“The Destruction of Belmont Street”


“Dear PoPville,

I know there are massive problems with massive potholes in DC, but I have never seen anything like what happened to my street. The stretch of Belmont St. NW between 13th and 14th NW was paved a few months ago, with one giant exception: the 100 feet or so that intersects 14th St. NW was prepped and coated weith gravel then abandoned. During the past 2 months winter has wreaked havoc on that area, to the point now where it looks like it’s been bombed. I wrote to DDOT and received a standard “thanks for letting us know, we’ll pass your concern along” for email. (The reply took about a month.) Any other suggestions regarding how to get DDOT to act? Maybe they need to wait until spring to pave again? It’s just odd that they paved the entire block and left this one portion to be destroyed by the elements.”

Ed. Note: Perhaps Potholepalooza will return in April?

41 Comment

  • Another street that looks and feels like a war zone is R St. NW between 13th and 14th.

  • Yes, I believe they do need to wait for warm weather to pave any roads. Which at this point, is likely to come around June.

    • It’s best to wait, if possible. Pot holes are caused by water getting into cracks in the road, then expanding when frozen. So, the constant freezing/thawing this season is destroying our roads. Unless the pothole is a serious danger to drivers, it’s more effective to wait until we stop freezing overnight to avoid a pothole popping up in the same location again.

  • This looks like nearly every street in DC to me. Seriously, N. Capitol is awful and 9th Street NW is not drivable on one side for a good stretch. I’ve reported stuff to DCDOT and they act like they don’t know until we report it. Really? Take some initiative and survey the roads that you’re supposed to upkeep.

  • clevelanddave

    Or try R St between 13th and 14th. Or N St between 12th and 13th and between 9th and 10th. Or almost any alley in this city. The city should be embarrassed with the condition of many of our streets. Want to know how to spend a chunk of the $411 million surplus this city has? How about 1) A professional independent survey of the condition of our streets. I know that there are many, many factors that go into choosing which streets to do, but some seem, on the ground, absolutely asinine. Unless there has been major utility work or some hole in the pavement, why do just 100 feet of road, as the OP mentioned? Why are other streets, in pretty good condition, re done while others are seemingly never done? While alleys are never a priority, why can’t they be systematically assessed and re-done every 15 or so years? 2) Provide off street parking in city supported parking garages, and then widening major thoroughfares by reducing on street parking, providing bike lanes and where appropriate an extra lane for cars. I suspect such a move would be applauded by local businesses and might even make money for the city. 3) Fix broken intersections, such as 11th and Mass, or 10th and New York if need be by widening roads. 4) Once you’ve done the assessment, fix the roads- temporary patches for potholes and real repairs for long neglected streets.

  • Contact your councilmember.

  • The stretch of 6th Street NE between FL Ave and Brentwood Pkwy (right where Union Market is) is absolutely insane. The capital of Nigeria has better streets than the capital of the US at this point in time.

    • +1 Cars drive into the oncoming traffic lane on Brentwood Pkwy right by Union Market to avoid the potholes, since the lane is all potholes. It is quite dangerous especially with the amount of foot traffic around Union Market.

    • accendo

      +1 That stretch is terrible!

  • Can we talk about the other issue on Belmont St? The massive amounts of DOG POOP THAT NO ONE CLEANS UP.

    • Yeah, I’ve also noticed a TON of dog poop within 2-3 blocks of here lately. It’s all over 13th St. I’m guessing someone in the neighborhood got a new dog sometime over the last couple of months.

      • @DavidK Yes! I think it’s more than one person. It looks to be mostly coming from the 14th street wide of things. I’ve literally never seen so much dog sh*t in my entire life…

  • houseintherear

    I couldn’t figure out the origin of the whole thread, but DCDPW responded to the mayor’s twitter acct yesterday or the day before with something about starting to fix potholes after winter is over. So I guess that shows how much those two city government entities are communicating. :/

  • I grew up in New England–you really can’t pave when its consistently below 40 degrees, the asphalt won’t cure properly. Your street looks like they may have graded it too late in the year, and just weren’t able to pave because it got cold too quickly. They definitely won’t do anything about it with all the weather coming up the next couple of weeks, so spring looks like your best bet.

