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Author Topic: District of Columbia  (Read 218710 times)

oscar

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #350 on: December 06, 2014, 06:38:24 PM »

My "favorite" part of this "close part of I-395" story is this from wtop.com: Jeffrey Sussman, of Property Group Partners, tells the The Washington Post that drivers would adjust. "People find their way who drive because they like to drive. They like to figure out how to do it," he said.

That inspired thoughts about how Mr. Sussman should be tortured.  "Boiling oil" and "hot asphalt" came first to mind, but I'm sure there are more roadgeek-appropriate punishments available, such as "sentenced to drive back and forth on the north side of I-495 between MD 190 and MD 650, non-stop, all of the last day of a holiday weekend". 
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #351 on: December 07, 2014, 01:27:02 PM »

Okay, I'm confused...why is FHWA evaluating this request and not DDOT? I thought DDOT maintains the road? FHWA usually only gets involved if the "state" DOT asks for permission.

That concerns me, because DDOT is accountable to voters in the city, while FHWA is not.

The Washington Post's "Dr. Gridlock" has a column in today's WP, criticizing DDOT for punting the issue up to FHWA, and also for hiding behind FOIA on releasing information about the proposal and any referral to FHWA.

On the latter issue, it might be necessary to insist on the FOIA process for some of the information sought, to protect any business plans or other arguably confidential information furnished by the developer.  But that probably wouldn't preclude the rapid release of DDOT's referral (if any) to DDOT, if DDOT wanted to release it.

How typical is it for DDOT to insist on going through the FOIA process?  (Or does it have a well-stocked public reading room, for people to peruse non-confidential information?)  At the Federal agency I used to work for, we often got requests including information we were required by law to withhold, so those had to go through FOIA.  But otherwise, informal information requests often got the requester the desired information we could disclose, with greater speed and less hassle than going through FOIA.  We also had a public reading room, as I think is typical for Federal agencies, for people to get clearly non-confidential information without even having to make a request. 
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #352 on: December 07, 2014, 03:07:05 PM »

My "favorite" part of this "close part of I-395" story is this from wtop.com: Jeffrey Sussman, of Property Group Partners, tells the The Washington Post that drivers would adjust. "People find their way who drive because they like to drive. They like to figure out how to do it," he said.

That inspired thoughts about how Mr. Sussman should be tortured.  "Boiling oil" and "hot asphalt" came first to mind, but I'm sure there are more roadgeek-appropriate punishments available, such as "sentenced to drive back and forth on the north side of I-495 between MD 190 and MD 650, non-stop, all of the last day of a holiday weekend". 
Better idea: figure out how many trips you could fit in an eight hour period of driving non stop along that route with no traffic and then make him drive that number of trips on the last day of a holiday weekend.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #353 on: December 07, 2014, 05:10:29 PM »

Actually, my posting on WTOP.com was along the lines of "close the neighborhoods streets where the developer lives, because I assume he'll enjoy finding his way home without them."
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #354 on: December 08, 2014, 10:34:35 PM »

Okay, I'm confused...why is FHWA evaluating this request and not DDOT? I thought DDOT maintains the road? FHWA usually only gets involved if the "state" DOT asks for permission.

That concerns me, because DDOT is accountable to voters in the city, while FHWA is not.

The Washington Post's "Dr. Gridlock" has a column in today's WP, criticizing DDOT for punting the issue up to FHWA, and also for hiding behind FOIA on releasing information about the proposal and any referral to FHWA.

On the latter issue, it might be necessary to insist on the FOIA process for some of the information sought, to protect any business plans or other arguably confidential information furnished by the developer.  But that probably wouldn't preclude the rapid release of DDOT's referral (if any) to DDOT, if DDOT wanted to release it.

How typical is it for DDOT to insist on going through the FOIA process?  (Or does it have a well-stocked public reading room, for people to peruse non-confidential information?)  At the Federal agency I used to work for, we often got requests including information we were required by law to withhold, so those had to go through FOIA.  But otherwise, informal information requests often got the requester the desired information we could disclose, with greater speed and less hassle than going through FOIA.  We also had a public reading room, as I think is typical for Federal agencies, for people to get clearly non-confidential information without even having to make a request.

