DC’s Shovel-Ready Projects

This monday, Mayor Fenty signed and submitted the section 1511 certification to request funds for the first round of highway under the stimulus bill or the ARRA, as the hepcats in the GAO call it. Despite it being for “highway funding” the $57,650,000 will go to eight items that are actually quite urban. Almost every project includes some benefit for pedestrians or the city, and at least two are primarily for them: the Great Streets Initiative project on Pennsylvania Avenue and sidewalk enhancements across the city. Take a look at the projects in the map below, or follow after the break to see a list of projects as well as well as a few proposed ones that didn’t make it. 

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Here’s the list of projects (PDF) that made it:

  • Great Streets Initiative – Pennsylvania Avenue SE: Improve streetscape from 27th St. SE to Southern Ave. Strip and repave street and sidewalk. Add ramps at corners and replace curbs and gutters. Upgrade signage, lighting, and signals. Plant trees and improve landscape. $25.0M-$35.0M ($20.0M ARRA funding)
  • Improve Western Avenue: From Chestnut St. to Oregon Ave. Reconstruction of road and sidewalks, including gutters, curbs, new drainage systems, and signage. $2.05M-$3.05M ($2.05M ARRA funding)
  • Rehabilitate 17th Street NW: Resurface 17th street from New Hampshire Ave. to Massachusetts Ave. Improve pedestrian spaces. $8.20M  \
  • Downtown DC BID Streetscape Improvements: Upgrade 25 block faces downtown to meet the District’s regulations (PDF). $7.70M
  • Rehabilitate 18th Street NW: Improve and repair 18th St. from Florida Ave. to Massachussetts Ave. Resurface sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and roadway. Replace water main and upgrade lights and signals. Plant trees and improve landscaping. $6.95M-$8.95M ($6.95M ARRA funds)
  • Rehabilitate Sherman Avenue NW: Restore the roadway and add streetscape implements such as new curbs, gutters, landscaping, and lighting. $4.80M
  • Uninterruptible Power Supplies for Critical Intersections: Start a pilot program to add UPS systems to ensure continuity of service for 8 hours in case of loss of power. $1.10M
  • Sidewalk Improvements on Federal Aid Routes: Improving pedestrian areas along specifically eligible streets$3.90M

Somewhat disappointingly, all but one of these projects is in NW Washington, in very wealthy neighborhoods. That’s not to say these sites don’t need work, but I’m kind of surprised Fenty didn’t look to gain some political capital by building in very dilapidated streets. In the final wishlist, there were some pretty important projects.

  • Safe Routes to School: “Improvements include installation or repair of traffic or pedestrian signals, signage, crosswalks, sidewalks and other enhancements to allow safe access.” – This seems like an interesting project, one that would spread out work among neighborhoods.
  • New York Avenue Bridge, NE  – I’m kind of surprised this got rejected: that bridge is in bad shape. 
  • SmartBike Expansion – I understand this; it’s still “experimental” and DC  still plans to expand it anyway.

Plus, there’s still another $63 million to be allocated to DC from the FHWA program alone, so we’ll have to see what happens with the rest. These are promising; no other state has dedicated so much of their funding to things other than cars.

2 thoughts on “DC’s Shovel-Ready Projects

  1. The projects that were not included in the section 1511 certification, such as the New York Avenue Bridge, Eastern Avenue Bridge over Kenilworth Avenue, SmartBike expansion, all were included in an amendment to the FY 2009-2014 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). I don’t know how long it will take for the stimulus funding to be approved for those projects and for work to get started…I’m not very familiar with that process.

  2. This list is just provisional. I presume that Mayor Fenty understands what he is doing, so submitted about as much work as could be completed, but some of it got held back for some reason or another. The bridge probably has to be engineered first… so that’s a big deal.

    As for the TIP, it’s required by The FHWA for funding roads and road-related projects even sans-stimulus. The funding is distributed based on a formula, based on need and population. The ARRA uses this formula as well, and asks for projects to get priority, including totally new projects. So then it’s send to some dungeon in the USDOT building where decisions are made in an opaque fashion, so no shame in not knowing how it works.

    I’ll update the map over time, hopefully getting status information and more details as they appear. If you see something, do tell me.

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