Monday, October 28, 2013

DC Water responds to the 1st Street Tunnel project mitigation requests

From: John Lisle
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 3:04 PM
Subject: Response to Mitigation Requests for First Street Tunnel Project

DC Water has reviewed the letter that was transmitted to the DC Council on September 12, 2013 regarding the First Street Tunnel project. The following is a response to the requests related to DC Water that were included in the letter. Several requests are not within the purview and authority of DC Water, and therefore are not addressed here.
Request: Improve communications with the affected community. The undersigned residents would like to require DC Water to communicate with residents on a regular basis.
DC Water response: Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park residents have been informed about the project throughout the design phase through press releases, updates to Councilmember McDuffie, and briefings given to ANC 5E, SMD’s and the Bloomingdale and Stronghold Civic Associations. Specific outreach efforts are as follows:
  • April 24, 2013: Environmental Assessment Public Meeting
  • May 7, 2013: Block Specific meeting with residents of the 2200 block of Flagler Pl., NW.
  • June 17, 2013: Briefing of Councilmember McDuffie explaining the overall project, community concerns and DC Water mitigation efforts.
  • June 19: Flagler Pl. and Adams St. Block Specific Meeting explaining and demonstrating how staging areas were reduced, allowing for parking and traffic to continue flowing.
  • June 25: V St. Block Specific Meeting discussing the reduction of the V St. staging area and providing short term street closures and temporary lane closures from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • June 26: Thomas St. Block Specific Meetings addressed reductions from usage of all of Thomas St. and half of First St. to a compact area and usage of an existing parking lot.
  • June 17, 2013: Meeting with the Bloomingdale Civic Association, wherein residents brought up concerns regarding the limited hours of shuttle operation and admission to the alternative parking lots.
  • June 18: The ANC Meeting presentation addressed changes to shuttle service from 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. to 24/7 service and provided the basis for a plan to identify residents and their visitors for admission to the alternative parking lots.
  • June 26: During the Thomas St. meeting, residents showed an elevated concern for possible speeding in the alley during construction. DC Water will work with DDOT to find possible mitigation measures such as speed bumps, lowering the speed limit and child play signage.
  • July 1: Stronghold Civic Association presentation provided an overview on the current construction on the McMillan Stormwater Storage and First Street Tunnel project.
  • September 12: SMD5E06 presentation on the Small Diameter Water Main Replacement explained why DC Water has expedited this replacement on Thomas St., NW and 2nd St., NW in order to minimize impacts to residents during First Street Tunnel Construction. 
  • September 16: Bloomingdale Civic Association Meeting, in which DC Water presented updates on McMillan Stormwater Storage, Irving Street Green Infrastructure, Utility Relocation and Pre-construction Surveys.
  • September 17: ANC5E presentation on the same topic.
The following mitigation efforts will be implemented as a result of feedback received by DC Water from its outreach:
  • Duration: Milestones have been incorporated into the contract documents that reduce construction duration at Adams Street to 18 months. The First Street southbound closure at V Street has been reduced to 8 months and all construction is expected to be completed by March 2016.
  • Fire and EMS: DC Water has met with Fire and EMS to assure that service vehicles will have proper entry to address any emergencies that arise during construction.
  • Parking and Shuttle Service: DC Water will provide secured parking and 24/7 shuttle service from the parking facility for affected residents.
  • Traffic: DC Water has provided the community with its conceptualized traffic control plan, which received DDOT approval.
  • Protection of Properties: Pre-construction surveys are being offered to residents throughout the zone of influence
    • Based on the high level of resident concern regarding possible damages, DC Water has can also post-construction surveys if necessary.
  • Environmental Concerns: DC Water will provide measures to mitigate air quality, noise and vibration and vector control.
Request: Suspend DC Water bills for residents on affected blocks for the life of the project.
DC Water response: DC Water is a public governmental organization funded entirely by our ratepayers. Our policies are established by our Board of Directors and do not allow the Authority to provide free water and sewer services to customers affected by our construction projects aimed at benefiting the public.
Request: Coordinate with other utilities to replace additional infrastructure while the First Street Tunnel work is taking place.
