“Why Doesn’t DC Water Respect 1st St Residents?”


“Dear PoPville,

I snapped this picture on my way to work this morning:

I’m not sure the exact reasons for the sign but it’s clear tension is growing as construction intensifies on the “DC CLEAN RIVERS PROJECT First Street Tunnel.”

A project that claims to alleviate flooding in Bloomingdale but based on the DC water work zone plans looks more like preparation for the controversial development of McMillan Park.

I’m sure there are people who are following all of this closer then I am but as a Bloomingdale resident and DC taxpayer it’s unfortunate to see a beautiful neighborhood getting torn to pieces by construction for another unnecessary overpriced luxury apartment building. ”

33 Comment

  • Wait, so this whole “Friends of McMillan Park” thing is just about 1st homeowners being upset about losing their sidewalk for a while? Would they prefer living with an outdated sewer system? I too dislike being inconvenienced by construction, but I realize that the city needs to keep constantly improving its systems in order to be able to accommodate the rapidly rising population. “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” sorta thing.

  • I thought this tunnel was designed to prevent stormwater runoff from carrying sewage into the Anacostia and Potomac. Turns out, it’s a conspiracy to promote the shameful redevelopment of an obsolete municipal facility into health care offices and private residences. Thank goodness for that sign.

    • The goal of the project, and the rush, was in large part about further economic development north of Bloomingdale. Alternatives should have been considered to hold water upstream, sharing out the burden outside the small streets of Bloomingdale. Infrastructure improvements were needed, but they were poorly planned and unduly rushed for a project of this magnitude in a dense residential environment.

      • That water/sewage eventually needs to make its way over to the Anacostia treatment center. Would you prefer that they went through a neighboring ‘hood instead? That makes it better?

      • It’s geology. Bloomingdale and surrounding neighborhoods are at the bottom of a hill. Until there is sufficient stormwater capacity they will keep flooding. There are a lot of other green infrastructure options but realistically none of them will completely solve the problem for years to come the way this will.

    • Clearly, the tunnel is for the CIA to operate its black helicopters underground…

      • Lol, yeah, and that “FBI Headquarters” proposal at the Armed forces home? Totally CIA underground helicopters.

  • I, for one, really enjoyed watching the “Create McMillan Park” signs sprout up around the neighborhood to counter the silly “Save McMillan Park” signs.

  • Furthermore, the rent is too damn high.

  • Where do people get their info? Sheesh. As an 8 year B’dale resident who was in the worst part of the multiple floods in 2012 (and lesser known 2010 flood, and before my time the brutal 2001 flood not to mention the decades of flooding preceding this) I’d like to thank both DC Water for expediting this project which will update critical sewer systems improving the quality of life for all of us and 1st St. residents for having the patience to deal with short term inconvenience for long term gains. It’s a messy situation for all, let’s try and get through it for the greater good, shall we?

    • +1

    • This! As someone at the bottom of the hill, THANK YOU DC Water!

    • Yup. Also a Bloomingdale resident, also flooded multiple times in 2012 and once in 2010 (while we were out of town on our honeymoon no less), and also very glad that this problem is being dealt with in and expedited fashion. I’m on Flagler, a block of which is going to actually close and adversely affect driving/parking in the short term, but that’s just the way it goes to get updated quality infrastructure. I think people would be whining regardless of what DC Water did — in fact, I remember a load of kvetching in 2012 about how this work hadn’t been done yet.

      Additionally, it would be short-sighted for them to be fixing this problem without making the accommodations for the potential development that have been in the works for the McMillan site for years. Who knows what the development scope will ultimately look like, but short of the fiscally idiotic and impossible plan to make it entirely park, we will need increased sewage and water capacity.

      One last note: “unnecessary” and “overpriced” apts at the McMillan site? Pick one or the other, because there’s not enough housing in this city for the demand, therefore new units are not unnecessary, and the housing that’s already in this city is what you might call overpriced because of NIMBY bullshit preventing more units being built. Would you prefer the buildings not be high value units? I remember a few years ago the complaints about the McMillan site were how the renderings were representing tenant businesses that the NIMBYs thought were too hopeful/aspirational for what the area could support — specifically some saying that it would be all fried chicken joints, AKA coded racism. Now the problem is that the buildings will be too high end. Never mind that the plan calls for a higher-than-legally-required number of inclusionary zoning units, which is an awesome way to provide affordable housing in DC and allow folks from a variety of incomes/backgrounds to coexist in our neighborhood. I just wish the OP and FOM folks would recognize that they (and I) are privileged as hell to already be in this great area, and that preventing others from the same is selfish protectionist NIMBY bullshit.

