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Public Meeting Dec. 11 on Southeast Blvd. Redesign
Dec 10, 2017 2:07 PM
If you are interested in participating in the Environmental Assessment process for the redesign of Southeast Blvd., the second public meeting is scheduled for Monday night, Dec. 11, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Chamberlain Elementary School, 1345 Potomac Ave., SE.
This time around the session will be an "interactive group activity," and will also include unveiling the draft concepts for remaking the stretch of road between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle into an "urban boulvard," which would include raising the street up to the same level as L Street SE to the north, establishing connections to 13th, 14th, and 15th Streets, SE, adding pedestrian and bicycling facilities, and sneaking in some tour bus parking underneath the raised road as well. The possibility of some of the right-of-way being used for residential or other development is also part of the study.
See the official project web site for more details, or scroll through my many posts on it over the years.
Comments (0)
More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

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)

Virginia Avenue Restoration Schedule and Designs
Nov 1, 2017 7:50 PM
On the heels of my previous post on the changes coming to I Street SE, here's some specifics from CSX on its current timetable for the restoration of Virginia Avenue as the tunnel project begins to see the light at the end of, um, itself.
As the graphic at right from this presentation shows, it appears that the 300 block of Virginia is at the top of the restoration list, with the street itself expected to open in Spring 2018. The 200 and 400 blocks would follow in early summer, with the blocks from 5th to 9th following in late summer. This schedule also includes the restoration of the connection under the freeway to Garfield Park in early summer, and Virginia Avenue Park later in the year.
There will be some full closures of the cross streets as they get restored, with the diciest ones probably being 4th Street (expected to close from February into summer) and that bizarro 5th/6th intersection (which this says will be closed from late this year into spring).
As for what Virginia Avenue will look like when "restoration" is complete, here are the graphics from CSX, showing among other things the new separated pedestrian and cycling paths, including a cut-through path on that 4th Street triangle to allow bikes to hook up easily with I Street, the main east-west bicycle route in this neck of the woods. (Yeah, even when you click to enlarge they are tiny. Here's the PDF.)
It's rather stunning to me to actually be seeing a timeline like this--I've been writing about this project for a looooooooooong time. As to whether everything does wrap up in 2018, of course We Shall See.
Comments (6)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Traffic Issues, Virginia Ave Park

Public Meeting on I Street Bicycle and Ped Improvements
Nov 1, 2017 11:14 AM
In recent months (mostly during the time I was preoccupied) DDOT has been working on plans to reconfigure I Street SE between New Jersey and South Capitol to better handle the large amount of vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic on a road that once was sleepy but now most decidedly is not.
This Satuday, Nov. 4, DDOT representatives are holding a public meeting on what is officially known as the I Street SE Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Improvements Project. It's at 11 am, and instead of in a stuffy conference room, the meeting will be held on the south side of I Street SE at Half Street SE (so, dress appropriately!).
Up for discussion will be a final design for this four-block stretch, which (if I am reading the graphics right) calls for the shifting of bike traffic on the blocks between South Capitol and 1st into protected lanes along the curb, with the parking lanes then acting as buffer between bikes and the traffic lanes. Vehicle lanes will still be a single lane in each direction as well as a center turn lane. There will also be flexposts at some of the intersections to prevent cars from taking turns too sharply in a way that endangers pedestrians and cyclists.
At right is a portion of the section between Half and 1st (see what I mean about "deciphering"), but if you are willing to test your ability to read traffic engineering graphic design, you can see the entire layout here.
If you have feedback, wander on by the assembly at Half and I at Saturday at 11. You can probably even bring your dog.
Comments (21)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, meetings, Traffic Issues

Temporary Change in 3rd Street Traffic Flow Coming in October
Sep 22, 2017 12:24 PM
In what could be considered the first hint of the proverbial light at the end of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, CSX has announced that starting sometime in the next few weeks--perhaps as early as October 2, though one might wonder if playoff baseball might impact the timeline--it will be closing the southbound lane of 3rd Street at Virginia Avenue for approximately four to five months, just as it did for a shorter period of time back back in March of 2016.
This closure is to allow for the demolition of the temporary deck over the still-under-construction north tunnel, which will then allow the roof of that tunnel to be built. Then work can begin on "installation of the new, final roadway features" on Virginia Avenue itself, first in the blocks just east of 2nd Street and then working eastward (which will mean more deck removals and temporary traffic flow changes/closures in coming months).
Traffic coming south down 3rd Street north of the freeway will still be able to make the right onto the freeway entrance ramp.
As with the previous closures, pedestrian access along 3rd Street will be maintained, as will access to the driveway to the Capitol Quarter houses on the front lines.
Fourth Street will be the main southbound route from north of the freeway down into the neighborhood.
Enjoy my map (sorry, CSX, my maps are easier to read than yours), and read the CSX presentation for more information.
Comments (32)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

Southeast Blvd. Environmental Assessment Meeting on Sept. 16
Aug 31, 2017 8:59 AM
After a four-year hiatus to complete some additional studies, the Environmental Assessment to improve the desolate stretch of road between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle known as Southeast Blvd. is now back underway, with a public meeting scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 16, at Chamberlain Elementary School at 1345 Potomac Ave., SE, with an open house beginning at 10 am and presentations starting at 10:30.
Officially, this EA "will evaluate conversion of the existing facility into an urban boulevard consistent with the expected multimodal travel demand and the character of the adjacent neighborhood." On the spiffy new web site for the EA, project elements listed include:
* Reconfiguring Southeast Blvd. upwards to match the elevation of L Street SE;
* Adding sidewalks, bicycle facilities, trees, parking, and "green infrastructure";
* Taking the "surplus transportation right-of-way" and converting it to other uses, such as parks;
* Extending 13th, 14th, and 15th Streets SE so that they connect to Southeast Blvd.;
* Adding pedestrian and bicycle links to the Anacostia waterfront (which includes getting across the train tracks that run along the boulevard's southern side);
* Reconfiguring Barney Circle; and
* Building an "under-deck bus transit support facility with bus access via 11th Street SE and/or Barney Circle." (I bet they say this one really quickly and quietly.)
I cannot bear to rehash many years' worth of meetings and designs here, but I would point interested readers to my post from early 2016 about the DDOT Southeast Blvd. Feasibility Study. If I may plagiarize myself: "And what does the feasibility study say? DDOT's report determines that changing the current Southeast Blvd. from the limited-access quick route between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle to a street with connections to its north and south and development along the footprint is feasible, but the transformation 'would be neither inexpensive nor quick'."
I also wrote about the Office of Planning's Southeast Blvd. Planning Study, which had as its purpose "not to identify a single 'preferred alternative,' but rather to develop concepts that respond to the planning goals and objectives for the District and the community, which could be advanced through further study." Those concepts looked like this:
And so now we continue onto the Environmental Assessment. See my SE Blvd page for more history (including the demolition of the old freeway and DDOT's quickie reinstallation of a new road), or just scroll down through my previous posts on it, if you dare.
Comments (50)
More posts: Southeast Blvd., 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

Traffic and Tunnel Tidbits and Open Thread
Jan 11, 2017 2:13 PM
My focus is elsewhere these days, but I haven't completely stopped keeping an eye on things. Just not any real big news to report. So here's some little news:
* INAUGURATION: It might be a challenge heading north out of the neighborhood on Jan. 20. Here's DDOT's page on the inauguration, with a map of the close-in detours and closings, and the pedestrian routes, and more.
* TUNNEL OPEN HOUSE: The next Virginia Avenue Tunnel open house is Thursday, Jan. 12 (tomorrow), from 6 to 8 pm at the Courtyard Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. "A brief presentation and Q&A session with residents will be held at 7 p.m., in response to requests from neighbors." Also, CSX says it expects to reopen 3rd Street at Virginia during the week of Jan. 23-27. After that, there will be another temporary closing of 4th St. SE at Virginia to move a utility manhole. And 7th should be reopening at Virginia Any Minute Now.
And, a tidbit that is neither traffic nor tunnel, but is welcome:
* A BRIGHT LIGHT IN THE DISTANCE: Nationals pitchers and catchers report to the new West Palm Beach spring training facility on Feb. 14, with position players arriving by Feb. 17. (WaPo)
What else is going on these days?
Comments (15)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, inauguration, Traffic Issues

Virginia Ave. Southern Tunnel Complete; Work on Old One Continuing
Dec 28, 2016 2:24 PM
At 8 am on Friday, Dec. 23, the first double-stacked train passed through the newly built southern tunnel under Virginia Avenue, SE, marking the official completion of that phase of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project.
(Alas, the photo at left shows a train coming through the old tunnel, before the rails were laid into the new one, but whaddyagonnado.)
Now Phase II of the project is kicking into gear, which is the rehabilitation and expansion of the existing 100-plus-year-old northern tunnel. That work is expected to be completed, along with the streetscape restoration improvements to Virginia Avenue, in mid-2018.
If you want to see some photos from inside the new tunnel as work was being completed, CSX has them in this presentation.
As part of the work on the northern tunnel, the intersection of 7th and Virginia is expected to close Any Minute Now for about two weeks. Of course, 3rd Street remains closed at Virginia for similar work of demolishing the temporary deck over the now-completed new tunnel and rebuilding it over the northern tunnel; it is expected to reopen in January.
Comments (12)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Tidbits
Dec 12, 2016 9:52 AM
* I STREET REDESIGN: ANC Commissioner Meredith Fascett reports that DDOT is hosting a meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, on proposed plans to redesign I Street SE to make it work better for pedestrians, bicyclists, and even vehicles. It's at 6:30 pm in the lobby at 70 I Street (70 Capitol Yards). Meredith wrote back in August about the early discussions for safer bike lanes, crosswalks, parking adjustments, and more.
* BIXBY RIBBON-CUTTING: Apparently there will be a ribbon cutting at the 195-unit mixed-income Bixby at 7th and L on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
* NATS PARK BILLBOARDS: On Dec. 6 the DC Council gave first approval to the proposed large display boards at the ballpark, though the Hill Rag reports that the count has dropped to five boards from 10, lowers the allowed brightness, and prohibits them from facing toward South Capitol Street, the Anacostia River, M Street, and 1st Street between M and N.
* ONYX SALE, AGAIN: A reader reports that the tell-tale binder appeared in the lobby of the Onyx apartment building recently, indicating that AvalonBay has contracted to purchase the 260-unit building for $95.5 million. (The binder contains the offer required by DC law for the tenants to instead buy the building themselves, if they have $95 million in coins under their sofa cushions.) The building last sold in 2013 for a smidge over $82 million.
* SWEET BABY JAMES: It's been announced that James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt will be playing Nats Park on July 14, 2017. Tickets are on sale now.
* TUNNEL DOINGS: Most folks are probably aware that 3rd Street is now closed at Virginia Avenue for the next several weeks. If you are wanting more info on the current status of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, the last "Coffee with Chuck" of 2016 is Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 8 am at the construction office at 861 New Jersey Ave. SE. Hard to believe that most of the structural work on the new companion tunnel is finishing up, with work moving to "track level"--preparing the railroad bed, installing cross ties, etc. (Good timing to be in the enclosed spot during the winter.) But of course this is not the end of the project, as work will then shift to the reconstruction of the existing 100-year-old tunnel.

Wednesday Tidbits: Homicide on L Street, Flipped Car, Billboards
Nov 30, 2016 10:39 AM
* HOMICIDE: The neighborhood's first second* non-ghaslty-workplace-mass-shooting homicide since March 25, 2004 happened on Sunday, when neighborhood resident Anthony Young was shot to death in the 600 block of L Street, SE; a woman with him was wounded. Police charged Babajide Pittman, 31, with second-degree murder while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon, and said that the the shooting was a dispute between two people who knew each other. ANC 6D Commissioner Meredith Fascett wrote about Young, saying that he was "working to mentor neighborhood kids and had planned to volunteer at the Community Center." (WaPo) UPDATE (VERSION 2): *Originally this update was to say that there were in fact two homicides in the neighborhood in 2016, but after seeing the second one listed as being in the 1000 block of 8th St., SE, I misremembered it as the shooting that happened in the barber shop there. After being corrected in the comments, I went looking, and found this murder from May, but it is described as having happened north of the freeway at the time, but is now in the MPD crime stats as being south of the freeway.
* HOMICIDES 1987-2004: If you haven't come across the overview I wrote in 2010 of the 64 deaths in Near Southeast during the worst of the city's violence epidemic, it might be worth a read. The map and rundown is here.
* MORE CRIME: The actual map part of my big crime database has probably been busted for months, but no one's mentioned it so no one must ever look there. But it's fixed now.
* OOPS: A car flipped in the 300 block of K Street on Tuesday night, and one passenger required extrication from DC Fire/EMS. On-the-spot photography by a JDLand reader here.
* MORE ON BILLBOARDS: The Post writes about the Nats Park digital billboards controversy.
* ACROSS THE WAY: A report on the Zoning Commission's look at the new DC United Stadium. (WaPo)
(If you follow me on Twitter and feel like these tidbits all seem familiar, you are correct! If you don't follow me on Twitter, or don't ever scroll through the Twitter box on the right side of the JDLand home page, you are missing out on what is still a pretty active news feed. It's a way for me to keep the info flowing when I don't have time to post. So, keep an eye on it...)
Comments (28)
More posts: crime, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

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

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

Two-Year Change in Virginia Avenue Flow Begins Sept. 22
Sep 21, 2016 3:23 PM
CSX has announced (now posted on the official web site) that the two-year closure of the remaining eastbound lane of Virginia Ave. east of 6th will begin after the morning rush hour tomorrow, Sept. 22. Because I'm a little pressed for time, I'm just bringing this post that I wrote back in August on the change to the top of the pile.
Original post from Aug. 22:
The biggest disruption to traffic flow so far* near the Southeast Freeway in connection with the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion is now on the horizon, with CSX's announcement on Friday that it expects to close the one remaining open eastbound portion of Virginia Avenue, between 6th and 8th Streets, SE, sometime in mid-September.
This closure is anticipated to last until the completion of the tunnel project in mid-2018.
During this closure, the stretch of Virginia between 6th and 8th on the north side of the freeway that is currently one-way westbound will become two-way traffic, as shown in my alarmingly nifty graphic below. Traffic coming off the 6th Street exit ramp will all turn left to go under the freeway and then have the option to turn right on Virginia to continue eastbound, or to turn westbound or to continue northward.
The streets that cross Virginia will remain open during this time, so north/south traffic will continue to move in its current configurations on 3rd, 7th, and 8th Streets, with 4th remaining a southbound-only crossing and 5th/6th a northbound crossing.
(It is expected that the 5th Street intersection that has been closed for the past few weeks to install the temporary decking will reopen this week, allowing traffic to once again come north on 5th from K and cross under the freeway.)
If you don't trust JDLand's high quality graphics, here's the announcement from CSX and its own map of the new traffic flows.
The most recent "Coffee with Chuck" meeting to update interested parties was on Aug. 17, and the presentation slides are here. The next Coffee with Chuck will be on Sept. 21, followed by the quarterly Open House on Oct. 20.
* At some point there will be the most disruptive closure of all, when the freeway exit ramp is closed temporarily for some few weeks to be reconfigured to allow the tunnel construction to expand northward under the current ramp footprint. But that ramp closure is not part of this change in September. BIG UPDATE: Or not! CSX has contacted me to say that while they will "have to temporarily narrow the [6th Street exit] ramp late this year or early next," they "expect that at least one lane of the ramp will remain open at all times."
Comments (25)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

Temporary Closure of 5th Street at Virginia Avenue Starts Soon
Jul 28, 2016 9:14 AM
As part of the continuing reconstruction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the intersection of 5th Street at Virginia Avenue will be closed starting Aug. 1 for three to four weeks for the installation of a temporary bridge deck.
The 6th Street exit ramp from eastbound I-695 will still be open during this closure, and traffic coming off the ramp will still be able to turn left to head north on 6th or continue straight on the one lane of Virginia Avenue open between 5th and 7th.
However, if you are south of Virginia Avenue and want to go north of the freeway, you will need to use either 3rd, 7th, 8th, or 11th Streets, SE. (The 7th Street intersection is expected to reopen from its own multi-week closure on Friday, July 29.)
Local traffic will still be allowed for the block of 5th Street north of K, including traffic to the Capper Seniors building.
See CSX's informational slides on this closure for additional details, or marvel at the wonder that is my own informational map above.
UPDATE, AUG. 2: The closure is officially underway.
Comments (28)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

A New Block of 6th Street SE in the Offing
Jun 1, 2016 9:40 AM
While we spent months and months pining for the block of I Street that finally opened between 2nd and New Jersey back in February, there's another new stretch of road that should be arriving this summer: the 1100 block of 6th St., SE, between L and M, nestled between the Bixby and Joy Evans Park.
As you can see in the photo taken this weekend, the basics of the street are now finished, its creation having been tied to the construction of the Bixby, DCHA's 195-unit mixed-income apartment building that is expected to open this summer and which is itself getting some infrastructure built, as seen below.
I don't know anything about traffic control, i.e., whether there will be a four-way stop at 6th and L, or whether left turns will be allowed from 6th onto M (and from M onto 6th). I've asked DCHA, but haven't yet heard back. UPDATE: Apparently it was set out in the zoning that there will be no cut in the median on M Street, so only right turns onto and off of 6th will be allowed.
UPDATE 2: DCHA tells me that they are still "working out details with DDOT as to whether or not this portion will be a one way from M to L." Sounds like they found some unexpected infrastructure underneath the planned intersection that forced a reduction in the size of the 6th and M corner--if I had actually looked at the work from the M Street side, I'd have more insight, but alas....
As for any more precise estimations as to when this new block of 6th will open, I am so not going there. It will open when it opens, right?
Comments (20)
More posts: The Bixby, Traffic Issues

Tuesday Tidbits: Orange You Glad There's Tidbits
May 10, 2016 2:43 PM
Photo: What may be my best "Slider" so far, looking north along 1st Street from the Douglass Bridge, from 2006 to 2016. Go slide it yourself to see.
* ORANGE: I mentioned this in the comments late last week, but now time to post officially that the BID has reported that Orangetheory Fitness has been signed as the first retail tenant at the ORE 82 apartment building at New Jersey and I, which is expected to open late this year or early next year.
* CROSSING: Via Commissioner Fascett, ANC 6D is sending a letter to DDOT requesting a review of the pedestrian-crossing-light timing at 4th and M SE, aka the Teeter Intersection. "Twenty-seven seconds is not enough time for pedestrians, including seniors and residents in wheelchairs, to cross a six lane road while dodging two lanes of east-bound turning cars."
* SPRINGSTEEN: Bruuuuuce is back at Nats Park on Sept. 1. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, May 13, at 10 am.
* ALLEN: If you are wanting some face time with Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen, he is having his Community Office Hours on Friday, May 13, at the Starbucks in the Waterfront Safeway at 4th and M, SW, from 8 to 9:30 am.
* SPOOKY: This has been in my hopper for too many months to ponder, but a reader passed along this link about the end of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building/Building 213 at 1st and M SE that included a few photos from inside (as I sob thinking about how I never got my own).
* FITNESS: The BID has announced the schedule of outdoor fitness classes this summer at parks Yards and Canal.
* LEO: Across the way by a few feet, but folks might be interested in the reopening of Leo's Wings N Pizza at 7 N St., SW. "In addition to pizza, wings, pasta, salads, subs, and breakfast items, Korean food will be added to the menu." (SWTLQTC)
Comments (5)
More posts: ORE82, Events, orangefitness, Retail, Stadium Events, Traffic Issues

Nationals Park Parking Update, 2016 Edition
Apr 6, 2016 8:09 AM
Thanks to a trek around the neighborhood on Saturday (instead of being inside the stadium watching baseball like a normal person) and some checking in with property owners, I've got a pretty solid version of my Nats Park Parking Lots Map to share for the 2016 season.
The big news at this point is that no lots have dropped out of the inventory (yet!), and one has returned--the lot on the northeast corner of 1st and N, SE, on the Spooky Park block, now a nicely paved and compact 220-space offering.
There will also apparently be "limited" parking in the new underground garage in Arris, on 4th Street south of Tingey.
Prices have nudged upward from last year, though--and if you are driving to Opening Day, throw a few extra $5 bills in your wallet, because home opener prices will likely be higher than what the map is showing.
Some cash lot parking attendants were quick to tell me Opening Day prices, and others had more of a "Well, we'll see what the market will bear" response, so instead of my listing them here and having them turn out to be wrong, better for you to just expect to pay $5 or $10 or $15 or even $20 more than "standard pricing" on Thursday and then be thrilled if you don't have to.
It's also possible that some lots (especially east of the stadium, in the Yards) may have slightly lower prices at points in April, when attendance isn't at its height.
In other words, consider this a guide to the general range of prices, while always expecting the possibility that prices may be different on any given day.
If you are driving to the ballpark, be aware that there are still lots of construction sites, and that in particular the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project immediately south of the Southeast Freeway between 2nd and 12th Streets, SE, has ripped the streets up pretty good, with various closures and shifts to watch out for.
Check out my Stadium Parking and Visiting Nats Park pages for additional info.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park, 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.
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More posts: South Capitol St., Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

A Look at the New Temporary 3rd Street Traffic Flow
Mar 11, 2016 10:34 AM
I happened to wander up and down 3rd Street a couple of times on Thursday, and so got a good look at how the street is now temporarily set up as CSX works to build the temporary decking over the tunnel construction at the intersection with Virginia Avenue.
As mentioned a few days back, it was decided that instead of closing the intersection altogether, traffic would become one way northbound during the deck construction, with any traffic headed south of the freeway needing to turn left at G Street and then right on 4th Street to come under the freeway. But traffic can still come south of G in order to turn left into the Results parking lot or right to take the 3rd Street ramp to the Southeast Freeway.
As you can see in these terribly exciting photos, northbound traffic is currently in a small "chute" of sorts just south of Virginia, just west of where digging has begun. Then the area opens up under the freeway.
Pedestrians heading either north or south of the freeway are on the sidewalk on the east side, then must cross to get to a temporary walkway west of the "chute" on the south side of the intersection.
I went by about four times, at 1:30, 3:00, 5:00, and 8:30 pm. I saw no big backups on either side of the freeway, though did see one person turn into the Results driveway to then backup and head north back to G.
There are flaggers watching the traffic during construction hours (and also were taking a few seconds to glare pointedly at crazy ladies taking photos of the configuration), but when I passed by at 8:30, there were no workers on site, and I watched two vehicles come south under the freeway past the Road Closed signs. There was no northbound traffic, so they were able to do it, but it's something that people using that intersection outside of the hours that the workers are on site might want to be watching for.
I asked CSX representatives about the first few days of work, and whether there might be any tweaks coming now that they've seen it in action. This is their statement:
"We appreciate the community’s patience and cooperation as we work to install the temporary street deck at the intersection of 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue. CSX is working as quickly as safety allows to install the temporary bridge and restore two-way traffic to 3rd Street. In the meantime, in conjunction with DDOT’s traffic experts, we continue to make adjustments to the directional signs and traffic control devices through the 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue intersection, to optimize the flow of traffic through the area. We are placing new signs north of G Street on 3rd Street to help increase awareness of the one-way traffic below the freeway, and are hopeful that more drivers will obey the signs as they become familiar with the temporary changes."
As the deck construction eventually works its away across the entire intersection, watch for the patterns to change. It is expected to be "several weeks" before the deck is completed and two-way traffic is restored.
If you have questions or concerns about this or any other part of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction, the next Coffee with Chuck is on Wednesday, March 16, at 8 am.
PS: Thanks to all who came to Scarlet Oak for Happy Hour on Thursday! It was great meeting a lot of readers and commenters "in real life," and I think there maybe ought to be another one before too much longer. Once I get my voice back--I'm not used to actually talking to human beings that much.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

3rd Street Under the Freeway to Temporarily Be Northbound Only
Mar 1, 2016 10:09 AM
The original plan to temporarily close 3rd Street SE in both directions for a few weeks to allow the construction of a "deck" over the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction footprint has apparently been rethought, according to a missive this morning from CSX.
Later this week, 3rd Street will be restricted to a single lane of traffic, northbound, from a little ways north of I Street up until through the light just north of the freeway overpass.
In other words, if you want to drive from north of the freeway to south of the freeway, you won't be able to do it on 3rd Street until after the temporary decking is built, which is expected to take "several weeks." At that point, two-way traffic will be reestablished.
Fourth Street will be the fall-back for heading southward, so if you are coming south on 3rd, you'll need to turn left at G Street (the "Results" block) and then right on 4th. (If you are southbound on 3rd, you will still be able to turn right onto the freeway ramp.)
CSX says that "the new plans were developed with DDOT’s approval following community requests to avoid closing 3rd Street during the tunnel project, especially in light of traffic associated with baseball games at Nationals Park."
In other tunnel news, "CSX is pleased to announce that the street-level portion of the demolition of 370 feet of the existing tunnel in the 200 block of Virginia Avenue has been completed several weeks ahead of schedule. While some track-level demolition remains to be completed, the noise associated with this work should diminish significantly for residents near the intersection of 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue, and no additional early-morning or Sunday demolition work periods are expected."
PS: Not my greatest headline, but thanks to the world of search-engine-optimized URLs, it's kind of bad to change it after I've tweeted/Facebook'ed the link. Was trying to make clear from the headline that people coming south from the Hill will be impacted, but it's really just at the Virginia Avenue intersection where the construction is taking place.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

