Archive for the ‘alleys’ category

Another Neighborhood Alley Getting Rebuilt

February 22, 2017

Another local alley is in the process of getting rebuilt. This time, the alley is on the block surrounded by Princeton, Park Place, Otis, and Warder. I’ve been asked by a few neighbors as to why this alley is being constructed strictly of concrete. The short answer is that DDOT has a policy of replacing alleys in kind — meaning that if the alley was originally constructed as a brick alley, the new alley will be brick. If the alley was originally a concrete alley, then the new alley will be concrete.

While alleys in Park View were replaced in both the Fenty and Gray administrations, the reconstruction/replacement rate has increased significantly due to Mayor Bowser’s focus on the issue.

Below are two photos of the work in progress.



Another Neighborhood Alley Getting Repaired

January 18, 2017

I’m happy to report that another Park View alley is getting rebuilt. The alley is located on the block bordered by New Hampshire, Newton Place, Georgia, and Park Road. Like many of the other new alleys, this one too will be surfaced in brick. Below are a few photos.





Checking Out Park View’s New Alley Work

October 4, 2016

Back in April it was announced that two Park View alley’s would be repaved as part of Alleypalooza 3, the city’s annual push to repair local alleys across the city. The two alleys chosen were in the blocks bounded by Kenyon-Irving-Park Place-Warder and Warder-Park Rd-Park Place-Luray. The larger of the two is between Kenyon and Irving and began first. Currently, the narrow alley between Luray Place and Park Road is a little over half way complete.

Below are some photos of work being done on both sites.

Luray/Park Road Alley work




Kenyon/Irving Alley work




Neighborhood Alleys Continue to Get Repaved

September 15, 2016

Back in April I shared that two more alleys in Park View would be repaved as part of Alleypalooza 3, the city’s annual push to repair local alleys across the city. Currently, the block bounded by Kenyon-Irving-Park Place-Warder is in the midst of having their alley repaved, and on or about Monday September 19 the alley bounded by Warder-Park Rd-Park Place-Luray will begin getting its alley replaced. Both alley will be replaced by brick.

Below are the before photos. I’ll post some after photos soon.

alleyPalooza photos 2016


More Neighborhood Alleys To Be Repaired in AlleyPalooza 3

April 28, 2016

In this year’s AlleyPalooza 3, at least two more alley’s in the neighborhood have been identified for renovation.  AlleyPalooza 3’s goal is to provide construction, improvement and repairs to 8 alleys in each of the 8 wards in 12 weeks for a total of 64 alleys. The cost to do this is approximately $10.5 million. The alley repair campaign is Mayor Bowser’s summer program to reconstruct and repair alleys in all eight wards across the city.

I know that there are a lot of factors that go into selecting the alleys for inclusion each year, but want to give a shout out to Commissioner Rashida Brown, the Luray-Warder Neighborhood Association’s Audra Grant, and Ward 1 MOCR Gabriel Rojo (and I’m sure there are others) for taking the time to walk alleys in the southern part of the neighborhood, identify alleys, and advocate on behalf of their repair.

The slides below are from the slide deck listing the alleys to be repaired in Ward 1.

alleyPalooza map 2016

AlleyPalooza chart 2016

alleyPalooza photos 2016



Checking Out Some Interesting Alley Development

August 21, 2015
Map showing the location of the large lots currently under construction on Lamont and Warder.

Map showing the location of the large lots currently under construction on Lamont and Warder.

If you haven’t been in the alley surrounded by Lamont, Warder, Kenyon, and some of 6th streets, NW, lately, you really should check it out. There were some large parcels on this block that neighbors not living on them probably weren’t aware of. Currently, rowhouses at 524 & 526 Lamont, 3220 Warder, and 511 Kenyon have all been under renovations to convert them from single family houses to multi-family structures. What is particularly interesting is that while each of the projects is on a separate street, they all seem to intersect in the alley.

I’ve previously check out 511 Kenyon back in April, where essentially another house was built behind the existing house (which was also popped up). Both 3220 Warder and 524/526 Lamont are also getting popped up … but in these cases to take advantage of the large alley lots behind them, a new structure is being built that is connected to the original rowhouses by using a small causeway or single basement. This seems to be a very creative way to go about this. I know that there will likely be mixed feelings about whether such construction should or shouldn’t occur, but I am not aware of any zoning violations at this time.

Below is a video I took to help provide some idea of how close these projects are to each other. It starts by showing the south side of the 3220 Warder Street project, moves forward to show some of the Lamont Street project, and includes a shot of the Kenyon Street project.

Photographs of the projects  are after the jump (more…)

Mayor Bowser’s AlleyPalooza Nets Fast Results on Manor Place

July 10, 2015

On July 8, 2015, Mayor Bowser announced the launch of  “the first-ever AlleyPalooza to improve 64 alleys across the city in just two months.” In Ward 1, most of the alleys that will be repaired are in Columbia Heights, though there is one in Mt. Pleasant and appears to be one on T Street on the Ward 1/2 border. There was also one on Manor Place in Park View.

AlleyPalooza map(Map showing location of Ward 1 alleys to be repaired.)

In checking out the Manor Place alley, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the work was well underway on July 8th and appeared to be finished on July 9th (Photos below.)

According to the full press release:

Alleys represent a vital, but often unseen, part of our city’s infrastructure. The District has more than 350 miles of alleys. These backyard lanes are important for transit, parking and services like trash pickup – and increasingly, they also serve as places for families to hang out, neighbors to catch up with neighbors, and kids to ride their bikes.

