Monday, March 9, 2009

update on streetscape around the howard theater

about 15 months ago, there was a meeting regarding the streetscape redesign around the howard theater. there was a vocal contingent at the meeting unhappy with the sculptor chosen to create the centerpiece of duke ellington plaza at the corner of florida avenue and t street (across from the ledroit park gate).

tonight (march 9th) there was a follow-up meeting at the dc housing finance agency (815 florida avenue nw). the streetscape design has been updated, and ddot engineers showed community memebers some of the details of the current plan.

to summarize, the streetscape, which includes sidewalks, light fixtures, other "furniture" (such as bike racks, garbage cans, and parking meters), and wheelchair cuts at intersections will be replaced on seventh street from n street north to florida avenue. seventh street will be milled and repaved along this stretch.

t street, between 7th and florida avenue, will be completely rebuilt to a depth of 20 inches. the utilities (including a water main) will be replaced. the street (including it's accompanying sidewalks) and ellington plaza will be paved with concrete paving blocks (essentially bricks). benches, planting boxes, a sculpture, and a large signature tree will grace the plaza.

wiltberger street, from s street to t street, will be reconstructed by lowering the street a few inches. this will finally allow separation between the street surface and the narrow sidewalks lining wiltberger. in addition, proper drainage will finally be included on wiltberger street, hopefully leading to an end to flooding that plagues the houses on this block.

alleys on the west and south sides of the howard theater, as well as one behind the dunbar theater building that connects t street to florida avenue, will also be repaved with new red brick pavement.

check out the photos below. clicking on each one will allow you to get a better feel for what the design of the area will look like. of special note is the color of the paving blocks.

the sidewalks along 7th street will include stripes of blue block that run perpendicular to the street at systematic random intervals, to give the street a sense of "rhythm". random block with differing shades of gray will add interest to the area along and around t street in front of the howard theater.

here's a close-up of the design along t street. take special note of the dark line of block running through this block of t street. instead of striping a bike lane, the bike lane will be delineated by the use of darker block. in my opinion, this looks very cool.

the slides shown to the audience at the presentation should be available at this link within a few days.


Shaw Rez said...

Thanks for the great report!

I actually liked the sculpture previously proposed -- any word on whether that design has been scrapped or if it's still going to be installed?

IMGoph said...

shaw rez: if you're talking about the sculpture design of duke ellington sitting at a piano/treble clef hybrid, with notes flying off into the air, then yeah, that design is still going forward.

Anonymous said...

Did they mention a timeframe?

Development may very well have stopped indefinitely, especially since DC's budget deficit is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

IMGoph said...

concerned: the ddot folk said construction should commence by september 2009.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the Lincoln Theater is (1) right down the street, (2) has about one show a month, and (3) requires regular massive infusions of city money to keep the doors open are such huge, obviously relevent facts it's just amazing that no one brings them up.

I live three blocks from the Howard Theater and would love nothing more than for it to be developed into SOMETHING. But another theater owned by a bumbling community semi-public entity? You've gotta be kidding me! It's just going to sit empty.

To commenter "c", yes this would be true if they were private capitalist entities. but they're not. They're BOTH nonprofits propped up by the city, which means they will be big empty shells we shovel money into that get used ten times a year.



Anonymous said...

I expressed my concern at the first meeting concerning the sculpture but was brushed off. Those tubes that are "flying" off the treble will have to be extra strong because its not to difficult to imagine kids or inebriated theater goers climbing up on the statue and hanging off those tubes. If they are not reinforced, they are going to get bent and look like crap. If that has already been taken into consideration, fine, if not, its an "accident" waiting to happen.