Saul Centers and Clark Construction are closing the sidewalk for their demolition of the old Shanghai Gardens and Van Ness Square. The work was set to begin at 7 a.m. today, and is expected to last until the beginning of June. Beyond that, the sidewalk will close at times over the next two years of work on the Park Van Ness project, but for much shorter periods of time.
Protocols for pedestrian safety are being worked out for both this six-month period and shorter sidewalk shutdowns. In the meantime, starting today, flagmen with Clark Construction are to be stationed at Windom and Albemarle streets to direct pedestrians to cross to the west side of Connecticut. The signage is also supposed to be larger, and include flashing lights. In an effort to prevent pedestrians from crossing at Yuma to the east side, the pedestrian signals will be covered and the ramps to the crosswalks are to be blocked.
ANC Commissioners Sally Gresham and Karen Perry, and Iona Senior Services pedestrian advocate Marlene Berlin, met with Matthew Marcou from District Department of Transportation, Bruce Elliott of Clark Construction, and Richard Houghton with BF Saul on the Friday after Thanksgiving to discuss the options to improving pedestrian safety for this closure and beyond.
The proposals from the two ANC commissioners and Marlene Berlin include maintaining a covered walkway even if narrower than the required six feet, closing down the parking lane of Connecticut Avenue during non-rush hours, and installing new pedestrian signals to allow people cross the street at each end of the sidewalk closure.
They also requested better signage and barriers to prevent crossing at mid-block while pedestrian signals are being considered, and they asked that the marked crosswalks at Yuma be removed. They were told that the bus stop between Windom and Yuma on the east side will also be removed at some point soon.
Because these proposals first have to be considered and then executed by DDOT, this will take time. So in the meantime, please watch for the flagmen directing pedestrian traffic at Windom and Albemarle, and please follow their directions.
DDOT posted this Pedestrian Advisory on Wednesday, November 27th:
Scheduled Sidewalk Closing on Eastside of 4400 Block of Connecticut Avenue NW, Starting December 2, 2013
(Washington D.C.) The razing of two buildings in the 4400 block of Connecticut Avenue NW will begin Monday, December 2, 2013. The two buildings are located on the eastside of Connecticut Avenue NW, between Windom Place and Albemarle Street. The razing of the buildings is scheduled to take approximately six months, during which time the sidewalk directly in front of the buildings will remain closed to pedestrians.
Appropriate pedestrian safety and directional signage has been installed and will be operational beginning December 2. Sidewalks will remain open to the north and south of the raze site and sidewalk access to all businesses immediately south of Albemarle Street will remain open for the duration of the project.
For more information, please call the contractor in charge of this project at 301-986-6000.