    • Yes, seriously. People need to calm down.
      – Report it to 311 so the city knows. How many miles of road are there in this town? They can’t know about every pothole.
      – Nothing is getting fixed until at least late March, if not April.
      – Take a deep breath, we’re all over winter and potholes, and stop sending these to PoPville.

      • Most people here seem pretty calm to me. Except for you. The poster’s original point was not complaining about potholes, it was the mystery of why this particular job wasn’t completed when the whole crew was already there.

      • clevelanddave

        Why, with all respect, can’t the city know about every pothole? Well, maybe not every pothole, but every big one, every street with lots of potholes and problems? It is the Department of Public Works job to know the streets. There are plenty of city owned vehicles that ply all the streets of this city each week. Why cannot they, as an ancillary part of their duties, report back streets needing major road repairs? DPW workers, plus police, garbage, schools, plus elected ANC and council members. It used to be in politics that being called Mr. Pothole was a complement because that means they kept their ears to the ground and responded to needs of voters/residents. It is indicative of good management.

    • +1

      The same thing happened last year on 16th Street north of Arkansas … all the way up to Military Rd. The city’s resolution is that they fill in the potholes with a gravel and tar mixture. If it doesn’t rain or snow and there’s enough time, the pothole is patched … albeit temporarily. If not, then the patch comes undone because water dilutes it and the city has to come back and do it again … and again … and again. Not a perfect solution and a PITA, but not much else they can do. It looks from the photo like the same thing.

  • R between 13 and 14 was that way all last summer as well. I think they are waiting for the construction to wrap up on both corners of R and 14th before they fix the street.

  • jim_ed

    That looks like the southbound lane of Piney Branch Pkwy, or the southbound side of 16th St at the city line.

  • Email Mary Cheh, who has direct oversight of DPW. She will usually respond within 24 hrs and ask someone at DPW to “assess” the situation (good luck waiting for actual repairs). She can’t, however, tell anyone why she’s been on a spending spree this past year on useless things like a bridge park and an outdoor swimming pool, at the expense of our roads.

  • The city has had some fairly extensive roadway reconstruction projects–New Hampshire Ave. between the Kennedy Center and Dupont Circle, U Street between 9th(?) and 18th, for example. It’s also worked on smaller things, like alley repaving, near Dupont. But, as the OP notes, some other areas have been allowed to get to a near-unusable state. I don’t know how DDOT sets its priorities on what to fix.

  • I’m the ANC commissioner for this area (ANC 1B05) and will work to get DDOT attention to it. I was just walking there on Sunday and noted how bad it was.

    For what it is worth, I think it is important for people to contact the ANC when the DC govt is not responding to these types of requests. Half the reason I ran for ANC was to be able to help neighbors deal with these problems. It is ridiculous but having a .Gov email address and title tends to speed the response up.

    To find out who your ANC commissioner is, visit ANCfinder.org or anc.dc.gov.

    • Thanks so much for responding Nicolas. I’m the OP, and I know there are plenty of constraints on road repairs. It was just bizarre that they had all of the equipment and crew there in November and they did such a nice job of paving the entire block except for that last 100 feet or so. There was really no clear reason why the job was abandoned–the weather was warm and dry in December. Your reply and efforts are much appreciated.

  • DPW and DDOT are evaluating a proposal to collect Belmont street dog poop and use it to fill DC potholes. Phase 2 will involve laying down rails for additional streetcars.

  • You think thats bad? You should see Maine Ave between the fish market and M street. Between the construction and winter plowing it looks (and feels) like Beirut.

    Typical DC.

    • clevelanddave

      They will say they are waiting for construction to end, but frankly it is already a safety hazard.

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