Archive for the ‘Restoration repair and maintenance’ category

Update on Pepco’s Harvard Distribution Project

February 15, 2019

Yesterday Pepco shared that they are still on scheduled to complete their current round of construction near for the Harvard Substation Distribution Project by the end of March 2019. Since their public meeting on January 15th,  Pepco has continued its construction along Sherman Avenue and is currently finishing the manhole on Florida Avenue.

Moving forward into the next phase of work, Pepco held a meeting with DDOT and the construction team for The Wren (Wholefoods) development to discuss the next phase of work in the immediate areas along Florida and Sherman Avenues and coordinate the construction projects.

Following is a Summary of what was discussed at the Pepco Coordination Meeting:

  • DDOT inspectors reviewed Pepco TCP plans for the intersections of W Street/Florida Avenue as well as construction plans for The Wren Development;
  • Starting Monday, February 18th Pepco will begin excavation at W Street across Florida Avenue to connect conduit to the manhole currently being installed closets to the Florida/Sherman Avenue intersection;
  • Door hangers will be distributed along areas impacted as notification;
  • Construction will be during normal hours as defined DDOT;
  • Crews will ensure that steal plates are secured each night to avoid noise disturbance;
  • Pepco crews will coordinate with The Wren (crews) as they will need to install equipment needed for the new pedestrian signals that will be installed for access to The Whole Foods. This will be done as appropriate;
  • Once Pepco crews are complete with construction (March 2019), The Wren will then begin its construction to install the remainder of the equipment needed for signal installation;
  • Once The Wren has finished its construction, Pepco will then repave/resurface the intersection from curb to curb;
  • Once Pepco is ready to repave the road, crews will need to close one lane at a time in order to mill and pave the road. This should only be a 3 day operation and will be done once The Wren has completed its equipment instillation. They will do their own outreach to notify residents when construction wills start;
  • Crews are working to complete the remaining construction near the 2000 BLOCK of Sherman Avenue. Once this is complete Pepco will work to pave an mill the road in a similar fashion (one lane at a time). Pepco is currently revising their TCP’s to reflect safe accommodations along Sherman Avenue. Pepco will provide notice once they are ready to begin paving along Sherman Avenue. Crews are still on pace to complete construction along Sherman Avenue by May 2019; and,
  • Pepco still anticipates further construction on Sherman Avenue (north of Euclid), as well as Girard and Harvard Streets starting June 2019. Pepco will alert impacted residents in advance of any construction or if this time frame should change.

Below is a project overview sheet including a map of the impacted area for those who use Sherman Avenue.

Pepco Meets with Community to Discuss Harvard Disstribution Project

January 16, 2019

Travoris Culpepper, Pepco’s Public Affairs Manager, sharing information and taking questions.

As part of Pepco’s larger efforts to increase service and reliability to the District’s electrical system, Pepco began the Harvard Distribution Project in October of 2018 to provide load shedding to the Ft. Slocum Substation as well as preliminary work to upgrade the Harvard Substation. Thus far, construction has primarily been along W Street, NW, between 13th and 10th Streets. Much of this work has been done and construction should be completed on W Street by the end of January 2019 (weather permitting). While this all sounds good, the construction on W Street has been extremely disruptive, with residents along the project describing extreme noise and vibrations causing cracks in their home’s plaster and mortar. These concerns resulted in Pepco hosting a community meeting on January 15, 2019, to provide an overview of the project’s timeline, address concerns, and  provide a general idea of what to expect in the coming months and years.

In response to feedback Pepco received concerning the work along W Street, NW, Pepco stated it heard the residents loud and clear. They will work with their crews to address noise as much as possible. They confirmed that most of the digging along W Street is completed, but that there are still steel plates in use. To dampen sound, they have begun putting wood chips beneath the plates. As Pepco moves forward, they will also consider excavating smaller sections when they have to cut into the existing pavement.

For the Harvard Distribution Project, the basic timeline, route of construction, and how they are parsed by section can be seen in the illustration below. Construction began on W Street in October 2018, and the project will run through Summer 2019 — impacting Sherman Avenue, Girard Street, 10th Street, and Harvard Street.

All in all, Pepco crews will be installing nearly 8,500 ft. of conduit and 21 manholes along the route illustrated above. Residents along the route can expect:

  • Trenching and temporary steel plates;
  • Installation of duct banks and manholes; and,
  • Installation of cable.

