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.”