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

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

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

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!
Comments (11)
More posts: icecreamjubilee, Douglass Bridge, 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

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?

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.
Comments (2)
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge

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.)

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

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.)
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More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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!
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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."
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More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.

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.
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More posts: Rearview Mirror, Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park

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.
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More posts: Florida Rock, Douglass Bridge, Teague Park

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.
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, Capitol Quarter, meetings, Douglass Bridge, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

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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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.
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More posts: Douglass Bridge, streetcars, Traffic Issues

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.

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.

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.)

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.
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More posts: Events, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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."
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More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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."
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More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
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More posts: Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

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.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park

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.

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

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.)
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, riverwalk, Douglass Bridge, The Yards

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.
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More posts: parking, Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park

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

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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!
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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."
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: 100 M, 70/100 I, jpi, Onyx, Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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 posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.)
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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....
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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."
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: 100 M, 70/100 I, jpi, Onyx, Douglass Bridge, Square 743N, Nationals Park

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.)
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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?
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park

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

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

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!)
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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

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

'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

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

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

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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.
More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

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

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

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

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

NCPC May Meeting
Apr 14, 2006 4:31 PM
The National Capital Planning Commission has posted the agenda for its May 4 meeting, which includes an informational presentation on the proposed new South Capitol Street Bridge; the meeting will be at 401 9th Street, NW at 12:30 pm. Note that later that same day is the DDOT South Capitol Street Community Update Meeting, at 6 pm at Van Ness Elementary (1150 5th Street SE).
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Overview Piece on New Douglass Bridge
Apr 13, 2006 8:04 AM
In today's Post (well, in some of them, depending on which Extra you receive) is "For Commuters, A New Way to Travel Through the District," a good overview piece about the plans for a new South Capitol Street/Frederick Douglass Bridge. The article doesn't have anything new, but it brings together all the bits and pieces that have come out over the past months about the new bridge. It mentions the public meeting scheduled for May 4, and also confirms that sometime this summer two blocks of the "elevated" South Capitol Street (from O Street to Potomac Avenue) will be dismantled, allowing South Capitol Street to be "at-grade" alongside the stadium site. And it also says, as we've heard previously, that construction would not begin before 2011; the final design of the bridge will be chosen this summer, after the Environmental Impact Study is completed. Cost estimates range from $285 million to $392 million, based on the design. Make sure to go to the poll to vote for your favorite design!
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

South Capitol Street Community Update Meeting
Apr 7, 2006 1:41 PM
DDOT will be holding a public meeting on May 4 at 6 pm to update the public on the latest South Capitol Street Corridor news, and also to allow public review and comment on the latest plans for the street and also the South Capitol Street Bridge. The South Capitol Street EIS and South Capitol Street Bridge Study web sites have more information about what's on tap.

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

The Stadium and South Capitol Street
Mar 16, 2006 7:16 AM
The Post's Marc Fisher has a column today about the stadium and its environs, "South Capitol Street Will Have to Play Catch-Up": "But the plans released this week are a vision of the future, and indeed the District has an impressive concept for a new Anacostia River bridge and a reconfiguration of South Capitol Street that would replace the ugly ramp with green space. The truth, however, is that for quite some years, the stadium will come smack up against the city's befouled underside." He also was wise enough to catch the sleight-of-hand in the stadium design drawings: "[B]oth Metro riders and motorists will approach from the north, where, rather than a grand entrance, the architects offer a cramped plaza sandwiched between two boxy parking structures. But wait: Those boxes are really a political ploy and a sales pitch. The D.C. Council nixed the money for underground parking, but designers nonetheless intend to put the parking below ground, as they should. The ghastly parking towers are in the drawings to scare the Nationals' new owner and developers into coughing up the $28 million needed to dig the hole for parking; investors would then get the right to build retail, residential or offices above the garage." His Raw Fisher blog has a follow-up about the column as well. (And gives this site quite the nice shout-out, too.)
Just as a follow-up, last Friday I posted an entry (lost in the stadium avalanche) about a DDOT press release describing the interim work to be done on the Frederick Douglass Bridge this year, including: "In addition two blocks of the elevated viaduct will be removed and replaced with an at-grade roadway, greatly improving the appearance and pedestrian access along South Capitol Street." This means that they'll somehow jigger the ramp (pardon the technical talk) to start/end at Potomac Avenue, rather than O Street, so that the cool knife-edge portion of the stadium won't be nestled next to a viaduct for four years or so. Now this I can't wait to see.
More posts: parking, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Nationals Park