At Last, I Street SE's New Block is Now Open
Feb 8, 2016 11:02 AM
I think a couple of before-and-afters tell the story as well as a pile of words. First, looking west from 2nd Street SE on Feb. 3, 2005, and then today, Feb. 8, 2016:
And the reverse view, looking east from New Jersey on Feb. 23, 2004 and today, Feb. 8, 2016:
And here's a few more shots, because I'm a crazy woman. Note that the sidewalks on the south and west sides of the Park Chelsea are now open, meaning that you can now walk on the east side of New Jersey north of I--at least until you get to the fences that mark the Agora/Whole Foods project, at which point you'd need to cross back to the west.
In case you haven't been around, it was the former DPW/trash transfer station, demolished in 2012, that long ago was built on a diagonal footprint, created from back when the Washington Canal was dug.
And now I at last will be able to photograph the intersections of 2nd and I and New Jersey and I without having to walk down to K and back up to I. And bike to Southwest without having to do the same down-and-back.
I would note, though, that pedestrians and cyclists need to be veeeeeery careful at this intersection--I saw a lot of confusion this morning, and of course the continuing construction right up to the property line at 82 I adds to the difficulties.
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More posts: 880 NJ/Park Chelsea, parkchelsea, Traffic Issues

A More Fully Developed and Connected Southeast Blvd.? Feasible, But....
Jan 10, 2016 9:19 PM
Last week DDOT released its Southeast Blvd. Feasibility Study, in which the agency "evaluated the feasibility of transitioning a segment of the former Southeast Freeway from 11th Street to Barney Circle into an urban boulevard more consistent with the expected travel demand and the character of the adjacent neighborhood."
This study was a follow-on to the Office of Planning's Southeast Blvd. Planning Study, which came about after residents expressed displeasure with the initial efforts seen in the Barney Circle-Southeast Blvd. Transportation Planning Study.
And what does the feasibility study say? DDOT's report determines that changing the current Southeast Blvd. from the limited-access quick route between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle to a street with connections to its north and south and development along the footprint is feasible, but the transformation "would be neither inexpensive nor quick."
The study then goes through the issues that make clear this would not be a snap-the-fingers-and-make-it-so proposition:
*Ownership: There are two small parcels within the study area owned by the National Park Service--and we know quickly either arranging for a change in ownership or "coordinating" with NPS can go. The study refers to it as being clear "that there would be significant process requirements and challenges to disposing the NPS and incorporating them into private development." That the process to "surplus" any excess land along the footprint not needed for the road(s) itself is governed by the Federal Highway Administration would also not point to a lightning-quick resolution.
* Transit Garages: The inclusion of some location that would allow for the parking of tour buses, transit buses and streetcars {cough}--a big part of DDOT's wishes for the area but something that residents are not particularly keen on--"could be provided at Southeast Boulevard that takes advantage of the location and topography of the site to minimize visual impacts to surrounding neighborhoods and so that vehicles accessing the facility would not use residential neighborhood streets."
* Cost: The study's "cursory assessment" says that constructing the transportation elements of the project would cost around $120 million, with a transit garage adding about $65-70 million in costs (in 2015 dollars). This includes reconfiguring Barney Circle into an at-grade signalized traffic circle, raising Southeast Boulevard to the same level as L Street, and constructing a four-lane street that includes sidewalks, bike facilities, and traffic signals. Plus some contingency costs built in.
* Schedule: The graphic at right breaks out a not-short ballpark timeline of 10 years for both the "transportation" portion of the project and the land redevelopment project.
With all of that, DDOT says that the first step forward is to restart the Barney Circle and Southeast Blvd. Transportation Planning Study begun in 2013, though even that now has a road block, that this Environmental Assessment now can't be completed "until a financial plan for project implementation is identified and included in the regional Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP)." DDOT advises interested groups "to continue discussions with a broad spectrum of stakeholders during the EA to confirm community support for the project, engage with AWI Signatories, and evaluate project costs and funding options."
This final draft was presented to ANC 6B's Transportation Committee on Jan. 6, and Capitol Hill Corner reports that DDOT's representative told the committee that there were no "fatal flaws" in any of the Office of Planning's three concepts for reimagining the road--but that it will be "up to ANC 6B to push the project forward" by requesting the environmental assessment.
I am skimming it all, so if this project is of interest to you, be sure to read the feasibility report, and perhaps attend ANC 6B's meeting on Jan. 12, at which a draft letter will apparently be considered to support going ahead with the EA.
You can also wander through my posts on the subject from the past few years, especially on the completion of the OP study back in July and the three general concepts advanced for how to remake this stretch of land that currently serves as such a barrier between Capitol Hill/Hill East and the Anacostia River.
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More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southeast Blvd. Planning Study Completed, Now DDOT Will Study
Jul 8, 2015 1:13 PM
The Office of Planning has posted the final version of its Southeast Blvd. planning study that was undertaken in early 2014 after Tommy Wells and ANC 6B found DDOT's initial designs for reconfiguring the stretch of road between 11th Street and Barney Circle decidedly lacking.
I wrote about OP's concepts after its public meeting back in December, and the designs in this final report are the same, still including elevating the road to the height of L Street directly to the north and the extensions of 13th, 14th, and 15th streets, along with varying approaches to including residential development in the median (or not) and including (or not) the underground bus parking so close to DDOT's heart.
The report reminds readers that the "purpose of this planning study was not to identify a single 'preferred alternative,' but rather to develop concepts that respond to the planning goals and objectives for the District and the community, which could be advanced through further study."
However, it goes on to say that OP has recommended developing a "hybrid concept," "based largely on the street network and development program described in Concept A, but incorporate pocket parks or other public open space interspersed throughout the new development parcels in ways that enhance the neighborhood and support the viability of new development."
And now that this study is finished, DDOT is undertaking its own feasibility study, "to determine the project development process and the economic viability of integrating the land use concepts that emerged from the Office of Planning’s (OP) Southeast Boulevard Planning Study with the transportation alternatives."
Once THAT is done, it will be all rolled into the Barney Circle-Southeast Blvd. Transportation Planning Study that began back in 2013.
In the meantime, of course, DDOT went ahead and built the road, opening it in late 2014.
I am admittedly giving short shrift to the final OP report, so if the fate of the road is of interest to you, be sure to read the whole thing, along with my post about it from last year.
Representatives of OP and DDOT will apparently be providing an update on all the Barney Circle-Southeast Blvd. studying tonight (Wednesday, July 8) at 7 pm at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, as part of ANC 6B's Transportation Committee meeting.
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More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

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

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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Traffic Issues

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!
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More posts: icecreamjubilee, Douglass Bridge, Traffic Issues

Navy Yard Circulator Summer Hours Begin Today
Mar 30, 2015 10:06 AM
With the arrival of spring comes the expansion of the hours of operation for the Union Station - Navy Yard Circulator route. Beginning today (March 30), the hours of operation will be from 6 am to 9 pm on weekdays, and 7 am to 9 pm on Saturdays. These new summer hours also apply to buses on the Skyland route.
There's also the expanded service for Nationals games, with buses running when there are Sunday home games from 10 am to 10 pm and until midnight when any home game starts at 4 pm or later.
And, as mentioned previously, today also marks a change in the route's stops near Union Station, with buses headed toward Navy Yard only serving the stop at Massachusetts Avenue and Columbus Circle. This means buses will no longer stop at 1st and Mass and 2nd and Mass.
And perhaps later this year the route will be extended to the Southwest Waterfront, though there's been no recent new news on that.
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More posts: circulator, Traffic Issues

Construction Meets Pedestrians Meets Vehicles: New Jersey and I
Mar 28, 2015 4:14 PM
This morning broke clear and sunny, and with a full slate of photos on my agenda, I headed south down New Jersey Avenue from north of the freeway, snapping merrily along, until I came to the 82 I construction site on the northwest corner of New Jersey and I.
With new sidewalks not yet in place in front of the Park Chelsea/800 New Jersey developments on the east side of the street, and with 82 I apparently not being covered under the regulations that resulted in the wide wide sidewalks you see all along the rest of the avenue, excavation and site work has been taking place right up to the (former) curb line on the only side of the street where pedestrians can walk. This has been going on for a few weeks, and while the temporary in-the-road-but-separated-by-plastic-barriers pedestrian path isn't optimal, it's also not unusual in these situations.
But this morning a large truck was parked in the former pedestrian path, with flagmen directing traffic in what had become just two very narrow north-south traffic lanes--and now there was absolutely nowhere for pedestrians to walk, in a location where it's very hard to take an alternate route on foot, unless you want to walk allllllll the way over to South Capitol and alllllll the way back to New Jersey once you get north of the freeway and train tracks, or backtrack southward to K so you can then walk north on 2nd or 3rd.
I've sidestepped a lot (A LOT) of construction during my 12 years of JDLand-ing, and I am generally pretty laid back about it--I'm not walking a dog, or pushing a stroller, so I just kind of grumble and pick my way through.
But the situation this morning--when two flagmen on either end were each telling me a different lane in the street in which to walk, and later exacerbated by seeing the line of seven or more dump trucks that were idling back to and around onto K Street while waiting to haul off excavated dirt--well, it escalated past even my high bar of tolerance, especially since I know how many people now walk along New Jersey to go to Capitol South, or the Capitol complex, or wherever.
And with the Nats returning to the neighborhood one week from today, and with thoughts of the number of stadium-goers who also do that New Jersey Avenue walk before and after games, I did the normal thing in 2015--I mentioned the situation on Twitter.
Which led to a lot of other people speaking up on Twitter, many of whom have been complaining about the issues surrounding this construction since it began back in February. Before long, Ward 6 council member Charles Allen tweeted that he had contacted the director of DDOT, and that "he's looking into it."
And while it shouldn't be the case that residents' complaints are ignored until either a) a loudmouth blogger fires off a tweet or b) baseball arrives, the truth is that the Nats' 2015 season is going to present a lot of challenges for anyone arriving in any way other than coming out of the Metro at Half and M.
There will be less parking available this year (which I'll detail in an upcoming post), and with 13 active construction sites east of South Capitol between the freeway and Nats Park, cars and pedestrians and bikes and fans and residents and commuters will be fighting a lot of battles, even though for the most part there won't be at gametime the sort of active work that snarled New Jersey and I this morning.
In addition to this New Jersey Avenue construction possibly bedeviling fans using Capitol South, the blocking of the sidewalk on the west side of 1st Street south of M for Ballpark Square construction in the block just north of the stadium--and the apparent temporary loss of the bike lane there as well--will end up making lots of fans just walk in the street instead of crossing back to the east side of the street, away from the ballpark.
And there are other spots where sidewalks are now blocked off or narrowed, or where street parking is temporarily banned, which are the sorts of issues that lead to grumpy drivers and grumpy pedestrians, which can lead to bad things.
One hopes that there will be attention paid to ways to ensure a safer passage to the ballpark, but one also hopes that any real effort to mitigate these construction/sidewalk/traffic/pedestrian issues doesn't happen only during the hours that red-and-white-bedecked masses are around.
In the meantime, be careful out there, and not just right where you see construction. (I watched a dump truck blow through a red light at 1st and Potomac, taking me back to the last era of crazy amounts of construction, but that was in 2007 when the resident population was about 1/10th of what it is now.)
UPDATE: One thing I should have emphasized more clearly is that this was obviously a Saturday-type operation, where the assumption is that such a setup will be less disruptive than on a weekday, and so the contractor can then get more done (in this case, hauling of dirt) in a shorter timespan. This intersection is just a tough one, since, as I said above, it doesn't easily allow for alternate north/south passage if something is going on.
UPDATE II: I went back on Sunday, where, as I expected, things were much quieter. And I also saw that part of the reason for the closure of the pedestrian walkway on Saturday was to build a new curb, and also pour some new concrete. I had noticed actually on Thursday that the old asphalt had a big crack in it and seemed to be dropping off toward the new excavation hole, so obviously this was a fix for that, and probably a pretty critical one.
Note also at the bottom of the photo evidence of old cobblestone.
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More posts: 801nj, Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Traffic Issues

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

I-695 Ramp to 8th Street On its Way Back from a Year's Sabbatical
Feb 26, 2015 3:14 PM
It looks like the exit ramp to 8th Street SE from westbound I-695 (inbound from the 11th Street Bridges) that has been MIA in recent months may soon be back in business.
DDOT announced on Wednesday that it will be reducing I Street SE to one lane between 9th and 10th streets through the end of March so that they can "install a raised median island and accommodate the new free flow exit ramp connection currently under construction from westbound I-695 to 'Eye' Street, SE."
This resulted in tasking my errand boy with some snowy photography, of not only the ramp itself (above), but also a hard-to-get shot of the new exit sign, surprisingly uncovered, on the freeway. You can see that the new exit goes underneath the no-longer-new ramp from 11th Street SE to the westbound freeway.
Also sayeth DDOT: "Upon completion of the construction, the street will be reopened in the final configuration with one lane westbound between 9th Street, SE, and 10th Street, SE. Modifications will also include improved safety features for pedestrians and the removal of rush-hour parking restrictions along this stretch."
The advisory did not give a date for the opening of the exit, which was closed nearly a year ago, at which point the scary flyover with the huge curve that led to the exit ramp was mercifully demolished.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

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

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

Southeast Blvd. Now Open to Traffic (Updated with a Trip Report)
Dec 22, 2014 1:13 PM
DDOT announced that today (Dec. 22) they have opened Southeast Blvd. between 11th St. SE and Pennsylvania Avenue at Barney Circle.
Considering it looked like this nine days ago, the pedal must have been put to the metal.
Anyone want to report from there? I'll be interested to see how the signalized section at 11th Street handles the presumed new influx of east/west traffic.
The planning project to come up with concepts for how the road could look and function in the future continues.
UPDATE, 9:15 PM: Dark? Rainy? What a perfect time to try out a new road! I was coming home a little while ago on the SW/SE Freeway from Virginia, so decided to follow them there new signs for "Southeast Blvd."
I crossed 11th Street at the bottom of the exit ramp from the SE Freeway, then drove east on the new road to the light/merge at Pennsylvania Avenue just before the Sousa Bridge, where I'd still be sitting if I hadn't decided to finally run the light after waiting and waiting and waiting. (The stretch of road that continues eastward under Barney Circle is not reopened, though there is line striping for a lane to eventually head that way, it's just blocked off.)
Then, after a fun reversing of course that involved doubling back via DC-295 and two of the new ramps to and from 11th Street SE/MLK Blvd., I went westward on Pennsylvania Avenue and took the exit "To I-395." That goes under Barney Circle as it used to, and eventually I returned to 11th Street SE at the new signalized intersection where I could have chosen to go straight to get onto the westbound SE Freeway.
Impressions? Hard to tell in the rain. The MC Dean folks were out working on the signals, there's still a lot of cleanup work going on in the median, and a lot of heavy construction work is still in evidence on the eastern end by Barney Circle.
But if the city wants to rake in the dough, they'll set up speed cameras to enforce the SPEED LIMIT 30 signs that I LOL'ed at as I drove past them. Call it a "Boulevard" or call it a limited-access divided highway, but it is not a streetscape that screams 30 MPH.
(Photos will have to wait until the sun is actually out.)
UPDATE, 12/23: Via my very poorly paid stringer (Mr. JDLand), one shot of the now-uncovered signage for Southeast Blvd. eastbound on I-695/SE Freeway.
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More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Southeast Blvd. (Version 1.0) Close to Opening; Future Designs?
Dec 16, 2014 10:15 PM
I finally got my lazy self over to 11th Street with my camera this past weekend, and got quite the view of the soon-to-arrive Southeast Blvd., the reconstituted road between Barney Circle and 11th Street that runs along the path of the old sunken east end of the Southeast Freeway.
A kind official, taking a wild guess at who that old lady shooting photos of construction might possibly be, guided me in for a quick peek over the crest of the hill, eastward toward Barney Circle:
The new road will be two lanes in each direction, separated by a fair amount of non-road area, as you can see. At the new signalized intersection with 11th Street, the lanes align with the new ramps to and from the Southeast Freeway. Here's what the approach to 11th Street looked like in 2012, when the freeway still ran beneath 11th, along with the similar-but-higher-up view now. (Click to enlarge, and use the massive freeway pylons and flyover to orient yourself, especially in terms of the vertical change.)
As I have written about previously, there has been a fair amount of consternation over this road, both in terms of what some people feel is a rush to get it reopened along with much unhappiness when DDOT unveiled its initial concepts for the road's long-term design. The Office of Planning has since been working on a new set of designs to better meet a goal of reintegrating this area with the surrounding neighborhood, and last week there was a public meeting to go over these concepts, seen below and laid out in detail in the presentation slides.
When comparing these concepts to the road about to open, you can see that the general layout of the traffic lanes and available space are the same, though Concept B has just one lane in each direction just one new two-lane boulevard heading eastward while A and C have two lanes in each direction (UPDATED to fix how B is characterized). (And bike lanes! There are bike lanes!) However, all three would build up the boulevard so that it would become level with L Street, and would then allow 13th, 14th, and 15th streets to intersect with the boulevard for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
At right is a side view showing the proposed elevation for Concept A, running from L Street at left over to the train tracks and then down to the river.The CSX train tracks that run to the right of the road's footprints prevent further connection of these streets to M Street and the river, but there could be pedestrian bridges built to bring people across the tracks. (Note that all three concepts show the position of the planned 1333 M Street residential project just south of the boulevard.)
Two of the designs call for development within the huge median, either of low-rise multi-family buildings or townhouses or some combination thereof (at right is a rendering of the Concept A vision). The third design leaves it as a wide-open park space. And two of the three plans show the parking beneath the boulevard for buses that seems to be a requirement from DDOT's point of view.
I'm not going to go into great detail about what was said at the meeting--you can browse the presentation slides and read Capitol Hill Corner's report, which includes the many concerns of nearby residents, especially the ones who don't have much interest in connecting L, 13th, 14th, and 15th to this road.
At this stage, these truly are just concepts. There would next need to be a feasibility study/traffic flow analysis done by DDOT, an undertaking that has no timetable. There is also the issue of this land having been turned over to the city by the feds with the requirement that it be used for "transportation purposes," which raises questions about whether plopping residential buildings in the middle of it all would be an issue.
In the meantime, the new version of this road should open early in 2015.
Here's one more before-and-almost-after, looking eastward from down in the depths back in 2012 (left) and then an expanded version of the current view. Use the apartment building and retaining wall at left to orient. The embankment in the median in the "before" photo is the remnant of the ramps from the old 11th Street Bridges to and from RFK.
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More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

M Street Closure This Weekend, and Other Transportation Tidbits
Dec 11, 2014 1:59 PM
* M STREET CLOSURE: DDOT has put out the word that M Street SE between 8th and 11th will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 6 am to 9 pm, weather permitting, to complete final surface paving and striping between 10th and 11th.
* CSX OUTREACH: There may be a lawsuit pending, but that hasn't stopped CSX from giving their Virginia Avenue Tunnel web site a big makeover, and also rebranding the existing Twitter account as @VATNews. The web site has all sorts of new sections and documents, though I would imagine Opinions Differ in some quarters about the contents.
* METRO PAYMENT PILOT: Navy Yard-Ballpark is one of the Metro stations that's part of WMATA's Payment Pilot program, testing out the "secure fare payment system of the future" that will allow the use of NFC-equipped credit cards and smartphones. So, if you've seen a shiny new fare gate being installed at the station lately, this is why. The program is expected to start in January, and you can still apply to be a tester
* BOATHOUSE EXPANSION: (Boats are transportation, right?) The Hill Rag reports that there are plans underway to renovate facilities along Boathouse Row, the stretch of marinas and buildings along the west side of the Anacostia between the 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue bridges. The Historic Anacostia Boating Association outlined for ANC 6B last month a proposed facility with a 228-slip marina, a pier for water taxis, and a boat ramp, along with other outdoor activity space. Fundraising is apparently now underway.
(And of course I'm sure you already read my post from yesterday about the Circulator's planned extension of the Navy Yard route into Southwest.)
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More posts: Boathouse Row, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, Metro/WMATA, Traffic Issues

Navy Yard Circulator Route to Extend to Southwest Waterfront
Dec 10, 2014 4:34 PM
This week DDOT released its Final Circulator Development Plan, which among many other items calls for the extension of the Union Station-Navy Yard route along M Street to the Southwest Waterfront, sometime in the next two years, a plan that already has funding from the DC Council.
I asked about the timeframe for the new service, and DDOT informed me that it is proposed for the summer or early fall of 2015, pending the receipt of new buses, which have already been ordered and are expected to arrive in late spring or early summer.
Of the 1,041 people who took this year's survey, 44 percent identified the Southwest Waterfront as one of three top areas to which Circulator service should expand. This page from the report gives additional metrics on the proposed expanded route.
The plan also calls for a "Union Station-Navy Yard Schedule and Span Pilot Study," that would provide additional evening and weekend service to see if ridership demand and the increasing population around the Navy Yard Metro station supports making the changes long-term. DDOT tells me that this study is expected to begin in the first half of 2015. Currently the route runs until 7 pm weekdays in winter months, and 9 pm in the summer months along with Saturday service and extended evening/Sunday service for Nationals games.
However, the report also recognizes that this line "in particular suffers from severe congestion around Union Station" and that DDOT is pursuing options to reroute this line.
One other nugget very deep in the 128-page report is that down the road, if and when the Convention Center/Southwest Waterfront line is reestablished, "additional analysis should be conducted to determine the potential of extending the Convention Center-Southwest route to the Navy Yard in lieu of extending the Union Station-Navy Yard route to Southwest."
Other service expansions on tap to appear between now and FY 2017 include the new National Mall route, a new National Cathedral-McPherson Square route, and three additional extensions: the Potomac Avenue-Skyline route to Congress Heights, the Union Station-Georgetown route to the Cathedral, and the Dupont-Georgetown-Rosslyn route to U Street and Howard University. In the distant future (FY2021-FY2024) there could possibly be a Dupont-Southwest Waterfront route.
Read the full plan for more detail than you probably ever wanted about the service and the expansion plans across the city, or just scan the Executive Summary if you're lazy. And if you want to receive updates without having to wait for me to get around to telling you, you can sign up for the DC Circulator Newsletter.
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More posts: circulator, Traffic Issues

Southeast Blvd. Community Meeting on Thursday, Dec. 11
Dec 10, 2014 9:24 AM
A community meeting is on tap for Thursday (tomorrow), Dec. 11, to discuss the future Southeast Blvd., specifically the ideas emerging from the neighborhood study currently being spearheaded by ANC 6B, the Office of Planning, and DDOT.
The meeting is from 7 to 9 pm at Friendship Chamberlain Elementary School, 1345 Potomac Ave., SE, across from the Jenkins Row Harris Teeter.
Councilmember Tommy Wells will be there, and will be part of the discussion on how to best integrate into the neighborhood this road that will run from Barney Circle to the new intersection at 11th Street, SE, along the path of the old sunken portion of the Southeast Freeway.
A "temporary" version of the road is opening in early 2015, and residents have been concerned both about this becoming the de facto new version of the road, a feeling that came on the heels of the original new designs put forth by DDOT, that were basically replacing an old freeway with a new freeway, albeit it one that has a stoplight at 11th Street rather than just a free-and-clear approach to the Southeast Freeway. After those designs were released, with a push from Wells, the Office of Planning stepped in to help shepherd a neighborhood study--initial design concepts were unveiled back in August, and this week's meeting is to continue the process of refining the possibilities.
(And I am well aware that I have completely failed at keeping up with photographs of that area of 11th and of the work underway on the temporary road. All of the construction there, and the futzing with the traffic flow configuration of 11th Street while work continues around it, have made me very cranky about going over there to take pictures. Maybe this will finally spur me.)
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More posts: meetings, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

The Big Picture from N Street; A Little Picture from Tingey
Nov 16, 2014 6:13 PM
The now-empty lot where Spooky Building 213 used to stand looked plenty big as demolition progressed, but in the past few weeks the old iron-and-brick fence has come down as well, and now the block looks gargantuan. (As well it should--someday it will be three separate blocks, with three different buildings.)
Plus, if you stand in the middle of the south end of the block these days, you get one heck of a panoramic view of the new Near Southeast, as evidenced by the eight (!) photos stitched together to create this image.
See the very very large version here.
From this spot, you can see almost so many of the buildings that have gone up in the neighborhood since 2000--the now-topped-out Hampton Inn, 55 M, 1015 Half, 80 M, Velocity, 100 M, the almost-bricked Park Chelsea, Capitol Hill Tower/Courtyard by Marriott, 1100 New Jersey, USDOT, the Boilermaker Shops, Twelve12, the Foundry Lofts, and even the tower crane for the soon-to-sprout Arris. (I'm kicking myself for not swinging enough to get some portion of the ballpark.)
Before long, the interim phase of this location should start to appear--a public park on the north end, a parking lot in the southwest corner, and a spot in the southeast corner at New Jersey and Tingey for the Trapeze School, if they desire it.
Now, for my next item--anyone who accuses me of going overboard on minutiae probably should stop reading here. But for the rest of you, here's a little item from the intersection of 4th and Tingey, where street signs have recently appeared (left). But, then look a little more closely.....
Are we supposed to be voting? Or perhaps it's like A/B testing for web sites, with DDOT trying to determine which one will leave drivers less bewildered as to their location....
Snark aside, my photo archive indicates that the west-side "Fourth" sign was put up sometime in late summer, with the east-side "4" sign appearing within the past month or so. The numeric version is in fact DDOT's current style (ick), so perhaps this was a corrective measure of sorts.
(And, be forewarned, I took a lot of photos on Saturday. Much more to come.)
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More posts: Development News, Traffic Issues, Parcel A/Yards