The project will also be used, as part of the Capital Grid Project, to supply the Harvard Substation load in advance of the substation rebuild. Set details about the Capital Grid Project’s timelines were not available at the meeting due to the case still being under review by the Public Service Commission. That said, Pepco thinks the timeline for the Harvard Substation rebuild/replacement will be similar to what is shared below, with demolition happening perhaps by the end of this year, construction in 2020, and completed in either 2020 or 2021.

One significant point that was raised by Darren Jones of the Pleasant Plains Civic Association at the meeting was the concern about power outages. Pepco addressed the need to cut electrical service when the new cables and substation are eventually brought online. Pepco representatives were unable to estimate when the power would need to be disrupted, or even for how many people, but stated that once the Public Service Commission has finished with their review and they have a better idea on that aspect of the project, they would be able to better calculate when the outage will occur and what the size of the area will be. Generally, a planned outage will occur overnight beginning around 11pm and last for 4-6 hours. Scheduled outages are necessary when new cables are hooked up and will be necessary when a rebuilt Harvard Substation is completed and connected to the system.

Pepco restated their commitment to work with the community and provide notice to households that they expect will be impacted. Jennifer Kuiper of the Lower Georgia Avenue Main Streets specifically addressed how service disruptions can severely impact small businesses like the ones on Georgia Avenue and requested that Pepco meet separately with small business owners to help ensure that their concerns are heard and needs met. Pepco stated they would definitely do this.

More information will be forthcoming once the Public Service Commission has finished their review of the Capital Grid Project. For now, it looks like most of the construction will be south of Columbia Road and predominately on Sherman Avenue.

Peek at Park View School Renovations

November 9, 2018

After nearly two and a half years of planning and construction, the recent renovations at the Bruce-Monroe at Park View School are completed with only smaller punch list items left to finish. The scope of work included a new parking lot, a sprinkler system for the school, exterior landscaping, a new gymnasium and a new cafeteria & kitchen.

Last night, I had a chance to see some of the new spaces inside the building following the final School Improvement Team meeting. Below are some photos of the new gym, cafeteria, and kitchen.

Sustained Advocacy Results in More Trees for Park View School Project

October 3, 2018

I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to get 10-13 new trees added to the landscaping plans for the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School project. But it took a lot of doggedness and refusing to take no for an answer for nearly a month.

While one would think that the landscaping plans would have been discussed at a School Improvement Team (SIT) meeting, of which I’m a member, they really weren’t. Furthermore, it has been a few months since the last SIT has met. This is an area that I’m extremely interested in as the school grounds have long been on my list of places where we could potentially get large shade trees to help address the tree desert in the middle of the neighborhood.

Site plan of the school showing location of new bioretention areas to be added at Bruce-Monroe @ Park View.

I was surprised when I inspected the school grounds in late August that bioretention areas were being added to the grounds at the front of the building, prompting me to request a copy of the landscaping plans on August 30th. After four requests, a copy of the plan set was finally shared with me on September 6th. A quick review of the plans showed that no trees were being added in the front of the building.

Immediately upon seeing the lack of trees on the site, I contacted the construction team, and later the DCPS project team, and asked about adding trees to the landscaping plan. The initial feedback I received was that trees would interfere with the bioretention areas, and that the bioretention areas were required by the Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE).

Refusing to give up, I also contacted DDOT’s Urban Forestry Administration and requested a site visit. I also had a long conversation with DOEE which informed me that green infrastructure elements are required, but that bioretention areas were one of four ways that a project could meet that requirement. Another way was to plant trees, and that in many ways DOEE has a preference for trees but leaves the selection of which way to go to the project team.

Armed with this knowledge, I shared with DCPS that trees were an option and that if push came to shove trees would be the better choice on Warder Street.

Following DDOT’s site visit to the school, and after nearly a month of dedicated oversight, I was finally informed on September 21st that both the Warder and Newton Place sides of the building could accommodate trees without disturbing the bioretention areas already planned. This will include three trees on Warder Street and one on Newton that will mature between 60′ and 70′, helping expand the tree canopy. See the illustrations below for approximate locations and suggested species.

The illustration below also helps provide an idea of what each of the recommended trees will look like when mature.

