Streetscape Issues and an Update
No doubt you've probably noticed that the construction on H Street is pretty extensive, and covers most of the Corridor. You may have also seen some comments here relating to that very issue, and expressing concerns that having construction so spread out might really hurt businesses on H. First I'm posting a letter sent by Joe Englert to select Councilmembers and staffers. Many of you will recall the discussion to which Englert refers. Those unfamiliar with the P Street issue can Google it, but just know that the street construction wasn't as well executed as many would have liked. As a result, it put a lot of pressure on local businesses because potential patrons avoided the torn up strip. Now many business owners on H Street are anxious because the construction on our own Corridor isn't going quite the way it was planned. Some promises were made that haven't been kept. Below Englert's letter you'll find an update on the Streetscape project from one of the organizations working on the Streetscape.When I first posted it I referred to it as a "response." I
m actually not sure if it was meant as a response, or is just how they always send out the regular update. Either way, it is related enough to the letter that I think it belongs in the same post. I also think the project needs to, um...get back on track.
Dear D.C. Councilmembers and Staff,
Where did it all start going wrong? Remember about two years ago, we had a community meeting where we professed that we had learned what NOT to do when it came to streetscape constructions in the city?. We had business people from P Street N.W. tell their horror stories. We had MacTech and DDOT saying that there would never be any more than three blocks under construction at any given time. They would house vehicles in sheds and off-site instead of blocking buildings. There would be great pains made to make sure no intersections would ever be blocked, etc., etc.
However, we now have EVERY block from 2nd to 15th on H Street Northeast under construction.
There is scant parking, jersey barriers everywhere, orange fencing on every street, no parking signs everywhere, equipment blocking sight lines every day and every weekend. Communication with businesses is non-existent. The D.C. government now seems to be unaware of the current plans, schedules and completion dates for segments of the street or the length of the street.
Can we please get the many parties of this project together as soon as possible. As we are all well aware, the economy is sputtering. The recent blizzards have been costly and cruel. Now, on top of these hardships comes a construction project that has come untracked. It looks uncoordinated, sloppy and unsupervised from our viewpoint. How can we get this back on track and organized once again?
We are looking forward to getting back on track and soon!
Thanks for your attention to this important issue!
Sincerely, Joe Englert, Atlas District "BID"
Good afternoon….On behalf of the District Department of Transportation, we want to bring you up to date on the impact of the snowstorms and the efforts that all parties have made – and continue to make – to resume significant construction activities.
Construction activities were suspended about mid-day on Friday, February 5, as the snowstorm moved into the city and remained suspended throughout the following week as the Round Two snowstorm hit and snow mounted to historic depths. Monday, February 15 was the President’s Day holiday, observed by the DC and federal governments and many private companies, including the project contractor, Capitol Paving of DC. On various occasions during the work-suspension period, DDOT, MACTEC, and CPDC personnel assessed conditions in the work zone and had discussions about when and what types of major construction tasks could be re-started – always with the emphasis on the urgency of resuming work quickly and safely.
On Tuesday, February 16, CPDC had a full complement of workers back on the job, with the principal task of repairing potholes and removing snow from the work zone. On Wednesday, February 17, additional construction activities resumed, installation of the Verizon manhole at the 5th Street intersection was completed, and significant progress was made on the installation of storm drains in the 1100 and 1200 blocks. The pace of construction has increased each day since, as more and more of the snow accumulation was removed and ultimately melted when temperatures warmed.
Because many H Street area residents and merchants have asked, we are well aware of the widespread community interest in receiving an updated, long-term schedule of the work activities planned in the various blocks of the project area, and the target start dates and completion dates for work in each area. All parties are devoting our intense attention and best efforts to produce a reliable schedule for you as soon as possible.
As always, we are grateful for your patience, cooperation, and support as we work toward the goal of making H Street the “Great Street” this community has worked so hard to achieve.
Our Construction Manager’s Weekly (in this case, covering two weeks) Status Report is attached.* The complete library of status reports is available on the DDOT website, http://www.ddot.dc.gov/. Please continue to call on us whenever you would like additional information or assistance.
Community Relations Specialist
MACTEC Engineering and Consulting
1322 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
*The report mostly consists of photos, and detailed accounts of the precise activities for each week. You can get it from the website.