D.C. improvement project will spruce up Pennsylvania Ave.

By Ovetta Wiggins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 6, 2009

A 1 1/2 -mile stretch along Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast Washington is about to get a multimillion-dollar facelift.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and city and federal transportation officials announced plans for the D.C. Department of Transportation's Great Streets: Pennsylvania Avenue project on Thursday.

The District will spend $30 million of the money it received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to spruce up the corridor through the streetscape improvement project. The District received $123.5 million in stimulus money to be spent on transportation projects, such as $36.5 million in repairs to the New York Avenue Bridge over the CSX Railroad and $4 million to install 200 miles of sidewalks throughout the District.The section of Pennsylvania Avenue -- from 27th Street to Southern Avenue -- will get a median, new curbs, a gutter, pavement, landscaping and upgraded utilities.

The project will also include improvement of signal operations and the construction of three rain gardens.

"This project, through its comprehensive design, is strongly focused on reestablishing historic neighborhoods and will create a unifying place where neighborhoods from north and south of the corridor can come together to shop, visit, play, learn and live without being separated any longer by extreme traffic conditions," Fenty said.

Work will be done in four phases from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.

The area includes the neighborhoods of Fairlawn, Randall Highlands, Hillcrest and Fairfax Village.

City officials said the program is designed to improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods and create economic development opportunities.

"DDOT could not be more pleased to be part of this historic transformation along this culturally rich corridor," said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. "It will not only improve the character of the neighborhood but, more important, provide a safer walkable environment for residents and visitors to this area."

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