We’ve heard from the community that we can do a better job of updating our alleys. With input from residents through 311, my team has identified 64 alleys – eight alleys in all eight wards – that will be repaired or renovated by mid-September. You can stay up to speed on our progress by checking out the following map. Bear with us during the construction process – we promise the end result will be worth it.

AlleyPalooza comes on the heels of our successful PotholePalooza – the District’s annual effort to fill in those pesky potholes that plague our streets every spring. This year, the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) used new technologies and strategies to effectively identify and repair potholes across all eight wards. I’m pleased to report that DDOT has already filled nearly 32,000 potholes across the District, and they’ve hired more crews to get the job done.

We want our streets and alleys to reflect the quality and strength of our neighborhoods. With AlleyPalooza and PotholePalooza, we are two steps closer to making that a reality.

Photos of Manor Place alley:

Manor Place alley




Looking at Historic Garages in Park View

June 17, 2015
1911 real estate ad from the Evening Star identifying a garage at 636 Rock Creek Church Road, NW.

1911 real estate ad from the Evening Star identifying a garage at 636 Rock Creek Church Road, NW.

One of the things that is interesting about Park View’s original development is how automobiles impacted it. The neighborhood south of Otis Place was largely constructed before personal automobile ownership became common place. In fact, in that section of the neighborhood one is more likely to find the occasional stable — a rather fine example being the horse stable that served the Tenth Police Precinct.

The area north of Otis Place was developed by Kennedy Brothers beginning in 1909. Their development (named Princeton Heights) was developed from 1909 to 1917 and coincides with the growth of personal car ownership.

In the District, there were 4,833 residents with registered vehicles in 1914. This rose to 8,009 in 1915. From 1916 to 1919, ownership continued to rise, from 13,118 to 35,400, respectively. By 1920, Washington had one vehicle for every 10.73 residents, ahead of the national average of 14.14 persons per car.

What one learns when looking at how Princeton Heights was built out is that the original houses on the south side of the 600 and 700 blocks of Rock Creek Church Road and the 700 block of Quebec Place were all built with no accommodation for personal vehicles. This began to change as soon as new residents moved into the community. The earliest evidence of a private garage building in the Princeton Heights development is a real estate add from 1911 that features a “garage on rear” for 636 Rock Creek Church Road. Slowly, other homeowners began to construct garages in the rear of their properties too.

In response, Kennedy Brothers began to incorporate attached garages into some of their house designs, with the first being 3640 Warder Street constructed in 1914 (the southwest corner of Warder and Quebec Place). Moving forward, Kennedy Brothers began to include attached garages in their semi-detached corner houses with one notable exception. When building the row of houses from 3664 Park Place north to 608 Rock Creek Church Road, every house in that row contained an attached garage.

For those who purchased houses prior to this change in construction, or who later decided that they wanted a garage afterall, the private detached garage was still an option. Of the four oldest garages in the area, three of them were built by Kennedy Brothers in 1914 and 1915. These were constructed of brick and can be found behind 633, 634, and 624 Quebec Place.

A quick survey of the alleys in the four Princeton Heights blocks between Princeton, Georgia, Rock Creek Church, and Park Place — both in person and on old maps — indicates that there were once about 46 private detached garages in the neighborhood. Of these 18, or roughly 39%, still remain today. Considering that many garages were more modest and not constructed of more durable materials, it is not surprising that many of these are now gone.

Below is a sample of some of the garages that remain.

633 Quebec Place(633 (Rear) Quebec Place, NW. Built by Kennedy Bros. in 1914.)

636 Rock Creek Church Road(This garage is located behind 636 Rock Creek Church Road. Dating to ca. 1911, it has the distinction of being the oldest surviving private garage in the northern part of the neighborhood.)

754 Quebec Place(A more modest garage at 754 Quebec Place, this metal sided garage was built in 1918.)

3639 Warder(Perhaps the nicest brick garage in the neighborhood is this 1917 example behind 3639 Warder Street. This may be the only area garage of Flemish bond construction.)

3637 Warder(Little is known about this metal sided garage at 3637 Warder Street yet, though the search goes on.)

Alley Behind DC Reynolds, Looking Glass Lounge Renovated

September 25, 2014
Re-bricked alley viewed south from Princeton Place.

Re-bricked alley viewed south from Princeton Place.

I’m very happy to see the alley between the 3600 blocks of Georgia and New Hampshire avenues has been renovated — and with new brick like the original alley.

Over the past several years we’ve seen an increasing number of alleys redone in the neighborhood. Considering the poor state of many alleys in Ward 1, overall we’ve been doing really good in Park View.

Another Neighborhood Alley Getting Rebuilt

September 8, 2014
Map showing location of alley being renovated.

Map showing location of alley being renovated.

The alley between the 3600 block of Georgia and the 3600 block of New Hampshire is in the process of being rebuilt (also between Otis Place and Princeton Place). I’ve provided a map to identify the area in question better.

This is the alley behind Looking Glass Lounge and DC Reynolds. I’d brought it to the attention of DDOT some time ago as it was in serious need of repair. The alley is fairly long and quirky, and is also shared by the residents on New Hampshire, so its great that this one is being added to the list of alleys renovated in the past several years.

What I’m particularly pleased by is that it appears that DDOT is replacing the old brick alley with a new brick alley.

The photos below should give an idea of the work being done.

IMG_7235(Looking down the alley from Princeton Place)

IMG_7236(Alley as seen from Otis Place)

IMG_7312[1](Construction detail showing how the brick layer sits on an under-layer of concrete)

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