More on New South Capitol Street Bridge and Street Improvements
Mar 10, 2006 5:11 PM
There's more links and information available now about the possible designs unveiled on Wednesday for the new South Capitol Street Bridge.You can see fun 3D videos of the different designs at the South Capitol Street Bridge Study site. (Do you think we can infer from the number of different videos available for each option that the "Cable Stayed Swing Bridge" might be the designers' favorite?) There is also a press release from DDOT, saying that there will be a community meeting in April to solicit comments on the design, and also to give an update on the project. The draft Environmental Impact Statement will be released in June. And, a bit more detail on the interim work that will be done on the existing bridge: "Starting this summer, the bridge will be rehabilitated to ensure its continued safety and use. The work includes new lighting, better sidewalks and a new coat of paint. In addition two blocks of the elevated viaduct will be removed and replaced with an at-grade roadway, greatly improving the appearance and pedestrian access along South Capitol Street." Wow, wonder how that's gonna work?
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Concept Designs for New South Capitol Street Bridge
Mar 8, 2006 3:56 PM
WTOP reports on four possible designs for the new South Capitol Street Bridge. The article is somewhat confusing (although maybe it's my stadium hangover), but it does say that construction of the "moveable" bridge won't begin until 2011 (for non-bridge-o-philes like me, "moveable" means a drawbridge, not that the bridge itself will move--the bridge needs to be able to allow ships to reach the Navy Yard). However, the existing bridge also needs work so that it can remain in service while the new bridge is built. There's also mention of a "first phase" that will convert South Capitol Street from an expressway to a boulevard--I think that's the improvements to South Capitol Street that are coming this summer, not as a beginning phase of construction in 2011. (I'd tell you more about the plans for work on South Capitol Street this summer, but alas the DDOT web site doesn't have anything, at least not that I can find.) And, if you use the bridge frequently, be prepared, the article says that it's possible it will have to be closed during August 2006. More as I find out.
More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

South Capitol Street EIS Newsletter
Feb 24, 2006 10:11 AM
The South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement project has posted its Winter 2006 newsletter with the latest updates on the study. Two build alternatives have been identified and are briefly described--the less costly one would keep the South Capitol and M intersection in two levels, and would create a "traditional" intersection at Potomac Avenue. The second and more wide-ranging alternative would reconstruct South Capitol and M to be "at-grade", and would create a traffic circle interchange at Potomac Avenue (there are differences in the two plans for east side of the bridge as well). The various plans (the two build alternatives, plus a "Transportation System Management" alternative and a No-Build alternative) will be presented at public meetings later this winter, then there will be ANC meetings, environmental analyses, and finally the preparation of the draft EIS. In the meantime, DDOT will be discussing this project as part of its Feb. 25 Open House. Also, both the South Capitol Street EIS and the 11th Street Bridges EIS teams will present their pedestrian and bicycle concepts to a meeting of the Bicycle Advisory Council on March 8. See my South Capitol Street and South Capitol Street Bridge pages for more details, photos, links, etc.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Open House on Anacostia Transportation Issues
Feb 15, 2006 7:07 PM
DDOT and the Anacostia Coordinating Council are holding an "Anacostia Transportation and Development Projects Information Fair," on Saturday Feb. 25 from 9 am to 2 pm, at 2616 MLK Ave., SE. It will be providing details on the plans for the Anacostia area, which include 11th Street and South Capitol Street Bridges, the Anacostia Waterfront projects and Poplar Point, as well as other projects that aren't in my Near Southeast purview. There will be bus tours of the sites, and food will be provided. Pre-registration encouraged but not required.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge

