continue to move forward, there's now official names for the first-phase projects. Say hello to
* 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!
55 M St.
, Boilermaker Shops/Yards
, Factory 202/Yards
, Foundry Lofts/Yards
, Monument Valley/Half St.
, South Capitol St.
, Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park
, Traffic Issues
, Square 701
, The Yards
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
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.
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.
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.
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
, 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.
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