More fun via the Washington Post: Study needed to decide on request to close part of I-395 in D.C., federal officials say

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Federal officials said Monday that they can’t make a decision on a developer’s request to shut down nearly a mile of Interstate 395 for more than a year until the D.C. Department of Transportation completes a comprehensive study of the potential traffic impact.

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Meanwhile, many of the region’s elected officials said the request should never have been sent without the city and the DDOT first briefing them on the plan.

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“This involves a major road in the District of Columbia, and, as it turns out, it will inconvenience in a mammoth way not only our residents, but residents throughout the region,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who learned about the request from news reports.

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DDOT, jointly with developer Property Group Partners, sent a petition last month to the Federal Highway Administration, saying the closure of I-395 between New York Avenue and D Street NW “would do a great deal to improve traffic, safety and timing implications for the Capitol Crossing project.”

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It could halve the construction time of a $200 million deck over the freeway’s entrance that will support the company’s 2.2 million-square-foot project, the developer said.
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oscar

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #355 on: December 09, 2014, 01:24:02 AM »

More fun via the Washington Post: Study needed to decide on request to close part of I-395 in D.C., federal officials say

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Federal officials said Monday that they can’t make a decision on a developer’s request to shut down nearly a mile of Interstate 395 for more than a year until the D.C. Department of Transportation completes a comprehensive study of the potential traffic impact.

Per the article, FHWA noted that depending on the results of the initial environmental review, which would take up to a year, DDOT may have to conduct additional studies taking up to three years, including to work out how to manage the traffic diverted from I-395 if the segment north of D St. NW had a prolonged closure during construction of the deck over the freeway.

It sounds like getting approval for such a closure could easily take more time than the closure would save for building the deck over I-395.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #356 on: December 09, 2014, 01:19:24 PM »

Yeesh.  Looks like the FHWA wants to actually consider this request seriously rather than a quick "you've got to be kidding me, how do you expect anyone to go along with this?".
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #357 on: December 09, 2014, 01:34:45 PM »

If this were done, what sort of traffic modifications would you put in place?

I would do the following:

VMS messaging about the closure at the approaches to the following interchanges: 95/495 College Park, 95/BW Pkwy, 95/50, 95/495 Springfield.

Detour signs at the 50/BW pkwy interchange adn the 395/695 interchange to recommend that people who are at that point should stay on 695 for the connection and not use New York Ave.

I would close the northbound on-ramp to I395 from D St SW.  The remaining three lanes will have to come together into two lanes of traffic before entering the tunnel.  All two lanes will exit at D St NW.

The ramp to C St NW will still be there.  Traffic to Union Station should go this way.  C St should be one-way eastbound all the way to NJ Ave.

Second Street from D St NW should be three lanes of traffic at all times.  Impose parking restrictions and spot widenings as necessary.

Similar treatment for 4th St southbound between NY and Mass Ave and 3rd St southbound from Mass to D.





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oscar

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #358 on: December 09, 2014, 01:40:32 PM »

Yeesh.  Looks like the FHWA wants to actually consider this request seriously rather than a quick "you've got to be kidding me, how do you expect anyone to go along with this?".

Actually, looks more to me like FHWA telling the developer it could take so long to get approval for a highway closure, the developer and the city would probably save a lot of time by going ahead with building the deck without a closure.  That's a nice way of telling the developer to get lost, but with less risk of drawing a lawsuit from the developer.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #359 on: December 09, 2014, 01:42:04 PM »

Today the Post is reporting the mayor's office is not willing to close the highway. The mayor-elect concurs.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #360 on: December 09, 2014, 04:15:35 PM »

Today the Post is reporting the mayor's office is not willing to close the highway. The mayor-elect concurs.

I wonder if the proponents of this were not counting on the "tear down the freeway" crowd to come to their defense for some reason?

