D.C.’s Flaking Sidewalks, and How DDOT is Working to Fix Them

Posted March 31, 2015 by Kent
Categories: DDOT, Restoration repair and maintenance

Tags: , ,

scaling sidewalk(Flaking sidewalk on the 600 block of Rock Creek Church Road, NW.)

Each spring, I’ve noticed that the sidewalks that have been replaced in the last couple of years are in a state of disrepair. Large sections of them show flaking and crumbling. Knowing that we are scheduled to get some new sidewalks in the neighborhood this year, I asked DDOT for more information on the scaling issue and if our new sidewalks would continue to deteriorate.

I was impressed with the thoroughness of DDOT’s response, and that they have a plan for correcting the problem. What follows is DDOT’s response:

The District maintains over 1,600 centerline miles of roadway. Many of these roadways have sidewalks on both sides. We noticed that some sidewalks in the district had shown flaking and delamination. This sidewalk concrete issue is not restricted to the District and is in fact regional.

Literature review indicates the factors known to aggravate scaling in a cyclic freezing and thawing environment are:

  • (a) improper construction practices (improper finishing and inadequate curing);
  • (b) exposure to corrosive salts (such as magnesium or ammonium);
  • (c) exposure to sodium or calcium chloride salts at an early age prior to maturity; and
  • (d) exposure of an inherently poor quality and/or poorly constructed concrete to deicing salts.

Following the extensive sidewalk damage on DDOT’s Riggs Road, NE project, we took two approaches to the problem:

  • (a) To protect the flaked sidewalk concrete from further damage, we applied a product to seal and resurface segments of the sidewalk and to monitor it overtime to evaluate the performance; and
  • (b) Took concrete cores and performed petrographic analysis.

The resurfacing with the product to seal and resurface segments of the sidewalk was conducted in August 2014 and its performance will be evaluated this summer. The sidewalk concrete cores from Riggs Road were evaluated at the federal Turner Fairbanks Research Center in Virginia. The finding from the report indicates that the cause of scaling of the sidewalk was most likely related to poor-air void system in conjunction with improper finishing (premature finishing of the surface before bleeding was completed) of the surface. This surface was then exposed to winter conditions (freezing and thawing in presence of deicing salts, and accumulations of snow and ice), particularly the severe winter of 2013-2014.

DDOT has initiated a citywide survey of the condition of sidewalk concrete and if the trial at Riggs Road, NE, is successful, a city wide repair task will be planned and scheduled. In order to minimize such issues in the future, we have assigned an experienced engineer to vigorously inspect all constructions sites on a daily basis and enforce the Standard Specifications requirements, and any non-complying concrete, asphalt and other construction materials are rejected and replaced with approved materials. Furthermore, quality control managers of concrete producers are required to test and document concrete for slump and air content before it leaves the plants.

Las Bicicletas — Bicycle Inspired Sculpture in Washington Until April 5th

Posted March 30, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Art, Public sculpture

Tags: , ,

LAS BICICLETAS(Las Bicicletas at the Moynihan Plaza)

Last week while on the way to the Wilson Building, I had the opportunity to see the traveling sculpture exhibit Las Bicicletas by Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro. The installation is at the Moynihan Plaza by the Reagan Building until April 5th, meaning that you have until this Sunday if you want to see it in person.

The following news release from the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center provides more information:

March 5 – April 5
Moynihan Plaza

LAS BICICLETAS is an urban art exhibit created by Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro. It comprises 250 bicycle sculptures in black, white, red and orange; colors that were used by the Mayan culture to symbolize the four cardinal points. Our mission is to promote through art the use of bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation, to develop better living conditions for all people in friendlier cities. Our objective is that bicycles are universally recognized as vehicles of happiness and health.

In 2014 LAS BICICLETAS started an international tour in the streets of New York City. In 2015, the tour will continue in Washington, D.C. where the exhibit will be displayed at the Moynihan Plaza of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. As a tribute to celebrate Gilberto Aceves Navarro’s 83rd birthday, 83 sculptures will be exhibited for the public to enjoy during the month of March, 2015. This exhibit intends to offer, both visitors and residents of the city, a space for inspiration and the enjoyment of public art, as well at to render homage to the bicycle.

In addition to the exhibit, LAS BICICLETAS is an art collection composed by 250 original designs, each piece on three different scales. Each of these sculptures has its respective certificate of authenticity properly signed by the artist.

The Artist 

Gilberto Aceves Navarro (born in México City, 1931) is one of the most celebrated representatives of abstract expressionism in Mexico. He assisted David Alfaro Siqueiros as a young artist and today his name is synonymous of the best Mexican contemporary art. The most recognized awards and acknowledgements that the artist has received are The National University Prize (National Autonomous University of Mexico) in 1989, The National Prize for Arts and Sciences in 2003 and The Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts and Sciences in 2011. He has been invited on numerous occasions to show his art in Germany, Japan, Colombia and the United States.


Neighborhood Watch Training Successful

Posted March 27, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Crime

Tags: ,

Neighborhood Watch Training(Neighborhood Watch Training at the Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center, March 21, 2015.)

