 7 is the zoning hearing for William C. Smith's 250 M Street office building, which could be interesting because the discussion at the July 10 ZC meeting about this project (starting on page 72 of this transcript) showed the ZC members to be, one could say, somewhat skeptical of the building's initial design. Then, on Jan. 11, Monument Realty will have its Half Street office / hotel / residential development zoning hearing. Finally, on Feb. 22, the Camden Development residential project at 1325 South Capitol Street will have its Capitol Gateway Overlay Review. Interested members of the public should note that there are mechanisms built into the zoning hearing process for public comment, and if you feel strongly one way or another about a project, this is a time when you should make yourself heard. Visit the Zoning Commission web site for additional details. (Of course, the time when I decide to highlight this public participation aspect of the zoning process is when only one of these four pending ZC hearings actually has a Public Hearing Notice--containing the instructions for participating--posted on the ZC calendar.)
    More posts: 250 M, Florida Rock, Monument Valley/Half St., South Capitol St., staddis, zoning

    Exxon Digging at South Capitol and I
    Nov 22, 2006 10:03 AM
    Reality is always a few days ahead of bureaucracy, so the Building Permits Feed is telling us what our eyes have already seen, that digging is going on at the closed Exxon station at South Capitol and I streets, excavating the underground gas storage tanks. I've heard no rumors about any impending development or sale of the land, but will of course post anything I hear (and if you know something about what's happening there, feel free to tell me). The station closed in May 2006, not long after its owner pleaded guilty to fraudulently double-billing government contractors more than $120,000 and was sentenced to 12-18 months in prison.
    More posts: South Capitol St.

    CG Overlay Hearing Tonight - And Your (Extremely Long) Zoning Lesson of the Day
    Nov 16, 2006 11:28 AM
    Tonight the Zoning Commission is having a public hearing on case 06-25, a text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay that would include the west side of South Capitol Street in the CG Overlay and also establish a ZC review and approval process for new developments that abut South Capitol (as is currently the case for new projects along M Street). The Capitol Gateway Overlay spells out in extreme detail exactly what the requirements are for developments along South Capitol, M, and in the Ballpark District and over to Buzzards Point, and I suggest that anyone who is interested (or concerned) about the type of development that may be coming to Near Southeast should pour themselves 9 or 10 cups of coffee and read this document. (It's not a complete version because one doesn't currently seem to exist, I cobbled this together from various ZC documents.) The preamble is worth highlighting, to see how the city has spelled out what it envisions for the area:
    The purposes of the CG Overlay District are to:
    (a) Assure development of the area with a mixture of residential and commercial uses, and a suitable height, bulk and design of buildings, as generally indicated in the Comprehensive Plan and recommended by planning studies of the area;
    (b) Encourage a variety of support and visitor-related uses, such as retail, service, entertainment, cultural and hotel or inn uses;
    (c) Allow for continuation of existing industrial uses, which are important economic assets to the city, during the extended period projected for redevelopment;
    (d) Provide for a reduced height and bulk of buildings along the Anacostia riverfront in the interest of ensuring views over and around waterfront buildings, and provide for continuous public open space along the waterfront with frequent public access points; and
    (e) Require suitable ground-level retail and service uses and adequate sidewalk width along M Street, S.E., near the Navy Yard Metrorail station.
    From there, you are treated to pages and pages and pages of very specific requirements set out for developers (i.e., items like "Each new building shall devote not less than thirty-five percent (35%) of the gross floor area of the ground floor to retail, service, entertainment, or arts uses ("preferred uses") [...]; provided, that the following uses shall not be permitted: automobile, laundry, drive-through accessory to any use, gasoline service stations, and office uses (other than those accessory to the administration, maintenance, or leasing of the building). Such preferred uses shall occupy 100% of the building's street frontage along M Street, except for space devoted to building entrances or required to be devoted to fire control.")
    There is also a separate Southeast Federal Center Overlay, again laying out much detail about what is required and allowed for that development. There's even a great map on the last page that clearly shows the allowed uses, with the 5.4-acre waterfront park and residential-zoned areas being closest to the water (so there's no plan in place to allow office buildings right on the water or even near it; the commercial zones of the SEFC are all along First Street and M Street).
    I think even just casual browsing through these documents can be a bit of an eye-opener for people (like me) who don't realize exactly how many requirements are already in place for these two areas. Of course, developers can ask for relief from certain rules (or the city council can just override the ZC altogether), but having documents such as these are a solid foundation. So it's good to know what's in them.
    UPDATE: (like you're still reading) The Case 06-25 CG Overlay text amendment hearing was over last night in a flash; the record is being held open until Nov. 30, with action most likely to be taken at the ZC's Dec. 11 meeting.
    More posts: M Street, South Capitol St., staddis, The Yards, zoning

