From Tom Hay
Urban roadway and utility projects are high on everyones list of annoyances. Construction usually interferes with already congested streets and occupies some precious parking in our increasingly popular neighborhoods.
The situation on one stretch of street in Logan Circle represents a repeat for residents. In what one might call the ultimate aggravation, residents of the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Corcoran Streets NW are watching their newly paved roads being torn up for a DC Water (formerly DC WASA) “small diameter priority water mains” project.
Several blocks of Corcoran Street, including 1300-1400, were refurbished in the fall of 2009 by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). Like many blocks in Dupont and Logan, new brick sidewalks, granite curbs and newly paved streets were welcomed by residents.
This spring residents of Corcoran were notified of the upcoming DC Water project. Frustrated by the waste of taxpayer money and the lack of coordination between DDOT and DC Water, residents contacted officials to protest, but the project moved forward.
Karyn Le Blanc, DDOT director of Communications, responded to an inquiry with the following statement, which includes an apology to the residents of Corcoran Street:
“Coordination with utilities on major road reconstruction and projects certainly presents its challenges. DDOT has been pursuing changes in policies, public space permitting, and overall interaction with the utilities in order to minimize or even better prevent conflicts or the tearing up of recently completed projects. DDOT announced last year its intent to use Envista, a web-based infrastructure coordination tool, http://www.envista.com/dcselectsenvista, as a means to track and coordinate road work throughout the District and is currently meeting with the utilities to encourage participation. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and intentions these situations still occur. We apologize for the additional inconvenience to the residents and reiterate our intent to ensure the contractor returns the street to its original condition.”
Just a few blocks away, road work is at a critical, and dusty, stage on 17th and 18th Streets NW in Dupont. At the most recent Dupont Circle ANC 2B meeting a DDOT representative said the long running 17th Street Streetscape project was at the 70% completed stage. Events to celebrate the completion are in the works for this fall.
Be careful walking on the sidewalk on the west side of 15th Street between Corcoran and P Streets. Apparently, WASAhas been replacing lead water pipes that run from the main line up to buildings/houses. As a result, there are some very nasty, poorly done asphlat fillers in the sidewalk here — I call them “Sidewalk Potholes.” Some of them have sunk several inches (and I mean SEVERAL) after the rains from “Hanna” yesterday. There are orange cones marking them, but some of them are fairly wide and deep.
There was an article in the Washington Post on Friday, “WASA Backs Off Lead Pipe Program.” It seems WASA is going to discontinue its program of replacing the lead pipes because (1) they have found other ways of getting the lead out of the water and (2) the program is too expense.
All well and good. But, when will our sidewalks get fixed?