Construction at Park View School Could Create Opportunity for More Trees

August 23, 2018

The current construction at the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View school is still going strong, and while most of the results will primarily benefit the students and teachers at the school, I think there is an opportunity to create a significant benefit for the entire community. I’ve noticed that the majority of the grounds in the front of the building have removed the landscaping from the Warder Street side of the property. When it is time to replant those areas, we need to include new trees that will mature to provide shade for that block. A few years back the law was changed to allow DDOT’s urban forestry administration to also plant on public property like schools and recreation centers. Based on my quick review, we should be seeking to get an additional 3-4 trees on this block.

I’ve already reached out to both DDOT and the construction crew to begin this conversation.

(The frontage of the Park View School is currently being used to support the construction at the school. New landscaping can and should accommodate new shade trees.)

Several Area Streets to be Repaved in 2018

July 26, 2018

While we are over halfway through 2018 and haven’t seen any significant street improvements in the neighborhood, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have several that are still planned for calendar 2018. These include Quebec Place from Park Place to Georgia, Newton Place from Park Place to Warder, and Columbia Road from Warder to Georgia AND from 13th Street to 16th Street. You can see these areas on the map below as well as review the status of all current DDOT alley and street paving projects at the DDOT Paving Plan Web site.

I’m particularly please by the inclusion of Columbia Road in the 2018 plan, as ANC1A supported other community efforts by unanimously passing a resolution asking for Columbia Road to be repaved in September 2017. The resolution was introduced by Commissioner Boese and co-sponsored by Commissioners Wade, Brown, and Rybarczyk.

All of the streets in the 2018 plan are still expected to be completed this calendar year. However, weather like the rain we’ve been having recently and any unexpected delays on other streets can put DDOT’s teams behind schedule. A good indicator for those living on the streets listed above about pending work will be the advanced posting of No Parking signs for the construction, which will give neighbors a heads up that the construction will begin soon.

(Streets shown in red are scheduled to be repaved in 2018, though work has not yet begun)

Historic Preservation Review Board Approves Restoration Plans for Hebrew Home on Spring Road

January 26, 2018

At the January 25, 2018, Historic Preservation Review Board hearing, the Board approved the preservation plan for the renovation of the historic Hebrew Home building at 1125 Spring Road. The case was approved as part of the Board’s consent agenda. The hearing only focused on the overall plan for the historic structure, and not the proposed development east of the property as it does not encroach upon the historic site.

Site plan showing location of non-historic structures to be removed during renovations.

The renovation plan focused on exterior modifications. The primary exterior modifications include complete replacement of existing (non-historic) windows and doors. Aluminum-clad wood windows with simulated divided lights are proposed. The development team consulted historic photographs in order to propose new windows that match the original windows as closely as possible with respect to operation and lite patterns.

Restoration of the existing exterior masonry is also planned as part of the renovation. This will include cleaning and repair/repointing of the brick as necessary. As part of the renovation, a limited number of selective reductions of non-historic exterior elements is proposed including removal of a one-story brick shed on the west side, a one-story open carport structure on the north side, an existing two-story free-standing utility building on the north side and a one-story walkway canopy connecting to the existing adjacent Robeson School building to the east.
Two small additions were also proposed and approved. A one-story addition on the first floor within the existing interior courtyard (and not visible from the exterior) which will provide a multi-use amenity space for residents and a one-story addition on the fifth floor which will provide 2 apartments and a second means of egress from an existing amenity space overlooking Spring Road. This proposed roof addition is located on the east wing adjacent to the interior courtyard and is set back substantially from the east building face to minimize (or eliminate) its visual perception from the public right-of-way.

The existing open space along Spring Road between the Hebrew Home and the adjacent Jewish Social Services Agency building will be redeveloped to create a new pocket park accessible to the public. In keeping with the original character of this exterior space, the design will provide small passive-use spaces with minimal plantings. In order to provide access to the space from the Spring Road streetscape, a new ADA ramp and access stair will be constructed in public space. This will require minor modifications to the existing brick retaining wall at the back of the existing sidewalk.

Below are some renderings filed with the HPRB case.

(Plan showing park area with notations showing improvements.)

(Plan showing location of new additions.)

(Perspective from the southeast (front), identifying location of rooftop addition.)

(Perspective from northwest (rear), identifying location of rooftop addition.)


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