    Zoning Filing to Move WMATA Parking - Update: Approved
    Nov 16, 2006 11:09 AM
    In order to start construction ASAP on both the expansion of the Navy Yard Metro entrance at Half and M and mixed-use offerings along Half Street, Monument Realty and WMATA are asking the DC Zoning Commission for an emergency text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay to allow a temporary parking lot for WMATA employees to be built, replacing the one currently atop the Navy Yard station. This new lot would be on South Capitol Street between M and N, on the lot just south of the Public Storage building and just north of the Amoco station (lot 0700 0046 for those of you with parcel maps), and would be accessed from Van Street. The text amendment would restrict the parking lot's life to three years--by that point, Monument's construction along Half Street should completed and WMATA employees would then be able to park in those underground lots. This will come before the Zoning Commission for setdown on Nov. 13; because it is being requested on an emergency basis, the Office of Planning is recommending that the text amendment take effect immediately upon setdown, and is requesting that it be set down for a hearing at the earliest possible date. Good to see that Monument and WMATA are moving fast. UPDATE, 11/16: This text amendment was approved on an emergency basis, which means that it goes into effect immediately and for 120 days, but Monument still has to go to the ZC during that time for a hearing to get permanent approval of the amendment plus approval of the parking lot itself because it lies in a CG Overlay mandatory review area. (See the above entry for more on THAT!)

    New Renderings, Updated Pages
    Nov 13, 2006 2:47 PM
    WDG Architecture updated its web site recently to include a rendering of 1015 Half Street, the 440,000-sq-ft office building by Potomac Investment Properties slated for the Nation site at Half and L. (I'd give a link directly to their page on 1015 Half, but like so many architecture firms, their site is so overly Flash'ed that there's no way to get you there.) They also had a rendering for 1325 South Capitol Street, the 244-unit residential project across from the stadium by Camden Development. (As expected, I'm wavering in my resolve to stop my coverage at the South Capitol Street median, and will now track anything that fronts South Capitol, even if the address is in Southwest.) These renderings--along with the one I found last week for 1000 South Capitol (the proposed 320,000-sq-ft office building by Lerner Enterprises on the same block as Nation)--spurred me to do some freshening of both my North of M and South Capitol Street pages, adding a lot of new photos and views.
    More posts: 1000 South Capitol, 1015 Half, South Capitol St., square 697

    Lerner Site Redesign - 20 M Now Delivering in Spring 2007, 1000 South Capitol Rendering
    Nov 8, 2006 11:13 PM
    Lerner Enterprises within the past few days launched a very nice (and very much needed) redesign of their web site. The 20 M Street page (which isn't really the official project web site, that's 20MStreetSE.com) says that the building will be available in Spring 2007 (an earlier date than the Fall 2007 originally given), and gives much detail about the project's "green" features. It also lists Cushman & Wakefield as the commercial leasing agents, which I believe is a new development. There's also a page for 1000 South Capitol Street, a proposed 320,000-sq-ft office building on South Capitol between K and L (the parking lot next to Nation). No start date, but there's a rendering, the first I've seen for this project (and you know how excited I get when I unearth renderings). 1000 South Cap has been on the boards for years, but other than a request for an alley closing at an ANC6D meeting earlier this year (which was referred to the development committee), there's been no evidence of movement. See my own 20 M and North of M pages for photos, etc.
    More posts: 1000 South Capitol, 20 M, ANC News, South Capitol St.

