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Streetscape Project Completed; Adams Morgan Celebrates the New Look

By Janet Lugo-Tafur*

Accompanying images can be viewed in the August 2012 issue PDF

On Friday, July 27, Mayor Vincent Gray, Councilmember Jim Graham and other city officials formally cut a red ribbon to recognize the formal completion of the 18th Street reconstruction and streetscape renovation. “If you have not been to Adams Morgan recently, you might not recognize it,” Mayor Gray said. “18th Street has undergone an extreme makeover and the results are remarkable. The new roadway, wider sidewalks, safer crosswalks — all of the utility upgrades support . . . this great community.”

Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham spoke of the process and coordination performed by all parties and explained the Streetscape Survival Fund legislation he authored which allowed businesses to apply for interest-free loans from the city to alleviate costs and cash flow problems caused by construction and disruption.

The $6.8-million project included brighter street lights, numerous ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps, bump-outs and pedestrian gathering islands, a reconfigured 18th and Florida intersection, new granite curbs, brick gutters, and storm drain inlets, plus new trash and blue recycling cans, bike racks and new trees.

Mayor Gray, DDOT Director Bellamy, Councilmember Graham, Federal Highway Administration and other officials, residents and business owners were in attendance for the ribbon-cutting followed by a tour to view and experience the wider, aggregate sidewalks, mid-block crosswalk, safer pedestrian crossings, and viewing the historic-style Washington globe street lights. Mayor Gray specifically visited a number of local daytime businesses, including Bardia’s New Orleans Café, Violet Boutique, and Beauty Tu You.

Emphasizing the local, Constantine Stavropoulos, owner of Tryst and the Diner and co-president of the Adams Morgan Partnership Business Improvement District noted that the project didn’t take just 17 months, but “was the culmination of some eight years of planning by people in this community. It started with charettes, focus groups, and finally the official DDOT Steering Committee.” Saying he hoped not to omit anyone, he then cited for special recognition some “key Adams Morgan people who worked diligently: Denis James, Josh Gibson, Bryan Weaver, Mindy Moretti, Wilson Reynolds, Stacey Moye, Lisa Duperier, Maureen Gallagher, Stephen Greenleigh, Charles Brazie, and Kristen Barden.”

Constantine continued, “We stand here today enjoying one of the most complex and intensive streetscapes ever accomplished in such a dense area. While there’s no question our businesses have taken a hit, we are glad that adverse impacts did not escalate in this particular streetscape.”

Finally, Adams Morgan Main Street’s president, Lisa Duperier, lauded several former ANC 1C commissioners for having produced some of the most comprehensive reports and recommendations to a DC agency –- in this instance, DDOT — an ANC. “They spent extra hours and covered many aspects of the streetscape,” she said. Lisa also complimented Gabriela Mossi, currently on the ANC but in 2004 as the Executive Director of Adams Morgan Main Street, “Gabriela ably organized the first-ever DC community-wide transportation charette, the precursor of the Steering Committee and a model DDOT now uses for community engagement.

*Janet Lugo-Tafur is a DC native and Executive Director of Adams Morgan MainStreet Group.


Copyright © 2012 InTowner Publishing Corp. and Adams Morgan MainStreet Group. All rights reserved.