Closures of 11th and M SE Intersection Planned for This Weekend
Oct 29, 2014 1:52 PM
There's been a lot of weekend closures along 11th Street SE in the past few years, thanks to the 11th Street Bridges project, but this upcoming one is probably a little more disruptive than the others:
"As part of the 11th Street Bridge project, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will close the intersection of 11th Street, and M Street, SE from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM on both Saturday, November 1, 2014 and Sunday, November 2, 2014.
"The westbound I-695 (Southeast/Southwest Freeway) exit ramp to M Street, SE and the on-ramp to southbound I-295/northbound DC 295 at M Street, SE will also be closed during these times.
"The closures will allow crews to complete milling operations at the intersection in preparation for final paving and striping.
"During the intersection closures, temporary signs and traffic control measures will be in place to alert and guide the traveling public around the work zone."
{emphasis mine, along with some improved paragraph breaks. Here's the official release.}
It also would seem to mean that, for all intents and purposes, use of the 11th Street Local bridge will be hampered considerably as well, since it's pretty much required that vehicles use 11th and M to get to or from that bridge.
The wording also telegraphs that there will be another closure still to come for the actual paving, which DDOT tells me has not yet been scheduled.
This also means that my plans to do a big post about all the changes along 11th Street north of M using photos that are now three weeks old will probably just wait until after this work is done.
UPDATE: So, perhaps DDOT's use of the phrase "close the intersection" is a bit of overkill--in an exchange of e-mails trying to pin down the ability to access the 11th Street Local bridge, I was told that the milling operation will be staged such that traffic can be routed "around the work."
I'd still stay away if at all possible.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

Meeting Materials from SE/SW Transportation Improvement Study Meeting
Oct 22, 2014 8:33 PM
I'm not sure how many people made this afternoon's meeting on the SE/SW Transportation Improvement Study (I sure didn't thanks to that 4 pm start time), but apparently there is a web site devoted to the project, and the meeting materials are posted there: seswdc.com.
This study is actually an Environmental Assessment, meaning there are very specific structures and steps that DDOT will be following.
Its stated purpose is "to develop a premium transit system that improves transportation capacity, connectivity, mobility, and safety through an integrated, multimodal transportation corridor" across Near Southeast, Southwest, and the Anacostia Historic District.
Also, the study is to address "east-west transportation needs between the Southeast and Southwest Washington communities of Anacostia and the Waterfront."
One tidbit in the materials that may be news to people: If streetcars are chosen as the area's "premium transit mode," there will be a need for storage and/or maintenance, and so this Environmental Assessment "will review and analyze potential sites for a Streetcar facility."
Eight potential sites meeting the initial minimum requirements have been identified: three near M Street, SW, three at Buzzard Point, and two along 7th Street, SE, including, believe it or not, the Blue Castle, aka the Navy Yard Car Barn, where streetcars were stored and maintained during the many years they ran through the city before being shut down in the early 1960s.
A second public meeting is expected in early 2015, with the draft Environmental Assessment and associated public hearing in spring and the final document late in the year.
(Thanks to Josh Hart for the heads up about the web site, and no thanks to DDOT, who didn't mention it in their releases about the meeting. BAH!)
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, meetings, Traffic Issues

Public Meeting Wednesday on SE/SW Transportation Study
Oct 21, 2014 11:39 AM
From DDOT: On Wednesday, Oct. 22, DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration will be holding a public meeting to discuss the Southeast/Southwest Transportation Improvement Study and Environmental Assessment, which is actually now a formal NEPA study (hence the presence of FHWA).
Officially, "The purpose of the study is to develop a premium transit system that improves transportation capacity, connectivity, mobility, and safety."
This is an off-shoot of the first M Street SE/SW study from 2011 and 2012 as well as the subsequent Special Events transportation study that was completed earlier this year. In other words, the study after the study after the study.
The meeting will be held at at Van Ness Elementary at 4 pm (! - I asked if that was a typo, and was told no). DDOT's announcement of the meeting says that "the public will be provided an opportunity to discuss the transportation issues and potential solutions that will be addressed in the study."
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More posts: meetings, Traffic Issues

Southeast Blvd.: New Concepts, But Also an Unexpected Reopening
Aug 28, 2014 9:10 AM
ANC 6B commissioners Brian Flahaven and Kirsten Oldenburg have both written about a new batch of design concepts for Southeast Blvd., the planned stretch of road between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle where the sunken far eastern portion of the Southeast Freeway used to run.
Almost a year ago, DDOT presented five designs for the new road that basically, as Flahaven puts it, "replaced the freeway with ... a freeway completely separated from the neighborhood grid." The designs were not well received, and with a push from councilmember Tommy Wells, the Office of Planning stepped in to conduct a "rapid response" study of the neighborhood and the project. And on Aug. 4, these new designs were unveiled at a public meeting.
The boards show both two-lane and four-lane designs for the road, some with direct access to the Anacostia Waterfront and extension of the street grid to the boulevard, some without. The Office of Planning now plans to take community feedback--which apparently was considerably more positive this time around--and move forward with three final concepts that can be presented to the community and to DDOT this fall.
However, it also turns out that DDOT is planning to go ahead and reopen this stretch of road by the end of the year, with the traffic flowing through the new signalized intersection on 11th Street SE where the exit ramp from the Southeast Freeway recently opened. Oldenburg describes what she see as the "major implications" of this move: "First, this freeway segment becomes the No Build option in the study. Second, in my view, it will take the pressure off city officials to get the NEPA study completed in a timely manner, hopefully, incorporating some of the fresh ideas generated by the OP study."
Flahaven is urging residents to contact Mayor Gray and council members with their thoughts on this.
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More posts: Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Officially Snapshotting the (Somewhat) New 11th Street Exit Ramp
Jul 19, 2014 1:40 PM
Despite it being four weeks after the fact, JDLand's strict operating requirements still dictate that I document the new exit ramp to 11th Street SE from eastbound I-695.
With thanks to Mr. JDLand for chauffeuring, here's what it's like to venture along this new route, if you haven't done it. (And sure, I could have Vined it, or YouTubed it, or whatever, but what fun would that be?)
The view driving east on the Southeast Freeway (which is now I-695, if you haven't gotten the memo). If you always get off at or before the 6th Street SE exit, this may be an unfamiliar vista to you. The left lanes head toward the outbound 11th Street Bridges, while the right two lanes are the new movement that didn't exist before this whole project got underway. (And is that hidden part of the 11th Street sign maybe an eventual pointer to Southeast Blvd.?)
Behold, the new ramp! You also get to see the two new flyovers at left that have been built as part of this project, which has been underway since 2009. Sneaking up in between is the new on-ramp from 8th Street SE, which opened not long ago. At right is Virginia Avenue Park. Note also the sign pointing toward Anacostia Park--this would take you down 11th to the new local bridge and to the park that-a-way.
And now you come to the intersection at 11th. Turning left takes you north toward Pennsylvania Avenue and Lincoln Park, while turning right takes you to M Street, the Navy Yard, and the local bridge. Note the blocked-off third lane that is striped for left turns as well--I assume there will come a time when the middle lane will be for traffic continuing straight on Southeast Blvd.
Wrapping up our little journey, here's a quick look backward at the road just traveled.
Need a reminder of what this spot used to look like? Remember the phrase "sunken freeway"? Here's a reminder, from street level and from above.

And, because I am a complete nutcase (which we already knew), here is a bunch of photos--strung together as a slideshow--that I took just as the 11th Street Bridges project was getting underway in early 2010, showing what it used to be like to drive across the Anacostia on that route. Apologies for the dirty windshield.
(I know, my archive just gets more and more alarming.)
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Catching Up, Illustrated Version III: Around and About
Jun 29, 2014 7:44 PM
First off, you may have noticed that Saturday was a lovely day. The neighborhood's waterfront was most definitely in use:
Not far away, at the Yards' Parcel N, concrete has appeared in the large hole in the ground (left), meaning that the digging down is almost over, and the rising up should start before too long (its tower crane permit application was approved not too long ago). And in a totally different illustration of progress (right), the sales-trailer-to-be for the River Parc apartment project appears to now be in its proper place.
(I wanted to get a photograph of the outdoor patio signage at the soon-to-arrive Ice Cream Jubilee at the Lumber Shed, but the hordes standing in line on Saturday to get into the Jazz Fest completely blocked the view.)
I recorded the current state of the Florida Rock site across from the ballpark {insert Logan's Run reference here}, because the developers have now filed applications for both sheeting and building permits for the site's first-phase apartment building. This doesn't necessarily mean the project is close to getting started, but it deprives me of my snarky "they haven't even applied for their permits yet" response whenever someone mentions that it might get underway soon.
Finally, I present to you official evidence of the new 11th Street SE exit from the freeway, which I'm doing mainly as a mea culpa for not having gotten over there to photograph the ramp and environs, and to hopefully shame myself into action.
I also deserve additional shaming, or at least parallel shaming, for not yet documenting that the Southeast Freeway signage I have griped about for years has been fixed.

This Week in Traffic: 11th St. Ramp Closings/Openings, M Street
Jun 17, 2014 8:18 AM
I already wrote about how this Saturday, June 21, is the target date for DDOT to open the new ramp from eastbound I-695 to 11th Street, SE. (Yay!)
But now there's a related closing to note: On June 21, DDOT will close the newish on-ramp from 11th Street SE to the westbound Southeast Freeway for two months, until approximately August 23.
This will allow the completion of the rebuilt exit to I Street from inbound I-695, which has been closed while the old flyover has been demolished.
If you're needing to get on the westbound freeway, you'll need to use the ramp at 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue, or the South Capitol Street ramp. (Or I guess you could go backwards and get on southbound DC-295 at Pennsylvania Avenue and take the Capitol Hill exit.)
Here's DDOT's advisory on that closing if you want to know more, or to see the pretty graphic with all the detour arrows.
Meanwhile, the icky configuration of the eastern section of M Street thanks to DC Water's Clean Rivers Project is about to get ickier: Starting on or about Wednesday, June 18, through the end of the year, two eastbound M Street lanes between 7th and 11th Streets, SE will be closed 24/7, leaving two lanes of eastbound and two lanes of westbound traffic on M. Best to also expect some stoppages of traffic during the work hours of 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday.
You can read the DC Water advisory on the closure for more information.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, M Street, Traffic Issues

New Freeway Exit Ramp to 11th Street SE Opening June 21
Jun 5, 2014 12:06 PM
The next step in the 11th Bridges project is coming on or about June 21, when the new ramp down to 11th Street SE from the eastbound Southeast Freeway is scheduled to open.
This means that folks on the eastern end of Capitol Hill will no longer have to get off at 6th Street and wind their way eastward--they will arrive at 11th just north of L, and can either turn left on 11th or right to the Navy Yard and across the 11th Street Local bridge to Anacostia.
The map at right provided by DDOT shows the various new movements that this new ramp will put on the table.
Coupled with the entrance ramp to the westbound freeway that opened a while back, 11th Street is now quite the access point for the Southeast/Southwest Freeway. And someday, it will be a full intersection that will include traffic traveling to or from Southeast Blvd., in whatever form that ends up taking.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

Tuesday Tidbits: Cruising, Looking, Fattening, Crowding
May 27, 2014 3:47 PM
Long weekends mess with the mind.
* CRUISING BY THE HOOD: The Near Southeast Community Partners group, in concert with the 11th Street Bridge Park Project, Living Classrooms, and Anacostia Riverkeeper, are having a "Community Vision Cruise" along the Anacostia River on June 16 from 6 to 8 pm. Cruisers will ride the river on a 1928 boat and learn about the bridge park and programs to clean up the river, with food provided by Agua 301 and Ice Cream Jubilee. Tickets are $60 (and can bepurchased online), but note that space is limited.
* LOOKING AT THE HOOD: Urban Turf surveys the current state of the neighborhood, after the "rain delay" of the 2008-2012 time frame: "Now, Capitol Riverfront is seeing long-planned projects come to fruition, parks, restaurants and retailers are drawing visitors from across the city, and the streets no longer resemble a ghost town."
* FATTENING UP THE HOOD: The Tour de Fat is this Saturday at Yards Park, so get your bike and your liver tuned up.
* CROWDING IN THE HOOD: DDOT recently released the M Street Southeast/Southwest Special Events Study final report, which looks at the traffic impact along M Street of a number of potential entertainment venues, including of course Nats Park but also the potential new soccer stadium at Buzzard Point, all the attractions to come at the Wharf, and the movie theater eventually coming to the DC Water site. (The entire report is an 81 MB PDF, so get a cup of coffee.)
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More posts: bridgepark, Events, Traffic Issues, The Yards, The Yards at DC Water

New 11th Street Ramp to WB Freeway Closing for One Week
Apr 10, 2014 11:26 AM
The newish, somewhat hidden ramp from 11th Street to the westbound Southeast Freeway is going to be closed from Saturday, April 12, through Saturday, April 19, "to allow construction crews to continue the demolition of the existing inbound bridge," according to DDOT.
Drivers will be detoured to the long trek down I Street/Virginia Avenue to the ramp at 3rd Street, SE, as the latest arrow-filed map from DDOT shows. (So be careful at the 3rd and Virginia intersection, which might get a bit hairy.)
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

8th Street SE On-Ramp to Outbound Freeway Opening April 8
Apr 7, 2014 3:28 PM
DDOT has just put out word that the "new" on ramp to outbound I-695 (i.e., the Southeast Freeway to the 11th Street Bridge) will be opening "on or about" tomorrow, April 8.
"The opening of the new ramp provides a direct connection from Capitol Hill and the Navy Yard/Barracks Row area to northbound DC 295 and southbound I-295 via 8th Street SE."
This ramp, while technically new, is really just the replacement of the old ramp at 8th and Virginia, albeit now shifted a few yards to the north on 8th. My photo above, from a few weeks ago, shows the new ramp, with the outbound freeway lanes to the left, and at right, the under-construction ramp that will bring traffic from the freeway down to the new signalized interchange at 11th Street.
DDOT has also provided a spiffy map for the new ramp, showing all sorts of arrows.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

Navy Yard Circulator's Summer, Extended Gameday Hours Return
Apr 1, 2014 12:58 PM
It's the annual, non-April Fool's update to remind folks that the Navy Yard-Union Station Circulator route begins its summer hours today. Through September, the red buses will run Monday through Friday from 6 am to 9 pm, and on and on Saturdays from 7 am to 9 pm.
Plus, as in past years, the buses will have extended hours for Nats games: For every game beginning at 4:05 pm or later, the buses will run until midnight. For Sunday home games, this route will run from 10 am to 10 pm.
This route also stops at the Eastern Market station on the Orange and Blue lines, and also runs along Barracks Row, so your $1 gives you a lot of options.
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More posts: Traffic Issues

Weekend Closures of 11th St. SE and Westbound On-Ramp
Mar 20, 2014 9:40 AM
From DDOT:
"As part of the 11th Street Bridge Project, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will close 11th Street SE, between M Street and K Street, from 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 22, to 11 p.m. on Sunday, March 23, 2014. This closure will also take effect the following weekend, from 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, to 11 p.m. on Sunday, March 30, 2014. The 11th Street SE access ramp to westbound I-695 (Southeast/Southwest Freeway) will also be closed during these two closures. The work will allow crews to begin demolition of the existing inbound bridge structure over 11th Street. " See the map for details.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

Catching Up on Progress: Roads and Bridges Edition
Mar 10, 2014 11:43 AM
On Sunday I ventured out for a long overdue survey of the 11th Street Bridges project. While I know that pictures of ramps and flyovers don't elicit quite the swooning that images of new residential buildings do, the changes at street level and above since this project began in 2009 are as wide-ranging as anything else in the area short of probably Nationals Park. Here's what I saw (click on photos to embiggen):
On 8th Street just north of Virginia Avenue, the new ramp to outbound I-695 (aka the 11th Street freeway bridge) looks pretty far along, as seen at right. This ramp has an "early spring" projected opening, and it doesn't appear to be too in danger of missing that.
The lanes to the left of this new freeway entrance carry the outbound I-695 traffic, while the ramp to the right that used to lead to the old outbound flyover and bridge will now be the new exit from the freeway to an intersection at 11th Street SE north of L. You can also see this new exit ramp from 8th and Virginia (below left), running next the footprint of the now-demolished old entrance ramp. The 11th Street interchange still has a ways to go (below right), but is projected to open in early summer.
I also finally checked out 12th Street, which no longer lives quite so deeply in the shadow of the ramp from the old inbound 11th Street Bridge to M Street. The in-water piers of the old bridge are still standing, as you see at left, but otherwise the ramp's footprint has been cleared. (I kind of miss the staircase, though.)
The 12th and O intersection still needs a lot of love even with the embankment gone, but it's at least somewhat less apocalyptic now (below left)--and it will be seeing more traffic with M Street east of 13th temporarily closed, which has also moved the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail route onto its "real" Water Street path. Meanwhile, one block to the north, there's about to be an actual intersection with N Street (below right), allowing for traffic to access 11th Street in either direction without having to go up to M. (You can see the rest of the new 12th and N angles and how they've changed, too.)
So many of the new 11th Street Bridges movements are finished--the bridges themselves, the new inbound and outbound flyovers, the two-way traffic up 11th Street from the local bridge, and the on- and off-ramps at M Street. This also means that the centipede-like old inbound flyover seen in the two photos below can now be demolished like three others before it (the RFK ramps and the outbound flyover), for one final change to the skyline above 11th Street.
It's pretty hard to pull together these changes into a single page, so if you really want to get a feeling for the progression over the past four-plus years, I'd dive into these parts of my photo archive:
* 12th and M, especially looking north and northwest;
* 9th and Virginia, looking northeast and northwest;
* 11th and M, looking northeast, east and southeast;
* 11th and the freeway, looking northeast;
* 11th and L, looking north, south-southeast, and north-northwest;
* 11th and N, looking north and south; and
* 11th and O, looking pretty much in any direction you choose.
I know, it's exhausting. But for someone enamored of striking before-and-after shots, it's a goldmine.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, photos, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Inbound I-695 Moving to Final Alignment, Adding Third Lane
Mar 5, 2014 11:52 AM
DDOT has announced that on (or about) March 7, inbound traffic on I-695 to the Southeast Freeway will shift over to its final alignment, onto the new flyover built as part of the 11th Street Bridges project.
This shift will also provide a third lane of inbound traffic, and clear the way for demolition of the old, now-somewhat-rickety-feeling, inbound flyover. (Yay!)
In order to complete the final prep for this switchover, the exit ramp from I-695 to M Street will be closed on Thursday, March 6, at 10 pm, until approximately 5 am Friday. If you need to get to M Street from 295, you can get off at the 11th Street local exits and proceed to M that way.
This alignment switch is the second in a series of traffic changes related to the 11th Street Bridges project on tap for the early part of 2014. Next in line should be the revamped ramp from 8th Street SE onto the eastbound freeway, sometime this spring, followed in the summer by the new ramp from the eastbound freeway down to 11th Street north of L.
However, as is so often the case, progess comes with a price: "Motorists seeking access to 8th Street SE and the Marine Barracks area from the inbound 11th Street Freeway Bridge (westbound I-695) will be detoured to M Street SE, then to 11th Street SE to I Street SE." See the map above for this detour route.
On the graphic released a few weeks ago about the 2014 openings (above right), there appears to eventually be a return of access from westbound I-695 to I Street SE, but is not part of the announced schedule. (It also appears to use the closed-for-security-reasons ramp that bisects the Marine Barracks on I Street, and I'm wondering about the machinations to reopen that.) There will eventually be other movements to and from 11th Street as part of the still-under-discussion Southeast Blvd.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

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?

New Eastbound Flyover to 11th Street Bridge Opening
Feb 7, 2014 2:59 PM
DDOT is announcing that the new eastbound/outbound flyover from the Southeast Freeway to the 11th Street Bridge (I-695) is opening Feb. 7, i.e., today, i.e., Any Minute Now. Maybe it's already open!
If anyone would like to weigh in with further details, please do.
UPDATE: It sounds like it is indeed already open. I will have to schedule a joy ride this weekend.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

Late Wednesday Tidbits
Jan 15, 2014 7:51 PM
Cleaning out the pending file:
* DIG IT: The shoring and sheeting permit has now been approved for the residential building currently known by the spiffy moniker of Parcel N at the Yards, which means that the parking lot on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey should start being dug up any time now (beyond just the DC Water digging up that's been going on for a while). This building will have 327 residential units and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail when completed in either late 2015 or early 2016.
* MMMM, BEER: Bluejacket is going to start offering tours of its brewery, beginning Jan. 31. The offerings range from a free tour with one complimentary taste of a Bluejacket brew to a $22 "tasting tour" to the $75 "Beer and Food Experience Tour." See the web site for more details.
* A REVIEW: Alas, the Post's Tom Sietsema did not have particularly good things to say about the food at the Arsenal (but he did like Bluejacket's brewed offerings).
* ANC VACANCY: The Board of Elections has officially certified the vacancy in 6D02 after Ed Kaminski's resignation, and the wheels are now turning for a special election. Petitions may be picked up at the BOE and circulated until Feb. 3, with challenges to those petitions allowed through Feb. 12. If more than one person successfully makes it through the petition process, an election will be held, most likely at 6D's March business meeting. If only one candidate qualifies, that person automatically fills the vacancy. So, if you're itching to be an ANC commissioner and you live in Capitol Hill Tower, or Velocity, or 909 New Jersey, or across the way in the northeastern sections of Southwest, here's your chance.
* SOUTHEAST BLVD: ANC 6B's Brian Flahaven has posted the commission's draft comments on DDOT's initial plans for the rebuild of Barney Circle and Southeast Blvd. Spoiler: "The committee recommended a number of clarifying changes to the comments including the addition of an opening sentence that conveys the commission’s opposition to the design concepts presented to the community on Nov. 21, 2013. The committee also wanted to make it clear that other stakeholders besides DDOT need to be brought into the project discussion."

11th Street Bridges New Ramp Opening Date Estimates
Jan 15, 2014 11:53 AM
I've had some e-mails of late from readers eyeing the progress on the new outbound flyover from the eastbound Southeast Freeway toward the 11th Street freeway bridge (aka I-695). The flyover appears to be pretty close to opening, but as of now there's no official date-in-stone from the project folks.
However, they were nice enough to pass along this graphic showing the estimated dates that four of the ramps now under construction will open. And, because I know some of you just can't bring yourselves to click, I'll summarize:
* The new eastbound/outbound flyover from the freeway is expected to open sometime in the next six weeks or so.
* A third lane westbound/inbound is scheduled to open in the March/April timeframe.
* The new/replacement ramp from 8th Street onto the eastbound/outbound freeway has an "early spring" anticipated opening date.
* The ramp that will offer a new exit from the eastbound freeway directly onto to 11th Street just north of L is expected to open this summer.
And, while I invite you to check out my 11th Street Bridges project page for the background on this on-going project, I admit that I haven't been over there to take pictures since, ahem, October (it's cold! I'm busy! I'm tired! I'm lazy!). But now I will probably be guilted into it.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

Southeast Blvd. and Barney Circle Public Meeting Nov. 21
Nov 21, 2013 1:28 AM
DDOT is hosting another public meeting tonight (Thursday, Nov. 21) on its project to both turn the old sunken portion of the Southeast Freeway into "Southeast Blvd." and also to remake Barney Circle.
This meeting will "seek community feedback on updated design concepts" that "illustrate ways to transform the Southeast Freeway between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle into a boulevard that integrates with adjacent neighborhoods and provides new connections to the Anacostia River."
The meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Payne Elementary School, 1445 C St., SE.
This is a study that I'm actually pretty interested in, but I missed the previous meeting and ensuing discussions owing to my Annus Horribilis, so I can't give you a whole lot of details on how it has all gone up to now. The project web site has the basics, including the presentation slides from the first meeting, and ANC commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg posted 6B's first comments on the concepts back in April.
Some of the work on Southeast Blvd. has of course already begun, with tons and tons of dirt already having filled in the former underpass beneath 11th Street, so that traffic coming from the freeway will be able to exit to a signalized intersection at 11th. But little work has been done east of 11th, which is good since it's this study that is to determine exactly what that work should be.
Also, if you can't get enough of public meetings on transportation issues, you can also mark your calendar for an upcoming DDOT meeting regarding updates to the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Transportation Master Plan. It's on Dec. 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel at South Capitol and I streets, SW.
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More posts: meetings, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Photos: Morini De-Wrapped, Turret Makeover, New I Street Forming
Nov 11, 2013 11:21 AM
With the news that the window coverings had come off of the Osteria Morini space in the Lumber Shed, I went racing down there with hopes of pressing my camera up against all that glass to get some photos of the opening-any-minute-now restaurant from Chef Michael White. Alas, I arrived during training, and so was THWARTED (because I'm way too shy to have just gone ahead and taken the up-close shots with 40 people staring at me).
I did get at least a couple of surveillance-type shots from a respectable distance, which I posted in a new photo gallery you should check out, but here's a preview:
The restaurant is expected to open next week, perhaps the 19th or the 20th, but at this point we know it will open when it opens.
The photo gallery also has a few other fun shots from the other projects currently under construction (residential buildings Twelve12, Park Chelsea and Toll Brothers's River Parc), such as the turret at 4th and M getting quite a makeover:
Plus, the Park Chelsea has gotten new signage, but more interesting is the outlines now forming of the new stretch of I Street that will run between 2nd and New Jersey when it opens (probably not any sooner than spring 2014):
But just go ahead and check out the full gallery.
Also, while they aren't terribly showy just yet, I have built two more of what I call my Expanded Photo Archives for both the Park Chelsea and River Parc projects, to bring together more before-and-afters from a wider/farther array of angles than I usually display on the project pages. (Yep, I'm partying like it's 2007.)

