City and Businesses Attack Barracks Row Safety/Aesthetic/Cleanliness Problems

DDOT begins the repair work on Barracks Row Sidewalks

New planters on the 400 Block of Barracks Row.  (photo credit Capitol Hill BID)

City and Businesses Attack Barracks Row Safety/Aesthetic/Cleanliness Problems

by Larry Janezich

DDOT began the repair of Barracks Row sidewalk yesterday, starting near the 7-11 on the 400 Block of 8th Street.  The broken and uneven slate pavers set into dirt have been an annoying pedestrian hazard for years.  (CHC first reported this in August, 2013.)  The work will progress down the west side of 8th Street to M Street, SE, and then back up the east side of 8th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue.  Barracks Row Main Street (BRMS) lead the effort to get DDOT to remedy the sidewalk issues on the street.  The work is expected to take 34 days.

Some sidewalk cafes will be temporarily affected as crews work on the space directly adjacent to them. Brickwork will be repaired where needed, but the majority of the work will focus on the slate section of the tree box line adjacent to the curb.

Martin Smith, Executive Director of BRMS says, I’m very excited about the sidewalk repair – BRMS has been lobbying DDOT for three or four years on this.  Since its complete reconstruction in 2004, the street scape has been a victim of its own success as increased traffic has taken a toll on the infrastructure.”

The sidewalk repair comes in the middle of a new pilot program aimed at the problematic 400 block of 8th.  The program, undertaken and funded by BRMS, the Capitol Hill Business Improvement (BID) and a collection of Barracks Row property owners, was given impetus by ANC6B Chair Chander Jayaraman who established the ANC6B Barracks Row Working Group chaired by ANC Commissioner Brian Ready, with business co-chairs Tom Johnson (District Restaurant Group) and Gaynor Jablonski (The Ugly Mug).

The components of the pilot project include installation of planters and rose bushes, the assignment of two BID Clean Team members to the 400 block for 8 hours a day, seven days a week, and a BID social worker who will focus efforts on assisting some of the individuals who frequent the block.

Capitol Hill BID President Patty Brosmer said, “This block of 8th Street is busy and has been a challenge for some time. With the extra funding dedicated to address the challenges we are already seeing a difference in the way the block looks and feels.”

After the pilot project concludes in mid-September, BRMS will assess which elements were successful and work to implement longer term funding and partnerships.

Smith said that he was glad to see the two projects overlap – especially in light of the upcoming redesign of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza [scheduled to begin in December].  The fact that these projects are coming together should have a positive impact on pedestrians in the neighborhood.”

7 Comments

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7 responses to “City and Businesses Attack Barracks Row Safety/Aesthetic/Cleanliness Problems

  1. quixotic

    Nice that developers and businesses who have the ear of elected officials can get DDOT to look after them. I’ve tried for years to get repairs done on our street and sidewalk, to no avail. I guess as a regular taxpaying citizen I just don’t have the clout.

    • Martin Smith

      I can assure you, this process took many, many years of consistent lobbying and pressure by the Main Street program to make these infrastructure repairs happen! Unfortunately, these things just seem to take a good amount of time to get them done. Keep up your efforts, and good luck!

      Martin Smith
      Executive Director
      Barracks Row Main Street

  2. John

    Thank you to Johnson and Jablonski for funding the additional clean-up. It’s 7-11, however, that should be the one to pay for the upkeep as it seems to supply most of the trash.

    • Martin Smith

      Just as a point of clarification, this pilot project was organized and funded in full by a group of property owners and Barracks Row Main Street, in coordination with the Capitol Hill BID. Tom Johnson and Gaynor Jablonski did not fund, organize, or manage the pilot project. Similarly, the ANC and the “working group” mentioned above also did not fund, organize, or manage the pilot project.

      The Main Street program does agree that 7-11 should be more engaged in the issues on that block, and we have worked with them over the years on these issues. ANC6B has also done significant engagement with 7-11 over the years, both regarding the Barracks Row location and others within the ANC boundary.

      Kindly,
      Martin Smith
      Executive Director
      Barracks Row Main Street

  3. The BID needs to provide coverage in the evenings. That goes for the every business area on the Hill. The sidewalks don’t roll-up at 5 or 6 pm.

    • Patty Brosmer

      For reference the Capitol Hill BID provides public space cleaning and hospitality services 7-days per week, 361 days per year to 82 commercial block faces with a current budget of $1.6 million. That’s $4,432 per day/$54 per block face per day for wages, taxes, uniforms & equipment, insurance and administration. In addition to those core services the BID provides placemaking such as welcome banners/holiday decorations on light poles; trash receptacle logo plates; community tree and menorah lighting events, homeless services. The Board of Directors prioritizes services based on available resources and has never increased its rate of assessments in the 17 years of operations. Longer hours or extra shifts are under consideration but are not currently feasible. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have suggestions. Thanks ~ Patty

  4. The streets here don’t roll up at 5 or 6 pm. The BID needs to look at evening coverage, particularly on weekends. Between the BID, Main Street, and CHAMPS there are (in theory) multiple layers of coverage – that businesses pay dearly for. Yet the street scene in the evening remains disgusting. Do all of these organizations employees go home to the suburbs in the evening?

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