      • @Becky: Have you seen the DC Water construction site up at McMillan? It looks like a moon landing. Are you aware that those cranes and large holes in the ground are about to be on Bloomingdale’s residential streets for the next 2 years, plus hundreds of dump trucks?

        • Hi, welcome to the modern world. We have these heavy machines we use to build things here. Some people think they’re unattractive!

  • The First Street Tunnel design was rushed to accommodate the city’s plan to build at McMillan. Allen Lew explicitly said as much at the groundbreaking. As a result, the design is not an “inconvenience” to residents. It’s actually unprecedented in terms of a construction impact for a water project. Some people will not have street or alley access to their homes for years. There will be huge cranes and 100-foot holes in the ground immediately adjacent to 100-year old homes. That has never been done before. Where DC Water messed up was by failing to plan…normally a CSO project takes years to plan, and there is community input (Portland, Indianapolis, etc). Only in DC would a project happen like this–all out development with zero sensitivity to the community.

    • Where else do you propose DC water digs the necessary tunnel? Blocking N Capitol St? 2nd St so as to not inconvenience 1st St homeowners (so merely pushing the burden onto others)? Do you have any better proposals?

      • DC Water never gave opportunity for other proposals because it finalized its plans and went out to bid before notifying the community of the project. It’s generally not the underground tunnel that’s the problem. It’s the placement of “drop shafts” and “diversion chambers.” And yes, those could have been moved. Portland, Oregon, consulted with the community over years, and only one home was impacted by a diversion chamber on a 20-mile tunnel.

        • houseintherear

          Exactly, thank you. That has been the issue , not the project itself.

          • “It’s not the project, it’s the process”: the final disingenuous refuge of those who know they’re wrong.

            Do you think a *better* idea was passed over because of the rush? If so, what is it? If not, why wait?

            My house flooded eight times in the past three years, so I’m not particularly sympathetic to your whining.

    • jim_ed

      “Only in DC would a project happen like this–all out development with zero sensitivity to the community.”

      LOLOLOLOL. You must be new here. See: Zoning Regulations Updates, Dupont Circle Church redevelopment, the streetcar system, Barry Farm redevelopment, THE MCMILLAN PARK REDEVELOPMENT RIGHT NEXT DOOR, Brookland’s Finest, the Adams Morgan liquor license moratorium, the new multifamily project at Connecticut and Military, the Hine School, the West End Library, the MLK Library, etc etc etc until I’m blue in the face and die from lack of oxygen.

    • “Only in DC would a project happen like this–all out development with zero sensitivity to the community.”
      Can you seriously say this with a straight face? God, if this is “zero sensitivity to the community” I’d hate to see your version of “sensitivity to the community.” Hundreds of us have been dragged along for YEARS waiting for “the community” to shut the hell up about McMillan and let some development into the neighborhood.

  • First the FOM/Save McMillan/Create McMillan/Whatever McMillan nonsense. Now all of this DC water tinfoil-hat conspiracy? Its driving me bonkers. I used to follow developments religiously when we moved in two years ago, but now I can barely get through any comment, post or headline without rolling my eyes.

    That anyone would think DC Water would undertake this large of a project to spur development on an empty site is beyond me. The neighborhood has issues with flooding. The sewer system is old. DC Water performed pre-construction checks on homes (hope you got one!). You may have to park your car on another street for a while. Big whoop.

    • Ding ding ding!

    • Yup.

    • How dare they plan for future growth in the area when deciding the scope of infrastructure projects. The nerve of some people!

      • Contrary to your assumptions, I support development at McMillan. Future development may have been a legitimate reason to build a tunnel but it would require a different design. Because future economic development is at least an equal goal, the project should have been designed to share the burden with our uphill commercial neighbors. Keep in mind, DC Water is building large chambers to hold water from places such as Howard U and the WHC before it reaches lower Bloomingdale. That burden shouldn’t fall entirely on a small group of residents.

  • in before that person who posts nearly-punctuation-free rants running into the hundreds of lines on any blog article related to mcmillan. on an on about the green necklace, greedy developers, corrupt government officials.

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