Checking Out the Changes Along on 11th Street
Oct 24, 2013 3:18 PM
I was otherwise occupied on Sept. 7, the day of the big celebration on the now-completed 11th Street Local Bridge, but I finally wandered down to that neck of the woods a few days ago with my camera to capture the current state of affairs. And one might say that the landscape at 11th and O has changed a bit thanks to this project:
before
after
But there's more than just the newly wide open spaces at 11th and O. The girders for the new flyover that will carry traffic from the Southeast Freeway to the outbound I-695 bridge are all now in place; couple that with the demolition earlier this year of the old outbound flyover, and you have a very different vista at 11th and L than what's been there up to now:
before
after
(The low height of the flyovers above 11th does make that little stretch a bit claustrophobic, though, especially on foot.)
You also now have two-way traffic on 11th between O and M, so that vehicles coming across the local bridge from Anacostia can drive straight north on 11th.
And the dirt-fill-in work for Southeast Blvd. has progressed enough that the west side of 11th at the freeway no longer feels like an overpass, just the regular road.
Plus there's also work at 8th Street and Virginia Avenue to create a new on-ramp and also fashion the new exit to Southeast Blvd./11th Street.
If you don't feel like clicking on each of these photos, just head to my 11th Street Bridges and Southeast Blvd. pages to see them alongside a few other new shots. You may also want to dig into my photo archive to check out the before-and-afters at 11th and the freeway, 11th and L, 11th and M, 11th and N, and 11th and O. Though the photos don't quite seem to do the changes justice, especially if you're someone who has walked those blocks of 11th many times over the past few years.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, photos, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Live Transit Page Returns to the Living
Oct 24, 2013 10:16 AM
For the two or three people who use it, I've done some cleaning up of the five million lines of code on my Near Southeast Transit Options page, and it should now be more or less functional again.
If you haven't seen it, this page gives you a quick look at the status of the neighborhood's five Bikeshare stations, including the two new ones at 3rd and Tingey & 8th and Potomac, along with other nearby stations of interest. It also shows upcoming arrival times for the Green line at Navy Yard-Ballpark, the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator bus at New Jersey and M, and Metrobus lines at New Jersey and M.
You can access this page from the "Live Transit Info" link on the JDLand home page menu bar, or by clicking the little Metro icons on the home page map. It's also available via a link from the JDLand mobile home page at m.jdland.com.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Metro/WMATA, JDLand stuff, Traffic Issues

Public Meeting Feb. 21 on Southeast Blvd., Barney Circle Planning
Feb 18, 2013 11:26 AM
With the reconstruction of the old Southeast Freeway east of 8th Street into the new Southeast Blvd., DDOT is running a transportation planning study that is looking how best to integrate this rebuilt stretch of road with the adjacent neighborhoods between 11th Street and Barney Circle. To that end, there is a public meeting about this "opportunity for adaptive reuse" being held this Thursday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 pm at Payne Elementary School at 1445 C St., SE. Representatives of DDOT and the technical team working on Southeast Blvd. will be there to provide details about the study and future plans for the area, as well as to answer questions.
This would probably be the perfect forum to ask some of the questions that have been posted in the comments here, such as whether the new boulevard will have an intersection with 13th Street, and how the pedestrian/cycling trail planned to be built alongside the boulevard will be handled.
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More posts: meetings, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Full Closure of SE Freeway East of 8th Begins Jan. 31; New Southeast Blvd. Page, and 11th Street Bridges Progress Pics
Jan 30, 2013 11:02 PM
As I wrote a few days back, the portion of the Southeast Freeway between 8th Street SE and Pennsylvania Avenue will be fully closed after the evening rush hour on Thursday, Jan. 31, to both begin work on the new Southeast Blvd. and to demolish the existing outbound flyover ramp and replace it with a new three-lane one.
One thing I didn't mention in that post is that, with these closures Thursday, both the 8th Street SE on-ramp to the outbound I-695 freeway bridge and the 9th Street ramp toward Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed.
As the helpful graphic at right from DDOT shows, if you're wanting to get on I-695 outbound, you'll need to use the ramp on the southeast corner of 11th and M.
Since this closure now makes the Southeast Blvd. project truly seem underway, I've been spurred into an unexpected burst of action, and have created a Southeast Blvd. project page, separate from my recently refreshed 11th Street Bridges page. Right now it's mainly drawings, "before photos," and links to my previous posts on the project, but I will keep it updated throughout the expected 18-to-20-month span of construction:
I also threw together a new 11th Street Bridges Progress Photo Gallery with some new shots from this past weekend, when I traipsed around N and O streets and up on the local bridge for the first time in way too long.
And now I think my guilt over some long-neglected photos is assuaged, at least for a little while.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, photos, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Eastbound SE Freeway to Pennsylvania Ave. Closing Jan. 31
Jan 19, 2013 4:03 PM
The next step in converting the sunken portion of the Southeast Freeway between 8th Street SE and Pennsylvania Avenue to the eventual at-grade "Southeast Boulevard" is coming, as DDOT has announced that on Jan. 31, "all eastbound lanes along this stretch will be closed to traffic for approximately 18-20 months while crews fill the roadway to restore it to the local street elevation."
This will be preceded by for a week or so beginning around noontime on Tuesday, Jan. 22, with the route being reduced to only one lane.
Not only are these closures to allow for the filling-in of much of the old roadway, but also to start construction of bridge piers for "a new bridge over the SE Freeway," which I believe will be the new three-lane flyover ramp from the freeway to the outbound 11th Street Bridge, replacing the current one (seen at top left in the photo).
If you're worked up about this closure because you're using the route to Pennsylvania Avenue to then use the left-turn-to-DC295, you should already be using the new exit ramp from the outbound 11th Street Bridge directly to northbound 295 anyway!
The work of bringing in lots and lots (and lots and lots) of dirt to build up the sunken route has already begun on the old westbound side of the road, as seen in this photo I took earlier this month, when I also updated the before and afters for the 11th Street & not-yet-Southeast-Blvd intersection.
If you haven't been following this project, which is part of the $90 million second phase of the 11th Street Bridges project, the filling-in is so there will be an at-grade signalized intersection at 11th Street, SE. Drivers will arrive at the new intersection from the SE Freeway (or Pennsylvania Avenue) and have the option of getting onto 11th Street, or continuing straight. There will also be a new stretch of 12th Street north of M to Southeast Blvd., so that drivers exiting the 11th Street freeway bridges can continue north across M to the new boulevard, instead of turning left onto M and then right onto 11th.
There is also supposed to be a new pedestrian/cycling trail alongside this new Southeast Blvd., creating another connection between Virginia Avenue Park and Barney Circle than using the currently-ripped-up-by-DC-Water M Street route.
This construction drawing shows all the new intersections, ramps, flyovers, and whatnot for both phases of the project on the west side of the river, if you need some help visualizing.
There are also supposed to be public meetings coming this year as part of studies now underway on how to remake the Barney Circle-not-yet-Southeast-Blvd interchange.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Zooming in on the 11th Street Bridge's Phase 2 Plans
Sep 27, 2012 9:48 AM
The 11th Street Bridges folks were nice enough to pass along a more recent drawing (March 2012, Concept Only! Not for Construction!) that shows the 11th Street Bridges' project Phase 2 plans.
They were also nice enough to pass along a very large version of this more recent drawing, enabling me to post a very large image in on the new ramps and lanes along and over 11th Street on the west side of the Anacostia River, and how the new Southeast Boulevard with a new signalized intersection at 11th Street will be built along what used to be the eastern end of the Southeast Freeway. It also shows the extension of 12th Street north of M to the new boulevard, along with all of the turn lanes and other movements. (All of this assuming the designs don't change.)
It's also handy if you haven't committed all the Phase 1 ramps and flyovers and lanes and paths to memory--they are shown in yellow and orange, while the Phase 2 plans are in blue and pink, and decommissioned roads and ramps are in a subtle x'ed-out motif. So, for the heck of it, here's a not-quite-so-enlarged image showing the entire project, on both sides of the river. Also, if you missed it, my photo gallery of the project's current state, from earlier this month.
(I should note that this map doesn't include how upcoming changes to Barney Circle might look, because that's still under deliberation.)
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

11th Street Bridges Project Photo Tour, September 2012
Sep 19, 2012 8:35 AM
There's a lot going on over yonder at 11th Street these days, as the initial 11th Street Bridges project continues toward its expected completion next year while the now-funded Phase 2 work is starting to get underway.
I was able to arrange a tour last week (thank you, bridge folks!), and have put together a photo gallery of the most interesting shots.
However, there's a lot going on and so I'm going to break out some of the information here as well. (But go look at the gallery too!)
New Ramps from/to 11th Street Local Bridge
By the end of the month (or maybe even by the end of the week), two new ramps on the 11th Street Local Bridge will open, providing access to southbound I-295 from the local bridge and to the local bridge from northbound DC-295. There are signalized intersections at both ramps, with turns allowed in each direction. And, once construction is finished to make 11th Street two-way from O Street northward, commuters driving north on 295 will be able to use the new ramp to the local bridge to then arrive directly at the Navy Yard's entrance gate at 11th and N.
Southeast Blvd., and Outbound Freeway Traffic
This week saw the first of the lane closures that within a few months will signal the end of the SE Freeway east of 8th Street. Once all lanes are closed, traffic taking the old two-lane flyover to outbound I-695 will be temporarily routed onto the completed-but-not-opened inbound flyover connecting I-695 and I-395. This will allow for the razing of the old outbound flyover, and construction of a new three-lane flyover in the gap between the old and new ones. The filling of the old sunken freeway will also begin, for the new at-grade Southeast Blvd.
Old Outbound Bridge Demolition
The old outbound 11th Street Bridge is now little more than a bunch of old girders, which are starting to be removed. Soon, all that will be left will be the river piers, though two of those will be used to create viewing platforms that will be accessed via walkways from the new 11th Street Local pedestrian path. (And can be reused if anyone ever decides to pony up the millions needed to create the 11th Street Recreation Bridge.) In the meantime, work continues on the downriver edge of the new local bridge, to get it to its full four-lane-plus-ped-path width.
But there's more than just these items and photos. There's photos of the under-construction ramp that in about three months will take traffic from outbound I-695 to northbound DC-295, plus the big piles of dirt waiting to be used to fill in the eastern part of the Southeast Freeway, and the work on the ramp from 11th Street to westbound I-395, and more. So go look at the entire gallery. (I've also incorporated some of the new photos into my 11th Street Bridges project page, to go with the before-and-afters.) I also wrote in more detail about the Phase 2 projects a few months back.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, photos, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Work Starting Soon on Eventual Southeast Boulevard
Sep 11, 2012 2:49 PM
An advisory sent out by DDOT this afternoon (now online) has announced some upcoming changes to the traffic flow on the Southeast Freeway east of 8th Street, SE, as the work begins to get underway for the creation of the new at-grade boulevard that will take traffic to and from the Southeast Freeway and Barney Circle.
Starting Monday, Sept. 17, after morning rush hour, westbound traffic from Barney Circle to the freeway on the current below-grade lanes will be reduced to a single lane. By November, DDOT says, the westbound lanes will be closed completely, and by January the eastbound lanes will be, too.
DDOT also says that, starting Monday, vehicles will no longer be permitted to turn left from southbound 17th Street SE to reach the restricted access lanes under Barney Circle.
Over an 18- to 20-month period, the below-grade area between 8th and 13th streets SE will be raised about 20 feet, and the new boulevard will be created, as seen in this DDOT graphic. Since 11th Street currently crosses the below-grade lanes on a bridge, this means that that "bridge" will become an at-grade roadway as well.
And, speaking of that section of 11th Street, the advisory says that the new entrance to the westbound Southeast Freeway from 11th Street will open by Thanksgiving, allowing people on the eastern side of the Hill to get on the freeway at 11th rather than taking Virginia Avenue all the way to the 3rd Street SE ramp.
This work is all part of the now-funded $90 million second phase of the 11th Street Bridges project, and also will include a new three-lane outbound bridge from the SE/SW Freeway to the 11th Street/I-695 bridge. In addition, 12th Street SE will be extended north from M Street to connect to the new Boulevard, and there will also be a reconfiguring of Barney Circle itself.
In the meantime, work continues on the many Phase 1 connections still being built, including a new off-ramp on the east side of the river from northbound DC-295 to the new 11th Street Local Bridge, which should be opening by the end of this month. Quoting DDOT: "This will allow Navy Yard morning rush-hour commuters coming from Suitland Parkway and northbound I-295 with more of a direct route to their facility as well as local traffic direct access to Historic Anacostia. Traffic will exit on the Anacostia side of the river, travel across the 11th Local Street Bridge and enter the Navy Yard at the O Street Gate."
The much-anticipated ramp to northbound DC-295 from the outbound I-695 bridge is expected to open by Thanksgiving.
You can see more about the coming ramps on the east side of the river on page 31 of this DDOT community communications briefing. There's also my post from a few months ago with more detail on this Phase 2, and of course, my 11th Street Bridges project page.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Southeast Blvd., Traffic Issues

Nationals Reach 1 Million in Attendance, 30K Average for 2012
Jun 22, 2012 12:45 PM
Thursday night's game at Nationals Park against the Tampa Rays was a relatively painless 5-2 win for the Nats, upping the team's record to 40-27 before they make the quick trip up to Baltimore for a weekend rematch against the Orioles.
Announced paid attendance was 29,551, which pushed the mark for the 2012 season just above 1 million (1,002,396 for you sticklers). This is an average of 29,482 tickets sold per game through the first 34 of the season, compared to 22,948 at the same point last year. (The team didn't reach the 1 million mark in 2011's home attendance until July 9.)
According to Dan Steinberg, seven of the 13 biggest crowds in Nats Park history have come this season, three of them just last weekend for the Yankees series. The average through these first 34 games is a smidge higher than for the same span in the ballpark's inaugural 2008 season, and is no doubt well outpacing the 2009-2011 doldrums.
So, there's an average of 6,500-plus more bodies traipsing through the streets around the ballpark for every game this year than last year, along with far more sellouts and near sellouts than the ballpark has seen in its previous four seasons--how is this working out for the neighborhood? I haven't heard much carping--is this because traffic and humanity are generally moving well (albeit with a bit more patience required during the big games), or is it more because most Near Southeast residents moved to the neighborhood after the stadium opened, and so have no "before" frame of reference and are also more accepting of the crowds since they knew what they were getting into? (The point of view might be a bit different across the way in the established residential areas of Southwest.) Or does a winning record and a first-place team magically lessen the pain and grumbling?
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More posts: Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

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

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

8th Street Exit Ramp from Southeast Freeway Closing May 10
May 9, 2012 12:37 PM
DDOT is announcing that the the 8th Street exit ramp from the westbound Southeast/Southwest freeway is closing permanently on May 10 at approximately 10 am.
This is the ramp that drivers use coming from Pennsylvania Avenue and Barney Circle, not the one used for 8th Street when coming inbound from the 11th Street Bridge.
The closure is happening because the new flyover for traffic coming westbound from from the 11th Street freeway bridge will be bringing traffic onto the westbound freeway via a ramp that runs right across the 8th Street exit site (this photo of the ramp as seen from 11th Street from back in January shows on the far left where the 8th Street exit is and why it's having to be closed).
The Marines can't be too unhappy about this closure, since the ramp runs right between the two halves of Building 20, which isn't exactly a prime security configuration.
In the press release, DDOT also says that it expects the new ramp connecting Southbound DC-295 (on the east side of the river) with the inbound 11th Street Freeway Bridge (I-695) to open by July 4, and that this "will have a direct connection to I Street at 10th Street, SE" (which is where the current ramp from the inbound 11th Street Bridges is).
As to when/how the other new ramp that will bring traffic up to 11th Street from the Pennsylvania Avenue/Southeast Freeway connector will open, I don't know. There are a lot of traffic flow changes are coming to 11th Street between I and O over the next few months--the new ramp to the outbound freeway bridge from M just east of 11th is looking closer to completion, as is the 11th Street Local bridge. If only someone would get over there to take some photos of the progress! (Well, I did take *one.*)
One of DDOT's spiffy videos detailing all the new movements sure would be handy about now.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

M Street SE/SW Transportation Study Public Meeting May 24
May 8, 2012 9:08 AM
DDOT has announced that a meeting to update the public on the progress of the M Street SE/SW Transportation Study has been scheduled for May 24, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St. SW.
The study area covers the stretch of M from 12th Street, SE to 14th Street, SW, along with the adjacent areas from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway south to the Anacostia River/Washington Channel. DDOT is looking at "how to integrate transit, bicycling and walking with motor vehicle traffic," while also trying to figure out how to balance residents' preferences for how M Street should be configured versus how visitors, workers, and commuters expect it to flow.
The first meeting, back in January, included an introduction to the study before attendees broke up into small groups to give feedback about the issues they feel need addressing.
According to the web site, a draft study report is expected this summer, with the final report and a final public meeting coming in the fall.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, meetings, M Street, Traffic Issues

M Street Transportation Study Meeting Documents
Jan 12, 2012 8:27 PM
The meeting probably isn't even finished yet, but if you didn't (or did) stop by the first of DDOT's public meetings on their nine-month M Street SE/SW Transportation study, you can browse the presentation slides and take the stakeholder survey, already posted on the new web site for the project.
There were a pile of high-powered bloggers and transportation geeks in attendance, so I'm sure there will no shortage of coverage of both this meeting and the entire study that I will happily link to, but there wasn't much news coming out of this first session--it was mainly to introduce the study, talk about the methodology (which you can see in the slides) and then break up into small groups to stand around maps and give feedback about what attendees see as issues that need addressing. (But first, just as at the 2010 meeting, one woman who is particularly anti-bike once again made her feelings known.)
DDOT's representatives say they will be using some 33 other studies that have been done on the area in question as part of this overall study, covering the area from 14th St. SW to 12th Street SE south of the freeway down to the waterfront(s), though that then brought a comment from the audience about when studying is going to stop and there's going to be action.
There will be two more public meetings, one in March-ish and another in June-ish, with the study expected to be completed in August-ish.
UPDATE: Here's DCist's report on the meeting. And SWill's.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, meetings, M Street, parking, Traffic Issues

Reminder: M Street SE/SW Transportation Study Meeting Thursday
Jan 11, 2012 9:27 PM
Just a reminder that Thursday night (Jan. 12) is the first public meeting for DDOT's M Street SE/SW Transportation Study, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church at 400 I St., SW.
As the meeting announcement says, "The purpose of the public meeting is to provide an overview of the transportation study, outline the study process/schedule and gather public feedback. Following a brief presentation, attendees will be asked to help identify concerns and issues on maps of the study area and also via a brief survey."
It isn't just about the six lanes on M Street, either: the study area goes from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway south to the Anacostia River and Washington Channel, from 12th Street SE all the way to 14th Street SW.
So, if you think there should be fewer lanes, more lanes, less parking, more parking, more bike lanes, fewer bike lanes, more pedestrian-friendly changes, fewer pedestrian-friendly changes, or just like watching people with wildly divergent views all trying to get their position to be the "right" one, come on down.
(You can also read my post on the last M Street traffic meeting, back in 2010, though note it was not part of this current official nine-month study by DDOT.)
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, meetings, M Street, Traffic Issues

ANC 6D January Agenda: M Street Study/BID Previews, More
Jan 4, 2012 4:02 PM
ANC 6D has sent around (and posted! yay!) the agenda for its January meeting, scheduled for Monday, Jan. 9 at 7 pm at 1100 4th St., SW in DCRA's second-floor meeting room.
The Near Southeast items of interest could mostly be looked at as sneak previews, or perhaps as items that could be missed if you are better able to fit other upcoming meetings into your calendar (especially, if, say, you were looking for an escape hatch because you'd kinda rather be watching the BCS championship):
* There's a M Street SE/SW Transportation Study agenda item, in advance of the DDOT public meeting on the study coming three days later, on Jan. 12;
* There's an update on Capitol Riverfront BID doings, in advance of the BID's annual meeting three days later, on Jan. 12; and
* There's the application for historic landmark status for the DC Water main pumping station, which will be heard by the Historic Preservation Review Board at its January 26 meeting.
There's also an update on the ANC 6D redistricting outcome, various Southwest-related items (including the big Maryland Avenue SW Draft Plan, and whatnot. And, since it's the first meeting of the new year, there will also be the election of commission officers.

M Street SE/SW Transportation Study Meeting on Jan. 12
Dec 20, 2011 12:01 PM
Just sent out by DDOT:
"The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will hold the first in a series of public information meetings for the M Street SE/SW Transportation Study from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I Street SW.
"The nine-month study, being conducted as part of the larger Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, seeks to identify current and future transportation issues and possible mitigation strategies along the M Street SE/SW Corridor and Southwest/Southeast Waterfront areas from 12th Street SE west to 14th Street SW and from the Southwest/Southeast Freeway south to the Anacostia River/Washington Channel.
"The purpose of the public meeting is to provide an overview of the transportation study, outline the study process/schedule and gather public feedback."
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, meetings, M Street, Traffic Issues

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

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

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.)

ANC Recap No. 3: Traffic Study, 10K Race, Liquor License Items
Apr 13, 2011 11:14 AM
Last missive from Monday's ANC 6D meeting..:
* It's apparently going to be "Neighborhood Day" at Nationals Park on Saturday, April 16. The Nationals said in a press release on Monday that residents will be able to purchase discounted tickets, but you apparently have to be in the know to find the nationals.com/neighborhood ticket sales link. (ANC commissioners got their free tickets for Saturday handed out at the meeting, since they'll be introduced on the field before the game.)
* With a unanimous 7-0 vote, the commission passed a motion authored by David Garber to request that DDOT fund a "comprehensive" traffic study of the M Street corridor and its neighboring streets in both Southeast and Southwest. Much of the discussion ended up centering around the wording of the motion (as is so often the case), with much concern about whether Maine Avenue should be specifically mentioned, especially given that the developers of the new Southwest Waterfront will be undertaking their own traffic study along Maine and Water Street. Commissioner Andy Litsky wondered about the traffic study in Southeast that the Capitol Riverfront BID is looking to fund, and Michael Stevens of the BID said that they would support a "holistic" approach to combining the various studies already done or on the boards (including the one CSX has apparently completed to look at the impact of their planned construction along Virginia Avenue, plus the reports done for the 11th Street Bridges EIS and the in-progress 14th Street Bridges EIS).
The motion was then amended to say that the ANC supports directing DDOT funds "to conduct a comprehensive traffic study and plan for the M Street SE/SW corridor and its feeder and surrounding streets and that all other area studies be integrated for DDOT's review in order to produce a comprehensive study, and that ANC 6D urgently supports the subsequent design process and implementation of a 'complete streets' plan to decrease the speed and volume of automobile traffic, and increase multi-modal transportation safety and efficiency as neighborhoods in 6D continue to evolve and develop."
(If you want to know more about the concept of Complete Streets and how it might inform a redesign of M Street, you can read my report on last year's public meeting held by Tommy Wells to start an "initial dialog" on the subject.)
* The commission also voted 7-0 to support the Pacers Home Run Classic 10K race, to be run on Saturday, June 18. Original plans to start and end the race at the Yards Park ran into some issues with the city's Emergency Management folks not wanting the race to run by the DC Water/WASA plant (and there was no explanation beyond that). So the race will now start and end at Half and N, across from the ballpark, then circle the ballpark down to South Capitol and Potomac before crossing the Douglass Bridge, running along Anacostia Drive in Anacostia Park to the skating pavilion, then doubling back. It's expected there will be 2,000 runners for the 8 am race. (Next year they expect to be able to start and end at the Yards Park and use the new floating bridge to Teague Park to get to Potomac Avenue and the Douglass Bridge.)
* In liquor license matters, it was reported to the commission that Das Bullpen did end up needing to get a new liquor license separate from that of The Bullpen 1.0, and that a new voluntary agreement was written up as well. This was all apparently done very hurredly, on the Tuesday before Opening Day, in order for ABRA to approve the new license on Wednesday in time for Opening Day on Thursday (though as we know Das Bullpen didn't open that day anyway). There's a full hearing on the license scheduled for May 31. If you haven't followed the Twitter flurry, Das Bullpen opened Tuesday (April 13) for the Nats/Phillies game.
* Also on the alcohol front, apparently both Harry's Reserve and Cornercopia are inquiring as to the possibility of the sale of "singles," in their cases to be the sorts of higher-end European beers that typically come in 20 oz or larger bottles. Coralee Farlee, who chairs the 6D ABC subcommittee, asked for some guidance as to whether the ANC is wanting to continue to not consider any exceptions for single sales, as has been the practice. David Garber and other commissioners expressed their support for the higher-end type of sales, and Andy Litsky said that 6D never really had the "singles" problem that lead the H Street NE corridor to ban those sales. Chairman Ron McBee instructed Farlee to check how other ANCs are handling the issue (apparently 6B allows sales of the 20-oz. bottles?), with an eye toward reexamining 6D's stance.