Not so long ago, there were people touting a proposal to permanently close the entire length of the so-called Center Leg Freeway (in other words, I-395 from the S.E./S.W. Freeway all the way to U.S. 50 (New York Avenue, N.W.) - including the Third Street Tunnel).
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Alps

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #361 on: December 09, 2014, 07:29:15 PM »

Yeesh.  Looks like the FHWA wants to actually consider this request seriously rather than a quick "you've got to be kidding me, how do you expect anyone to go along with this?".

Actually, looks more to me like FHWA telling the developer it could take so long to get approval for a highway closure, the developer and the city would probably save a lot of time by going ahead with building the deck without a closure.  That's a nice way of telling the developer to get lost, but with less risk of drawing a lawsuit from the developer.
Actually, shutting down an Interstate should always be backed up by a comprehensive traffic study. Sounds like they came to FHWA way too soon.

cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #362 on: December 10, 2014, 12:23:29 AM »

Actually, shutting down an Interstate should always be backed up by a comprehensive traffic study. Sounds like they came to FHWA way too soon.

Agreed.

Looks like it was much about nothing.  The sitting Mayor of the District of Columbia and the Mayor-Elect have both said it is not going to happen.

D.C. dropping request to shut part of I-395

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Amid growing pressure, D.C. transportation officials said Tuesday that they are dropping a request to shut a busy stretch of Interstate 395 to expedite a major construction project.

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“The mayor has made a statement,” said Matthew Brown, the city’s transportation director, citing Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s directive Tuesday that the agency pull the plan to close nearly a mile of freeway for the Capitol Crossing project.

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DDOT continues to support closing one of the highway’s ramps to facilitate the safe and timely construction of the $1.5 billion project at the entrance to I-395, Brown said.

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Last week’s news that DDOT asked the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for guidance on how to proceed with shutting down a major commuter thoroughfare that carries 90,000 vehicles a day drew strong criticism from commuters and elected officials, including members of the region’s congressional delegations.

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The city had remained quiet on the proposal, saying that DDOT’s only role was to forward the request to federal officials, but Brown broke the silence Tuesday at a news event, where he said the agency’s communications with FHWA were only an effort to determine “what would the process be” for closing the interstate.

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“It’s obviously a huge ask,” Brown said. “I didn’t see anything wrong with at least exploring options.”

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In a Dec. 5 notice to DDOT, federal officials said they could not consider the request until DDOT conducted various studies on the impact of the closure — studies that could take months if not years.

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But on Tuesday morning, Gray (D) declared that the shutdown would not happen.

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“Closing 395 is a non-starter for Mayor Gray,” said Doxie McCoy, a spokeswoman for the mayor. “Upon reviewing the matter, he has made his views very clear — we will not be closing 395, and the administration will inform the feds of that.”

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And, during a news conference Tuesday by Mayor-elect Muriel E. Bowser (D), where she introduced her new city administrator, Alexandria City Manager Rashad Young, she also spoke against the idea.

Washington Post opinion: Closing I-395 for a developer would have upended travel for tens of thousands

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ANYONE WHO has lived through a remodeling project knows that a certain amount of inconvenience comes with the territory. But a developer’s proposal to shut down part of a vital highway in the District to expedite construction of a giant commercial project would have upended — not just inconvenienced — daily travel for tens of thousands of drivers. We can’t imagine how city officials could have even entertained the idea, and we are happy to hear that they have now closed the door on it.

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D.C. transportation officials broached with the Federal Highway Administration the possibility of closing Interstate 395 between New York Avenue and D Street NW for 15 to 18 months. The proposal, disclosed by The Post’s Luz Lazo and Jonathan O’Connell, came at the behest of the New York-based company behind a $1.5 billion mixed-use development that will be built over the highway. Closing the interstate, the developer argued, would have sliced time and cost off the project and produced safer construction conditions for ­workers.

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There is no questioning the importance of this project to the city. It is estimated to eventually generate $30 million annually in property taxes, and by connecting F Street and G streets NW, the project would go a long way toward rectifying the damage done by federal highway planners when they cut a gash through the central city. But closing this main north-south thoroughfare would have displaced more than 90,000 cars a day. Contrary to the developer’s glib assurance that people like to drive and figure out alternative roads, the proposed closure would have created a rippling effect of significant problems for the region’s transportation network. “Calamitous impacts” was the apt characterization by Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.).
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 12:29:40 AM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #363 on: December 10, 2014, 03:45:30 PM »

I still think they could do weekend closures.  MnDOT does those often, and it doesn't need the hard-core studying from FHWA that a longer-term closure requires.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #364 on: December 10, 2014, 04:52:54 PM »

I still think they could do weekend closures.  MnDOT does those often, and it doesn't need the hard-core studying from FHWA that a longer-term closure requires.