Oct 2, 2005 5:03 PM
It's been a busy busy weekend here at the Near Southeast page. To reflect the true boundaries of the area I'm tracking, the map at right has been expanded, to 11th Street to the east and to South Capitol and S Streets in the south. I've also added two new pages to the site: the New South Capitol Street Bridge page, and the Near Southeast East End page, both of which have lots and lots of photos, and links to information about what's happening in those spots. I've also finally made my Navy Yard page more than an afterthought, adding many more pictures (although not so many from inside the Navy Yard walls, I don't want a visit from the Homeland Security folks). I know this makes the map smaller and a bit harder to read, but I also needed to leave some space for when more projects get underway. And, in the midst of all that, I added new photos to many of the existing pages: check out the DOT HQ, Washington Canal Park, Capitol Hill TowerFlorida Rock, and WASA pages to see them. (You'll also find a few new pictures on some other pages, but it'd be embarassing to mention them here when there's only one new photo on a page.)


Sep 14, 2005 1:20 PM
Speaking of bridges and environmental impact statements, I've only now stumbled across both the South Capitol Street Bridge Study web site and SouthCapitolEIS.com,  two efforts that ran concurrently over the last six months as part of the project to replace the Frederick Douglass Bridge. (I've only been checking the DDOT Public Meetings page on a daily basis for weeks now, sure would have been nice if one of their announcements had ever mentioned these URLs!) Both sites have lots of links and information, and should be required bookmarks for anyone interested in the replacement (and most likely realignment) of the South Capitol Street Bridge. Materials from the summer meetings of these projects are available, as is a mammoth, crash-your-computer PDF showing two of the proposed alternate alignments. I believe these two stages are pretty much over, so I'll try to keep you posted on the next phases.

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

Aug 13, 2005 9:01 AM
The DC Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting regarding Early Right of Way Acquisitions on the South Capitol Street Bridge Alignment Study Project, Tuesday, August 16, 2005, at 10 am, at the Reeves Municipal Center at 14th and U, NW. According to the press release, the "purpose of this meeting is to provide the landowners and other interested persons with an opportunity to receive information about the project, DDOT's Early Acquisition Program, and to submit written and verbal comments." The realignment of the South Capitol Street (Frederick Douglass) Bridge is part of the huge plans for the redesign and redevelopment of South Capitol Street, as detailed in both the New Vision for South Capitol Street (NCPC), and DDOT's South Capitol Gateway Corridor and Anacostia Access Study. (UPDATE: Bumped up as a reminder.)

More posts: Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Jul 30, 2005 10:29 AM
The mammoth transportation bill that's making its way through Congress contains a few nuggets for Near Southeast--$123 million for the rehabilitation of the South Capitol Street Bridge, and $17.6 million for upgrading of the 11th Street Bridge and construction of new ramps for access to M Street, SE.

More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Mar 8, 2005
The National Capital Planning Commission has released its New Vision for South Capitol Street, a beautiful brochure giving more details on how they foresee the redevelopment of South Capitol Street into a grand boulevard, from a new Frederick Douglass Bridge northward to Virginia Avenue. As always, visions and realities are two very different things, but there is strong backing from the federal government (mainly in the persona of Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer), and now with the baseball stadium poised to be built along South Capitol, the interest in making this street into a showcase approach to the Capitol is considerably heightened. But don't look for any of it to happen next week, there's a 10- to 15-year timeline on it all....

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

Jun 7, 2004
Federal and local leaders have signed an agreement to pledge to rebuild the Frederick Douglass Bridge and to redevelop the South Capitol Street corridor as a grand gateway into the District from Prince George's County (more). Does it actually mean anything? Hope so!

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