ANC Agenda: Market Deli, M Street Traffic Planning, Lumber Shed
Apr 6, 2011 1:51 PM
There's nothing I like more when fighting a cold than to think about an upcoming ANC meeting, but these are the sorts of sacrifices I make for you people. Miraculously, ANC 6D has already posted the agenda for Monday's meeting, which is chock-full of Near Southeast-related items and is coincidentally being held in Southeast this time around, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. Up for discussions and/or votes:
* The Market Deli historic landmark application, which will get a vote from the ANC as to whether or not to support it (and of course we know that at least one 6D commissioner will be voting for it!). The hearing in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board is scheduled for April 28.
* A presentation on the zoning request to allow Forest City to "temporarily" include office space in the Lumber Shed building in the Yards Park. I've written about this Lumber Shed request before, and in fact Forest City did a information presentation on this at last month's ANC meeting, but I was hoping to get copies of the new pretty renderings of the buildings before writing anything, and that never happened, and I knew they'd be back again in order to have a vote on whether the ANC will support the zoning request, so.... I promise to write about it this time.
* A resolution on a long-term traffic and transportation study for M Street SE and SW, also to include a "complete streets" plan, according to David Garber. This would appear to be wider in scope than the transporation study discussed in the draft Performance Parking report I wrote about recently that seemed to only cover the east side of South Capitol, but I imagine all will be clarified at the meeting.
* It turns out that Das Bullpen needs a new separate liquor license rather than operating on the Bullpen 1.0 license, so that's on the agenda as well. The hearing for that is scheduled for May 31, but the ANC will be voting on a "stipulated license," which I believe means that the bar could operate while waiting on the full license hearing. (And no, I haven't heard when they might be opening, though it wouldn't be before the next Nats home game, on April 12 vs. the Phillies.)
* And the BID is looking for support for the "Home Run Classic Pacers 10K Race" on June 18, that appears to start and/or end at the Yards Park and which I would guess (but don't know for sure) would involve some street closings.
The meeting begins at 7 pm, and does allow for short audience questions/statements on any agenda item where a vote will be taken, just in case there's any particular agenda item that people may feel strongly about one way or the other. (And all of this assumes that a government shutdown wouldn't affect an ANC meeting? Anyone?)

Performance Parking Brings Monies for New Bikeshare Station(s), Transportation Study; Some Parking Costs Going Up in 2011
Mar 24, 2011 1:38 PM
Michael Perkins at GGW got his hands on the draft version DDOT's 2010 Ballpark District Performance Parking Report, and while I'll leave it to him to handle the in-depth discussion of pricing and meter use in Near Southeast as well as other neighborhoods, there are a few action items in the report that might be of general interest (you should read all 31 pages if you want the nitty-gritty).
Now, this is a draft report, but assuming it becomes final...:
Revenues from the parking program have been able to provide $812,100 for "non-automotive transportation improvements" in 2011, which will include a new Capital Bikeshare location at the Yards Park and $135,000 for a new fence along New Jersey Avenue by the railroad tracks (presumably it won't hide the "Water Pylons" public art coming to the freeway underpass). There will also be two or three other new bikeshare stations somewhere in the Ballpark District parking zones (Near Southeast, Southwest, and southern Capitol Hill), but those haven't been announced.
There will also be a $70,000 grant to partially fund a Capitol Riverfront BID Transportation Study, which the page 25 of the report says will happen during this fiscal year and will look at:
* The need for additional traffic signals and stop signs based on pedestrian and vehicular patterns (and recent accidents);
* Neighborhood traffic circulation patterns including one way street circulation and freeway access and turning movements onto the freeway frontage roads;
* How the CSX tunnel reconstruction will impact traffic flow and SE/SW freeway access/egress;
* Existing and future parking demand and the proposed parking supply to meet that demand;
* On street parking strategies and supply for commercial, residential and visitor populations;
* Optimum Circulator routes and hours of operation;
* Recommended routes for bike lanes that tie into the Riverfront Trail system;
* The optimum route for a streetcar line in the M Street right of way and how it would service the Buzzard Point subdistrict; and
* How M Street is designed and works as a multi-modal transit corridor while exhibiting a high quality of design in the public realm.
Gosh, I'm just not sure if residents will be interested in any of these! If perchance a reader or two might have an idea or data point for the above items, feel free to discuss in the comments.
Note that this study doesn't quite seem to match the overarching Near Southeast/Southwest combined traffic study that got some discussion late last year, but perhaps there's more going on than what's mentioned in the DDOT report.
DDOT is also proposing that non-gameday parking rates at the multispace meters between South Capitol and 2nd Streets from the freeway to M Street go up to $6 for three hours (first hour $1.50, second hour $2.50, third hour $3). Plus, the boundaries of the parking zone will move eastward to 11th St. SE from 9th St.
By the way, if you have a fab idea for how some of the proceeds from the parking revenue can be spent on the aforementioned non-automotive transportation improvements, you can submit a written proposal to DDOT (further information on page 26 of the report). And if you want background on how the Performance Parking Pilot came into existence back in 2008, my Stadium Parking page can help with that.

Dueling St. Patrick's Day Forums: DC Water, Circulator
Mar 15, 2011 10:17 PM
I know one of my big complaints about St. Patrick's Day festivities has always been that there just aren't enough civic forums included. But that's not the case this year!
* This is late notice (my bad), but on Thursday night (March 17) DC Water (aka WASA) is holding a Ward 6 Town Hall Meeting to talk about all manner of water- and sewer-related issues. Both Tommy Wells and George Hawkins (general manager of DC Water) will be there, and no doubt one of the topics of discussion will be the multi-billion-dollar Clean Rivers Project to fix the combined sewer overflows that result in sewage emptying into the Anacostia River. I have done a wonderful job of avoiding writing about this project, and I will do so for a while longer, except to note that it will eventually mean construction work along M Street east of 9th and along Tingey Street, but not before next spring (and continuing until 2017), so I have a little more time to get with the program. The town hall is from 6:30 to 8 pm at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th St. SE.
* Unfortunately, the DC Water town hall is scheduled at the exact same time as the "First Semi-Annual DC Circulator Public Forum," which is being held right in the neighborhood at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L SE, and which is expected to include a discussion of a possible expansion of service on the Union Station-Navy Yard line, perhaps by expanding hours of operation to 9 pm Monday-Saturday during baseball season. (There is, however, no truth to the rumor that the route is going to be renamed the Dubliner-Molly Malone's line.)
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More posts: circulator, meetings, Traffic Issues, DC Water (WASA)

Circulator Forum March 17; Expansion of Navy Yard Route Hours?
Mar 4, 2011 3:26 PM
DDOT has announced the "First Semi-Annual DC Circulator Public Forum," with Near Southeast residents hitting the jackpot since it's being held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. It's scheduled for Thursday, March 17, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm, and the release says it will cover topics "including potential changes to the span of the Union Station-Navy Yard route."
In subsequent tweets over the past few days, the Circulator folks have expanded on that, saying that they'll be talking about extending the hours on the route until 9 pm Mondays through Saturdays during the baseball season (April-September), and that it may be paid for by ending the weekend-only service on the Mall. (Other tweets hint that the National Park Service may eventually "support" a Mall route using Madison and Jefferson drives.)
They asked for feedback: would there be support in the neighborhood for running the buses until 9 pm? Is there another service improvement you'd rather see in place of that?
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More posts: circulator, meetings, Traffic Issues

Outbound 11th Street Bridge Closures This Week
Jan 24, 2011 10:18 AM
From DDOT, an announcement of two overnight closures of the outbound 11th Street Bridge this week, from 10 pm Wednesday (Jan. 26) through 5 am Thursday (Jan. 27), then again at 10 pm that night (the 27th) through 5 am on Friday the 28th. "Setup activity" for the closures will begin at 8 pm. The closures are to allow for overhead girder construction work.
The inbound bridge will remain open. For detour routes and other information, see the press release. It does note that if there's inclement weather, the closures will be rescheduled to the same overnight hours on Sunday, Jan. 30. And, given the Wednesday night forecast, it is possible that slot will get rained or snowed out (more likely rained).
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

Barnes Dance Coming to New Jersey and M
Nov 13, 2010 10:36 AM
City Paper's Housing Complex blog reported late Friday afternoon that DDOT has decided to put in a "Barnes Dance" configuration (also known as a pedestrian scramble) at New Jersey and M, SE, sometime early in 2011. This is the setup where traffic on all sides have a red light at the same time, allowing pedestrians to cross in any direction. The first one in DC was put in at 7th and H in Chinatown a few months ago. With so many people needing to cross diagonally to go between the Navy Yard Metro station entrance and USDOT, this is probably a good choice for another intersection to try it out.
(Though I do dream of a day far in the future, when Forest City builds an office building on the NGA site on the southwest corner of the intersection as part of the Yards, that that new construction would include an additional entrance to the Metro station, obviating the need for people on the south side of M to cross the street to get to the subway.)
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Traffic Issues

Slides from 11th Street Bridges Presentation to ANC 6D
Nov 9, 2010 11:54 PM
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, Bryon Johnston of the 11th Street Bridges Project gave a presentation on the rebuilding of the bridges, including an overview of the design and its main features as well as an update on the construction progress. He was nice enough to pass along the slides, which may not mean quite as much without his narration but are still helpful for people who haven't been following along through the process.
A few parts of the new design on the Near Southeast side of the project are worth (re-)pointing out, if you can make it through my torrent of descriptions:
* The "freeway" traffic and the "local" traffic will now be separated, with four lanes inbound and four lanes outbound on the freeway/upriver bridge and two lanes inbound/outbound on the "local"/downriver bridge (which Johnston was referring to as "Local 11th Street" because 11th will now feel like a street that crosses a river), as shown on slide 10.
* The local bridge will allow easier access between Near Southeast and Anacostia, for not only cars but pedestrians and bicycles, as well as streetcars when the routes are expanded. As part of this, 11th Street south of M is going to become two-way, and there will be bike lanes in both directions on 11th north of the bridge. (Slide 9)
* Another feature that appears to be coming together for pedestrians and bicyclists is creating two overlooks that jut out above the river on the south side of the local bridge--these would use two of the in-water piers from the current downriver bridge, and you can see them at left and on slide 11.
* One of the big changes for traffic flow for both Near Southeast and Capitol Hill is that there is going to be a new two-lane on-ramp to go westward on the Southeast Freeway toward Virginia at 11th Street, underneath where the current flyover ramps are. (See slide 7.) Folks who have easier access to 11th Street will no longer have to drive along Virginia Avenue and/or 3rd Street to go westbound on the freeway.
But part of this new 11th Street intersection is that traffic coming from Pennsylvania Avenue along the sunken road that currently feeds directly into the freeway will instead be brought up to street level at this new signalized 11th Street intersection and will then drive straight onto the new on-ramp. So there will be some consternation from drivers using this route. (This is also shown on slide 7.)
* To go across the river from Near Southeast on the freeway bridge, for access to DC-295 northbound and I-295 southbound, drivers will have a new ramp on the southeast corner of 11th and M (slide 4). The existing ramp at 8th and Virginia will still be available, too.
* There will still be an exit ramp from the inbound freeway bridge to I Street, just as there is now (slide 4).
* If you look at slide 4 very closely (and/or click on the bird's-eye view at right) and follow the paths off of each bridge, you can see how the freeway bridges coming across the river will have an exit for M Street similar to the current exit, but it deposits drivers at M just west of 12th instead of using 12th itself. It also no longer has the neat little N Street cut-through directly from the ramp that some Navy Yard workers cherish. To get to the Navy Yard, drivers will turn left on M, then left at 11th, and then go to whichever gate they need.
Other information in the slides includes: a graphic showing of the new ramps and accesses on the east side of the bridges at 295 and MLK (slide 12), of which the biggest addition is that you'll now be able to get to and from 295 and the bridges in all directions. There's also recent construction photos (including the first structural steel being laid on the freeway bridge), and information on stormwater management areas, and upcoming traffic impacts (slide 19).
It's expected that the freeway bridge will open about a year from now, with the new local bridge being finished in the winter of 2012/2013. (Dr. Gridlock wrote about recent milestones and upcoming work a few weeks ago.)
If you want to know more, there's my 11th Street Bridges project page, and you can also spend a couple months reading the Environmental Impact Statement to see all the studying they did of potential, um, impacts. There's also this Fact Sheet that they handed out.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

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

Restricted Right Turn on Red Coming to First and M
Aug 10, 2010 12:10 PM
From TBD.com's On Foot blog, the news from that DDOT director Gabe Klein and his staff have spent some time watching the traffic at First and M, where two trucks have struck pedestrians this year, killing one of them. The article says:
"They noticed that 'trucks coming north on First Street are just not stopping' when they make the right onto M Street, [DDOT spokesman John] Lisle says. 'They maybe take a quick glance, and they're really just making that right turn without a full stop.' That's the intersection where a pedestrian was hit by a dump truck last week. Lisle says they now plan on making right-on-red illegal at that corner from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"'That area is still pretty industrialized, even though a lot of people live there and work there,' Lisle says, adding that a couple of asphalt companies are based in the neighborhood. 'There are still a lot of trucks circulating right through.'
"Lisle says the city will probably deploy some mobile speed display signs along M Street as well."
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, M Street, Traffic Issues

Transportation Secretary LaHood Meets with DC Officials About Pedestrian Safety Near USDOT
Aug 6, 2010 4:43 PM
(h/t to reader JL) US transportation secretary Ray LaHood just posted on his "Fast Lane Blog" an entry about the recent accidents on M Street, SE near the USDOT headquarters that have resulted in one DOT employee being killed and another being seriously injured after being hit by dump trucks. He writes that he is "really, really worried about our employees' safety," and that he met today with DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier, DDOT's director Gabe Klein, and staff from both agencies to talk about ways to prevent future pedestrian injuries.
He writes: "We agreed to work on a plan that attempts to solve this problem from a variety of angles. Some ideas under consideration include: Extended crossing-guard hours; Stepped-up pedestrian and vehicle enforcement; Pedestrian training and education; Speed trailers (the roadside digital signs that display a driver's speed); Prohibiting "right turn on red" in the Southeast Federal Center area."
But, he also reminds everyone that "the quickest way I can think of to prevent more accidents like these is for employees and visitors walking to and from our building to, please, stay alert." As he says, "[W]hether you're a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or a driver, having the right-of-way does not guarantee your safety."
Judging by the comment thread in my post about Wednesday's incident, there's a lot of concern about pedestrian safety in Near Southeast, not just on M Street but on most of the other streets, as well.

Pedestrian Struck at First and M; Driver to be Charged
Aug 4, 2010 4:39 PM
Those who don't follow my Twitter feed may not be aware that a pedestrian was struck by a dump truck at First and M streets, SE, today, necessitating a helicopter landing at Canal Park in order to transport the female victim to Washington Hospital Center. According to WTOP, she was in a crosswalk, and charges are pending against the truck driver. The victim has not been identified, but a tweet from a reader indicated that she is a USDOT employee. ABC 7 says that her injuries are not as serious as initially thought. I'll update this post with additional news as it comes along.
This is the second serious incident involving a pedestrian being struck on M Street this year--on April 29, 42-year-old Amy Polk of Takoma Park was killed near First and M.
UPDATE, 8/13: TBD reports that the truck driver in this incident was not be cited.

Capital Bikeshare Coming to Near Southeast
Aug 4, 2010 1:15 PM
I'm catching up on a few items now that I'm more or less back to full speed, and one of them is DDOT's new Capital Bikeshare program that set the DC blogosphere on fire a week or so ago. One thousand bikes spread across 100 stations will be arriving in September, allowing users to borrow a bike for round trips or one-way journeys.
In the initial rollout, Near Southeast will have one station, right in front of the Starbucks in the USDOT building at New Jersey and M, which I'm guessing will make transportation secretary Ray LaHood happy. (It's marked properly on the official map, but ignore notations calling the location "400 M Street, SE." I've confirmed with DDOT that the Starbucks location is the correct one, and they'll be giving it the proper designation of 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE soon.) The next closest location is at 8th and I, just north of the freeway on Barracks Row. There will also be one just north of the new Southwest Safeway, at 4th and I, SW.
DDOT also says they'll be looking to add an additional bikeshare station at Nationals Park next spring, in time for the 2011 season.
[Rare personal aside: I'm really looking forward to this new project, because I'm not really interested in riding my bike *to* work, but I'll like having bike stations within three blocks that will allow me to ride home when the appropriate mood, weather, and clothing strike simultaneously.]
You can follow the launch via @BikeShare on Twitter.

Agenda for June 14 ANC 6D Meeting
Jun 11, 2010 3:21 PM
The agenda is now posted for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, and it does have a few Near Southeast-related items on it. So it follows logically that I'm not going to be able to be there.
Items include: A report from the housing authority on a request for a zoning time extension for the planned (and long-delayed) community center at Fifth and K streets, SE; an update on the upcoming second phase of Capitol Quarter (which EYA tells me resulted in 11 reservations in the first 15 days); an update on the stadium Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, presumably coming out of the two recent public meetings; and reports/possible votes on Justin's Cafe's proposed sidewalk cafe and the proposed "Harry's" liquor store at New Jersey and I, both of which you can get more detail on from my report on last week's ABC subcommittee meeting.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at Sixth and M streets, SW--they're trying to get moved to their space in the new Waterfront buildings, but it still hasn't happened.
I'm going to try to find out more about the community center request, though I imagine there isn't much more to it other than DCHA says it doesn't still have the money to build it yet and so can't meet the deadline that was set in the zoning PUD (planned unit development) for Capper. The time frame for the community center has already been extended once, and in fact DCHA told the Zoning Commission last year that they fully expected that new deadline of filing building permits by Jan. 1, 2011, would be too short and that they'd be back to request another extension. Which appears to be what's transpiring.

This Week's Events (Traffic, WASA, Cornhole)
May 24, 2010 2:40 PM
Yet another post about upcoming meetings that most of you probably don't have any interest in going to, you slackers:
* I've now received official notice from ANC 6D that the stadium Traffic Operations and Parking Plan meeting is indeed being held tomorrow (Tuesday, May 25) at 6:30 pm; here's the flyer with the details. This meeting was asked for after the previous one was not particularly well attendedby the necessary government agencies.
* Alas, at pretty much the same time and just a few blocks away is a Public Information Meetingon the 14th Street Bridge Corridor Environmental Impact Statement, from 6 to 8 pm at Westminstery Presbysterian Church, 400 I St., SW. This meeting's purpose is "to present preliminary traffic results and scope of the enivonrmental assessment for the [corridor] alternatives" and to answer questions and receive feedback.
* If you want to go to both, there's a second version of the EIS meeting on Thursday evening (May 27) in Arlington; but that conflicts with WASA's public meeting to get the public's comment on their combined sewer overflow long-term control plan and the draft environmental assessment. The meeting is at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th Street, SE (see the flyer).
* And, for that matter, both of those Thursday meetings conflict with the rescheduled Cornhole Tournament at the Bullpen that Nationals communications director Lisa Pagano is holding. This is part of her quest to become the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Woman of the Year award, and she is trying to raise $75,000 by June 12 (more info here and here). The party starts at 6 pm and the tournament itself at 7 pm. There will be live music and raffle items in addition to the tournament. Admission is $5 for the event and $20 for teams of two entering the tournament (with one free beer per player!). More info can be found on Facebook. (The original one was postponed because of inclement weather, which I know we all find astonishing given the gorgeous sunny days we've been having lately.)
* Then there's the usual lineup of BID-sponsored events (lunchtime concert on Wednesday and both the Outdoor Market and Front Run Club on Thursday).
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More posts: parking, Traffic Issues, DC Water (WASA)

Traffic Meetings, On Top of Each Other (Plus WASA)
May 19, 2010 6:37 PM
I've been waiting to post about this until some sort of official announcement came from the ANC or DDOT, but time's a'wastin, so I'll mention that SWill reported after the last ANC 6D meeting that a follow-up TOPP (Traffic Operations and Parking Plan) meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 25, tenatively at 6:30 pm at the Second Baptist Church, 1200 Canal St., SW. This meeting was asked for after the previous one was not particularly well attended by the necessary government agencies.
However, at almost the same time is a Public Information Meeting on the 14th Street Bridge Corridor Environmental Impact Statement, from 6 to 8 pm at Westminstery Presbysterian Church, 400 I St., SW. (There is another one being held two days later in Arlington.) This meeting's purpose is "to present preliminary traffic results and scope of the enivonrmental assessment for the [corridor] alternatives" and to answer questions and receive feedback.
It would seem that the attendees for these meetings might be coming out of the same pool, so it's a shame if they do end up overlapping.
Also, for another on-the-periphery meeting, WASA is having a public meeting on Thursday May 27th at 6 pm to get the public's comment on their combined sewer overflow long-term control plan and the draft environmental assessment. The meeting is at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th Street, SE (see the flyer). Of course, this meeting conflicts with the alternate date for the 14th Street Bridge Corridor EIS meeting....
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, Traffic Issues, DC Water (WASA)

Upcoming Events (ANCs and Business Summit)
May 9, 2010 9:00 PM
On your agenda for the near future, should you choose to accept the mission:
* ANC 6D (Southwest and most of Near Southeast) meets Monday night at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW. (When are they moving to their new meeting space, dangit?) The agenda is posted--no big Near Southeast items, except for perhaps an update from the Nationals, a brief update on Traffic/Parking issues from a member of Tommy Wells's staff, and request for support for a liquor license for the new Patriot II river cruise ship operating out of Diamond Teague Park. One other item that might be of interest is an update on the 14th Street Bridge Environmental Impact Statement, which has been quiet for a while.
* ANC 6B (south side of Capitol Hill and Near Southeast south of the freeway east of Seventh [excluding the Navy Yard]) meets the next night, Tuesday, at 7 pm at its new meeting place, the People's Church at 535 Eighth Street, SE. Here's the agenda, which is chock full of liquor license renewals and home remodeling projects.
* Looking ahead a bit to next week, a reminder that the Anacostia River Business Summit is being held on Tuesday, May 18, starting at 1:30 pm at 20 M St., SE. Admission is $30 per person; the agenda includes a presentation on the Anacostia River Watershed Restoration Plan and panels on "Federal and District Leadership Efforts" and "The Business Impact." There will also be an exhibit hall and a networking reception after the sessions. More info here, and online registration available here.