I'm sure there will be plenty of those. On weekends, the route is a lot less necessary than on weekday commuter periods.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #365 on: December 10, 2014, 10:32:48 PM »

Charles Severance indicted on murder charges

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A man who for months has been the focus of police investigations into three high-profile slayings in Alexandria has been indicted on murder charges, prosecutors said.

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Charles Severance, 53, is in jail in Loudoun County awaiting trial on a gun possession charge. The Alexandria indictment contains ten charges, including two charges of capital murder and one charge of first-degree murder in the deaths of Ruthanne Lodato, Ronald Kirby and Nancy Dunning.

Charles Severance, accused of three Alexandria killings, to appear in court

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The man accused of fatally shooting three prominent Alexandria residents over the past decade — killings that prosecutors say were motivated by his hatred of the city’s “enforcement class” — is scheduled to appear in court Thursday as attorneys discuss his competency to stand trial.

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It is unclear what might happen at the hearing in Alexandria Circuit Court for 54-year-old Charles Severance, though defense attorneys have requested a discussion about evaluating him for competency. They asked to withdraw, at least temporarily, their other legal salvos in the case — which included an effort to have the case dismissed entirely and a bid to have a separate trial for one of the murders of which Severance is accused.

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Severance is charged in the February slaying of music teacher Ruthanne Lodato, the November 2013 fatal shooting of regional transportation planner Ronald Kirby and the 2003 killing of real estate agent Nancy Dunning. Authorities have said all three were gunned down in daylight in their homes, within two miles of one another, by a killer who left no sign of forced entry.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #366 on: December 10, 2014, 10:34:50 PM »

I still think they could do weekend closures.  MnDOT does those often, and it doesn't need the hard-core studying from FHWA that a longer-term closure requires.

Much of the work for Transurban 95 Express Lanes was done over weekends. 

Wonder if the staging required to be set-up and taken-down for weekend closures might be too much (in terms of labor required for same)?
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #367 on: December 11, 2014, 09:06:26 AM »

Far less than for ongoing daytime lane closures, and they get a longer window to get stuff done.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #368 on: December 18, 2014, 09:32:11 AM »

Dr. Gridlock reports DC is changing the way you pay for on-street parking in the area around Verizon Center. Instead of the existing "pay-and-display" meters, they're going to the system where you punch in a space number at the meter. As I said in my comment there, I don't care for that style because it limits the number of spaces per block, similar to how the old single-space meters restricted things. I like the idea with the pay-and-display system that if your vehicle fits, you can park.

What will be more interesting is to see how people respond to the new parking signs. The one on the left looks similar to the ones a blogger was suggesting in New York:

 
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oscar

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #369 on: December 18, 2014, 11:12:27 AM »

Instead of the existing "pay-and-display" meters, they're going to the system where you punch in a space number at the meter. As I said in my comment there, I don't care for that style because it limits the number of spaces per block, similar to how the old single-space meters restricted things. I like the idea with the pay-and-display system that if your vehicle fits, you can park.

I basically agree.  There are enough tiny cars in our area, like the Smart cars, that can take advantage of small "make your own" spaces and should be encouraged to do so.

Maybe parts of the reasoning are that:

-- the city doesn't have to maintain printers for pay-and-display stubs

-- people don't have to go back to their cars to place the stubs on their dashboards (of course, some people will have to make that trek anyway, if they need to use the pay box rather than a smartphone, and have forgotten or are unsure about their space number).
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #370 on: December 18, 2014, 11:22:15 AM »

Those two reasons crossed my mind, as did the additional one that with no printed receipts, there's less temptation for someone to break into your car to steal the receipt (I have not heard of this actually happening, but I would not be surprised to hear it has occurred somewhere, as idiotic as it is). One downside is if you save the receipts for tax purposes if you parked for business reasons (I saved an Arlington County pay-and-display slip last week for precisely that reason).