DC Water response: In coordination with DDOT, DC Water will notify utilities of their opportunity to upgrade their infrastructure in the affected project area. Note that additional utility work may prolong the construction period and cause additional disruption to the community.
Request: Coordinate with DDOT to develop a plan to replace mature trees on Flagler Place and Adams Street.
DC Water response: DC Water is committed to the restoration of the streetscape along Adams Street and Flagler Place NW as part of the First Street Tunnel project. It is proposed to plant 4 to 5-inch caliper trees in this area that include various types of Maple, Magnolia, London Planetrees and Oak with an approximate age range from 10 to 15 years old.  It should be noted that these ages are rough estimates. It is difficult to generalize the age of a tree based on size. Typically, restoration of streetscapes includes planting 1.5 to 2-inch trees, which are approximately 2 to 4 years old.  Planting less mature trees provides a greater survivability rate and allows the trees to “grow into” their new setting.  However, given the existing streetscape and canopy along Flagler Place NW and Adams Street NW, DC Water will plant more mature trees to add an immediate benefit following construction.
DC Water is still reviewing options to provide the most ideal growing conditions to ensure the survivability of the new trees along Adams and Flagler. Due to the size of the root ball on this larger caliper tree, certain measures such as the installation of structural soils under the sidewalks and/or roads and the installation of pervious surfaces over the root balls can afford the roots better access to water and oxygen.
The survivability prognosis of transplanting the larger caliper (18 to 24-inches) from their current urban setting along Flagler Place NW is poor and therefore not recommended. The existing trees have become artificially “containerized” by their current location between the road, homes and various infrastructure below grade.  The trees’ root systems are defined by the subsurface conditions and are therefore linear and lopsided. Transplanting them into another location is impractical and if they were to survive, could create a stability hazard once transplanted.
Request: Replace all sidewalks as part of the construction projects.
DC Water response: DC Water will restore all streets, surfaces or sidewalks damaged during construction within the area of disturbance to original condition. The design-build contract contains the necessary language to meet this requirement.
Request: Install green infrastructure on 2200 block of Flagler Place and 100 block of Adams Street.
DC Water response: DC Water is a strong proponent of Green Infrastructure (GI) and is actively pursuing a Consent Decree modification that would lead to replacing grey infrastructure projects in the Potomac and Rock Creek watersheds with significant GI components.  In addition, DC Water is aware of DDOT’s desire to install GI in the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park neighborhoods as part of the Mid City East Small Area Plan and Livability Study. Coordination and information exchange of this took place recently between DC Water, DDOT and the Office of Planning.  As part of this effort the Mid City East Planning group has identified candidate sites for GI implementation in the neighborhoods.
The 2200 block of Flagler Place and 100 block of Adams Street pose some site specific challenges for GI implementation, although some practices such as porous sidewalks and pervious pavement may be achievable. Other practices such as bioretention present difficult challenges due to public space limitations and the presence of existing utilities.
Currently the District is implementing a Green Infrastructure demonstration project (RiverSmart Washington) in other parts of the District to test Green infrastructure technologies and solve institutional issues. It may be prudent to obtain feedback from this project before embarking on further GI projects. In this way there can be a high level of confidence that particular practices will perform as anticipated and avoid the risk of having to remove any practices that are not functioning as intended. The goal is to avoid repeat disturbance or disruption of the area.
Request: After project is completed, convert DC Water land at Second and Adams Street to a public park.
DC Water response: DC Water’s property located at Second Street and Adams Street NW is an integral part of our Water Services operations. This parcel’s principle use is to store small and large diameter pipes in segments as long as 16 feet. All of the appurtenances related to our water main installation and repairs and our hydrant inventory are stored in this area. The property is a secured, fenced in area adjacent to the building that will serve as a warehouse for all the parts and materials related to our water distribution system and meter inventory. This area has been identified as a temporary residential parking site, but will need to return to its primary function when the construction in the neighborhood is complete.
John Lisle | Chief of External Affairs | DC Water |
5000 Overlook Avenue, SW | Washington, DC 20032 | (202) 787-2616 | (202) 812-5006 (cell) | (202) 787-2210 (fax)
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