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

Pedestrian Fatally Struck at First and M, SE
Apr 29, 2010 11:56 AM
From DCist: "A pedestrian was fatally struck this morning near the intersection of First and M streets SE, not far from the entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. D.C. police said the victim was an adult female, but have not released her identity. She was declared dead on the scene by emergency responders. The collision took place at about 10:30 a.m. this morning."
UPDATE: This WUSA story reports that the pedestrian was not a crosswalk when she was hit. Still waiting for MPD to put out a release about it. NBC4 aired a report as well.
UPDATE II: This statement from Tommy Wells's office: "The collision highlights the problems with M Street and is exactly why Tommy wants to push the complete street model -- slowing cars, reducing traffic and creating safer pedestrian and bicycle pathways. DDOT likely won't be able to move quickly with the ANC not in support and the pushback experienced at the recent meeting." (Here's my report on the Complete Streets meeting being referenced.)
UPDATE III: Here is a piece in the Washington Post on the victim, 42-year-old Amy Polk of Takoma Park, Md., who in addition to being a contractor at USDOT and a mother to two small boys had spent the past two years trying to open a birth center. And here is the official statement from MPD.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, M Street, Traffic Issues

Quick Report from Ballpark Traffic/Parking Meeting
Apr 27, 2010 10:16 PM
Tonight ANC 6D held a community meeting to get a status report on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan. The session was facilitated by councilmember Wells, and also included representatives of DDOT and the Nationals. (DPW was not present, much to the consternation of many attendees, since they are the ones responsible for ticket-writing and towing.)
The session started off with an update on the (few) changes to parking and traffic flow in the new season. Some are already well known, such as the two new Nats economy lots replacing the RFK shuttle service; otherwise, there have been some slight modifications to signal timing at South Capitol and Potomac and to pedestrian flow on M at First and South Capitol. Plus, DDOT says they have corrected the lack of signs/meters in the Half/Van/L area.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nats said that there are about 125 more cars parking in each of the two economy lots this season, and that the Nats are happy that neither lot is particularly accessible through any residential neighborhoods. He also mentioned that only 30 percent of fans drive to the games, with the rest taking transit or arriving other ways, such as by foot/bike/water taxi/parachute/personal jetpack/teleportation. (I'm paraphrasing.)
McCarthy did acknowledge that, while traffic flow generally works well when game attendance is under 25,000, there is "significant congestion" when there's more tickets sold, and specifically mentioned First and M as a chokepoint where cars need to be moved faster through their right turn to the various parking lots. He also said that the team needs to do a better job getting the taxi stand working, to get taxis to actually line up there for customers and to get them to use it as a drop-off point. (What? You didn't know there's a taxi stand? Why, yes, there is, on Half Street next to 20 M.)
The rest of the meeting was taken up with questions and complaints from the audience, all of which related to issues in the residential neighborhoods of Southwest. (There wasn't a single resident of Southeast in attendance, unless you count ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel. And Tommy. And me.) There were complaints about stadium workers parking just to the west of South Capitol Street and using Ward 6 visitor parking permits to do so, and about what the residents see as a distinct lack of ticketing and towing, which is why people were very unhappy that DPW was not at the meeting, despite having been invited. Tommy promised to help get some action, saying that enforcement should be very heavy at the beginning of the season, to send a message. (He also noted that, yes, this meeting should have been held *before* Opening Day.)
If you have any issues with gameday parking that you think need to be addressed, you can contact Tommy's office through his web site--if you can assemble any sort of illustrative materials that might be helpful (photos, tag numbers of offending vehicles, etc.), Tommy said that would be appreciated.
UPDATE: For more specifics on the SW concerns, see SWill's blog.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Tuesday Events, And a Slight Change in Approach
Apr 26, 2010 11:44 PM
First, two event notices/reminders for Tuesday (April 27):
*At 10:45 am, Mayor Fenty and others will be participating in a ribbon-cutting at Diamond Teague Park and Piers. I won't be able to be there, so go see for yourself if you're interested!
* At 6:30 pm is the ANC 6D meeting on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, at Westminster Church at Fourth and I streets, SW.
Now, on another subject.
I admit it--I've become very lazy when it comes to blogging about stories/links/events that might be of interest but that don't really have any *news,* especially as the volume of them has increased along with the interest in Near Southeast. Twitter is the perfect outlet for those sorts of items--it's easy to post them immediately (since I'm all about the speed), and I'm only responsible for 100 or so characters, then the URL, then I'm done. (Or, even better, I get to just retweet stuff from other Twitterers.) Plus it allows me to save my time and energy for more fascinating {ahem} material, like the Marine Barracks site search or the latest CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel stuff.
But, if you're only reading my posts by RSS feed or e-mail subscription, then you're missing out. How to get this additional material? If you don't have a Twitter account, you can come to the JDLand home page and check out the Twitter box at upper right every so often. Or you can visit my Twitter page on your rounds, or you can "like" JDLand on Facebook and have the Tweets show up in your news feed. Or you can subscribe to my Tweet RSS feed if immediacy isn't of paramount importance.
I've actually posted similar mea culpas to this one before (the last one not even a month ago--oops!), but let's consider this time the official notification of the change in my approach. Of course the blog will always have big news, new photos, and whatnot. But as I try to find ways to keep going after more than seven years, I'm going to stop feeling quite so guilty about using only Twitter for these FYI links, even if it makes the blog itself less of the all-encompassing repository it's been up to now.
Thank you, drive through.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, JDLand stuff, Teague Park, Traffic Issues

ANC 6D Meeting on Ballpark Traffic and Parking
Apr 22, 2010 3:30 PM
From ANC 6D, an invitation to a Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) meeting, on Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 pm, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St., SW. Expected participants include Tommy Wells, DDOT, DPW, MPD, and the Nationals. This is the neighborhood's opportunity to discuss any parking or traffic issues; if you want to come armed with information on the original TOPP created for the opening of the ballpark in 2008, here 'tis, along with my page on Stadium Parking and Transportation.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, Nationals Park, 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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A Summary from Tonight's M Street Meeting
Mar 9, 2010 11:13 PM
I made it to Tommy Wells's meeting on possible changes to M Street, and there was a bigger crowd than I might have expected, one which seemed to be weighted more heavily toward Southwest residents than Southeast folks. Tommy opened the meeting by talking about how much development is coming to this area that he calls the "most multimodal neighborhood in the world" (with everything from cars to buses to the subway to electric jitneys to water taxis to horse carriages), but that the street itself is does not display the sort of character one might want, and that it's "not an inspiring architectural area saying 'Welcome.' " He has become very interested in the "Complete Streets" concept, which aims to create road networks that work for pedestrians young and old, cyclists, public transportation users, and drivers. by doing things such as adding dedicated bike lanes, creating safer crosswalks, etc.
Last year he talked to the Toole Design Group and asked them for some basic renderings that would imagine M Street in this new way, for what he called an illustration that he could take to people, which they provided, paid for by the Capitol Riverfront BID. But when he took the resulting drawings to a meeting of the BID's members and *someone* blabbed and posted the designs as if the changes were coming soon, it "created confusion," he said. (Ahem.) He wanted to make clear that no decisions have been made, but that he does want a dialogue about whether M Street is "really what we need for the uses."
Adam Goldberg of the AARP then did a presentation about Complete Streets, saying that what's good for 50-plus folks is good for younger people, too, and that the basic idea is to create networks that are "safe, comfortable, and convenient for travel by auto, foot, bike, and transit, regardless of age or ability." You can see the 128-page AARP report on "Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America," and the "In Brief" sheet he handed out is available as well.
Tommy's office was also nice enough to forward his presentation slides.
Funds from the Ballpark Performance Parking Pilot could be used for these sorts of alterations to M Street, and clearly Tommy has a great interest in "transforming" M Street "into a showcase street," though he said that he's not excited about doing it if the community doesn't want it. And there was definitely trepidation in the room about the possibility of shrinking M down to four driving lanes from six, even though Tommy says the 10,000 vehicles a day that M carries could ostensibly be handled by the smaller footprint. Other attendees spoke enthusiastically about the ideas, so there was certainly no consensus from the audience. ANC commissioner Andy Litsky made clear his desire for a traffic and parking study that covers all of Near Southeast and Southwest before embarking on any changes to M Street. (Other speakers were a bit vociferous in their distaste for bike lanes, with the word "elitist" getting tossed around by one particular speaker who seemed especially agitated by the idea.)
There was no indication of what the next steps may be, and indications from the BID meeting a few months back were that businesses along M (including the Nationals) were expressing some concerns as well, so for now I'd suggest following the above links for more basic background on what sorts of changes are being thought about for M Street, and getting in touch with Tommy's office with your thoughts. I'm guessing WashCycle will have coverage of the meeting as well, and I'll link to any posts from them.
UPDATE, 3/11: A little late, but here are three more good pieces on the meeting, from WashCycle, Tommy Wells, and SWDC Blog.
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More posts: ANC News, Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, meetings, M Street, Traffic Issues

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

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.

Bullpen Back for Another Season; Other ANC 6D Doings
Feb 25, 2010 9:12 PM
The snowblown February ANC 6D meeting finally went off tonight, and here's the Near Southeast-related bullet points:
* The Bullpen will be back in action this season, in its same spot on the northwest corner of Half and N across from the ballpark. There were two requested changes to the voluntary agreement between the ANC and the owner: that the bar be allowed to operate until 1:30 am (with alcohol sales ending at 1:00), and that liquor in non-frozen form be allowed alongside the already approved beer, wine, and frozen drinks, both of which are already allowed under the liquor license. The discussion was more contentious about process than it was about content (with commissioner David Sobelsohn arguing strongly that the motion should be tabled until the next meeting, which none of the other commissioners were interested in), but in the end the commission voted 6-1 to approve the extended hours, and that mixed drinks could be served during private events. There were some concerns from commissioner Rhonda Hamilton about the noise at the bar on weeknights, but owner Bo Blair said that live music will always be cut off by midnight.
* There is a move afoot by commission Bob Siegel to carve out some of the curb space in front of Capper Seniors #1 at 900 Fifth Street (which it must be noted is also across the street from his house). The street, which is one way in the block in question (between K and Virginia) gets clogged on a regular basis thanks to shuttle buses, vans, trucks, and other vehicles double-parking while at the building, and the residents want a portion of the curb cut out to allow vehicles to pull out of the traffic lane (like the one in front of the Courtyard by Marriott entrance). DDOT initially rejected the request because it was called a "curb cut," which means something different in traffic parlance, but DDOT's Ward 6 planner Jamie Henson was in attendance and pledged to help the ANC work with the engineering side of DDOT to see what could be done without taking away the sidewalk or the ADA ramps to the building.
* There was supposed to be an update from the Nationals, but no reps from the team were there; ANC chair Ron McBee did report that April 23 will be "Neighborhood Night" at the ballpark, with the first pitch and national anthem being performed by nearby residents and other goodies as well. (I imagine discount tickets will be part of the deal, but nothing was said. The game is against the Dodgers.) McBee also said that the ANC has requested a meeting with DDOT about the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan for this season, to check on how it's all going, but no specific concerns were mentioned. (With the Nats Express no longer shuttling fans to and from parking at RFK, there probably will be a noticeable uptick in traffic this year, even if attendance remains steady.)
* The next 6D meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, and it'll be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, so if you've been dying to go to a meeting but haven't felt like venturing across South Capitol, you'll get your chance. It's also worth mentioning that ANC 6B's meeting the next night includes an update by CSX on the Virginia Avenue project on its agenda.

11th Street Bridge Construction to Begin (Updated)
Dec 24, 2009 10:31 AM
A press release just out from DDOT (not yet posted online) alerts the city that construction is about to start on the new 11th Street Bridges:
"On or about Tuesday, December 29, 2009, contractors will begin 11th Street Bridge Project construction activities, which may be noticeable to area residents and businesses but ultimately result in a number of important benefits.
"Initial work will include pile driving in the Anacostia River to construct foundations for three new bridges - one for local and two for freeway traffic. Barrier placement, off-roadway clearing, and drainage work is also to begin adjacent to both directions of DC 295, later resulting in shoulder encroachments and minor lane shifts. Eventually, land-side pile driving on both sides of the river will be required to construct new connecting ramps and improve the highway. To minimize impacts, noise and vibration levels will be monitored at all times.
"The new bridges will be constructed between the existing bridges, which are projected to serve almost 180,000 vehicles per day by 2030, allowing contractors to maintain all existing travel movements and 12-foot travel lanes except during approved work in off-peak travel hours.
"In addition, contractors will practice good neighbor construction by establishing designated haul routes, having most materials delivered via the river or highway, controlling dust, and requiring that workers not park on neighborhood streets."
The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2013, and at last report would be costing $260 million (unless they've found more funding). In addition to more lanes for cars and improved vehicle flow, the bridges will have new wider paths for pedestrians and bicycles, as well as the rails for the new streetcars that will connect Anacostia and the west side of the river.
DDOT is having a press shindig on Tuesday to give more specifics about the project; you can see my 11th Street Bridges project page for additional information and graphics, and there's also this PDF from DDOT that gives an overview of what the new bridges and traffic flow will look like.
UPDATE: In wandering around, I found this document, a 69-page Final Environmental Impact Statement "Reevaluation" from July 2009, which details what the changes are in the design from the FEIS "preferred alternative" and what's going to actually be built (now called the "Phase 1 Alternative", and seen in the graphic referenced above):
* The bridges (three, rather than two) will be placed in between the existing bridges on new foundation/substructures, as mentioned above;
* Minor reconfigurations of the expressway interchanges on both sides of the river;
* Reconfiguration of the local access interchange on the east side of the river;
* Ending work on the Southeast Freeway east of the existing Seventh/Eighth Street bridges, without replacing these structures;
* Modifications to the pedestrian and bicycle connections.
The Reevaluation has plenty more details on the above bullet points if you're interested. It also explains that, for now, DDOT is only funding the "Phase 1 interim improvements," which "will include complete construction of the three new river crossings and completion of the interchange on the east side (Anacostia) of the river. On the west side of the river, the inbound movement will be completed from the river to the proposed connection to the Southeast Freeway at the existing bridge over 8th Street. Ramp[s] will also be constructed and the inbound Southeast Boulevard [the old below-grade connector to Pennsylvania Avenue] will be connected to 11th Street. 11th Street will be widened from the Southeast Freeway to O Street on the west side of the river, with widening to the ultimate width from M Street to O Street." It also says that, as additional funding is found, the "remaining elements of the project can move forward in the same design that was approved in the EIS."
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Traffic Issues

Details on Plans for M Street Bike Lanes
Nov 29, 2009 6:34 PM
With the launch a few weeks back of a bike lane on 15th Street NW, attention is beginning to focus on other locations in the city where there is a desire to place new dedicated bike lanes, and one of those spots is M Street SE/SW, running from Sixth Street, SW to 11th Street, SE, which is a route that Tommy Wells has been interested in for quite a while.
Back in early October, WashCycle reported that DDOT's Bicycle Advisory Facility Committee discussed the M Street concept, and in mid-November the members of the Capitol Riverfront BID were briefed on a feasibility analysis done by the Toole Design Group, with the assembled BIDders told that FY10 funds are available and that there's a desire by Wells and DDOT to get the lanes built before the start of the 2010 baseball season, which apparently caught a number of the briefing attendees by surprise.
In the analysis that was presented to the BID (which you can see here, although appendices A and B were left blank in the handouts), the main recommendations are:
* Configure the two curb lanes on M Street as "cycle tracks" with flexible posts, a temporary measure suggested because of the "unknowns" of any future streetcar implementations along M Street. There would also be a widening of the sidewalks between Half streets SE and SW, moving the cycle track onto the widened sidewalk, because this area is where the "most intense traffic on the corridor occurs."
* Eliminate all parking along M Street at all hours, though "after a period of evaluation it may be appropriate to allow parking adjacent to the cycle track if it is desired."
* Move all transit stops to the far sides of intersections, where buses and bikes can more easily cross and where buses can still pick up and drop off passengers at a curb rather than on street level.
* Reconfigure all traffic signals to allow bikes time to get through intersections before vehicle traffic gets a green light (the bikes and the pedestrian "walk" signals would go green first, followed then by the vehicular greens).
The "very preliminary" cost estimates for the options developed by the study come in around the $450,000 range according to the document, but it must be remembered that this is a study, and not the final plans, and the numbers could go up or down.
There apparently were some business owners at the BID meeting who were displeased with the plans, centering mainly around the traffic implications of the loss of one lane in each direction, which during rush hour and ballpark events are travel lanes and which are parking for customers/workers/residents/etc. the rest of the time.
This could especially be an issue during events at Nationals Park, a scenario which isn't mentioned at all in the feasibility study and which has the Nationals particularly concerned (as apparently voiced by the Nats' Gregory McCarthy at the briefing), since it's not out of the realm of possibility (my words, not theirs) that attendance at the ballpark could rise substantially if the team's fortunes improve, making the backups that are seen when the stadium is sold out--such as during the Red Sox series this summer--considerably worse.
There's been no meeting with ANC 6D commissioners yet about this, though reportedly one is coming soon. I've got a request in to Tommy Wells's office for more information (and what better time to ask a question like that than right around Thanksgiving), so no doubt there is much more to come.
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More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, M Street, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

NCPC Staff Recommends Favorable Comment on 11th Street Bridges Design (Except for the Streetcar Part)
Aug 31, 2009 12:42 PM
The final agenda is now out for Thursday's meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission, and contained in it is a long document setting out the commission staff's recommendations for a vote on the design of the 11th Street Bridges.
For anyone interested in the bridges as a driver, bicyclist, pedestrian, water recreationist, neighbor, or construction enthusiast, it's a worthwhile read (even at 26 pages). To cut to the chase, the staff is recommending that the commission "comment favorably" on the designs for the bridges, even though the designs are still in the very early stages, and there's very little new in this document that we didn't see in the EIS or other releases. There's even mention of how the city's Comprehensive Plan envisions the eventual dismantling of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, but that the new bridges are needed until the time comes that I-395 comes down (i.e., far past the date I shuffle off this mortal coil).
However, they are not at all happy with DDOT's decision to choose a streetcar system with overhead wires, and the document goes into detail on how this works against federal interests, as well as listing what non-overhead-wire streetcar options exist out there (none in the US so far). Their conclusions (page 22):
"Recommends that DDOT not include streetcar system components for overhead wires as part of the 11th Street Bridge project and that DDOT prepare an environmental impact statement for its proposed District wide streetcar system that examines potential impacts on the L'Enfant City and Georgetown and that includes an analysis of propulsion systems that do not require the use of overhead wires.
"Advises DDOT that the Commission does not support a streetcar system with overhead wires because it supports the unobstructed views to important landmarks along the city's streets and avenues that are integral to the District's unique character and result from the long-standing federal statutory prohibition against using overhead wires in Washington City (the L'Enfant City) and Georgetown.
"Encourages DDOT to pursue alternative propulsion technologies for the proposed streetcar system that do not require overhead wires in accordance with its January 24, 2008 commitment to include dual vehicle propulsion requirements in a solicitation package for the development and implementation of the broader streetcar system beyond the Anacostia and H Street/Benning Road corridors."
The commission meeting when this recommendation will be voted on is Thursday (Sept. 3) at 12:30 pm.

Skanska/Facchina Win 11th Street Bridges Design/Build Contract
Apr 24, 2009 12:58 PM
Dr. Gridlock reports that this morning the mayor held a press conference to (officially?) announce that the city will be rebuilding the 11th Street Bridges, with "in-water" work beginning in August. My project page gives the basics on what will be happening (along with links to the EIS), if you haven't been following along, but here's the high-speed recap: still two spans, but the upriver one would be expanded to become an eight-lane freeway span that would add the missing connection ramps between I-395 and I-295, while the downriver span would be four-lane "local" span tieing together Anacostia and Near Southeast, with pedestrian and bike paths and would be prepped for eventual streetcar usage. The project is expected to be completed in 2013.
UPDATE: The press release from DDOT has just come out, and apparently the real announcement of the day was the awarding of the design/build contract for the project to Skanska/Facchina.
UPDATE II: Additional pieces, from WTOP and from the Examiner, which talks about the lawsuit filed in February by the Capitol Hill Restoration Society to stop the project.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, streetcars, Traffic Issues

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.

Capitol Power Plant Going Green?; Yards Park Phase 2 Zoning Hearing Monday; Lawsuit to Stop 11th Street Bridges
Mar 1, 2009 9:56 AM
* (h/t reader F) The AP takes a look at the Capitol Power Plant just north of the SE Freeway, the neighborhood's second most "favorite" landmark (after the school buses) with its smokestacks obscuring the view of the Capitol dome from many locations. On Thursday, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to the Architect of the Capitol asking that the power plant switch from burning coal to using natural gas for its operations, saying "The switch to natural gas will allow the CPP to dramatically reduce carbon and criteria pollutant emissions, eliminating more than 95 percent of sulfur oxides and at least 50 percent of carbon monoxide...We strongly encourage you to move forward aggressively with us on a comprehensive set of policies for the entire Capitol complex and the entire Legislative Branch to quickly reduce emissions and petroleum consumption through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean alternative fuels." The AP's story tells how Congress has been trying to clean up the plant and make it more "green," and the potholes in the road to making it run completely on natural gas. I'm guessing it wouldn't be wise to start counting the minutes until the smokestacks are gone.
* On Monday at 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission is scheduled to have its hearing on the Phase 2 plans for the park at The Yards, though we'll see if the weather wreaks havoc with the schedule. Here's my notes on the presentation of the designs to ANC 6D, and my Yards Park page has renderings.
* (UPDATE) Missed this--the Examiner reported on Friday that the Capitol Hill Restoration Society has filed suit to stop construction of the new 11th Street Bridges, citing its "significant, irreversible, adverse effects" on the surrounding area. The CHRS web site has a bit more detail as well.
* Tickets still available for Elton and Billy. Apparently there was a bit of a glitch yesterday when they went on sale.

Navy Yard East Entrance May Close on Weekends; Lead in Water Forum
Feb 19, 2009 10:06 AM
* From Dr. Gridlock, news about a work session being held today by the Metro board of directors to find ways to close their budget shortfall. On the long list of items: closing the east entrance of the Navy Yard station (at New Jersey and M) on weekends, unless there's an event at the ballpark. Metro numbers say that fewer than 700 people use that gate on weekends. The P2 line that I believe runs down M Street could also be on the chopping block. See the list here, though remember it's just a first cut at ideas.
* From Tommy Wells: "On Monday, February 23rd, Councilmember Wells will host a Community Forum on the Latest Information Regarding Lead in DC Drinking Water. [..] Officials will be on hand from the DC Water and Sewer Authority, District Department of the Environment, District Department of Health, Washington Aqueduct and DC Appleseed to address your concerns and questions regarding the lead levels in the DC water system." It will be at Tyler Elementary School at 10th and G, SE, at 6:30 pm.
* And a swing span test at the Douglass Bridge will take place on Sunday morning (Feb. 22), with the bridge being closed from 5 am to approximately 10 am.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

ANC Supports Yards Park Phase 2; Tidbits on 11th Street Bridges; Nothing Else
Feb 11, 2009 1:29 PM
* With thanks to SWill for passing the word (since I couldn't attend the meeting), I can report that ANC 6D on Monday night voted to support the plans for phase 2 of the Yards Park, which will be going in front of the Zoning Commission on March 2. (You can read my summary of last week's presentation to the ANC on the plans for more information.)
* If you're looking for analysis of what exactly the plans for the new 11th Street Bridges configuration might mean, Greater Greater Washington is taking a look at them (part one here; part two not yet posted). For what might perhaps be called an opposing viewpoint, DDOT's chief engineer Kathleen Penney contributed this article in the February Hill Rag about what DDOT sees as the benefits of the project. And, if you want some 11th Street Bridges material to use as a sleeping aid, I pass along this link (via Tommy Wells's blog) to the RFP for the design/build contract. (The "amendment" link is the *slightly* more comprehensible one.) There was a hearing last week on a bill about the contracting procedures for the bridge, but I'm not *so* desperate for content to wade into that.
(UPDATE) I already posted about this, but it's a good time to mention again that there's a public forum on the 11th Street Bridges on Feb. 17: "Sustainable Development, Infrastructure, and the Future of the District of Columbia," at the MLK Library at 6:30 pm. (DDOT just sent around its own announcement, now posted online.)
* And hey, check it out, the council has finally updated the user interface for its legislation database!
* Other than that, all is very quiet these days. Though those following my Twittering were apprised yesterday of this breaking news item: "[I] Dreamt last night that 3rd and K Market was reopening both as a bodega and a swank Indian food joint. With a new noodle place next door."

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

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.

Inauguration Road Closures Map (Again), Plus Some Bus Parking News
Jan 15, 2009 1:27 PM
Since it's slipped down the home page a bit, here's my Near Southeast Inauguration Road Closures and Parking Restrictions page, again. I've also added the information on parking at Nationals Park to the page as well.
I also did a bit of wandering around the Click and Park web site where bus companies can reserve their parking, and I see that all bus parking at Nationals Park is sold out. Also, all bus parking spots on Second Street, SE between Virginia and M are sold out, but the other Near Southeast streets are still available for reservations. (All Southwest bus parking is sold out.)
Residents by these bus-parking streets might want to put in earplugs on Monday night at bedtime, since the buses are being told to arrive at their parking zones between 4:30 and 6:30 am Tuesday morning.
Also, the city now has this map (3 MB PDF) showing the bus parking zones, "pedestrian priority" walking routes, bus routes, and other information for the Mall and the areas to the south. I can't quite figure out if you can continue up South Capitol Street toward Washington Avenue and then get to Independence Avenue and the Mall that way because that's part of the restricted area, but maybe as long as you're on the south side of the Independence it's okay? So look for a pretty fair amount of foot traffic on New Jersey Avenue and I Street as people walk from Capitol Hill and points south and east.
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More posts: inauguration09, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

More Info on DC Inaugural Gala, River Restrictions, and Recently Twittered Items (and a Manifesto!)
Jan 11, 2009 4:55 PM
* Last week I posted about the "DC Inaugural Gala" scheduled for Monday, Jan. 19 at the US DOT HQ at New Jersey and M. I didn't have much information, but a little more has come down the pike. It will be featuring the O'Jays and Salsa "king" Johnny Pacheco, as well as local artists Brian Lanier, Familiar Faces, Tommy Bryant and the Giants of Sound, and Nuera.
Mayor Fenty, Council Chairman Gray, and DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton are scheduled to attend, and it's being billed as the first (outside) event ever held at US DOT. Also, according to the press release, "The hundreds of guests in attendance also will be able to visit small intimate parties in special 'neighborhood rooms' that will be decorated by residents to make local people feel at home and give visitors a taste of District of Columbia communities."
Ticket prices have been, um, revised to $144 per person, along with higher-priced tickets with additional bells and whistles. Tickets can be purchased online at DCPresidentialGala.com (though as of Sunday afternoon it still lists the previous higher price for single tickets).
And, FYI, my employer doesn't let me go to inaugural balls other than on official business, so everyone be sure to tell me all about the parties, and think about me while I stay home cleaning the house and cursing my wicked stepmother and stepsisters.
* The Coast Guard has released the specifics of the security on the Anacostia and Potomac rivers surrounding the inauguration. On Jan. 18 and 19, recreational boaters will not be allowed in the security zone (which, for the Anacostia, is from Route 50 down to the Potomac), and those moored within the zone must not move without authorization. From 11 pm Jan. 19 until early Jan. 21, all vessel movements (recreational and commercial) will be prohibited.
And now, rehashing the other Twitter updates of the past few days:
* Tommy Wells has posted the list of Ward 6 establishments that have applied to stay open during the Inauguration extended hours. None of the hundreds of Near Southeast restaurants and bars are on the list (unless you want to count the Capitol Skyline Hotel at South Capitol and I, SW), but a number of Southwest Waterfront, Barracks Row, and Pennsylvania Avenue joints are on the list.
* It's a shame that Diamond Teague Park isn't done yet, because it could have gotten into the Inauguration Water Taxi biz--the Post's Inauguration Watch blog reported on Friday that there will be water taxi service from Alexandria to 600 Water Street, SW (Pier 4). $90 round-trip, $50 one-way. More info starting Monday at InauguralWaterTaxi.com, which just redirects to the Potomac Riverboat Company's web site. (They're the ones gunning for Teague service, when the docks are ready.)
* The comments on my new Douglass Bridge design post from Friday veered off unexpectedly into my posting a bit of a manifesto in response to the people who from time to time admonish me or implore me to lead some sort of "movement" of one kind or another for or against some project in Near Southeast. If you find my bland just-the-facts recitations of the latest news items aggravating or bewildering, this might help explain a bit.
And it also reveals why I leapt off the fence for the first time and expressed a design preference against the cable stayed swing that so many people wanted: on the arched bascule bridge (as well as the retractile and stayed bascule designs), there will be pedestrian/bike paths on both sides of the bridge, while the cable stayed swing design would only have one path, smack in the center of the bridge, slightly elevated but still surrounded by six lanes of high-speed traffic. To me, if I'm going to cross a grand promenade bridge by foot or bike from one liveable, walkable community to another (someday!), I'd rather be able to stop and gaze out at the waterfront and the shorelines instead of white-knuckling across it as fast as possible to get away from the cars whizzing by me on both sides.
Now I shall return to keeping my preferences to myself!

