City Paper Widget

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Long-Delayed Federal Money Funds 7th Street Repaving, Sidewalk Upgrade, New Bike Racks

At its regular monthly meeting May 6, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E/Shaw heard that the 7th Street NW corridor is about to be given a facelift with federal government money. If all goes as planned, streets will be repaved, street lighting will be given a elegant new look, sidewalks will be uniform, and bike racks will be installed on every block of 7th Street between N and Florida Avenue.
Coming soon on 7th Street

ANC6E Chair Alexander Padro (Commissioner for district 01) recalled that the project, which will cover the 1300 to 1700 blocks on 7th Street, has been in development for "the better part of a decade" and had been repeatedly delayed by "a number of missteps".

The project was originally part of the Howard Theatre renovation project, but it was detached so that the portion of the project near the Howard Theatre could go ahead using money from the D.C. budget. The Howard Theatre project was finished in 2012.

DDOT presentation

Richard Kenney and Adil Rizvi, program managers at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), told the ANC that 7th Street will be resurfaced and renovated. But don't call the project a "resurfacing project".

"That's kind of misleading because we're including building-face-to-building-face streetscape improvements," Rizvi said.

Kenney and Rizvi told ANC6E the project would, in addition to road resurfacing, include street light and traffic signal upgrades, sidewalk replacement, the addition of green infrastructure, improvements to wheelchair ramps to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and other changes.

The work will start in "late summer to early fall" and will continue for nine to twelve months, "weather permitting". Work will be done from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday. There will be some Saturday work, but no Sunday work. The DDOT presenters said all blockage of traffic and detours would take place outside of rush hours.

The project will work to make the sidewalks uniform. Right now, there is a patchwork of brick and concrete, some of which is deteriorating, making the sidewalks unsafe. The sidewalks will be uniformly concrete. The areas around the trees will be given a uniform look as well, with low ornamental rails on three sides. DDOT assured the committee the ornamental rails will be well anchored and will not come up or fall over by themselves. However, these rails cannot withstand the impact of a vehicle.
Cobble pavers are green infrastructure

The tree space will also be given a uniform look, with cobble pavers to each side of the tree (see photo). These cobble pavers catch storm water and allow natural filtration to take place, which captures pollutants before they can become part of the storm water runoff.

Bike racks for all

The DDOT presenters asked for ANC and public opinion on bike racks. Members of the public spoke strongly in favor. Commissioner Padro said he had asked for bike racks along 7th Street many times but was told they should wait for the long-delayed repaving project.

"It seems like the biggest comment we have for you is: We certainly do want to see bike racks installed," Padro said. "A number of businesses have requested them."

Padro volunteered to walk the route of the project along with Shaw resident and Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) Vice-President Michael Moulton to suggest placement of the bike racks. Moulton was present at the meeting and advocated for bike racks as part of the project.

ANC6E voted unanimously to support the project and recommend bike racks be installed on every block.

About 2/3rds of the area of the renovation falls with the borders of ANC6E. The other third is in ANC 1B/U Street.

ANC6E videos its meetings and posts them, in their entirety, on their Youtube channel. This discussion can be viewed on video number 00047 here, starting at time 11:05.

(Photo credits: details from hard copies of the DDOT presentation to ANC6E)

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