On Saturday, March 21, Neighborhood Watch Trainer Samantha Nolan conducted a Neighborhood Watch session at the Bernice Fonteneau Senior Wellness Center located at 3531 Georgia Avenue. The training began at 10:00 a.m. and ran for about an hour and a half.

The purpose of the session was to inform residents on how to prevent crime and reduce the likelihood of becoming a crime victim. More than 80% of crime in D.C. is preventable. By reducing the number of preventable crimes, the police can concentrate on preventing and solving more violent crimes.

There were about 22 residents in attendance, and Ms. Nolan was excellent. She spoke about various types of crime and showed illustrations on what made particular houses or behaviors attractive to criminals.

Related to Neighborhood Watch, MPD has a two page flyer with tips to prevent crimes of opportunity, which you can read here.

One of the most important actions residents can do to reduce crime is to get to know each other. By having block captains and strong community engagement where residents look out for each other, many crimes of opportunity can be prevented or solved.



Park Morton Development Team Meets with Community

Posted March 26, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Development, Housing

Tags: ,
Park Morton in 1965

Park Morton in 1965

Last night, representatives from the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, the DC Housing Authority, and the members of the development team selected to redevelop Park Morton met with community members at the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force Meeting. While all provided an overview and answered community questions, very little was shared that hadn’t already been known.

According to Kimberly King of the D.C. Housing Authority (and formerly Director of the New Communities Initiative), the Park Morton development is currently in a review stage. Mayor Bowser is committed to getting the project moving and all are interested in doing it in a positive way for the community. This includes reviewing the old plans from several years ago to see if they need any adjustments and to incorporate any ideas that have been brought forward since then.

The next stages include a design charrette and forming an inclusive community process to actively participate as the plans move forward.  One thing that was not shared last night, and which no one was able to answer, was what the timeline for the development would be. This led to questions about the current living conditions at Park Morton and strong advocacy that maintenance and repairs need to be made to provide the quality living units that are basic to any renter. The DC Housing Authority representatives at the meeting responded that those issues are addressed by their Operations unit and that they would relay the concerns to them. Former Park View UNC President Marcus Hedrick was in attendance and asked if Operations representatives could be at future meetings as maintenance and quality of life issues will continue to be a concern until the development gets underway … and the D.C. Housing Authority responded that this would not be a problem.

While there continue to be more questions than answers, the meeting was helpful to the process. The community members attending the meeting expressed a sense of urgency, the need for community involvement, and an unwillingness to accept failure at Park Morton.

The development team selected to redevelop Park Morton is made up of Dantes Partners and Community Builders. News to date on the Park Morton New Communities Initiative can be found here.

Pepco’s Beautiful Depression Era Frescoes

Posted March 25, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Art, History, Pepco

Tags: ,

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit Pepco’s Headquarters at Edison Place (701 Ninth Street, NW), you’ll have noticed two large artworks that appear to be paintings. These are actually frescoes created by artist James Michael Newell and commissioned by Pepco in 1931 for their headquarters building at 10th and E Streets, NW. As the Pepco headquarters has moved, so have the frescoes. They now hang at the far end of the entrance hall and nearby in the ground floor elevator lobby on Ninth Street.

The first fresco that a visitor encounters shows linemen working along the Potomac River (below).


As one turns towards the elevators, the companion piece again shows linemen working with the Benning Power Plant in the background.


Both artworks are accompanied by the following informational plaque:


Limited Power Outage Scheduled for Tonight in Northern Park View

Posted March 24, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Pepco, Restoration repair and maintenance

Tags: ,

Pepco is doing some maintenance work in the northern part of the neighborhood and power will be off in the affected area tonight from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am.  The outage will impact customers on the 600 block of Rock Creek Church Rd., 600 block of Quebec Pl., 3600 block of Park. Pl., 3600 block of Warder St. NW, and the 700 block of Princeton Pl. NW. Residents living in this area should have already received a door hanger alerting them of the disruption (example below).

Pepco outage sign(Pepco notice from door hanger)

The scheduled outage tonight is so that Pepco can replace a module. As this is an overnight outage, residents on the relevant blocks should plan accordingly with regards to alarm clocks and devices that require charging.

600 B/O Princeton Will Be Part of Residential Parking Permit Program Effective April 16.

Posted March 23, 2015 by Kent
Categories: DDOT, parking


600 Princeton RPP
(New permit parking sign on the 600 b/o Princeton Place, NW)

If you live on or near the 600 block of Princeton Place, NW, you will have noticed that the signs for residential permit parking have begun to be installed. These north side of the street will be reserved for Zone 1 residents only (or those with visitor passes). During the initial installation, Zone 1 signs were also installed on the southern side of the block, but after alerting the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), I have confirmed that the southern side of the block will have the green and  white 2 hour parking signs allowing visitors to park on that side of the street without a visitors parking pass.

DDOT’s sign crew began the process of fabricating the green and white signs on Friday, March 20, and will install them on Princeton soon. Enforcement will begin on Monday April, 16, 2015. (DDOT notice here).


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