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.

No Inauguration Day Parking Unless You're a Bus (And No Boating In, Either)
Dec 26, 2008 1:36 PM
The city is apparently planning to give over almost all of Near Southeast's and Southwest's on-street parking to charter buses on Inauguration Day, according to the Post: "With the exception of some residential areas, all curbside parking will be set aside for buses; streets will be restricted to charter bus, transit bus and official inaugural vehicles, he said. [...] The charter bus restrictions will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 20. Other vehicles parked on the streets after that will be towed." Here's the map with the parking zones. I imagine the neighborhood's numerous surface parking lots might be handed to buses as well, though I'm not sure they can get through the gates.
UPDATE: Shoot, I meant to include this, from WTOP: "The U.S. Coast Guard has proposed closing the Potomac and Anacostia rivers for the 11 days surrounding the inauguration. [...] Boats already docked or anchored in that area before Jan. 14 could stay. The Anacostia River would have the same restrictions from New York Avenue/Route 50 to the the Potomac River. It's likely the the closures will go into effect at 4 a.m. Jan. 14 and last until 10 p.m. Jan. 25."
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More posts: inauguration09, parking, Traffic Issues

ANC 6D Meeting Monday (First Peek at 25 M)
Dec 5, 2008 12:44 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D monthly meeting is out, and the most enticing item is Akridge looking for the commission's support in advance of its Jan. 29 Capitol Gateway zoning overlay review for its new 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development at 25 M, on the site of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, in the block directly north of Nationals Park. At this point, little has been put forth publicly about the project other than it'll be a office/residential/retail mix, and is expected to get underway in early 2010.
Also on the agenda is a third go-round with the DC Housing Authority over the designs for some external trash enclosures for some of the units at Capitol Quarter. I wrote about the first discussion here, and the Hill Rag has the report on the second one. Will the third time be the charm, or will bad things come in threes? There will also be a status report about the Capper redevelopment in general.
There's also apparently a letter being brought by Commissioner Sobelsohn to express the ANC's support for retaining the Nats Express shuttle bus that brings stadium-goers to the neighborhood from the parking lots at RFK. I imagine that the ANC will be expressing some level of concern about increased traffic and parking problems if that shuttle service goes away (it was reported last month that Tommy Wells is in favor of ending it).
The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW.

Link Roundup: This and That
Nov 20, 2008 8:16 AM
* The WashTimes says that Eleanor Holmes Norton "has asked Congress's Joint Commission on Inaugural Ceremonies to consider opening up more space for visitors than just the Mall, including Verizon Center and Nationals Park." I guess she means as a space to allow people to watch the ceremonies on the big screen (rather than, say, sleeping bags in the outfield)?
* City Paper does a piece on Super Salvage, across the way in Buzzard Point, and how they feel that the city is pushing them to leave but how there's nowhere else inside the District to go. In a related story, the Post reports that one of the concrete plants shut down in early 2006 thanks to the ballpark's eminent domain land takeover has just gotten approval (over neighbors' objections) to build a new facility just outside of Cheverly.
* Over the past couple of days the construction pedestrian walkways at 100 M Street have been taken down, and the sidewalks look pretty close to being ready for use. Does this mean that M Street is going to get its two traffic lanes back soon? It was reported a few months back that Parsons Technology (which has leased about 30 percent of the building) would be moving in in early 2009. We should also be watching for the arrival of a Sun Trust Bank branch in the ground floor, presuming that deal is still done (you never know these days).
* Looks like they're putting the glass panels in around the Navy Yard station entrance in 55 M's ground floor (hence the closures of the entrance after 8 pm that continue today and tomorrow, along with an all-day closure on Saturday).
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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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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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Morning Links: The Usual Pope and Ballpark News
Apr 14, 2008 9:31 AM
* After having its ninth-highest ridership day on Wednesday night (the predicted commuting catastrophe that never happened), Metro announces that Friday's hockey, baseball, and cherry blossoms trifecta resulted in its third busiest day ever, with 828,132 riders on Metrorail, behind only the Reagan state funeral in 2004 and a cherry blossoms/baseball doubleheader in April 2007. We'll see if Pope Day hits the list.
* The WashTimes talks about the potential traffic gridlock this week during the Pope's visit, especially for Thursday's mass at Nationals Park.
* WTOP reports that people trying to sell their tickets to the mass online are getting cease and desist letters from the archdiocese. Not to mention all-expenses-paid trips to purgatory.
* This NewsChannel 8 report from Friday talks about how the ballpark will be transformed into a "spiritual center."
* The Post writes about the Nationals Dream Foundation's Neighborhood Initiative, which I wrote about here. (This link is a day late, thanks to the Post's RSS feeds being, shall we say, untimely.)
* The Nats are out of town this week, returning on April 23 for a long homestand through May 4. This is mainly a cheap excuse to give the first link to a gallery I'm going to update throughout the season of photos I've taken at the ballpark that don't fall into the before/after or press event categories. Not much there now, but at the bottom of the page you can also follow the links to the piles of photos I took at the ballpark in March during the run-up to Opening Night.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, Traffic Issues

Yet Another Batch of Mostly Cloudy Photos; Monday Meeting Reminders; Pope Street Closings
Apr 13, 2008 2:21 PM
If you like photos of streetscapes taken under overcast skies, this has been the site for you lately. Yeesh. On Saturday, before the rains came, I updated my shots of the western side of New Jersey Ave., showing how projects like 909 New Jersey, 70/100 I, Onyx, and 100 M have changed the view in the past year. At least the sun was out for the brief time on Friday evening when I took new photos of the western side of the ballpark, along South Capitol Street. So, adding these to the photos I took earlier in the week of First and Half streets, the current state of construction in Near Southeast is pretty well documented. And now the sun shall come out, but I'll be waiting a few weeks until the next round of updates (probably early May).
Monday brings some meetings with Near Southeast items of interest. At 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission will have its monthly meeting, and is scheduled to vote on whether to open up additional blocks in Southwest to possible temporary surface parking lots (you can watch via live webcast). At 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 601 M St., SW, ANC 6D will have its monthly meeting, and will be looking at Forest City's plans for office and residential buildings at 401 M Street/400 Tingey at The Yards, and the request by the developers of the proposed 250 M Street office building to increase its height to 130 feet. The project at The Yards has its hearing at the Zoning Commission on April 24, and 250 M's is scheduled for May 14.
And, for this week's visit from the Pope, the Post has a huge graphic of road closures and other information to help get through the festivities. Note that, in addition to the closure of South Capitol Street from 2 am to 2 pm Thursday, it shows that Van, Half, First, and Potomac in SE will be closed at some point, as will O, P, Q, and Potomac SW from Half Street to South Capitol. "Expect other road closures around the ballpark from 9 pm Wednesday until 2 pm Thursday," it says.

South Capitol Street To Be Closed for Pope
Apr 11, 2008 7:34 PM
From a DDOT press release (not yet online), word that on Thursday April 17 (aka Pope Day), South Capitol Street will be closed from I Street to Firth Stirling Avenue, including the Frederick Douglass Bridge, from 2 am to 2 pm.
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Metro and Parking Doom, Preparing the Ballpark for the Pope; Pick Your Disaster Scenario
Apr 9, 2008 10:09 AM
* NBC4 sets the vibe with "Traffic Nightmare Expected in DC Area This Evening", a short piece on the Wizards-United-Nats trifecta. They list the area around RFK as the possible flash point, though all of yesterday's Impending Doom stories pointed toward Metro and Gallery Place. Remember, if you're using the Nats Express, you have to park at RFK's Lot 7 tonight, not Lot 8. Dr. Gridlock has more on getting through the evening.
* WJLA gets into the mix with "Parking Woes Surround New Stadium," retelling a story they had on Tuesday about legally parked cars getting towed during Monday's ballgame. There's also a quote from a school bus driver lamenting not being able to park free on the street anymore, which I'm guessing won't be garnering much sympathy from the pro-Canal Park folks who want the buses out. And there's dueling quotes from Barracks Row shopowners, one who doesn't think it's fair and another who likes the turnover of spaces. There will be a public meeting next month to get first feedback on the new parking restrictions.
* For something a bit more uplifting, try Catholic News Service's "Turning a Stadium into a Cathedral for Pope's Mass in DC."
And, an observation:
* Conventional Wisdom leading up to Opening Day: "OMG! The stadium is going to be a disaster because there's going to be such huge traffic, transit and parking nightmares!"
* Conventional Wisdom after Monday's game: "OMG! The stadium is going to be a disaster because no one's going to go!" (Never mind that it was NCAA finals night/cold as hell/the Marlins/a school night/a game not in season ticket partial plans.)
Stan says the Nats will get the attendance they deserve. Ask the Capitals about that, when you're mulling whether to fork over a couple thousand dollars for a ticket to one of their playoff games.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, Traffic Issues

Use RFK Lot 7 on Wednesday; Metro Plans
Apr 8, 2008 4:43 PM
(Moved to its own entry, to give the Pope Bobblehead stuff its own glory.) Here's Metro's press release detailing preparations for Wednesday's Triple Threat of the Wizards, DC United, and the Nats all in action at the same time. And, because you can never have enough press releases, here's one from the Nats (link to come) explaining that, when DC United is playing at RFK, Nats Express shuttle parking will be in Lot 7: "Washington Nationals fans choosing to park for free at RFK Stadium and take the Nats Express to Nationals Park may park in Lot 7 on all D.C. United home game dates. RFK Stadium Lot 8 will not be available to Nationals fans on Wednesday, April 9 or any future date in which the Nationals and D.C. United each play at home. Lot 7 may be accessed off the Whitney Young Bridge (East Capitol Street) or off of Oklahoma Avenue. The Nats Express begins ninety minutes prior to Nationals home games." WTOP asks about whether there will be any patrolling of DC United fans parking free in Lot 7 (apparently not).
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Post-Mortems on First Weeknight Ballgame
Apr 7, 2008 10:42 PM
(Decided to move this to its own entry.) As expected, it wasn't anywhere close to a full house at Nationals Park tonight. I wandered over to South Capitol Street at about 6:30 and traffic wasn't even backed all the way up the exit ramp from the freeway, and M Street was all but empty. The T and U lots at Capper didn't seem to get more than about 30 cars between the two of them, though the E, F, J, K, and L lots were pretty full. And I see that the garage at 80 M Street, which is not an official Nats lot, is offering cash parking for $20. (Looked like the Positive Nature folks on New Jersey Avenue are running a cash lot, too?) Lots of people coming out of the Navy Yard station at Half and M at 6:30ish--if you arrived that way and walked to the Center Field Gate, you were greeted by the Budweiser Clydesdales. Inside the park, lines were shorter (since there were fewer people) but there's definitely still grumbling about the speed of service.
What was your experience tonight, either getting to and from the park or inside?
As for media reports, the Post paints a similar picture to what I saw, that the evening went smoothly. WJLA focuses on the glitchy scoreboard, apparently not finding anything else of note to report from the evening. Announced paid attendance was 20,487, says AP, noting that Metro says they noticed almost no difference from a normal rush hour. Another AP story talks about the scoreboard problems and the fact that the ballpark was less than half full. Next stop, Wednesday's triple threat with the Nats, the Wizards, and DC United all in action at the same time. And with warmer weather on the way, finally.
UPDATE: A few more media reports: WJLA reports on overzealous towing (and note the interesting use of an un-cleaned-up quote from an angry resident). The Examiner focuses on Metro having little trouble.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Fourth Street Now One Way; Visitor Passes; Ballpark and Development; Recent Headlines Again
Mar 24, 2008 7:44 AM
* Within the past week, Fourth Street between the SE Freeway and M Street has been signed and striped to become one-way southbound. It's always been one-way southbound north of the freeway, but extending that another four blocks seems to be a bit of a surprise.
* If you live in Southwest or on Capitol Hill and received in the past few days a nondescript envelope addressed to "Ward 6 Resident" from DDOT, don't throw it out (like I almost did)--it's your Visitor Parking Pass. Guard this with your life.
* As soon as I swear off chasing every little story on the ballpark unless it somehow relates to the neighborhood, both the Post and the Examiner come out with stories this morning doing just that, talking about the development that's exploded in Near Southeast over the past few years. (And thanks for the hat tip, Michael.) Sayeth the Post, on A1: "Nationals Park opens this weekend and appears nearly complete. But it's surrounded for blocks by a construction zone. [...] Despite appearances, this is just the way District leaders hoped it would be: a ballpark set amid a vast Southeast Washington neighborhood in the middle of one of the biggest overhauls in city history. Some 500 acres are to be transformed, spreading south from Capitol Hill to the Anacostia River, sweeping away an accumulation of old auto body shops, sex clubs and debris-filled lots[.]" If you've read either of these stories and are looking to know more about all the development underway around the ballpark, I invite you to look at the big ole' map at the top right of my home page--moving your mouse across it gives you the basics on each project, and clicking the map takes you to pages chock full of additional details and photos.
* If you took a long weekend, you missed a lot of big news: Florida Rock got its preliminary zoning approvals, Metro has a plan to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage and an adjacent parking lot to the Nats, and I took scads of photos: check out the neighborhood from above with my latest rooftop photos, see pictures from Saturday's GW game at the ballpark, and see the exterior of the stadium in a pile of new shots taken yesterday.
* This is part of something bigger I'm working on that's not quite ready, but if you want to travel back to see how things used to look where Second Base now sits, here's your time machine. You're facing north, then you'll turn clockwise to catch the views in all directions....
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More posts: West Half St., Florida Rock, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues, zoning

This Morning's Ballpark Odds and Ends
Mar 20, 2008 7:45 AM
* The prettiest darn fences, about four feet high, popped up around parking lots T and U on Third Street within the past two days. An unexpected touch. (I originally said wrought-iron, but now that I think about it, that's not what they are. Just black steel or some other metal I'm not smart enough to recognize. But still cool. Photos to come.)
* The Prince George's Gazette says that Nationals Park "could bring jobs and an economic boon to the southern part of the county."
* This is a few days old, but the US Park Police and the National Park Service say you'd better not think of parking at Anacostia Park during ballgames and other events at the stadium: "The NPS and USPP remind those seeking parking for events at the new Nationals' stadium that parking within Anacostia Park is open to park users only. Parking on turf is illegal within Anacostia Park. Park users are asked to be aware that increased vehicular traffic is anticipated and to make plans accordingly."
* Dr. Gridlock on his Get There blog talks about the "National Trifecta" on March 29--the National Marathon (which wrought all sorts of havoc in Southwest last year), the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Nationals-vs-Orioles exhibition game--that could make for rough driving around the city on that Saturday.
* I've taken enough photos of the stadium scoreboard to last a good long while, but Fox5 has a bunch of shots of the Scoreboard Control Room.
*This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra covers the new parking lots at Capper, and has a preview of the Florida Rock zoning hearing tonight (see renderings and photos here).
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More posts: Capper, Florida Rock, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Mental Health Day (but Not Quitting!); And, Can You Find Your Way to the Ballpark?
Mar 17, 2008 3:39 PM
I'm taking a bit of a mental health break today, to try to rest a bit and gird myself for the coming weeks. Not much news anyway, except for this WTOP piece on people being unfamiliar with the neighborhood around the ballpark [insert obligatory "if only there were a web site..." reference here]. Of course, because of this unfamiliarity, chaos will ensue.
And there's Dr. Gridlock's column from Sunday, which along with some good information on disabled access to the ballpark also includes discussions of Scary New Jersey Avenue and the "half-mile" walk from the Navy Yard Station to the ballpark. (Whaa...?)
Also, the Examiner has a summary of Metro's plans for Pope Day, most of which were in the WMATA press release I linked to last week.
And, I guess I need to address this--I've had a number of people ask me in the past few days about rumors apparently circulating that I'm going to shut down JDLand right after Opening Day. Perhaps this is an offshoot from the flippant comment I made in the On Site profile about just making it to Opening Day "and then I'll fall over", or maybe some off-hand crack in the blog about being close to collapsing.
But while it's no secret that right now I'm overwhelmed and teetering on the brink of absolute exhaustion in my quest to keep running the site at the level of detail it's mocked known for, and to respond to all the e-mails and questions I receive every day, I also see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I know that, by May, things around here should settle back down to a more reasonable workload. I'm willing to hang on by my fingernails until then, although I acknowledge that I may miss a link here or there, or might be a bit briefer with some updates than I've been in the past, which I hope everyone can understand. But, beyond that, JDLand will still be around for a good while yet; there's still some developments I have to see arrive at the finish line, after all....
(And yes, there's probably a book in it all someday. After I sleep for a year or so.)
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, Traffic Issues

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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Still More Ballpark Stories (RFK Shuttle, Beer Sales)
Mar 13, 2008 9:08 AM
Another batch of ballpark-related items, which weren't posted before my 2 am bedtime and so didn't make it into the previous roundup:
* Tommy Wells wants the RFK shuttles to stop at Eighth Street, to allow fans to get off the subway at Eastern Market and patronize the bars and restaurants along Barracks Row before going to the game. WTOP reports that Tommy wants the stop at Eighth and G, though at last night's community meeting ANC 6B commissioner Kenan Jarboe asked about a stop at Eighth and I (which would seem to be closer to the shuttle route). Nationals rep Gregory McCarthy's response to Jarboe was similar to what the WTOP story says, that the Nats would like to run the shuttle without stops for a few months first to get an idea of passenger loads and times before adding the stop.
* Which reminds me--McCarthy said last night that the RFK shuttle will drop off and pick up fans at 300 M St., SE, about four blocks from the ballpark.
* But, is the RFK shuttle even a done deal? The Examiner says that terms are still being worked out between the team and the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission. There's also still questions about how parking at RFK will be handled on days when DC United is playing. Oh, and those all-important beer sales are still needing some guidelines to be written. ("How many beers can a person buy at a time? What inning must the taps shut down? Who will be responsible for enforcement of alcoholic beverage laws?")
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Why No Nats Parking at USDOT, and Additional Ballpark-Related Items
Mar 12, 2008 11:39 PM
Here's either a late-night or early-morning update, depending on your sleep schedule:
* Marc Fisher of the Post takes a deep (and infuriated) look at why Nats fans (even just government employees with security clearances) can't park in the 1,060-space garage at the US Department of Transporation headquarters one block from the ballpark. "So how did a simple request to use empty parking spaces at night, after Transportation workers have gone home, turn into -- excuse the expression -- a federal case? A report by Transportation's inspector general makes it clear that the feds were desperate to find a way to reject the Nationals' proposal." UPDATE: Marc's blog includes a link to the inspector general's report.
* Boswell talks ticket prices.
* The WashTimes describes police plans to step up patrols during Nats games: "[O]fficers with the department's Special Operations Division would be deployed on foot, on bicycles, in cars and on Segways to at least 39 'static posts' around the ballpark to direct traffic and assist in crowd control. Additionally, he said, 10 beats -- staffed by either one or two officers -- will patrol, mostly on foot, the neighborhoods surrounding the stadium, looking out for auto thefts or other property crimes in the hours before and after games."
* The 55 M web cam doesn't show it real clearly, but Metro's signature red tile flooring is being installed in the new west entrance of the Navy Yard station at Half and M.
* There's also new stoplights (not yet activated) installed at Half and M. Which is good news for pedestrians, including neighborhood bloggers who have come perilously close to meeting their maker trying to cross that very intersection.
* A large new sign at Third and I announces that the parking lot now under construction there is Nationals Parking Lot T (in the orange zone). And while the asphalt hasn't been pored at this lot or its sibling to the south, the lightposts erected in the center of each lot are now operational, adding a bit of extra light to Third Street after dark.
* Wednesday night's public meeting on the ballpark traffic management and curbside parking plan heard many of the concerns that have been raised at previous events (visitor passes, stadiumgoers being directed to use the Maine Avenue exit from the SW Freeway, commuters and residents wondering how they'll get *out* of the stadium area on game nights, and more). Representatives of DDOT spoke what is now the official city and team mantra, along the lines of: "We've tried our best to come up with a system, and we'll be watching it closely to see what works and what doesn't, and we'll make changes to it as we need to. We're asking for patience. But there will be congestion, and there will be problems, and there will be *change.*" Which is a message that doesn't always go over very well. After the group Q&A, city and team officials answered one-on-one questions. (The somewhat striking view of the ballpark at dusk from the 10th floor of 20 M was probably not on the minds of most of these meeting-goers.) Oh, and a DPW official made it very clear: cars parked illegally on the new enhanced RPP streets will be towed.

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.

