DDOT Projects Completed Pedesterian Plaza in Columbia Heights in July 2009

Thanks to a reader for sending me the below lengthy email from DDOT improvements in Columbia Heights including the building of the Pedestrian Plaza.  You know the spot now that has all the damn pebbles.  I’m not going to hold my breath on July 2009.  I also saw a date of 2011 but I’m not sure what that’s referring to.  Anyway, it sounds like it is going be pretty sweet when finished.   What do you think?

Dear resident:

Over the last several weeks, as the DC USA project finished and the new retail shops started to open, DDOT staff has received many communications from the neighborhood concerned about DDOT’s commitment to continue with the implementation of the Public Realm Plan developed with the community over the course of the last several years.  This evening members of the DDOT team and I met with the Columbia Heights Public Realm Project Community Leaders group and provided the briefing listed below.  I want to take this opportunity to reach out to the entire community to reiterate DDOT’s commitment to implementing the plan.

In addition, to the completion (or near completion) of the several development projects, DDOT has already undertaken and completed the following interim improvements:

*     Replacement of existing signal poles to decorative poles with teardrops:

*     14th Street between Columbia Road & Park Road;

*     Repaired/replaced deteriorated section of the roadway, sidewalk, curb & gutter throughout the project limits:

*     14th St between Irving & Park Road;

*     Irving St between 14th & 16th Streets;

*     Park Road between 14th & Hiatt Pl., NW

*     Hiatt Pl. between Park & Irving St., NW

*     Milled and overlaid with asphalt:

*     14th St. between Park Rd. and Newton St., NW

*     Hiatt Pl. between Park and Irving St., NW

*     New permanent pavement markings throughout the project limits:

*     14th St. between Columbia Rd. & Newton St., NW

*     Residential Parking Permit (RPP)/Special Signage for 14th St. between Harvard St. and Monroe St. (East-West Directions)

*     DDOT deployed Traffic Control Officers (TCOs) along the corridor, along with the interim traffic improvements.

These improvements were implemented to minimize impact due to the opening of DC USA.  DDOT, for a number of reasons (i.e., delayed design work, construction conflicts with development projects, etc.), had delayed the commencement of the Columbia Heights Public Realm improvements. 

In October 2007, I had communicated to the community that DDOT planned to commence its construction work immediately following the completion of the PEPCO utility work.  DDOT presented a three phase plan that would start with construction along the 14th Street corridor.  However, after further discussions and analysis of the work, and additional consultation with the development community, post our October meeting, DDOT felt it would be more prudent to 1) limit the additional construction impacts to a community that had been inundated with construction over the past two years, and 2) allow the new businesses to acclimate.  DDOT believes the best way to accomplish this is by switching the order of the phasing and moving forward first with final improvements on Park Road and the plaza which are now scheduled to begin in late summer and immediately implement interim solutions along 14th Street which we have done. 

Below is a description of the scope of work and schedule for the Park Road and the Plaza project:

Reconstruction of Park Rd between 14th & Mt Pleasant)

*     Total removal of existing roadway to the limits as shown on the drawings including undercutting and backfilling as directed by the Department to replace existing unstable roadbed soils; removal of existing curbs and miscellaneous items.

*     Curb realignments at the intersection of 14th Street, Kenyon and Park Roads to facilitate vehicular flow and pedestrian safety

*     Construction of a pavement consisting of aggregate base course, Superpave Asphalt surface and base courses as per plans.  Intersection paving will be PCC at certain locations.

*     Construct new Granit Curb and Concrete Gutter.

*     Landscaping, consisting of planting trees, constructing planting strips including planting soil, structural soil mix and installation of trees.

*     Streetlight and Traffic Signal work.

*     Drainage work as shown on plans including installation of standard single, double, and triple catch basins.

*     Installation of permanent roadway signs and pavement markings.

The Plaza will include the:

*         Construction of a public plaza and interactive fountain at the Triangle Plaza area. 

*         The interactive fountain associated utilities and equipment will be constructed as a design build item of work. 

*         Specialty lighting work will also be constructed as a separate design build item of work. 

Metro Plazas

*     Install Columbia Heights pavers in the Metro plaza areas.

The schedule as stated below is based on current schedule milestones and deadlines and may be subject to change.

General Schedule

PS&E                                                                          Late March

BID                                                                             April – 30 days

Selection/Coordination/Notice to Proceed                 May – 45 days

Estimated Construction Start                                     July 2008

Estimated Completion Date                                       July 2009

The remainder of the 14th Street elements of the Public Realm is currently scheduled for final implementation in 2011. 

DDOT will continue to meet with the community on a regular basis throughout construction to discuss and review schedules, construction and traffic plans.

DDOT agreed at the meeting to undertake a critical assessment of the curb line extensions on 14th Street and finalize the scope of this work by Monday, March 24th.  We will communicate this decision to the community.

I want to assure you that the DDOT team recognizes the vast amount of time and effort the community has invested into this project and we look forward to implementing the public realm plan and our continued partnership with the community.


Emeka Moneme


District Department of Transportation


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