Mayor Vincent C. Gray and DDOT Launch U Street Project Construction | Transportation
From Robert Marus: Today Mayor Vincent C. Gray, officials from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and representatives from the U Street NW business community gathered to officially kick off construction for the U Street NW Streetscape project. Mayor Gray outlined the project schedule and emphasized that the U Street corridor will be kept safe and accessible at all times during construction.
“This project is aimed at catapulting an already thriving business corridor to the next level,” said Mayor Gray. “Since U Street has taken off to once again become one of the District’s most vibrant neighborhoods, it should have streets and sidewalks that reflect its importance and can support the growing crowds that come to experience the corridor’s vibrant nightlife.”
The $5 million streetscape project will rehabilitate U Street NW between 9th and 14th Streets. The sidewalk areas will be reconstructed and widened in sections and will include new landscaping; the roadways will be repaired and repaved; and the streetlights, traffic signals and storm drains will be upgraded.
The construction-warning and project-identification signage is now in place, and the initial construction activities for this project are slated to start on the 900 block of U Street. The construction will progress westward on U Street one block at a time, one side of the street at a time. All critical work associated with this construction project is scheduled to be completed by spring 2013, weather permitting.
At least one traffic lane in each direction will be kept open at all times. While sidewalk areas are under construction, temporary walkways will be utilized to ensure continuous pedestrian access to the corridor’s businesses, Metro station entrances and bus stops.
“These businesses are their owners’ livelihood, and we intend to keep it that way,” Mayor Gray said. “No construction project is painless, but DDOT is going to make every effort to ensure that access to each and every business remains safe and open at all times. I want to reassure everyone who patronizes these businesses that U Street is open for business!”
“We have worked closely with the community to develop a good plan to minimize the impact of this project on merchants, their customers and the residents of this area,” said DDOT Director Terry Bellamy. “Our team will be working one block at a time and moving on as quickly as possible.”
A full-time Communications Specialist (Chinka A. Young) has been brought on board as part of DDOT’s project team. She will work directly with the various stakeholders in the project area to keep them informed about construction and will help address any issues that arise. There is also a project website in place that includes the latest on the project schedule, the design plans and project-related updates and events. The project website address is www.ustreetproject.com.
Resources available to help small businesses in the corridor weather construction-related impacts include flexible, interest-free loans, available to qualifying businesses through the District’s Streetscape Loan Relief Fund. To apply for or learn more about the fund, please visit http://dslbd.dc.gov/streetscapefund. Questions may be directed to the Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF) by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 202.529.5505.
While construction on U Street NW between 9th and 14th Streets is now underway, there are also plans to extend the streetscape project farther west on U Street to its intersection with 18th Street and Florida Avenue NW. The design plans for this additional area are 65 percent complete, and DDOT will continue to work with the stakeholder community to finalize the plans. Construction on that portion of the project is currently scheduled to start in 2014.