The Final Environmental Impact Study for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project was released last week. If the project gets built then Virginia Avenue will be rebuilt with a bike path along side it that will connect Garfield Park with Virginia Avenue Park. And the space for that path will come from narrowing the road and removing either a lane or parking.
The rebuilding of Virginia Avenue Tunnel provides the opportunity to construct a new streetscape for Virginia Avenue SE
Between 2nd and 4th Streets,...The only substantive changes will be the conversion of the south-side pedestrian way into a 10-foot wide shared use path, and the provision of a north-side pedestrian way.
Between 4th and 5th/6th street... the South-side on-street parking will be kept, but the north-side on-street parking will be eliminated. A south-side bike path will be provided between the pedestrian way and the street.Due to the elimination of the north-side on-street parking and the provision of a bike path, the curb to curb space will be narrower within the 400 block than under existing conditions. In addition, I Street SE, which currently curves north to intersect with Virginia Avenue SE, will be converted into a two-way cul-de-sac within the 400 block, with its only function to provide access to the Capitol Quarter driveway. The area reclaimed from roadway paving between Virginia Avenue SE and the Capitol Quarter residences within the 400 block will be converted to vegetative and/or grassy landscaping. A bike path will be provided connecting the I Street cul-de-sac with the new Virginia Avenue SE bike path.
Between 5th/6th and 8th Streets, the number of one-way (eastbound) traffic lanes will be changed from four to three. Currently, no on-street parking is provided within this block and this will not change under the proposed new streetscape. The existing south-side concrete pedestrian way will remain, but converted to permeable pavers. Between this pedestrian way and the street, a bike path will be provided.
Between 8th and 9th, the existing south-side permeable paver pedestrian way will remain. As with other proposed sections along Virginia Avenue SE, a bike path will be provided on the south side of the street, which will make the curb to curb space narrower through the elimination of the south-side on-street parking. The north-side on-street parking will remain.
Shhhh...People are upset about the construction. If we don't tell anyone about the lost parking or the removed car connection between Virginia and Eye, maybe they won't notice. [Maybe I should quit bolding those parts?]
Anyway, there will be a shared use path between 2nd and 4th. A bike path between 4th and 8th and then a shared use path between 8th and 9th.
Section between 7th and 8th
What would make this project even better is if the closed part of Virginia Avenue from 2nd to North Capitol could be reconfigured and reopened to include a two-way MUP.
Then, if we really want to get crazy, the bikeway could be extended another block to the dead-end circle of E Street that I like to call "Springsteen Circle", under the railroad tracks and curving back around the parking lot just north of the tracks back to Washington Avenue. But that's kind of a pipe dream.