Got Construction?

 Because It Only Gets Worse From Here

Anyone living in, visiting or traveling through the U Street area already knows what a snarl it is. Even more than usual, that is.

Kinda says it all.

Take Tuesday, just this week. Starting around 6am, a ceaseless parade of dump trucks began rumbling down Wallach Place – something L2 developer David Franco promised publicly would never, never happen – to haul the day’s dirt away from Wallach and 14th. 14th Street itself now routinely stops traffic heading north/south, and something U Street east/west, to make things easier for the Louis development (which I think we’ll just calling the Coppi’s killer.)  One lane traffic is the norm, and will be for a while.

Then at 14 and T, a plethora of contractors have taken to just parking somewhere along 14, or T, or who knows where, as they fumble with ladders or lunch or something. And then this Tuesday a large trailer, carrying a large Cat earth mover, just decided to stop in the intersection, blocking the entire 14 and T intersection.

MEMO to DC parking cops: if contractors can park illegally, if dump trucks can take routes they promised not to use, if builders can just stop their rigs anywhere they want, we get to park anywhere we want and ignore the street sweeping restrictions.

Oh, haha, that’s right. Residents don’t matter. Only those building more buildings really matter.

If this is your idea of fun, look forward to a year+ full of entertainment. A few notes on what’s coming:

  1. 13th and U PUD: Our friends at JBG have slated a meeting at the Marshall Center (the old Y on 12th between T and S) this Monday evening, October 22, to present their PUD community proposal. Smarter folk than me (and that’s a lot) have pointed out that many of their “benefits” are actually things they’re already to provide as part of the variance, so there’s that. Hmmm…let’s see…anything else happening Monday night that might compete for attendence? Oh, I’m sure there’s not.
  2. L2: Currently, project manager Shawn Link from Grunley informs us that they’re in the “excavation, underpinning and installation of aggragate piers phase.” Which means they’re a LOOONG way from being near actually laying foundation, let alone getting cranes. Which also means that the dump trucks may soon lessen, only for things to get worse when actual construction begins.
  3. Louis: JBG helpfully tells us (well, grudgingly in a newsletter) about their auger casting and piering and…oh, sorta forgot to say anything about that whole “whoops” thing with the crane. You know: where they actually had to tear down the old skycrane and put up a new one because, oops, they put the first one up in the wrong spot. A friend in town recently who does serious development elsewhere says “that’s probably about a $100,000 mistake right there.”
  4. U Street: Oh remember that? Plans to start tearing up all of U Street for redevelopment? Because, you know, the roads surely aren’t in terrible condition from all the heavy construction equipment in the area for the last eight years or so. Yeah, look for that soonish, with even more cones, more lane squeezes, more traffic snarls.

Yeah, I can hear all the teeny tiny violins playing right now. But just remember: swords tend to have two bladed sides. The same development some hail now may become the cause of much grief in the future.

But then, it will be too late. And anyone who complains will just be called names.



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6 responses to “Got Construction?

  1. Pat

    Doug, I live on the 1300 block of T street, and were it not for the alley now being closed between Wallach & T streets — adding two minutes to my occasional walk to Black & Orange for a Mr. Pollo — I’d barely even notice the construction on 14th. And Cocci’s killer is adding a Trader Joe’s to the ‘hood, which is aomething the neighborhood really needs.

    I understand that the contruction burden on 14th is probably greater on Wallach than on T, but the reality is that Wallach is a little street that has the good fortune of being near the epicenter of the U Street Corridor and with that good fortune comes a small price. Progress benefitting the entire corridor cannot be halted to suit the whims of a handful of residents living on one street.

    I applaud your efforts to ensure that the new buildings being contructed all around us are as aesthetically pleasing and architecturally compatible with our neighborhood as possible Your contribution to the L2 development was particularly helpful. But once building designs are approved and the construction starts, it seems to me that the better course is to give — if only just a little. The more obstacles that you place in front of the developers in getting their projects completed, the longer you will have to live with all of the construction going on around you.

    And, for what it’s worth, the Marshall Center meeting is at 7:00 tonight and the Presidential Debate is at 9:00. This is hardly a conflict considering that anyone with a vested interest in the 13th and U development will live within a few minutes’ walk of Marshall Center.


    • Doug

      Hi Pat;
      First, big thanks for the respectful tone of your comment! A great example of ‘we can disagree, but not be disagreeable.’ Every neighborhood needs more of that.
      Your experience is at variance with that of just about everyone I run into. From 6am we can hear the augering, the rumbling trucks. Wallach, 14th, and T are constantly being slimmed to one lane – it’s no accident there’s a traffic cop at 14 and U.
      As for small price of living somewhere, that’s a curious argument. What are the prices we have to ‘pay’, and to whom, for living on a little street that was only attractive to empty nesters for the last few years? I like the concept of responsibilities: everyone here has a responsibility. That’s not just residents – but developers, short-term renters, visitors, etc. It seems these days mostly that only longtime residents are paying any ‘price.’
      As for not interfering with construction, generally I agree. What I disagree with is developers who lie publicly, stating all sorts of things about impact and design details, with clearly no intention of meeting them. Yes, everyone needs to be flexible. But again, it’s all landing on residents. Beside, I dislike being lied to.
      Perhaps you didn’t see our previous post – “Getting to Yes.” Take a look. You’ll see we agree on a number of things. But I do no write blank checks to anyone. And while I really do welcome change and new neighbors, respect – as they say – is a two-way street.
      Meaning: longtime residents may not like everything that’s happening, but new residents shouldn’t get everything they want. That’s called being neighborly.
      Thanks for the thoughtful note;

      • Doug

        Oh, and I wish you knew the hood just some years back. Coppi’s was the first organic restaurant in DC – and one of the best pizza places anywhere. Not just for their food, but the room and the staff. They were all just such an asset – an irreplaceable one, I might add.

  2. Pat

    Doug, eight years ago my wife and I bought a house that’s set back one lot from the ocean. We have had the good fortune of the lot in front of us being empty for all of this time. One of these days, however, someone is going to build a big house on that lot in front of us, and when it happens we are going to lose our view. And we’re not going to like it one bit.

    But we won’t be heard to suggest or imply that whoever builds there has less of a right to the view because we got there first. In my view, the same logic applies to you buying on Wallach Place. When I talked about your “paying a price” to live on Wallach, I was merely referring to the fact that, because of your location, it was all but inevitable that big changes would one day be coming. And I do hear you about Coppi’s, and I’m sure they were good people, but there are lots of good people out there. I feel the very same way about the staff at many of the new bars and restaurants on 14th Street.

  3. Logan Res

    Looks like you’re back to your old “NO” ways again…..

    • Doug

      You haven’t read our “Getting to Yes” post. So until you do and can disagree about something in there, you’re really talking out of your hat. Blather on!

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