    Douglass Bridge Work - Not Yet
    Nov 6, 2006 8:33 PM
    Today is the "on or about day" that the flashing signs on South Capitol Street said would mark the beginning of work on the South Capitol Street Bridge--however, the start has been delayed while DDOT makes changes to its plans. Will alert you to anything I hear.
    More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

    Sign Announcing South Capitol Street Work - Update
    Oct 30, 2006 10:23 AM
    An electronic sign has appeared at South Capitol and I streets, warning of road work beginning on or about Nov. 6. There's been nothing about it announced yet anywhere on the DDOT web site, and I haven't heard anything about it through the grapevine; a correspondent reported earlier in the week that he had contacted DDOT to ask when the work would begin to remove the South Capitol Street viaduct between Potomac Avenue and O Street, and he was told that it wouldn't start before early next year, perhaps no later than April. I e-mailed DDOT to ask for confirmation, but have received no reply. There are plans for lots of streetscape improvements along South Capitol in addition to the removal of the viaduct, so perhaps this is the beginning of that work. Will post here as soon as I find out more. UPDATE: A correspondent passes along information received from DDOT that the signs are marking the beginning of the project to rehabilitate the South Capitol Street Bridge, which includes doing steel repairs and railings, and painting of the steel beams, which is what will begin Nov. 6, and which will necessitate lane closures. This DDOT communique with a resident also said that the lowering of the viaduct between Potomac and O would not start until July 2007, and which will see the entire bridge closed while the work is done. Will continue to keep my eye out for the official press releases from DDOT on the work.
    More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

    Near Southeast Projects in the Long-Range Transportation Plan
    Oct 23, 2006 10:22 AM
    Monday's DC Examiner reports: "The Transportation Planning Board added more than $1 billion in projects for the District to the region's long-range transportation plan, according to officials. The stratagem, called the Constrained Long Range Plan, estimates about $4.5 billion will be available each year for the next 24 years to complete projects in Maryland, Virginia and the District. Projects can only be added to the board's long range plan if there is a solid funding mechanism in place. " Three of the DC projects will impact Near Southeast: the rehabilitation of South Capitol Street including transformation of the street into an at-grade boulvard from I Street to N Street and the construction of a new Frederick Douglass Bridge (costing $625 million and completed in 2015); the reconfiguration and reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges (costing $377 million and completed in 2011); and $3 million for the Anacostia Streetcar Study, which would run light rail across the 11th Street Bridges from Anacostia down M Street SE to South Capitol Street. (The first phase of actual construction of the Streetcar Project has been added to the CLRP as well.) Here's an explanation of the CLRP as well as the Transportation Improvement Plan, which describes the schedule for federal funds obligated to state and local projects.

    Two Just-Outside-the-Boundaries Tidbits
    Sep 27, 2006 9:59 AM
    There are projects immediately adjacent to Near Southeast that I won't be tracking with my usual level of obsessive-compulsiveness (no photos, dedicated pages, etc.), but I will mention big milestones if I hear about them. And so first is the announcement of a pending public meeting by the AWC on October 10 on the Poplar Point Site Development Plan process--this is the 70-acre on the Anacostia on the east side of the South Capitol Street Bridge, just across the river from Florida Rock, where possibly a new DC United stadium may be built. (Note that the transfer of this land from Federal to District control is still pending in Congress.) The other project is 1325 South Capitol Street SW, on the western side of the street between N and O (in other words, directly across from the stadium). GlobeSt.com reports (hat tip to reader RR) that Camden Property Trust is planning a 244-unit 210,000-sq-ft building on the site, with construction to start in Q2 2007. (I know, it's just across the dang street from Near Southeast, and maybe by the time the project starts I'll cave and decide to track anything that actually fronts South Capitol. Because there aren't enough projects for me to track :-).)

    More posts: 1325sc, Anacostia Waterfront Corp., South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge

    1100 South Capitol Starts to Move Forward
    Sep 14, 2006 9:05 AM
    In June, The Lawrence Ruben Company added to the 24,000-sq-ft lot it has owned at the corner of South Capitol and L since 2004, paying (according to DC land records) $4.843 million to buy 9,000 sq ft of the St. Vincent de Paul church's parking lot. I'm told the Ruben Co. has hired the Shalom Baranes architecture firm (which is also working on the huge Southeast Federal Center project) to design a 330,000-sq-ft office building for this location (1100 South Capitol Street). Most likely, Ruben will not move forward on construction until they sign a tenant for the building. Check my North of M page (and it's spiffy new map!) to see what other projects are on the boards in this getting-ever-more-crowded section of Near Southeast.
    More posts: 1100 South Capitol, mnorth, South Capitol St., square 698