Thursday, August 23, 2007

CDC Meeting Wrap-Up

As it will most likely be another two months before the ANC 2F Community Development Committee (CDC) minutes are posted, and no one wants to slog through them anyway, here's a summary of the news from last night:

Old Convention Center
Developer: Hines

The plans for the Old Convention Center site are progressing. In short, the bulk of the development will be three groups of two buildings each. One grouping will be offices, one rental housing, and one condo housing. On the first floors of all buildings and the first and second floors of the office buildings, there will be retail. Another nice feature is the preservation of open park land. It is still unknown whether the DC main library will relocate to this site. If the City Council decides to forgo that relocation, the space currently reserved for the library may be leased to a department store or a grocery. A local resident made sure to register her support for Nordstrom during the Q&A.

This huge project will be in the planning/permitting/contracting stage for the next 14 months, and construction is slated to run from fall of 2008 until 2011. With all of that planning left to go, there's no word yet on what the first deliverable will be and when we can expect to see it. I should also mention that the RFP for this project was issued in 2002. Way to go, bureaucracy.

Giant/O Street Market
Developer: Roadside Development

Roadside Development owns the 4-acre site where the crummy Giant and crumbling O Street Market structure presently exist. The ambitious redevelopment project's centerpiece is a new 56,000 square foot Giant that will incorporate the existing market facade into its design. There will also be 600 new housing units including 100 senior living units (watch out, Shiloh). A hotel, one-story retail shops, and 700 parking spaces (above and below ground) will finish the project off nicely. It seems that the developer is also concerned with aesthetics, aiming to hide loading docks underground and to make the whole development attractive when viewed from the street.

11th Street Reconstruction Project

Eleventh Street between L and O is the next Streetscape project. Though it's not being called by that moniker, the components of the reconstruction are remarkably similar to what's happening on P Street and what will happen to 14th Street. In any event, starting next spring and for nine months thereafter, 11th Street will be torn up in order to improve parking, replace the water main, add more trees, and increase green space. A huge change to the street will be the removal of one traffic lane to provide for a five-foot wide bike lane in each direction.

DDOT's representative acted as if sharing this information with the CDC was merely a courtesy. In the aftermath of his presentation, residents rightfully griped about a few things. DDOT claimed that having three lanes of traffic, down from the current four, would be a "traffic calming" measure, eliminating cars weaving between lanes to avoid buses and turning vehicles. Residents seemed less concerned about the calming effect and more bothered that they would be stuck behind a bus in the only available vehicle lane. Rerouting buses to reduce congestion or eliminating parking to provide room for four traffic lanes were suggested by residents as alternatives to the present plan. DDOT also failed to present a detour for southbound traffic during construction, which had 9th Street residents very concerned.

In light of the intense conversation between residents and DDOT, Commissioner Dyer requested that DDOT return for the ANC meeting in two weeks to present a plan for dealing with the bus, parking, and detour issues. Unfortunately for DDOT, they had declared planning to be 90% complete and hoped to begin the contractor selection within seven to ten days. Shucks.

Humorous moments of last night's meeting:
A committee member whom I won't name emphatically and repeatedly insisted during the O Street Market/Giant redevelopment Q&A that Roadside Development work to improve the poor service at Giant. Umm . . . they are developers.

The Roadside Development representative stated that the project would include some "very high end condos that we hope to sell for lots of money."

A resident suggested that a light be added to the intersection of 11th and O or that we "ban all Maryland drivers" from the thoroughfare.


Mr. 14th & You said...

Maryland drivers are the least of our problems. It's the Virginians that have me heading for the hills. Virginia drivers never met a traffic circle they couldn't enter from the wrong direction.

IMGoph said...

i think your complaining about the removal of a travel lane from 11th street is misplaced. the short-term pain that will result in a smooth road (11th is one of the WORST north-south streets for pavement in our part of the city, bar none) and bike lanes should be welcomed. the loss of ability to speed down the road isn't something i'm going to cry about.

if you want to improve flow, get rid of the double-parkers. that'll do much more to help things move properly. if the buses can get into their spaces to pick up and drop off people the way they're meant to, traffic won't have to worry about bunching up behind them, as they'll only be in the travel lane while they're moving.

(now, if the city would just repave n street from about north capitol to rock creek, we'll be in good shape)

14th & You said...

Undoubtedly, 11th Street is in terrible shape. The crumbling and rippled intersection at N is particularly appalling. The concern about the lane closure isn't so much ours, but one that was voiced by several people (quite vocally) at the CDC meeting. This issue will probably be brought up again at the next ANC meeting 9/5 -- perhaps a forum for views such as yours.