Morning Links: Getting to the Ballpark, Gas Leak
Mar 7, 2008 8:31 AM
* The WashTimes has a getting-ready-for-the-baseball-crowds piece, surveying what Metro and DDOT are planning, and also talking about the Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (formerly the TOPP) that I've been writing about extensively. (Read it already, would you?) Metro is planning 14 extra trains for Opening Night, and will be presenting its plan for handling ballpark traffic to its board on March 13. Central to this piece--and to many conversations I've had with city and team officials--is that residents and fans need to know that The Powers That Be will be watching Opening Day very closely (DDOT plans to be watching from the air) to see what works and what doesn't, and will be tweaking the initial plans as necessary. In fact, there's probably going to be an entire season's worth of responding to initial problems, not only in terms of getting to the ballpark but at the stadium as well. Patience is counseled, though of course that's never been a strong suit in this city. And it's worth a reminder that there's a public meeting on the transportation plan on March 12 from 6 to 8:30 pm at 20 M St., SE.
* Commenters yesterday were quick with the news about the gas leak that closed the Navy Yard and Waterfront Metro stations yesterday afternoon, thanks to construction workers at Half and M hitting a gas main. Considering all the work that is being done in the area (not just on new buildings but with a lot of digging in the streets lately), it's kind of surprising that something like this hasn't happened sooner.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, staddis, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Performance Parking Bill Passes; Additional Zoning Hearing on Southwest Lots on March 24; Public Meeting on Traffic and Parking March 12
Mar 5, 2008 2:50 PM
(I'm having so much fun with posts on home plate's arrival at the ballpark, ballpark food, and raze permits that I hate to kill the buzz with a post on parking, but alas it must be done.)
Yesterday the city council passed an emergency version of Tommy Wells's Performance Parking pilot plan, which will be used to regulate curbside parking on streets near the ballpark (as well as in Columbia Heights, along with a new taxicab zone pilot in Adams Morgan and a Visitor Pass pilot in Mount Pleasant). I've got the text of the bill as passed, and there's much more detail than was in the draft version of the bill (though not the detail that everyone really wants, namely the rates and fines), so definitely look at it if you're looking for additional information. A few items that jump out at me (though I'm hoping that Tommy's office sends out a release soon with more info):
* The pilot is only for two years.
* The mayor gets to set the rules, fees, and fines for the zones, but the council gets to set the zones themselves.
* Parking fees cannot be increased by more than 50 cents in any one-month period (or more than once per month).
* Councilmembers and ANCs must be notified of any fee changes at least 10 days in advance.
* "The Mayor shall publish a web site that includes the following: pilot zone boundaries, rules/regulations, information about how to use new parking fee technologies, and a parking pilot project manger's name and contact information." (Until then, you can look at my page on the curbside parking regulations around the ballpark.)
* DDOT has to submit a plan to the council and the ANCs with zone-specific parking management targets and with details on parking charges.
* DDOT has to conduct quarterly public meetings to provide updates on the parking management targets and to receive public comments on the program.
* The mayor has to submit an annual report on the parking pilots with all sorts of statistics.
Speaking of parking, the March Hill Rag has a roundup on the parking plans for the area (similar to my page). And I've been very remiss in not reporting that Feb. 21 Zoning Commission hearing on allowing additional temporary surfacing parking lots in Southwest was continued to March 24 after representatives of DDOT were not in attendance to discuss traffic management plans for the new lots. The Hill Rag has a summary of the Feb. 11 ANC meeting where there was much unhappiness about these potential new lots.
UPDATE: Bad link to bill text fixed.
UPDATE II: DDOT is now announcing a public meeting on March 12 from 6 to 8:30 pm at 20 M St., SE, for "residents and business owners and operators to review and comment on the most recent version of the Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (often referred to as the Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP)). DDOT will also offer their appreciation to the area residents and business owners for their support and patience during the recent street upgrades in the South Capitol corridor. The meeting is an open workshop that will highlight the numerous parts of the overall transportation and parking operations that will be in effect during events at the new stadium. The TOPP was originally drafted to address concerns by residents on the expected increase in vehicular movement during stadium events in the southeast and southwest neighborhoods surrounding the ballpark. Representatives from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (DCSEC) and the Nationals will also be available to address concerns and answer questions." (This is the meeting that was described in testimony at the city council last week as being "at the ballpark." I guess they used "at the ballpark" in the same literary way one could say that the Navy Yard Metro station is "at the ballpark." Ah well.)
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More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

The Scoreboard, and Recent Items Re-Linked
Mar 4, 2008 7:34 AM
One quick outbound link this morning, to The Post's piece on the scoreboard at Nationals Park, in advance of today's official unveiling.
Plus, here's a few links for recent items that you might have missed in the flurry of posts around here these days:
* I posted new photos of the ballpark exterior, including the Center Field Gate at Half and N. (I'll probably have new interior photos later today, though the weather doesn't look to be that much better than the last time I was inside, on that icky dreary day.)
* Read the damn Ballpark Traffic Management Plan already. And my pages on on-street parking and taking Metro. And the new pages by Metro and the Nationals about getting to the games. (And listen for the radio ads that debuted yesterday urging fans to take Metro.)
* Monument Realty has won a preliminary injunction preventing WMATA from selling the Southeastern Bus Garage to Akridge.
* Watch for announcements of a community meeting about Opening Day on March 12, at the ballpark.
And, a reminder: the parking garages that look so stark in photos from inside the ballpark will have big banners draped on them by Opening Day. So what you see now is not what you're going to see in four weeks.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

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

It's 11:35 pm....
Jan 31, 2008 12:36 AM
.... and the council hearing on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking plan has just ended.
You guys owe me. (Though at least I'm home in my fuzzy slippers watching the telecast.)
But despite there being more than six hours of testimony (which I need to admit here I missed the 90 minutes of, since it wasn't broadcast), I don't really see a lot of new headlines, especially if you've been following along as I've posted on this bill over the past six weeks or so. Here's my impressions of the 4 1/1 hours I did see (I'm guessing the part I missed was a tutorial on the basics of Performance Parking, which I've now seen three times):
* The vast majority of the witnesses who testified were in support of this plan to regulate curbside parking in areas near the ballpark. Residents, business owners, smart growth advocates, and others expressed concerns about certain aspects of the bill, but there were only two people (unless I dozed off somewhere) that came out completely against it. Five ANC 6D commissioners testified (Litsky, Sobelsohn, Hamilton, McBee, and Siegel, and Moffatt was supposed to but wasn't there).
* DDOT director Emeka Moneme says that his agency expects to release specifics on the bill (streets, enforcement hours, meter prices) by the end of next week (so, Feb. 8ish).
* What parking is going to be like on Opening Day was not addressed during the portion of the hearing I saw, which at this point is probably as pressing as any other issue. You can see my report from last week's town hall on Opening Day parking information that filtered out during that session. This may be part of what DDOT is releasing next week.
* Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. Witness after witness hammered on this point, that all the plans and fines in the world won't work if there isn't strict enforcement of whatever rules are put into effect. Tommy Wells did mention that more enforcement can be handled by the same number of workers under this new plan, since with printed receipts from kiosk meters a parking attendant only needs to check a vehicle once to see if it's within it's legal time limit, rather than showing up once to inventory the cars that are parked in a zone and then return hours later to see which ones are still there and parked illegally. Jim Graham seemed a tad bewildered that Ward 6 residents want *more* enforcement, when so many of his Ward 1 constituents complain about too much enforcement. His comments about lack of resources at DPW and "only so much of the pie" didn't go over too well. Moneme said that he has assurances from DPW that "the resources will be there."
* The desire for strong community involvement in not only the setting of rates but in determining the success of the plan was another theme hit on repeatedly by witnesses who fear that the draft version of the bill gives all power to the mayor and the executive branch without any sort of community input or council oversight. Wells, Moneme, and Jim Graham all seemed to get religion on this point, pledging to make sure that some sort of mechanism is in place to involve the ANCs and get feedback from businesses and residents.
* Guest passes are still a thorny subject, especially whether people will try to copy them (they're going to have holograms) or create a hot black market by selling them. Church parking is equally delicate, though Tommy mentioned the possibility of starting Sunday enforcement of parking laws at 1 pm, to better accommodate churches but prevent all day parking by baseball fans.
* Moneme mentioned a number a times the idea of being able to pay for your parking via your cellphone (which could also send you an alert when your meter was about to expire), although this raised the hackles of witnesses who envisioned Nats fans and Capitol Hill workers repeatedly "feeding the meter" from their seats in section 401 or their desks in the HOBs. (Tommy said that this could probably be addressed.)
* Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID testified in support of the plan, but said that the BID feels there should be no on-street parking at all on game days in the blocks north of M between New Jersey and South Capitol, because of the likelihood of traffic congestion. He also asked for the plan to be expanded south to cover Buzzards Point, and mentioned that future revenues from the parking plan should go to amenities such as streetscape improvements and Canal Park.
I believe they will attempt to get this passed at the Feb. 5 city council legislative meeting as emergency legislation, though I don't have that confirmed.
If you want to watch the hearing, you'll be able to do so at your leisure, once it's posted and when you have 25 percent of a day to spare. I'll be checking it out when to see the first portion that I missed, and will update if there's additional news.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Producing the Pope, Noose Hearing, Parking Hearings
Jan 30, 2008 9:21 AM
This morning's tidbits:
* It doesn't say anything about smoke machines or laser light shows, but this press release announces that "Showcall, Inc., an event production company based in Maryland, was selected by the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. to produce Pope Benedict XVI's public Mass at the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium on April 17, 2008." As for what that means: "Showcall, Inc. will provide stage and set design and layout, audio visual production, and overall show direction of the public Mass. Showcall will utilize its unique skill set in producing high-profile, high-threat level events and will coordinate with the Washington Nationals to host the first major event in its new baseball stadium. Showcall will work closely with GEP Washington, the overall DMC firm for the visit."
* Kwame Brown's Committee on Economic Development is having its hearing on the ballpark's "noose incident" today at 1 pm. I don't see it on the Channel 13 lineup, but perhaps it'll get shown live or will be broadcast later on.
* Today's two hearings on parking issues in front of the council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment are at 5 pm and 6 pm. My "real life" is on overload for the next few weeks thanks to Super-Duper Tuesday and the metro-area primaries, so I can't make these hearings in person, but I will watch the coverage later this evening and sum up.
* There's also now a joint hearing between the Public Works committee and Kwame Brown's Committee on Economic Development on the Ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) scheduled for Feb. 28 at 6 pm. There should be explanations at this hearing as to how all aspects of getting to and from the ballpark are going to be handled (at first, at least). I believe that this information will be released to the public well before Feb. 28, though I don't know exactly when.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park, Stadium Events, 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).

Stadium Traffic and Parking Plan Hearing Summary
Jan 11, 2008 10:11 PM
Having just about reached my limit when it comes to writing about stadium parking, I'm going to cut to the chase and pass along the biggest items from today's hearing by the Committee on Economic Development on parking and traffic issues at the new Nationals ballpark. (It's a torrent of words, so I've bolded the most important items.)
The session began with ANC representatives testifying about the community's concerns that no traffic and parking management plan has yet been unveiled, and with not many days to go (no one was sure whether it was 82 or 81 or 80 days--it's actually 79, but I didn't pipe up), neighbors are getting increasingly nervous that plans and signage won't be ready by Opening Day. While Tommy Wells's proposed Performance Parking plan could eventually become the mechanism for handling on-street parking near the ballpark, it won't be able to be in place by Opening Day, and so residents want to know how parking is going to be restricted to prevent stadium-goers from descending on nearby streets in search of free parking and bringing what has frequently been referred to as "controlled chaos."
Kwame Brown became frustrated when trying to find out who is actually in charge of coordinating all the government agencies who have a hand in the ballpark and communicating information to the public--"Who do I call? Who's driving the train?" he asked a number of times. After much back and forth with Greg O'Dell of the Sports and Entertainment Commission and Judi Greenberg from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, it was finally agreed that DDOT is now in charge of organizing and implementing the stadium's traffic and parking plans.
Determining this was a good step for this hearing that had been convened to discuss those plans, except for one small detail--council member Brown's Committee on Economic Development does not have oversight responsibilities for DDOT, so no one from the agency was in attendance.
Oops. (Apparently there had been plans to hold this hearing jointly with Jim Graham's Committee on Public Works and the Environment, which oversees DDOT, but that did not come to pass.)
It was said that DDOT will be unveiling the traffic operations and parking plan next week, though of course no one from DDOT was actually there to confirm or deny this.
Greg McCarthy of the Nationals testified about the team's continuing efforts to plan for the onslaught of fans, ranging from the mailing next week of parking information to season ticket holders to a planned media onslaught beginning in February to educate stadium-goers about the best ways to get to the park. (Short version: Take Metro! Walk! Bike! Park in Metro parking lots! Don't drive to the ballpark unless you've already got a parking pass!)
There still is no signed agreement between the Nationals and the city for use of RFK as free satellite parking for non-season-ticket holders, though clearly both sides anticipate it will get done, especially since the Nationals are working out the best routes for the free shuttle buses they plan to provide from RFK to the new stadium. (But Kwame Brown did not seem too enthused that the city might not be getting any revenue from the parking spaces.)
The team anticipates having 5,000 spaces for season ticket holders available in lots within walking distance to the ballpark--and, other than one lot that sits on the west side of South Capitol Street underneath the freeway, all lots will be in Southeast and none will be in Southwest.
Tommy Wells focused a number of times on the idea of the neighborhood embracing the ballpark as part of its culture and part of the character of the community. How neat it will be for residents to be able to walk to games, he said, expressing his hopes that the ballpark is a positive experience for both fans and residents. (Putting the stadium there "was not a hostile act by the government," he said). He also spoke of how the stadium's on-time and on-budget completion should be a real celebration for the city, but that he doesn't want it to become known as the "ballpark with a traffic catastrophe."
My favorite moment of the hearing was when discussion turned to how exactly the onslaught of papal groupies will be handled when the Pope comes to the ballpark on April 17: I realized that all this time I had assumed Pope = Mass = Sunday, when in fact the event will be on a Thursday morning, which will make traffic and parking that much more of a challenge. Start planning your vacation day now.
Other items of interest:
* Charter buses are expected to be parked across the South Capitol Street bridge during games.
* The Nationals have secured 4,000 of the 5,000 spaces they are eyeing near the ballpark, and expect to have the other 1,000 by Opening Day. There will be about 3,000 spaces at RFK, in Lots 7 and 8, and the team will be running a test of the RFK shuttle buses on Friday.
* There will be 130 handicapped parking spaces in the two lots on the ballpark site.
* The Navy Yard Metro station is expected to be ready by Opening Day.
* The Nationals will be responsible for clean-up around the ballpark and surrounding streets after games, most likely through an augmentation of the Capitol Riverfront BID's "clean teams".
* There are still plans for two job fairs to be held in Southwest, perhaps on Feb. 9 and 23 at Greenleaf Rec Center.
There's probably other items I missed that some people might be interested in, but I think that's more than enough for a Friday night.
It's anticipated that a joint hearing of both the Committee on Economic Development and the Committee on Public Works and the Environment--which oversees DDOT--will be scheduled soon.
The broadcast of the meeting is already available on demand, if you have three hours of your life you're not doing anything with. I've also posted the prepared statements of the witnesses from today, which you should definitely read to get more information than I've been able to summarize here. Also available is a press release from Kwame Brown's office about the hearing, in which he calls for "enhanced coordination from DC agencies and increased public involvement."
UPDATE: Here's the WashTimes article on the hearing. And the Examiner's.
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More posts: ANC News, Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Ballpark and Beyond, and Stadium-Related Tidbits
Dec 20, 2007 9:06 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post is my summary of ANC 6D's deliberations on the ballpark liquor license. It also references a meeting held last night between community leaders and city and team representatives (though my deadline was before the meeting, so the column couldn't actually include anything *from* the meeting).
The meeting included updates on the road improvements in the area and the Navy Yard Metro station upgrades, both of which are still on track to be basically done by opening day (the Metro station might "still need another coat of paint", it was said, but will be "serviceable").
The Nationals are still working out their parking plans, not only in terms of the lots near the ballpark but also the satellite parking at RFK, and all the additional planning that goes with it (traffic flow, signage, shuttle buses, drop off/pick up locations, etc.). It appears as of now that there might not be season-ticket-holder lots in Southwest at all, not even at Buzzards Point. There was also mention that stadium-goers will not be funneled through the South Capitol Street exit of the freeway--the team is going to try very hard to move fans through all the other close-by freeway exits, but not South Capitol Street.
Circulator buses will not be part of the transit plans for the first season. But they're planning plenty of bike racks around the ballpark perimeter, and are also still working on a bicycle "valet" parking service.
Also, there's tentative plans for two stadium job fairs, possibly on Feb. 2 and Feb. 26 (details still being worked out).
And, everybody knows that the first few games will be "a challenge."
The general tone of the meeting was more cooperative and collegial than some of these meetings have been in the past (maybe because Tommy Wells was there for the first part and everyone wanted to be on their best behavior). There's plans for more meetings and workshops between these "stakeholders" (I really hate that word) to try to hammer out the best plans for traffic, pedestrian flow, and "curbside management" (aka on-street parking) before it's all then unveiled to the community at public meetings. There was also agreement that the group should get together after the first homestand in April to talk about what works/what doesn't.
UPDATE: Speaking of public meetings, here is the official announcement about the Jan. 11 city council Committee on Economic Development oversight hearing on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium." It contains information on how to testify at the hearing, if you're so inclined.
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More posts: ANC News, circulator, Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

City Working on New On-Street Parking Plans Around the Ballpark, in Southwest, and on Capitol Hill
Dec 14, 2007 8:31 PM
There has been much discussion by residents and city officials over the impending "apocalypse" of traffic and parking congestion with the opening in April of the new ballpark. Residents not only in Near Southeast (all 400 of you) but in Southwest and on Capitol Hill have been waiting for the city to announce exactly how on-street parking will be handled during games, as there is great concern as to whether residents will still be able to park on their streets and won't have to deal with hundreds or thousands of cars circling the neighborhoods looking for free parking.
It's been thought that the model used at RFK--special parking permit stickers for residents to put on their cars--would be ported over to the new ballpark area, but over the past few months council member Tommy Wells and his staff, along with DDOT, have been working on a pilot plan they hope could address not only the parking issues at the ballpark but also the parking problems seen on Capitol Hill along Pennsylvania Avenue, Barracks Row (Eighth Street), and the streets around Eastern Market. They are looking for ways to balance the needs of residents with the impact on businesses if parking is hard to come by, and are looking at a concept called "Performance Parking." Here's my five-cent summary:
"Retail" streets would have the hours of metered parking extended to seven days a week until late in the evening, and with the prices to park at the meters raised to a level that would discourage some people from arriving by car, opening up more spaces and reducing double-parking and congestion. The adjacent residential streets, now covered by Zone 6 parking rules that ostensibly only allow two hours of visitor parking during weekdays (but are dependent on the parking enforcement folks tracking the cars to know how long they've been there) would see the installation of meter kioskson one side of the street, where nonresidents could park for no more than two hours even until late in the evening and on weekends. (Residents could park on both sides of the street as long as they want.)
These rules would extend with slight tweaks to the streets around the ballpark: "Retail" streets in these areas would allow longer stretches of parking (four-plus hours), but would have rates for metered parking comparable to the amount charged in pay lots, to discourage ballpark-goers from believing that on-street parking would be any cheaper than what's available in existing lots and garages. And with the residential streets having meters that wouldn't allow parking for longer than two hours, most people going to three-hour-plus baseball games would avoid parking on those blocks.
In other words, these restrictions would tell visitors--park in a lot, or take Metro, or walk, or ride your bike, but don't expect to drive down and find a space for free on a street somewhere.
One other facet of this plan would be to use the revenue from these much higher on-street parking rates to pay the cost of the new kiosk-type meters (that cost about $7,800 a pop), the cost of the extra enforcement needed to make the plan work, and also improvements to the streets and the communities to make alternative modes of transportation more enticing (fixing sidewalks, adding bike racks, making bus shelters better, etc.).
This plan has been previewed for local businesses and the ANCs (today it was the media's turn), and it's hoped that a bill creating this special pilot project can start its path through the city council process in early January. Alas, this would not be enough lead time to get it all in place before Opening Day, so there will probably be some tumult during the early part of the season as the city tries to keep stadium visitors from taking over the residential neighborhoods.
You'll no doubt be reading much more about this idea over the coming months, and there will be public meetings and refinements and many words written about it all, I'm sure. And of course one other piece of the puzzle--the locations of the various lots where the Nationals will be directing season-ticket holders to park--has yet to be made public. Eventually Wells's office will release maps (perhaps soon) showing the streets that could be designated as retail or residential, along with other documents providing far more detail than what I've previewed here.
In the meantime, I'm going to do something I've never done in the nearly five years that I've been running this Near Southeast site--I'm going to open up the floor to comments about this idea, that then hopefully can be read by city officials and other residents to see what people's impressions are of the plans. But be forewarned, if this little low-tech experiment goes off the rails and people start getting out of control, I'll close it down and won't be inclined to give it another shot. So behave. Of course, you'll be commenting on something you probably need to learn much more about to truly be informed, but when does that ever stop anyone on the internet?
UPDATE: Here's a story from the Post on Wells's parking plan. " 'The ballpark visitors are going to be very tempted to look for cheap parking' on city streets, said Neha Bhatt, a planner in Wells's office. 'We've got to get that out of people's head that free parking exists here.' " The story also reminds me to mention that plans are to make Buzzards Point off-limits to on-street parking during ballgames (though it's likely some cash lots will be built there).
Also, there's going to be an Committee on Economic Development oversight roundtable on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium" on Jan. 11 at 10 am. (It was originally scheduled for this Monday, the 17th, but they felt like there hadn't been enough public notice. I'll say--I hadn't even heard about it!)
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More posts: parking, staddis, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

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

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.

Hearing on Bridge Projects
Nov 16, 2007 2:30 PM
Here's my in-depth learned summary of today's city council hearing on proposed bridge projects in the city, about 98 percent of which focused on the future plans for the 11th Street Bridges:
* Some people are against it.
* Some people are for it.
The three-hour hearing should be posted soon on the Channel 13 On Demand lineup for this week, if you want to see for yourself the specifics. But really, it all boils down to arguments over capacity, over whether local streets will see a reduction in cut-through commuter traffic, and differences between Capitol Hill residents and advocacy groups and east-of-the-river residents and advocacy groups, none of whom spoke with any sort of uniform voice.
And since no one spoke about any of the preferred design's impacts on Near Southeast specifically (of which there are a few, mainly the revamped interchanges at 11th and M), I'll just leave it to others to go into more detail.
UPDATE: The Capitol Hill Restoration Society was concerned enough about the plans for the 11th Street Bridges that it hired its own traffic consultant--that report is now posted on the CHRS web site. Plus, DG-rad of And Now, Anacostia attended the hearing and has posted some notes, along with this link to slides DDOT presented about the project at this week's ANC 6B meeting, showing lots of graphics and numbers that were the source of much contention at the hearing.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, ANC News, Traffic Issues

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

ANC 6D Presentation Meeting Tonight
Nov 5, 2007 1:49 PM
Apologies for the late notice, but tonight ANC 6D is having an "presentation meeting", to break out the issues that people and organizations want to bring in front of the ANC but which don't require an official vote. This is an attempt to shorten the monthly business meetings, which can run for hours and kill numerous brain cells of all in attendance. The meeting will be at 25 N Street, SW, at either 7:00 or 7:30 pm (now confirmed). Items on tonight's agenda include WASA talking about lead pipe replacement in the neighborhood and an update on Arena Stage construction and schedule.
There's also going to be a presentation by a group called the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Eastern Washington, who are raising questions about the various road and bridge projects planned along the Anacostia and who have been contacting city officials over the past few months requesting that a new "traffic mobility study" be undertaken. (Here's their flyer and a copy of a letter to Mayor Fenty they sent back in August.) I imagine this group will also be interested in the Nov. 16 hearing before the City Council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment on "Major Bridge Construction Projects in the District".
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, ANC News, 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

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

Design for 11th Street Bridges Reconfiguration Chosen
Oct 5, 2007 6:10 PM
Here's some late Friday news for you: the 11th Street Bridges Environmental Impact Statement has been completed, and a preferred plan for the reconfiguration of the bridges has been chosen, at an estimated price of $465 million, taking an estimated five years to complete. No start date has been announced.
You can read the summary, check out the Preferred Alternative and the other alternatives, plow through the entire thing at once (36 MB), or pick and choose the sections you want to read. When even the summary is 24 pages long, it's hard to give a quick description of what is being recommended, but here's my best shot:
* There will be two new bridges built on exactly the alignments of the existing two bridges, allowing the use of the existing piers but requiring their widening to allow for wider bridges. Two new ramps will be built on the east side of the Anacostia River, providing access at last to the northbound Anacostia Freeway from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and to the freeway from the southbound Anacostia Freeway. One of the two bridges would be dedicated to freeway traffic, and the other to local traffic, with the total number of **freeway*** lanes unchanged, but with four new local lanes and with added paths for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as "accommodations for transit," such as the proposed light rail system.
As for what would happen to the interchange with the bridge in Near Southeast, it's hard to digest, but this is what I'm seeing by looking at the diagrams in the Alternatives section (here's a Google Maps satellite view of the current bridges, which you might need):
* The current on/off ramps at N Street would be moved to M Street (see page 15), with local traffic and paths to and from Anacostia being routed on the western of the two bridge spans (officially known as the Officer Welsh Bridge), and traffic bound for the Anacostia Freeway routed onto the 8-lane eastern span. This also means that the local traffic coming north from Anacostia would be routed along a newly two-way portion of 11th Street up to M.
* The exit ramp now between Ninth and 10th streets would be moved to Ninth Street.
* There would also be a new entrance to the westbound freeway from 11th Street (perhaps taking some of the pressure off the Third Street ramp?).
(In a separate project, the existing Southeast/Southwest freeway between 11th Street and Barney Circle is apparently going to be downgraded to a new Southeast Freeway Boulevard, which would be accessed by exiting the freeway and going across 11th Street at-grade. As part of this, the sneaky little route to Pennsylvania Avenue from 9th Street and Virginia Avenue would be removed, too.)
As for the impact of the reconfigured bridges on the boathouses nestled between them on the west side of the river, the EIS says that "it has been determined that construction of any of the build alternatives, including the Preferred Alternative, will not require the whole or partial demolition of either of the two ACBA buildings." Boathouse operations would have to be relocated during construction, but the documents state that DDOT is committed to maintaining the operations during this time, having agreed to provide temporary structures on a Washington Gas-owned space a few hundred yards to the north. (See Section 7.3 for more about the boathouse impact.)
Finally, the document states that the bridges project will not impact the Virginia Avenue Park at 9th and Virginia.
I doubt anyone is still reading at this point, so I'm going to quit while behind and hope that all sorts of media outlets give some real coverage, and take me off the hook. If you're at all interested in this, especially in the impacts east of the river that I haven't addressed, I suggest browsing the entire document. You'd be amazed how much detail is in there.
There's now a public comments period, through November 20. See the EIS web site for more about the entire study process.
If you're not real familiar with this area of Near Southeast, visit my East M Street page for photos and links.
UPDATE, 10/11: I erred in this above item when stating that the total number of lanes would be unchanged from the current configuration; having misread the EIS wording that referred to the number of freeway lanes being unchanged. The two spans currently have eight freeway lanes, which will be the case with the new bridge; but those eight lanes will be carried on a widened version of the upstream span, and the downstream span will carry four local lanes.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row, 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

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

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

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

DCSEC's Latest Report on Ballpark Progress
Jun 5, 2007 10:05 AM
I gave you the short-and-sweet update yesterday on the progress at the Nationals ballpark, but if you want the real nitty-gritty of all aspects of the project, here's the 10-page Monthly Report submitted by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission to the City Council on May 14 (posted on Councilmember David Catania's ballpark page). It describes the current state of the schedule, budget, procurement, design, construction, coordination, and public outreach. For example, you can learn from it that approximately 65% of the stadium's structural steel and concrete is now in place, as well as 58% of the precast concrete. Typical daily manpower on the site in April? 432 workers.
One piece of development-type news in the report: the DCSEC is "drafting a request for proposals for the sale of the First Street retail development rights as a means to offset any hazardous material cleanup costs in excess of the budgeted amount and to provide the non-program retail required by the Zoning Commission final order while remaining in conformance with the Council cost cap legislation."
Also, as I've mentioned in other posts, it's expected that the draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan will be released sometime in June.
But, if you're interested in the state of, say, the sand filters or the service level slab-on-grade concrete, this is the document for you.
UPDATED because the original headline made it sound like the DCSEC *might* report, as opposed to this being their report for the month of May. Oops.

More posts: parking, Nationals Park, 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!)