The cynic in me says that with no printed receipt, and no meter next to your car, it becomes harder for you to prove you paid when you're issued a wrongful ticket. I don't park at the meters all that often except when I go to Nationals games, but when I do park at a meter I use the Parkmobile app. Yes, it costs an extra 45¢ (flat fee regardless of length of time parked), but I get receipts via e-mail and text message and there's another one I can print out from their website. I've never had a problem when I've used Parkmobile, but I've heard of people who paid that way who were given tickets anyway because the single-space meter was flashing "expired" and the meter maid issued a ticket. That's not supposed to happen—they say that when the meter maid runs your plate number on the ticket-printing device, it'll say you paid—and I have no idea whether the tickets were due to user error or fraud by the meter maids. Neither scenario would surprise me in DC.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
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"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #371 on: January 14, 2015, 01:20:36 PM »

Forgot to mention this yesterday: Coming back from Monday night's Caps game, I noted the BGSs on eastbound I-695 approaching the 11th Street Bridge now mention Southeast Boulevard. I was a bit surprised because I hadn't heard anything about it opening, but it turns out it did indeed open on December 22. For those unfamiliar, this is the new street that replaces the orphaned former segment of I-295 between the 11th Street Bridge and Barney Circle. Seems the tunnel to the RFK Stadium Access Road will still be available but isn't open yet.

If/when I get the chance to check it out, I'll upload some video. Won't be on the way home from tonight's game since puck drop is an hour later than usual (8:00 PM).
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

oscar

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #372 on: January 14, 2015, 02:14:27 PM »

Forgot to mention this yesterday: Coming back from Monday night's Caps game, I noted the BGSs on eastbound I-695 approaching the 11th Street Bridge now mention Southeast Boulevard. I was a bit surprised because I hadn't heard anything about it opening, but it turns out it did indeed open on December 22. For those unfamiliar, this is the new street that replaces the orphaned former segment of I-295 between the 11th Street Bridge and Barney Circle. Seems the tunnel to the RFK Stadium Access Road will still be available but isn't open yet.

If/when I get the chance to check it out, I'll upload some video. Won't be on the way home from tonight's game since puck drop is an hour later than usual (8:00 PM).

I drove Southeast Blvd. eastbound on Christmas day.  So unremarkable I forgot to mention it here.  It seemed to mostly use old Southeast Freeway pavement, and so far is not otherwise much different from the old freeway, except for the new at-grade intersection at 11th St. SE (under the bridge approaches).  Still a lot of work underway to do something in the wide median left over after removal of the former connector between the old 11th St. Bridge and the old eastern Southeast Freeway segment.

The access to RFK Stadium may be intact, but I'm not sure.  The old ramp to EB Pennsylvania Ave. is still there, and I used it to connect back (via DC 295) to I-695, I-395, and the express lanes down to Garrisonville VA. 
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #373 on: January 14, 2015, 02:45:49 PM »

My comment about the RFK access is based on what is stated in the JDLand blog post I linked (click the words "but it turns out it did indeed open on December 22").

I assume there's no particular rush to open the RFK access because DC United's first home game isn't until March 4 and it's a CONCACAF Champions League game, meaning it's likely to draw a smaller crowd than the MLS opener a few days later.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #374 on: January 23, 2015, 04:48:10 PM »

I drove down Southeast Boulevard earlier this afternoon and I certainly have to agree with Oscar....easily the least interesting "new road" I've ever driven. Basically no real difference from the old road other than a lower speed limit and an at-grade intersection at the west end.

It definitely appears the RFK access will be preserved. There's a lane striped as an exit lane for the tunnel, complete with solid line and short skips, and it was blocked off with barrels because the tunnel is jammed full of construction equipment (presumably to get it all out of the forecast bad weather this weekend). Looking at that mess, I kind of doubt it'll be open by the time United start their season, but then fans ought to be used to finding other routes after the past year or two.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

 


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